Editorial: Cornwall River Kings 2015 LNAH Draft

lnahHere’s a short editorial style post on Cornwall’s contribution to the 2015 LNAH draft.

Or excuse me, LACK of contribution.

I don’t get it.

I don’t claim to know all the ins and outs of drafting players to a hockey team.

I do know that drafting junior triple A players to a league that’s built on former professionals on the ends of their career is a dumb move. How do you expect to compete with other clubs who employ players that ooze experience and have the right skill level necessary to fight for a championship?

Of course, the draft only secures the rights of the players and doesn’t necessarily mean they will play for that team but there are oodles of professional players in the ECHL, EIHL, DEL, Swiss and Austrian leagues that could have been drafted that would make a much bigger impact then kids from junior in St. Jerome, Quebec. How do you not see that?

This isn’t a developmental league. Scouts aren’t coming out in droves to see the next junior hot shot unless they want to see him get his head punched in. The past two drafts have been wasted on junior players that barely show up. Expand your demographic and look past the kids for a change.

I hear an argument of catering to the locals. That’s all fine and dandy but local players aren’t going to put people in the stands. You know what will?

Winning.(And because it’s the LNAH, fights and tough guys will too. Don’t kid yourself, this league isn’t changing it’s rules.)

Everyone loves a winning hockey team and the only way to do that is to be smart with the players you draft and smart with the players you sign.

So far, drafting hasn’t been too smart.

Scott Champagne is a local boy who hasn’t played in North America since 2008 and only played 12 games last year between Denmark and Germany. Cornwall has already tried to sign him in the past but due to budget reasons, it never materialized. Why waste that pick on him?

Cornwall traded a pick to Trois Rivieres in return for Erick Lizon. Hate to break it to you but Lizon just signed a contract with the Nottingham Panthers two weeks ago. Another pick wasted. It’s not hard to do some research! Here’s your proof:

You can disagree with me, that’s perfectly okay. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

But it’s frustrating to cheer for a team who doesn’t know how to compete for a championship in the league they’re in or hell, what the logo is going to be year in and year out.

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Kavan’s Crease: 2014 NHL Prospect Profile: Sam Reinhart

So lately I haven’t really posted anything, and the reason for that (besides having a 60-hour work week) is because I have been working on preliminary rankings for next year’s draft. Yes, I know that’s a bit ahead of schedule, but few people realize the importance of the draft and what these kids mean to the future of our sport. I want to profile certain players; some for their ridiculous talent level and hype, and some who are lesser known who I believe will jump up the standings pretty quickly.

The first player I chose to profile, is the current standout for No. 1 overall in 2014: Sam Reinhart.

sam-reinhartBackground

Reinhart was born in North Vancouver, British Columbia and was raised there with his 2 brothers, Max and Griffin, who are also NHL draft picks (Max: 3rd rd, 64th overall in 2010. Griffin: 1st rd, 4th overall in 2012). His father Paul also played over 600 games with the Flames and Canucks.

Sam started playing youth hockey at a at a young age and would eventually play with the Hollyburn Huskies, from the Hollyburn Minor Hockey Association. From there, he would suit up for the Vancouver NW Giants of the BCMML, posting 80 points in 39 games before being drafted by the WHL’s Kootenay Ice.

Awards are something Reinhart is probably already used to receiving. In 2011-12, he won the Jim Piggott awars as WHL rookie of the year,
Skills

Having bloodlines in the NHL isn’t the only reason Reinhart is a highly touted player; in two seasons with Kootenay, he put up a staggering 147 points in 139 games scoring 63 goals. What makes him such a special player is his ability to play both sides of the puck. Offensively, he has great vision and can shoot or pass, as well as draw defenders to him. He knows when and where to shoot and if he gets open in front of the net, chances are the puck is going in. Defensively, he’s a hard backchecker and can strip the puck from you just as quick as he can fire it off.

If there’s a downside to Sam Reinhart, it is his size. Standing at 5’11” and weighing in at 165 lbs, he is not the biggest guy on the ice and will need to put on around 20 pounds before making any NHL team.

Teams

At this point in the offseason, predicting which teams will end up where in the standings is tough, but if we’re judging by the current rosters and team outlooks, expect Calgary, Colorado and Buffalo to have a real chance at Reinhart.

That concludes the first prospect profile! Check back real soon for a sneak peek at Barrie Colts blueliner Aaron Ekblad. As always, thanks for reading, cheers!

2014 NHL Entry Draft Overlook: Picks 1-10

Welcome to the third and final instalment of my 2014 NHL Entry Draft Prospect Overlook. We have already taken a look at picks 11-30 and are now in the final stretch to see what players could possibly be in an NHL uniform at the start of the 2014-15 season. Picks 11-30 are:

11. Leon Draisaitl
12. Chase De Leo
13. Joni Tuulola
14. Michael Dal Colle
15. Alex Nedeljkovic
16. Tyson Baillie
17. Daniel Muzito-Bagenda
18. Haydn Fleury
19. Ryan Falkenham
20. Jared McCann
21. Nikolaj Ehlers
22. Shane Gersich
23. Nick Ritchie
24. Jack Ramsey
25. Kyle Jenkins
26. Sonny Milano
27. Josh Ho Sang
28. Jakub Vrana
29. Pierre Engvall
30. Spencer Watson

Now, on to the top 10!

10. Vladimir Tkachyov, LW, Omsk (KHL)
5’9″, 132 lbs
Shoots: R

2012-12 stats:
47 GP, 13G, 22A, 35 pts, +32, 20 PIM

Tkachyov is a small winger with great speed and skill. Russians are starting to disappear from the NHL draft, and selecting them is usually sketchy, but Tkachyov is full of talent, makes players around him better and is a confident skater. He will need to bulk up to make an NHL in the future.

9. Matt Mistele, LW, Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
6’2″, 172 lbs
Shoots: L

2012-13 stats:
68 GP, 34G, 26A, 60 pts, +32, 69 PIM

Mistele is big, mean and full of skill. He’s a natural goal scorer and drives to the net, running over anyone who has anything to say about it. He plays the defensive side of the game very well and will make significant strides this season.

8. Oskar Lindblom, RW, Brynas (Sweden)
6’1″, 192 lbs
Shoots: L

2012-13 stats:
22 GP, 20G, 21A, +40, 4 PIM

Lindblom is not a name I have seen even close to this high on any other scouting report so far, and I can’t fathom why. He is over a point-per-game player for his career, plays the defensive game better than any other player in this draft (another defensive swedish forward, imagine that) and is already 6’2″, 192 lbs at 16 years old (birthdate: Aug. 15, 1996). He has won multiple junior medals and point/goal awards and comes out of the great Brynas program. If he doesn’t crack the top 10 next year, I will be surprised.

7. Ivan Barbashev, LW, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
6’0″, 181 lbs
Shoots: L

(Photo: windsorstar.com)
(Photo: windsorstar.com)

2012-13 stats:
68 GP, 18G, 44A, 62 pts, +9, 36 PIM

Barbashev is another big winger from the QMJHL. He is more of a passer than a shooter, but can do both and is still as complete a player as you can find. He’s big, but not too big that he can’t skate if he works on conditioning, but he will be worth the work.

6. Blake Clarke, LW, North Bay Battalion (OHL)
6’2″, 196 lbs
Shoots: L

2012-13 stats:
68 GP, 19G, 32A, -2, 42 PIM

(Photo: northbaybattalion.com)
(Photo: northbaybattalion.com)

Year of the big power forward continues with Blake Clarke from the North Bay Battalion. Clarke has excellent vision and hockey sense and can pass the puck pretty much anywhere on the ice. He has no problem playing on the edge and making sure other players know he’s on the ice. He goes hard to the net and makes opposing goalies hate him. Still looking into whether or not he is related to former Philadelphia Flyer Bobby Clarke.

5. Nikolai Goldobin, LW, Sarnia Sting (OHL)
5’11, 165 lbs
Shoots: L

2012-13 stats:
68 GP, 30G, 38A, 68 pts, -7, 12 PIM

One of the few russians in the draft, Goldobin looks to be this year’s Valeri Nichushkin. He has the skill level to go top 5 and the points to back it up, but may slip just because teams are leery about having Russian players with the current spike in KHL popularity. Nonetheless, the team that drafts Goldobin will be getting a speedy winger who can both score and pass. He will be big and strong enough to make an NHL roster next year.

4. William Nylander, C/RW, Sodertalje (Sweden)
5’10”, 170 lbs
Shoots: R

2012-13 stats:
27 GP, 15G, 28A, 47 pts, +14, 14 PIM

Son of former NHLer Michael Nylander, William has just as much, if not more offensive potential than his father. Scoring almost 2 points per game in the ever-defensive Swedish league is no easy task, but Nylander managed 43 points in 27 games last season, while still employing the Swedish defensive game. Well-disciplined with a big frame, Nylander should see NHL time not long after his drafting.

3. Aaron Ekblad, D, Barrie Colts (OHL)
6’3″, 212 lbs
Shoots: R

2012-13 stats:
54 GP, 7G, 27A, 34 pts, +29, 64 PIM

(Photo: barriecolts.com)
(Photo: barriecolts.com)

What isn’t there to like about Aaron Ekblad? Besides his PIM, which are to be expected from such a monster of a 17 year old, Ekblad does it all. He’s 6’3″ and 212 lbs, but he’s a strong skater and can shoot the puck like nobody’s business. He hits hard and will make you regret even looking at his goalie, then he’ll take the puck up ice and fire it through the back of your net. Additionally, Ekblad was considered an exceptional player and was bumped up to the OHL a year early. The only other player to have that honor this year was…

*2. Connor McDavid, C, Erie Otters (OHL)
5’11”, 170 lbs
Shoots: L

2012-13 stats:
63GP, 25G, 41A, 66 pts, -24, 36 PIM

(Photo: Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
(Photo: Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

Connor McDavid was another player granted exceptional status at the start of last season so he could be drafted into the OHL a year early. Before all this, McDavid put up 281 points in 121 AAA games, scoring a ridiculous 112 goals. His productivity dipped a little bit at the OHL level, but he still put up 66 points in 63 games to be voted the OHL’s best first year player. His defensive play needs to improve, but he still has another season to work on that, and will most certainly be ranked 1 or 2 going into the draft.

1. Sam Reinhart, C, Kootenay Ice (WHL)
5’11”, 165 lbs
Shoots: R

2012-13 stats:
72 GP, 35G, 50A, 85 pts, +8, 22 PIM

(Photo: kootenayice.com)
(Photo: kootenayice.com)

Sam Reinhart is the son of Paul Reinhart, who played nearly 20 years in the NHL with Vancouver and Calgary, and the brother of Max and Griffin, who were drafted in 2010 and 2012, respectively; Max was picked in the 3rd round, 64th overall by the Calgary Flames and Griffin was selected in the 1st round, 4th overall by the New York Islanders. Sam, however, has quickly made his own name in the WHL and is the current favorite to go 1st overall in 2014. The kid is a dynamic, fiery centreman with explosive speed and a bullet of a shot. When he isn’t burning the mesh with his laser beams, he’s dishing passes out that shouldn’t even be thought of. It will be tough for anyone on this list to knock Reinhart out of No. 1, but as we saw with this year’s draft, anything can, and most likely will happen.

Personally, the draft is the one thing I look forward to most out of the hockey year (besides playoff beards, of course) and after researching these players, my stance has definitely not changed! Let me know what changes you would make in the comments section below! i look forward to seeing what everyone thinks! Check back soon for another prospect profile and, as always, thanks for reading. Cheers!

Kavan’s Crease: 2014 NHL Entry Draft Overlook: Picks 11-20

Welcome back! Last time we looked at prospects 21-30 for next year’s NHL Entry Draft. Just as a recap, those picks were:

21. Nikolaj Ehlers
22. Shane Gersich
23. Nick Ritchie
24. Jack Ramsey
25. Kyle Jenkins
26. Sonny Milano
27. Josh Ho Sang
28. Jakub Vrana
29. Pierre Engvall
30. Spencer Watson

This time we’ll be taking a look at picks 11-20, starting at 20 and working down.

20. Jared McCann, C, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
6’0″, 174 lbs
Shoots: L

McCann-was-injured-in-Sault-Ste.-Maries-playoff-opener-Claus-Andersen-Getty-Images
(Photo: soogreyhounds.com)

2012-13 stats:
64 GP, 21G, 23A, 44 pts, -6, 35 PIM

McCann is a big centreman who protects the puck well, has a good shot and great vision. Extra muscle will be expected, but that will come with time.

19. Ryan Falkenham, RW, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
5’10”, 172 lbs
Shoots: R

2012-13 stats:
45 GP, 10G, 11A, 21 pts, +17, 14 PIM

Ryan Falkenham is a shorter, stocky forward who doesn’t have a problem heading to the dirty areas in front of the net and plays with a style similar to Brendan Gallagher of the Montreal Canadiens. Playing alongside Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin didn’t hurt his development, but it will be interesting to see how he plays without them this season.

18. Haydon Fleury, D, Red Deer (WHL)
6’3″, 203 lbs
Shoots: L

2012-13 stats:

66 GP, 4G, 19A, 21 pts, +4, 21 PIM

Fleury is a big bodied, hard-nosed blueliner with an offensive upside. He is a plus player on a minus team, has a howitzer of a shot and is disciplined in his own end. His agility may come into question, but defensemen take longer to develop and his skating should come around.

17. Daniel Muzito-Bagenda, LW, Modo J18 (Sweden)
6’1″, 198 lbs
Shoots: L

2012-13 stats:
20 GP, 16G, 16A, 32 pts, +30, 32 PIM

tVjO9p8I7REy6lnJc1QXA hulking winger, Muzito-Bagenda is a big sniper who has no trouble finding the back of the net. Another Swede who plays a great defensive game, but will have to work on discipline, since almost a penalty per game average won’t be acceptable at the NHL level.

16. Tyson Baillie, C, Kelowna Rockets, (WHL)
5’11”, 190 lbs
Shoots: R

2012-13 stats:
67 GP, 26G, 30A, 56 pts, +36, 53 PIM

One of, if not the smallest player in the draft, Baillie lets his on-ice play do the talking for him. A Martin St. Louis-type forward, he is a passer first, but can still find the twine pretty often. Size will be a concern for sure, but if his point production stays consistent and he can put on some pounds, there will be a team that will feel lucky that this guy was still available.

15. Alex Nedeljkovic, G, Plymouth Whalers (OHL)
5’11”, 190 lbs
Catches: L

2012-13 stats:
26 GP, 19-2-2, 2.28 GAA, .923 SV%, 2 SO

Nedeljkovic straight up4248
(Photo: plymouthwhalers.com)

Nedeljkovic is the first and only goalie in the top 30, and he is here for a reason, backstopping his team to the conference finals before bowing out to eventual champions, the London Knights. Nedeljkovic’s Whalers led the OHL in goal differential, scoring 90 more times than they let in. He is not the tallest goalie, but is a big boy at 190 lbs. and has good movement in spite of that. Only 5 goalies had a better save percentage, 3 of whom have already been drafted by NHL teams (Malcon Subban, Boston; Jordan Binnington, St. Louis; John Gibson, Anaheim) and only 3 goalies had a better goals against average (Subban, Binnington and Kitchener’s Franky Palazzese). If Nedeljkovic can improve his puck handling and rebound control, he should be a solid starter one day.

14. Michael Dal Colle, C, Oshawa Generals (OHL)
6’2″, 170 lbs
Shoots: L

2012-13 stats:
63 GP, 15G, 33A, 48 pts, +19, 18 PIM

Michale Dal Colle is your typical big, power forward centreman. He can shoot, pass, hit and skate and plays just as well on the other side of the puck. He still needs to put on some weight, but once he fills out, he should turn out to be a number 1 or 2 centreman, depending on the team that drafts him.

13. Joni Tuulola, D, HPK U-18 (Finland)
6’1″, 165 lbs
Shoots: L

2012-13 stats:
41 GP, 10G, 21A, 31 pts, 26 PIM

Tuulola is a big offensive defenseman who has a hard shot and a good first pass out of his own zone. He can move opposing forwards away from his goaltender and takes few penalties. As many others, he will have to gain some weight before hitting his full potential, but should round out a top 4 nicely.

12. Chase De Leo, C, Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
5’7″, 130 lbs

2012-13 stats:
71 GP, 18g, 38A, 56 pts, +28, 24 PIM

srx_chiefs2_t940
(Photo: portlandwinterhawks.com)

Chase De Leo is currently the smallest player who is draft eligible. At 5’7″, he will need to gain at least 30 pounds before he can safely play in the NHL. If he does, however, this kid will be dangerous. He uses his small size and speed to squeeze through defenders, essentially blazing a trail through other players. He has soft hands and good vision and should be a solid top 6 forward one day.

11. Leon Draisaitl, C/LW, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)
6’2″, 198 lbs
Shoots: L

2012-13 stats:
64 GP, 21G, 37A, 58 pts, +22, 22 PIM

Draisaitl is another player in the growing trend of big power forwards at next year’s draft. The 6’2″, 198 lb versatile forward is the whole package. Soft hands, wicked shot, sees the ice well and plays well in his own zone. Needs to work on his speed a little but still an effective top 6 guy nonetheless.

That’s a wrap on picks 11-20. I feel some players in this third of the first round may climb a bit by the time the draft rolls around, but the surprise is part of the fun! Check back soon for picks 1-10; the good stuff!

As always, thanks for reading and, Cheers!

2014 NHL Entry Draft Overlook: Picks 30-21

Now that this year’s draft is done and the lunacy that was the free agency has subsided, I wanted to get a head start on scouting prospects. At this point in time, placing players is not an easy task, as many who are draft eligible are fresh out of high school and need next season in either university or with a CHL team to show off their true skills. Regardless, these kids are the future of our sport and it is never too early to get a sneak peek.

Since I don’t want to cram this all into one blog, I’m going to split it into 3, starting with picks 21-30 and working towards number 1. Each pick will include a little blurb about each player and what he brings. Without further ado:

30. Spencer Watson, LW, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
5’10”, 157 lbs
Shoots: L

Spencer-Watson-is-the-second-leading-scorer-among-the-OHLs-incoming-draft-class-OHL-Images
(Photo: kingstonfrontenacs.com)

2012-13 stats:
63 GP, 20G, 23A, 43 pts, E, 18 PIM

Watson is a small scoring winger who uses his speed to his advantage. He is an even player, is sound defensively and takes minimal penalties.

29. Pierre Engvall, LW, Frolunda J18 (Finland)
6’4″, 201 lbs
Shoots: L

2012-13 stats:
20 GP, 11G, 9A, 20 pts, +17, 16 PIM

Engvall is a big power forward who is hard to knock off the puck. His size is a big asset, as he drives hard to the net without taking many penalties. Engvall is the type of player who will make everyone around him better.

28. Jakub Vrana, C, Linkoping (Sweden)
6’0″, 165 lbs
Shoots: L

2012-13 stats:
32 GP, 20G, 12A, 32 pts, +3, 49 PIM

Vrana comes from the Swedish system, which has produced some of the best defensive hockey players in the history of the league. Vrana possesses great defensive skills while still putting up points. He needs to get bigger to reach his full potential.

27. Josh Ho Sang, C/RW, Windsor Spirfires (OHL)
5’11”, 159 lbs
Shoots: R

2012-13 stats:
63 GP, 14G, 30A, 44 pts, -23, 22 PIM

Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
(Photo: Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Josh Ho Sang comes from the club that spit out (no pun intended) 2010 NHL first overall pick Taylor Hall. He is a speedy playmaker and his versatility is desirable, but he needs to bulk up to improve his defensive game.

26. Sonny Milano, C, Team USA U-17 (USHL)
5’10, 159 lbs
Shoots: L

2012-13 stats:
56 GP, 20G, 27A, 47 pts, 20 PIM

Not the smallest forward on the list, but at 5’11”, 159 lbs, it wouldn’t hurt for Milano to gain some muscle. Despite his small stature, Milano plays big and is entertaining to watch.

25. Kyle Jenkins, D, Oakville Blades, OJHL
6’0″, 161 lbs
Shoots: L

2012-13 stats:

46 GP, 9G, 20A, 29 pts, 47 PIM

Jenkins is a big boy, can shoot the puck and isn’t afraid to move bodies away from his own net. As a defender,
it wouldn’t hurt to hit the gym if he wants to crack an NHL roster any time soon.

24. Jack Ramsey, RW, Minnetonka High, USHS
6’2, 165 lbs
Shoots: R

2012-13 stats:
24 GP, 9G, 18A, 27 pts, 6 PIM

A big power forward, Jack Ramsey has a smooth set of hands and can pass just as effectively as he can shoot. 27 points in 24 games is impressive, but a full season at that rate will significantly increase his stock.

23. Nick Ritchie, RW/LW, Peterborough Petes (OHL)
6’2, 205 lbs
Shoots: L

Nick-Ritchie-2-590x472
(Photo: peterboroughpetes.com)

2012-13 stats:
41 GP, 18G, 17A, 35 pts, -10, 50 PIM

Ritchie is another big power forward who uses his size to his advantage. Despite weighing in at over 200 pounds as a 17 year old, the kid can move, and anyone who gets in his way will learn the hard way.

22. Shane Gersich, C, Holy Family Catholic, USHS
5’11”, 163 lbs

2012-13 stats:
20 GP, 30G, 30A, 60 pts, E, 21 PIM

Chances are that Gersich will be drafted in 2015, but some teams will take a chance on high school kids anyways (Ahem, Jay Feaster). The kid scores at an unbelievable rate, all while staying an even player. With 21 PIM in 20 game, it’s clear that Gersich plays with an edge to his game, so discipline may be an issue in the future, but.. 60 points in 20 games!

21. Nikolaj Ehlers, LW, Biel (Swiss)
5’10”, 176 lbs
Shoots: L

2012-13 stats:
32 GP, 26G, 23A, 49 pts, 34 PIM

Ehlers is a solid body, despite measuring up at 5’10” and can fly. He tore up the Swiss league last season and can help a team in need of speedy snipers.

The View Of The Draft From The Peanut Gallery

As the draft rolls on before our eyes I would like to point some what of an observation…

What strikes me as odd is that for many of these kids and their families, this is the happiest day of their lives and some of these GMs are skulking up to the podiums and just nonchalantly announcing names..Washington’s seemed outright rude.

Is it their intention to make it seem as if they don’t give a crap about these kids..? Cause it certainly comes across that way.

Anyway its great to see these young kids and their families looking so proud and excited. The coming years will be pivotal for all them, some will join the elite and others may disappear into obscurity. However this has to be the proudest day of their lives.

2013 LNAH Draft: Riviere Du Loup 3L

I thought I might as well take a look at how some of the other teams faired in last week’s LNAH draft.

(Photo: lnah.com)
(Photo: lnah.com)

The 3L of Riviere Du Loup, (for all you english folk, that’s Wolf River 3L), played smart and drafted a wonderful pick in the first round. Simon Danis-Pepin is a native of Montreal and was drafted 61st overall in the 2nd of the 2006 NHL Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks. He was signed to a 3 year entry level deal but has spent most of his playing career in the AHL and ECHL playing for such teams as the Rockford IceHogs, Toledo Walleye and Orlando Solar Bears.

Simon Danis-Pepin (Photo: the_mel, flickr.)
Simon Danis-Pepin (Photo: the_mel, flickr.)

Last season was spent with the San Franciso Bulls of the ECHL afer being exchanged through a trade with Orlando. Standing a 6’7, Danis-Pepin is a force to be reckoned with on defence. I’m sure 3L will use his size to their advantage.

Another notable pick came in the 3rd round with Jean Sebastien Berube. Drafted by the New Jersey Devils in 2008, he has spent the past 3 years playing for New Jersey’s primary affiliate, the Albany Devils. Making his professional debut against the Binghamton Senators, he finished the 2011-2013 season tied for first on team with a plus 6 rating.

8460921133_9b7e43caf1_zOther players of note that are now 3L’s property are goaltender Andrew Fleming who just finished a season with McGill University and Nicholas Tremblay who was a apart of the AHL’s Providence Bruins. All in all, not a bad draft for 3L.

Here’s the full 10

1. Simon Danis-Pepin2. TRADED
3. Jean Sebastien Berube
4. Nicholas Tremblay, Alex Belzile
5. Coderre Gagnon, Mathieu Olivier Daoust
6. Andrew Flemming
7. Alex Emond
8. Tommy Castonguay
9. Christian Ouellet
10. TRADED