Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday Top 10 - Players Who Could be Traded Before or During the 2009-10 Season

First off, apologies for the lack of list last Sunday. I ended up going away on vacation.

For today's Top 10, I will get out my crystal ball and attempt to predict the OHL players who could be changing teams in the upcoming year. I expect that some of these players could be dealt before the start of the 2009-10 season, while others may be trade victims closer to the deadline when their teams fall out of contention.

As for the actual ranking (number allotment), the list was organized by the likelihood of players actually getting traded. Also taken into account is the potential impact a player could make on their new team. This impact is the reason I didn't include some lesser players who could have a higher likelihood of being traded.

Your top 10 players who could be traded in 2009-10.

10. Nathan Moon - Kingston Frontenacs
Moon is the definitely the least likely player to get traded on this list, however I would not have included him if I felt like there was no chance he was sent packing. I think a lot depends on the way the Fronts start the 2009-10 season. For maybe the first time in a while, the Fronts have some elevated expectations for next season. Many expect the Fronts to return to the playoffs thanks to solid young talent like Erik Gudbranson, Ethan Werek, and Taylor Doherty, in addition to veterans like Moon and Brian Lashoff. Not to mention the club no has a full season of "Killer" behind the bench. But as many Kingston fans can tell you, expectations only go so far. Moon has long been rumored to be in and out of favor in Kingston, despite his talent level. If the Fronts struggle yet again and are on pace to miss the playoffs, Moon could be the first guy shipped off to a contending team. However, I could also see Moon dealt as part of a package to help the team get better goaltending. For instance, a team like Sault Ste. Marie could use a talented center, while they have Cody St. Jacques and Bryce O'Hagan as bargaining chips in net.

9. Eric O'Dell - Sudbury Wolves
While O'Dell is currently the offensive leader of the Wolves, I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility to see him traded. The Wolves could be more inclined to let John McFarland and Marcus Foligno play center this year, which could make O'Dell a trade piece in order to improve the team's blueline. Sudbury could be a team that falls anywhere from the middle of the East to out of the playoffs. A lot depends on the way their defence and goaltending, as well as John McFarland, perform. Perhaps O'Dell is the guy they use in order get a solid two-way defenceman, maybe a guy like Jacob Muzzin from Sault Ste. Marie, Michael D'Orazio in Owen Sound, or Matt Clark in Brampton.

8. James Livingston - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
I've heard a lot of rumours about Livingston being on the trade block and I don't really understand them. The Hounds should be much improved this season and Livingston is currently their most dangerous offensive player, as well as a veteran presence. I have high expectations for him to take huge steps forward this season, likely his last in the OHL. That being said, you can't ignore rumours, so I've included him on this list. Perhaps the Hounds feel that their year is next year, and could look to flip Livingston for a younger offensive player.

7. Brett Parnham - Oshawa Generals
I have a hard time seeing the Generals being significantly better than they were last season. They could probably slot anywhere from 6-10 in the East, depending on the steps forward some of their "role" players take. Parnham, a 50 goal scorer last season for Oshawa, could be a prime target for trade should the Generals falter. Pretty much anyone in the league would be happy to add this sniper to their team and as such, Parnham could have a dozen likely destinations should he be traded.

6. Cody St. Jacques - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
St. Jacques has apparently expressed his interest to be traded to Hounds management, and with good cause. He's suddenly third on the depth chart after the signing of NHL 2nd round pick and Import selection Robin Lehner. The Hounds starter from last season is definitely a capable OHL starting goaltender and deserves a chance to show what he can do, after previously getting stuck behind Thomas McCollum in Guelph. There is always the chance that Bryce O'Hagan goes instead, with St. Jacques kept as a veteran mentor to Lehner. However, with his trade request, I'd say the likelihood is that St. Jacques is the one on his way out. There are a few teams in the OHL with an insecure goaltending situation that St. Jacques could help, like Kingston, Erie, Windsor, Brampton, and his former team in Guelph.

5. Matt Martin - Sarnia Sting
After such a strong season in Sarnia this past season, Martin's future with the club (and the OHL) is in doubt. Martin would prefer to play in the AHL, since he is an Islanders draft selection, however he's apparently playing hardball with New York for a contract. With a demand for a higher salary (rumours say as high as first round money!), the Islanders have yet to sign Martin. This makes him a candidate to return to the OHL for his overage season. However, he's apparently expressed that he would rather not be in Sarnia, especially with the team going through a slight rebuild. Also complicating the situation is the number of OA's Sarnia could have returning (upwards of 6). If Martin is indeed in the OHL next year, I don't expect it to be with Sarnia. He could have a big impact to whatever team he's traded to. Don't count out his hometown Spitfires making a pitch for him, especially if several of their OA's do not return after being signed/drafted to the NHL (MacDermid, Greenop, Timmins, Young).

4. Bryan Cameron - Belleville Bulls
Cameron failed to earn a contract from the LA Kings (after being a 3rd round pick), and also failed to be re-drafted, meaning he's likely headed back to the OHL this season. There is always the chance he catches on somewhere at a training camp, or on an AHL contract, however those situations appear to be longshots at this point. If he returns to the OHL, I don't expect it to be with Belleville, who's gone into full rebuild mode. Cameron is a 3 time 30 goal scorer in the league and one of the most dangerous offensive wingers in the OHL. If he's put on the trade block, I'd expect him to generate quite the amount of interest. I'm sure a team like London would love to get their hands on him to help their powerplay. They have the room for an overager too.

3. Matt Clark - Brampton Battalion
Clark made quite the splash in his first season in the league, going from unknown Junior A player to a top 3 defenceman on a Conference winning team and a 2nd round NHL draft pick. As a late 1990, Clark is likely playing in his last season in the OHL (as a high draft pick, he's bound to be signed by Anaheim after the season). Brampton is rebuilding in the wake of the reality that Matt Duchene will not be returning. That leaves Clark a probable trade option for the Battalion. I've heard rumours about Barrie possibly being interested. With Barrie loading up on offence, Clark would be an absolutely perfect acquisition for them in order to secure their blueline. If not Barrie, I'm sure their are 18 other teams who'd take Clark off Brampton's hands.

2. Tyler Beskorowany - Owen Sound Attack
With one of the league's top goaltending duo's broken up already (Hutchinson and Di Salvo in Barrie), it's only a matter of time before the one in Owen Sound follows suit. With Scott Stajcer having one more year of eligibility over Beskorowany, I'd expect him to be the one the stays to be a part of the young and improving Attack. That leaves Tyler Beskorowany on the outside looking in. This Dallas Stars 2nd round pick has had trouble performing consistently, but the talent has always been there. He has the potential to be one of the best goaltenders in the OHL and should be an attractive option for many of the teams with suspect goaltending. If Josh Unice falters in Windsor, I'd expect the Spitfires to be the team that goes hard after Beskorowany. I could also see Erie making a big play for the big man.

1. Shawn Lalonde - Belleville Bulls
Without question, Lalonde enters the 2009-10 season as one of the best blueliners in the OHL. He's an elite two-way defender who can instantly make a team's defence better. As previously mentioned, Belleville is rebuilding and thus Lalonde is likely to be traded. He could likely bring back a pretty handsome return to Belleville. I've heard a lot of rumours about Barrie having interest, similar to the Matt Clark situation. However, in the end, I'd expect the London Knights to be the ones who get Lalonde. With the graduation of John Carlson, Kevin Montgomery and possibly Michael Del Zotto, the Knights could be without a proven powerplay QB and number one defenceman. Lalonde would fit in incredibly well with the Hunter's system and could be a mentor to the highly touted Scott Harrington.

Anyone I missed? Anything you disagree with? Any rumours you're hearing? Let me know!

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