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Hunter Drew coming back to Charlottetown

Charlottetown Islanders defenceman Hunter Drew, left, passes the puck up the ice during a practice in the 2017-18 season.

Ducks reassign veteran blue-liner Saturday night

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Hunter Drew is coming back to Charlottetown.

The Anaheim Ducks announced he was being reassigned to the Islanders Saturday night.

“We’re excited to get Hunter back,” Islanders head coach Jim Hulton said. “We need experience on the back end and we need size and he brings both.”

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The six-foot-one, 196-pound defenceman, who turns 20 on Oct. 21, scored eight goals and had 31 assists for 39 points in 64 games last season. He led the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 159 penalty minutes and in fights.

The Ducks selected him in the sixth round (178th overall) at the 2018 NHL draft.

“He’s a big contributor and a big piece to our puzzle,” Hulton said.

“His confidence and game grew so much last year, I think, he’s excited to see what he can do as a 20 in this league.”

The Islanders will have to make a decision soon as they can only dress three overage players per game. They have dressed Keith Getson, Daniel Hardie and Sam King for the first two games.

Hulton said he wants Drew to play the same game as he did last year but pick his spots a little more. He said he doesn’t mind penalties out of aggression, but emotional penalties like 10-minute misconducts can hurt the team particularly late in a game.

“He’s become far too valuable (to be in the box). He’s going to play a key shutdown role for us,” Hulton said. “He grew and matured a lot as a player last year and I’m sure this Anaheim experience will do an enormous world of good for him.”

Hulton said he’d have to wait to see when the Kingston, Ont., native gets back to Charlottetown to see if he can play Wednesday but expects the veteran will want to get on the ice.

As part of the Ducks announcement, Antoine Morand and Benoit-Olivier Groulx are both coming back to the Halifax Mooseheads and former Isles forward Alex Dostie was assigned to San Diego of the AHL.

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