The Timmins Rock have acquired blue-liner Kyle Trottier, shown here reaching in to knock the puck off the stick of Justin Charette during an NOJHL game at the McIntyre Arena on March 12, from the Soo Thunderbirds in exchange for forward Daniel Beaupre. Trottier, who was part of the Thunderbirds’ NOJHL championship blue-line last season becomes the fifth member of the Rock to have competed in the 2022 Centennial Cup tournament. FILE PHOTO/THE DAILY PRESS
The Timmins Rock have added to the strength of their blue-line, while taking advantage of their surplus of offensive options up front.
Kapuskasing product Kyle Trottier (2, 0-0-0, 0) has been acquired from the West Division’s Soo Thunderbirds in exchange for forward Daniel Beaupre (5, 3-0-3, 0).
Trottier, a 2003-birth-year left-shooting defender who stands 5-10 and weighs 165 pounds, was part of the Thunderbirds squad that won a 2022 NOJHL championship and advanced to the Centennial Cup tournament.
Joining former SIJHL champion Red Lake Miners Brady Harroun, Ethan Pool, Kenyon Nyman and Lucas Piekarczyk, Trottier becomes the fifth player on the Rock roster who took part in the 2022 Centennial Cup tournament.
As a rookie, Trottier (regular season: 45, 3-15-18, 8; playoffs: 15, 1-3-4, 0) put up some impressive numbers for the Thunderbirds in 2021-22.
Prior to breaking into the NOJHL with the Thunderbirds, Trottier spent three seasons in the Great North Midget (now U18) League with the Kapuskasing Flyers (2018-19: 34, 2-14-16, 4; 2019-20: 25, 4-10-14, 8; 2020-21: 0, 0-0-0, 0).
Rock coach and general manager Brandon Perry was coaching the Timmins Majors at the time Trottier was playing for the Flyers.
“I have coached against Kyle since my days with the Majors,” he said.
“He is one heck of a player and we are extremely lucky to have him.
“Everything I have witnessed coaching against him and the things I have heard about him, he is exactly the type of character and player we want in our room.”
“He is another guy who comes with a winning pedigree. Obviously, he knows what it takes to win our league and play in the Centennial Cup.
“That’s a big thing for us, with the other transactions we made this summer.
The coach sees a lot of similarities to current Rock blue-liner Felix Cadieux-Fredette in Trottier’s game.
“They are very similar players,” Perry said.
“He is a great defender, adds a bit of offence, he can kind of do it all, fill in on the power play, kill penalties.
“He is going to play a big role in our Top 4. He is a next level player.”
On the surface, it appears the Rock blue-line is up to nine skaters following the acquisition of Trottier but Perry pointed out American D-men Jackson Hildebrand (3, 0-1-1, 2) and David MacDonald (0, 0-0-0, 0) have left the team and will, at some point, be traded.
Beaupre, a 2003-birth-year right-shooting forward who stands 5-10, weighs 180 pounds and hails from North Vancouver, B.C., started the 2021-22 campaign with the Rock (21, 5-5-10, 6) before being traded to the OJHL’s Trenton Golden Hawks (14, 0-1-1, 0).
He was reacquired by the Rock from the Golden Hawks in exchange for a player development fee back on July 5.
Perry noted he doesn’t enjoy having to trade away quality hockey players and individuals, but in Beaupre’s case the move was necessary to get the Thunderbirds to part with Trottier.
“If we could have done it without giving up a piece like Daniel, then we would have, 100%,” he said.
“He provided great secondary scoring for our group and obviously the Soo was looking for a Top 6 forward in return.
“We presented a couple of different options and the only option they were interested in was the one with Daniel.
“In no way is this a knock on Daniel or anything he did here. He is a fantastic kid and I thoroughly enjoyed coaching him.
“He will be missed.”
Perry reiterated even last season when the Rock moved Beaupre to the Golden Hawks at the Canadian Junior Hockey League trade deadline in January it was only because Trenton had alerted them to him in the first place and needed him back due to a roster shortage.
The Thunderbirds are certainly eager to have Beaupre join their lineup.
In a story by Matt Stefano on the team’s website, assistant coach and general manager Jamie Henderson said, “We are really excited to add Daniel to our current group.
“Daniel is going to add another element to our team and by all accounts he should fit in extremely well both on and off the ice.”
In the same story, Beaupre said, “I’m excited to get started with a winning team and a winning program.
“I’m also hoping to help this team win another championship this season.”
“Playing with North Van, Trenton and Timmins were great learning experiences and I’m happy to bring what I’ve learned from them over to the Thunderbirds.”
Beaupre hails from the same city (North Vancouver) as current Thunderbirds forward Dharan Cap.
“I know Dharan Cap very well,” he said. “I skated with him a couple times over the summer and he always spoke highly about the Soo Thunderbirds organization.”
Commenting on the departure of Trottier, Henderson said, “Kyle is a special young man who comes from a great family.
“We are happy to give him an opportunity to play closer to home and he was a tremendous player for us last season in our championship run. We also wish him the best with his new team.”
The Rock are busy getting prepared to host the Blind River Beavers at the McIntyre Arena on Friday, at 7:30 p.m., and Elliot Lake Red Wings on Saturday, at 7 p.m.
In the wake of the wave of illness that swept through the team last weekend, health is uppermost on the minds of the coaching staff these days.
“We gave them all the day off Monday but two more guys dropped out today,” Perry said.
“So, we won’t have them for practice. We will use some affiliates from the Majors.
“We had everybody take COVID-19 tests, but everything is negative so far.
“It is just a little bug that is going around. Every team goes through it at different times of the year.”