By Brian Compton
NHL.com Staff Writer
Despite the fact that the Elmira Jackals are fighting for home-ice advantage in the Kelly Cup Playoffs with 10 games remaining in the regular season, coach Steve Martinson is doing everything he can to send his leading scorer to the American Hockey League.
It’s not because Martinson doesn’t want rookie Benoit Doucet around. It’s because the soon-to-be 22-year-old has earned a look at the Triple-A level.
“He hasn’t yet, but I’m confident we’ll get him up before the end of the year,” Martinson told NHL.com after Monday night’s 5-2 win over the Wheeling Nailers at First Arena. “We’ve been so short the last month and a half that it’s been tough to loan guys.
“I’m sure he’s a little bit frustrated that he hasn’t got an opportunity yet, but we’ve had chances where we couldn’t even have loaned to our own affiliate. We’ve played half of our games with 15 guys or less. But I think he’s been an outstanding rookie.”
Doucet (5-foot-9, 183 pounds) leads the Jackals with 27 goals and 68 points. His willingness to take a hit drew raves from Martinson, who has coached every professional game Doucet has ever played. The rookie joined the United Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs for the Colonial Cup Playoffs after finishing his final junior season that saw him rack up 100 points with the Victoriaville Tigres.