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Uncertainty could impact QMJHL player movement before draft: Hulton

Jim Hulton is the head coach of the Charlottetown Islanders.
Jim Hulton is the head coach and general manager of the Charlottetown Islanders. - Jason Malloy
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

The Charlottetown Islanders’ general manager is expecting a quieter trade period leading into this year’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) draft.

Uncertainty around the 2020-21 regular season with the coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) pandemic may make general managers concerned with giving up assets at this time.

“I just think, with the uncertainty heading into next season, there won’t be a ton of player movement,” Jim Hulton said Tuesday.

“I’m only guessing, but I think maybe the volume of trades that normally occurs at the draft a lot of that might get pushed to the August trade window because there will be a little bit more … certainty at that time.”

The trade window opens Wednesday, June 3, with the draft taking place online for the first time in league history later in the week. The first round goes Friday, June 5, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Atlantic with rounds two to 14 starting Saturday morning.

What people will see when the trade window opens are deals to complete acquisitions from the December to January trade period. Teams loading up often send future drafts picks to teams for experienced players with the unannounced part of the deals being some of the picks will be returned at the draft for players.

There may also be some shuffling regarding draft picks in this year’s draft, with some teams moving up or down depending on their own needs.

The Islanders currently have a second-, a third- and two fourth-round picks.

“We’re not going to moving any of those picks in a package for a player with the possibility of only a partial season,” Hulton said.

One of the Islanders’ fourth-round picks is heading to the Saint John Sea Dogs to complete the Kevin Gursoy deal. The Isles traded a sixth-round pick in 2020 to Saint John for the right-winger on Aug. 27, 2018. There was a stipulation in the deal that the sixth-round pick would become a fourth if Gursoy scored 20 goals in either of his two remaining seasons in the league. He scored 24 this season, split between Halifax and Charlottetown. The Islanders get the sixth back.

The second-round pick is the second pick of the second round (22nd overall) obtained from Halifax in the Keith Getson trade. Charlottetown traded its first-round pick to get 16-year-old defenceman Oscar Plandowski in August and its second-round pick as part of the Carl Neill deal with Sherbrooke in January 2017.

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1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

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