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Trading Anthony Popovich was the best thing for all involved

The return might be debatable, but the time was right to make the trade

There is little joy, point or necessity in having a Cerberus in your goal crease.

So the Guelph Storm ended what could have been an ornery three-headed dog in goal by sending overage goaltender Anthony Popovich to the Flint Firebirds this week.

It’s a move that makes sense for the team and for all three of the goaltenders involved.

The only question mark is return for Popovich. 

Popovich and the team agreed over the summer that it was best for everyone if he moved on. He now gets a shot at impressing the pro ranks with a good year on a what should be a pretty good Flint team, which gets a reliable experienced goaltender at a moderate price.

In Guelph, undrafted Nico Daw gets a chance to prove he can be a number one goaltender. He’s earned the opportunity and showed late last season that he can play a string of very solid games in a row.

Rookie Owen Bennett gets to develop. It would make sense that he was promised a certain amount of playing in this his draft year.

Sentiment aside, the move was a win, win, win situation.

The only real argument that might be made is that they did not get enough in return for Popovich, a solid goalie in a league who backstopped his team to a Memorial Cup berth in a league that has been in a bit of a downswing in the goaltending department the past year or two.

But, like most commodities, it is the market that dictates the price.

To increase your return on a player you need more buyers, and that wasn’t there, at least not at this point in the season and the Storm was not willing (nor should they have been) to carry three goalies in the hope that the market increased.

It could have decreased.

And while you were waiting for that market to go up, three goalies, their agents and their parents would have been becoming increasingly frustrated.

And the development of your young goaltender slowed.

Keeping your fingers crossed that a team becomes desperate for a proven goaltender while all three of your goalies are unhappy is a gamble not worth taking.

Plus, Popovich’s overage status would prove limiting for some teams.

Someone may indeed overpay for a veteran goalie at the Jan. 10 deadline. But holding on to Popovich in hope that he would be the one they overpaid for was a gamble that made little sense to take.


Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 20 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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