OHL Report: Guelph Storm Stockpiling Players Before the Trade Deadline
It is that time of the year, the last opportunity for teams across the Ontario Hockey League to add players that could play key pieces for their postseason success. One team that has been the busiest this past month has been the Guelph Storm. Guelph is currently second in the Midwest Division, and fourth in the Western Conference. Guelph General Manager and Head Coach George Burnett knew he had to bolster his lineup if the Storm wanted any chance of making it to the Robertson Cup Finals, and made a few phone calls around the league. Let’s take a look at the moves Burnett has made over the past week.
MacKenzie Entwistle from Hamilton for five draft picks
One of three trades Burnett made on January 5th, Guelph received a member from Team Canada’s World Junior team. Entwistle comes over from a Hamilton team that has greatly taken a dip from last season. The Georgetown, ON native was key player in Hamilton’s run to the Memorial Cup Championship Game last spring. Before joining the Storm, Entwistle had scored 27 points in 29 games, and had two assists for Guelph in Tuesday’s win over London. He’s reliable to win the battles in the corners, and is hard on the forecheck in the offencive zone. His toughness and scoring touch in front of the net will help the Storm down the stretch.
The Bulldogs received a good number of picks from Guelph. Hamilton gained Kitchener’s second and third-round picks in 2020, along with North Bay’s second pick in 2020. Windsor’s third pick in the 2021 draft and Guelph’s third-round pick in 2023 were also heading to the Bulldogs.
Markus Phillips from Owen Sound for six draft picks
After trading Ryan Merkley back in early December, the Storm knew they would need a veteran defenceman added to the lineup. Enter Markus Phillips. The Los Angeles prospect has only 11 points this season, but that does not reflect his puck moving abilities. Phillips is capable of clean zone exits, and clean zone entries. However, his reliability in his own zone is what attracted Burnett in making this trade.
“Markus will be an excellent addition to our back end,” said Burnett. “He plays heavy minutes in every situation, and is one of the premier all-around defencemen in our league.” -Guelph Storm
Owen Sound took Peterborough’s conditional second-round pick in this year’s draft from Guelph. Also included was Mississauga’s second round pick in 2020, Erie’s third-rounder in 2021, North Bay’s 2022 second-round pick, and a third-round pick in 2024 and conditional fourth-round pick in 2023 from Guelph.
Fedor Gordeev from the Flint Firebirds for four draft picks
The Flint Firebirds have really struggled this season, and still with rumours of moving Ty Dellandrea, GM Barclay Branch sent the Toronto draft pick to Guelph. Gordeev has been by far the best d-man in Flint this season, and has produced steadily despite the play of his team around him. He has 16 assists (19 points) in 32 games with the Firebirds before the transaction. His hands and shot are exceptional coming from the back end, and his size makes him a threat in his own end. He’ll be most likely used as a penalty killer for the Storm, as he will be able to move players out of the sight of goaltender Anthony Popovich.
Guelph sent Mississauga’s second-round pick in 2021 and their own second-rounder in 2024 to Flint. A conditional third-round pick in 2022 from Sudbury and a conditional fifth from Guelph in 2022 was also included in the deal.
Nick Suzuki, Sean Durzi, Zachary Roberts from Owen Sound for Barret Kirwin, Zach Poirier, Mark Woolley, and four draft picks.
In arguably the biggest move made this trade deadline season in all the CHL, the Storm went out and snagged three big pieces from Owen Sound. The odd part about this trade, is that, currently, Owen Sound is only two points behind the Storm, and can still make a run in the playoffs. Nevertheless, the Attack still get a good return for what they are giving up.
Zachary Roberts is one the most underlying pieces coming to Guelph. After missing the first two months of the season with an injury, it has been tough for Roberts to come back to form. However, a new location may result in better production from the Stouffville native.
Durzi is another defenceman that Burnett has added to deepen is blueline even more. A very capable asset in his own zone that can produce in the offencive end, Durzi can play anywhere in any situation that he is asked to. The Toronto prospect loves to use his legs to create offencive rushes from his own end, and his abilities with the puck are some of the best in the ‘O’.
There is no question Nick Suzuki is the best prospect the Montreal Canadiens have. Just getting back into the swing of things following the World Junior tournament, Suzuki will be a needed scoring piece for the Storm. When he was traded, Suzuki was second on the Attack in scoring with 45 points in 30 games. He’ll be almost immediately placed on the power play, and paired up with Guelph leading-scorer Nate Schnarr. Suzuki’s presence on the Guelph roster throws Guelph from simply a playoff team to a contender for a Memorial Cup birth.
Three players are packing their bags and heading to Owen Sound. Barret Kirwin has put up 20 points in 36 games, while Zach Poirier has scored 15 points in 38 games. The defenceman Mark Woolley heads over to the Attack with a much improved defencive game. Last season he was -13 with Guelph, but in 29 games this season, he is a +13.
The Storm also sent their fourth-round pick in this year’s draft, a third-rounder in 2021, and a second and a conditonal third in 2022 as apart of the trade.
All stats found on ontariohockeyleague.com