Top-flight blue-liners were in high demand Monday as a number of Quebec Major Junior Hockey League teams bolstered their lineups ahead of Thursday's trade deadline.
The Rimouski Oceanic made the biggest splash, acquiring defenceman Marc-Andre Bourdon from Rouyn-Noranda in a deal involving three players and six draft picks. The Oceanic, who will host this year's Memorial Cup, picked up Bourdon, goaltender Matthew Dopud and forward Justin MacNaughton in exchange for first-, second-, third-and seventh-round picks in 2009 and first-and fourth-round picks in 2010.
The first-and third-round picks in 2009 were acquired from Quebec in a trade earlier Monday that saw the Remparts pick up defenceman Alexandre Neron from Rimouski.
Bourdon, 19, is second among QMJHL defencemen in goals (11) and points (38) and leads all blue-liners with 89 penalty minutes in 37 games. A third-round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2008 draft, Bourdon is also among the league leaders with 97 hits.
He'll join Oceanic defenceman Sebastien Piche to form the most potent one-two punch in the league. Piche leads all defencemen with 13 goals and is sixth in points (34).
Dopud, 19, was 10-12-0 with a 3.04 goals-against average and .886 save percentage in 24 games with the Huskies. He's expected to provide a veteran backup for Rimouski incumbent Maxim Gougeon.
Rimouski also snagged the rights to defenceman Jason Demers from the Victoriaville Tigres for an eighth-round pick in 2009. Demers, a San Jose prospect, has one goal and 12 assists in 37 games for the Sharks' American Hockey League affiliate in Worcester.
The Shawinigan Cataractes also added a major piece to their defence corps, acquiring Alex Grant from the Saint John Sea Dogs. Grant and a fifth-round pick in 2010 were sent to the Cataractes for forward Danick Gauthier, a second-round pick in 2009 and a first-rounder in 2010.
Grant was the Sea Dogs' captain, but had struggled this season with nine goals and 22 assists in 37 games. Grant, who turns 20 later this month, was the first player selected in the 2005 QMJHL draft, and is a fourth-round selection by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2007.
The Sea Dogs also dealt defenceman Pascal Amyot and a first-round pick in the 2009 European draft to the Halifax Mooseheads for a first-rounder in the 2009 European draft and a fourth-rounder in the 2010 bantam draft. Amyot, who turned 19 Monday, had five goals and seven assists in 38 games with Saint John.
Elsewhere, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan sent Brad Tesink to Cape Breton for Olivier Dame-Malka in a swap of blue-liners. Tesink, 19, had eight assists and 60 penalty minutes in 43 games for the Titan. Dame-Malka, 18, had 16 points (5-11) in 34 games for the Screaming Eagles.