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With big trade, Mooseheads show they're making a run at the title

Halifax Mooseheads centre Josh Lawrence is shown in his time with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. The Mooseheads acquired Lawrence in a trade announced this week. (Submitted by Halifax Mooseheads - image credit)
Halifax Mooseheads centre Josh Lawrence is shown in his time with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. The Mooseheads acquired Lawrence in a trade announced this week. (Submitted by Halifax Mooseheads - image credit)

The Halifax Mooseheads traded for one of the league's top players earlier this week — and they may still be shopping.

On Monday, the team announced it traded for centre Josh Lawrence, who scored 101 points last year for the Memorial-Cup champion Saint John Sea Dogs.

"I think it sends a strong enough message to let people know what our intentions are," said general manager Cam Russell. "We know we have a good hockey team. We still have a few holes to possibly fill."

The Mooseheads are one of the top teams in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and sit atop the Maritimes Division standings.

"We feel that we can compete and beat any team in this league on a good night," said Russell.

Lawrence, 20, is one of the team's three overage players. He is in his final year of QMJHL eligibility.

Russell said filling the final overage roster spot with a centre made sense.

"We're a little bit young down the middle, so he brings a wealth of experience and skill and [he's] a great faceoff guy as well," said Russell.

The early results are promising. In his first game with the Mooseheads on Wednesday, Lawrence had three assists in a 5-3 win over the Rimouski Oceanic.

While Russell said the team may make more trades as the league's trade deadline looms, he said the consequences of those trades have to be weighed.

To acquire Lawrence from the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, the team handed over a second-round pick in the 2023 draft and a first-rounder the following year.

"I think if you look at the makeup of our team, we've got a lot of skilled players, but we also have a lot of young players and the potential is there to be very good next year and possibly even the following year," said Russell.

Leadership lessons

Lawrence said he's excited to join the Mooseheads.

Now in his fifth season in the league, the last few months have been a whirlwind. While he finished last season with the Sea Dogs, he was traded twice on the league's draft day in July.

The Fredericton native says he hopes to provide the Mooseheads with additional leadership.

"I've been on some really good teams like last year, and also some really bad teams," he said. "And you meet a lot of good people and good players … and you learn stuff from them and you try and teach that to the younger guys."

One of those lessons means treating every game like it's your last one and practising like you play.

"We're on a really good team, so it's easy to kind of think about what we're going to be doing in the playoffs," said Lawrence.

"But I think it's about being a pro, taking every day a step at a time and really focusing on getting better every day and that's really all we can control," said Lawrence.

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