Screaming Eagles Close in on Final Roster


The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles are closing in on their final roster after a pair of pre-season wins this weekend. The Eagles defeated the Halifax Mooseheads 4-3 on Friday, and followed up with a 3-2 overtime win over the Moncton Wildcats with a goal from roster hopeful Liam Kidney.

With only 28 players left at camp, Marc-Andre Dumont and his staff have only a handful of cuts left to make before the season in September.

The 2017-2018 edition of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles looks like it will be a tough team to score against. They don’t have a Michael Joly, Evgeny Svechnikov or Pierre-Luc Dubois to fill the net, but what they do have is a team with strong character and depth.

Up front, the Eagles will rely on steady production by Ottawa Senators sixth round pick Drake Batherson, as well as overage forwards Phelix Martineau and Jordan-Ty Fournier. Young guns like Mathias Laferriere, Olivier Bourret, and 2017 draft choices Brooklyn Kalmikov, Ryan Francis and Antoine Rochon should provide some secondary scoring.

However, for Cape Breton to truly succeed this season, they will need production from the likes of new import Yegor Sokolov, veterans Tyler Hylland and Declan Smith, and third year forward Payton Hoyt. Smith is coming off a strong playoff performance with nine points in 11 games, while Hoyt is a former sixth overall pick with all the tools to be a 20-30 goal scorer in the QMJHL. If the Screaming Eagles can find production from these players, they have a serious chance to finish first in the Maritimes and make a deep playoff run.

On defence the Eagles have a solid core, with returning German defenceman and Jets draft choice Leon Gawanke and overager Ross MacDougall leading the way, along with sophomores Sasha Roy, Alexis Sansfacon, Adam McCormick. Noah Laaouan, selected 14th overall in the 2017 draft, as well as Telus Cup Champion Ryan MacLellan, should round out what will be a strong defensive corps for years to come.

In goal the Eagles will be returning two of the best young keepers in the QMJHL with Kyle Jessiman and Kevin Mandolese.

I expect this squad will be a hard-working, fast skating team that plays a 200-foot game, and will likely finish in the top-three of their division.