By: Tom LaPlante | Follow me on Twitter @tlaplante7
It wasn’t a “Twofer Tuesday” in terms of signings like it has been the last couple of Tuesdays, but the Boston Bruins ECHL affiliate the Maine Mariners added another piece to their 2021-2022 roster by signing former Flyers second-round draft pick Pascal Laberge. Laberge was the 36th overall pick in 2015 but never saw any time in the NHL, playing primarily with Lehigh Valley in the AHL and in the ECHL as well with the Reading Royals.
Laberge, 23, played in 14 games during the 2020-2021 season with Lehigh Valley in the AHL, recording three goals and an assist for four points over that span. He had hip surgery in 2018, and that, along with various other ailments, has limited him to a total of 54 games in the American Hockey League and 24 games in the ECHL. Over those 78 games, Laberge has career totals of 21 goals and 11 assists for 32 points. One of those goals for Reading came in Portland against the Mariners.
Mariners head coach Ben Guite is looking forward to what he could bring to the table, saying, “(h)e’s someone that makes plays and that can put the puck in the back of the net while playing a solid, rugged 200-foot game. He fits exactly how we want to build our team in Maine, and he will be looked upon to show the way to less experienced players and be leaned on for crucial playing time”. All the initial scouting reports were high on Laberge’s two-way game, and many thought he could develop into a useful professional forward, but injuries have thus far prevented him from reaching that potential.
Laberge’s professional career games played total is that of a full ECHL season, so if the Mariners somehow get a healthy Pascal Laberge, he could definitely be a beneficial addition on the ice, and while his games played may not be a ton, his four years of experience as a pro hockey player will go a long way in helping the first-time professionals learn their way.
With the latest signing, the Mariners now have eight players signed for 2021-2022, with five forwards and three defensemen committed to play in Portland this year. As he told Mike Keeley in the above interview, Laberge was convinced Maine would be a good place for him to land after having played here with Reading and talking to former Mariners coach and now Lehigh Valley assistant, Riley Armstrong. He mentions the fans and city overall as being great, and he is definitely not wrong about that, so make sure you get up to Maine for a game.
Go check out the Maine Mariners website, where you can see the roster thus far, buy merchandise, check out season ticket plans, and more. Single-game tickets go on sale September 29th, and the puck drops on season three of Mariners hockey on October 22nd at the Cross Insurance Arena against the Worcester Railers. Make sure to follow me here on the blog and on Twitter for all things Mariners.