Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Gallant: Villemaire Is Returning

The wait is over.

In an interview with The Pipeline Show last night, Saint John Sea Dogs head coach Gerard Gallant confirmed that forward Maxime Villemaire is returning to the club.

“You can announce that tonight - he’s going to be joining us tomorrow,” Gallant said, when talking about the club’s additions over the past month. “So that’s going to be a big boost to our club also.”

The Sea Dogs acquired Villemaire, 19, from the Drummondville Voltigeurs during the holiday trading period in exchange for a second- and sixth-round pick. He made his Saint John debut on January 4, scoring on his first shift and was named the game’s third star.

A couple days later, reports began to come out that Villemaire had returned home, possibly to play in the Quebec ‘AAA’ ranks. Now, almost a month later, he is returning to Saint John. As fate would have it, the Dogs play Friday in Drummondville.

“No, it wasn’t really a schooling issue,” said Turk when asked if it was a schooling issue that caused his departure. “It was a kid that played in Quebec his whole career and he was in Drummondville. He came down and he played one game for us and he felt really home sick and he wanted to go back home and he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. We’ve talked to him over the past three weeks and we’ve let him go home and talk with his parents.

“We said, ‘listen, Max, you’re a 19-year old kid and we think you’re making a big mistake. But we want to make sure if you’re going to come back here that you’re full in with your team.’”

“So he took some time and we talked to him tonight and tonight he decided ‘you know what, I’m ready to come back and I’m ready to be full in with my team.’ So he feels a lot more comfortable that he did three weeks ago.”

Villemaire should be a nice addition to Saint John’s already solid third and fourth lines.

“He’s a big, strong guy. He’s not a big offensive numbers guy but he’s a physical player that really bangs the body well and he’s a great skater and he goes to the net hard. He’s just a big body gut that’s going to add to a very good hockey team.

“I’ve seen him play for a year-and-a-half and he’s exactly what our team needs.”

Other topics discussed by Gallant:

  • The best teams in the league post trade deadline.
  • Gallant said that the Sea Dogs were involved in the Brandon Gormley and Morgan Ellis sweepstakes. He stated that the Dogs made a good offer to the Moncton Wildcats but they, obviously, didn’t bite.
  • Jonathan Huberdeau is still not back at 100% yet.
  • Stanislav Galiev is heading to Washington next week and will hopefully be cleared to play. They expect him back in action in about two weeks.
  • Mathieu Corbeil’s play this season. “We’re happy with our goaltending,” said Gallant.
  • Playing against Nathan MacKinnon.

Photo Credit: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

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