Let’s take a look at some good ones that got away from the Guelph Storm over the years.
Four current NHLers who coulda’, woulda’, shoulda’ played for the team over the years but never did.
Mike Hoffman, Ottawa Senators
Few remember this, but the Kitchener native actually played an exhibition game with the Guelph Storm.
An undrafted free agent, he had a tryout with Guelph in 2006 and played one exhibition game in Brampton but didn’t make Dave Barr’s team.
Hoffman went back to Kitchener and played extremely well in junior B, had a two-game cup of coffee with the Kitchener Rangers then found himself in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League where he played three years before being drafted as an overager in the fifth round by the Ottawa Senators.
Hoffman has played in 217 NHL games, totaling 56 goals the past two seasons.
Slater Koekkoek, Tampa Bay Lightning
Approaching the 2014 trade deadline the Memorial Cup-bound Storm were looking to add a couple of major pieces. They found them in Kerby Rychel and Slater Koekkoek of the Windsor Spitfires.
The deal was made, Guelph would send draft picks, Brody Milne and a nod-and-wink deal for highly-regarded U.S. prospect Luke Kirwan down the road. Word of the deal leaked.
Funny thing is, nobody asked Koekkoek and as was his negotiated right, he refused the trade. Some say he was sick of being dealt, some say he only wanted to go to London, some say he wanted the season over so he could embark on his pro career.
Much scrambling ensued and in a stroke of profound good fortune, the Storm ended up with Nick Ebert instead.
Plan B went on to have an outstanding playoff run for the Storm with 16 points in 20 games.
Koekkoek’s season ended early when he reinjured his shoulder in a fight.
Clifford has played 486 NHL games.
Kyle Clifford, Los Angeles Kings
Heading into the 2010-11 OHL season Guelph Storm coach/general manager Jason Books was looking for a big, tough, skilled winger to compliment a pretty decent amount of skill he thought the team had.
He figured he had that missing piece of the puzzle lined up in 19-year-old Clifford of the Barrie Colts.
A deal was arranged to bring Clifford to the Storm before the season.
Unfortunately for Guelph, the Los Angeles Kings decided to keep Clifford on their roster that season and Clifford never made it back to the OHL, or Guelph.
Kyle Palmieri, New Jersey Devils
The Storm drafted the New Jersey native in the sixth round of the 2008 OHL Prioroity Selection Draft knowing he would be a tough sign.
They tried very hard to do that, even visiting the family in New Jersey.
But Palmieri chose the USNTDP program and then went on to play one season of NCAA hockey for former Storm coach Jeff Jackson at the University of Notre Dame before moving on to the professional ranks with the Anaheim Ducks, who made him a first round pick..
Palmieri has 337 NHL games under his belt, with 84 goals.