For those wondering, yes, the Windsor Spitfires-Niagara IceDogs trade involving Logan Brown is the largest since the OHL allowed no-show first-round choices to be traded.
On Tuesday, the Spitfires anted huge to land the left wing with "unlimited potential, coughing up three second-round choices from 2015 to '18 and three additional picks to get Brown's rights from the Niagara IceDogs. In a way, it's another chapter in the long, colourful relationship (real or imagined; does it matter) between Windsor and the league itself.
There was the try-to-stay-competitive, try-to-plan-for-the-future straddling job that Spitfires GM Warren Rychel managed in 2010-11 after the OHL awarded the Memorial Cup to the then-Mississauga-St. Michael's Majors. Two years later, the OHL imposed sanctions that cost Windsor, among other assets, its 2013 first-round choice. Now, some of the proceeds from last season's had-to-be-done Kerby Rychel/Nick Ebert sell-off have been used for a trade that Windsor hopes, in conjunction with adding another promising offensive finisher in Luke Kirwan, will put it back on the OHL map.
Brown, of course, was said to be keen on playing in the Western Conference and not playing for his father, new Ottawa 67's coach Jeff Brown.
As much as this is about the player who finally has a landing spot, there's a nearly novelistic element to how this is all played out. It's kind of symbolic the other trigger-puller on the trade, Niagara coach-GM Marty Wiliamson, was coaching the Barrie Colts during the Rychel-gate saga four years ago (which is obviously a sheer coincidence, but we got a narrative going here).
From Bob Duff (@asktheduffer):
[Warren] Rychel is not shy in noting that those penalties did play a role in this deal.
“Last year we were sanctioned,” Rychel said. “This guy erases that sanction.
“With no first-rounder last year, this kind of helps. It’s like getting two this year.”
Those penalties, combined with 2010 and 2011 drafts that didn’t help the team much cast the 2008-09 and 2009-10 Memorial Cup champions adrift in the OHL wilderness.
Windsor missed the 2012-13 playoffs and was swept in the first round of post-season play in 2011-12 and 2013-14.
Attendance was flagging. It’s wonderful to be loved and OK to be hated, but no team wants to be associated with apathy. (Windsor Star)
The proof, as always, will be in the playing. The Spitfires have a nice line of succession when it comes to game-breaking scorers with centre/cause célèbre Josh Ho-Sang entering his 18-year-old season, followed by Kirwan and now Brown in the two descending age brackets.
Like Duff says, every plot needs a heavy. Whether this helps the Spitfires scale the same heights as they did a half-decade ago remains to be seen. In the here and now, six picks is a new price-point to pay for a first-rounder in September:
— Max Domi, London Knights, 2011: The Kingston Frontenacs obtained three second-round picks for Domi spread out from 2012 to '15. Kingston used the comp pick in '12 to take future Calgary Flames first-rounder Sam Bennett.
— Adam Bateman, Windsor Spitfires, '11: The Spitfires parted with two seconds, two thirds and a sixth to obtain the heralded puck-moving defenceman from the Niagara IceDogs.
The post-script, of course, is that Bateman is now with the Quebec League's Saint John Sea Dogs. Niagara is has since parted with Brook Hiddink, the defenceman it took in 2012 with the No. 20 overall compensatory pick it got by trading Bateman's rights.
— Nick Ebert, Windsor Spitfires; Kerby Rychel, Mississauga St. Michael's Majors, 2010: This was essentially a two-stage, three-team deal. Ebert had declined to report to Mississauga; Rychel had balked at joining Barrie, which claimed his OHL rights during the middle of the Colts-Spitfires championship series.
Windsor gave up two seconds to obtain Ebert before the season. Mississauga anted two seconds and a third to Barrie for Rychel, who became a Spitfire after a January deadline deal. (Remember how the Majors were hosting the 2011 Memorial Cup and that went on to give the OHL a footprint in the Toronto market?)
— Lucas Lessio, Oshawa Generals, 2009: The Lessio deal between the Gens and IceDogs involved conditions since the current Coyotes prospect was looking at playing for the University of Michigan. Based on the terms, in the long run Niagara received three seconds, one third and one fourth.
(It's not worth remembering which traded pick fell in which year; it's too complicated to do that in the OHL.)
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.