Draft Weekend Bolsters Bears Immediately

by Guy Flaming | September 25, 2006, 7:42 AM ET

The Acadia Golden Bears were extremely busy over draft weekend beginning on Friday night with one major trade and right up until Sunday night when they made another deal. GM Guy Flaming began the festivities by trading the #1 overall pick to the Vancouver Island Norsemen who promptly selected phenom Erik Johnson. In exchange for the draft pick Acadia received the rights to prospect Patrick O'Sullivan, the Norsemen's 1st and 6th round selections and also winger Stephane Veilleux. After the trade Flaming explained that although the thought of giving up Erik Johnson made him violently ill, getting O'Sullivan was very satisfying and because the Norsemen pick meant only dropping back 10 spots to #11, it meant still being in the top 12 where the consensus thought the cut off in talent began. On the morning of the draft Acadia made another big deal when they moved the #3 overall pick to Whitehorse which the Huskies used to grab centre Jordan Staal. For that pick the Bears received right wing help in the form of Mike Cammalleri plus they picked up Whitehorse's 1st round pick (18th overall) and their 6th rounder as well. Flaming explained the reasoning behind that trade. "Well earlier in the week when we dealt Dwayne Roloson and Maxim Afinogenov to Oslo we created a big hole on our right side. Getting a young up and comer like Cammalleri plugs that hole with a talented scorer that we'll have for a few years," he said. With the draft underway, Flaming received a call from Edmonton Supersonics GM Mike Franceschini who promptly offered Acadia the opportunity to move back up into the top ten. The deal gave the Bears the #8 pick but cost them the #18 previously acquired from Whitehorse as well as Miami's 3rd rounder. When it came time for Acadia to make their first selection of the day Flaming was quick to do so. "We made the deal with Edmonton and I think the draft had gotten to about the 4th pick or so," Flaming explained. "We were targetting two guys and they were still both available by the time Stockholm chose Brassard so we knew we were going to get one of them. When Kyle Okposo was taken that made our choice easy and we grabbed Peter Mueller without hesitation." Mueller recorded more than a point per game last year with Everett in the WHL and also picked up 6 points in 7 games for Team USA at the World Junior Championships in Vancouver. Acadia selected two goaltenders in round 1, the first was Lewiston pipeman Jonathon Bernier who ws considered the top keeper available this year. Interestingly enough, the Golden Bears shortly after drafted Leland Irving with the 19th pick. "Why did we take two goalies so early?" Flaming asked, "Well we definitely wanted to get one and in a draft the dumbest thing you can do is draft for need... you take the best player available and we felt at that stage of the round that Irving was that player. I don't care that we have a whack of great goalies in the system now. All that means is that we have great assets that if need be, we can move down the line to address any other weaknesses we might have." Before the Irving pick though, Acadia made a choice that surprised many in attendance. With the #12 pick they chose Gatineau star forward Claude Giroux. "It may have been a reach but when you identify a guy you really want in your organization, you don't piss around." snapped Flaming. "The kid's off to a fantastic start in the Q this year so I don't feel bad about that pick at all. Screw the critics, we're ecstatic to have him in our system." Acadia's next pick was in the second round where they opted to draft their third Everett Silvertips player, Ondrej Fiala, a fast skating offensive talent. "We liked the fact that he was playing major junior instead of staying back home in Czecho," Flaming said. "He'll be more prepared for the SICHL after playing in the 'Dub'." Cal Clutterbuck was the next player selected by Acadia soon followed by Top Prospects game MVP Codey Burki of the Brandon Wheat Kings. Moncton forward Brad Marchand and Brady Calla rounded out the day 1 picks for the Golden Bears. "We were really happy with our day one decisions," said Flaming, "We got a lot of talent and character injected into our organization and didn;t really miss out on anyone we had hoped to get." Day two saw Acadia make 10 selections beginning with Bobby Huges of the Kinston Frontenacs who scored at more than a point per game pace last year in the OHL. "We were a little suprised that he was till available after day 1 so we knew we had to get him early on Sunday." To that point of the draft Acadia had not chosen any defencemen but that changed when they grabbed Lethbridge blueliner Ben Wright in the 5th round. "Ben's a kid we feel is a really good sleeper pick, we think he's built for the style of the SICHL." Acadia's next two picks were a pair of overage players in Ryan Russell and Eric Hunter who put up tremendous numbers in the WHL last year. With their 14th pick of the day Flaming and the Bears chose offensive minded 20-year-old defender Sebastien Bisaillon from Val D'or. "We had another overage player on our radar too but Reykyavik stole Matt D'Agostini right ahead of us," Flaming frowned. The Golden Bears drafted their 3rd goalie of the weekend in Bryan Pitton of the Brampton Battalion and then picked Finnish forward Juuso Puustinen, Medicine Hat defenceman Jordan Bendfeld, Moose Jaw netminder Joey Perricone and AJHL rookie sensation Jesse Martin to close out the day. Several hours after the draft had ended Flaming and Quebec GM Nic Anctil were seen chatting over beers in the hotel lounge. The meeting culminated in a late night trade between the two clubs that sees defenceman Steve Montador go to the Canons for prospect netminder Devan Dubnyk. Acquiring Dubnyk means that Acadia has added 5 goaltenders to the organization in the last 48 hours. "I just finished explaining to you that I'm not concerned with an overload at any position when we're talking about prospects," spat Flaming, "Until they are ready for the SICHL they're all just assets; chess pieces for me to move around at my will." On the day, Acadia chose 8 centres, 4 goalies, 4 right wingers and 3 blueliners with their 19 picks and also added O'Sullivan, Cammalleri, Dubnyk and Veilleux through trade. An extremely busy weekend but one that has already given the Golden Bears more bite.

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