Moncton Wildcats forward Brandon Shea is headed home.
According to a tweet by Kevin Forbes, the 16-year-old has left the Wildcats in a dispute over ice time. Others have suggested Shea’s problem lies with Moncton head coach Danny Flynn. Shea is no longer listed on the roster of the Wildcats’ website.
Shea, who was the Moncton’s first round pick in this summer’s QMJHL Entry Draft, appeared in 45 of the team’s 58 games in his rookie season, recording three goals and 10 points. Shea was also a minus-18 – fourth worst on the team.
It is uncertain where Shea will end up, or if he continues to play at all this season.
The QMJHL’s January 4th trade deadline has long since passed and the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints left Shea off of their protected list at their February 10th deadline. Being placed on the Dubuque’s protected list before deadline would have allowed Shea to be to be eligible for this season’s remaining games and the Clark Cup playoffs. Shea was selected in last year’s USHL Entry Draft by Dubuque in the 12th round, 178th overall.
With Shea committed to the Wildcats in June, the move was considered huge for the QMJHL in their quest to bring in more American-born players. Shea had originally committed to play for the USNTDP as one of seven players to commit to the program before the March tryouts. The commitment was coming off a sensational freshman season for the Noble & Greenough School (Massachusetts High School) in which he had 16 goals and 18 assists in 27 games as a freshman. The Marshfield, Mass. product had also committed to Jerry York’s Boston College team two seasons prior as a 14-year-old.
Many speculate that Shea will return to the QMJHL next season, but not after the Moncton Wildcats move him after the season. Shea is eligible for next year’s NHL Entry Draft and projects to be a top pick next June.