The OHL Trade Deadline is looming. By tomorrow afternoon (Monday the 11th), teams will be set moving forward towards the end of the season and playoffs. Obviously, a lot of the action has already occurred. Big trades involving the likes of Alex Pietrangelo and Phil Grubauer have taken center stage over the last week or so leading up to the deadline. But that doesn't mean the action is over. There are a ton of rumours floating around and I'm sure we're bound to see some more trade fireworks tomorrow morning.
So let's take a look at the 10 most likely candidates to be playing for a different team come tomorrow. The list is in no particular order.
Matt Clark/Ken Peroff/Brad Albert - Brampton Battalion
The Battalion are one of the worst teams in the OHL, absolutely no question. While they play a solid defensive game, there offense just isn't good enough to get them very far, should they even make the playoffs. What's interesting though is that Brampton has been incredibly quiet during these turbulent trade times. Are they a seller? The main reason Brampton's defense has been so strong is the play of these three veteran blueliners. Peroff and Albert are overagers, while Clark is likely in his last OHL season before going pro. So what benefit does Brampton have to holding on to these guys and not helping their rebuild by dealing them. All three could provide veteran leadership to a contender's blueline. I'd be very surprised if at least one of them isn't dealt tomorrow.
Cody St. Jacques - Guelph Storm
This guy just can't find a home. He hasn't been great for Guelph this year, but he hasn't been god awful either (save maybe the last few games). St. Jacques has already been traded once this season after requesting a trade from Sault Ste. Marie. However Guelph has just gotten back Brandon Foote and he'll be the team's starting netminder from here on out. There are a few teams out there iffy about their back up goaltenders, and there might not be a better (or cheaper) option to acquire a veteran tender than St. Jacques.
Peter Holland - Guelph Storm
It's hard to tell what Guelph's plan is. Their season thus far has been brutal, to put it lightly. The team has underperformed severely after having pretty high expectations to start the year. They've got a wealth of talent in the 1991 age group which means they should be strong next year, but then again we said that this year too. The thing this team probably needs most is a shake up and the name we've heard most often is Peter Holland, who, of the big three (Holland, Latta, Beck), has been the most disappointing. If the Storm can deal Holland in a deal that can give them a different look, I think they do it. I'm sure Anaheim wouldn't mind him getting dealt either since it looks like his development hasn't gone according to plan so far.
Tyler Randell - Kitchener Rangers
After coming over from Belleville last year and performing well for Kitchener as a gritty goal scorer, Randell has not had a good year. He's been given chances to shine for the team in a scoring role but just hasn't been able to bring any consistency to the table. The Rangers are very likely to be buyers at the deadline and Randell is likely an attractive trade piece that Kitchener will try and use to improve. Big guys with the potential to be gritty goal scorers are always going to find a home in this league, so my guess is he'll still have a fair amount of value if teams covet him in a return.
Mavric Parks - Kitchener Rangers
This one is tricky. He's the name we're hearing most right now as trade bait, but at the same time does moving him make sense? My guess is that Steve Spott doesn't want to move him...but feels like moving him makes sense considering that he's got a lot of value right now. Brandon Maxwell was brought in to be the number one goaltender, and even though he's been inconsistent this year, he's likely the guy they go with next year. So the Rangers either deal Parks now when his value is at it's highest, or they move him next year as an overager. Tough call considering the team is really concentrated on making a run in the Western Conference. My guess is if all the Rangers are being offered is draft picks for Parks...they hold on to him. But if they can flip him for a quality roster player who'll help both now and next year, they'll do it and hope Maxwell is up to the challenge.
Philip McRae - London Knights
It's hard to envision a team that's in first place in their division as a seller. It's even harder when that team is the Knights, a perennial buyer. But I think the Hunters are slightly worried about the damage the past few years of trades has done to the teams youth core. With a bevy of talent still on the roster, the team can afford to move a big name piece for youth in hopes that others step up and continue to keep this team in a top four or five spot in the Conference. The most likely name would be Phil McRae, who's had a bit of a disappointing season, but still has a lot of talent. If the Knights can get back a quality 92 and a draft pick for McRae (or any other big name player on their roster), I think they do it.
Jamie Doornbosch - Peterborough Petes
The rumours have been rampant over the past week about teams scouting the Petes (in particular Windsor). The name that everyone keeps bringing up is Zack Kassian, but I'm not sold on the Petes wanting to trade him at this time. They're still in the thick of things for the East Division and Kassian is the key to their triumphs. If he can elevate his game in the second half, this team will be fine. I think a name that's more likely is Jamie Doornbosch. Easily one of the more underrated players in the OHL, Doornbosch can run a powerplay, move the puck and has improved his defensive game considerably. He'd be a dynamite pick up for a contending team looking to add another puck mover...say a team that lost out on Alex Pietrangelo.
Austin Levi/Colin MacDonald - Plymouth Whalers
Something's up in Whaler land. The team used a 4th rounder (no chump change) to acquire Jay Gilbert...when the team already had a fairly crowded defense. Rumor has the Whalers are serious buyers as they believe with the offense they've assembled and Matt Hackett in goal, they can make a push in the West...and they're probably right. If the Whalers make a move to acquire another talented player, I'd expect one of Austin Levi or Colin MacDonald are on the way out. Both are attractive trade pieces as up and coming 1992 defenseman and should be able to fetch the Whalers a pretty solid player...say like Phil McRae.
Jordan Skellett - Saginaw Spirit
Saginaw is a little confusing to me this year. Are they buyers or are they sellers? They go and move TJ Brodie, Nick Crawford, and Anthony Peters, but then go and pay a hefty price for Jordan Hill in Sarnia. Odd. Saginaw's playing better hockey of late, but they still aren't likely to be big movers in the West. Skellett is a talented offensive overager who could jump right into the Top 6 of any team in the league. My guess is they'll look to move him to a team who needs a playmaking forward and look to get a quality player back in return so that the team can still make the playoffs.
Eric O'Dell - Sudbury Wolves
You have to wonder what's up in Sudbury. The team is playing poorly yet again, despite a fairly talented roster. And despite being chronically close to being out of the playoffs in the East, the rumors indicate the Wolves are going to be buyers. Well I don't buy it (pun intended). The team is in disarray really, and could massively use an infusion of youth. Eric O'Dell is the team's best player and could fetch quite the trade package from someone looking to add one of the league's top centers. My guess is that the Wolves will have suitors for him, it's just a matter of whether they want to pull the trigger. And if they were smart, they would.
Shawn Lalonde - Belleville Bulls
Anyway I can, I'll cheat to add more players to a Sunday Top 10. I add Lalonde as a bonus because he's someone who's attracted trade attention all season long and who's rumored to be going just about everywhere. However, I don't think he'll be traded. And here's why. If Lalonde was going to be traded, I think it would have been done by now. Either he doesn't want to leave Belleville or the team doesn't want to move him. The Bulls are obviously rebuilding, but they are also still looking to make the playoffs. Thus the acquisitions of guys like Panik, Bezzo, and Peters. Lalonde is the team's driving force and without him, they definitely aren't a playoff team. I just think if something was going to happen with him, it would have happened already.
That's it folks. Stay tuned for tomorrow's deadline! Next Sunday I'll be putting together a Winners and Losers of the Trade Deadline Top 10.
Any guesses as to where these guys go...or better yet, any guys you feel should definitely be on this list?