Who are your winners and losers from this year’s OHL trade deadline?
Dominic Tiano ( @dominictiano )
It's difficult to pick a winner on trade deadline day, or since the season started without knowing the outcome at the end of the season. That said, who has set themselves up to be the last team standing when the season is over? In no particular order:
The Sudbury Wolves brought in Radek Faksa, Trevor Carrick, Bradley Bell, Craig Duininck, and Jack Moylan while giving up Jim McDowell, Stefan LeBlanc, Dominik Kubalik and draft picks. Not to mention moving out some "lesser" players for picks. That's a huge improvement for a squad in second place in the Eastern Conference. The key will be Faksa finding his game but Carrick upgrades their defense immensely.
The Guelph Storm are trying to stay ahead of the London Knights while they are well within striking distance of the Erie Otters in the West brought in a huge haul with Kerby Rychel and Nick Ebert. The cost: Brody Milne and 9 draft picks and that is huge for a "win now mentality." But they were able to move Hunter Garlent for Stephen Pierog and bring back 4 of those picks. When you combine the two deals, absolutely brilliant by the Storm.
As for the Knights, they brought in Gemel Smith for Kyle Platzer and Santino Centorame while also getting back a draft pick. Moving Miles Liberati for Zach Bell and a pick bodes well for now and the future. And getting Alex Basso for 3 picks was another bonus. They also made a bevy of deals for draft picks.
So when you are looking at teams that did well for the "win now" scenario while maintaining something for the future, the Knights did very well. The Wolves are in the same category as the Knights are. The Storm did very well to win now, but also gave up a little bit of their future with draft picks.
All in all, I expected more deals at trade deadline. Was kind of disappointing in a way. But 5 or 6 teams set themselves up pretty well.
Dwayne Williams ( @notsoheavyd )
Two teams that I would like to focus on are the Sudbury Wolves and the Niagara Icedogs.
Sudbury has been clipping along near the top of the Eastern Conference since November. They are tops in their division (currently a 7 point cushion over the Battalion) and trail the faltering Generals by 4 points for top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Wolves are on a 4 game winning streak and have won 9 of their past 10 games.
They loaded up at the trade deadline with a few big additions. Radek Faksa gives this team another offensive weapon to go along with Campagna (58 points, #11 in league scoring) and Pancel (55 points, #13 in league scoring). Radek is #6 on the Wolves in scoring with 28 points, but was playing in Kitchener on a last place squad. He has 125 points in his 132 career OHL games to go with 12 points in 23 playoff games. The Wolves also acquired defenceman Trevor Carrick who has 166 games played in the OHL as well as 12 playoff games. His experience as well as his emerging offensive skills will be well used by the Wolves (he has 31 points in 41 games played this season for Mississauga). Local Sudbury boy Bradley Bell also came in this package with a 5th round pick in 2015. Bell is committed to playing NCAA next season, but ‘things can change’. In order to bring over these two players, Sudbury gave us Kubalik (7th round LA Kings draft pick), 2 second round picks, Stefan LeBlanc (16 pts in 38 gp – first year in the league), 3 second round picks and a third round conditional pick. If Sudbury is able to make it out of the Eastern Conference to play for an OHL championship, then the price was right. If they falter and are unsuccessful, it was a ‘nice try’ and they will be in some trouble personnel wise in the near future. They have a league guaranteed first round pick in every upcoming draft, but do not have a second round pick until 2017. They do not have a second or third round pick in the upcoming 2014 draft.
Niagara traded at the end of the November 2013 with Saginaw Spirit. Saginaw was wanting a versatile defenceman and were coveting the Icedogs captain. Niagara’s GM Marty Williamson – has made his big moves before Christmas during the past few seasons while the market is ‘calmer’ and the prices aren’t inflated. He accepted a trade for Jesse Graham - a former OHL first round player for two second round picks, a third round pick and another second round pick if Graham plays for Saginaw during his overage year. This trade seemed to inflate prices of (perceived) better player trades in January 2014. As far as further trades out of St. Catharines – Niagara was very quiet. Many would say that the best moves that a GM can make at the deadline are the trades that they don’t accept. The Icedogs are the youngest team in the OHL with many promising players on the offensive and defensive side of the puck, so they will not be pushing for a long run in the playoffs this year (currently battling for the #8 spot in the conference). Their current and future goaltending is still in question, but Williamson has enough desirable young pieces to trade for a goalie if that decision is warranted next season. Niagara is in an average position as far as the quantity of picks that they have in upcoming drafts.
Peter Kneulman ( @peterkneulman )
The two winners in my opinion were the Ottawa 67’s and the Mississauga Steelheads who were both sellers at the deadline but capitalized and got good value for what they dealt.
The Ottawa 67’s moved ’94 born forward Joseph Blandisi to the Barrie Colts for ’94 born forward Erik Bradford and 2 3rd round draft picks with one of them being conditional. Bradford has been a very productive forward and is someone who can step up and be an offensive leader for Ottawa next year while replacing the majority of the offense that they lose with Blandisi. On top of this they also picked up a 3rd round draft pick. The 2nd 3rd is conditional on Blandisi playing his OA season but as a Colorado draft pick that isn’t a given. The 2nd trade they made was with the London Knights where they picked up former 1st round draft pick Liam Herbst for a 2nd and conditional 4th round pick. Just the upside alone with Herbst makes this a shrewd move by the Ottawa braintrust that has the potential to really payoff.
Mississauga has been caught in no mans land the last few years. To good to sell the farm and draft in the top 4 (they can thank Windsor for the 4th overall pick last year) but not good enough to anymore than a 1st round road bump. They were able to move 19 year old Trevor Carrick who is in his final year in the OHL for 3 2nd’s, a conditional 3rd and 17 year old defenceman Stefan Leblanc who has been turning heads among NHL scouts with his play this year. This deal gives them the potential to have a blueline in 2 years with the likes of a 19 year old Jared Walsh and Stefan Leblanc and a 17 year old Sean Day. Their other move was trading OA Dylan Smoskowitz to Oshawa for a 2nd round pick in ’16. Not too bad considering he was picked up for an 8th round pick at the beginning of last season.
As for losers if I had to pick one I would have to go with the Saginaw Spirit who moved multiple picks to Niagara for Jesse Graham only to watch themselves fall farther back in the west division race. As a team who was projected to finish near the top of the conference not many things have gone right for them. With 27 games left in the season and 16 points behind 1st place Sault Ste. Marie the time is now for this team to start putting together some results.