Today marks the day of the official OHL Trade Deadline. Yesterday (Jan. 9th), was the last day teams could trade overaged players. As per OHL rules, teams can sign a maximum of 30 players, which consist of three overage players, two imports and four underaged players (16 years old).
Looking at the OHL Trade Deadline
Why is this important? OHL teams have to make a decision with their overaged players. Consider overaged players to be players on expiring contracts. However, once the season is over, they are officially ineligible to play junior hockey. This means the trade deadline is a critical time for teams to try and acquire something rather than nothing for their overaged players. To add, teams that are making a run for the OHL title may consider adding a talented overaged player to their roster in order to bolster their lineup with skill and experience.
Kitchener Rangers Address Needs
Heading into Trade Deadline Day, the Kitchener Rangers had three primary focuses to improve their roster. They wanted to add defence, depth down the middle and quality goaltending since Luke Opilka and Anthony Dumont-Bouchard were both battling injuries.
On January 7th, the Rangers dealt three 2nd rounders with a condition on the 2025 2nd to the Guelph Storm in exchange for Detroit Red Wings prospect Givani Smith. Smith suffered a high ankle sprain at Red Wings camp and was forced out early in the season for Guelph. Since his return, Givani has registered 11 points in 19 games thus far. Hours later, the Rangers completed another transaction.
Kitchener acquired both forward Logan Brown and defenceman Austin McEneny from the Windsor Spitfires. In return, the Rangers sent the Spits 2017 13th overall pick Grayson Ladd along with two-second rounders in 2018 and 2019, a third-round pick in 2018, as well as a fifth-round pick in 2019. Both Brown and McEneny are 2016/2017 Memorial Cup Champions who bring a lot of talent to the Rangers lineup. The big name in this deal is Logan Brown who almost cracked the Ottawa Senators lineup this season and recently won Bronze with Team USA at the IIHF World Junior Tournament. The 6 foot 6 centre instantly improves an already deep Rangers offence with 24 points in 15 games this season.
The Rangers later finished their deadline deals by adding overaged goaltender Mario Culina from the Sudbury Wolves in exchange for an 8th round selection in 2019. Culina backstopped the Spitfires to their Memorial Cup Championship last year.
Kingston Frontenacs to the Max
If you thought Kingston was done making deals, you thought wrong. After adding Sean Day, Gabe Vilardi and Cliff Pu this past week, Kingston capped their deadline moves by adding Anaheim Ducks 1st rounder, Max Jones. Jones brings size, scoring and a winning pedigree with him. The 2015/16 Memorial Cup Champion with the London Knights is looking to add another championship ring to his collection.
The Frontenacs currently sit 10 points back of the Hamilton Bulldogs with a game in hand. Look for them to make a large push with their last 29 games remaining on the season. The Eastern Conference, for all we know, is wide open.
Greyhounds Add Former OHL Champions
Although the Greyhounds 23-game win streak was snapped on January 4th in a shootout loss to Mississauga, the number one ranked CHL team made a significant roster move that makes the Greyhounds even scarier than they already are.
The Soo dealt 2017 19th overall OHL selection Hayden Fowler, along with nine OHL draft picks between 2018 and 2023 draft years to the Erie Otters. In return, the Greyhounds receive Tampa Bay Lightning prospect and 2017/2018 IIHF World Junior Gold Medalist Taylor Raddysh and Detroit Red Wings prospect Jordan Sambrook. Both Raddysh and Sambrook won the OHL Championship in 2016/2017, while Raddysh was also an OHL Champion in 2013/2014 with the Erie Otters.
In 30 games this season Raddysh has recorded 44 points in 30 games with a struggling Erie team. Sambrook has also registered 24 points in 38 games and is on pace to surpass his OHL career high in points of 40. Three days later, the Greyhounds acquired the rights to overage forward Jonne Tammela who is a signed 4th round selection of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tammela was limited to only two games last season with Peterborough due to an ongoing knee injury. Tammela was expected to be a top forward in the OHL. Currently skating in Syracuse, there is no timeline to when Tammela will join the Hounds for their playoff run.
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