The Lewiston Maineiacs have taken another step toward acquiring another piece of next year’s training camp puzzle. This piece bears some familiarity.
Pierre-Luc Faubert, who was second on the team in 2003-04 among rookies with 13 goals and 26 points, has committed to a return to Lewiston as a 20-year-old next season.
“We were disappointed at the time when he decided not to come back,” said Maineiacs’ assistant coach and assistant general manager Ed Harding. “There were a variety of reasons for that, but we’re certainly happy that he’s decided to come back.”
“I’m anxious to come back,” said Faubert. “Actually, I guess I am anxious to do the tryout first. I met with Clem (Jodoin, the Maineiacs’ head coach and general manager) and he told me a lot of things had changed since I was there.”
Faubert played on a “rookie” line in 2003-04, the Maineiacs’ first season in Lewiston, with Marc-Andre Cliche and Mathieu Aubin.
“With his speed and his tenacity, we thought he’d be a good fit for a couple of more years with the team at that point,” said Harding. “He brings a lot of different elements to the team.”
Faubert left after his first season for what he called “personal reasons,” and enjoyed two solid seasons in the Quebec AAA Junior Hockey League.
“I had a girlfriend at the time,” said Faubert. “She was in Gatineau and I missed her too much being eight hours away, so at the end of the season I thought it would be easier to just play in triple-A in Vaudreuil and be closer to home.”
In his first season for the Vaudreuil Mustangs, Faubert scored 37 goals and added 45 assists. Last season, Faubert led the Mustangs with 43 goals and 48 assists in 49 games.
Harding did not want to speculate where Faubert might end up in the lineup, if he is there at all after training camp, but did allude to Faubert’s past as a linemate to Marc-Andre Cliche.
“It’s a new year next year, and everything could be different,” said Harding. “Someone is going to have to play with Marc-Andre Cliche, though. That’s a more natural fit, I think.”
Faubert is also looking forward to a potential reunion with Cliche and, perhaps, Aubin.
“We played together all year that first year,” said Faubert. “By the end of the year, we knew where everybody was all the time. I hope Aubin does what is best for him and for Montreal, but it would be great to play with them again. I know it’s strange at 20 to want to come back and try out for a junior major team, but it’s never too late to try.”
Faubert is the second player on the Maineiacs’ protected list to commit for next season after not playing in Lewiston last year. Tom Michalik, a defenseman from Massachusetts, is also committed.
Neither Harding nor McKnight would comment further on any other potential deals involving protected players signing on with the team prior to training camp.