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Troops assessing prospects

NORTH BAY, Ont. — For the North Bay Battalion, the end of one Ontario Hockey League season flows almost seamlessly into the next this weekend.

Having been eliminated from the Eastern Conference playoffs last Friday night in a 4-0 road loss to the Niagara IceDogs, the Battalion now sets its sights on the OHL Priority Selection and the identification of the next wave of recruits to vie for spots on the roster, either next season or in following years.

Stan Butler, director of hockey operations, and regional scouts, under head scout Errol Hook, will assemble at Memorial Gardens for the process, which will be conducted over the Internet starting at 9 a.m. Saturday.

North Bay, by virtue of trades that have seen picks dealt and acquired, had 16 selections in the 15-round process as of Thursday, with a picks-trading period set to expire at 3 p.m. Friday. The Battalion had one pick in each round with the exception of the third round with two, the fifth with three, and the sixth and eighth with none.

The Troops’ standard selection in each round is the eighth, determined by the inverse order of overall standings for the 20 teams in 2018-19, but they will select ninth in the first round because the Peterborough Petes have a compensatory pick at No. 5 after the failure to report last season of first-round choice Will Cuylle, a left winger whose OHL rights ultimately were dealt to the Windsor Spitfires.

The Battalion traded its own second-round pick to the Saginaw Spirit on Jan. 5, 2015, in acquiring right winger Nick Moutrey, but the Troops have the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds’ selection, which was acquired from the Sarnia Sting in a Jan. 6, 2018, trade for defenceman Cam Dineen.

North Bay holds the Kitchener Rangers’ third-round pick from the Nov. 30, 2015, deal that sent defenceman Miles Liberati west.

The Battalion, which sent its own fourth-rounder to the Owen Sound Attack on Sept. 13, 2018, for defenceman Cole Cameron, holds the Flint Firebirds’ selection, which was received from Sarnia in the Dineen deal.

The Troops have a fifth-rounder that originally belonged to the Mississauga Steelheads but was obtained from Flint in exchange for left winger Maurizio Colella on Jan. 6, 2017. The other fifth-rounder was acquired from Niagara for defenceman Zach Shankar on Aug. 24, 2017.

North Bay’s sixth-round pick was sent to the Hamilton Bulldogs on Jan. 9, 2017, for defenceman Jesse Saban, and its eighth-rounder went to Kitchener on Jan. 9, 2018, for right winger Jake Henderson.

North American players born in 2003 and non-overage players who weren’t carded with an Ontario-based midget AAA team from protected OHL territories are eligible for selection.

OHL clubs may register a maximum of four 16-year-old players chosen in the OHL Priority Selection. Those 16-year-old players who may be signed are the first two selected and two others from any round.

All other 16-year-old players selected may be called up as an “affiliated player” or “floating affiliate player” for a maximum of 10 games or for any games after that player’s team has been eliminated from competition for that season.

The Battalion’s first-round pick last year was defenceman Pacey Schlueting from the North Bay Trappers minor midgets, taken ninth overall.

The OHL Priority Selection can be followed at www.ontariohockeyleague.com.

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