The Baltimore Skipjacks lost their leading scorer, center Alfie Turcotte, yesterday, along with one of their top defensemen, Chris Felix, both of whom have signed contracts to play next year in Europe.
Both will play in the Austrian League, Skipjacks head coach and general manager Rob Laird said.
"I think everyone knew that Felix was going to leave. He openly told everyone that he would not be back, but I was very surprised and disappointed to lose Turcotte," said Laird. "Alfie is a very big loss. He was a great offensive player for us, and he was a team leader. He will be tough to replace."
"I wish he had decided to stick it out at least another year with the Waashington Capitals organization, because I believe,he is just a step away from making it in the National Hockey League.With the expansion coming up,I think he would have been in the NHL in the next year or two."
Turcotte, who has had stints in the National Hockey League with the Montreal Canadiens and Winnipeg Jets, in addition to the Washington
Capitals, during his eight years in professional hockey, led the Skipjacks in scoring with 36 goals and 55 assists in 71 games last season. He also had a goal and an assist in six games with the Capitals.
Felix, a power-play specialist who missed 3 1/2 months of last season with a broken ankle, had five goals and 28 assists in 33 games with Baltimore last season, and four assists in eight games with the Capitals.
"Simon Wheeldon,who we acquired in the trade with Winnipeg on Tuesday,will take up some of the slack that Turcotte's loss will create," said Laird."Wheeldon is a very good center-ice man and an excellent scorer.He will help our offense."
'Overall,I'm very pleased with the trade and I think it will be a great benefit to our club next year.'
The Capitals traded defensemen Kent Paynter,center Tyler Larter and left wing Bob Joyce to the Winnipeg Jets for Wheeldon,who had 30 goals and 38 assists last season for the Moncton Hawks,and left wings Brent Hughes and Craig Duncanson.
Meanwhile,the American Hockey League has announced that the Toronto Maple Leafs'AHL franchise has been moved from Newmarket,Ontario,to St.John's,New Brunswick.
There will now be five teams in the Maritime Provinces--Moncton,the Halifax Citadels,the Fredericton Canadiens,the Cape Breton Oilers and the St.John's Saints.