With the trade deadline passed in the Ontario Hockey League, there were teams in the western and eastern conference that have gotten stronger while some teams have sold their talents to look onto the future.
We start off with the London Knights who made a huge splash yesterday in acquiring 3 ‘A’ type players in defenseman Mitchell Vande Sompel, forward Dante Salituro, and forward Mitchell Stephens. These types of players bring a ton of skill and speed to the roster. With Mitchell Vande Sompel, the London native comes home with 37 points in 37 games and a leading candidate to win the OHL defenseman of the year award. For Dante Salituro, the overage forward returns to juniors after a short stint in the minor leagues. Salituro last season picked up 38 goals and 83 points last year in a mid-table Ottawa 67’s team. Finally with Mitchell Stephens, the former Saginaw Spirit captain adds a 2 way game to the Knights squad and was a key member of Team Canada who placed 2nd at this year’s world juniors tournament.
Now with these big type of trades results in costing your future which London handled pretty well. The Knights did give up a ton which included overage defenseman Chris Martenet, prospect Ian Blacker, 2nd round picks in 2017, 2018. 2019, 2021, and tons of third rounders and conditional picks as well but however on the bright side, The Knights were able to keep much of their young guys which included Liam Foudy, Robert Thomas, and Alex Formenton.
With the Knights being last year’s defending OHL and Memorial cup champions, another back 2 back looks good for the fans of the green and gold.
Heading to the other side of the border, we have the Erie Otters who are on their way for another long post-season ride battle in the Western Conference.
The major acquisitions being Anthony Cirelli, Warren Foegele and Cameron Lizotte. Erie who already had exceptional depth brings in more talent to the squad with Cirelli being the big name. After being passed in the OHL draft twice, the Generals took a chance on the forward and was it ever an amazing gamble as Cirelli was a big part of the Oshawa Generals winning the memorial cup in 2015. The forward had 34 points in 26 games with the Generals this season and was a fan favourite on Team Canada. Foegele was another excellent pick up as he has been one of the most productive over aged players this season and finally with Lizotte he brings toughness and more defensive depth to the Otter blueline.
and now moving to the other big player at the deadline was the Windsor Spitfires who were looking for an elite offensive player to add to their strong roster and they got one in Jeremy Bracco. For Bracco, he moves from a mid-table Kitchener side to the Memorial cup hosts in Windsor where his offensive talent is much needed. Bracco picked up 51 points for the Rangers this season while winning world junior gold with Team USA over the holiday break. The surprising part was how cheap the trade was where a depleted Spitfires draft pick system only gave up depth players in Cole Carter, Andrew Burns and 2nd round picks in 2023,2024 and a conditional 2nd rounder in 2025 which came to a shock as teams like Peterborough and London gave up a ton of draft picks for the players they acquired. The Spits also did acquire a couple of depth players in forward Adam Laishram from the Hamilton Bulldogs, and defenseman and Windsor native, Daniel Robertson from the Oshawa Generals.
With these deals and the deals earlier in the season that netted Windsor; Day, Nattinen, and Knott, Spitfire fans should be excited for the team they have to compete for the rest of the season and at the Memorial Cup.
Finally, elsewhere in the OHL. The Greyhounds only big acquisition was defenseman Noah Carroll from the Guelph Storm with a few picks, Owen Sound picking up Cordell James from the Barrie Colts to add a 2 way forward to the Attack lineup, and Mississauga and Peterborough adding offensive pieces for their push in the eastern conference standings race while their were teams that did a lot of selling which included Niagara and Hamilton.
With how it stands it will clearly be a tight race in the western conference between London, Sault Ste Marie, Erie, Windsor and quite possibly the Owen Sound Attack while in the eastern conference, The Petes look to be the favourites after Oshawa went into the route of selling its players but don’t be surprised to see Mississauga and Sudbury behind the Petes with how their rosters look.