by Brandon Sudeyko (@intheoradio)
A King’s ransom, the rich get richer, flexing their muscle… whatever you want to call it the London Knights may have done it again.
On Tuesday the 12th, the Knights made a trade with the Saginaw Spirit for the rights to Michael Prapavessis, a defenceman who is currently playing for the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots in the OJHL. London gave up a 15th round pick in 2015 for the chance to talk to the NHL draft eligible blueliner and a conditional 5th round pick in 2015. What’s the condition you may ask? Saginaw will get the second draft pick if Prapavessis breaks his commitment to RPI and steps foot on OHL ice.
You guessed it, another ‘strong armed’ power play by the Knights to lure top level NCAA commits to come to a winning program.
Well not exactly, unlike other NCAA commits that have put on the black, gold and green, Prapavessis isn’t in college yet. His commitment is set to begin in 2014/15, although that may not be the end of the Knights pursuing the young blueliner. Dakota Mermis and Anthony Stolarz both suited up in college before suiting up in the OHL. To a degree, Michael McCarron is in the same boat, although signing a pro deal pretty much came with the add on, go play in Canada.
It is a scene that many OHL fans are use to and something that London fans love. The top team is always able to get there man.
But this may be a different case entirely. London may be acting on complete blind faith in making this deal. Sure, they have the facility, the players, the television network and all the other accoutrement to change anyone’s mind, but there is something not right. The London Knights have yet to speak to the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots about Michael Prapavessis.
I am not saying for certain that there is a rule that you inform the team that you want to pluck a player from the roster, but isn’t it good manners to do so?
The long and short of it is that Prapavessis is a talented defenceman who was pegged as a late bloomer, and surprise! After half a season in the OJHL he already was thought of as a grizzled veteran and two months into this season he has shown his growth and commitment to improve not only on the ice but off the ice. A smooth skater who isn’t afraid to skate with the puck, who can spot the open lane and lead his forwards with a pass. A good shot that will produce rebounds and his defensive skills are some of the best in the OJHL.
But that is the OJHL, and not the OHL. Whether or not Prapavessis suits up for the London Knights is still a question mark. Where would he fit on the blueline this season? You have veterans Alex Basso and Brady Austin patrolling the blue line, Dakota Mermis and import Tim Bender to round out the top 4. What you have is then three players for the bottom two spots: Santino Centorame, Miles Liberati and Aiden Jamieson. To bring in Prapavessis, I would think you give him top 4 minutes because sooner or later he is going to earn them. Does that make Basso expendable? Or moveable down the depth chart? London is hosting the Memorial Cup this season… Or on the flip side this is a futures move because you lose Basso, Austin, more than likely Mermis next season and then have Prapavessis come in and be a top 3 guy after he is drafted by an NHL team in the late round or offered to come to rookie camp as an invite.
An interesting move none the less and has me thinking, how many OHL teams pay that close attention to what goes on in the OJHL. Many hidden gems as the league improves and a few more players are drafted. So did they do it again or are the reigning OHL champs, just trying to defend their territory?