Hockey Headlines

Monday, 27 March 2017

From Coast To Coast

It's that time of the season where many college-aged players are being signed to contracts by NHL teams as they look to bolster their rosters with undrafted talent for the next few years. The one segment of the collegiate and university players that always seems to be overlooked is the Canadian university scene, yet there have been many players who have emerged from this group as successful and contributing members of the NHL fraternity. Guys like Mike Ridley, Stu Grimson, Joel Ward, Randy Gregg, Steve Rucchin, and Cory Cross are but some of the names who have attended Canadian universities en route to finding an NHL roster spot. We might be adding another name to the list soon as it was announced tonight that UNB Varsity Reds forward Philippe Maillet had signed a deal with the AHL's Ontario Reign!

Maillet's path to UNB is like most other players currently toiling in USports men's hockey in that he was a former CHL undrafted player who used the opportunity once his junior eligibility was up to go back to school. Maillet was a high-scoring member of the QMJHL's Victoriaville Tigres before moving into university hockey in 2013-14. In three seasons with UNB, he's continued his torrid scoring pace in averaging nearly 1.5 points per game in three seasons. He was USports Player of the Year and he was the Tournament MVP this season. Clearly, the kid can score and he's good at what he does.

Maillet helped UNB to another USports National Men's Hockey Championship this spring, and now the Reign are going to see if he can help them in their quest for a Calder Cup. Maillet shouldn't look out of step in the AHL, but the speed of the game might require some adjustments to his game. Maillet seemed to find the right places to be in the games I saw him in, so he has the vision needed to be a scoring threat at any level as long as he can adjust to the speed of the game.

Let's go to his first practice and interview with the Reign!
As Maillet stated, he needs to adjust to the speed of the AHL just as I did, but he's been a scoring star at every level so I suspect he'll adapt well in the AHL ranks. As Maillet stated, he'll use his speed and try to score some goals which he's also done at every level. Personally, this is a fantastic signing by the Reign, and it should pay off in spades as Maillet settles into his pro career.

If there's a major segment of hockey players who the North American teams seem to miss out on each and every year, it's those men playing in USports in Canada. There should be teams taking a shot with players such as Calgary's Elgin Pearce and Carleton's Michael McNamee, but Ontario and the Los Angeles Kings picked up the best player this season in Maillet who has 166 points in 101 games over his U Sports career. Perhaps some of the Canadian teams needing help should be looking in their own backyards for players who can make an impact within their organizations.

Congratulations, Philippe, and best of luck in California!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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