The OHL: Top 10 Pieces of Trade Bait for the 2010-2011 Season
This week, OHL fans were privy to three big trades. Well, maybe two and a half.
Even though the Shugg/Cantin and Ebert trades were technically separate, they can, to an extent, be seen as part of a duet (with a trilogy likely on the way come January).
The other trade saw the Guelph Storm acquire big defenseman Daniel Maggio from the Sudbury Wolves for an interesting package of picks and prospects.
But Mississauga and Guelph aren't the only two teams loading up for the coming season, and Sudbury sure isn't the only team likely to end up selling by the time January rolls around.
Some of last year's big trades, like Barrie's acquisition of Nick Crawford and TJ Brodie and Kitchener's acquisition of Matt Tipoff from Belleville, happened well in advance of the January deadline.
The reason the trading season seems to start earlier now is ostensibly the OHL's new rule preventing players who partcipate in the World Juniors from being traded while at the tournament.
Teams are now trying to make their big moves earlier to work the players into the team chemistry over a greater period of time.
Without further ado, let's get to the Top Ten...
Sean Jones: The Brampton sniper was a 30-goal scorer last year with the Battalion, but Brampton's anticipated dive in the standings this season will likely mean Jones will be moving on to his fourth OHL team.
Jones brings good offensive depth but no size. He'll be a good addition to a team looking to gain some playoff experience without contending. Look for Erie and Niagara to be in on this one.
Jason Wilson: Wilson is a veteran physical presence. He's the kind of player that contending teams like to add as a depth offensive threat, grinding forward and character player for a long stretch run.
Contenders like Guelph, Mississauga and London could all be in on this kid.
Bobby Mignardi: Like Wilson, Mignardi is a solid depth scorer who's not afraid to get his hands dirty.
If he's made available, teams will free up an overager spot for the chance to add some good depth to their line-up.
Borderline contenders will bid to bring him in because he'll have a low price tag. The Soo and 67s would probably see Mignardi as the best fit in their line-ups.
Tyler Seguin: We don't know if he'll be back. We know that if he does come back, Mike Vellucci has already stated that he won't trade him but if the big offers start being made, who knows what comes next?
Seguin's presence would turn the heat on the usual Arms Race up all the way to 11.
If Seguin is available, he'll raise the price of every other forward on the market. Look for him to be dealt into the East if it turns out he's available.
10. John McFarland
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I know, I know, there are people out there saying "really? John McFarland? But he's only 18!"
No way Sudbury trades a player with two years left! Uh huh, and we all said the same thing about Peterborough and Zack Kassian last year.
He was the Captain, a premiere power forward, a first-round NHL pick and the Petes had Ryan Spooner and Matt Puempel coming along, there's no way the Petes would trade him, right?
I went looking for this year's Kassian candidate and McFarland's the best option available.
He's never reached his potential in his Sudbury tenure, and his uninspired play last season is crying out for a change of scenery. McFarland, when he's at his best, is an elite skater with a pro-level wrist shot and impressive physical force.
Teams Likely Interested: Kingston, Ottawa, Kitchener, London
Team Likely To Get Him: Will not be traded
Oh Come on, Don't Walk Us to the Edge and Do That!: Fine, Kingston
I really don't think that McFarland will be traded but that doesn't mean that there aren't several opportunities out there for it to happen.
We'll examine the follow-up suitors first. Doesn't this smell like a Hunter-type move? A two-year player, a highly talented but mercurial player with physical upside and a goal scorer's skillset.
London certainly has the pieces to make the deal but they would have to have the incentive in terms of a high place in the standings.
Kitchener? Well there's an interesting possibility. When you're the favourite, you're going to be linked to everybody.
The Rangers will have a spot open if Jeremy Morin isn't returned. John's brother Paul was on the last Kitchener team to win a Memorial Cup and spent most of his OHL career in Kitchener, so the family has some ties to the organization.
Ottawa. I'm just not sold on the 67's. Martindale, Toffoli, Nesbitt and Lindsay make for a good forward corps but not a spectacularly physical one by any standards.
McFarland has had unholy chemistry with Toffoli since they were 14 and playing for the Jr. Canadiens of the GTHL. Like the Knights, the 67's have the pieces.
Finally, Kingston. The Frontenacs need to contend; it's that simple. A division title isn't out of their grasp if they reach for it.
Typically, a top-tier player like McFarland wouldn't agree to head to Kingston but there are intervening factors here.
McFarland was drafted last summer by the Florida Panthers who also own the rights to two Frontenacs: Erik Gudbranson and Cory Durocher.
NHL teams give development money to the CHL teams that manage their prospects and being as how money is the much ballyhooed issue in Kingston every year.
The added development money from the Panthers for developing three prospects might be enough added motivation to get Larry Mavety to pull the trigger.
9. Ben Chiarot
Chiarot is a big, tough, stay at home defender whose capable of logging big minutes and dealing out a mountain of physical punishment on opposing forwards.
Playoff contenders tend to covet this particular skillset. Injuries tend to plague teams come playoff time and you can never have too many defensemen.
Players of Chiarot's style are especially desired in the OHL's Western Conference, where getting to the semi-finals is akin to entering the Octagon in some years.
Teams Likely Interested: Kitchener, The Soo, Kingston, Ottawa, Plymouth
Team Likely To Get Him: Kitchener Rangers
All the above teams are going to have some interest in bringing in a defenseman of Chiarot's type.
The Rangers are primed for a long playoff run and could use another top four defenseman to put them over the top.
Chiarot was linked to Kitchener last season before Guelph moved him to Sudbury at the trade deadline.
There aren't often trades between the two blood-rivals at opposite ends of the Highway 7 rivalry, so the odds of Chiarot ever going to Kitchener from Guelph were always low.
That having been said, his going to Kitchener now would appear to be Kismet. Not only did the Rangers put out feelers last year, they would have Chiarot's pro team (the Atlanta Thrashers) on side for a move.
See, the Rangers already have two Thrashers prospects (Cody Sol and Julian Melchiori) on their blue-line.
Chiarot wouldn't cost quite as much as some of the bigger names on this list, which also tends to be a plus for contenders. If this one happens, it'll probably be earlier in the season.
8. Nathan Moon
Moon's an interesting case. You can probably remember every OHLer who was a point per game player on the first four years of his OHL career who wasn't signed by their OHL team.
Okay, so it's not that rare, but it does raise questions as to why exactly the Pittsburgh Penguins passed on Moon and sent him back to the OHL for another season.
There have always been rumours in Kingston about Moon's attitude off the ice. The fourth year Frontenac has been benched by coach Doug Gilmour on occasion and it wouldn't be a stretch, if the Fronts saw this as their year to contend, to believe that they could move a valuable piece like Moon to a selling team as a part of a package to acquire something of even greater value than Moon himself.
Teams Likely Interested: Owen Sound, Barrie, Sudbury, London, Windsor
Team Likely To Get Him: Owen Sound Attack
The Fronts have a history of trading with the Attack under the Larry Mavety regime, having acquired Tyler Beskorowany from them last offseason.
Whether the Attack actually end up as a team that's in a selling mood will be determined by the first few months of the season.
However, Owen Sound is in a tough division and while they're likely to end up as sellers, missing the playoffs in consecutive years isn't likely to be tolerated.
Moon aids in the goal of allowing Owen Sound to part with talent but still have a shot at the playoffs.
While similar thought patterns will likely occur in Sudbury and Windsor, I think that Kingston's need for a genuine elite centre is greater than the winger-centred packages coming out of Windsor or Sudbury.
7. Dalton Prout
Prout is the only one of Barrie's top four defensemen from last year's Conference championship team that is likely to return this season. But even that isn't a sure thing.
Prout was drafted last June by the Columbus Bluejackets and might find himself assigned to the AHL out of camp.
However, like Scott Timmins and Dale Mitchell in Windsor last year, that might only delay rather than deny Prout's re-entry to the Ontario Hockey League.
If he does return, Prout is the leading candidate to replace Stefan Della Rovere as the Captain of the Colts which means any trade for him is likely to happen at the 11th hour rather than earlier.
Teams Likely Interested: Guelph, Kitchener, Windsor, The Soo, Ottawa, Kingston, Peterborough
Team Likely to Get Him: Guelph Storm
Prout will be traded out of Conference, probably more due to price than any desire by the Colts to not end up playing him again.
This is the last year for the Storm to be contenders, while Kitchener, the Soo and Windsor all have enough left in the cupboard to be dangerous the following season as well.
Guelph's defence corps remains unimpressive, even with the current addition of Dan Maggio.
Along with Peter Di Salvo, it's easy to see Prout being part of a bigger package being exchanged between the Colts and Storm the way Belleville and Windsor arranged a massive multi-player swap last year.
6. James Livingston
Livingston is another overager being returned after not being signed by his NHL team.
What makes Livingston a more valuable trade commodity than Nathan Moon? Adaptability.
Livingston is a power forward by trade who can ably play on any line. He's a good complementary power forward to play with and protect smaller skilled forwards (his 32 career OHL fights attest to that). He can just as capably bring those skills to a checking line role.
You want players like this on your team. He underperformed in Plymouth after his trade last season but so did a lot of Whalers, so it's difficult to paint him with a brush any different than anyone else on that roster, save Tyler Seguin and Matt Hackett.
Teams Likely Interested: London, Kitchener, Kingston, Ottawa, Niagara
Team Likely to Get Him: London Knights
Phil Varone's return to London isn't a sure thing but even if it was, Varone and defenseman Michael D'Orazio only constitute two overagers.
Livingston would easily beat out Stephen Sanza for the third spot.
Trading Livingston inside the conference, particularly to the hated Knights, wouldn't be unprecedented given that Phil McRae went from London to Plymouth last year at the deadline.
Livingston would provide ample protection for some of London's smaller forwards like Varone, Jared Knight, Daniel Erlich and Vladislav Nemestnikov.
Dale Hunter has always shown a willingness to carry a vet like Livingston (Leigh Salters, anyone?) who can pull his own weight and protect his teammates.
Look for this trade earlier in the season as well.
5. Marcus Foligno
When his dad was the coach of the Wolves, talk of Marcus Foligno being traded likely would have been treated with a guffaw.
With Mike moving on to the big leagues in Anaheim and Sudbury having already started the process of rebuilding, the big winger will be a precious commodity on the trade market.
Foligno's size and pugnacity (156 penalty minutes and 15 career OHL fights) will make him a wanted man by teams looking for depth scoring and size.
Foligno has a reputation as a coachable player, but the big question is whether his offensive numbers will improve once he moves beyond Sudbury. I'm betting they will.
Teams Likely Interested: London, Kitchener, Mississauga, Kingston, the Soo
Team Likely to Get Him: Mississauga Majors
This is probably going to generate the most interest for the Wolves if it goes down to the last second. Kitchener and Sudbury could swing a multi-player deal that could see Chiarot and Foligno dealt together.
Foligno could be moved to Kingston where there's a family connection, seeing as how his father played in Toronto alongside Doug Gilmour.
That having been said, there are few players on the trading block who would be more suited to Dave Cameron's style of play than Foligno.
Memorial Cup teams can never have enough scoring depth or enough size on the forward lines as they face that long playoff run.
4. Kenny Ryan
Kenny Ryan could have flipped a coin last year. He started the season at Boston College but dropped the Eagles for the Spitfires in late October.
Boston College won a National title, the Spitfires won a Memorial Cup. This might make Ryan the equivalent of a lucky rabbit's foot.
The Spits have already started unloading their final year players in order to stock the shelves for coming seasons.
Justin Shugg and Marc Cantin were shipped to Mississauga earlier in the week and there are rumours that Ryan Ellis will follow come January.
While not a seller in the traditional sense, Windsor will try to maximize the value of their current assets while maintaining enough firepower to raise the young players in a winning atmosphere.
Zack Kassian is likely to be kept around to protect the youngsters, which makes Kenny Ryan the odd man out.
Ryan's a tenacious forechecker who takes the puck to the net with ferocity and is built like an Abrams tank.
Teams Likely Interested: London, Plymouth, Kitchener
Team Likely To Get Him: London Knights
Windsor's in a bit of a sticky spot here. Any team acquiring Ryan knows they're getting a player in his final season and Ryan, like most high profile American recruits, likely has a limited movement clause in his OHL deal.
Complicating the Ryan situation further is the presence of his NHL team, the Toronto Maple Leafs who would probably like to see the American winger in a situation where he'll see more offensive minutes this season.
Windsor would likely prefer to deal with Kitchener rather than 401 rival London or divisional rival Plymouth but the only way Kitchener would have any interest in Ryan is if Jeremy Morin doesn't return to the Rangers this season.
London will likely present the Spits with the best offer and Ryan with the best opportunity to prove himself.
With Nazem Kadri's progress in London last season, the Leafs would definitely approve.
3. Kyle Clifford
News out of Colts camp this week that Alexander Burmistrov is not in attendance means that the Colts' chances of mounting a playoff run this year are significantly unlikely.
This means that in addition to Prout and Di Salvo, Clifford will likely find himself on the open market. The tough power forward is, without question, the piece of most significant value that the Colts have to offer.
Rumours have persisted since the Matt Kennedy trade last season the Clifford is headed to Guelph at some point this season.
While the Storm might be the front runners, it's not a lock. Clifford nearly stuck with the Kings out of camp last season and while he might have a tougher time making the Kings this time around, there's always the chance he could stick.
There's also always the chance that someone offers the Colts something they like more.
Teams Likely Interested: Guelph, Kitchener, Ottawa, Kingston
Team Likely To Get Him: Too close to call
The frontrunners are Guelph and Kitchener. If Jeremy Morin doesn't return to the Aud this fall, expect the Rangers to be all over Clifford.
Kyle grew up in Ayr, near Kitchener, and is very close friends with Rangers starting goaltender Brandon Maxwell.
He'd also capably fill that top line Left Wing spot that the Rangers would have open in the event Morin is in the AHL and D'Amigo isn't sent down.
Still, the Guelph rumours have been persistent since last January and as Marines are fond of saying, the problem with scuttlebutt is it's usually true.
2. Jesse Blacker
Usually, when a player in the OHL is traded two times in two seasons, it's indicative of attitude issues.
In Blacker's case, it's just a coincidence of circumstance. He was moved from Windsor last year to try and get more ice time in a different situation, he'll likely be moved out of Owen Sound this year simply because the Attack won't be good enough and the price of moving him will be too much to simply ignore.
Blacker was played like a number one defenseman in Owen Sound last year and that's what he is at this level.
He brings decent size, a disciplined physical game and good puckmoving skill to the blue-line. He can log big minutes in all situations and be a serious contributor to a contending line-up.
Teams Likely Interested: Kingston, Ottawa, Peterborough, the Soo, Guelph, Kitchener, London, Erie, Niagara
Team Likely to Get Him: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
The match here is pretty obvious. The Hounds want to contend for home ice advantage this year in the playoffs and they have enough young players to make a good deal.
After losing Michael Quesnele and Jacob Muzzin in the offseason, they're going to be a little light on the blue-line.
Darren Archibald and Brock Beukeboom are both top flight defenders but neither possesses Blacker's puck-moving skill.
Young rookie Gianluca Cucuruto does have that ability, but he could use a mentor for his first season.
1. Joey Hishon
New year, same personnel but what are the chances it'll bring a new result to the Harry Lumley Bayshore? ......Exactly.
Would so many people be predicting another season of the eternal rebuild if the Attack didn't play in the same Division as London, Kitchener and Guelph?
Maybe not, but that's beside the point.
Until there's a serious culture change, there won't be a serious result change in Owen Sound.
If the Attack are really out of it come the January deadline, then the buzz around Hishon will only grow.
There was some speculation around Hishon and the Guelph Storm at the end of next season but it never seemed to have any grounding. Hishon is a known property in the OHL going into his fourth season.
He's a centre with an incredibly high Hockey IQ and excellent skill in the face-off circle.
Teams Likely Interested: Guelph, Kingston, Ottawa
Team Likely to Get Him: Kingston
The reason the market is less for Hishon? Because it will cost more to actually get him.
A team is going to have to be in the last year of their window to contend to really roll the dice on Hishon and the above teams all are.
Kingston has started to move away from being the Siberia of the East Division, after making trades for Tyler Beskorowany, Joe Pleckaitis and Philip Grubauer.
Hishon would make a great running mate for Ethan Werek on the power play and he would give the Fronts good depth at centre.
With Werek, Doherty and Gudbranson (if he's returned) likely all departing after this season, this is Kingston's last chance.
They need to make an impact in the market after they failed to with the All Star Game last season. Anyone who watched the Junior A Kingston Voyageurs march to the OJHL Championship the last two years knows that Kingstonians will support good hockey, the Fronts just have to give them reason to hope. Hishon could be that reason.
If someone like McFarland is unavailable or the price is simply too high, then Hishon becomes a reliable option for the Fronts.