Thursday, January 08, 2009

Fronts: All hail president Kang (and that Tavares guy)

The diaspora in Dougie! land is fully on.

Matthew Kang, the overage forward, has been traded to the Brampton Battalion for a fourth-round pick in 2010 (and this is as close to an OOLF exclusive as it gets -- he just left the K-Rock Centre not 15 minutes ago). The gang over at the New OHL Open Forum says the Frontenacs also got the rights to overage forward John Hughes.

Loose Pucks
has confirmed that the Kingston Frontenacs got 17-year-old goalie John Cullen from the Niagara IceDogs for a fifth-round pick in 2010.

Frontenacs GM-for-life Larry Mavety is aware that Hughes is playing in Austria, one would hope. He's already traded once this year for a 20-year-old player who was out of the league.

One wishes Kang all the best with Brampton, which is near the top of the Eastern Conference (and no doubt noticed that Kang had seven points in five games back in 2007, the last time Kingston was in the post-season). If he heats up at the right time, it can turn the tide in a particular game or even a playoff series. Generally, he tops out as a second-line forward on a good day, third line most of the time, but used right he can be one of the 20 finely meshed gears that comprises a good junior hockey team.

The problem with the Springer Frontenacs is that the team is run in such a way that it becomes about what a player cannot do. Kang became a Spezza-esque scapegoat since he wasn't a physical player and was a good but not great scorer. Put him in a good organization under Stan Butler and see what happens. Players perform to expectations.

As for Cullen, he could be called "Mavric II." He is at the same point that the Frontenacs one decent goalie, Mavric Parks was last season -- a 17-year-old rookie who needs a good environment to help him develop, which likely is not what he'll get in Kingston. One wonders how Parks feels. The team might be stuck on 1-2 wins instead of eight without him, and they basically hand the No. 1 job to the new guy.

That said, Cullen has potential. USA Hockey has had him on his radar, so he's not a bad pickup, notwithstanding the Frontenacs have much larger problems than goaltending. Since it involved a fifth-round pick, it's basically Cullen for Anthony Peters.

This is a patented move for Fronts GM-for-life Larry Mavety -- make a minor deal that owner Doug Springer and the local cheerleaders can point to as proof Mavety is an astute hockey man, even if it only amounts to a patching job. Meantime, you watch a player who could have been part of the solution -- if Springer had dumped Mavety a long time ago like he should have -- go off to try and win a championship someplace else.

(John Tavares is headed to London, and were we not fools to think it would have played out any other way. There is a lot of stuff on the go today, so keep an eye on Loose Pucks if you're curious who and what the Knights sent to the Oshawa Generals. It's all right here -- NHL first-rounder Michael Del Zotto was included in the deal.)

Tavares traded to London Knights (Sunaya Sapurji, Toronto Star)


Sam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sam said...

I'm gonna miss Kang - he was probably the most exciting player to watch on the Fronts - very fast. Inconsistent at times, but still one of the most naturally skilled hockey players Kingston had. Considering he was overaged though its probably a good move to get rid of him now, I mean the Fronts playoff push doesn't look too promising.

Sportsdump said...

I wouldn't say Kang overstayed his OA welcome in Kingston but this is good move for both parties.

As for Tavares, it's a massive loss for the good people of Oshawa who have endured enough; it's the little things like sports to help blanket our woes; even for two and a half hours at a time. He was the face of the Generals and a box office draw.

Duane Rollins said...

As a (somewhat) neutral (in the west anyway), I am excited to see JT on a legitimate contender (with all due respect Gens fans).

I'm also glad to see him traded to the west. My fear was Brampton (Belleville never really had the young parts to be part of the conversation).