I thought about doing this article as a Sunday Top 10, but decided against it. Mostly because the trading situation in the OHL this season is bound to be incredibly complicated and difficult to predict. There are as many as 10 teams who could be legitimate sellers, depending on what direction they take. Just the same, some of those very teams could actually end up as buyers (like the Oshawa Generals or Owen Sound Attack). Too many teams on the bubble, which also leaves us with an interesting buying scenario. The parity in the league is quite fascinating.
As any of you who follow the OHL know, trading can also be complicated due to the restrictions on overage players. Teams can dress only three every game. So the first thing I'll breakdown is who has the room to acquire an overager. RED means they won't (in all likelihood) be acquiring an overager. Green means they could. Only going with possible buyers here.
Barrie Colts - They have an excess of overagers, but really Daniel Erlich and Colin Behenna are the only key ones. Even if Norm Ezekiel is a favourite of Dale Hawerchuk, he's by no means a surefire OHL'er.
Belleville Bulls - Three overagers playing a key role already, including captain Luke Judson.
Brampton Battalion - They'll already have too many when Ian Watters returns from injury.
Kitchener Rangers - Three solid OA's including captain Mike Catenacci.
London Knights - Playing with only one overager right now, the newly converted to defense Colin Martin. If they decide to buy, they've got a ton of wiggle room.
Niagara IceDogs - Already have three of the best overage forwards in the league.
Oshawa Generals - Just acquired Peter Hermenegildo to fill their remaining OA spot.
Ottawa 67's - Are currently carrying three OA's, but only Marc Zanetti is a truly worthy one. Ben Dubois is useful too, but Daniel Broussard is expendable.
Owen Sound Attack - Three solid OA's, but Scott Stajcer is still a possible trade target. Too complicated to give a green light.
Peterborough Petes - Yogan, West, and Jasper make up a solid OA group.
Plymouth Whalers - Maybe the best OA group in the league with Bathgate, Devane, and Schmitz.
Sarnia Sting - Acquiring Brett Thompson earlier this season maximized their OA situation.
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds - Three contributing OA's, but if an upgrade over Mike Schwindt is available, they could likely be enticed.
Examining the above would suggest that, at the very most, it is possible that 5 overagers could be moved between now and the deadline. Let's look at some names.
Mike Cazzola - Injuries have killed him this year, and he's out again with a broken wrist. But he's scheduled to come back after the Xmas holiday. He's a very talented offensive player and would generate interest if the price tag isn't too high (because of the injury woes this year). He'd look great in a place like Ottawa, where he could help provide secondary scoring.
Stephen Gaskin - Playoff experience with Barrie two years ago, Gaskin is a solid defender who could provide leadership to a defense that may need it. He might look good in London, or as an upgrade over Schwindt in the Soo.
Tyler J. Brown - Solid two way player who's upped the offensive ante this year. He'd look good in any of the above destinations (except London where he's ineligible to go due to a trade restriction).
Andy Andreoff - ONLY if the Generals are selling, which I don't think they will. But obviously he'd provide a huge boost to any of the above lineups, especially a team like London who could use the size.
Scott Stajcer - None of the above teams need a goaltender, which makes trading Stajcer hard. Which is probably why it hasn't happened yet. Oshawa is the most talked about destination, but they'd have to move a guy like Andreoff or Maggio first (or in exchance for Stajcer).
Josh Shalla - I'm not convinced Saginaw is selling because their playing well again. But if they do, Shalla's goalscoring talents would look great in any of the above destinations, especially in a place like the Soo...who desperately need goal scoring help.
Josh McFadden - McFadden's pure offensive ability make him a terrific powerplay QB and an effective 5 on 5 player if paired with a stay at home guy. Doubt he moves though.
Adrian Robertson - Even if he's become the whipping boy of Spits fans, he's still a solid defenseman who's being asked to do too much right now. He can play in all situations and has the playoff experience with Windsor from last year. He'd be a perfect pick up for a team like Barrie who could use another experienced defender.
Outside of OA's, you've got the three BIG guns on bad teams that everyone has been talking about moving for the past few months.
Greg McKegg - With how bad Erie is this year, they'd be absolutely insane to not move McKegg. In return, they'd likely get at least one very solid young player to help build a solid young core for the future.
Ryan Spooner - Ditto for Spooner in Kingston. However, his bout with mono complicates things. It might have lowered his trade value a bit, but he should still bring back a King's ransom.
Brandon Saad - Again, I'm not convinced Saginaw is a seller, but if they are, Saad is a damn attractive piece for any team to add. So long as he can avoid the injury bug like he hasn't been able to this year so far.
Then we have two teams who COULD be sellers...or even buyers. The Mississauga Majors got off to such a strong start, but have floundered lately (more like come back to Earth). But they have some solid pieces if they want to start the youth movement early. While the Oshawa Generals have been the biggest disappointment in the league. They too have some VERY attractive pieces, if they decide to start a rebuild (already mentioned Andy Andreoff above).
Riley Brace - While he's cooled lately, Brace has had an excellent season and has turned himself into one of the better two way forwards in the league. He should definitely be back for an overage season, making him a guy who should have a fairly high price tag.
Joseph Cramarossa - While he's a 92 and a recent draftee, I'd be surprised if he wasn't back in the OHL next year. Like Brace, he's a solid two way forechecker and a guy who could definitely help fill out a line up in a second or third line role.
J.P. Anderson - The market for goaltenders isn't exactly there right now. But if made available, I'm sure he'd generate interest...such as if Oshawa decides to buy.
Devante Smith-Pelly - Does he go back to the NHL after the WJC's? Or return to Mississuaga? Who really knows. If he does come back to the OHL (If I was a betting man, I'd bet against it), he would likely be among the most attractive trade pieces in the league.
Christian Thomas - Dynamic scorer who finally turned a corner in December. He could bring back quite the load in a trade.
We'll all know soon enough, when the trade deadline hits us in a few weeks. Any predictions from the readers out there?