It seems as though the OHL season just began – and it did. Most teams have only played nine or 10 games so far this season. Still, teams are looking to gain any sort of advantage and for some of them that means making an early season acquisition.
That’s certainly the case for a number of teams just a few weeks into the season and on Tuesday, some of them made headlines when they looked to better their rosters.
London Locks Up Goaltending
One of the issues for the London Knights this season has been their goaltending. Tyler Johnson has been their best option, but his 3.55 goals against average (GAA) and 0.893 save percentage (SV%) are not nearly good enough to get this team into the playoffs.
Behind him, Jordan Kooy has played 19 more minutes than Johnson this season. His numbers aren’t any better – with a 3.92 GAA and 0.873 SV% in six games.
Those numbers have earned the Knights a 1-8-1 start to the season and left management searching for answers. Now, they’re hoping that they’ve found some kind of response to the slow start – in the form of Joseph Raaymakers.
— The Wrap on RogersTV (@rtvohlwrap) October 17, 2017
The Knights acquired Raaymakers from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for former goaltender Johnson, Flint’s second-round pick in 2019, London’s second-round pick in 2023 and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2020 that the Greyhounds will get if Raaymakers plays one game (regular season or playoff) in his over-age season (2018-19).
Raaymakers hasn’t played for the Greyhounds yet this season as he refused to go to camp with the team. However, he led the OHL during the playoffs last year in both goals against average (1.95) and save percentage (.942) amongst goalies who played at least 10 games.
He should be a valuable addition for the Knights as they continue to look for a way to turn their season around.
The Greyhounds Just Got Faster
On top of their goaltending acquisition of Johnson, the Greyhounds added a defenceman. But this time, it wasn’t through a trade.
Instead, the Hounds will be bringing Rasmus Sandin – their 52nd overall pick in the CHL Import Draft – over from Sweden to join the team. The 17-year-old defenceman from Uppsala, Sweden, is a highly-touted prospect eligible for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft and a player that should add speed and offence to an already impressive blue line in the Soo.
This will be his first season in North America, but should prove to be an important one for the young blueliner.
Interesting note about Rasmus Sandin going to SSM. He is being loaned there, so for whoever drafts him, he isn't limited to OHL/NHL
— (((Ryan Wagman))) (@RAWagman) October 17, 2017
So far this season with Rögle BK of the SHL, Sandin has one assist in five games to go along with a minus-two rating. His addition, however, will only add to the Greyhounds depth in helping them battle the Sarnia Sting for the West Division’s top spot.
Kitchener Adds Kole
Finally, the Kitchener Rangers made their own big splash on Tuesday acquiring Columbus Blue Jackets’ prospect Kole Sherwood from the Flint Firebirds.
In return, the Firebirds receive a Kitchener’s second-round pick in 2019, Sault Ste. Marie’s second-round pick in 2020, Kitchener’s third-round pick in 2021 and their fifth-round pick in 2020.
While Sherwood’s been dealing with a high ankle sprain this season, he is coming off a year in which he posted 33 goals and 85 points in 60 regular season games for the Firebirds. In two OHL seasons (his first spent in London), he has 119 points in 123 regular season games.
The Rangers are currently sitting atop the Midwest Division ahead of the Owen Sound Attack by just one point. The addition of Sherwood is a big one if he can get healthy soon for the Rangers who are set to take on the Knights (Sherwood’s former team) on Friday.
It’s worth noting that not long before acquiring Sherwood (an over-ager), the Rangers also moved over-age defenceman Doug Blasidell to make room for Sherwood.
Late to the party, the Guelph Storm also traded goalie Cole Ceci (brother of NHLer Cody) to the Oshawa Generals for Oshawa’s eighth-round pick in 2020.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.