Eskimos land Lakers

IROQUOIS FALLS - The Abitibi Eskimos have completed a four-player trade with the Fort Frances Lakers, of the Superior International Junior ‘A’ Hockey League.

The Eskimos have acquired forwards Jake Holland (15, 5-6-11, 20) and Tristan Salesse (10, 0-3-3, 2), along with defenceman Ryan Reeves (7, 0-0-0, 6) in exchange for 18-defenceman Nick Minerva (7, 2-1-3, 11).

Holland, 6-1 and 190-pounds, is a 19 year old who hails from Maple Ridge, B.C., while Salesse, 5-11 and 180 pounds, is an 18 year old from Terrace Bay.

“Holland is a rugged winger, who will go into the corners and finish his check,” said Eskimos coach and general manager Paul Gagne.

“He has a presence on the ice at all times and he (like Shawn Nobes, picked up in a trade with Cole Harbour, of the NSJHL) brings a little bit of toughness, which is something we had been looking for.”

Holland averaged almost a point a game with the Lakers, despite not seeing much time on special teams.

“He didn’t get any power-play time, either,” Gagne said.

“So in addition to bringing toughness, he has some offensive skills, too.”

Salesse’s numbers with the Lakers this season do not look all that impressive, but Gagne is confident he can contribute on offence if given the ice time.

“Tristan put up some great numbers in midget last year (41, 20-14-34, 38,Kenora Thistles, MMHL),” he said.

“He is going to come in and add a lot of skills to our team. He will be given a lot of opportunity to show his skills.

“He has the potential to be a second-line winger, or centre. He is very responsible, playing defensively, also.”

Reeves, 5-11 and 200-pounds, is a 19 year old import from Moseley, Virginia.

“He can move the puck, he can take the man and he plays his position very well,” Gagne said.

“He is the kind of player you don’t notice out there on the ice, which is a good thing for a defenceman,” Gagne said.

“He doesn’t make many mistakes out there on the ice. He can play a lot of minutes five-on-five and on the penalty kill.”

In other words, Reeves is your typical stay-at-home, defensive defenceman.

Minerva, 5-10 and 203-pounds, had been waiting at home for a trade after the 18-year-old left the Eskimos in October in hopes of being dealt.

“It is going to be a great opportunity for Nick,” Gagne said.

“They are hosting the Dudley Hewitt Cup and hopefully we will wind up playing against him.

“He played in that league last year, so they saw him play and they know they are getting a quality defenceman.

“He put up some good numbers last year (51, 8-17-25, 63, Wisconsin Wilderness, SIJHL).

“It is a good opportunity for Wayne Strachan (coach and general manager of the Lakers). They have quite a few players on their roster, because they are hosting the Dudley Hewitt Cup.

“With December coming around, they need so many cards and a four-player deal is a good opportunity (to free up a few cards) and at the same time it is a good opportunity for us (to pick up some talented players.”

Holland, Salesse and Reeves are expected in town Monday and will suit up for practice with the Eskimos Tuesday night at the Jus Jordan Arena.