Maine Hockey Journal

Maineiacs gave up less than believed in Kabanov deal

Kirill Kabanov wasn’t one of the 18 skaters on the ice for the Lewiston Maineiacs in their 4-3 victory over the Quebec Remparts, but he did make his presence known as he arrived in Lewiston for the first time as a Maineiac.

He had a smile on his face as he met members of the team staff and a held idle chat with members of the media.

It’s been a week since the Maineiacs acquired the highly-skilled Russian sniper who appeared to have worn out his welcome with the Moncton Wildcats.

The general outlook of the trade is Lewiston gave up a lot for a player with apparent off-ice issues, but when one looks at the trade on a deeper level, they’ll see it was Lewiston who might have found a bargain.

The pieces Roger Shannon gave up didn’t necessarily fit into the team’s puzzle for this season and next.

Goalkeeper Jordan Kennedy, the lone player the Maineiacs gave up, is one of the nicest kids anyone will ever meet. He always had a smile on his face and said hello to you when he walked by you. He’s an all-star off the ice, but you could say his development never progressed on the ice and a change of scenery from Lewiston might just be what the doctor ordered.

So what did Roger Shannon do?

Shannon dealt him to one of the top organizations in the league with a history of developing goalies because Shannon wants to see Kennedy succeed.

“I wanted to give Jordan Kennedy a second chance,” Shannon said last Thursday. “He will get every opportunity over there.”

Next year, he will be much better. He will have to work at it, but with his character you’ll know he’ll give it his all.

For Lewiston, the loss doesn’t mean they’ll be weaker in net. Antoine Bibeau, the team’s fifth round draft pick last summer is lighting it up in midgets. His success moved him past Kennedy on the depth chart.

Looking at the depth chart, the top goalie going forward after this season is Andrey Makarov, which means the Maineiacs is set for the next two/three seasons.

Another component of the trade saw Lewiston give up its first round import selection in the 2011 draft. With the acquisition of Kabanov and Makarov in net they have two imports now for the foreseeable future.

The first round pick in the import draft wasn’t needed.

The second round draft pick the club gave up would have had a difficult time making the Maineiacs lineup, let alone a fourth rounder. Even the fourth rounder in 2012 will most likely spend some time in Midget AAA or Junior A.

Like Roger Shannon said the day he made the deal, he can reacquire those picks when the core of this year’s squad is 19 and 20-year olds.

“The way the game of hockey works, if there are some holes that have to be filled three year from now, I am sure with talented group of players we have and the fact you can only have three 20-year olds in this league, we probably getting those picks back.”

The team also has two fifth round picks in next summer’s draft if everything stands.

Now nobody is saying Kabanov will be a savior. This team has prospered so far without him. It could turn out to be like Randy Moss return to the Minnesota Vikings, which lasted mere weeks. Any new player to a team can go sour. It’s happen before and it will happen again, but so far nothing indicates it will happen here.

Kabanov has the spotlight shined on him more than the average player in the entire Canadian Hockey League. It’s a spotlight he wants and is willing to accept.

It’s actually ironic to think that Kabanov could have been a Maineiacs from the beginning.

Moncton traded to Lewiston a third, fourth, and seventh round pick in the 2009 midget draft plus their first round pick in the 2009 Import Draft in exchange the Maineiacs sent their 2009 first round import selection which the Wildcats used to draft Kabanov.

Lewiston used the third and fourth round picks in a package to acquire Stefan Fournier from the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.

Now they have them both…

The way the QMJHL works is most teams look at what they have and see how close they are to making a run at the championship.

The Maineiacs are no longer in the rebuilding phase. They believe their window for the President’s Cup is now, and other’s around the QMJHL see the Maineiacs has a real threat.

“It’s a very good team, we’ve saw what they have done from the trading deadline last year, to now,” said Patrick Roy, the Head Coach and General Manager of the Quebec Remparts. “Roger (Shannon) has been working really well with his decisions. They will become a very dangerous team this year and next year.”

“It won’t be a walk in the park playing here, I know that.”

Moncton went to the Memorial Cup last year, and has been doing well this year. They will lose some key guys after this season as some player’s age out. They have six 19-year old players and only can keep three of those players next season. You also look at Phoenix Coyotes first round pick in 2010, Brandon Gormley who could make the NHL next year at 19.

They will reload with this trade.

We’ll have to wait and see who wins this trade. It’s too early to call, but Lewiston’s chances are looking good.

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