Less then two days after the Mississauga Steelheads traded star centre Ryan McLeod to the Saginaw Spirit, the two teams have pulled off yet another massive deal. This time around, The Spirit have received Florida Panthers former first-round pick Owen Tippett in exchange for 2020 draft eligible centerman Aidan Prueter and six draft picks. The picks involved in the trade are a third-round pick in 2019 (SAG), a 2019 seventh-round pick (SAG), a 2020 second-round pick (BAR), a third-round pick in 2020 (SAR), a seventh-round pick in 2020 (SAG) and a second-round pick in 2021 (SBY).
The Steelheads have done a great job in building for their future in recent days. By trading stars Tippett as well as Ryan McLeod, they have acquired two younger players in Duncan Penman and Aidan Prueter to go alongside 10 draft picks which will now be available to them over the next five years with the sole exception of a conditional draft pick as well. It shows that the Steelheads are interested as of now in building for their future over competing for the playoffs this season which makes more sense for them at this point.
The competition is as strong as ever this year and with star players McLeod and Tippett likely not returning to the OHL next year, it makes sense to trade them while their value is high in order to help prepare for the future.
Following the trade, Steelheads general manager and head coach James Richmond released a statement regarding the deal where he said about Owen Tippett, “We would like to thank Owen Tippett for his time with the Mississauga Steelheads. He is a very special person and we wish the very best for him. Owen is a wonderful teammate and as fans have seen, a very electrifying hockey player. He will be missed and we wish him well.”
In speaking about the addition of adding Aidan Prueter to the roster, Richmond said in a brief statement, “We are excited about adding Aidan Prueter to our hockey club. Aidan brings a high compete level and skill set to our team. We have just added another core piece for our hockey team now and moving forward. We would like to welcome Aidan and his family to the Steelheads family.”
Fans surely have a lot to be excited about in Aidan Prueter. Prueter was selected 24th overall in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection by the Saginaw Spirit. With the addition of Prueter, the Steelheads now have four players who were selected in the top 30 of the 2017 OHL draft.
These players are Thomas Harley, Keean Washkurak, newly acquired defensemen Duncan Penman and Aidan Prueter. Like many rookies in the OHL, Prueter put up a respectable 13 points in 63 games as a 16-year-old centerman. This season, still another season away from being draft eligible, the 17-year-old has recorded 6 goals and 13 assists, totalling 19 points in 36 games played with the Spirit organization.
His point totals have a strong chance of improving as he will likely be given a more expanded role with the club following the loss of centerman Ryan McLeod. There is a lot to be exited about regarding Prueter. If he can keep up his point totals and take a more expanded role with the Steelheads, he can possibly even be a top 60 pick next year, if not, higher.
Given the two deals that the Spirit have made in recent days, the team is now stacked with centerman minus the subtraction of Aidan Prueter. That being said, he now does not have as much competition to battle for playing time and therefore will have a better chance to produce at an even higher level. The fact that Tippett will likely not be returning next year is important to note for the Steelheads as Prueter is only getting better and can become a big piece of their future for multiple years to come.
This trade solidifies the notion that the Spirit are in it to win it for the remainder of the regular season. With these two trades now in the books with Mississauga, Saginaw has arguably created the best offence in the league for themselves. This offensive powerhouse will now feature Owen Tippett, Ryan McLeod, Blade Jenkins, Cole Perfetti, Cole Coskey, Albert Michnac and offensive defensemen Bode Wilde.
Speaking of which, Wilde currently sits third overall in all defensemen in the OHL in points registered in his debut season in the league with the Saginaw Spirit. As the club looks to go far into the playoffs, Tippett will surely be a big contributor to help take home the cup while also assisting them to earn a spot in the Memorial Cup Championship.