OHL teams beef up as deadline approaches

Ian Shantz, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:43 AM ET

Sure, there was some hockey played on the weekend.

But all the talk now — and until the bell rings today at noon to signal the Ontario Hockey League trade deadline — is about what comes next.

What comes next for the Barrie Colts — if anything — was uncertain last night.

The Colts, who beat the conference-rival Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors, 3-2, in overtime before a near-sellout crowd at the Barrie Molson Centre on Saturday, had moves to ponder.

The Eastern Conference-leading Colts have already bolstered themselves significantly by bringing in all-world defenceman Alex Pietrangelo and super-pest Zac Rinaldo.

Pietrangelo, a fourth overall pick of the St. Louis Blues, is expected to arrive in Barrie tomorrow, while Rinaldo, acquired from London in a deal for Colt-for-a-minute Chris DeSousa, debuted in Barrie on Saturday.

The Colts had one player card remaining — 30 are allotted to each team — to use up either in-house or through a trade.

The team’s second-last card has been used on Rinaldo, a Philadelphia Flyers draft pick who throws bone-crushing hits.

The Colts preferred Rinaldo over DeSousa — acquired from Niagara in the Pietrangelo deal on Friday — opting for Rinaldo’s grit over DeSousa’s finesse.

Barrie needed a shut-down king, not another goal-scorer.

Rinaldo, who was acquired on Saturday, said he’s comfortable being that guy.

“I’m willing to do what they need me to do. Being a third- or fourth-line guy, I have no problem with that,” said Rinaldo, who played on the infamous Wrecking Crew line in London alongside Leigh Salters and Dominic DeSando, who has since been shipped to the Soo Greyhounds.

Rinaldo, a Hamilton native, played on the fourth line with David Mazurek and Colin Behenna on Saturday, but was thrown in as a spark on various other line combos throughout the contest.

Rinaldo, who leads the league with 147 penalty minutes, took a pair of minor penalties in his Colts debut.

“I know my limits,” said the left winger, who has been assessed some lengthy suspensions throughout his junior career. “I’ve learned my lesson. I know the fine line.”

Maybe Barrie head coach Marty Williamson will consider throwing Rinaldo, captain Stefan Della Rovere and Matt Kennedy together just because he can.

They could be called the Wrecking Crew II.

“He can definitely go out there and give us a spark if we need it,” Williamson said. “(Rinaldo) will definitely serve a purpose.”

With one card left, Williamson was holding his cards close to his vest. It could be used on Finnish goalie Petteri Simila — also acquired in the Pietrangelo deal with Niagara. Simila would give Barrie a third option in net behind Dalton McGrath and Peter Di Salvo.

Or, the Colts could deal for an upgrade in the back-up slot.

Kitchener’s Mavric Parks and Guelph’s Cody St. Jacques would fit the bill.

“We’re not actively looking ... but if something were to come up,” Williamson said late yesterday afternoon.

Already full of firepower, Barrie seems to have uncovered another offensive weapon in defenceman Dalton Prout. The 19-year-old came into the week with one career OHL goal. He doubled that total in three games, scoring the game-winner in Thursday’s 4-2 win over Brampton before stepping into one from the high slot for Saturday’s overtime winner.

Earlier in the season, Prout made a friendly bet with power-play coach Frank Carnevale regarding his predicted scoring output. After Prout’s goal on Thursday gave him three on the season, the Lasalle native said the coach would be running two kilometres worth of windsprints with the team during today’s practice.

“I think he’s going to have to do double time now. Maybe an extra week’s worth,” Prout said.

Luke Pither and Darren Archibald also tallied for Barrie, while Devante Smith-Pelly and William Wallen replied for the Majors.

The win over Mississauga ended a hectic weekend for the Colts, who were probably a bit sidetracked by all the commotion surrounding the blockbuster trades.

“You see new guys coming in and you see friends leaving,” Prout said. “But it’s part of hockey. This is my fourth year in the league and I’ve seen it happen before. You learn to deal with it. At the end of the day, you’ve just got one job to do, and that's your job on the ice. That’s all we can control.”

Stefan Della Rovere, who re-joined his team on the weekend after being away at the world junior championship with Team Canada, is just hoping to ride out the rollercoaster that comes with it all.

“It’s a lot different hockey here,” he said. “You just have to try to get back in the mix of things.”

The defending Memorial Cup-champion Windsor Spitfires countered Barrie’s acquisition of Rinaldo, picking up rough-and-tumble forward Zack Kassian from the Peterborough Petes yesterday in exchange for forward Austin Watson and a pair of second-round picks.

The Colts open a three-game road trip on Thursday against the Spitfires.

ishantz@thebarrieexaminer.com


Videos

Photos