LEWISTON – The Lewiston Maineiacs made a deal Monday, the only deal the team made during the final trading period before the new season begins in less than a month.

The Maineiacs cut ties with defenseman Sebastien Piche, completing a deadline-day-deal to send the 19-year-old to the Shawinigan Cataractes for 17-year-old forward Dominic Savoie and a fourth-round draft pick in next year’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft.

“My scouts really like (Savoie), and they’ve talked to me quote a bit about him in the last couple of weeks,” Maineiacs’ Head Coach and General Manager Ed Harding said. “He’s going to be here (today), and we’re going to be able to take a really good look at him.”

The trade was one of several made across the QMJHL as the league’s trade deadline came and went at noon Monday. Piche was the biggest name involved in any of the deals.

The move comes on the heels of some comments Piche made to a French-language newspaper in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, his hometown. In that interview, Piche expressed displeasure with the Maineiacs for the way the team handled a situation between him and two unnamed players on the team.

“Before leaving for Vancouver (in the Memorial Cup) last year, there was an incident and there are two players who I don’t want to see anymore,” Piche told La Frontiere.

He reportedly asked the team to choose between him and those two players, and seeing those two players in camp already, Piche declined to show up this season.

The team would not name the two players with whom Piche had a conflict, but Harding did take exception to the way Piche handled the situation.

“He did it the wrong way,” Harding said. “It was a lack of respect. I’ve personally worked with this young man both physically and mentally for the last two-and-a-half years and put in a lot of time with him to try and mold him into the person he is. I’m very disappointed, it was very unprofessional, the way he handled the situation.”

The Maineiacs, it appears, are ready to turn the page. Despite missing Piche on the blue line, Harding feels the team is ready to contend – again.

“I don’t scrap any year,” Harding said. “This team is going to be there. We have some good players on this hockey team.”

As for Savoie, Harding compared him to another player already here – 17-year-old rookie Billy Lacasse.

“They’re the same age … and we think we’ll be able to put him right into the lineup,” Harding said. “He’s a conscientious two-way player, he’s got some good offensive upside.”

The Maineiacs’ final player who has yet to report is Stefan Chaput, who is still dealing with what the team called a “personal medical condition.”

“(Chaput) will be here this weekend,” Harding said. “He may not be here Friday, but some time this weekend. He’ll have medical clearance, probably this weekend.”

The team anticipates one more cut, which Harding said will come Saturday morning, following the team’s final home preseason game at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.


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