The Mississauga Steelheads have once again made a splash in the Ontario Hockey League trade frenzy with the league’s official deadline just twenty-four hours away from commencing. The Steelheads have already dealt Owen Tippett and Ryan McLeod in previous deals among other transactions and they have now confirmed a deal, this time with the Kitchener Rangers. The Fish have acquired ’99 born forward Nick McHugh from the Rangers while in return, the Steelheads send three draft picks, two of which are owned by Mississauga.
The future picks are a fourth-round pick in 2019 (Saginaw), an eighth-round pick in 2020 and a third-round pick in 2023. Nick McHugh, a native of Gloucester, Ontario, was a seventh-round selection back in 2015 when the Kitchener Rangers selected the 19-year-old with the 131st overall selection in the OHL Priority Draft. Nick played 46 games for Kitchener looking back to his rookie season, tallying 13 points to go alongside 2 goals and 11 assists.
The Rangers had a hard working forward who’s progress continued into his sophomore season where he tallied 23 points in 58 games with the Kitchener Rangers. McHugh was ranked 145th by NHL Central Scouting heading into the 2017 NHL Entry draft where he ultimately would not have a chance at having his name called by a team. That has not deterred the Canadian who is having his best season in the OHL with 25 points recorded in only 27 games played so far this season.
Nick’s statistics are a sign that he possesses the skills and talent to be a key contributor, something both he as well as the Steelheads hope he can become ahead of their playoff push. In a statement from head coach and general manager James Richmond regarding the deal, he said of Nick’s acquisition, “We would like to welcome Nick McHugh to our hockey team. Nick brings a high compete, 200’ game that we like to play here in Mississauga. Nick will fit in nicely as we make our playoff push. Nick’s experience in big games will be beneficial to our younger guys. We look forward to having Nick in our lineup this coming weekend and moving forward. Welcome to the Steelheads Family Nick!”
It is deals like this that are key factors to building a successful franchise in the long-term and while fighting for the playoffs, that is what they will receive from their newly acquired forward. Nick McHugh showcased this with the Rangers last year when he played 19 games in the playoffs, tallying eight points during the Kitchener Rangers deep playoff run. Kitchener would end up having made it to the semifinal round before being eliminated.
With regards to Mississauga and their latest addition in Nick McHugh, he is a solid acquisition for the Steelheads who currently hold the fourth spot in the OHL Central Division with an 18-17-3-1 record. They are only five points back from second place currently held onto by the Sudbury Wolves. Speaking of which, at this time, they are chasing the North Bay Battalion who have a slight one point margin while in third place.
Mississauga is a team that needs to string some wins together and can use a veteran with some experience to help them out in pressure filled games. The Steelheads new forward is expected to make his debut in his new team colours on Thursday night when Mississauga pays a visit to their division rival North Bay Battalion at 7:00pm. Be sure to keep an eye out for the newly acquired forward as he hopes to add to his impressive first half of the season from this point forward with the Steelheads.