We knew this day was coming. It was only a matter of time.
With the Erie Otters sitting in ninth place in the Western Conference outside of the playoff picture, it only reinforces the team will sell as the trade deadline approaches.
The Otters hold the trump card in this season’s playoffs. His name is Taylor Raddysh.
Raddysh is an OHL Champion. Raddysh played in the World Junior Championships last season. He’s sixth in the OHL scoring race as of Saturday morning with 13-25-38 in 26 games. He has 17 power-play points and three shorthanded points. He’s also +11 on a team not in the playoffs who struggles defensively.
The question on everyone’s mind now is where will he go? In my mind, several teams will ask. But one stands out above the rest. That’s the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds.
Why the Greyhounds?
The Greyhounds are the current king of the hill in the OHL. They lead the Sarnia Sting by three points in the West for first overall. As great of a start as they’re off to, they have a gaping hole to fill. That’s the role of top right-wing. Enter Raddysh.
Imagine a first line of Boris Katchouk, Morgan Frost and Raddysh. Good lord. Acquiring Raddysh in my mind would make the Greyhounds the clear favorites in the OHL to win the Championship and go to the Memorial Cup. Being that this year is the 100th anniversary of the Mastercard Memorial Cup, you do what you gotta do to get there.
If this move happens, Raddysh would join current Lightning prospect Katchouk. I’d have to imagine Steve Yzerman and the Lightning would love this move. The need is there for the Greyhounds despite excellent play from both Ryan Roth and Cole McKay. This speaks to how dynamic Katchouk and Frost are.
The Otters would want a premium for Raddysh. They won’t deal him just because. The Greyhounds have pieces the Otters desperately need.
What Could the Otters Get?
With Barrett Hayton likely a first-round pick in the NHL Draft, he’s not going anywhere. But the Greyhounds have a 16-year old center in Hayden Fowler that could be the centerpiece of a Raddysh deal.
The Otters need draft picks and players in a bad way for the future. Landing Fowler and futures in a deal could appease the Otters. The Greyhounds have seven second rounders and six third rounders in their cupboard between now and 2023. The Otters otherwise do not have a second rounder until 2025. They have a third rounder in 2018 and then none until 2024 (thanks to my colleague Matt Wilson for this).
What could the Otters get? Not sure they’d get a John Tavares type return which was three players and six draft picks (four second rounders and two third rounders.) But Raddysh is the best player available and the Otters could get a king’s ransom. I could easily see Fowler and five picks to Erie for Raddysh.
Other Raddysh Candidates?
I could see a team like Kitchener try to make this move. I could also see teams like Barrie and Kingston inquire. I think Sarnia needs a defenseman more than anything. Of every possibility that runs through my head, Raddysh and the Greyhounds are perfect for each other.
This chatter will pick up as we approach the World Juniors. Once that’s over, then the spotlight will shine on the Otters to see where some bigger names end up. It’s only a matter of time.