Spirit have decision to make on Cormier
The Saginaw Spirit may be languishing in the cellar of the Western Conference, but mid-Michigan’s Ontario Hockey League team has a valuable trade chip in its possession in the person of goalie Evan Cormier.
As Saginaw was struggling with seven points in 14 games from a league-worst record of 2-9-3 as of Nov. 6, Spirit general manager Dave Drinkill at some point may opt to cash in on Cormier’s net worth.
There are no less than six legitimate contenders in the 10-team Western Conference with not much to choose from among Erie Otters, Kitchener Rangers, Soo Greyhounds, Windsor Spitfires, London Knights and Sarnia Sting.
But back to lowly Saginaw and what the Spirit holds in its hands in Cormier, who would, arguably, provide a trade upgrade over who the No. 1 goalies are on at least three Western Conference contenders.
Cormier, who turns 19 this month, is a National Hockey League prospect of the New Jersey Devils after being selected in the fourth round of the 2016 draft.
A possible trade partner for Saginaw is Windsor — which has automatic entry into the 2017 Memorial Cup tournament as the host team.
And the Spitfires just may have interest in Cormier, the former Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League goalie who hails from Bowmanville, Ontario. What Spitfires general manager Warren Rychel must decide between now and the mid-January OHL trade deadline is whether he is comfortable with 17-year old Michael DiPietro and 19-year old Mario Culina as his Memorial Cup goalies.
The Espanola Express of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League has added more experience to its coaching staff in the person of Dennis Martindale.
Martindale — who originally hails from Montreal — joins the Express as associate coach alongside bench boss Jason Rapcewicz.
Express general manager Chad Clarke provided some insight on Martindale to Hockey Weekly.
“Dennis brings an extensive amount of experience at multiple ranks to the Express,” Clarke began. “He has played high-level hockey, from Junior A in the Maritime League to CIS for Moncton University before going on to play and then coach at the pro level for 12 years in France and Germany.”
In all, Martindale coached for six seasons in Europe — four as a head coach and two as an associate.
Express director of operations Randy Blake, a veteran of NOJHL wars, said the 36-year old Martindale “will definitely make us a stronger club immediately.
“He is a great compliment to (head coach) Jason Rapcewicz, they will make a great tandem behind the bench for us and we expect great things from these two,” Blake said.
Caleb Rich is moving up from the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
The 5-foot-11, 175-pound, 1999 birth-year forward has signed with the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL after beginning the 2016-2017 campaign in the NOJHL with the French River Rapids.
Rich, who hails from the North Bay area town of Callander, had nine goals and 16 points in 15 games with French River this season.
The skilled youngster played in the NOJHL for French River as a 16-year old rookie in 2015-2016 ,and had an impressive 18 goals and 48 points in 53 games on what was an expansion, last-place Rapids team.