Dont get too excited by the OHL trade deadline from a Guelph perspective.
Bottom line is, the Guelph Storm doesn’t have to make any deals before the Jan. 10 OHL trade deadline.
The reward they would reap for the two most likely candidates to be dealt, Givani Smith and Garrett McFadden, would certainly assist in building the team for the future, but it wouldn’t be a game-changing harvest that they would reap for either or both of those players.
This is not 2015, when holding on to Jason Dickinson and Tyler Bertuzzi was the worst personnel decision in the history of the franchise. But don’t get me started on that one.
Smith says he hasn’t asked to be traded. But he’s not opposed to one either.
“It’s not that I’ve asked for a trade, but it’s my last year and we’re a middle-of-the-pack team and I want to win this year. But if George decides to give me away, then that will be it,” Smith said Thursday.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that Smith was on the other end of the trade banter, a young promising player sent by the Barrie Colts to Guelph along with C.J. Garcia and four draft picks for Ben Harpur and Chadd Bauman.
“I’m just playing hockey. Whatever happens, happens. If it’s here with the Guelph Storm or somewhere else. It’s what I’m here to do,” Smith said.
“It’s part of hockey. I’ve been traded before, I know how to deal with it. I don’t listen to all the rumours that are around, I just go to the rink and play hockey.”
Smith will be the player most teams come asking about.
While his season has been hindered by a pre-season ankle injury that kept him out of the lineup for the first 19 games, he’s looked to be rounding into form of late.
While Smith will never be a top scorer, his physicality and durability make him a desirable commodity for a serious conference contender. He would also come at a cheaper price than some of the elite forwards who are on the market.
And with a number of teams feeling they have a shot at a title, a bidding war could happen as the deadline approaches.
Defenceman Garrett McFadden is the only other Storm player likely to garner serious attention from other teams, because who doesn’t need a reliable puck-moving defenceman?
But moving McFadden, if he event wants to be moved, would be more difficult given his overage status. Not impossible, but difficult.
George Burnett isn’t about to give either player away, although the thought of doing so with McFadden wouldn’t be an offensive one. He’s been a solid player, captain and member of this community so to see him get a shot at a title would be a noble gesture by the club.
But a couple of fairly high draft picks, particularly for Smith, seems like a reasonable return.