- Although it would’ve been nearly impossible for Erie to have a bad deadline (even the bad GM’s could’ve gotten a ton in return for Raddysh), Erie also added ’00 born D-man Luke Beamish to go with ’01 Fowler and 5 2nds+2 3rds. If they had’ve moved Sambrook by himself, I think they probably could’ve gotten more for him (look at the Dineen return) but Erie has shown that they’re really good at drafting, so they’ll settle for the picks. Dave Brown also did a good job of making the current roster pretty bad (Maksimovich/Lodnia will still steal some games) and I’d expect a top 3 overall pick coming for Erie in the next draft.
- Deadline Grade: B+
- Love the return they got for Mattinen. McCourt alone would’ve been a decent return and they got 2 2nds and a 5th on top of that. Flint’s biggest move came at the end of November but being able to add McCourt and Roberts (along with a bunch of picks) to an already young team was a nice job by Barclay Branch. Now they’ll need to convince some of the top guys to come to them with these high picks they’ll have, and that will start with Quinton Byfield.
- Deadline Grade: B+
- Guelph’s only trade had them getting 2 2nds for Givani Smith. I like the deadline for them because they clearly have a plan, which is that next year they’ll be very active. They kept their young core in tact and moved Smith, because he won’t be back next year, for a good return. Guelph has set themselves up to be much more active next year’s deadline, which sounds easy, but not every team is able to realize when their window is and not make a silly trade for short-term gains but will hurt you down the road (i.e. Niagara-Miletic)
- Deadline grade: B
- Kitchener had a very, very risky deadline. Their big get was Logan Brown, who is currently out with an injury, and has been for 2 weeks now. But the even bigger risk in my opinion was trusting Mario Culina to be your goalie for a long playoff run. While I do think that Culina is a pretty good goalie, Kitchener will need him to be better than “pretty good” when they’re in rounds 2 and potentially round 3 against Fazio (Sarnia) and Villalta (SSM). I do like Kitchener’s roster, but with all the big name players that were on the market, there would’ve been other guys I would’ve traded my ’01 first round pick+2 2nds+3rd+5th for, and I would’ve paid a little more and got a more proven guy as my goalie, since this is looking like a “must win” year for KIT. While it wasn’t a trade, getting Michael Vukojevic to sign was massive. I don’t know if it will play as big of a factor this season, but down the road he’ll become one of the best D-men in the OHL. He’s going to be a monster.
- Deadline Grade: B-
- London haters should probably just skip this one. My god did Rob Simpson ever rob Kingston in the Pu for Dunkley trade. Not only did he get an ’00 forward who’s already over a point per game but he also got a 2nd and a 3rd in the deal. Only doing that move would’ve been a good deadline, but that wasn’t even close to all. They also got future superstar Connor McMichael (along with 4 2nds and a 3rd) for Robert Thomas, who might not even be back in the OHL next year. And then got Popov+2nd+3rd for rental Max Jones and got 3 2nds for rental Sam Miletic. 2 elite young forwards, an above average young forward and 8 2nds+5 3rds for 3 guys who definitely won’t be back next year and then a 4th guy who has a very good chance of not being back next year? Only London could pull that off, wow.
- Deadline Grade: A+
- Traded Matt Struthers+2nd for Brett McKenzie as their only move. Very puzzling deadline from Dale DeGray. For the 2nd year in a row, DeGray refused to pay up for any huge moves and for the 2nd straight year, a great roster on paper is going to get wasted. This poor rating isn’t really because of what DeGray didn’t do at the deadline, but more what he didn’t do the months before the deadline, because honestly by the time January hit, it was too late for him to make any big moves, OS had already lost too much ground. Owen Sound still has no OHL level starting goalie and will see a bunch of players graduate, including Jonah Gadjovich, Brett McKenzie, and Jacob Friend. Unless he wants to be mediocre every year, eventually DeGray is going to have to adapt to the times and pay up at a deadline or his teams will keep being behind and be playing with one hand tied behind their backs.
- Deadline Grade: D+
- I thought Saginaw could’ve added some younger big names with all the picks they have stocked up, but them not doing anything just shows their being patient and letting this young roster keep playing and they’ll make the big moves in the future. The only move they made was to add Reilly Webb for 2nd+5th but they still have a million 2nds and 3rds to play with in the next 5-8 years.
- Deadline Grade: B
- They added some really good players without paying the huge price that some of the other teams did. They managed to get Cam Dineen, Jonathan Ang and Michael Pezzetta without trading away Jamieson Rees. 3 of their B/C level younger players and 5 2nds+3rd+2 4ths were all it took to get 3 really good players that will help for their playoff run. It’s impressive considering that Cam Dineen is one of the best defenceman in the league, Jonathan Ang might be the fastest skater in the OHL and can absolutely dominate for stretches and Michael Pezzetta is the type of player that is super valuable come playoff time. Keeping Rees and also making the roster good enough to give them a chance come playoff time made this a great deadline for Nick Sinclair.
- Draft Grade: A
Sault Ste. Marie
- I was honestly expecting Sault Ste. Marie to do a little more if we’re being honest. Not that they really needed to, but they were linked to just about every big name out there and then just made the 1 trade with Erie. If you’re a SSM fan then the Tammela trade was a very low risk, high reward move by Raftis because if Tammela never comes then it costs you nothing and if he does come then you get an NHL drafted skill player for just a 3rd round pick. But if you’re not a SSM fan then you’re wondering why SSM might have wasted 1 of only 2 Euro spots with a guy who has played 2 games in the last 2 seasons. The OHL playoffs are dominated by the guys who are willing to get dirty and play tough, and that seems to be as far from Jonne Tammela’s m.o. as there could possibly be. But hey, maybe he just got really unlucky and is getting healthy now and is going to show the OHL what kind of player he really is. That’s what Raftis is hoping for at least. While the deadline wasn’t anything crazy for SSM, they didn’t even need to make a move to be the best team in the league, and that’s just a testament to the unbelievable drafting that they’ve done, especially in the ’98 born draft.
- Deadline grade: B
- They were able to get an ’01 born rookie 1st round D-man+2 2nds+3rd+5th for an injured star and an OA D-man, while also getting an ’01 born rookie 1st round F+4 2nds+3rd for a guy who hasn’t played at all this season with a back injury and a D-man who’s gone after this year. They draft cupboard was completely empty coming into this deadline and now it’s looking a lot better and they didn’t even have to move Michael DiPietro.
- Deadline Grade: A-