It was another relatively busy OHL trade deadline as potential contenders look to separate themselves from the pack.
Many eyes around the league were on the Windsor Spitfires, who despite icing a younger line up this season, sat atop the Western Conference at the time of the Jan. 10 deadline.
But the deadline to move players came and went with general manager Bill Bowler making no changes to his roster.
“The way I look at it is, it’s just one day. You want to make the best decision for the organization and when you see what the prices are to acquire the high-end talent, it just didn’t seem like the right time and didn’t make sense for us,” said Bowler, the Spitfires General Manager and Vice President of Hockey Operations since 2017.
“You just don’t want to destroy that chemistry, it can be very tempting to want to add that top talent, but we think we have enough ability in that locker room and we’re really excited about the group.”
Bowler took over as GM in the off-season, and although he was tempted to make a big splash at his first OHL deadline, he said didn’t want to mess with a good thing.
“It’s enticing when you see other teams doing things, and see the talent on the move around the league, but we want to build within and give every opportunity to our people and our guys.”
The Spitfires are in a position where they aren’t losing a ton of their top players at the end of this season.
While Jean-Luc Foudy and Will Cuylle are in their sophomore seasons and are eligible for this year’s draft, both are big parts of the team’s plans going forward.
“We really want to build a foundation here that’s sustainable, as enticing as it was to add a player and make a big move, it’s not worth it to send a young man away for a player who won’t be here for all that long.”
After a breakout 20-goal season last year, Tyler Angle is continuing his strong play this season. Now a prospect with the Columbus Blue Jacks, Angle is tied for the team lead with 46 points, and could be another guy who could return to next year’s team.
“I’m just excited about our group and the possibilities, nothing would surprise me with our coaches and our hockey team,” said Bowler.
“I don’t think too many of the hockey experts predicted the Windsor Spitfires to be where we are right now.”
The team is coached by former NHLer Trevor Letowski, who was the team’s associate coach during their 2017 Memorial Cup Championship.
Bowler may be in his first season as Windsor’s general manager, but his Number 9 banner has hung in the rafters at WFCU Centre for much longer.
He’s the franchise’s all time leading scorer with 467 points in 250 games.