Cam Russell says the Halifax Mooseheads accomplished what they wanted to.
The team’s general manager was quiet on the final day of the QMJHL trade window Tuesday, but thrilled with the two moves they made – acquiring 20-year-old Stephen MacAulay from the Saint John Sea Dogs, and most recently, 17-year-old defenceman Matt Murphy from the Val-d’Or Foreurs.
“MacAulay is going to add character and experience and depth to our hockey team,” Russell said. “Murphy we feel can play as a 19-year-old defenceman right now, even though he’s only 17, and play here for two and a half more years.”
The Murphy deal came down late Monday night and may have some fans wondering why a team gunning for its first QMJHL title would ship a 19-year-old defenceman in Randy Gazolla for a younger blueliner.
But Russell said Murphy is well beyond his years and speaks to his talents in the same breath as that of other 17-year-olds on the roster – most notably Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin.
“If you have the opportunity to land a player of Murphy’s caliber, and have him for two and a half years, that’s great for our organization,” he said. “We’re not just looking at one year and a three or four year rebuild. We’re trying to be good every year.”
Murphy was taken fifth overall by Val-d’Or in the 2011 QMJHL draft. MacKinnon and Drouin went one-two that same year.
“I’m happy with it,” Murphy said Tuesday of coming to Halifax. “Obviously they’re a great team and a great organization.”
Murphy, who is from Fredericton, N.B., had asked the Foreurs to be dealt, a decision he said was based on his education and role with the team.
Murphy arrived in Halifax late Tuesday afternoon and will be in the lineup Wednesday when Halifax visits the Bathurst Titan.
“I got some good ice time in Val-d’Or, but I felt I have the potential to play a bigger role,” he said.
The Moncton Wildcats made the biggest splash Tuesday as the QMJHL trade period ended, landing high-scoring forward and all-star Phillip Danault from the Victoriaville Tigres.
In return, Moncton gave up two first round picks, a second round pick and a first-round Euro pick.