Sunday morning saw Dave Drinkill make his first trade of the season for the Saginaw Spirit in acquiring overage defenceman Reagan O’Grady from the Mississauga Steelheads. In exchange, Mississauga take 4th round (2019), 3rd round (2020), and 6th round (2021) draft picks, all of which belong to Saginaw.
O’Grady comes to the Spirit as one of the most well travelled players in the league, now on his fourth different organization. O’Grady was first drafted by Kingston in 2014, 15th overall. He played just 26 games as a Frontenac before being shipped off to Sudbury in exchange for a collection of draft picks. From there, O’Grady played 176 games with the Wolves, including six playoff games, becoming a mainstay within the top four as a shutdown defender.
At the 2018 OHL Trade deadline, O’Grady was moved yet again, this time from Sudbury to a Mississauga team looking to stock up for a playoff push. With help from O’Grady, the Steelheads would hold off Peterborough for a playoff spot in the east, but were ousted by Barrie in the first round after six games.
O’Grady has played a shutdown role for the majority of his career with 230 games to his credit. He comes with the reputation of a player who can be nasty and in the face of his opponents when necessary, and has a track record of taking leadership roles.
With Mississauaga dressing Cole Carter, Sam Meisenheimer, and Ryan Barbosa as the three overage players in their first game, it’s not a surprise to see O’Grady on the move. It appears this could be a challenging year for Mississauga, and they feel giving minutes to younger defencemen is better for them long term. The Steelheads also recover three draft picks, which is key for a team which has expended a lot of them on other assets over the last two seasons.
For Saginaw, this trade doesn’t happen if Keaton Middleton doesn’t sign an AHL deal in San Jose. Middleton is the better of the two players, but they both play a somewhat similar role. O’Grady isn’t exactly a mirror image of Middleton, but there are similarities in both size, style of play, and role on the team. Saginaw had lots of room with only one OA on the roster in Albert Michnac (another former Steelhead), and with one overage spot still open, it still leaves room for flexibility. At this point, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see Saginaw add another defenceman later in the season, but for now they’ll settle for a deeper and more reliable back-end with O’Grady on the roster.