The MQT Royales acquired two forwards at the trade deadline, strengthening their roster for a Minnesota Junior Hockey League title run.
“I am happy with how the night unfolded,” Royales Head Coach Mike Stanaway said. “I think I pulled a rabbit out of the hat tonight.”
“He is a top-two line center and will instantly create a lot of space,” Stanaway said. “Plus he brings a lot of national experience.”
Stanaway and Thompson have met before as coach and player, except on different sides of the puck. Stanaway competed against Thompson's Totems as the head coach of the Southern Oregon Spartans.
“(Thompson) will not only be a fan favorite but will be the toughest player in the league,” Stanaway said.
The other player acquired was Anthony Casaletto, a forward from Great Lakes division rival Wisconsin Rampage. The six-foot McHenry, Ill. native was leading the Rampage in scoring this season with 28 goals and 14 assists for 42 points. The 28 goals and 42 points are good enough for eighth and 15th in the division.
“I think he will be a big addition to add some needed secondary scoring to our team,” Stanaway said.
Casaletto was acquired for future considerations, meaning no players were set to Wisconsin at this time. Both players filled empty roster slots from earlier trades.
The addition of the two forwards has shaken up the front lines. Thompson looks to join the top line with Lane King and Dallas McLaughlin, the leading points scorer and goal scorer in the league respectively. That displaces Robbie Gervino, who will look to add depth on the second and third lines, along with Casaletto.
Thompson and Casaletto were added before the USA Hockey Tier III trade deadline this morning at 2 a.m. EST. All of USA Hockey roster deadlines are at midnight at Mountain Standard Time, leading to the two hour difference.
Further roster changes could still be made. The rosters have to be finalized by Tuesday February 11 at 2 a.m. EST. with USA Hockey, but the North American Hockey League (NAHL) has to have their rosters finalized by Saturday night. The NAHL is a tier above MQT. As rosters change in tier II, more players could become available for the Royales.
Brice Burge is the Managing Editor of MQT Social Scene. He can be reached at briceMQT@gmail.com.