There have been some interesting developments in the OHL the past couple of days, and I think it's fair to take some time out to discuss them.
Kingston defenseman and potential 2010 lottery selection, Erik Gudbranson will miss at least 4 weeks with a knee injury. Bob Mackenzie broke the news today via his twitter account (found here) Gudbranson injured the knee on Sunday against the Ottawa 67's when he fell victim to an inadvertent knee on knee collision. It is believed to be an MCL sprain (source). This is a really tough blow for the first place Frontenacs. I'm not sure their defensive depth is strong enough to overcome an injury of this magnitude. Taylor Doherty is going to have to step up huge now and join Brian Lashoff on the first pairing (unless Gilmour uses them on two separate pairings to spread the wealth). Hopefully Gudbranson comes back strong and this injury doesn't negatively effect his draft stock in 2010.
The Sudbury Wolves have sent home Import defenseman Stefan Stepanov. Stepanov was sent back to Russia for breaking team rules (source). This unnamed incident has also seen the team suspend fellow import Eddy Linke for a week. Rumours have the two getting into an off ice altercation during the teams recent road trip. This is a disappointing end to the Stepanov saga in Sudbury. As highly touted prospect for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Stepanov was supposed to be a budding offensive defenseman with star qualities. Instead, he had trouble adjusting to the size and speed of the OHL game and found himself in the press box as a healthy scratch. Whether his actions were spawned by frustrations from lack of playing time, or by immaturity (or a combination of both), the Stefan Stepanov experiment in Sudbury is over. Interestingly enough, Rangers beat writer Jeff Hicks is claiming that Saginaw defenseman T.J. Brodie could be heading to Sudbury to help fill the gap left by Stepanov on the Wolves defense (source).
The Windsor Spitfires got an interesting boost to their line up today as it was announced that forward Kenny Ryan has left Boston College in order to join the club. Ryan was the 2nd round selection of the Toronto Maple Leafs at last year's draft and a 2007 draft pick of the Spitfires. He comes in with a lot of hype after playing for the U.S. National Development Program the past two seasons. NHL Central Scouting's Gary Eggleston describes the right winger as "a solid skater who is strong on his skates, has good balance and his hard to knock off his feet. Has good overall speed and works hard in all zones. He is strong in the corners, is aware of defensive responsibilities and backchecks well. Ryan plays a rugged two-way game” (source). Sounds like he's going to fit right in with the rest of Windsor's offense. I'll be really interested to see him play. On a side note, does a pick up like this one give the Spitfires a chance to move a young forward in exchange for a goaltender?
Also on note with the Spitfires has defenseman Jesse Blacker joining goaltender Steve Gleeson on the sidelines awaiting a trade. Blacker left the team this weekend and wants to be traded to a team where he can play a more prominent role (source). Blacker is a Leafs 3rd rounder from last year's draft and a quality defenseman who no doubt was being held back by a small role in Windsor. It seems as if Warren Rychel and the Spits want this resolved as soon as possible which means a trade is probably not far off. The hot rumour on the net has Blacker heading to Saginaw in exchange for goaltender Edward Pasquale. We'll see where this all goes.