When the clock struck noon on Friday, January 6, it signalled the end of trading in the QMJHL this season.
The last official trade period for 2016-2017 got underway on Dec. 18 and lasted for about three weeks.
A total of 50 transactions were made during the trade period, with 87 players and 83 draft picks being shipped around.
Two of the biggest names on the move are forwards Pierre-Luc Dubois and Julien Gauthier.
Dubois was traded from the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada at the Jan. 6 deadline for F Mathias Laferrière, a 2000 birth year along with a first round pick in 2017 and a second rounder in 2018.
The same day, Gauthier was sent to the Saint John Sea Dogs from Val-d’Or.
In exchange, the Foreurs picked up RW Nathan Cyr-Trottier, a 2000 prospect and a boat load of picks, Rd. 3 2017, Rd. 2 2018, Rd. 2 2018 and First Rd. 2019.
The Sea Dogs, already a strong contender to win this year’s President’s Cup fine- tuned their line-up with the addition of the high scoring Gauthier along with veteran D Simon Bourque from the Rimouski Oceanic.
The fourth year defencemen will add depth to an already strong Saint John back end led by Canadian National Junior team member, Thomas Chabot.
Sticking with Saint John, they solidified their goaltending situation when they picked up Callum Booth from the Quebec Remparts.
Other movers and shakers during the trade period included the Charlottetown Islanders who seemed to have a direct pipeline with the Gatineau Olympiques.
On January 5, the Islanders acquired F Alex Dostie from Gatineau, sending Mitchell Balmas, Jake Barter, a 3rd pick in 2018 and a 2019 first rounder to the Olympiques.
Before Christmas, the Islanders and Olympiques made a huge splash when the two clubs came to an agreement involving seven players.
D Marc-Olivier Alain, C Shawn Boudrias, LW Carl Gervais and D Will Thompson were sent to Gatineau with G Mark Grametbauer, D Nicolas Meloche and D Jean-Sébastien Taillefer going to Charlottetown.
Charlottetown made a couple of other interesting moves to acquire C William Bower from the Moncton Wildcats in exchange for two picks.
In addition, they traded RW Kyle McGrath to Cape Breton for Dillon Boucher, another veteran forward with three years of Q experience on his résumé.
That same day, Charlottetown showed the rest of the league they’re going for it this year when they made a move to acquire D Carl Neill from the Sherbrooke Phoenix.
The fifth year rearguard is one of the best offensive defencemen in the league and led the circuit in scoring from the back end with 46 points in 38 games.
In return the rebuilding Phoenix loaded up with picks including, Rd.8, 2018, Rd.2, 2019, Rd.3, 2019, Rd.2, 2020.
At the final hour, the Islanders continued to work the phones picking up more veteran depth with the addition of F François Beauchemin an overager with 57 points in 41 games this season.
Adam Marsh was part of the deal as well which sent OA defenceman Cody Donaghey the other way.
The Chicoutimi Saguenéens were busy as well adding F’s Joey Ratelle, Kevin Klima and Kelly Klima along with defencemen Olivier Galipeau and Kody Gagnon.
On paper, Charlottetown and Saint John appear to have improved their rosters significantly.
Both teams are at the top of the Maritimes Division and with the moves could set up a terrific showdown between the two in the playoffs.
Another contender, the Shawinigan Cataractes were relatively quiet at the deadline, making two minor moves.
The Cats led the QMJHL after 38 games with 56 points and a couple of games in hand over Saint John and the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.
There are rumours that F Anthony Beauvillier may be returned to Shawinigan for the remainder of the season. Beauvillier is currently skating with the New York Islanders and would be a tremendous addition to the Cataractes.
There’s still a ton of games remaining in the regular season before the playoffs get going in mid-March.
Only time will tell if these moves paid off.
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