After other forwards exceeded expectations during training camp, the Halifax Mooseheads decided to trade veteran Bobby Orr to the Gatineau Olympiques for two draft picks on Sunday.
General manager Cam Russell called it a “very difficult decision to part ways with such a good kid”, but felt he had to do something to free up minutes for others on his roster.
“Basically, guys like (Brody) Fournier, (Reece) Peitzsche and (Logan) Crosby played so well that we just thought we had to find a way to give them more ice time,” Russell said. “We have a lot of good players at the moment and we just had to make room in our top nine for some of them. The guys earned a chance to play more so we felt we had to do something about it. make it work.”
The Mooseheads received a second-round pick in 2024 and a fifth in 2023 for Orr. The 19-year-old is coming off a season that saw him score 44 points in 63 games. It was his second year in a Mooseheads uniform.
“Bobby is a wonderful young man and he’s got incredible talent, so you hate having to trade a guy like that,” Russell said. “But it’s good that he can be closer to home and play where his family can see him more. He will have a good opportunity in Gatineau.”
The six-foot-one, 182-pound forward joined the team for the first time in 2020-21 after being acquired from the Saint John Sea Dogs for two picks – a second and a fourth. Orr drove in 32 points in 41 games as a rookie, which was enough to get him drafted in the fifth round by the Carolina Hurricanes.
The trade leaves the Mooseheads with 13 forwards, so it’s likely to be the last move up front. Barring further trades, Halifax should start the year with Peitzsche, Braeden MacPhee, Jake Todd and Liam Welsh in the final four forward spots.
“Sometimes guys just keep getting better during camp and change your plans and the way you see your roster,” Russell said. “We’re really happy with what we’ve seen from everyone and at the moment we have a very good mix of older players and good youngsters and they all need to play.
“That’s why you have a training camp. We make these decisions based on what we’ve seen in the last eight or nine days. Some guys have played them in spots.”
The Mooseheads also agreed to trade defenseman Alex Tessier to the Charlottetown Islanders for a 2024 ninth-round pick. Tessier had eight points in 59 games with Halifax last season, but Russell agreed to let him attend camp. of the Islanders on a trial basis in hopes that he could secure a spot on their team.
“That was the bottom line with Alex Tessier – we just wanted to make sure he was in the league and had a chance to keep playing,” Russell said. “He’s another big boy who’s done a really good job for us and we’re happy for him to play in the league. He’s had a great pre-season for these guys and Charlottetown is a good place to land. defense is another position where we have a lot of depth and a lot of good young players, so we had to do something there.”
Orr’s departure leaves the Mooseheads with 24 players – three goaltenders, eight defensemen and 13 forwards – so that’s pretty close to the final roster. Russell wasn’t quite ready to say the roster is a finished product just yet, but it’s not far off.
“Obviously you can always move 20-year-olds at any time and we only have two at the moment so you never know,” Russell said. “But we expect to finalize things this week.”
“I think for the first time in a long time we had to let go of guys who could easily play at this level,” Russell said. “The good thing is that we send the guys back to midget to play a lot and develop. It’s exciting for us and it’s good for them in the long run. We will follow their progress and we can’t wait to see those guys next year. It’s nice to know you already have those guys to step in and maybe play next year.
Elsewhere, the Cape Breton Eagles sent Halifax native Matt MacDonald to the Baie-Comeau Drakkar for a 2023 eighth-round pick and the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies traded Carter Murchison from Lucasville to the Islanders for a pick. 10th round in 2023. Both players are forwards.