Above: Justin Breton had a lot of success playing against the Mavericks, but now he plays for them. (Photo: John Howe/The Sin Bin)
If you happened to catch my article from earlier this week, you know that the theme of this week was that the Mavericks have a ton of holes to fill, and there was no definitive way of filling those holes. The task at hand for Head Coach John-Scott Dickson and General Manager Brent Thiessen was a monumental mountain to scale. They had to figure out a way to fill the void left by many departures over the last few weeks, whether by injury or call-up, and do so without giving up a key component to their playoff push. It is safe to say that mission was accomplished on Thursday.
No one knows exactly how the four players brought in by the Mavericks will perform on the ice, so I don’t want to just assume that all issues have been resolved. We still need to see these guys in live game action. That being said, it’s hard to ask for much more than what JSD and BT pulled off at the deadline. The Mavericks brought in forwards Justin Breton and Jared VanWormer, as well as defenseman Benjamin Dieude-Fauvel and Alex Brooks. All that it cost them was Reed Seckel. The loss of Seckel is significant, don’t get me wrong. He had quickly become a fan favorite for his aggressive, relentless play, launching his body into anything wearing the opposing sweater. However, sometimes a tough decision has to happen for the betterment of the team and the organization, and that is exactly what this was.
So, let’s take a few minutes and introduce you to the newest members of the Missouri Mavericks.
Alex Brooks – Defenseman – 5’11” 180lbs – 25 years old
Brooks comes to the Mavericks by way of trade from the South Carolina Stingrays. In 33 games with the Stingrays, Brooks compiled 12 points after being called up from the Fayetteville FireAntz of the SPHL. Brooks will provide depth to the blue line, which is desperately needed after Kevin Tansey was recalled to Chicago and injuries have sidelined Luke Juha and Matt Finn. While still getting his feet wet at the AA level, Brooks comes from two organizations in South Carolina and Fayetteville that pride themselves on sound defensive hockey.
Jared VanWormer – Forward – 6′ 202lbs – 24 years old
VanWormer was signed by the Mavericks on Thursday after a successful career at Ferris State University, where he was teammates with Kyle Schempp and Matt Robertson. VanWormer was the captain of the Bulldogs, leading them to a 12-12-4 in the tough WCHA. In 136 collegiate games, VanWormer tallied 25 goals and 35 assists and was a +8. The Mavericks have done well with players fresh out of college in the past, and hope that trend continues with the signing of VanWormer.
Benjamin Dieude-Fauvel – 6’2″ 220lbs – 30 years old
Dieude-Fauvel was acquired from the Elmira Jackals in exchange for Seckel, and is a name we should all recognize. He has played with several ECHL teams, most notably the 96 games he played with the Quad City Mallards from 2013-15 in which he posted 15 goals and 34 assists. He was also on the receiving end of the iconic post-fight photo of the legendary David Simoes, but we won’t hold that against him. BDF (yes, I’m already abbreviating his name) received the honor of representing France in the 2014 IIHF World Championships. His numbers since leaving Quad City leave a lot to be desired, but he’s also played on some not-so-great teams. He’ll bring grit and toughness to the blue line and will make an immediate impact.
Justin Breton – Forward – 6’1″ 194lbs – 27 years old
Breton was also acquired via trade from the Kalamazoo Wings after spending the previous two seasons and parts of this season with the Alaska Aces. After watching the Mavericks take on the Aces both here in Independence and also up in Anchorage, I raved about the play of Breton. I honestly thought he was the best forward on that team and was shocked that he didn’t see more ice time than he did. In 47 games this season split between Alaska and Kalamazoo, Breton has nine goals and nine assists after a career year a season ago, chalking up 23 goals and 18 assists in 66 games for the Aces. Breton is a top six forward with high-end speed that should be an immediate difference maker for the Mavericks.
These reinforcements for the Mavericks could not have come at a better time. Dickson and Thiessen appear to have hit a home run on paper, addressing several needs with impact players. The charge for the playoffs continues Friday night with the defending Kelly Cup Champion Allen Americans visiting Independence after the two teams went to war last weekend. The Mavericks have not had much success against Allen this season but look to right the ship as wins now mean more than ever.