It’s an annual tradition! An Islanders draft pick gets traded at the deadline from one Ontario Hockey League team to another and we write the headline to make it look like the big club just got rid of them. Then we say, “Don’t worry: He’s still Islanders property.” Why use a lame joke once when you can recycle it over and over?
This year, Mitchell Vande Sompel gets the honors, having been traded from Oshawa to London. The 2015 third round pick of the Islanders is currently third among all OHL defensemen in scoring with 17 goals and 20 assists for 37 points. In exchange, the Generals will receive another defenseman, 17-year-old Ian Blacker, and four total picks (one of which belongs to the Sudbury Wolves).
A trade was expected for a while and Vande Sompel was emotional after Sunday’s 4-1 win over Kingston knowing that it could be his last game as a General.
When asked about the swirling rumours, Vande Sompel said: “Honestly I don’t know. I’m a player, not a GM. Hockey’s a business and things happen. I’ve been here for three-and-a-half years. Whether I stay or I go, my heart will always be in Oshawa, that’s for sure.”
The good news is that A. London is Vande Sompel’s hometown and B. The Knights are already pretty stacked. They’re actually trying to win back-to-back Memorial Cups, having beaten the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies last season. London currently leads its division with a 26-7-2-3 record and is three points behind Sault St. Marie for tops in the OHL.
Despite leading their own division, the Generals are having a big sell off to prepare for a run at next season’s Memorial Cup, which they hope to host. Oshawa also traded captain Anthony Cirelli (a Lighting pick and a member of Team Canada’s World Junior roster) to the Erie Otters. Oshawa, with Cirelli, Vande Sompel and Michael Dal Colle, won the Memorial Cup in 2015.
The Islanders have a history with players from Oshawa; from John Tavares to Dal Colle to Vande Sompel. None of them finished their junior careers with the Generals.
Good luck, Mitch. See you in Bridgeport next season.