With his team mired in a month-long slump, Abbotsford Pilots head coach Jim Cowden shook up his club with a pair of major moves.
On Monday, Cowden traded backup goalie Brenden Sharp, forward Dylan Kooner and future considerations to the Mission City Outlaws in exchange for veteran netminder William Latimer.
On Tuesday, the Pilots signed Royce Rossignol, a Cloverdale-born defenceman who had stints with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors and the BCHL’s Cowichan Valley Capitals earlier in the season.
“This is probably the most I’ve moved in a couple years (prior to) the trade deadline,” noted Cowden, who has saved a couple of player cards in order to fill needs if necessary prior to the Jan. 10 transaction moratorium.
“We’ve gotten better as a hockey team.”
Cowden’s trigger finger grew itchy after watching his club, fresh off an undefeated month of October, limp through November with a 5-4 record, capped by a 5-4 home loss to the last-place Port Moody Panthers last Friday. Abbotsford (15-7-1, 31 points) now trails the Aldergrove Kodiaks (16-4-2, 34 points) in the Pacific Junior Hockey League’s Harold Brittain Conference.
Latimer, a 19-year-old who was with the Richmond Sockeyes during their run to the Western Canadian junior B title last spring, will compete with Pilots incumbent Zachary Station for playing time. Station was lights-out in October, but struggled in recent weeks.
“We were getting out-dueled in our goaltending,” Cowden said. “It’s one of the things I thought we needed . . . They’re both good goalies.”
Rossignol is one of those commodities that hockey teams always crave – a big, ornery blueliner.
“We were just missing that one ingredient, and when he came available there were a few teams after him, but he wanted to come to our program,” Cowden said.
“We have lots of offensive skill guys, but this guy will help us settle things down.”
The Pilots visit the Sockeyes on Thursday (7 p.m., Richmond Arena), and host the North Vancouver Wolf Pack on Friday (7:30 p.m., MSA Arena).