COQUITLAM - Mike Gillis, you've been schooled.
The Coquitlam junior Adanacs demonstrated how to turn goaltending depth into playoff help with a swatch of deals prior to the June 30 B.C. Junior A Lacrosse League roster deadline, picking up four players for the stretch drive.
And unlike the NHL Draft deal that the Vancouver Canucks found themselves forced to make on the weekend, no one came away feeling scorched.
The Adanacs jumped into sole possession of first place on the weekend with a thrilling 8-7 win over the New Westminster Salmonbellies, but before doing so, they acquired shooter Tyler Buchan from Burnaby, netminder Peter Dubenski from Nanaimo, and snipers Matt Delmonico and Tyler Pace and intermediate Mitch Milani from the PoCo Saints.
The biggest piece going elsewhere was intermediate netminder Andrew Gallant, whom PoCo coveted.
From Adanacs general manager Tosh Nishimura's vantage point, the deals were all part of being in the Minto Cup mix for a fifth straight season.
"It was stressful," noted Nishimura of the deadline. "There was a lot of back-and-forth and it didn't get done until like 10-15 minutes before the [June 30] deadline."
Buchan, a lefthander, gives the team depth on the portside with 13 goals and 15 assists over nine games. Going to Burnaby is 19-year-old Shawn Hanley.
The duo of Delmonico and Pace adds some explosive power on the right side: Delmonico has posted 30 goals and 26 helpers over 13 games in PoCo, while Pace has 22 goals and 17 assists in just nine games as an aged-up intermediate.
"Delmonico is a hard nosed, go-to-the-rack kind of player," said Nishimura. "He's also a good veteran, a team guy who will get to finish his [junior] career with a shot at a Minto.
"In Pace we got a talented, young shooter who is a free agent next year. He's technically a rental, like Buchan, but we think when he gets into our dressing room and sees our program, he'll think about sticking around."
Pace, a Mission native, is also scheduled to begin a four-year athletic scholarship at the University of Denver in September, where he'll join Coquitlam's Wesley Berg.
The club acquired Dubenski, a netminder, from Nanaimo in exchange for their first-round pick in the 2014 Midget draft.
"He's going to push [starting goalie Davide DeRuscio] and gives us two guys who can play in a big game. I consider him one of the top four goalies in the league."
The Adanacs main rival for B.C. supremacy, the New Westminster Salmonbellies, made the biggest splash possible on Thursday when it secured the league's top-two scoring leaders in Cody Nass and Eli McLaughlin from Delta.
The two, who have combined for 204 points over 40 games, were also on Coquitlam's radar prior to being acquired by New West. But the price proved to be too much, said Nishimura.
"When I saw that I said 'Wow.' There was no way we could have done that for essentially a rental," Nishimura said.
The two made their New West debut in Saturday's game against Coquitlam, with Nass pocketing three assists, while McLaughlin scored once and set up another.
Delta received rookie Ryan Vogrig and Jake Carey in return for the 2013 rental of McLaughlin and Nass, although Nass will become a free agent as an aged-up intermediate from Richmond.
"We were working on our trades anyways, so we weren't pushing the panic button after seeing what New West did," added Nishimura.
Now, the challenge is for the Adanac coaches to utilize the newcomers and fit them into the roster.
"It's a good problem, but moving forward it is just [about] ramping up for the playoffs. I'm not too worried about chemistry - these are good, talented team players," the general manager said.
Although PoCo surrendered its top offensive sticks in Delmonico and Pace, it breaks down to getting a valuable goaltender for the next three seasons in exchange for the intermediate-aged up Pace, whose rights the Saints hope to retain after the season, and letting a veteran finish his junior career with a shot at a Minto Cup.
"[Coquitlam] wanted some right-handed power to fill in some gaps for the playoffs, and I wanted a goalie for the future," said Saints general manager/president Reg Thompson. "They were reluctant to give [Gallant] up. They see the same things we saw in him, that he's a very strong prospect. He came highly recommended."
In 13 intermediate games, Gallant has the second-best save percentage - .816 - and a rock-solid 8.65 goals against average with the middle-of-the-pack Adanacs.
PoCo also claimed Taylor Raiche, Matt Symes and backup goalie Guilio Del Bianco, who were released by Coquitlam.
The Saints weren't looking to move Delmonico.
But when they received overtures from their league rivals they approached the third-year veteran about a possible deal.
Thompson said the player was very mature about the whole process.
"I hope our guys realize that a guy who went out game after game and busted his ass to be a better player got noticed by other teams_ [Delmonico] didn't ask to be traded, but he agreed that if the deal makes our team better in the long run he'd go," said Thompson. "I've got nothing but good things to say about him as a team leader."
With sixth place already locked up, the 7-11-1 Saints know they will be the underdogs when the BCJLL playoffs begin in two weeks. Despite dealing two of his top players, Thompson feels the club still has an opportunity to cause some damage in the postseason.
"I think our guys can do it," he noted. "They have to play like they want to win. We still can go out and scare some people."
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