- They were in a pretty bad spot because of their lack of draft picks and very small window to win with Svechnikov likely leaving after this season. Their only move was Sokolov for Lipanov, which I don’t really understand. Both guys are likely gone after this year and are very similar players. Lipanov already had chemistry with Svechnikov, so now you’re just hoping that Sokolov can develop the same chemistry that the other two already had? I think they’re the 3rd best team in the East, and when it’s a “must win” year, that isn’t great news.
- Deadline Grade: C+
- If you’re going to go all-in, go all-in. And they did. Robert Thomas is my pick for best player in the Eastern Conference and for the rest of this season, that is a great trade. But if we’re looking into the future, I don’t really like it all that much. Thomas has a legit shot to make the NHL next year and never be in the OHL again, and Connor McMichael is a future superstar of the OHL. If you just traded a future superstar (and picks on top of that) for a couple months of Robert Thomas, that’s going to really hurt if Hamilton doesn’t win it all this year, and even with how good HAM is, I don’t think anyone gives them a real shot again SSM.
- Deadline Grade: B (bumped up to a A- if Thomas is back in the OHL next year)
- I’ll be honest, I hate what Kingston did this deadline. I get that Helvig is really good, but they had such a good, young core and they completely threw that out the window and made their “window to win” to only this season, and they’re not even the best team in the Eastern Conference. The Vilardi trade I liked because he’ll be back next year (although Day won’t be) and the Jones for Popov trade I also liked, but my god did KGN ever get robbed in Pu for Dunkley+2nd+3rd. Dunkley is already almost as good as Pu, and will be in the league for at least 2.5 more seasons, maybe even 3.5. That trade won’t take long to come back to bite them.
- Deadline Grade: B-
- From the outside looking in, you’d think James Richmond (Steelheads GM) was crazy for adding small and not selling off his stars at this deadline, but when you start to hear some of the horror stories about the trades he had lined up but we’re nixed because of no trade clauses, it’s pretty tough to blame him. Cole Carter and Reagan O’Grady are two really good depth pickups and the Mississauga roster, although underperforming, should be really talented. So there’s a chance that this team goes on a real run in the 2nd half now.
- Deadline Grade: B-
- They traded away Shankar and you’re thinking okay, they understand that next year they’re going to be really good and it makes sense to build around that. And then they go and trade 3 2nds to get OA Sam Miletic and do nothing else and you’re left wondering what they’re thinking. Does Miletic make them a better team? For sure. Does it make them likely to win even 1 playoff series? I’d say definitely not. And now they have 3 less high picks next year when they’re in an arms race with Oshawa and Ottawa in the Eastern Conference. Puzzling move for Billy Burke.
- Deadline Grade: C
- It’s rare to see North Bay willing to sell away their top guys, but I think Butler did a good job of finally realizing that it needed to be done. He got a good return for Dineen and McKenzie and even added a good veteran player who will help the young guys grow in Jake Henderson. Of course, now they need to make the draft picks count, but getting 4 2nds along with 2 young players for an OA and a D is a great start to a rebuild.
- Deadline Grade: A
- Much like North Bay, as long as there’s a clear message, then I’m good with whatever a GM decides to do. For Roger Hunt, the message was clear that next year is the Gens year to start adding. Getting 2 2nds+3rd for Riley Stillman was a great trade for Hunt and then he could afford to stand pat because either everyone else will be back, or the little return you’d get for a guy wouldn’t be worth the potential chemistry you’d ruin from a team who has points in 7 of their last 8 games. Hunt stayed patient and didn’t trade away any guys who could be back next year and also didn’t lose sight of the goal and trade away any picks to get a rentals.
- Deadline Grade: B+
- Similar to the Gens, it was clear that their focus is next season. They were able to add a couple depth guys in Boomhower/Cascagnette/Rippon and then got a good haul for Stratis, just furthering their already plentiful draft cupboard for next year. Ottawa is going to be a real problem next season.
- Deadline Grade: A-
- Mike Oke looked like he was finally going to do the right thing and sell his veterans when he traded Jonathan Ang. Didn’t get a great return, but at least he got back a 2000 born forward. But then he did nothing else. Apparently he’s content with letting Dylan Wells, Logan DeNoble and Nikita Korostelev walk and receive nothing in return for them. The other problem to getting no picks/players for them, is now the Petes are too good to be bad, which sounds like it doesn’t make any sense, but in other words, there’s no way the Petes enter the “Byfield sweepstakes” by tanking (barring several key injures) but they’re also not good enough to make a serious run at a title. They look destine for that 6-8 range, which is not a good spot to be for a team like the Petes who’s best 3 players all won’t be returning next season.
- Deadline Grade: D+
- The Sokolov for Lipanov trade was pretty much a wash, but I did like the O’Grady+3rd for Stratis move. Adds a high end D-man prospect for the Wolves while not really costing them all that much. They also got a pretty good return for Pezzetta (D prospect and 2 2nds). Add in the Nizhnikov pickup a couple weeks before the deadline and the Wolves did a great job of adding young, high end players while also getting a good return for some of their veterans.
- Deadline Grade: A