Russell Having Historic Off Season

Logo for the Halifax Moosehead of the Quebec Major Hockey LeagueThe acquisition of Nathan MacKinnon alone would normally be grounds for declaring the off season a success for Halifax Moosheads’ General Manager Cam Russell. But looking at what Russell was able to retain in the deal, and added to earlier acquisitions are making him look like a downright genius.

While there has been no official announcement of the particulars to any deal involving Nathan MacKinnon, all sources seem to be in the same ballpark. Two established Moosehead players, likely Carl Gelinas and Francis Turbide, plus first round picks in 2012, 2013 and 2014 in exchange for MacKinnon.

Keep that in mind, as we evaluate a deal that was confirmed by the Mooseheads. The team sent 2011 second round pick, Adam Erne to the Quebec Rempart for first round picks in 2013 and 2014 plus a second round pick in 2012.

So between the two deals…

    IN:


Nathan MacKinnon (15)
1st 2013
1st 2014
2nd 2012

    OUT:


Carl Gelinas (19)
Francis Turbide (18)
Adam Erne (2nd 2011)
1st 2012
1st 2013
1st 2014

Adam Erne was a second round pick in the recent QMJHL Draft, but was questionable to report. Some believe, he had a deal to only report to Quebec. Turning a 2011 second round pick into two firsts and another second certainly help counter the losses in the MacKinnon deal.

So let’s say Erne and the 2012 second cancel one another out. The two first round picks coming from Quebec in that deal cancel two of those going to Baie-Comeau. So you’re left with Gelinas, Turbide and a 2012 first in exchange for Nathan MacKinnon.

Hardly a tough price to pay for a player like MacKinnon. Gelinas was the Mooseheads’ MVP this past year, so he is certainly no slouch, but at 19 years old he was not likely to be a part of the club when they were ready to compete anyway.

Cam Russell managed to somehow also hang on to the #2 overall pick in this past draft, Jonathan Drouin. Nor did they have to part with the goaltender Zachary Fucale (#11 overall 2011) or, except for Trubide, any of there other top young talent like Nashville draft pick Brent Andrews (#19 2009), Luca Campini (#2 overall 2010), Andrew Ryan (#19 2010), Darcy Ashley (#25 2010), or potential 2012 NHL first rounder, import Martin Frk.

At the draft they did move 17-year-old defenceman Simon Desmarais, but that was the cost of moving up to get Drouin. At the draft they also picked up overager Alexandre Grenier from the Quebec for the 11th overall pick in the import draft (which they wouldn’t have used) and a fourth round pick. Grenier was a surprise breakout player for the Rempart, who produced well, especially in the playoffs, after being called up mid-season.

Matthew Wuest of Metro Halifax has a detailed account of all off season Moose moves in his The Q Files blog.

After being heavily scrutinized and being relieved of his head coaching duties during the season, Russell seems to have flourished while being able to focus on the General Managers role. With a new coach (another great move lost in the player acquisitions) and a lot of great young talent the Mooseheads will be one of the most exciting storylines to follow during the 2011/12 Q season.

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