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#Our18 : Three questions facing Halifax Mooseheads

QMJHL

How will Mooseheads players adapt to new head coach Jim Midgley?

After playing under a new head coach last season with the arrival of Andre Tourigny as the successor to long-time coach Dominique Ducharme, the Mooseheads will be doing it all over again in 2017-18. Former assistant coach Jim Midgley will be taking over the reins of this young, up-and-coming club.

“There is definitely going to be an adjustment period there to be sure. Any time you change coaches that’s the case,” admitted Mooseheads GM Cam Russell. “The nice thing is that Midgley has been with our organization for past 6-7 years. He knows the players, the rest of the staff and everything about our organization. Even though there will be a bit of an adjustment, it won’t be a very big one for our players.”

Will the Mooseheads’ young guns deliver in 2017-18?

Following their huge splash at the 2016 QMJHL Draft where Halifax not only had the first overall pick (Benoit-Olivier Groulx) but decided to wheel and deal their way to acquiring the No. 2 pick (Jared McIsaac), the Mooseheads are a team loaded with emerging young talent. Expectations will continue to mount as their young core develops.

“You have to be careful. We had some good young rookies last year. When guys go from 16 to 17 there is a bit of a jump there, but they can’t get too far ahead of themselves,” warned Russell. “Very few players have ever played Major Junior and been a force at 17 years old. Our job is to make sure we don’t put too much pressure on them while keeping the expectations reasonable. It’s all a process here. You don’t accomplish everything in one or two years in this league.”

After showing a 10-point improvement in the standings last season, will the Mooseheads continue that trend in 2017-18?

After missing the playoffs for the first time since 2009-10 only two seasons ago, the Mooseheads bounced back last year and appear to be a team on the rise. How far they will reach remains a big question that looms over the talent-laden team heading into this season.

“We are looking to take another step forward. How much further ahead we step that can be is something still to be determined,” said Russell.  “We like the group of players that we have. From our forwards on down to our defense and we have two excellent goalies returning. With the team we are looking to get onto the ice when we’re healthy, we feel good about having a chance to win each and every night.”

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