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Troops add defender Malik

NORTH BAY, Ont. — The North Bay Battalion has acquired import defenceman Zack Malik in a trade with the Sudbury Wolves, the Ontario Hockey League club announced Tuesday.

The Battalion sent its fifth-round pick in the 2021 OHL Priority Selection to Sudbury for Malik, a left shot who stands six-foot-two and weighs 170 pounds. He turns 19 on Aug. 3.

Malik, who was born in Raleigh, N.C., while his father, Marek, played for the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, is a dual Czech and United States citizen who was selected by Sudbury in the first round, 19th overall, of the Canadian Hockey League Import Draft in 2017.

He had one goal and two assists for three points while drawing 10 minutes in penalties in 11 games with Sudbury this season, when his debut was delayed by a recovery from injury. As a rookie in 2017-18, he had 12 assists for as many points in 32 games while being assessed nine PiM.

“He’s a solid two-way defenceman who’s played for his country at the under-17 and under-18 world championships and who can stabilize our young defence,” Stan Butler, the Battalion’s director of hockey operations and head coach, said of the Czech international.

Malik is expected to be in the lineup against the visiting Mississauga Steelheads at 7 p.m. Thursday.

With Payton Vescio sidelined, the Battalion has dressed five defencemen and 17 skaters in total, one below the limit, in its last three games.

North Bay now has filled its quota of two imports, the other being Austrian defenceman David Maier. One spot was opened with the release in November of Russian left winger Egor Postnov.

Defenceman Marek Malik played 691 NHL games with the Hartford Whalers, Carolina, the Vancouver Canucks, New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning culminating in 2008-09.

The addition of the younger Malik puts the Battalion roster at 24, numbering 13 forwards, nine defencemen and two goaltenders. The OHL trade deadline is noon Thursday.

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