Kevin Cloutier needs to show creativity – La Nouvelle Union

Since being hired by the Victoriaville Tigres as general manager in July 2016, Kevin Cloutier has brought in reinforcements during the holiday season, with the exception of one season, to help the team finish the season stronger. The next trading period, which runs from December 17th to January 6th, will be no exception.

However, the GM must use creativity to acquire the two or three players that will allow him to fill the needs within his lineup. He does not have a first-round pick for the next selection session (2024) and reiterated that he has no intention of sacrificing 17-year-old goaltender Gabriel D’Aigle.

The latter is apparently required by certain general managers of the district. “He is a promising goalkeeper. He still has plenty of hockey to offer in the QMJHL. We voted him second overall. That’s why we want to keep his services,” emphasized Cloutier.

He is satisfied with the team’s performance since the start of the season. When he challenged the players in November, the team suffered just two regular-time defeats in a 17-game stretch. “The boys answered the call. Beyond wins and losses, the first part of the regular schedule is used to evaluate the players used. This will allow us to specifically address our needs for the remainder of the season and the series,” said the Tigers CEO.

At the time of writing (December 7), he had still not finalized a swap despite numerous discussions with his counterparts. He said the price asked for some veterans is astronomical. He believes that patience is required in certain cases. As an example, he particularly cited the transaction that allowed him to acquire defender Frédéric Brunet last season. “The price paid at the close was different than what was asked in November,” he suggested, suggesting it might be worth being patient.

Regardless, Cloutier does not have a reputation for overpaying to sign a player he has his sights on, quite the opposite. “I always work with comparative values. An agreement is possible if I think the price is reasonable. However, I have a good relationship with the 17 other managing directors. »

The voltigeurs set the tone

Before the trade period began, the Drummondville Voltigeurs, the Tigres’ perennial rivals, added two important elements to their lineup. They acquired veterans Mikael Huchette and Vsevolod Komarov from the reigning Memorial Cup champions Quebec Remparts.

Huchette adds depth to an already well-positioned attack, while Komarov will change the face of the Reds’ defense. Kevin Cloutier recognizes that his central rivals represent an improved team. “It is a club that has worked for four or five years to be among the contenders. It’s no surprise to anyone that the Voltigeurs are one of the top teams on the circuit this season, he said. It’s sure that we look out of the corner of our eyes at the changes in other formations, but that doesn’t really change my approach. I know our needs and work in hopes of meeting them. »

If at the time of writing these lines Kevin Cloutier had not yet managed to conclude an exchange, he has not hidden the fact that there are numerous discussions with his counterparts. And the talks are likely to intensify further in the coming days, particularly during the presentation of the Quebec U18 AAA Hockey League’s CCM Challenge. At this time, December 13-17, all QMJHL executive directors should be on site in Châteauguay.