SUMMERSIDE – The Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals made a major trade in the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) on Wednesday night.
The Capitals, who lead the Eastlink North Division with a 23-5-0 (won-lost-overtime losses) record, dealt forwards Sam Meisenheimer and Calum MacPherson, along with third-round draft picks in 2019 and 2020 and cash, to the Pictou County Crushers in exchange for 20-year-old forwards Dylan Riley and Jacob Hickey, a seventh-round pick in 2019 and an eighth-round pick in 2020.
“We have been talking to Pictou for quite a while now on one player,” said Caps general manager Pat McIver in an interview with the Journal Pioneer on Wednesday night. “We thought we were close on one player, and (Wednesday morning) we discussed getting two players and we were able to work out a deal.
“We gave up a lot, and that’s the tough part of the business. But, we feel, getting two of Pictou’s top players, we definitely improved our hockey team.”
Riley notched 33 points in 29 regular-season games this year – his third year with the Crushers. He had 44 points in 49 games while being named the MHL’s 2016-17 rookie of the year, and last season registered 52 points in 51 contests.
Fourth MHL season
Hickey is in his fourth season in the MHL. He had 19 points in 26 games in 2015-16; 39 points in 45 games in 2016-17, and 51 points in 50 games in 2017-18. This year, he has 27 points – 12 goals and 15 assists – in 25 games.
“They are career junior A guys,” said McIver in describing the Caps’ new acquisitions. “They had a bit of a slow start to the season, which probably coincided with their team’s (early) struggles.
“Both of them really heated up within the last six weeks, and it transpired into some good results for Pictou. They are probably two of their top three players for sure. Jacob was the captain, they both wore letters and both average over a point per game.”
Meisenheimer joined the Capitals after starting the season with Mississauga of the Ontario Hockey League. He played the previous two seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Meisenheimer had 27 points, including nine goals, in 23 games.
MacPherson, a third-round pick of the Capitals in 2017, has one goal and 14 assists for 15 points in 27 games in his rookie season.
“Pictou is still trying to make the playoffs, and to get good quality you have to give up good quality,” said McIver. “We felt we could do that to get both Riley and Hickey. We are pretty excited about the trade.”
McIver is hopeful that Hickey and Riley will debut with the Caps on Thursday, when the St. Stephen Aces (12-17-2) visit Eastlink Arena for a 7 p.m. start. The Caps, who were ranked fourth in this week’s Canadian Junior Hockey League rankings, have won four games in a row and seven of their last eight.
The Crushers are 11-13-5, two points behind the fourth-place South Shore Lumberjacks (13-11-3) in the race for the final playoff berth in the Eastlink South Division.