Jordan Maher has hit the ground running.
Or in this case, he has hit new ice skating … and scoring
The 20-year-old forward from Gander has registered three goals, added five assists and posted a plus-six rating in five games since joining the Charlottetown Islanders as the result of a December trade with the Memorial Cup-hosting Halifax Mooseheads
“It’s pretty crazy actually,” said Maher, who has found instant chemistry with fellow overage forward Daniel Hardie and 19-year-old Kevin Gursoy.
“We’re moving the puck really well, we’re all moving our feet and I think we just look to get (the puck) to guys who are open and it’s working.”
Hardie said he and Gursoy were excited by the prospect of playing with the five-year veteran of the league, a point-per-game player last season with the Memorial Cup-winning Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
And the potential for growth is there as the players get used to what their linemates do on the ice.
“What we say is it can only get better from here,” Hardie said. “He’s a really experienced player who won last year, so that adds a lot to our dressing room and he’s a good leader.”
Maher was drafted sixth overall by the Titan at the 2014 draft after playing for the Central IcePak major midgets, and he played a key part in helping turn the Titan around during his four years in Bathurst, N.B.
“It was a pretty crazy experience,” he said. “My first year there, we were in last place. Every year, we kept improving. To finally to get to last year and have the best team in the country is something special and definitely (something I) won’t forget.”
Maher was traded to Halifax only days after the Memorial Cup win, then was packaged with a third-round pick in this year’s draft and a second-round pick in 2020 in last month’s deal that sent Nova Scotian and fellow overager Keith Getson to the Mooseheads.
Maher, who hit the 200-point mark for his QMJHL career in a Sunday win over the Moncton Wildcats, describes himself as a two-way player who likes to contribute offensively. A centre in minor hockey who moved to the wing with the Titan, he started his Islanders career by moving back to the middle.
“I feel pretty comfortable in both spots, so wherever the team need me to play, I’ll play,” he said.
Maher knows his junior career is winding down, but hasn’t decided what the future holds, choosing to focus on the rest of this season. And even though the trade from Halifax meant he’s no longer guaranteed a return trip to the Memorial Cup, he believes he can get back with Charlottetown winning the Presidents Cup and place in the tournament as QMJHL champions.
“(I am) just trying to focus on the rest of this year and trying to win with the Islanders,” said Maher.
“I think we have a good team here. I think we separate ourselves with our work ethic .. . that’s what I like about this team.”
Note: You can track the progress of Maher and other hockey players from Newfoundland and Labrador in the weekly feature, Newfoundlanders Away, available today in The Telegram's print edition and to digital subscribers
With files from The Telegram