The main objective of all of the trades we made was to build a youthful team that can remain competitive in the post-season hunt while restocking our draft cupboard with plenty of draft picks including 16 top end draft picks (Eight 2nds + Eight 3rds).
It was a difficult decision this season as 20 games into the season we were firmly competing for 1st place in the Central. Our arsenal of draft-pick inventory and young prospects to make trades to improve was rather low, and the recent string of injuries did not help in the standings. We did not believe we had what we needed to win it all this year. The decision was made to gain back draft picks and add key young players.
The Colts are placed well in the Central Division, and we are committed to continuing the season with young players who can gain experience and keep us at the top the next couple seasons with the ultimate goal of the Memorial Cup.
All of the draft-picks we picked up, and the addition of two high-caliber 17 year olds and a 1st round 16 year old, certainly was a solid market return. We feel the work we have performed with these recent trades helps us build a more competitive and well-rounded hockey team for the next few seasons moving forward.
Here is a summary of trades we made.
Riley Piercey, Tyler Tucker to the Flint Firebirds for;
Evan Vierling, LC, 2nd 2023, 2nd 2024
Evan Vierling combines skill, hockey smarts and excellent skating ability. He is a player with untapped potential who will improve with more experience.
Jack York to the Peterborough Petes for;
3rd 2023, 4th 2023, 8th 2020
We obtained Jack from Kitchener last season and he gave us very good minutes and earned himself a pro tryout with Montreal in the off-season. This will give him a chance to play with some older players and work himself into the mix with the Petes.
Matej Pekar to the Sudbury Wolves for;
2nd 2022, 2nd 2024, 3rd 2020, 5th 2023, 6th 2024
Matej has made a positive impact on the organization since arriving from the USHL with aspirations of a professional career with the Buffalo Sabres. The draft-picks in return really help stock our cupboard for the future.
Ryan Suzuki, Ryan Beck, Peter Fleming, 5th 2020 to the Saginaw Spirit for;
Ethan Cardwell, RW, Connor Punnett LD, 2nd 2021, 2nd 2024*, 3rd 2020, 3rd 2021, 3rd 2022*, 5th 2024
Losing a player of Ryan’s caliber will hurt a bit in the short-term. He is a world-class player for his age group. We firmly believe that Ethan Cardwell and Connor Punnett will be important players for us moving forward and the picks are top quality that help stock the grid. Ethan is a talented athlete and has strong puck skills and good hockey sense. Connor Punnett is a 1st round pick of the Spirit who brings a solid presence to the back end. He was a key member for Team Ontario in recent Hockey Canada International Tournaments.
7th 2020 to the Guelph Storm for;
Tanner Wickware, G
Tanner Wickware adds depth to our goaltending stable and is having a very good year in Junior B. He is tall and athletic and is improving as he gets more starts.
3rd 2022, 4th 2021, 5th 2021 to the Sarnia Sting for;
Anthony Tabak, LW
Anthony Tabak is a tall strong forward who has a really good stick. He has lots of great skill for a big player and lots of potential moving forward.
Jason Willms to the London Knights for;
Josh Nelson, LW, 2nd 2021, 4th 2024
Having the captain move on is certainly not easy; especially involving Jason who the organization has become very attached to. He has been a Colt since we drafted him with our second pick in the 2015 draft and his determination on the ice and his involvement in the community will be missed. We wanted Jason to have the best chance at a pro-career so moving him to a team that will have a good playoff run was in his best interests. Josh Nelson is a solid OHL forward who will finish his career as a Colt.