OHL teams tweak their line­ups

Petes stand pat, but other teams make in­ter­est­ing moves

The Peterborough Examiner - - Sports - JOSH BROWN [email protected]­cord.com

KITCH­ENER — Trade time is over.

Ev­ery On­tario Hockey League team made a swap from the time the hol­i­day trade freeze was lifted on Dec. 28 un­til the cut-off Thurs­day at noon.

In all, 43 trades were made in­volv­ing 61 play­ers and 95 draft picks.

Here are some high­lights:

1. Bar­rie's big move was trad­ing over-ager Lu­cas Chiodo to Ot­tawa. So he goes from a cur­rent non-play­off team to the league's top club. I be­lieve that's called a “win­ner-win­ner chicken din­ner.” Or, in the na­tion's cap­i­tal, “a win­ner-win­ner St-Hu­bert din­ner.” The dip­ping sauce is killer.

2. We've been wait­ing all sea­son to see where Erie cap­tain Kyle Mak­si­movich would end up. It turns out it was Ot­tawa. The Ot­ters needed the picks they got in re­turn (a prospect was also tossed in) but los­ing their lead­ing scorer could cost them a play­off spot.

3. I think Cody Mor­gan go­ing from Wind­sor to Flint might have been the most shock­ing move, mostly be­cause the trans­ac­tion wire usu­ally works the other way with the Fire­birds. Years of deal­ing dandies has Flint flush in draft picks. Now, let's see what the team can do with them.

4. Guelph was busy. De­fen­sive depth, check. En­ergy and scor­ing, check. Goalie up­grade, um, well, maybe they ran out of draft picks. The Storm dropped 19 se­lec­tions and three prospects to get F MacKen­zie En­twistle, F Nick Suzuki, F Zachary Roberts, D Fe­dor Gordeev, D Markus Phillips and D Sean Durzi. Just deadly. Look out Lon­don.

5. Steve Staios is get­ting a rep­u­ta­tion as a shrewd GM in the Ham­mer. The Bull­dogs boss dealt his big guns for picks but also ac­quired some in­trigu­ing tal­ent, most notably for­ward Jan Jenik, who is a third-round pick by the Ari­zona Coy­otes. He came cheap too — just a fourth and fifth round se­lec­tion to Flint. That de­serves a big bow-wow.

6. It was cu­ri­ous to see Kingston hang on to F Gabe Vi­lardi. The L.A. Kings draft pick was re­turned to ju­nior and is nurs­ing a bad back but when healthy is one of the premier play­ers in the OHL. The Fronts did do well though in get­ting Nick Wong and picks from Oshawa for Brett Neu­mann. Wong has two years left in the league at the min­i­mum.

7. It was quiet on East Av­enue. The Kitch­ener Rangers got ahead of their po­ten­tial over­age prob­lem by mov­ing Nick McHugh to Mis­sis­sauga for picks while adding some size in D Joseph Rupoli from Oshawa. In the end, there was more value in keep­ing vet­er­ans in­stead of trad­ing them for what was be­ing of­fered.

8. Lon­don is like the vil­lain in a hor­ror movie at the trade dead­line. You know he's in the house wait­ing to pounce but the un­sus­pect­ing coed still ven­tures in­side. The OHL’s third lead­ing scorer (Kevin Han­cock from Owen Sound) for a prospect and a third-round pick? Check­mate for the Knights.

9. Mis­sis­sauga moved its two big­gest Fish — for­wards Owen Tip­pett and Ryan McLeod — to Sag­i­naw for a pair of min­nows (also known as prospects) and 11 draft picks. That's a pretty hefty re­turn for rental play­ers that are gone af­ter this sea­son. Plus they got McHugh, who will be back for an OA year. A fin slap to GM James Rich­mond.

10. Ni­a­gara was the Guelph of the east. The IceDogs traded 19 draft picks and three play­ers to up­grade to F Jack Studnicka, F Ja­son Robert­son, D Ja­cob Pa­que­tte, D Matt Brassard and G Jake Mc­Grath. Funny enough Ni­a­gara and Guelph clashed Thurs­day night. The game was called the All-In Cup.

11. Not trad­ing Justin Brazeau took some Braz balls. The over­age goal ma­chine was in de­mand but North Bay is eye­ing home ice in the play­offs and needs JB on the front lines to get there. As an aside, aren't all JBs cov­eted?

12. Re­unit­ing Neu­mann with ex-Ot­ters team­mate Al­lan McShane works for me in Oshawa. He should be an im­pact over­ager next sea­son when the Gens look scary good. But trad­ing high picks for rental D Ni­co­las Mat­ti­nen is a head-scratcher. Said picks might have been bet­ter served next sea­son in a deal for a stud.

13. O-town has turned into Go-town since Ot­tawa is go­ing for it all. The ros­ter re­vamp started pre-Christ­mas with the ad­di­tion of G Michael DiPi­etro and con­tin­ued with Chiodo and Mak­si­movich. And the 67's did it with­out los­ing a sin­gle ros­ter player. That's im­pres­sive.

14. The boat left Owen Sound is­land and all the good play­ers sailed off to new teams. The list of castoffs in­cludes Suzuki, Durzi, Roberts, Phillips, Kevin Han­cock and Mitch Rus­sell. It's too bad most of that group never re­al­ized an OHL cham­pi­onship. It al­ways felt like they were a star goalie away from get­ting there.

15. Peter­bor­ough did its heavy lift­ing in mid-De­cem­ber by ac­quir­ing D Ryan Merkley from Guelph. In­stead of get­ting into an arms race with Ot­tawa and Ni­a­gara, the Petes held back. Ex­pect more noise next sea­son in the Kawarthas when it should be the year of the Pete at the dead­line.

16. Sag­i­naw should be the team to beat next sea­son. Wait, what? Oh, this is the go-for-it year. There are still some ques­tions in the back end but adding McLeod and Tip­pett up front is kind of like a Mike Tyson one-two punch. I just won­der if the safer play was to wait till next year when the west won't be so crowded at the top.

17. I thought Sar­nia might do more, es­pe­cially since the club is low on draft picks. They did get some back by send­ing Slo­vak Adam Ruz­icka to Sud­bury. But there were other pieces there — D Mitch Eliot, F Ryan Mc­Gre­gor and F Sean Josling — that were also valu­able.

18. I think I'm a Raft­is­far­ian. That'd be those who are im­pressed at how Soo GM Kyle Raftis keeps the Grey­hounds com­pet­i­tive an­nu­ally. With re­sources tight, Raftis lured Czech Jaromir Pyt­lik to Sault Ste. Marie from Europe. There are also rum­blings that Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Ras­mus Sandin could re­turn. That could be two big adds with­out giv­ing up squat.

19. Ukko-Pekka Luukko­nen has the abil­ity to steal a play­off se­ries all on his own, is a phrase heard around the league. Now, he might have to. Sud­bury did get some scor­ing punch in Ruz­icka and sta­ble rear­guard Tony DeMeo from the Soo but more was ex­pected since the Fin­nish Fence could be one and done in the OHL.

20. It wouldn't be a dead­line with­out some sort of Wind­sor-Kitch­ener canoo­dle. The Spits were pretty quiet but did add over­age for­ward Chase Camp­bell to their broth for free af­ter the Rangers re­leased him. See what I did there? Noo­dle, broth, Camp­bell. Very soupy.

21. So the ru­mours, re­ports and anony­mous sources can all take a break for a bit, right? Of course not. Here are a few names to keep in mind for next year's OHL trade dead­line — Akil Thomas (Ni­a­gara), Cam Hil­lis (Guelph), Barrett Hay­ton (Sault Ste. Marie), Ty Del­lan­drea (Flint) and Cedric Ralph (Guelph).

CLIF­FORD SKARSTEDT EX­AM­INER

The Peter­bor­ough Petes' Brady Hinz, (27) cel­e­brates his goal with team­mates Zach Gal­lant (11) Nick Isaac­son, Austin Os­man­ski (6) and Ryan Merkley (25) Jan. 3 against Mis­sis­sauga. The Petes made a big trade be­fore the dead­line, bring­ing in Merkley from Guelph.

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