The Fort McMurray Oil Barons have bolstered their line-up acquiring 1998 born forward Jaedon Leslie from the Whitecourt Wolverines in exchange for future considerations.
Leslie led the Wolverines in scoring with 12 goals and 30 points in 35 games so far this season.
“Jaedon’s a strong power forward that brings size and experience to our line up,” said MOB Head Coach and General Manager Tom Keca on Leslie who stands 6’2, 185lbs. “He’s a versatile player that can play in many different situations, whether that’s taking a key face off in the defensive zone or helping move the puck in the offensive zone on the power play.”
With the club in the midst of their Christmas break and coming off a tough road trip that saw them drop all three games, Keca had said after Sunday’s loss, “the next eight days is about establishing what our identity is and which direction do we want to go.”
The move signals the Barons feel they are capable of competing with the top teams in the AJHL which they have shown at times this season with wins over Bonnyville and Spruce Grove in the last two weeks – the two teams who sit directly ahead of them in the standings.
“We had to determine whether we were close or in the mix and when you look at the North Division standings, I think there’s a lot of parity and you want to give your organization and more specifically your 20 year olds every opportunity to win,” said Keca whose team is 16-11-7 on the year. “We felt as a coaching staff we really needed to look at our strength down the middle of the ice and when you can add a 6’2 guy who’s known to play heavy and is a skilled guy that can put up points and has playoff experience, I don’t think that’s an opportunity that you pass up.”
Leslie is in his fourth year in the AJHL and has spent his entire career with the Wolverines. In 185 games, the St. Albert native has 46 goals and 118 points. He will also bring a wealth of playoff experience, including a 2017 trip to the AJHL final and last season heading to the North final. .
“When I talked to him this morning I joked and said ‘I was tired of playing against you for the last three and half years so it’ll be good to have you on our side,’ so he’s excited to join our club,” said Keca of Leslie who is committed to Ohio State University next season.
Leslie’s first two games with the Oil Barons will be against his former team the Whitecourt Wolverines as the MOB head there for a pair of games on December 28th and 29th.
The CJHL trade deadline is January 10th and with the Barons in the mix in a competitive North Division, Keca is open to the potential of making another deal.
“I still think that we have the ability to make a couple more moves, we’re actively pursuing because at the end of the day, we want to ice the best team that we can.”