The Guelph Storm appear to have one more move to make before the OHL trade deadline, and you know it's going to be big. The same, it goes without saying, applies in London and Erie.
With just more than 48 hours left till the deadline, Storm GM Mike Kelly refilled his kitty of future priority selection picks by packaging off point-a-game scorer Hunter Garlent (who had "shared that he'd be open to a trade") to the Peterborough Petes for conscientious two-way winger Stephen Pierog and four second-rounders, starting in 2015 and spaced out until '19.
The Storm, in a three-way race with the Knights and Otters in the Midwest Division, paid big in December to add two-time 40-goal scorer Kerby Rychel, sending a guaranteed eight draft choices to the Windsor Spitfires. Now getting maximum value for Garlent, a one-time top pick whose development was stayed by a back injury last season, puts them in good stead.
Not that Garlent is a plug. Absolutely top-flight talent. But that's a ton of picks PLUS a player. Almost too good to be true. #OHL
— Mike Farwell (@farwell_ohl) January 8, 2014
Peterborough, which is sixth in a seller-laden Eastern Conference, isn't exactly buying low on Garlent, a former national under-18 team player, but there's a chance this could work out. The Petes are scoring fewer than three goals a night (117 over 40 games), so they could use another potent stick in their lineup. Garlent counted 42 points over 60 games as a 16-year-old; following a dip as a sophomore, he had 39 over 37 games in Guelph. On a per-game basis, the 5-foot-9, 173-pound forward was as productive at even strength (27 points) as Dallas Stars first-rounder Jason Dickinson (29 in 40), although that doesn't take differences in ice time and defensive responsibilites into account. Ultimately, it's a challenge trade for someone hoping to be taken by a NHL team as a re-entry player.
The Garlent-for-Pierog trade was the last of three notable swaps by contenders on Tuesday.
— Sault Ste. Marie, sitting in the 2 seed in the Western Conference, made a 2-for-1 swap with Sarnia for Bryan Moore (33 points in 31 games, including 27 at even strength) and raw 18-year-old defenceman Tyler Hore. Moore could be a nice complementary attacker for the Greyhounds. Hore, who just turned 18 late in the calendar year, might still be at the project stage but has a lot of tools, what with being 6-foot-3 while possessing some power-play acumen.
Since the Sting can never have too many players with a unique hockey background, it makes sense it would get 17-year-old defenceman Kevin Spinozzi in return. The former second-rounder hails from Kingston, Ont., but spent some his formative years in that hockey hotbed of France; Spinozzi's made some fans over his time in the Soo but was caught in a numbers game. Arriving in Sarnia could help reveal whether he stands apart from the crowd of good two-way junior defenders.
— Eastern Conference-leading Oshawa doubled its overage scoring output in one whir of the fax machine by prying 20-goal scorer Dylan Smoskowitz away from the Mississauga Steelheads for a 2016 second-rounder, giving it the righty-shooting natural goal scorer it lacked. Oshawa isn't exactly top-heavy offensively with four players averaging a point or more per game, but based on casual observation, it needed a shoot-first type. Smoskowitz had 53 goals over 102 games in two partial seasons with the Trout even though he was surely a top priority for opposing checkers.
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.