By Tim Campbell
Winnipeg Free Press
WINNIPEG, Manitoba – It’s a highly unusual when the Manitoba Moose import an ECHL player straight to their top line, but it says something about the cohesion the AHL team has begun to build.
The Moose have signed Brandon native Mark Derlago, 22, and plan to play him alongside centre Brad Moran and winger Jannik Hansen for Wednesday’s game at MTS Centre against the San Antonio Rampage.
Derlago, who has 32 goals in 63 games with the ECHL’s Bakersfield Condors, will take the place of 2003 ECHL Rookie of the Year and two-time ECHL All-Star Game starter Jason Jaffray, who was sent to the injury list by a shady hit Sunday night in Hershey while the Moose were winning a sixth straight game.
Jaffray is expected to be out for the rest of the regular season and Moose head coach Scott Arniel is reluctant to mess around with his forward lines, which have finally given the 38-24-2-3 team some continuity.
“We’ll start with him there,” Arniel said after the team’s practice at Gateway Community Centre on Tuesday. “If not, we have other options. I don’t want to juggle all the lines. I like some of the chemistry that’s going with everybody else and I want to keep them together.”