Abbotsford, BC – Abbotsford Heat head coach Jim Playfair’s lone wish heading in to the NHL trade deadline last Monday was that Jay Feaster find him another centre if possible.
Without a viable option prior to the deadline, the Heat made a trade of their own on Thursday loaning defenceman Keith Seabrook to the Manitoba Moose in exchange for middleman MacGregor Sharp who is now on loan to Abbotsford.
“Moving Keith Seabrook out of here is not something we wanted to do,” explained Playfair. “I think it gives him a great opportunity to go into Manitoba and get a lot of solid minutes in a lot of different situations.
“MacGregor Sharp is a proven centre ice man in the AHL - he'll come in and allow us to put Greg Nemisz back on the wing.”
Sharp spent most of this season with the Syracuse Crunch (AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks) where he had six goals and 13 points in 50 games.
The 25-year-old was dealt by the Ducks along with Maxim Lapierre on Monday to the Vancouver Canucks just prior to the 3pm/et trade deadline. Sharp was then assigned to Manitoba, where he was yet to play a game prior to being loaned to the Heat.
The move raised some eyebrows since the two clubs are both battling for a playoff spot in the North Division; however, Playfair doesn’t see it as an issue.
“I don't think it's a situation where one team is getting such a much better player than the other team that it's going to benefit one greater than the other team,” he said. “I think both teams benefit. I think both players benefit. That's all you want to do in a trade.”
Seabrook, who was a healthy scratch in the last three games, remains property of the Calgary Flames.
Week in Review
Abbotsford split a pair of games with the Providence Bruins (AHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins) last Friday and Saturday night at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.
On Friday night the Heat were blanked 4-0. Leland Irving picked up the loss and was pulled in favor of J.P. Lamoureux after surrendering three goals on 17 shots. The following night Lamoureux got the start and made 23 saves as Abbotsford defeated Providence 6-2. Stefan Meyer picked up a hat trick in the win while Quintin Laing, Joe Piskula and Matt Keith had the others.
For Piskula it was his first goal in 107 games while a line of Meyer, Laing and Ales Kotalik combined for 12 points.
The Heat kicked-off a six-game road trip on Tuesday with a 5-3 win over the Texas Stars. Kotalik had his first two goals with Abbotsford as Meyer, Cam Cunning and Logan MacMillan had the others.
Abbotsford could not extend their streak to three games Wednesday night losing 3-2 in San Antonio (AHL affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes). T.J. Brodie and Ales Kotalik had the goals in the loss.
Abbotsford wrapped up their sixth 10-game segment of the season last weekend with their win over Providence going 5-4-1 good for 11 of a possible 20 points.
“Obviously the goal we have to get to is 12 (points), we were behind our target” said Playfair. “It’s the time of the year now, we’re in March, where have to do everything we possibly can to get points in each and every game.
Playfair splits the season schedule into 10-game segments with the goal of picking up 12 of a possible 20 points.
Heading into the sixth segment the Heat were five points back of their season target of 96 – picking up just 11 points sets Abbotsford a point further behind their goal.
“When we look back at the segment, that’s two months now, December and February, where we haven’t got six wins,” Playfair continued. “We definitely got to make up some ground moving forward here.” In order to make the playoffs the Heat will have to make up some ground on upcoming 10-game segments. Playfair has a goal for his group that the team picks up at least 12 points in each of the 10-game segments throughout the season. If they’re successful, Abbotsford would have 96 points come the end of the season and right in the thick of a playoff race; however, through the first six segments of the season, the Heat are a bit short of their target.
“Really? You don’t have to tell people that though do you?”
Joe Piskula on scoring his first goal of the season and first in 107 games.
Kris Chucko – Concussion Mitch Wahl – Concussion Carter Bancks – Concussion Matt Keetley – Knee
Abbotsford continues its’ five-game, six-night road trip Friday in Oklahoma City (AHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers). The two teams will do battle once again Saturday night and the Heat will close out the trip Sunday in Houston (AHL affiliate of the Minnesota Wild).
For regular updates on the Abbotsford Heat follow Dhiren on Twitter: www.twitter.com/dcmahiban