LEWISTON — Three years of tinkering and tweaking came to a head last season as the Lewiston Maineiacs made a run to the President’s Cup final, winning the title in just 17 games.

Twenty-one of the 24 players who will see their names engraved on the trophy started their junior careers with the Lewiston Maineiacs, indicating a stronger-than-average set of drafts over the previous three to four years.

Today, the Maineiacs will participate in their first draft in the post-Clem Jodoin era. While the humble architect of last year’s championship run has departed, the framework he left behind remains intact.

This year, the onus to restock the team for another championship run is on more than just acting General Manager Ed Harding. The responsibility is on everyone.

“We can be pretty selective now, and we’re going to look to reload,” Harding said. “We’re pretty confident in the guys we’ve got coming back, and with an addition here and an addition there, that will help the team.”

The additions, Harding said, could come from the outside. They could also come from the draft. Anything from the outside would be a shock to some, since the Maineiacs have made very few trades or acqusitions in recent years.

“It’s not that we have a no-trade agreement,” Harding said. “Maybe I’m cavalier about it, but I think the Lewiston Maineiacs can ‘go for it’ every year. We can run this like a college situation and have a good group of seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen, so to speak. We’re still looking for a couple of young kids to put into this organization who will mature and have a major impact three years from now.”

The other situation the team has to monitor carefully is the status of its soon-to-be 20-year-olds. Stefano Giliati, Eric Castonguay, Marc-Andre Daneau, Marc-Andre Crete and Chris Tutalo will all be 20 next year and are likely to be in training camp trying to earn a spot.

Other potential 20-year-olds Marc-Andre Cliche, Chad Denny and Michal Korenko will likely not return to the team.

“We’ve told them all we’ll get back to them,” Harding said. “We’re not sure what we’re going to do. We certainly appreciate their service to this team. They’ve certainly all be great kids along with being great players.”

But, Harding said, with the possibility of Giliati erning an invite to a professional training camp, don’t look for the Maineiacs to hurry that decision along.

“If we do anything with 20-year-olds, it might not be until August,” Harding said.

Other trades would come at a more severe cost, one that Harding is very cautious about paying.

“If there’s a kid that we’ve identified that we like, over the course of the years in our scouting, then we might make an inquiry and see if the person’s available,” Harding said. “But then of course there’s a price to pay, and what are we willing to give up?”

Lewiston’s best record in the league this year relegated it to select 18th in this year’s entry draft. The Maineiacs will also pick 36th (in the second round), and then will have four selections (55th, 56th, 66th, 72nd) in the fourth round. With those picks, Lewiston is eligible to take 16-year-olds. Beyond the fifth round (Lewiston does not have a fifth-round selection), only 17-year-olds and older are eligible.

QMJHL Central Scouting has winger Pier-Antoine Dion ranked 18th, but if last year is any indication, the Maineiacs will likely not concern themselves with other people’s draft rankings.

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MAINEIACS DRAFT ORDER

Round 1: 16th overall

Round 2: 32nd

Round 3: No pick

Round 4: 55th, 56th, 66th, 72nd

Round 5: No pick

Round 6: 108th

Round 7: 126th

Round 8: 144th

Round 9: 162nd

Round 10: 180th

Round 11: 198th

Round 12: 216th

*Note: The draft this season is three rounds shorter than in previous seasons.

PREVIOUS TOP 3 PICKS

2006

Round 1: Danick Hudon-Paquette (11th overall)

Round 2: Michael Ward (22nd)

Round 3: Victor Heselton (45th)

2005

Round 1: Kevin Marshall (9th), Patrick Cusack (12th)

Round 2: No pick

Round 3: David Taylor (45th)

2004

Round 1: Jonathan Bernier (8th)

Round 2: No pick

Round 3: Guy Belisle (40th), Stefan Chaput (41st)

2003

Round 1: Marc-Andre Cliche (8th)

Round 2: Chad Denny (24th)

Round 3: Pierre-Luc Faubert (40th)

LATE ROUND SURPRISES

2006

Alexander Beaton (5th round, 73rd overall)

Peter Delmas (5th round, 83rd overall)

David Perron (6th round, 101st overall)

2005

Tom Michalik (7th round, 117th overall)

2004

Marc-Andre Daneau (8th round, 113th overall)

Eric Castonguay (9th round, 136th overall)

Travis Fullerton (14th round, 213th overall)

2003


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