written by Ian C McLaren
After a weekend that saw his team drop 2 out of 3 games, while also losing defenceman Andrey Pedan to a likely and possibly lengthy suspension after he was assessed a match penalty for kicking a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds on Sunday, Storm coach Scott Walker had this to say:
We need players in here. We need to make moves and we need to make significant moves, players that can play.
People want us to call up people, but I’m not going to call up people who are going to play two minutes a game. We want to fill holes with guys who can play 20 minutes a game.
(courtesy of the Guelph Mercury)
Guelph’s weekend started off with a 6-4 loss at home to Windsor, but they were able to bounce back in semi-impressive fashion with a 4-3 shootout win in London on Saturday. Sunday’s effort, however, was when the defensive & discipline issues referenced here last week truly came to roost, as the Storm lost 6-2 to the Soo (after allowing 4 unanswered goals during the first 12 minutes of the second period) in a game that featured 3 fights and 4 game misconducts, including Pedan’s match penalty.
The loss of Pedan not only puts extra pressure on young players such as Kyle Locke & Chad Bauman, but also raises the question as to whether GM Mike Kelly ought to be looking elsewhere for help on the blue line, a notion that Walker’s comments seem to endorse.
A quick look around the league reveals that the Storm may be able to find a trading partner in the 67s, who currently host a total of 9 defencemen on their roster. One player in particular who would most certainly draw some attention if made available would be Cody Ceci, the 15th overall pick from the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Ceci’s 60 points (17G, 43A) last season ranked him second in the league behind Dougie Hamilton, and going into the draft, Ceci was ranked sixth amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings.
To date, he has put up 15 points (5G, 10A) in 14 games for the 67s, and should Ottawa – currently ranked dead last in the OHL – decide not to toss their eggs in this year’s basket and begin to look more to the future, it’s possible that Ceci could be moved at some point this season.
Despite a bit of a down weekend, the Storm lost only 2 games during the month October, and are still one of the top teams in the league in the early stages of the season. Guelph’s success is due in part to a deep core of forwards and their ability to consistently run 4 productive lines, and it’s not out of the question to suggest that this area of strength could be used to create an attractive package to acquire a player like Cody Ceci. Such a move would serve to strengthen the Storm’s blue line while also increasing their chances of sustained success throughout the year.
If such a deal doesn’t come to pass, then Coach Walker may be forced to more heavily rely upon the services of young Locke sooner than anticipated. The 16-year old – who has already been compared to the likes of Shea Weber – still has room to grow (both physically and on the ice), but he’s certainly one to to watch moving forward should the team decide not to add help from the outside in the short or long term.
Walker & Co. have a few days to regroup before yet another three-in-three stretch coming up this weekend – at home on Friday vs Oshawa, in Niagara on Saturday and another date with the Knights at home on Sunday. All 3 teams boast winning records, and the Storm will be hard pressed to match the pace they set in October.
A quick move by Kelly would go a long way in terms of shoring up a thin blue line; otherwise, look for Locke to be called upon more often come Friday night.