Leafs bolster lineup after acquiring Dylan Rantucci from Creston

first_imgThe Nelson Leafs dipped into the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League trade market to bolster the blueline as the Heritage City franchise continues to build its roster.Nelson acquired 19-year-old Dylan Rantucci from the Creston Valley Thunder Cats in exchange for forward Taylor Paulovich.“The trade was made to help strengthen our back end,” Leaf GM Lance Morey told The Nelson Daily. “I had tried to acquire Dylan earlier in the year, but we could not find a way to make the deal at that time.”“After Creston got off to such a rough start we were able to reopen the negotiations,” Morey added.The 5’8”, 180-pound Rantucci has two goals and four assists in 10 games with the struggling Thunder Cats. The Eddie Mountain squad currently sits last in the division with three wins in 10 games.“Rantucci has a very good offensive upside as well as help defensively immediately for us,” Morey explained. “He is a good skater and is very smart with the puck.”“We still have a few D prospects in Junior A, and we hope to still get at least one or two of them,” Morey added. “But we could not pass up this opportunity to get a player we have been trying to get for a while now.”Unfortunately, for Nelson, the team had to give up a prospect like Paulovich in the deal. “We were not looking to move Taylor, but we had to give up a good player to get a good player,” Morey said. “Creston was looking to add some size and toughness up front and Taylor Paulovich fit the bill nicely for them.”Morey is expecting the Leduc native to be in the lineup — providing carding goes through — when Nelson travels to Creston Friday to face the Cats.Leaf management will no doubt be double-checking the paperwork after Nelson was forced to forfeit points following a carding issue September 28th versus Castlegar.Nelson played in ineligible player causing KIJHL brass to deduct the points from the Leaf win and suspend head coach Mario DiBella one game.“Taylor Paulovich is a great kid and has a huge upside moving forward, but as I said we had to give something to get something,” said Morey.“We wish Taylor all the luck in the world in Creston, a place where he should immediately get more ice and a chance to be an everyday top six forward.”Morey is pleased with the deals the team has made to strengthen the club as the KIJHL enters its second month of action.“I know the coaches both really like the way Dylan plays,” said Morey.“We are a better team with the few guy’s we have added of late. (Tyler) Nypower has really helped us and so will Rantucci.”Nelson, tops in the Murdoch Division with an 8-2 record, hosts Osoyoos Coyotes Saturday at 7 p.m. in the NDCC Arena before facing Spokane Braves in a Sunday afternoon affair.The Coyotes are also struggling, last in the Okanagan Division. However, Sunday’s contest should prove to be a tough contest as Spokane is one of the surprise teams in the Kootenay Conference, third in the division with a 5-2-0-2 record.last_img

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