OHL Roundup: Offseason trade powering Majors' early success
By Mackenzie Liddell, Contributing Editor
Toronto, Canada (Sports Network) - A look at some storylines from around the Ontario Hockey League:
It's almost humorous how desperately the city of Toronto pines for a successful sports team yet pays such little attention to the most dominant hockey team in the country.
While the Majors reside outside the city limits in Mississauga, they are playing championship caliber hockey in a market devoid of such success.
Despite a guaranteed berth in the Memorial Cup after being named the host city for 2011, Mississauga isn't sneaking in the back door.
The No.1-ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League has won 11 of its last 12 games, with the one loss coming in overtime. On the year, they have strung together a 17-2-1 record.
In Week 7, the Majors continued their winning ways with three strong performances against Niagara, Sudbury and Barrie.
The early-season walk-in-the-park they have enjoyed so far might be a sign of things to come as head coach and general manager Mike Cameron has constructed this team on a solid foundation built from the net out.
Goalie J.P. Anderson has been lights out and leads the league by a wide margin with a 2.08 goals against average while the Majors have allowed a league-low 45 goals.
Although the Majors lack a premier scorer, they haven't had problems lighting the lamp, ranking second in the OHL with 87 goals.
Perhaps the biggest heist of the off-season, Mississauga went out and stole Justin Shugg and Marc Cantin from the Windsor Spitfires for a package of draft picks, a move that has paid major dividends.
Shugg, a fourth-round draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes, is tied for the team lead in scoring after going off for 39 goals last season, while Cantin anchors the Majors' blue line and has found an offensive touch, already surpassing his previous season-high with four goals.
Sure, surprises and upsets are part of the allure of competitive hockey, but the Majors have the identity of a team destined for greatness.
Things could get even more interesting as the trade deadline approaches and rumors begin swirling.
TRADE GATES OPEN
The Peterborough Petes received some disparaging news last week when highly- skilled forward Ryan Spooner was sent home after requesting a trade.
It didn't take long for potential suitors to come knocking, as Spooner was shipped to the Kingston Frotenacs along with Jeff Braithwaite only three days after being sent home.
In exchange, the Petes received forward Alan Quine and defenseman Clark Seymour, along with a second-round pick in 2011 and a conditional second-round pick in 2012.
Bringing in Spooner (12-11-23) gives Kingston a legitimate superstar to play alongside Nathan Moon and Ethan Werek, while the Petes' freshman GM Dave Reid made out surprisingly well considering the situation he was in.
Quine is the biggest piece coming over to Peterborough. The second-overall pick in the 2009 OHL Priority Selection has enjoyed varying success with five goals and 12 points and is eligible for the 2011 NHL draft.
The move also opens the door for other teams looking to make a big splash.
Keep an eye on the Windsor Spitfires to be big-time players as GM Warren Rychel admitted last week his phone has been blowing up for the services of first-round picks Ryan Ellis and Zack Kassian.
The Spitfires aren't out of the playoff picture by any means - sitting in fourth place in the Western Conference - but dealing mega-stars like Ellis and Kassian can be a franchise-saving decision.
Just look at the Oshawa Generals, who traded John Tavares and Michael Del Zotto to the London Knights in 2008 for a package of players and picks that included Christian Thomas, goaltender Michael Zador and defenseman Scott Valentine.
Thomas leads the team in scoring and Valentine and Zador have both turned into impressive junior players while Oshawa has turned into a fierce competitor in the Eastern Conference.
If Rychel decides to cash in his chips, the bounty in return should be plentiful.
And while it's purely speculation, look for the Majors to make a push for one of Windsor's stars as they hold the most powerful card of all: Rychel's son Kerby, who was drafted by Mississauga last year to the chagrin of the Spitfires' boss.
But the Majors won't be the only team looking to shake things up as league parody is at an all-time high with many teams either one or two players away from turning into legitimate Memorial Cup threats.
Team OHL skated circles around Team Russia in the opening leg of its two-game set of the Super Series with a 4-0 win.
Joey Hishon, Taylor Beck, Christian Thomas and Sam Carrick scored for Team OHL while Scott Wedgewood and Scott Stacjer split the shutout.
London's Igor Bobkov was in goal for Russia and played well, stopping 46 of 50 shots directed his way.
Game Two is scheduled for Monday in Sudbury where the OHL will look to keep its eight-year unbeaten streak alive.
There were no surprises in OHL Player of the Week honors as Kitchener's Jason Akeson walked away with the award after his bewildering 15-point week.
In the CHL Top-10 Rankings, Mississauga moved into first place while Saginaw fell one spot to fifth and Owen Sound jumped one position to seventh.