Acadia Clears Logjam in Net

Flying in the face of critics, the Golden Bears recently completed two significant deals involving goaltenders as the SICHL trade freeze was lifted.
by Marcel Cormier | September 8, 2016, 3:53 AM ET

Where once there were four, now there are two. After a few busy weeks of negotiation, the Acadia Golden Bears addressed an area of concern with two big moves coming in one afternoon. 

It was no secret that coming into the 2016-17 season the Bears had an excess of netminders and they were open for business. Much to the chagrin of some rival GMs, Guy Flaming was able to accomplish exactly what he wanted to after trading promising youngster Martin Jones and veteran Cam Talbot in seperate deals. 

Some background first. 

Acadia began laying the foundation of this week's trades about a month ago when Flaming contacted a number of General Managers around the league. 

"I spoke with upwards of a dozen teams who I felt would possibly be in the market for a goaltender this fall," Flaming explained, "From those initial conversations I narrowed the potential trade partners down to about 6 teams and we agreed to reconnect again in early September once camps and the draft got closer."

According to Flaming, a few of the teams that expressed solid interest a few weeks ago opted to go in other directions. 

"That's the way it goes sometimes and that's fine," he said, "At the same time, there were two teams that were high on Martin Jones, one that was enquiring about Jacob Markstrom and another that was circling around Cam Talbot."

While some GMs in the league were publicly trying to sabotage the value of Acadia's available netminders, Flaming knew that it was a vocal minority. 

"Sure, hypothetically we could have been in a tricky situation 14 months from now if I still had all four of our SICHL level keepers but smart GMs don't run their teams on hypotheticals," Flaming smiled, "Even if I was somehow forced to expose two of the four in the 2017 waiver draft, the two teams that I traded with this week would likely not be in a position to claim them. Kudos to both Ryan Torrie (Dublin) and Bob Mayhew (Brno) for being assertive. I respect that much more than the long-term finger crossing sugested by some of my colleagues."

The Shamrocks were the first team that Flaming spoke with in the summer and so it's no surprise that Martin Jones is headed to Dublin.

"I talked to Ryan very early on in the process. In fact, I think he actually mentioned Jonesy to me right after the playoffs last year and that stayed in my mind," said Flaming. "Obviously a goalie of Jonesy's age, potential and ability is going to command a sizeable return and knowing that Dublin had a pair of high 1st round picks, I knew there was a good chance of striking a deal."

In the end, the swap with Dublin sees Jones along with prospects Dillon Simpson and Matthew Peca and Acadia's 3rd round pick this year heading to Ireland. In exchange, the Bears collect the 8th overall pick (Boston's), Winnipeg's 3rd rounder this year, Dublin's 2nd round selection in 2017 as well as prospect Danton Heinen.

"I could have qualified Martin Jones this year and opened the door for offer sheets and if I couldn't mnake a deal, that was definitely my plan," Flaming explained, "That probably would have ended up netting me a 1st and 2nd round pick, perhaps more, so that's where I set the bar. Ryan and I expanded the deal a bit to include Peca and Simpson for Heinen."

Danton Heinen played two season at the University of Denver where he was a standout for the Pioneers. The 6'1 forward is speedy and skilled having piled up 93 points in 81 games. He was originally a 6th round pick by Amsterdam in 2014.

The second deal came together much more quickly.

"Once I had a strong feeling that the deal with Dublin was going to happen I accelerated talks with the toher teams who wanted a goalie," the Bears GM recalled, "One backed out completely once I told him Jones was basically gone. I decided that I wanted to keep Jake (Markstrom) which meant another team backed out. Then suddenly came the news that Bob Mayhew had assumed command of the Amsterdam Admirals and everything changed."

Flaming says that he sent Mayhew a note welcoming him back to the league and that it was the Brno boss that brought the conversation around to goalies.

"I simply let him know that I'm always willing to listen when he asked me about both Markstrom and Cam Talbot," said Flaming, "I told him that Talbot was available and things happened pretty quickly after that. We settled on the draft pick portion pretty easily but Bob made it clear that he wanted to bring in some new bodies and move some others out. We talked for a few more hours and the deal was done."

Acadia sent Cam Talbot as well as Adam Gilmour, Brycen Martin and talented forward Tyler Motte in exchange for Brno's 1st round pick and prospect defencemen Mike Paliotta and Jeremy Lauzon

"I'm pretty sure that I wil regret letting Motte go, he's got a lot of talent, but that was the cost of doing business and Bob drew a firm line in the sand," said Flaming. "The two trades that day sort of go together for me in that I had to package Motte to Brno so I made sure I got Heinen from Dublin to replace him in our system."

Paliotta spent 4 seasons at the University of Vermont. The 6'4 defender was captain of the Catamounts in his final cllege campaign when he finished with 36 points in 41 games. The 22-year-old will be destined for the farm this coming season.

Meanwhile, Lauzon was a 2015 draftee who led his Rouyn-Noranda Huskies to the QMJHL title last season and a semi-final finish at the 2016 Memorial Cup. He had 50 points in 46 regular season games before a serious injury sidelined him until the Memorial Cup. Lauzon was cut across the throat by a skate blade but made a full recovery and is 100% now. There is a strong chance that Hockey Canada will include the 6'2 defender as they host the 2017 World Junior Championship.

The end result sees Acadia add three draft picks for the 2016 event, one for the 2017 Summit as well as three prospects. That comes at the expense of two starting netminders, five prospects and one 2016 draft pick - a high price to paid.

"We move forward now knowing that Braden Holtby will play the vast majority of our games this year and that we'll welcome Jacob Markstrom to be his relief when needed," said Flaming, "Plus we have a couple of high end picks which we think we'll be able to use to add more talent to our organization. I'm really looking forward to the draft in a couple of weeks!"

Bear Tracks

  • Rumours abound that the Bears have also completed a deal with the Boston Colonials but no details have emerged. Speculation is that it is a relatively small swap, perhaps of the cash for draft pick variety. 
  • Defenceman Dustin Byfuglien was signed to a new 2-year contract as the club's Franchise Player. The deal includes a No-Trade Clause for this coming season. 
  • Newly acquired Jeremy Lauzon attended Hockey Canada's summer U20 camp. Defenceman Caleb Jones and forwards Brock Boeser and Erik Foley suited up for USA Hockey.
  • The World Cup of Hockey begins shortly and Acadia will be well represented. Playing for Canada will be Claude Giroux and Braden Holtby.
  • Team North America has Sean Couturier, Jacob Trouba, Colton Parayko and Shayne Gostisbehere
  • Brandon Dubinsky and Dustin Byfuglien will play for USA.
  • Goalie Jacob Markstrom is with team Sweden.
  • Finland will benefit from having Bears rookie Rasmus Ristolainen
  • 1000 seats have been added to Acadia Place over the summer.
  •  With 16 restricted free agents, several players are expected to sign extentions but the Bears may be forced to walk away from a couple of players to remain compliant with the league's 100-asset rule.  

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