SAINT JOHN, N.B. – It starts behind the bench where Mike Kelly takes over the dual role of head coach and general manager, following the departure of former coach Gerard Gallant.

Kelly will direct a younger, more inexperienced group gutted by graduation.

Florida Panthers’ top prospect Jonathan Huberdeau will begin the season with Saint John – the length of his stay to be determined by the NHL lockout.

Saint Johners Ryan Tesink and Aidan Kelly, fifth-year forward Stephen MacAulay, and Fredericton native Oliver Cooper are just some of the returnees up front, while 20-year-olds Kevin Gagne and Pierre Durepos will anchor the defence.

The team also features two new import players in blueliner Jurij Repe of Slovenia and Czech winger Jakub Izacky.

Sebastien Auger takes over the starting job in goal.