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Newfoundland Growlers start road trip with another new traveller

Defenceman Trent Bourque, the newest member of the Newfoundland Growlers, had 20 points and a plus-16 rating in 42 games for the ECHL’s Brampton Beast, but also has appeared in a few AHL games with the Belleville Senators during his rookie pro season. — Photo via Toronto Marlies
Defenceman Trent Bourque, the newest member of the Newfoundland Growlers, had 20 points and a plus-16 rating in 42 games for the ECHL’s Brampton Beast, but also has appeared in a few AHL games with the Belleville Senators during his rookie pro season. — Photo via Toronto Marlies

Defenceman Trent Bourque, acquired in an AHL deal this week, joins team as prepares to play in Reading tonight

Another day, another new player for the Newfoundland Growlers.

The Growlers (36-14-1), who have experienced an unprecedented roster upheaval in the last couple of weeks, are adding defenceman Trent Bourque to the lineup as they begin a five-game road trip tonight in Pennsylvania against the Reading Royals (30-14-5).

The 21-year-old Bourque was acquired in an AHL trade Wednesday between the Toronto Marlies and Belleville Senators, with veteran forward Darren Archibald going the other way.

The deal really could be seen as part of another Wednesday transaction between the Maple Leafs and Senators organizations, one that saw Toronto get rookie forward, Princeton product and  former Hobey Baker finalist Max Verroneau in exchange for Growlers co-leading scorer Aaron Luchuk. However, since Verroneau and Luchuk are on NHL entry-level deals while Bourque and Archibald have AHL contracts, the two trades were announced separately.

(Verroneau is joining the Marlies, while Luchuk and Archibald have been assigned to Belleville).

The 6-2, 200-pound Bourque, the nephew of former NHL player and Maple Leafs head coach Dan Maloney, is in his rookie pro season after five years in the OHL, mainly with the Owen Sound Attack.

A 2017 sixth-round draft pick of St. Louis who wasn’t signed by the Blues, Bourque has played a bit with Belleville, but has spent most of the 2019-20 campaign in the ECHL with the Brampton Beast, where he’s had three goals, 17 assists, 40 penalty minutes and plus-16 rating in 42 games.

He becomes part of a much-altered Newfoundland blueline corps, what with the absences of Joseph Duszak, Mac Hollowell and Michael Kapla, who are  among the many players on recall to the Marlies, and Growlers captain James Melindy, who has six games remaining on his latest ECHL suspension.

Melindy was given eight games for an incident — the nature of which hasn’t been specified by the league or his team — late in a game against the Maine Mariners Saturday at Mile One Centre; he sat out rematches with the Mariners Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Bourque is the fifth new player added to the Newfoundland in the last week, joining forwards Alec Baer and Anthony McVeigh and defenceman Derian Hamilton, who all made their Growlers debuts in a 5-2 loss to Maine Wednesday, and Robert Powers, acquired in an ECHL deal with the Atlanta Gladiators on that same day.

Powers has played mainly as a defenceman, but can also fill in on the wing. However, he can’t be seen as a replacement for Luchuk, who had 50 points (19G, 21A) in 45 games for Newfoundland. 

However, the Growlers might be able to count on the addition of up-front skill sometime during their upcoming road trip; forward Marcus Power, who still leads Newfoundland with 21 goals despite missing the last six games with an injury, travelled with the team as it left St. John’s Thursday.

Twitter: telybrendan

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