Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Whalers acquire OA Caria from the Soo

The Plymouth Whalers announced today the acquisition of 20-year-old center Matt Caria from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

Caria (pronounced CARY-ah) was acquired for Windsor’s third-round pick in the 2009 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection, Plymouth’s second-round pick in 2010 and the Whalers' sixth-round selection in 2011.

Ontario Hockey League teams can carry three overage players, or 1988 birthdays, on its roster. Caria, a Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., native, joins right wing Patrick Lee as the Whalers’ second overage player.

Caria, originally taken in the sixth round (118th overall) in the 2004 draft by the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors (now in Mississauga), is currently 11th in scoring in the OHL with 10 goals and 25 assists for 35 points in 30 games. He is a proven offensive player with 75 goals and 125 assists for 200 points in 202 career games. In 18 career playoff games, Caria has eight goals with nine assists for 17 points.

Caria’s best offensive season came in 2006-07 when he scored 33 goals with 42 assists for 75 points in 59 games and was named to the OHL Eastern Conference All-Star team.

“Anytime you can acquire a talent of Caria’s caliber without giving up a player from your lineup, it’s a plus,” Plymouth coach-GM Mike Vellucci said. “I’m really excited to see how Caria and (Plymouth captain) Chris Terry mesh together.”

Terry is the only other Whaler player with 200 points in his career. Terry is currently 11th on the Whalers all-time career scoring list with 88 goals and 133 assists for 221 points in 220 games.

Vellucci has been stockpiling draft choices since the Whalers’ championship season in 2006-07 and that fact made the deal possible. Even with Caria’s acquisition, Plymouth still has an ample allotment of draft choices remaining.

Caria is expected to report to Plymouth in time for the Whalers game Wednesday when they host Saginaw at 7:05 p.m. at Compuware Arena.

Photo by Walt Dmoch/Plymouth Whalers

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