Buzzing The Net - Junior Hockey

It is always nice to establish a storyline for the season three months early, so St. Louis Blues prospect Brock Beukeboom being traded to the Niagara IceDogs from the rebuilding Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds serves its purpose nicely.

The five-game playoff loss the IceDogs had against Mississauga in the Ontario Hockey League semifinal series laid bare what everyone suspected — their defence corps was talented but not playoff-toughened. Now they're getting Beukeboom, who has championship experience, albeit in international play instead of in the OHL. The former Greyhounds captain also has something to prove after a lost season in the Soo.

The former captain of the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds will be looking to rebound from an injury-plagued season in which he recorded one goal and eight points in 44 regular-season games.

"This year, I'm on a mission to prove last year was a fluke," he said. "I'm know what I'm capable of and it's a lot better result that what happened last year with my slow start and then the injuries and concussion." (St. Catharines Standard)

The deal sends Sault Ste. Marie overage defenceman Michael Schwindt (Niagara's four remaining overage possibilities are all forwards), a second-round choice next season and two more conditional choices. Coach-GM Marty Williamson's IceDogs, pending the return of likely NHL first-round choices Ryan Strome and Dougie Hamilton from their pro teams in the fall (a better than likely bet), were probably already an on-paper favourite to win the Eastern Conference. If Beukeboom bounces back from the concussion which cost him more than a quarter of last season, they'll be further formidable.

"I don't think there are any bones about it," Williamson said. "We want to be one of the best teams next year and if there was a weakness to our team this past year, it was our back end a little bit.

"They're all a year older now, plus we've put in a good 19-year-old."

" ... It gives us another top four defenceman that has a big time shot that I thought we were lacking a little bit consistently on our back end. He has great leadership, he's a quality kid and we are looking for a bit of a rebound season from him," Williamson said. (St. Catharines Standard)

On the Greyhounds' end of it, rookie GM Kyle Dubas has a rebuilding job that will take than one season. That makes it evident why Beukeboom apparently was seeking a change of scenery.

"He had a rough year last year. … The combination of him being the captain, and injuries, and fans and media pressure. It became just a little bit too much," Dubas said. (Sault Star)

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Sports Canada. Contact him at neatesager@yahoo.ca and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet (photo: CHL Images).

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