The Saginaw Spirit
have acquired former Guelph Storm
captain C.J. Garcia
in exchange for Saginaw's 2017 third round pick, a second round pick in 2019, and a fourth round pick in 2020 Spirit GM Dave Drinkill announced via email Monday afternoon.
“As an organization we are very excited to be adding someone of C.J. Garcia's ability and character to the Saginaw Spirit family,” Drinkill said. “Being able to add a skillful defenseman was a priority for us going into the season and we addressed that today with this addition. Our back end now has a great mix of size, strength, and offensive puck moving ability, which will make our defense very strong.
“C.J. is entering his fifth year in the league and brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge that he can share with our younger players, helping them grow and mature, on and off the ice. Garcia has been a captain of an OHL team and anytime you can add a player with high character to your team, you jump at the opportunity. We are excited to welcome C.J. to Saginaw.”
Garcia, a 6-foot-0 180-pound fifth year defenseman from Pickering, ON will add to an already stacked defensive unit for the Spirit.
The Spirit will feature three defensemen who were 2016 NHL draft picks. Keaton Middleton (Toronto Maple Leafs fourth round, 101 overall), Markus Neimelainen (Edmonton Oilers third round, 63 overall), and Filip Hronek (Detroit Red Wings second round 53 overall) will all bring NHL camp experience to the Spirit back end this season.
This new depth at the defense position should create a battle for playing time between veterans Rocky Kaura, Marcus Crawford, Michael Holmes, and second year player Robert Proner.
Garcia started his career with the Barrie Colts and was traded to Guelph after 35 games during the 2014-15 season. He has 10-goals, 45-assists, for 55-points in his four year OHL career. He was named captain of the Storm last September.
Garcia recognizes the strides the Saginaw front office has made over the past two seasons building a competetive team. He sees this as an opportunity to finish his OHL career on a high note and prove that he is a top caliber OHL talent.
“I am very excited to become a member of the Saginaw Spirit,” Garcia said. “I look forward to suiting up with some great players here. The team is going to contend this season and it's a thrill to get this new opportunity to prove to my teammates and coaches that I am an elite player in this league.”