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Necessary changes coming to Storm roster

Carrying a roster of 25 players isn't good for anyone
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Change isn't something you would expect from a team off to a 3-1 start to the young season, but it is coming to the Guelph Storm.

Not out of need, but out of necessity.

The team is currently carrying 25 players on its roster. When everyone is healthy and no one is suspended, that's five guys sitting in the stands wearing suits and looking awkward.

Most OHL teams will carry 22 players. At the most 23.

So decisions have to be made soon on who goes and where they go.

It's not fair to have 16-year-old Luke Moncada or 17-year-olds Nick Deakin-Poot, Cedric Ralph or Quinn Hannah sitting in the stands instead of developing their skills.

It's not fair to have a good kid like Brock Philips, who at 18 has done everything the team has asked of him over the past couple of years, sitting in the stands instead of playing.

It's not good for them and it's not good for team chemistry.

Everyone toes the party line when you're winning, but as soon as things start to go south someone - be it the player, the parents or the agent - will start asking questions.

The question is, who?

If it was simply a matter of keeping the best 22 players, that question might be easier to answer. But it isn't.

That's not how things work in the OHL and it's not how things work on a team that is still rebuilding.

Unless you're a legitimate Memorial Cup contender, in junior hockey it's all about the future. Might be the near future, might be down the road, but it's always about the future.

Quinn Hannah is not one of the team's best six defencemen at this point in his career, but he hasn't yet been given the chance to develop at this level. Plus if you move or demote Hannah you (a) wouldn't get much in return and (b) are keeping a defence that is a little unbalanced when it comes to age.

Deakin-Poot is a classic big body and it's a time-honed hockey adage that bigger players often need time to develop (see: Auger, Justin).

Ralph has already had a season of grazing at the tier II level.

Moncada could be a choice, but what commitments have been made to him?

Barret Kirwin would be another just based on his age, but quite frankly he looks very solid at the OHL level and would appear to be best suited developing in Guelph, not elsewhere.

I'm sure Mike Kelly is working on things to try and cull the herd somewhat.

He will do what's best for the team but also what's best for the players. He has no desire to let anyone stew on the sidelines any longer than he has to.

The move could be a veteran already in the lineup to make room for youngsters. A move that would garner more return. Or it could be more housekeeping and moving a player for a late pick. Or it could be a demotion of a younger player.

Whatever it is, it's coming soon.



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