Maine Hockey Journal

Maineiacs acquire Kabanov in blockbuster deal

The Lewiston Maineiacs have made a splash into the trade market picking up highly-touted forward Kirill Kabanov from the Moncton Wildcats.

Surprisingly, the Maineiacs had to give up nothing from their current roster to obtain him, only a second round draft pick in 2011, a fourth round draft pick in 2011, a first round pick in the 2011 CHL Import Draft, and a fourth round draft pick in 2012 along with the rights to goaltender Jordan Kennedy.

“It’s been a long time in the making,” said Lewiston Maineiacs General Manager Roger Shannon. It’s something we thought about in the spring. We just continued to have discussions and kept the dialogue opened and we kept pushing at it.”

Kennedy was a tradeable asset due to the Maineiacs depth in goal.

“I wanted to give Jordan Kennedy a second chance,” said Shannon of the 2009 2nd round pick of the QMJHL Midget Draft. “(Andrey) Makarov came in and (Nicolas) Champion is solid as a rock. Another thing that spoke volumes to us is how good Antoine Bibeau has been this year in Midget AAA. This kid has a solid future.”

Shannon didn’t have second thoughts giving up valuable picks.

“We didn’t want to do anything that will disrupt this year’s team and nothing to disrupt next year’s team,” he added. “Everything we traded away in terms of players or picks, should have no or little affect on our team the next two seasons.”

Kabanov has had a trouble past in North America since his arrival in 2009 with Moncton, but the one person who might know him best is Maineiacs’ Managing Consultant and Governor Bill Schurman, who was with the Wildcats before joining Lewiston.

“Kirill Kabanov has the ability and the opportunity to become a franchise player with the MAINEiacs. While it was a pleasure for me to get to know Kirill on a personal level during our time together in Moncton, the decision to make our move for Kirill was taken to improve our organization on and off the ice for today, tomorrow, and beyond,” Schurman said in a statement.

Shannon was impressed with his conservation with Kabanov.

“I’ve only talked to him once,” said Shannon. “It was a great conservation and (Kabanov) is excited as anyone could be and he can’t wait to get started. Our team is excited to have him. When the team was told today they clapped and gave a big cheer.”

“This is a team of kids that recognizes that they want to get better and be better.”

The 6-2, 175-pound native from Moscow, Russia was originally selected by the Wildcats with the seventh overall pick in the 2009 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft.

Some had projected him to be a potential first round selection, but poor choices by the 19-year old led him to fall to the third round where he was selected by the New York Islanders with the 65th pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

“I haven’t seen any documentation any kind of behavior that’s conducive to him being labeled as him having any off ice issues,” Shannon stated. “I think it’s a little unfair that a kid gets labeled having well documented off ice issues.”

“I don’t know of any off-ice issues. Did things work out in Moncton? No, they didn’t, but who knows what’s that all about. ”

The Islanders were pleased with the trade.

They were very supportive of the (trade),” Shannon added. “They were a big part of making the decision because (Kabanov) had a real good training camp in New York.”

Shannon said the Maineiacs didn’t go into detail with the Islanders about Kabanov being disciplined twice during the Islanders training camp.

“There wasn’t a whole lot of discussion about that,” said Shannon. “He was late, that’s between the Islanders and (Kabanov). We have to manage it on our end of it, if he’s late with us, it will be up to our coaches to determine what happens.”

“He won’t be the first player to be late in sports and he won’t be the last person late to work.”

The Islanders will keep a close eye on him as Toby O’Brien, a scout for the team, lives near Lewiston.

Kabanov could be in the lineup as soon as next weekend once he receives United States immigration approval.

(With files from Nathan Fournier)

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