Ryan Spooner Sweepstakes: Handicapping the OHL'S Hottest Race

Mitch HeimpelContributor INovember 10, 2010

MONTREAL- SEPTEMBER 22:  Ryan Spooner #51 of the Boston Bruins skates during an NHL pre-season game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on September 22, 2010 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Bruins defeated the Canadiens 4-2.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

News out of Peterborough this week that Ryan Spooner wants out came as a surprise to many.

Many, but not all.

There were rumours around Austin Watson earlier in the season as the Petes began to struggle. But those rumours have mildly dissipated for the time being. Chris Buonomo had previously expressed an interest in leaving the Kawarthas and is still awaiting a trade.

Spooner's defection does mark a surprising move inasmuch as he's been drafted and developed in Peterborough and is looked on as one of the current faces of the franchise.

But he's also an NHL prospect who's not seeing his game take the steps necessary to develop to the next level. He wants to be a part of a winning team and a successful franchise.

For all Peterborough's history, it's been a hockey quagmire since Jordan Staal left. Sources have stated that Peterborough GM Dave Reid is seeking at least one '93-born player and some draft picks for Spooner.

Yahoo Sports is reporting that six teams are in on Spooner and here's who I'm betting they are.

Kingston Frontenacs

The Kitchener Record's Jeff Hicks reports that Kingston youngster Alan Quine is growing restless playing so far down the depth chart in the Limestone City. He meets the requirement of a '93-born player, but the Petes are going to want a higher price tag if they're going to be forced to play against Spooner six-plus times per season. They won't like the idea of dealing Ryan Spooner inside their own division.

The Magic 8-ball says: "Outcome unlikely, seek alternatives"

Ottawa 67s

Spooner's hometown 67s will no doubt kick the tires here. They also hold a very interesting card in '93 defensemen Cody Ceci who played Tier 2 Jr. A hockey in Peterborough. Ceci hasn't met a rather lofty set of expectations that were set for him this season with Tyler Cuma and Julien Demers moving on last summer.

As with the Fronts, the price might be higher here because the Petes would be moving him inside the division.

The Magic 8-ball says: "Potential outweighs possibility"

Guelph Storm

A lot here depends on what the Storm are rumoured to have cooked up for Kyle Clifford's return. If the Clifford to Guelph rumours—which persist—are accurate, then they'll probably pass on Spooner. With Warren Rychel suggesting to the Windsor Star this week that Zack Kassian is available, the Storm might find the Windsor power forward more in their typical mold.

The Magic 8-ball says: "Outlook hazy, check back later"

Kitchener Rangers

The Rangers have been trying to replace Jeff Skinner from within. It's not working. You don't replace a Jeff Skinner. Still, at 12-5 the Rangers are on pace to contend and they sure could use an elite offensive centre, unless Jason Akeson (he of the 15 points in three games weekend) is going to slot in down the middle.

The Rangers have a collection of '93-born pieces like Ben Thomson, Eric Ming, Zach Lorentz and Keli Grant. That's good for them because their draft pick situation isn't conducive to this kind of trade usually.

The Magic 8-ball says: "Seeing smoke, check for fire"

London Knights

This kind of thing has the Knights stamped all over it. Jake Worrad or Seth Griffith would be the centrepiece here, maybe both if the bidding gets really intense. The Boston Bruins, who own Spooner's OHL rights would no doubt approve, seeing as how this would unite Spooner and fellow Boston second-rounder Jared Knight.

The Magic 8-ball says: "Coincidences do not exist"

Saginaw Spirit

The Spirit are the feel-good story of the OHL's first quarter. That having been said, there's a feeling that the Spirit should be more offensively potent they currently are. Spooner would definitely add a new dimension to an attack that already features Brandon Saad, Ivan Telegin, Vincent Trocheck and Josh Shalla.

Would he waive his No Trade Clause to play in Saginaw is the overriding question in this instance. Central Michigan isn't a known draw for a lot of Ontario hockey players, who have shown a tendency in the past to favour the brand name destinations in their own backyard.

The Magic 8-ball says: "Outlook better, but not enough"


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