When a success-starved team finally has a breakthrough that boosts expectations, the drawback is that it often comes when major contributors are aging out of major junior hockey.
The Peterborough Petes winning their first playoff round, in dramatic, down-to-their-last-out fashion last spring was a feel-good story in the OHL. (Any time "surmount" can be used cromulently in a headline is a feel-good story.) The club's complement of overages, goalie Andrew D'Agostini and defencemen Nelson Armstrong and Clark Seymour, were all on the preventing-goals side of it. It appears the Petes are partway to filling those big skates on the back end, with Tampa Bay Lightning second-round choice Dominik Masin, Peterborough's import draft selection, prepared to come aboard.
From Mike Davies:
Craig Oster, of Newport Sports Management Inc., says Masin wants to come to Peterborough and he's confident an arrangement can be made with the Czech Republic ice hockey federation to make it happen. Masin is under contract to Slavia Prague but Oster doesn't see that as a stumbling block.
“Dominik is very interested and has been very interested in coming to play junior hockey for some time,” Oster said. “We've had some issues in making sure he was eligible and available to come over and play. Those are issues we're continuing and trying to resolves, however, we feel we are getting much closer to it.
“He was pleased to be drafted by Peterborough. We weren't sure what exactly was going to happen in the import draft because he wasn't 100% available to come and play junior hockey next season,” Oster said. “We're still very hopeful we're going to be able to work it out to allow him to be in Peterborough.”
When asked his confidence level of securing Masin's release from the Czechs, Oster replied: “Pretty high.” (prepared to come aboard)
For those scoring at home, that would mean a player Steve Yzerman drafted is joining the Lightning GM's former OHL team, although one wouldn't chalk that up to it.
Masin, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound defenceman who likes to use his big frame assertively but is said to need some brushing up on his decisions with the puck, is intent on playing in North America. He is theoretically eligible for the American league but NHL teams rarely exercise that option with 18-year-old defencemen.
The Petes have holes to fill, but could be an interesting breakout team with Anaheim Ducks first-rounder and Team Canada hopeful Nick Ritchie heading into his fourth and final OHL season. The Eastern Conference is a little like baseball's AL East, with no team that is right at the apex of its growth cycle. Getting Masin, and possibly dealing for a No. 1 goalie once the OHL trade freeze lifts on Tuesday, are no doubt high priority.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.