A familiar face is returning to the Chilliwack Chiefs' blue line.
When the the team's season ended last spring, Chiefs general manager and head coach Harvey Smyl said it would be hard to replace defenceman Shay Laurent, who was set to head to Coquitlam as the future considerations that brought sniper Philip Zielonka to Chilliwack.
Now, Smyl has found someone to fill that Shay Laurent-sized hole: Shay Laurent.
The Chiefs announced Tuesday that they had reacquired the 20-year-old defenceman from the Express in exchange for future considerations. The Chiefs released rookie D-man Michael Willms to make room for Laurent on the roster.
Laurent played the previous two seasons for the Chiefs and was a key cog in their defence last year. He recorded 33 points and racked up 121 penalty minutes during his time with the Chiefs.
In a press release, the six-foot-one rearguard said he was excited to return to the Chiefs.
“I want to thank Barry Wolff and the Coquitlam Express for providing me the opportunity to go back to Chilliwack for my final season of junior hockey. My heart has always been with the Chiefs and I can’t wait to rejoin the club,” he said.
Smyl was complimentary of Laurent's off-ice demeanour: “Shay is the true definition of a Chilliwack Chief, he works hard, cares a lot about his teammates, never complains and is very humble.”
There will be more moves to come, though. Laurent's acquisition leaves the Chiefs with one too many 20-year-olds—although Tanner Cochrane is currently on the 30-day disabled list and does not count towards the limit of six such "overage" players. If and when he returns,
Smyl will have to move either Cochrane, Cooper Rush, Kiefer McNaughton, Andrew Silard or Mathieu Tibbet. The spot of 20-year-old goaltender Lyndon Stanwood is presumably safe.
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