It’s hard to believe there are too many big-name players left to be moved.
Once the first domino fell, many came down behind it.
Monday saw 19 players and 43 draft picks change hands ahead of the Ontario Hockey League trade deadline, which is noon on Tuesday.
The deadline for overage players to be dealt was Monday at noon and, although the team had one overage spot open, the Soo Greyhounds were not active.
For Greyhounds General Manager Kyle Raftis, there was talk but nothing more than that.
“There was definitely a lot of talk in the last 24 hours,” Raftis said. “Things got somewhat close but nothing came together.”
“There wasn’t that much movement OA-wise, which was kind of odd,” Raftis also said. “Teams wanted to hold on to guys.”
In total, four overage players changed teams. The Owen Sound Attack dealt Justin Brack to the Niagara IceDogs for a draft pick before acquiring Cordell James from the Barrie Colts, also for a pick.
On what was a busy day for the team, the London Knights dealt overage defenceman Chris Martenet and a trio of draft picks to the Ottawa 67’s in exchange for forward Dante Salituro and a pick. Salituro had been playing pro hockey this season but the former 30-goal scorer is expected to join the Knights.
Considering the magnitude of the deals made on Monday, Raftis commented earlier in the day that it had a “hurry up and wait” feel to it.
For Raftis, heading into the deadline, it’s about making the team better.
“Our look on it was just about improving our team,” Raftis said of the deadline approach. “Sometimes there’s flashiness of adding certain forwards because this is the time of year that it gets the most attention but it’s really about improving our team. I’ve liked our top six forwards all year.
“On the back end, adding in (Noah) Carroll makes us better defensively and adds a veteran presence,” Raftis said while noting Carroll’s addition helps make the blueline “more efficient” as ice time gets spread amongst the group.
Monday saw a pair of rumoured deals come to fruition as the Erie Otters acquired forward Anthony Cirelli from the Oshawa Generals. In return, the Generals receive rookie forward Alan McShane, second-round draft picks in 2022 and 2023, a fourth-round pick in 2018, a conditional sixth-round pick in 2020 and a conditional second-round pick in 2024.
Cirelli was a member of Team Canada at the recently-completed World Junior Hockey Championship and scored a pair of goals in the Generals 2-1 win over the Kelowna Rockets in the final of the 2015 MasterCard Memorial Cup in Quebec City.
McShane was the Otters top pick in the OHL Priority Selection last spring.
The Generals also New York Islanders prospect Mitchell Vande Sompel to the Knights in exchange for rookie defenceman Ian Blacker, second-round picks in 2017 and 2019 (originally Sudbury’s), a third-round pick in 2018 and a conditional third round pick in 2024.
The Knights third addition saw the team acquire Mitchell Stephens from the Saginaw Spirit in exchange for seven draft picks. A teammate of Cirelli with Team Canada at the World Juniors, Stephens cost the Knights a third-round pick in 2017, a second-round pick (originally Ottawa’s) in 2018, a second-round pick (originally Kingston’s), a second-round pick (originally Owen Sound’s) in 2019, a third-round pick in 2019, a second-round pick (originally Sudbury’s) in 2020 and a conditional third-round pick in 2024.
Erie also acquired veteran defenceman Cameron Lizotte in a deal with Barrie late Monday night. A trio of draft picks went the other way in the deal.
Not to be outdone, the Windsor Spitfires sent Andrew Burns, Cole Carter and three second round picks – one a conditional pick – to the Kitchener Rangers for high-scoring forward Jeremy Bracco and a pair of draft picks.
Other deals on Monday saw the Peterborough Petes send C.J. Clarke to the Flint Firebirds for two draft picks; the Petes acquired forward Christopher Paquette and a conditional pick from Niagara for Nate McDonald, four second round picks and a third-round pick; and the North Bay Battalion dealt recently-acquired defenceman Stephen Templeton and picks to Hamilton for Jesse Saban and a draft pick. Templeton was acquired by North Bay from Oshawa on Friday for a draft pick.