Alex Aleardi - Plymouth Whalers
5'9 - 150 lbs
Aleardi was acquired earlier in the week from the Belleville Bulls after leading the OHL in goals during the preseason. In my report following the pre season, i warned of that stat because 5 of those goals came in one game. This was Aleardi's second trade in less than a year, being previously acquired by Belleville from Kitchener.
Well, fast forward to last night in the season opener where he scored 3 times and added an assist putting his team ahead 4-1 against defending champion Windsor. The Spitfires though, came back to win the game 5-4.
Aleardi brings speed and offense to a Plymouth team lacking at the center position. He will center one of the top two lines for the Whalers. Which one will depend on whether Tyler Seguin gets returned to junior or stays with the Boston Bruins.
The question with the diminutive Aleardi is whether he will break out offensively. He had 16 goals and 41 points in 64 games between Kitchener and Belleville last season, with the bulk of it coming after he was traded. That, and his preseason showing indicate that he will.
After his trade, Whaler coach and GM Mike Vellucci said "With Alex, it's just speed and more speed. He's a very tenacious player, plays a very in-your-face style, and he can score."
Playing alongside Gerrett Meurs this season (3 assists last night) the two could be an explosive offensive duo this season and will draw plenty of looks from NHL scouts.