Andrews – Pats Shake Things Up Weeks From Camp

Excerpt from the ‘Wednesday Thriller’ – August 12, 2015

A busy week in sports between the Pats, Thunder, Red Sox, Blue Jays and the PGA Championship! Doesn’t get much better.

I want to start with the Regina Pats and the Jesse Gabrielle trade on Monday. To say it was a surprise would be a stretch but I didn’t expect it to come right now. Gabrielle and a 4th in 2017 went to the Prince George Cougars in exchange for forward Lane Zablocki who is entering his 17 year-old season as well as a 4th round pick in 2016.

Pats Senior VP of Hockey Operations, GM and Head Coach John Paddock says this deal has been in the works for months. “It’s been something that (Cougars GM) Todd (Harkins) and I have been talking about actually since late April. Lane played wing part of the year, he can play wing or center. Probably the biggest thing that brought it on was that he is 98 born. Probably the only reason I agreed to trading Jesse is just because we are trying to enhance the 98’s. We went with the hybrid model last year and it was great and we were happy with that but this kid is a very good young player. He scored 15 goals last year playing junior A. Basically playing as a 15-year-old for half the season because his birthday is December 27th. He’s a real good young player that I really think helps our 98 year which is sort of the bigger year if we are going to pick one in the next two or three years after this season.”

Gabrielle was acquired from Brandon at last years trade deadline for Morgan Klimchuk, he scored 10 goals and 9 assists in 33 regular season games. In the playoffs he had a goal and four points in 9 games. He was drafted by the Boston Bruins this summer in the 4th round of the NHL Entry Draft.

Paddock says it was tough to send Jesse away. “There is no trade that is easy. You don’t take them lightly in your thought process with your team or your thought process personally. I like Jesse Gabrielle, he was a good welcome addition for us and we would have been more than happy to keep him for two years but we got a three year player for him. Dave (Struch) and I talked about it numerous times, we have a lot of time for Jesse Gabrielle. It was hard of course. But there are things that you feel are right for your team, whether it’s exactly right at the very moment isn’t the thing exactly, it’s big picture. I think we got a very good big picture player.”

Zablocki meanwhile was drafted in the 5th round by the Cougars in 2013. He played last year in the AJHL with the Sherwood Park Crusaders. He scored 15 times and added 10 assists in 55 games. Played half of the year as a 15-year-old as he is a December 27th birthday. The year before in Midget he scored 45 goals and had 36 assists for 81 points in just 37 games. I’m told he dropped to the 5th round because he was originally an NCAA guy but Paddock says he will be here and play on the team this year. “He is on the team. We are talking about a very good player here. Just like a 98 player in Jake Elmer who is going to be on the team. Lane Zablocki, I wouldn’t have traded Jesse for a player that wasn’t going to be on our team this year and a 98 born. it wouldn’t have made any sense to trade a 97 for a 97, no, Lane’s a really good player, this is a unique opportunity to get a good young player.”

I will say this. Gabrielle has a reputation in the hockey world. I however enjoyed my time working with the young man, he is a good kid and I wish him all the best out West.

The Pats will open training camp on August 29th. 

Click here to visit Phil Andrews’ blog.

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