The OHL Trade deadline will soon be upon us, as January 10 quickly approaches. Teams are often very active in the week leading up to the 10th, which means that we'll likely see some action in that time.
The question is, how much action? A lot of coaches and general managers have given their opinion that they think this will be a quiet deadline because teams may be unwilling to give away youth and because some substantial deals have already occurred. This could be true, but conversely could we not argue that because the field is so wide open, teams may look to make deals to push the tide in their favour. Especially in the West, where it looks like any team in playoff contention could take home the Conference title come playoff time. And what if that opponent is the Mississauga Majors? That would mean an automatic birth into the Memorial Cup.
In some ways, could this work in the opposite direction. So many teams are in contention, who exactly will be a seller? Who's willing to pack it in this season, despite the standings being so close (especially in the West).
So let's take a look at some guys who have a chance to move before the 10th (in no particular order).
Any 1994 birth date from the first round of the 2010 Priority Draft - Any Team
The window is open to trade 16 year olds drafted in the first round by teams in the last priority draft. This serves as a great bargaining chip for teams in contention looking to make a big play on the trade market. Obviously last year we saw Ryan Strome switch hands to the IceDogs in the Alex Pietrangelo deal. Worked out pretty well for the Dogs. If a team like Saginaw wants to add even more, do they trade Justin Kea? What about the Majors and Kerby Rychel? You have to think it could be hard for a club to get someone like Marcus Foligno or Dalton Prout without giving up a quality 1994.
Dalton Prout - Barrie Colts
This one is a no brainer. With the house cleaning Barrie has done this season and with their rebuilding effort in full stride, it makes no sense for them to hang on to Prout. At points this season, I think he's been rumoured to be going just about every contending team in the league. And with good reason. Prout is one of the best defenseman in the league and is a primetime number one defenseman at both ends of the ice (thanks to his improved offensive confidence this season). So what is the overager's most likely destination? Well, which team has an overager spot open, or potentially open? The Majors have one open, but I think they'd be more likely to use the spot on a forward. The Spitfires are still using Troy Passingham as a back up, could they go after Prout and jettison Passingham? My bet is on the Niagara IceDogs. The Dogs have made a big splash on the trade market already this season, but coach and GM Marty Williamson is obviously familiar with Prout and could really put his team's blueline on par with Mississauga's by acquiring him. Veteran leader and grinder Dylan MacEachern is a longtime Dog, but if the chance to acquire Prout is there, he's expendable.
Taylor Carnevale - Barrie Colts
Carnevale is having a breakout season for the young Colts and has been one of the better powerplay performers in the league this season. As a 1991 without an NHL affiliation, he's a likely returnee as an overager next year too...an impact one at that. The Colts aren't likely to be serious playoff contenders next year, which means it makes little sense to hang on to Carnevale too. The Mississauga Majors could use an upgrade down the middle, but I'm not sure if Carnevale is their man. My bet is either the Kingston Frontenacs or Oshawa Generals. Weird choices I know, but both make perfect sense. The Fronts need the offensive depth and have already made significant trades this season that would suggest their going for broke this year. With their recent struggles, they really need to make another move. Meanwhile, the Generals are another team in need of a quality offensive center and could use the injection on their powerplay too. Carnevale makes sense as an acquisition for them too, as he'd slot very well as an overager for them next season with Andy Andreoff and (likely) one of Maggio or Valentine (should they not be signed by their NHL teams).
Marcus Foligno - Sudbury Wolves
Another guy heavily rumoured to be moved. Foligno has had quite the breakout season in the league and may very well be the top available player on the market. He's an instant injection to any team in the league, in all situations. But he's not going to come cheaply. Personally, I'd be surprised if Foligno isn't a Ranger or a Major by the end of the week. Those two destinations make the most sense. The Rangers could use another scoring winger and he'd fit very well into their line up. They've also got a lot of decent 1993's to offer up to Sudbury (like the improving Ben Thomson). The Majors are coached by Foligno's current WJC coach Dave Cameron, who's obviously a fan. He'd make them an even harder team to play against.
Eric O'Dell - Sudbury Wolves
O'Dell is still trying to find his legs after recovering from offseason heart surgery. But once he gets back into a groove, he's a terrific player and someone with the versatility to play on the wing or down the middle. The complication is that he's an overager, which means not every team is going to make a play for his services. I think the team that makes the most sense is the Mississauga Majors. They could use his veteran presence down the middle as the team's second line center, particularly if they can get Foligno and O'Dell as a packaged deal. Not to mention they have that aforementioned overager spot open. But something tells me it could be the Windsor Spitfires who go the hardest. They could use another quality offensive center and have some flexibility in their overage spots (again with Passingham).
Josh McFadden - Sudbury Wolves
I haven't heard his name thrown around a lot in trade circles, but it's somewhat puzzling to me. The Wolves are still likely a playoff team and could be better next year when McFadden is an overager. But he's also a guy who could probably fetch a very good return as a non overage option. He's definitely one of the more underrated players in the league as a competent top pairing guy who plays both ends of the ice and can run your powerplay. Pretty much any team in the league could use another quality defenseman. If Windsor makes a play for Eric O'Dell, I could see McFadden being a part of the deal too. I could also see one of those middle of the pack teams pulling the trigger to improve their defense, the likes of Oshawa, Eric, and Guelph.
Michael D'Orazio - London Knights
The question is, are the Knights really ready to trade some veterans and give up on this season? I think they're still a playoff caliber team, but they aren't Memorial Cup contenders and as such, it'd be a smart move to get a little younger. D'Orazio probably serves as the team's most likely candidate to be dealth, even if the interest him might not be high. If Mitch Gaulton doesn't bring back much, will D'Orazio? Even such, do the other teams in the league see D'Orazio as an overager upgrade over what they currently have? Seeing as the Knights aren't likely to just give him away, I can't see him moving.
Colin Martin - London Knights
Martin has definitely worn out his welcome with Knights fans, it's just a matter of whether the Hunters are looking to trade him. The big 1991 forward is someone who is likely to be moved IMO. The Knights already moved another 1991 (Michael MacDonald) this season, so it only makes sense that Martin goes too. He has that big body and fairly adequate offensive skills and could make a quality top 9 forward for a team looking for depth going into the playoffs. Pick a team out of a hat and you've got a likely candidate. But if I must choose somewhere to place my bet, I'll go with the Owen Sound Attack who could really use Martin's size on a secondary scoring line.
Brett Thompson - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
There really hasn't been any talk about the Hounds becoming sellers this deadline, but I'm not sure why. It's pretty clear that this team doesn't have what it takes to be a serious playoff contender this season. But they do have a quality young nucleus that should grow into a very strong team next year and the year after. Brett Thompson is one of the best goal scorers in the league and the type of guy any OHL team could use. But he's a 1991 and the type of guy who may not fit in with this team's young nucleus moving forward. Why not trade him and get another quality young player? I think the team that could have the most interest in him are the Guelph Storm. They need the secondary scoring badly. Heck, any team in the league could use him too.
Vern Cooper - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
An overager, it makes even more sense for the Hounds to trade Cooper since he definitely won't be around for the team's brighter days. He's a hard working veteran who should attract some attention on the open market. Again, the whole overager thing throws a kink in acquiring him for most teams, but there's bound to be at least some interest (even if the return isn't great). He'd be a great little acquisition to a team who's going to make the playoffs, but who has a young team that could use another veteran to learn from. Would a team like Sarnia, Peterborough, or Belleville have any interest if the price was a mid round pick?
BONUS - Igor Bobkov - London Knights
Number 11 on the list, Bobkov is a throw in because I think it makes sense that he gets dealt, but I don't think it will happen. The Bobkov experiment in London just hasn't gone well this year and he's likely lost a lot of confidence within the organization. Considering his lack of playing time and high draft position, the Anaheim Ducks would probably love to see him dealt too. But how many teams have an Import spot open & need a goaltender...for just this season. It's pretty obvious Bobkov won't be in the OHL next year, so he's the very definition of a rental (should he be dealt). He likely has very little trade value too. Maybe the Erie Otters could have some interest, with an import spot open, and the need for a goalie to take the pressure off fellow Russian Ramis Sadikov.
What are your thoughts on all of this? Who's going where?