Windsor Spitfires’ Weekly: Trades, NHL Watch List, & CHL Top 10

While the Windsor Spitfires are busy winning games, the club is also busy off the ice. After another successful weekend, management made a pair of trades while getting pro and national recognition.

The Spitfires went into last weekend without a regulation loss on the season. It’s been an upbeat start, with a 3-0-3-0 record. That trend continued as they grabbed another five points in three games – beating the Niagara IceDogs at home and the Flint Firebirds on the road while losing at home to the Saginaw Spirit in overtime. Going undefeated (now 5-0-4-0) in regulation has given them confidence but also a distraction from some necessary moves off the ice. Those were taken care of this week as the club prepares for another busy weekend.

Bowler Makes Pair of Deals

Entering this season, general manager Bill Bowler knew he had a couple of key areas to take care of: goaltending and overagers (20-years-olds). While it took some time, both were addressed this week.

Windsor Spitfires' GM Bill Bowler
Windsor Spitfires general manager Bill Bowler. (Dave Jewell/THW)

A week after the Spitfires moved 20-year-old goaltender Xavier Medina to the Sioux Falls Stampede (United States Hockey League) and 18-year-old Kyle Downey (playing with the LaSalle Vipers Jr. B) to the Erie Otters, Bowler continued to shape the organization. On Tuesday, he acquired 18-year-old goaltender Ian Michelone from the Firebirds in return for a 13th-round pick in 2023 and a conditional 10th-round pick in 2025. In 10 games last season, Michelone had a 4.37 goals-against-average (GAA) and .884 save percentage (SV%). He’s already been assigned to the Vipers to get ice time. This gives the club some depth behind starter Mathias Onuska and backup Joe Costanza.

Shortly after that trade, Bowler sent 20-year-old Josh Currie to the Kingston Frontenacs for an 11th-round pick in 2024. It became a numbers game. Teams in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) can only dress three overagers on any given night, and the Spitfires have Onuska, Matthew Maggio (New York Islanders), and Michael Renwick locked in as their three.

The club acquired Currie from the North Bay Battalion at last season’s trade deadline. He had 18 points in 41 games last season with nine more in 25 playoff games.

Trio Make Preliminary NHL Draft Watch List

While Bowler was busy making roster moves, the NHL was busy giving out some recognition. Three members of the Spitfires were on NHL Central Scouting’s Preliminary Players to Watch List for the 2023 NHL Draft. Players are rated “A”, which is potentially the first round, “B” for the second or third round, or “C” for rounds four through six.

Leading the way was 6-foot-4, 206-pound winger Ethan Miedema, who was given a “B” rating. Chosen fourth overall in 2021 thanks to the OHL Draft Lottery, he had 38 points in 65 games last season and has continued to trend upwards, with six points in nine games so far in 2022-23.

Ethan Miedema, Windsor Spitfires
Ethan Miedema (19) is looking for a big 2022-23 with the Windsor Spitfires. (David Jewell / The Hockey Writers)

Coming in with “C” ratings were Costanzo and defenceman Bronson Ride. The 5-foot-11, 161-pound Costanzo was acquired by the Spitfires in late September and has a 2.92 GAA and .913 SV% in two games so far. Ride was the club’s second-round pick in 2021. At 6-foot-6, 201-pounds, he’s a physical presence who has chipped in with two points in nine games. The club expects big things from him as the season continues.

Related: Windsor Spitfires Bulk Up at 2021 OHL Draft

While it’s still very early, having three players on the Watch List is impressive. The 2023 NHL Draft is set for June 28-29, 2023, in Nashville, TN.

Spitfires Climb Up CHL Top 10

Last season, the Spitfires were a staple in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Top-10 rankings before making the OHL Championship Series. Now, they’re making their way back there with a vengeance.

Two weeks ago, the club squeezed in with an Honourable Mention and managed to repeat that last week, too. On Tuesday, they made another move, this time sliding up to eighth, which is an indication that Bowler and head coach Marc Savard are doing something right.

The Spitfires will take their eighth-place rankings into a busy weekend as they face the Battalion at home on Thursday, then hit the road to play the IceDogs on Friday and the Otters on Saturday.

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