The National Hockey League’s trade deadline came and went Monday and the St. John’s IceCaps emerged with an unscathed roster.
You might think that took a load off the mind of Keith McCambridge, but any anxiety the IceCaps’ head coach might have felt was eliminated by what he says “was constant communication” with the management of the parent Winnipeg Jets.
“They did a great job of keeping me in the loop with what was taking place and what they were thinking or what they thought might take place,” said McCambridge Monday night from Binghamton, N.Y., where his team takes on the Binghamton Senators tonight.
“It makes a big difference when you know the situation, so I wouldn’t say I felt a sigh of relief.
“But I am very happy that the team I had in the morning is the team I have now.”
McCambridge could say that even though two of his key players weren’t with the team in Binghamton on Monday.
Forward Aaron Gagnon and defenceman Paul Postma were in Montreal, where the IceCaps had lost 3-2 in overtime to the Hamilton Bulldogs on Friday. While their IceCaps teammates bussed to Binghamton Sunday, Postma and Gagnon remained behind. That was a contingency in case the Jets had indeed made deadline moves that left them with a roster shortfall as they prepared for their Monday night game against the Edmonton Oilers.
“If (the Jets) needed access to players, it would be a lot easier with them in Montreal as opposed to down here,” said McCambridge.
Winnipeg did trade defenceman Johnny Oduya to the Chicago Blackhawks for draft picks, but the Jets had added a blueliner earlier in the day when they claimed Grant Clitsome off waivers from the Columbus Blue Jackets. With no roster holes to fill in Winnipeg, Gagnon and Postma were Binghamton-bound and expected to be in the IceCaps’ lineup when they take on the B-Senators tonight.
St. John’s (33-13-7) enters the game in first place in the American Hockey League’s Eastern Conference and a point behind the Oklahoma City Barons in the race for the AHL overall lead. However, having played two less games than the Barons, the IceCaps do have the league’s best winning percentage.
IceCaps’ rookie forward John Albert, who hasn’t played in nearly four weeks because of a concussion, is set to suit up tonight against the AHL Senators (21-30-4).
Eddie Pasquale will get the start in goal.