By Thomas Perry, The Daily Press (Timmins)
Theriault (48, 21-25-46, 38), who will be attending Nipissing University in the fall, requested the move to ensure a shorter daily commute to school.
In Siracuse (48, 12-23-35, 25), the Rock are getting a player who is one year older and has similar offensive skills to Theriault.
“Nick is a natural goal scorer,” Gagne said.
“He can put the puck in the net. He has one of the best wrist shots in the league.
“He put up 35 points even though he was playing mostly on their third line last year because of the depth they had at right wing.
“He should be able to fit in in our Top 6, no problem.”
Siracuse, who turns 20 in November, will bring an element of leadership to the Rock lineup, as well.
“We have been told he is a very likeable guy and he is great in the dressing room,” Gagne said.
“He is easy going and has good leadership skills.”
Prior to taking flight with the Voodoos, Siracuse played for the Lockport Express (41, 25-32-57, 99), of the NA3EHL, during the 2014-15 season.
In 2013-14, the Buffalo, N.Y., native suited up for the Wheatfield Jr. Blades (20, 8-8-16, 26), of the NJPHL.
At 5-9 and181-pounds, Siracuse brings a combination of speed and skill to the Rock lineup and his new coach isn’t worried about his height.
“In this league, 5-9 isn’t that small,” Gagne said.
“I like that guy who is 5-9 and ended up being the top scorer in our league.”
Technically, Brayden Stortz (54, 38-62-100, 32), of the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners is only listed at 5-8 and 170-pounds.
“He (Stortz) was able to do it with a similar size, so hopefully Siracuse will come in and help our program,” Gagne said.
“He has experience and he is coming from a good program in Powassan. We have a similar program and hopefully he will be able to buy in quickly and go from there.”
Gagne has not had a chance to speak with Siracuse yet, but he has been assured by his family advisor he is eager to continue his Junior ‘A’ career in Timmins.
Gagne and Voodoos general manager Chris Dawson began working on the transaction about a week ago.
“We kind of went back and forth and then we finalized the deal last (Wednesday) night,” Gagne said.
“We just had to wait for it to be registered before we could announce it.”
During his time with the Rock, Theriault — a former member of the Rayside-Balfour Canadians organization who was acquired in a Sept. 21 trade with the Whitby Fury, of the OJHL — excelled in a variety of roles.
After starting the season playing on one of the Rock’s Top 2 lines, Theriault demonstrated his ability to be a complete player when he was bumped down to the third line.
“We were really happy with his progress,” Gagne said.
“When he came to us, we just thought he could just score goals, not backcheck or play defence, but he worked hard was really committed defensively.
“We even used him as a penalty killer at the end of the year. He had never killed penalties in his life.”
Gagne is confident Theriault will continue to shine this season with the Voodoos, regardless of what role they choose for him.
“We wish him all the best,” he said.