Rental prices have skyrocketed in the Ontario Hockey League, thanks in no small part to the Soo Greyhounds and Kingston Frontenacs, not to mention the Kitchener Rangers, Sarnia Sting and Hamilton Bulldogs.
For example, if you are the average OHL follower, you are no doubt aware of the exorbitant price that Soo general manager Kyle Raftis paid in what was a recent, ransom-like exchange with the Erie Otters.
That is, the Greyhounds finalized a long rumoured OHL trade with Erie by acquiring Team Canada right winger Taylor Raddysh and high-end defenseman Jordan Sambrook from the Otters.
What the Greyhounds gave up to the Otters in return for the pair of 19-year old skaters is astonishing and astounding, even by the standards that have been set in what is a trade-happy OHL.
Besides 2001 birth-year forward Hayden Fowler, who was the Soo’s first round pick at the 2017 OHL draft, the Greyhounds parted with nine future draft choices — second-round picks in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023, third-round picks in 2018 and 2023 and sixth round picks in 2018 and 2021.
Raddysh is fresh from a gold medal winning effort as part of Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships and is seen as a catalyst addition for the first-place Greyhounds, who are taking another run at an OHL title after coming up short in disappointing fashion during the 2014-2015 season.
Ah, that team of 2014-2015 that loaded up at the trade deadline to bring in star forwards Justin Bailey and Nick Ritchie and high-scoring defenseman Anthony DeAngelo and entered the playoffs that spring as the no. 1 seed with home-ice advantage only to be ousted by Erie in the Western Conference finals.
Raftis was the GM of that 2014-2015 team that seemingly had it all but could not finish under since-departed head coach Sheldon Keefe.
Now, three years later, Raftis has again put together a championship favourite, this time for third-year head coach Drew Bannister.
Did the Raftis give up too much to get Raddysh and Sambrook to take another shot at OHL glory? If the Greyhounds go on to win the championship and represent the OHL at the 100th anniversary of the Memorial Cup, the price paid will have been worth it.
But what if the Greyhounds do not win the OHL crown with the all-around, powerhouse team that Raftis has assembled? Then, to be sure, the second guessers will be out in full force.
Personally, I think Raftis gave up too much to get Raddysh and Sambrook. But that is but a matter of opinion.
Besides, whether Raftis gave up too much or not, this bodes as an exciting time for the Greyhounds as they moved forward with a bold, win-at-all costs charge at trying to bring an OHL title to Sault Ste. Marie for the first time since Ted Nolan was coaching and a future coach named Bannister was a teenage defenseman.
On one hand, I admire what Raftis did by going and getting what he wanted, regardless of the price.
On another hand, I still maintain that the Greyhounds would be favourites to win the OHL title without having made the trade with Erie.
There is an old saying that comes to mind: No guts, no glory.
Which, in the case of Raftis and the Greyhounds and this 2017-2018 edition, is apropos.