The Lynx and Louisiana IceGators have agreed in principle to a deal that could bring high-scoring forward Louis Dumont to Augusta by week's end.
The acquisition of Dumont -- who averaged 30 goals in five ECHL seasons before heading to Scotland this season -- would complete a Nov. 13 trade that sent Jessie Rezansoff to the IceGators for forward Mike Murray.
Murray, a 31-goal scorer last season in Louisiana, has refused to report to Augusta.
The 26-year-old Dumont, whose ECHL rights are owned by Louisiana, is playing with the Ayr Scottish Eagles in the British Superleague, but has reportedly told the team he plans to return to North America.
For the Lynx and Gators, one final hurdle remains -- Dumont must be granted his release by Ayr club officials.
With the Lynx beginning to show some life during their recent 3-2-0 road swing, coach Dan Wiebe says Dumont will add the firepower and veteran presence up front that the team has been missing during a miserable 5-14-1 start.
"If everything works out, Dumont will be a tremendous addition to our hockey club," Wiebe said. "He's a proven, veteran goal scorer with a lot of experience in this league."
The greatest obstacle blocking a possible deal was cleared last week when the Lynx made room under the salary cap by trading the team's highest-paid player, playerassistant coach Mark Desantis, to Toledo for second-year winger Andrei Chouroupov.
"It was basically the reason why we traded (DeSantis)," Wiebe said. "We were paying Mark good money as a player/assistant and to get (Dumont) back here, we needed more money under our cap."
Ironically, Wiebe was close to dealing Rezansoff to Louisiana for Dumont over the summer, but Dumont opted to play in Europe.
Louisiana general manager Jady Regard refused to comment on the pending deal, but said "the offer may be solidified" if Dumont is granted his release from the Scottish Eagles, and if the Lynx agree to return Murray's rights to the IceGators.
If a deal is finalized, Dumont will be Wiebe's new player/assistant coach.
"There were some issues that had to be worked out to get (Dumont) to come play here," Wiebe said. "He's been with three teams in five years and has been screwed around a bit.
"He's a little gun shy now, and wants to make sure he's stepping into a situation where he's not going to get screwed again, and that we were going to make a commitment to keep him here for the rest of the year."
Last season, his third with the IceGators, Dumont scored 30 goals with 44 assists for 74 points. The Calgary, Alberta, posted career-high numbers with Louisiana in 1996-97, scoring 42 goals with 45 assists and 106 penalty minutes, while netting 31 goals with 48 assists for the Gators in 1997-98.
The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder dominated the major junior Western Hockey League in the early 1990s, scoring 62 goals with 59 assists for 121 points for the Regina Pats in 1992-93.
Wiebe also recently inquired about acquiring winger John Varga, another former IceGator who recently left the Ayr club due to personal reasons. But Varga, who scored 39 goals and added 44 assists for Louisiana last season, told the Lynx he wanted to live closer to a terminally-ill family member in Chicago, and wasn't interested in coming to Augusta.
"I would have been happy if we ended up with Mike Murray to begin with, but I'll be even more happy now if this one works out," Wiebe said. "I tried to get Louis here over the summer and it didn't work out, but everything happens for a reason, I guess. Hopefully, it will all turn out positive in the end."
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