MacIntyre a steal for 9th-round pick
It ranks as one of the more one-sided trades made in the Ontario Hockey League in quite some time. In a league where marginal veteran players fetch a minimum return of a fourth-round draft pick, Soo Greyhounds general manager Kyle Raftis committed a major theft prior to the start of the 2015-2016 season when he heisted 19-year old winger Bobby MacIntyre from the Mississauga Steelheads for a ninth-round draft pick.
That’s correct, a ninth-round draft pick was all that Raftis gave up for MacIntyre, who has averaged more than a point-per-game over 100 contests since joining the Greyhounds from the Steelheads. As a matter-of-fact, if he keeps up his current scoring pace, MacIntyre will finish with more than 100 points this season alone.
Highly-rated as a second-round selection by Mississauga at the 2012 OHL draft, the highly-skilled albeit under-sized winger never really found his game with the Steelheads, putting up just 21 goals and 34 assists for 55 points in 181 games over three full seasons.
But the trade from Mississauga to the Soo has worked wonders for the Oshawa native, who has gone from being employed as a shutdown winger with the Steelheads to the leading scorer on the Greyhounds.
“Obviously getting traded always sucks, you have a lot of friends and stuff, but I was really excited to have a new opportunity and I think it’s worked out really well,” MacIntyre told Oshawa This Week in a recent interview. “I’ve had a great opportunity (with the Greyhounds) and I’m just trying to enjoy my final season.”
MacIntyre came into the OHL with Mississauga with plenty of potential and promise, having scored 26 goals and 23 assists for 49 points in 32 regular season games with the Whitby Wildcats Midget Minor team that competed at the coveted OHL Cup during the 2011-2012 season.
But after three sub-par seasons with the Steelheads, he was traded to the Greyhounds for that aforementioned ninth-round draft pick — a steal of a deal if there ever was one.
“Since getting traded, I’ve had a ton of opportunity,” MacIntyre said. “I think my style of play fits the way we play and I’ve learned a lot from the coaching staff and players since being traded to the Greyhounds.”
To be sure, at the time MacIntyre was obtained by the Greyhounds, the aforementioned Raftis told Postmedia that the left-handed speedster could flourish with the Soo.
“He's a classic case of a guy who's been put into a defensive role in the past but I think he can flourish offensively in our style of play. He's always had great speed and he's relentless on the forecheck,” Raftis said at the time.
Undrafted as far as the National Hockey League goes, MacIntyre appears poised to earn himself a pro contract for next season, though he insists he is not looking that far ahead.
“We think with the group of guys we have we can win a championship,” MacIntyre said. “I’m just trying to focus on the next 30 or so games that we have with the Greyhounds and whatever happens, happens. We’ll go from there when the time comes.”
With the Greyhounds in the thick of contention in the hotly-contested, 10-team Western Conference, one wonders where they would be without MacIntyre, especially with world-class forward Blake Speers having missed almost all of the OHL season to date with a wrist injury.
Raftis has made a number of significant trades in his three seasons with the Greyhounds, having brought in so many since-graduated, impact-style players. But no trade made by Raftis can compare with giving up a measly ninth-round pick for a guy who has developed into an OHL star.
Dipping into a stock of reserve draft picks, general manager Barclay Branch has again increased the volume strength of the Sudbury Wolves.
The latest veteran to join the Wolves via Branch transaction is overage defenseman Patrick Sanvido, acquired from the Windsor Spitfires for the bargain exchange of a sixth-round pick in 2018, preceded by a 14th-round selection at the 2017 Ontario Hockey League draft.
With leadership qualities that Branch places high priority on when making a trade, Sanvido was in his third season as captain of the Spitfires.
At 6-foot-6, 230 pounds, Sanvido adds a sizeable strength to the Wolves blue line that was taken into account by the Dallas Stars when they took the big defender in the seventh round of the 2014 National Hockey League draft.
Sanvido becomes the third overager who Branch has reached out for since the beginning of the 2016-2017 season.
In earlier, separate tranfers with the London Knights, Branch obtained 6-foot-2, 200-pound defenseman Aiden Jamieson and 6-foot-2, 210-pound right winger C.J. Yakimowicz for multiple draft picks and a single fringe player.
Sudbury heads into the second half of the season in seventh place in the 10-team Eastern Conference with 30 points from a record of 14-18-2.
While the Wolves have shown some improvement under third-year coach David Matsos after missing the playoffs each of the past two seasons, they are arguably the least-disciplined team in the OHL with a league-high 538 penalty minutes. They have also had a number of players handed suspensions of eight games or more, a further indication of a lack of discipline.
There is a form of consensus around the OHL that while Branch as GM has positioned the Wolves to at least be a playoff team with a .500 record, Matsos as coach needs to have better control of the actions of his penalty, suspension-riddled club.
Hard-shooting, hard-skating, hard-nosed forward Camaryn Baber of the Soo Greyhounds is believed to be the top prospect from the Great North Midget Hockey League for the 2017 Ontario Hockey League draft.
According to input received from various general managers and scouts from within the 20-team OHL, the compactly-built, 5-foot-11, 170-pound Baber is projected to be selected within the top two or three rounds of the 2017 draft.
Known for his hockey smarts and free-wheeling style in the offensive zone, Baber has an all-around game that includes strong transition and a competitive edge that can have a nasty side to it. In 23 Great North games with the second-place Greyhounds thus far this season, Baber has 24 goals and 18 assists for 42 points.
Baber’s hockey bloodlines include his dad, mom and grandfather.
The dad, Brad Baber, played four OHL seasons with the Greyhounds, including one as a member of the 1993 Memorial Cup champions. He then captained the Greyhounds in his overage season.
The mom, Melissa Holder, is regarded as one of the best female players to ever lace up a pair of hockey skates in the Sault Ste. Marie area.
The grandfather, Brian Baber, starred for the Greyhounds prior to their OHL beginnings when they were members of the Northern Ontario Hockey Association.
Like the youngster, father Baber and grandfather Baber were both hard-working, high-end, somewhat-edgy forwards.
After Baber, the top prospect from the Great North is said to be defenseman Payton Vescio of North Bay.