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Kujawinski, Moutrey bolster Battalion

NORTH BAY, Ont. – After a busy 24 hours in which he made two acquisitions to strengthen the North Bay Battalion’s forward ranks, Stan Butler hinted he may not be finished.

“Last time I checked, there’s still a few days to go,” the director of hockey operations and head coach said Monday of the Ontario Hockey League’s trade deadline looming Friday. “My phone’s still ringing, and I’m still answering.”

The Battalion acquired centre Ryan Kujawinski from the Kingston Frontenacs on Monday, hard on the heels of a Sunday night trade for right winger Nick Moutrey from the Saginaw Spirit.

Of the suggestion that the Troops paid dearly, particularly in OHL Priority Selection picks, Butler said: “To get a good player, you’ve got to pay a fair price.”

Butler said Kujawinski and Moutrey are expected to play against the host Ottawa 67’s at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Moutrey was to arrive in North Bay on Monday evening, while Kujawinski is to join the Troops at Ottawa.

Both Kujawinski and Moutrey were selected in the 2013 National Hockey League Draft, Kujawinski in the third round, 73rd overall, by the New Jersey Devils and Moutrey in the fourth round, 105th overall, by the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Battalion swapped forward Jared Steege, the rights to defenceman Nathan Billitier and a conditional second-round pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection for Kujawinski, 19, and a sixth-round pick in 2017.

Kujawinski, a six-foot-two, 207-pound resident of Iroquois Falls, Ont., has scored 13 goals and earned 10 assists for 23 points in 27 games this season while drawing 18 minutes in penalties.

The Sarnia Sting’s first-round pick, fourth overall, in 2011, Kujawinski has 69 goals and 79 assists for 148 points with 114 penalty minutes in 197 games over three-plus seasons. In 11 Kingston playoff games in the last two years he has three goals and one assist for four points.

“His big challenge has been staying healthy,” noted Butler, who said Kujawinski was excited to be joining a Northern Ontario club. “When he’s healthy, he’s almost a goal-a-game player in the league.”

North Bay acquired Moutrey, 19, for goaltender Evan Cormier and as many as six OHL Priority Selection picks. They are second-rounders in 2015, 2017 and 2019, a fourth-rounder in 2020 and conditional third- and fourth-round selections in 2018.

“He’s your prototypical pro-style forward,” Butler said of Moutrey, who was Saginaw’s captain. “He’s big and he’s strong. He’s a guy you want on the ice in the last minute whether you’re winning or losing.”

Left shot Moutrey, six-foot-three and 220 pounds, has 15 goals and 25 assists for 40 points in 36 games this season with 40 penalty minutes. He was Saginaw’s first-round pick, 15th overall, in 2011 from the York Simcoe Express minor midgets.

In 235 games in three-plus OHL seasons, he has 48 goals and 85 assists for 133 points with 212 penalty minutes. In 21 playoff games over three years, the Shelburne, Ont., resident has three assists.

To replace Cormier behind No. 1 goalie Jake Smith, the Troops signed Jake Kment, a sixth-round pick by the Battalion, then based in Brampton, in 2012 from the Sault Ste. Marie North Stars midgets.

Kment, 18, has been at home practising with the junior A Sault Ste. Marie Thunderbirds. He arrived in North Bay on Sunday night and hit the practice ice Monday with the Troops.

He played last year for the Essex 73’s of the Great Lakes Junior C Hockey League. The six-foot-two, 190-pound Kment posted a won-lost-extended record of 15-2-1 in the regular season with a 2.45 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage before winning his four playoff decisions as Essex captured the league title.

Cormier, 17, backed up Smith this season after appearing in three games in 2013-14, when the Bowmanville, Ont., resident played for the North Bay Trappers of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League.

In eight games this season, Cormier is 3-2-1 with a 2.50 GAA, an .882 save percentage and two shutouts. He was a fifth-round choice in 2013 from the Clarington Toros minor midgets.

Steege, who has played left wing and centre, has six goals and six assists for 12 points in 34 games. The Cobden, Ont., resident, who turns 19 on Wednesday, was an eighth-round choice in 2013 from the junior B Arnprior Packers. He had five goals and seven assists for 12 points in 48 games last season.

Defenceman Billitier, 18, has been with Notre Dame of South Bend, Ind., in the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Brampton took the Spencerport, N.Y., product in the ninth round in 2012 from the Rochester Stars.

The Battalion is 18-9-7 for 43 points, second in the Central Division, five points behind the Barrie Colts with three games in hand. The game at Ottawa can be seen live in North Bay on TVCogeco Cable 12 and heard on Country 600 CKAT.

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