With the OHL regular season nearing by the day, teams are putting the finishing touches on their rosters ahead of opening night. Often times, that can put overage players on the hot seat, and this week was no different.
Kitchener Rangers goaltender Luke Richardson and Saginaw Spirit forward Brady Gilmour both found new homes this week outside the OHL, landing in the university hockey ranks for the 2019-20 season.
A native of Barrie, Ont., Richardson came to the OHL as a fourth round pick of the Kitchener Rangers in 2015. After splitting two seasons in the OHL and GOJHL, Richardson secured regular time in Kitchener’s crease for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 campaigns.
Richardson became the odd man out this season after the Rangers made an offseason splash by acquiring goaltender Jacob Ingham from the Mississauga Steelheads. Ingham is set to join the Rangers crease alongside Lucas Pfeil who returns after spending a full season backing up Richardson. Even with only two other ’99 born players on the roster, the Rangers opted not to go with a three goalie crease.
After two full OHL season, Richardson is set to join the Queen’s Gaels of the OUA. Queen’s appeared to have a crowded crease this summer after coming off their first OUA Queen’s Cup championship in over 30 years. Former Sarnia Sting goalie Justin Fazio was fresh off an impeccable rookie season, joined by ex-OHL tender for Mississauga and Owen Sound, Jack Flinn, and the newly committed Brodan Salmond from the Moose Jaw Warriors in the WHL. But things quickly changed after Flinn opted to not return for the season, Salmond de-committed in favour of the Calgary Dinos, and Fazio signed with HC Bolzano for the upcoming season.
With all three goalies no longer part of the team, Queen’s hustled to grab Richardson before the start of the season. With no clear-cut competition, it is expected Richardson will be seeing most of, if not all of, the 28 games the Gaels will to play in the regular season. The defending OUA champions open their schedule on October 4th in Sudbury against Laurentian.
Brady Gilmour is a former sixth overall pick from the 2015 OHL draft from the Quinte Red Devils minor hockey program. After quickly catching on with the Saginaw Spirit in the OHL, Gilmour was drafted in the seventh round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft by the Detroit Red Wings. But his momentum was stalled the next season after injuries limited him to just 41 games and his offensive numbers dropped in every category. After getting healthy in the offseason, Gilmour returned for the 2018-19 campaign on a Saginaw team that made a run all the way to the OHL’s Western Conference Finals. Gilmour saw his point total increase to 39 this past season, while posting an impressive 18 points in 17 games during the playoffs.
With D.J. Busdeker, Ivan Prosvetov, Reilly Webb, and Cole Coskey all possible returnees to Saginaw as overage players in addition to Gilmour, the Spirit had been working the phones to find a new home for Gilmour. Now after four seasons south of the border in Saginaw, Gilmour is coming back to Canada to join the defending national champion UNB Reds.
After graduating Matt Boudens, Christopher Clapperton, and ex-OHLer Cameron Brace, the Reds were looking for at least one forward recruit this offseason. Already a deeply talented program with the best offence in the country last year, the Reds bring in a top-six calibre playmaker with Gilmour who can play both up the middle or on the wing if necessary. Even with the pedigree Gilmour brings to the University of New Brunswick, he’ll need to play well early to secure playing time with a host of talented players returning to UNB including old teammate from Saginaw, Kris Bennett.
UNB begin their national title defence on September 27th with a tilt against the Saint Mary’s Huskies in Halifax.