Young Wolves in the den

January 9, 2015

They are in last place in the overall standings and the odds are against them moving up to make the playoffs this 2014-2015 Ontario Hockey League season.

But general manager Blaine Smith has made good on trade deadline moves that have positioned the Sudbury Wolves for better seasons ahead — in 2015-2016 and beyond.

In a stunner, the Wolves were able to acquire 6-foot-2, 190-pound, 1998 birth-year defenceman Reagan O’Grady from the Kingston Frontenacs for a modest price of four draft choices spread out over four years — a fourth-round pick in 2015, a third-round pick in 2016, a second-round pick in 2017 and a fifth-round pick in 2019.

In fairness to Frontenacs general manager Doug Gilmour, O’Grady — who is the youngest player in the OHL, having just turned 16 on December 15 — requested to be traded, saying he was unhappy with his playing time in Kingston.

Not wanting to stand in the way of a disgruntled player, Gilmour granted the trade request of O’Grady, who was Kingston’s coveted first-round draft pick in 2014.

From the Sudbury side, Smith showed Wolves teeth in getting O’Grady to Sudbury.

“He is a big, tough kid with a lot of skill and we are beyond thrilled to have him,” Smith said of O’Grady. “Dougie Gilmour didn’t have to ask us twice if we were interested in trading for the kid.”

The acquisition of O’Grady gives the Wolves four 1998 birth-year players in their lineup — defenceman Trenton Bourque and forwards Michael Pezzetta and Brady Pataki are the others.

To be sure, the Wolves have an abundance of good, young talent with plum potential. Besides the four aforementioned 1998 birth-year skaters, Sudbury also features 1997 birth-year defenceman Kyle Capobianco and 1997 birth-year goalie Troy Timpano.

As for the draft picks that Smith gave up to get O’Grady, he was subsequently able to secure a high return from the Peterborough Petes, getting future second and third-round picks for overage forward Nathan Pancel.

Thus, it could be stated that Smith got nearly as much for a 1994 birth-year forward in Pancel than he gave up for a 1998 birth-year defenceman in O’Grady.

Smith was also able to add a potentially-prolific points producer in 1996 birth-year forward Charley Graaskamp, who the Wolves acquired from the Soo Greyhounds for two fourth-round picks, one of which is conditional.

With the Greyhounds loaded up front with a plethora of 1994 and 1995 birth-year forwards — including those acquired in recent blockbuster trades — Graaskamp became expendable and the Wolves were able to land the big forward.

Yes, the Wolves are still in last place in the 20-team OHL. But as the GM, Smith has prudently and potentially put the Wolves in a better position moving forward.

PHOTO: Sudbury Wolves have acquired bluechip blueliner Reagan O’Grady from the Kingston Frontenacs.

What you think about “Young Wolves in the den”

  1. Credit goes to Smitty on these trades. He needs to do better at finding a Head Coach tho. Niether Cull or Fixter worked out any good.

  2. I think Mr. Smith did a good job here just as fans including myself were starting to question the teams value in our sporting community of late. nice moves for two up and comers in our league, Also nice to get Nate closer to home and a shot a good post season run he deserves that character kid for sure
    we all remember what the Petes did in the first round last season right !

  3. Best of Luck to Reagan in Sudbury although I personaly wish he would have stuck it out and waited his turn for playing time. Getting the new guy in from Notre Dame was going to mean even less time on D for O’Grady however. Oviously the Wolves and there G.M. did there homework and now they have a D man who is going to be a star in the O and I am betting that he will be a hi NHL draft pick down the road as well.

  4. Hearing all good things from RR on Graskamp as well. Blaine has made a few mistakes at the Draft table over the yrs but when it comes to making trades he is on the mark. Am feeling alot better about the Woofers now.

  5. howl howl fowl fowl ahahahahahahaha
    howl howl
    fowl fowl

  6. It’s too bad the damage has already been done as the Wolves are on pace to lose 50 games this season. Looking forward to next year.

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