Right about now, the Moncton Wildcats would have been on the road in their first round President Cup playoff series.
Questions regarding next season’s roster would have never crossed the minds of fans and players alike.
It should be playoff time, it’s winning time. This was going to be the year.
In all honesty the Moncton Wildcats had the team to do it.
That opportunity is lost. The year that could have been is sadly over now for not only the Wildcats and their fans but for everyone across the CHL. Junior hockey is a part of Canada’s culture, but for now we are all on the same team fighting this horrendous virus.
The Moncton Wildcats were built to win a championship, they were built to play any style, face any opponent, rise to the challenge and hoist the President Cup and Memorial Cup.
Instead of breaking down the first round playoff series, their opponents and analyzing Wildcats individual and team performances, and a run to the Memorial Cup all we can do now is discuss the dismantling of a championship caliber team.
Unfortunately there’s only a select few people who know what that is exactly going to look like.
The Wildcats were prepared after a long playoff run and a potential run at junior hockey supremacy to break it all down.
They knew the cost of doing business.
They understood the sacrifice that was going to be made by going all in.
Nevertheless, no one expected they would be confronted with the sad and harsh reality of the season being cancelled due to the horrific COVID-19 pandemic.
The season that could have been is sadly over.
The Wildcats were prepared to leave it all on the line.
Win or lose the Cats just wanted to have an opportunity, a chance to match up against the QMJHL and CHL’s best.
No one should be talking about a dismantling of a championship caliber team on April 1st those publications should be written a few days after the championship celebration and parade or after the team left it all on the ice.
Unfortunately for the Moncton Wildcats the time to talk about breaking it all down starts now.
It’s still unclear which Wildcat players if any for that matter are Halifax bound.
Cam Russell and the Mooseheads brain trust are in a fantastic position to kick start their rebuild almost instantly.
They will undoubtedly hit another homerun in the import pool as they always do. Seena Peters had a tremendous rookie campaign and is sure to be in the fold next season and has all the makings of a 40 goal scorer.
The Herd will probably target another import forward to add to their group.
So the obvious question remains, which Wildcats are on their way to Halifax?
There have been plenty of rumours circulating around the junior hockey world for quite sometime regarding the return for Jared McIsaac and Benoit-Oliver Groulx.
The Herd aren’t going to be content with just draft picks.
Rest assured Russell targeted specific players almost instantly when Ritchie Thibeau made the call to acquire Groulx and McIsaac.
It’s clear Russell would probably target players that would be available to be in the Herds lineup for two seasons.
That only leaves a few options from a Wildcat perspective.
So a plethora of draft picks would ultimately return to the Cats at the draft for more than likely two players and perhaps a prospect.
I’ll leave it up to you to speculate which Wildcats players Russell would ultimately target.
Would it be two forwards or a forward and a veteran defenceman?
Time will certainly tell, either way the Wildcats we’re going to pay the price.
What about the Drakkar?
Gabriel Fortier was outstanding for the Wildcats.
The spectacular two-way forward was just what the doctor ordered to put the Cats over the top.
The obvious question remains, was that deal truly finalized during the Trade Period or are there still moving pieces to be settled.
The Wildcats gave up a lot to get Fortier.
Julien Hebert is going to be one hell of hockey player in the QMJHL and perhaps beyond.
One can only assume and speculate that deal was finalized in December.
However, what if it wasn’t, who would the Drakkar be targeting?
Baie-Comeau did an outstanding job reloading after a disappointing playoff run a season ago.
It’s clear they could be targeting a veteran defender to solidify their D-corps as they look to make a push to the playoffs with a young talented core next season.
They also have a massive asset in Nathan Legare that will fetch a massive return next season during the Trade Period.
If you were the Drakkar which Wildcat defenceman would you target?
I’ll let you answer that one!
The Elephant In the Room
Why beat around the bush? Every Wildcat fan wants to know what about Jakob Pelletier, Zachary L’Heureux and Jordan Spence?
Will they be in the Wildcats line up to start the 2020-2021 season?
Well your guess is as good as mine.
Is Zachary L’Heureux still going to be a Moncton Wildcat? I haven’t got the slightest clue.
Will Jakob Pelletier be back in the QMJHL?
Will #11 be a Moncton Wildcat?
I would say Yes, Pelletier will return to the league given Calgary’s history of not rushing 1st rounders, their forward depth and recent US college signings.
Will Pelletier be in a Wildcat jersey after the QMJHL Draft?
I would also say yes, there would be a higher market value to potentially move the star forward at the deadline to a contender than at the draft, but you never know.
If the right deal were in place there might be a possibility the Cats would move him then, but I just can’t see it.
What about Jordan Spence?
The Cats would be very well served holding onto to the star defender until the trade period as well, however as previously mentioned everything will depend on the Mooseheads return.
Spence would be a perfect fit for the Mooseheads backend, nevertheless, Spence and Pelletier would probably bring the Cats roughly seven to eight assets in return at the deadline if they decide to take that route.
What’s next for the Moncton Wildcats?
Only time will tell.