Forward Brett Hargrave has size that cannot be taught, which means the Sarnia Sting has probably already had numerous inquiries about their former top pick.
The 17-year-old, who's a strapping 6-foot-4 and 206 pounds, left the Sting on Thursday. Hargrave had yet to work into a scoring-line role with Sarnia, but his other tools, including his defensive awareness, might get him a look at the NHL draft in June. It's anyone's guess how long Hargrave will have to wait for a new address, but when it happens, he will be the sixth first-rounder from the 2012 OHL priority selection to change teams since last January. That is exceptionally high.
From Shaun Bisson:
“Brett has elected to go home,” said Sting assistant general manager Mark Glavin. “He and his family feel that he needs a fresh start with another team.”
While the former OHL first round draft pick has requested a trade, Glavin says the team is in no rush to make a move and will wait for a deal that best fits their needs.
Head coach Trevor Letowski says he was surprised by the decision.
“It's a decision that he made, and I'm not sure exactly why. It caught me off guard,” said the coach. (Sarnia Observer)
The Sting (3-6-0-1, last in the Western Conference through 10 games) might not be in a position of strength to make a trade, since Hargrave has already departed. One has to presume a certain amount of baggage with a top pick who doesn't find a fit with his original OHL team and isn't moved to bring in a 19-year-old when a team is loading up for a playoff run. That is the high-risk part. The high-reward part that we often lose sight of is that it's tough to divine everything that is going on with an athlete who is so young and emotionally vulnerable, despite whatever adviser-coached brave front the player has learned to present.
Hargrave has a lot to offer, if put into a good situation. He's the second 2012 first-rounder to move to a better situation after the Niagara IceDogs flipped wing Brook Hiddink to the Plymouth Whalers earlier this week.
The other four, mea culpa for the sensational headline, were all part up load-up moves. Last season, Brendan Perlini came to Niagara from Barrie, Jacob Middleton to Ottawa from Owen Sound, Zach Bratina to Saginaw via Plymouth and Matt Schmalz went to Sudbury in the Frank Corrado/Josh Leivo trade with Kitchener. Perlini, who's tied for first in OHL scoring with 22 points in 10 games, has enjoyed the softest landing.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.