The Timmins Rock have traded defenceman Lucas Dolanjski to the Elliot Lake Wildcats in exchange for a player development fee. It was one of three transactions announced by the NOJHL team on Friday. The Rock had acquired the Timmins native from the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners for a player development fee back in June, prior to the start of the 2017-18 campaign. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS
By Thomas Perry, The Daily Press (Timmins)
TIMMINS – With the Timmins Rock sitting in last place in the East Division standings, general manager Kevin Peever has pulled the trigger on three transactions aimed at shaking up his NOJHL squad.
And fans can rest assured he isn’t done, although the only trigger he was looking to pull Friday morning had more to do with moose hunting than any further Junior ‘A’ hockey transactions.
After trading defenceman Lucas Dolanjski to the Elliot Lake Wildcats and forward A.J. Campbell to the Huntsville Otters, of the PJHL, late Thursday night, both for player development fees, the Rock have picked up 1999-birth-year defenceman Josh Anderson from the defending RBC Cup champion Cobourg Cougars, of the OJHL, also in exchange for a player development fee.
In Anderson, the Rock have acquired a blue-liner coach Corey Beer knows quite well.
“I got a chance to coach him the development league this past summer,” he said.
“He was on the team with (Rock 16-year-old blue-liner) Will Caston and he is an elite skater, who is a good offensive defenceman.
“His skating ability will allow him to make major, game-changing impacts out there on the ice.
“He is a very quiet defender. He is not going to be a guy who is going to be knocking guys around. He is more of a subtle lift your stick, steal the puck, get things going on the transition kind of guy.
“I absolutely love what Josh can do out on the ice and he comes from a tremendous family. You can’t ask for a better kid to bring into this program.
“I think that’s a major priority for us, is to bring good people in here to make sure we are doing things the right way and that everything is about hockey.”
At 6-1 and 165 pounds, Anderson (11, 0-1-1, 10) may not have Caston’s size (6-4, 201 pounds), but he is by no means a small defender.
“You look back a few years, when Nicholas Lindsrom was playing for the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup finals and I don’t think he threw an actual check until Game 3 of the conference finals,” Beer said.
“Nobody would confuse Nicholas Lindstrom with being a shutdown defenceman, but he had the ability to have a good active stick.
“I am certainly not trying to draw a comparable between the two players, but Josh plays in that same manner, with a good active stick and the ability to break up plays.
“There is no need for him to assert himself and kill his body in the corners if he can just lift the stick and steal the puck.
“We are definitely excited to see what he can do for us.”
Anderson is expected to see his first action in a Rock uniform when the team travels to French River for a game against the Rapids Sunday afternoon and then to Powassan for an encounter with the Voodoos Monday night.
The Rock had acquired Dolanjski (10, 0-1-1, 10) — a 5-10, 186-pound 1999-birth-year Timmins resident — from the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners in exchange for a player development fee on June 14.
“I think Lucas’ style of game was a bit different than what we were looking for on our back end,” Beer said.
“We need some guys who can transport the puck and do things offensively and that’s not really his style of game. It was unfair to have him try to do those things night-in and night-out when it is just not in his repertoire.
“This will be a chance for him to get a fresh start playing for Corey Bricknell in Elliot Lake. In am confident he will do a fine job there and help that team out.”
Campbell (10, 0-0-0, 10) — a 5-11, 169-pound 1999-birth-year Huntsville native — was a walk-on at the Rock training camp, who played mainly on the team’s third and fourth lines.
“He came in here and he worked his tail off every single day,” Beer said.
“We was one of the hardest working players on the team. He played on the penalty kill. He blocked shots. He did everything we asked.
“It is a situation for him where it wasn’t really fair, with him being on the third line, the fourth line and out of the lineup some nights.
“There is a little bit of a changeover on the roster coming up here in the next little while and I think for A.J. the best situation is to go down to the Junior ‘C’ level and more of a scoring impact on his team, being able to contribute in an offensive way and round out his game.
“His game, his character, his personality, you can’t say enough good things about him. He is a tremendous young man and he did everything we asked of him.
“I wish him nothing but the best and really do hope he is able to find his way back to the Junior ‘A’ level again. He is certainly deserving of it with his work ethic and the quality of player he is.”
“When it comes down to it, as much as we want players who are going to work hard and do the things we ask, that’s a prerequisite, that’s a requirement,” Beer said.
“We need a little bit of a talent injection here in terms of players who can put the puck in the back of the net.
“We have what we think is a good, young nucleus with a couple of veteran guys around them, but we are going to try and add in a couple of more young bodies to increase our talent base.
On the injury front, Caston (upper-body) is expected to return to the lineup Sunday afternoon in French River, but forward C.J. Bradburn (lower-body) — who has been out of the lineup since a 5-0 loss in Hearst on Sept. 15 — is not yet close to getting back on the ice.
“He is still in a walking boot, so it is going to be still a couple of more weeks,” Beer said.
“We will have to see how his recovery goes. It won’t be easy for him to just pop back in the lineup, that’s for sure. Having missed this amount of time and not being able to work out during that time frame, it will be really tough on him.”
NOJHL NOTES — The Wildcats have also swung a one-for-one trade with the Canadians, shipping forward Taylor Woolcott to Rayside-Balfour in exchange for defenceman Dawson Garcia … The Lumberjacks have traded forward Sam Vigneaux to the Humbolt Broncos, of the SJHL, in exchange for defenceman Austin Anselmo … The Voodoos have acquired goalie Graham Dynes from the St. Mary’s Lincolns, of the GOJHL.