It’s OHL Trade Deadline season and teams are stacking up.
One team sticks out more than the others and that’s the Guelph Storm. The Storm have made a number of acquisitions over the past little bit that include acquiring defenseman Fedor Gordeev (Toronto Maple Leafs prospect) from the Flint Firebirds, acquiring forward Mackenzie Entwistle (Arizona Coyotes prospect) from the Hamilton Bulldogs, and acquiring defenseman Markus Phillips (Los Angeles Kings prospect) from the Owen Sound Attack. These are already enough trades to deem the Storm as Memorial Cup Contenders, but yesterday they went ahead and completed yet another deal, and one that sticks out more than the rest.
The Storm made the move to acquire forward Nick Suzuki, defenseman Sean Durzi, and Zach Roberts from the Owen Sound Attack in exchange for forward Barret Kirwin, forward Zachary Poirier, defenseman Mark Woolley (all un-drafted) and four draft picks.
Suzuki, a Montreal Canadiens prospect, has been an elite OHL scorer ever since his draft year. He’s taken a slight step back in terms of production this year with 45 points in 30 games, but the fact that I call those totals “a step back” just goes to show you how incredible of a player he is. He is instantly going to receive top six minutes for the Guelph Storm and will be a very valuable piece to their offense and power play units. It’s hard to think the Habs won’t at least give him an extended look at training camp next season.
Durzi, a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect, is currently in the middle of what will more than likely be his last OHL season. After spending four seasons in Owen Sound, Durzi will put on a new uniform for the first time in his OHL career and bolster the back-end of a team looking to push for a Memorial Cup this year. With 16 points in 18 games so far this year, instantly becomes the Storm’s best defenseman in terms of offensive production and will likely play alongside of fellow Leafs prospect and new acquisition Fedor Gordeev.
What’s Next For Suzuki and Durzi?
As mentioned, both prospects are wrapping up what will likely be their final seasons in the OHL. Durzi could have played in the AHL this season, but the Maple Leafs opted to send him back to the juniors for one more run. Meanwhile, Suzuki turns 20 in August, so he will be eligible for the AHL next season. It seems fitting that both of these young talents will get a chance to compete for the crown of the CHL in their final seasons. Guelph currently sits in 4th place in the OHL and they’re seven points behind the Saginaw Spirit. These moves show that Guelph wants it all and won’t settle for an early round exit. If they can pull off a deep playoff run or, better yet, a championship, it will send both Durzi and Suzuki to the next chapters of their hockey career with an extra wave of confidence.
stats from eliteprospects.com