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Owen Lalonde happy to land with Guelph Storm

Looking forward to this year rather than dwelling on last year
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New Guelph Storm defenceman Owen Lalonde doesn't want to dwell on the reasons he wanted out of Sudbury. He'd prefer to talk about how glad he is to be in Guelph.

The Sudbury Wolves made Lalonde the second overall pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection, right after Ryan Merkley.

But after a rookie season that saw him score twice and add 10 assists in 64 games, and sport a minus-30 plus/minus ranking, Lalonde asked to be traded. He was granted his wish, with Guelph sending a bucket of draft picks and 18-year-old blueliner Nolan Makkonen north.

In his draft year playing with the Windsor minor midgets he had 13 goals and 24 assists in 33 games.

"It was a great experience (in Sudbury). They gave me an opportunity up there to play my first junior year there so I'm thankful for that. Obviously I was hoping it was going to work out, but I was just looking for a change," Lalonde said.

The six-foot-one, 175-pound right shooting blueliner was asked if the problem was on the ice or off the ice.

"I'm not going to say too much about that. I'm taking a good learning experience from it and just moving forward," he said, adding that he appreciates the fact that Sudbury general manager Rob Papineau was able to send him to Guelph.

"There's a good young core here. It's a positive atmosphere and nothing but moving forward here," he said. "It's a good young group of guys here that people are going to be watching and I'm just thankful to be part of it."

This is also Lalonde's draft year and playing in Guelph will likely get him scouted a lot more than playing in Sudbury would, given the geography of the situation.

Lalonde, who was also a highly-regarded baseball player growing up in Windsor, where he was the Windsor Spitfires stick boy two years ago, describes himself more of a defence-first type of player.

"I'm a puck-moving defenceman and like to play good defensively in my own zone, I take good pride in that," he said. "I like to jump in the rush when there's an opportunity, but I don't like to go out of my way to do it. If it's there I'll go."

Wednesday was cut down day at the Storm training camp.

Most of the 2001 birth year players not signed by the team will head home, retaining their NCAA eligibility, while some of the 2000 draft picks who weren't with the team last season will continue to battle for a spot.

Guelph plays three exhibition games on the weekend: Friday in Ancaster versus Hamilton, Saturday in Mississauga and Monday afternoon against Mississauga in a 2 p.m. start.