Reviewing the 2018 OHL Trade Deadline
If you are an OHL fan, you will probably agree this has been the BEST OHL Trade Deadline ever. Not only was there top talent moved, there was lots of it!
Here is a recap, and a few thoughts on how each team did as the trade deadline has passed in the 2017-18 Ontario Hockey League season.
Did the Colts need to make many moves? In the eyes of GM Jason Ford, he would say no, however the moves that he did make were good ones. The acquisition of Aaron Luchuk and TJ Fergus were good to acquire some valuable vets. However the best trade was definitely on deadline day. The Colts acquired Russian star Dmitry Sokolov for Alexey Lipanov. The 2nd place Colts sit 7 points back of the 1st place Hamilton Bulldogs with 2 months of hockey left. If Sokolov fits in well this could be a dangerous Barrie team. Barrie fans could be in for a long playoff run with the likes of Sokolov, Luchuk and Andrei Svechnikov.
You can only have so much success before you have to rebuild. With the likes of McDavid, Strome and DeBrincat gone, there wasn’t much talent left for GM Dave Brown. After 4 consecutive 50 win seasons, it was a bit different at the deadline for Otters fans, as they had no choice but to sell. The biggest trade of all was trading World Junior Champion Taylor Raddysh and Jordan Sambrook to Erie for Haydon Fowler, the Greyhounds 1st round pick in the 2017 Priority Selection, and 9 draft picks, including 5 2nd round picks. Brown wasn’t done there as he also dealt Cade Robinson to Owen Sound for Luke Beamish, Mitchell Byrne to Kingston for 2 draft picks. The Otters did add Troy Lajeunesse from Sudbury. With the team sitting in 9th place, it may be a short rebuild in Erie.
There is one thing clear in Flint, they are all-in for the 1st Overall Pick in the 2018 OHL Draft. With 81 points in 27 games with the York Simcoe Express, the Firebirds have their eyes set on Quinton Byfield. To do that, they traded Ryan Moore and Nicholas Caamano to Hamilton for Connor Roberts, a 2nd and 3rd round pick in 2019 and a 3rd in 2020 earlier in the season. They dealt Nicolas Mattinen to those same Bulldogs in exchange for Riley McCourt and 2 draft picks and a conditional 2nd. Flint has a young group, and next year if they get that 1st overall pick and draft Byfield, Flint fans may be seeing playoff hockey very soon.
Guelph was a team that was relatively quiet. They did deal Detroit Red Wings prospect Givani Smith to the rival Kitchener Rangers for two 2nd round picks in 2021 and 2024, and a conditional 2nd in 2025. GM George Burnett feels he can have a competitive group next year and didn’t need to make too many moves this year.
Hamilton fans should be excited for the rest of this season. The 1st place Bulldogs stocked their roster in hopes to making a long playoff run. As mentioned earlier they acquired Moore and Caamano who have fit nicely, Kale Landry and Riley Stillman. However the Dogs didn’t feel they had quite enough to compete, so they added one of the best players in the OHL. Hamilton sent Connor McMichael and 5 draft picks, 4 of them being conditional to the London Knights for Robert Thomas. Hamilton also sent Reilley Webb to Saginaw for 3 draft picks, with 1 of them being conditional. Finally they acquired Jake Gravelle for a 12th round pick in the 2018 Draft. Overall the Bulldogs are clear that they want to win an OHL title, and aren’t worrying about the future of the team.
The Kingston Frontenacs arguably had the best deadline, scooping lots of talent from the Western Conference, with 4 players winning a Memorial Cup. The 1st big trade they made was announced on the 1st day of 2018. The Fronts went to Windsor, acquiring Sean Day and Gabriel Vilardi. In return Windsor got Cody Morgan and 8 draft picks, 3 of them being conditional. Next they acquired two London Knights in separate deals. Cliff Pu goes to Kingston for Nathan Dunkley and 2 draft picks. Next the Knights sent Max Jones for Sergey Popov and 2 picks. The last deal saw Mitchell Byrne going to Kingston from Erie for 2 draft picks. There is no doubt Kingston went all-in, leaving lots of entertaining hockey in the 2nd half of the season.
In one of the weaker Midwest Division’s in recent years, the Rangers made some trades in hopes to clinch a division title. The acquisition of Givani Smith for 3 picks including a conditional was a good deal, however Kitchener wasn’t done yet. The big trade they made this year saw them deal Grayson Ladd and 4 draft picks including 2 second round picks (2018, 2019) to the Windsor Spitfires for Logan Brown and Austin McEneny. The Rangers added a goalie, Mario Culina from Sudbury for an 8th round pick in 2019. Kitchener did get 3 draft picks back, acquiring them from Mississauga for Cole Carter. Jake Henderson was dealt to North Bay with a 10th round pick in 2021 in exchange for an 8th in 2019. There is no doubt the Rangers have a high powered offence and could be one of the favorite’s in the West, if they can get solid goaltending from Culina.
Knight’s fans may have been confused this time around. London usually goes all-in at the deadline in hopes to win another title, but for the first time since the Hunters took over, it was different in the Forest City. GM Rob Simpson felt it was best to sell this year, trading Cliff Pu and Max Jones who each went to Kingston, getting two talented forwards in Nathan Dunkley and Sergey Popov, not to mention the 4 draft picks in the two deals. Next was Robert Thomas to Hamilton for Connor McMichael and 5 draft picks, 4 of them being conditional. Simpson dealt OA Sam Miletic and a 3rd in this year’s draft for 4 draft picks, 3 of them being 2nd round picks. If everything works out the Knights will have acquired 13 draft picks and 3 talented forwards. This team has every tool to win another Memorial Cup in 2 years.
Mississauga was a team that didn’t make too many impactful moves around the deadline. Shaw Boomhower, Jacob Cascagnette and Merrick Rippon were dealt to Ottawa for Mathieu Foget and 3 picks, 1 of them a conditional. The other move they made was Jake Gravelle to Hamilton for a 12th round pick in this year’s draft. Finally Reagan O’Grady goes to Sudbury for 3 picks, 1 being conditional.
For a team that is 3rd in the East, Niagara had a quiet deadline. Zach Shankar was dealt to Windsor for a 7th round pick in 2019. The only other move they made was acquiring Sam Miletic and a 3rd round pick for 4 draft picks.
North Bay Battalion:
The Battalion only made 3 moves near the deadline, but they sit in 7th and under Coach Stan Butler they are always in a position to upset a team in the Playoffs. First they traded OA Brett McKenzie to Owen Sound for Matthew Struthers and 2 draft picks, including a 2nd in 2020. Next they stocked up on some draft picks, trading Cam Dineen to the Sarnia Sting for Braden Henderson and 7 picks, 2 of them being conditional. Last they acquired Jake Henderson and a 10th in 2021 for an 8th in 2019.
The Gens sit in the middle of the East in 5th, with a solid team and a very quiet deadline. The only move they made was Riley Stillman to Hamilton for 5 picks, 2 of them conditionals.
Ottawa currently sits in 6th place, but also sit 1 point ahead of Peterborough for 9th. The bottom of the East is so close, and Ottawa chose to only make 2 deals. They acquired Shaw Boomhower, Jacob Cascagnette and Merrick Rippon for Mathieu Foget and 3 picks with 1 being a conditional. Lastly Peter Stratis was dealt to Sudbury for 4 draft picks, 2 2nds and 2 3rds.
Owen Sound Attack:
Owen Sound had a good trade deadline without making many moves. Olivier Lafreniere was acquired from Ottawa, but was recently hurt. Owen Sound acquired Cade Robinson from Erie for Luke Beamish, and Brett McKenzie from North Bay for 2 draft picks. However, they get Jonah Gadjovich and Maksim Sushko back from the World Juniors and will soon get Kevin Hancock back from injury. With the addition of McKenzie and getting everybody back, Owen Sound looks to climb the standings in hopes of surprising a few teams in the playoffs.
The Petes currently sit 9th in the East but 1 point back of 6th. It is unclear what the intentions are as they are 1-8-1-0 in their past 10. Dealing Jonathan Ang to Sarnia for Brady Hinz and 2 draft picks indicates they may go for a top 4 pick in this year’s draft. Peterborough also dealt Jonne Tammela to the Soo for a conditional 15th round pick.
Saginaw currently sits 6th in the West, with the possibility of making the playoffs. To possibly the surprise of many, they held on to Captain Keaton Middleton and OA goalie Evan Cormier in hopes of securing a playoff spot. Saginaw made 1 move, solidifying their defence, coughing up some draft picks. Reilly Webb was acquired from Hamilton for 3 draft picks, 1 being a conditional.
You never know what can happen in the playoffs in junior hockey. Although the Soo Greyhounds would be considered the favorites, Sarnia is right behind them. The Sting acquired Cam Dineen from North Bay for Braden Henderson and 7 draft picks, 2 conditionals. Next they went to Peterborough and received Jonathan Ang for Brady Hinz and 2 draft picks. Next they acquired Wolves Captain Michael Pezzetta and an 8th round pick in this year’s draft for Ethan Lavallee for 3 picks, one conditional. The Sting loaded up for what could be a deep playoff run.
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds:
Favored to win the OHL this year, the Greyhounds went all-in. Taylor Raddysh and Jordan Sambrook were acquired for Haydon Fowler, the Greyhounds 1st round pick in the 2017 Priority Selection, and 9 draft picks, including 5 2nd round picks. The Hounds also acquired dealt Jonne Tammela from Peterborough for a conditional 15th round pick.
Sudbury had a good and active trade deadline. They trade Mario Culina to Kitchener for an 8th round pick in next year’s draft. Next they dealt Troy Lajeunesse to Erie for an 5th in 2020. They acquire Reagan O’Grady from Mississauga for 3 picks, 1 being conditional. They went to Barrie and acquired Alexey Lipanov, who is eligible to return next year, for Dmitry Sokolov and an 2022 3rd. Lastly they dealt Michael Pezzetta and an 8th to Sarnia for Ethan Lavallee and 3 picks, 1 a conditional. They acquire Peter Stratis from Ottawa for 4 picks, including two 2nd round picks.
Possibly the team who won the title of “best rebuild” this year. It seemed the defending Mem Cup Champs sold everybody but Michael DiPietro. First they acquired Cody Morgan and 8 picks, 3 conditional from Kingston for Gabe Vilardi and Sean Day. They acquired OA Zach Shankar from Niagara for a 7th in the 2019 draft to add a veteran presence on the backend. Next they acquired Grayson Ladd and 4 draft picks including 2 second round picks (2018, 2019) from the Kitchener Rangers for Logan Brown and Austin McEneny. It will be interesting to see how the Spits do after all the talent they dealt, in hopes of getting back to the Mem Cup in a few years.
Let us know what your favorite trade was and how you think your team did at this year’s trade deadline. Enjoy the remainder of the 2017-18 OHL season!