By Kirk Luedeke
The New England Hockey Journal has learned from a source that the rumored trade sending center Ryan Spooner to the OHL’s Sarnia Sting is a reality.
The trade has been agreed upon by all parties, however, the official announcement is still pending. Because of OHL rules governing trade windows for 16-year-old players and the fact that 1st-round selections could not be involved in trades until Jan. 1, the package of player (Ryan Kujawinski) and picks to Kingston for the high-end scorer who turns 20 this month news of the deal is delayed in coming, even though the Ottawa Citizen reported it over the weekend. Other sources connected to the OHL had hinted at the trade being a fait accompli as well.
The West Division’s second-place Sting (43 points behind Plymouth- 53), who boast a top-three draft candidate in right wing Nail Yakupov now add Spooner, which will offset the loss of another promising young 2012 prospect in Alexander Galchenyuk, who tore his ACL early in the season.
In Spooner, Sarnia gets a dynamic and creative scoring forward who was just hitting his offensive stride in December when he was felled by a bout with mononucleosis. Missing playing time was only the tip of the iceberg for the Kanata, Ontario native, as he was diagnosed the day before he was supposed to travel to Alberta for Team Canada’s final World Jr. Championship Evaluation Camp. More than a few hockey analysts felt that Spooner would have made the final Canada roster had he not been lost to illness.
Boston’s third choice (45th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft after spending the first two-plus seasons of his OHL career with the Peterborough Petes requested a trade a year ago in November. He got his wish, finishing the 2010-11 campaign with the Kingston Frontenacs. However, given the team’s youth, it was widely believed that as one of GM Doug Gilmour’s few tradeable commodities, Spooner would not finish the season with the spoked-K on his chest.
Now, Spooner trades in the black and gold of the Frontenacs for similar colors on the Sting. He should be close to returning to action from the bout with mono, though may take some time to regain his energy and strength. When he has the chance to combine with Yakupov and possibly someone like Devils prospect and former U.S. NTDP star Reid Boucher, Spooner should boost an offense that has suffered from the hits to the depth chart.
Although Spooner was happy in Kingston and did not request the trade, the new situation gets him out of the East Division’s cellar. The move puts him in the position for a potential extended playoff run in pursuit of the OHL championship and a trip to Shawinigan for the 2012 Master Card Memorial Cup in late May.
Should the Sting get past the OHL postseason’s first round, it will mean that Boston and Providence Bruins fans will have to wait until next season to catch a glimpse of the skilled and speedy centerman. However, there is no denying that the extra development will help put Spooner in position to try and earn an NHL job next season.
Other Bruins prospect notes
LW Anthony Camara was also traded over the weekend. The Saginaw Spirit sent Boston’s third-round choice in 2011 to the Barrie Colts with defenseman Ryan O’Connor for center Eric Locke and goalie Clint Windsor.
Camara has seven goals and 19 points in 35 games with 76 penalty minutes this season.