KIJHL: Leafs add two players at trade deadline

Nelson picked up forward Cleary Ambrose, goaltender Josh Williams.

The Nelson Leafs added a pair of players at the trade deadline they hope will contribute to their playoff push.

Nelson signed forward Cleary Ambrose and acquired goaltender Josh Williams from the AJHL’s Bonnyville Pontiacs for future considerations prior to Sunday’s deadline.

Leafs general manager and head coach Mario DiBella said he thinks Ambrose, a 17-year-old from San Diego, Calif., is a promising offensive asset.

“[Ambrose has] got tremendous speed,” said DiBella on Monday. “He’s a big body, he’s got good hands and he can fire the puck. And he’s an intelligent player.”

Williams, meanwhile, was dropped from the Pontiacs’ roster following a knee injury after winning seven games in 10 appearances with the team and recording a 2.60 goals-against average as well as a .898 save percentage.

“[Bonnyville] just needed to fill that spot and that’s why he was up for grabs. We were fortunate enough to get him,” said DiBella.

DiBella characterized the deadline dealings as frustrating. The team had targeted a top-4 defenceman but had several deals fall through, although he said they will still pursue a top-four, junior-A blue-liner before the Feb. 10 roster deadline. The Leafs currently have just six defenceman active.

Meanwhile, Nelson added defenceman Brendan Smith, who had previously been released by the team in December. He had six goals and nine assists but suffered an upper-body injury on Oct. 24.

The Leafs also released goaltender Zakery Babin. He’d been acquired in a trade from the Princeton Posse earlier this season but suffered three losses in just four appearances for Nelson.