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Windsor Spitfires lose Pat Sieloff to Calgary Flames, drastically altering their outlook in OHL

Sieloff helped Team USA win the world junior gold medal during his only season with Windsor (OHL Images)

Having the recruiting clout to land an American talent such as shutdown defenceman Pat Sieloff can have a double edge, which the Windsor Spitfires are feeling today.

No doubt Windsor envisioned Sieloff would play more than 45 games in the Ontario Hockey League when he was convinced to hop the border in 2012 rather than play collegiately at Miami of Ohio. Since Sieloff was not in a Canadian junior league at the time the Calgary Flames took him in the second round of the 2012 NHL draft, they have the option to place him in the AHL. Calgary seems to be leaning that way in the wake of Sieloff's impressive, despite being injury-marred, preseason.

Those are the breaks of the game. The Plymouth Whalers, Windsor's West Division rival, could also lose Sieloff's former U.S. national development team defence mate Connor Carrick, who has signed with the Washington Capitals, who can place him in the AHL.

Everyone and her/his dog has an opinion on whether it is better for a 19-year-old defenceman to return to major junior, be a captain, play 30-plus minutes a night and experience a world junior championship or learn the pro game on the job in the American League. I suspect it's probably an either/or; it's tough to answer definitely since the CHL/NHL agreement means it is usually a hypothetical. Windsor fans might wish to keep that in mind. The agreement may have ultimately led to then-Spitfires star Ryan Ellis returning to Windsor in 2009 for his 19-year-old season. Ellis had 100 points that season and was OHL player of the year, while helping the Spitfires reach the conference final, which is a high-water mark compared to its past two season. Now 22, Ellis seems to have ample chance to become a regular for the Nashville Predators. He is essentially right on schedule.

Meantime, it is a tough break for Windsor. Its best-case scenario was probably as a mid-table team in the Western Conference. Since mid-August, it's now lost out on the services of 18-year-old Montreal Canadiens draft pick Jacob De La Rose, who could have given the club the accomplished two-way wing it lacked; now it's lost Sieloff, who would have provided a solid 1-2 combo on the blue line with Tampa Bay Lightning first-rounder Slater Koekkoek.

Meantime, the teams on the same tier in the conference have had better news of late; the Owen Sound Attack have got overage captain Kurtis Gabriel back from the NHL's Minnesota Wild. The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds also scored 10 goals in their only game of the opening weekend. (Yes, #smallsamplesize, I'm aware.)

Just something else to consider when the buyer and seller lists are made in about 10 weeks, although Windsor stars such as Josh Ho-Sang and Kerby Rychel deserve a chance to prove otherwise. Losing Sieloff need not hasten a sell-off, although it would not come as a shock.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to btnblog@yahoo.ca.

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