August is upon us, which means that OHL teams can begin trading again. Even if training camps don't begin for another three weeks, coaches and general managers have an idea of the strengths and weaknesses of their club. Take Steve Spott and the Kitchener Rangers, who kicked off August with the acquisition of behemoth defenseman Cody Sol from Saginaw. The Rangers knew they had some holes to fill on defense, so they filled a void.
So what I present to you today, are some names who could possibly see themselves playing for new teams prior to the start of the 2010-2011 regular season. The inclusion of each name is surrounded by mostly differentiating circumstances. By no means am I saying that these players WILL be traded, nor do I know of any rumours of their departure. I'm simply listing some names to watch; names who look like they have the chance to be wearing different colours next year.
10. Chris Perugini - Ottawa 67's
Perugini's name has been floating all over the rumour sheets this offseason. With Petr Mrazek's playoff performance last year, it's to be assumed that the starting role could be his for the taking. The 67's could obviously go with a platoon situation, similar to what's worked for Dave Cameron and the Majors for numerous years. But I don't see that being the case here. I think Mrazek, at this point in time, is probably the better goaltender and the 67's will be gunning hard for the division title this year. They've got some holes to fill, particularly another veteran defenseman, and Perugini could be used to fill a hole. Perugini has had a lot of flashes of brilliance in this league, but has yet to really put together a consistently good season. Maybe a change of scenery would do him well too.
9. Scott Tanski - Brampton Battalion
It's hard to imagine what the intention of the Battalion is this season. They've lost their starting goaltender and their top three defenseman to graduation (in all likelihood). However, the Troops have some quality young talent at forward, which suggests that maybe they could be a bit better than some are anticipating them to be. That being said, I don't think anybody will be mistaking this year's Brampton team for a potential Eastern Conference winner. It could be a case of trading some veteran players, taking a small step backwards in order to take a larger step forward next year or beyond. Scott Tanski has been a Battalion since he entered the league and has developed into a quality two way forward. As an overager, he'd likely generate a fair amount of interest from other OHL teams looking for a quality veteran forward. If the Battalion can get a quality return on him (or Sean Jones for that matter), it wouldn't shock me to see him leave.
8. James Livingston - Plymouth Whalers
The former third round pick of the St. Louis Blues had a very disappointing season in 09-10. What was supposed to be his coming out party, ended up being his worst season statistically since his 16 year old year. A gritty power forward, Livingston's offensive game has never developed consistency. Livingston never really fit in Plymouth after his trade from the Soo. Considering that the Whalers seemed poised for a bit of a rebuild this season, all signs would point to this overage forward being available. There are some teams out there who could really use Livingston's size up front, even if you don't really know what you're going to get offensively.
7. Ben Chiarot/Daniel Maggio - Sudbury Wolves
What's to come of the Wolves this year? Expectations might be the lowest they've ever been for this franchise under new head coach Trent Cull. Back to back disappointing seasons and a depleted roster this year likely means rebuild. The Wolves have two quality two-way defenseman that could generate some interest around the league. Both are NHL prospects, both bring intensity and a physical presence, and both would look good in the top four of a competing team (like say Ottawa...considering Sudbury needs a starting goalie). Smart money would say that the Wolves could look to move these guys for younger talent or draft picks in hopes of rebuilding this franchise from the ground up.
6. Joe Rogalski - Sarnia Sting
The Sting could definitely be better this year. They've amassed a wealth of young talent. However, the West will be competitive yet again this year and that means, even with improvement and progress, the Sting could find themselves near the bottom of the standings. Joe Rogalski has been a three year member of the Sarnia blueline, but has yet to really develop the way management probably envisioned. If the Sting can get a good return on Rogalski, something that would help them next year and the year after, my bet is them taking it.
5. Dalton Prout - Barrie Colts
What will the Colts do? If they intend to ice a competitive team, they're going to have to make massive upgrades to a defense which will be decimated by the absences of Alex Pietrangelo, T.J. Brodie, Nick Crawford, and Matt Stanisz. Prout remains the integral cog of last year's excellent blueline, however his return isn't even set in stone after he was drafted by Columbus this year. He could have a chance to make the AHL this year...although it seems more likely he'd be sent back to the OHL for an overage season (perhaps to increase his offensive production). If he is returned, he could be a massive trade chip for the Colts to try and rebuild all of what they gave away for last year's run. Just food for thought, Prout is from the Windsor area, and who should need a physical stay at home defender, with the losses of Harry Young and Mark Cundari?
4. Nathan Moon - Kingston Frontenacs
Unsigned by the Penguins, Moon will be returning to the OHL for an overage season. The Kingston Frontenacs are going to be contenders (or at least they're planning on it). So why trade a potential impact overager? For some reason I just have a hard time seeing Moon return to Kingston for an overage year. His offensive numbers have declined the past three seasons, which have been littered with minor quarrels and questions about his effort. The Fronts will have Ethan Werek return and he looked good at center last year. Top pick Alan Quine looked solid as a rookie last year and should be ready for the 2nd line center role. Where does that leave Moon in a quest for playing time? We could very well see Moon back in Kingston next year, but something tells me the Fronts could look to move him in a trade that could give them some more size up front.
3. Alex Hutchings - Barrie Colts
Definitely an interesting case. From what I've seen and read, a lot of Colts fans expect Hutchings to move on to the AHL this season, rather than return for his overage year. However, I actually expect that contrary. Hutchings doesn't have an NHL contract yet with Tampa and was only a 2009 draft pick by Tampa (thanks to a November birth date). The Lightning can send Hutchings back to the OHL and sign him after his overage year, if they'd like. Other players from 2009 with a late birth date, and who are expected to play pro this year, already have contracts. These are the likes of Nazem Kadri, Matt Clark, Matt Hackett, and Edward Pasquale. If Hutchings is sent back for an overage year, you'd have to bet the line up of suitors will be around the block.
2. Mavric Parks/Peter Di Salvo - Barrie Colts
I guarantee one of these two gets traded sometime before or near the start of the season. Why? When was the last time an OHL team used up two of their three overage spots on a goaltending platoon? Especially with a capable OHL goalie like Dalton McGrath waiting in the wings. Both are very capable and solid starting netminders in this league. While teams are sometimes hesitant to use an overage spot on a goalie, either of these guys is worth it in my opinion. The question is, do the Colts trade both? It would appear to be a rebuilding season in Barrie, why not get back some assets and give the reigns to Dalton McGrath...if he can handle it?
1. Tyler Seguin - Plymouth Whalers
Seguin is probably a surprise inclusion on this list. Really, I'd be surprised if he doesn't stick in Boston this year. I'm sure that's the case for most people...probably even the Whalers. But if he gets sent back, what do the Whalers do with him? Do they keep him despite a re-tooling season, ala the Brampton Battalion with Cody Hodgson last year. Or do they trade him ala the Oshawa Generals and John Tavares a few years ago? I'm not even sure what I'd do, so I can only imagine the quandary that Mike Vellucci would be faced with if Seguin does indeed return. What would you do if you were Plymouth?
So what do you think, who stays and who goes?