The Saint John Sea Dogs continue to dip into the Ontario free agent market.
The team announced today that two more Ontario natives have been invited to Sea Dogs training camp. Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League right-winger Drew Gross and defenceman Jack Van Boekel will compete for roster spots at what is shaping up to be a very competitive camp.
Gross, 18, is listed at 6'0", 185 lbs and played last season with the Stratford Cullitons. In 46 regular season games, Gross registered 13 goals and 11 assists. He added another three goals and an assist in 15 post-season games.
In a press release, Sea Dogs general manager Darrell Young spoke highly of Gross, saying the forward could challenge for a spot on the team’s third line.
"Ottawa-area scout Mathieu Bougie and I went to a playoff game in Stratford to watch a certain player, and we came away believing that Drew was the best prospect on the ice," Young said. "We like his speed and puck pursuit ability, and how he gets there on the forecheck. We believe he is a player that is just starting to develop into the type of player he can be.”
Van Boekel, 18, is listed at 6'7", 205 lbs and played last season with the Strathroy Rockets. In 39 games, the large human being posted one goal, 10 assists in 123 penalty minutes. He added another 14 penalty minutes in four playoff games.
"Jack brings a physical presence to our defence, and his 340-plus penalty minutes over the past two years are an indication of how he plays the game," Young said. "We wanted to address our overall team toughness, and whether Jack plays defence or left wing remains to be seen.”
Van Boekel was a 15th round pick of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the 2012 OHL Draft.
The Sea Dogs are expected to make more free agent announcements in the coming weeks.