Buzzing The Net - Junior Hockey

Is there anyone who is not going to be playing for the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors, the MasterCard Memorial Cup hosts?

It's just speculation today, but there is talk from Jeff Hicks. another part of the Windsor juggernaut — Nashville Predators first-round pick Ryan Ellis — might head east to Mississauga. It would hinge on Ellis, 19, being returned to the Ontario Hockey League by the Preds.

"Ellis could very well be the blueline piece the Spits send back to Mem Cup-host Missy to complete the trade that made hotshot U.S. defender Nick Ebert a Spitfire. Of course, that trade came after a swap that sent Marc Cantin and Justin Shugg to Missy for picks.

"Also, with the Majors grabbing Kerby Rychel from Barrie, expect the son of Windsor GM Warren Rychel to find his way to dad's team in the deal to come." (Rangers Rap)

In other words, we could end up seeing Ellis do the Alex Pietrangelo Arc — 19-year-old defenceman perhaps plays some NHL games, joins Team Canada and following the world junior, joins a team with serious post-season ambitions.

Pietrangelo, who was Ellis' teammate at the world junior last winter, took a more direct route. The St. Louis Blues released him to play for Canada, then the rebuilding Niagara IceDogs traded him to the Barrie Colts, who ultimately were swept by Windsor (and Ellis) in the Ontario Hockey League championship series.

The timeline and travelogue for Ellis could be a different. The Spitfires are doing a rebuild on the fly, so people will wonder how long Ellis is for Windsor if he returns.

The Majors are just the surest thing since it is the tournament host. The Kitchener Rangers should have a strong team in the Western Conference, and have dealt with the Spitfires when the latter was loading up for its championships. In 2009, when the Spitfires were going for their first championship, the Rangers sent centre Scott Timmins and defenceman Ben Shutron to Windsor. It's quid pro quo thing.

The trade of Cantin and Shugg indicated Spitfires GM Warren Rychel isn't holding a lot of sacred cows as he tries to build another top-notch team.

(Image credit: Aaron Bell, OHL Images.)

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Sports Canada. Contact him at neatesager@yahoo.ca and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

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