IceDogs Nab Robertson in Blockbuster OHL Trade

The Niagara IceDogs and Kingston Frontenacs combined to create a massive earthquake within the Ontario Hockey League on Nov. 20th, swapping a handful of elite prospects and assets in a trade of immense proportions.

As one of the OHL’s weakest teams during the 2018-19 season, the Frontenacs realized their need to embark upon a rebuilding process within the league’s Eastern Conference.

In order to kick-start the process, the Frontenacs have packaged superstar sniper Jason Robertson and defenceman Jacob Paquette to the Niagara IceDogs in return for a wealth of quality players and draft picks in the years to come. Making the move to Kingston are Billy Constantinou and Ian Martin — two 2001-born players eligible for the coming 2019 NHL Draft.

In addition, Kingston also secured a small arsenal of draft picks — 11, to be exact. Of these draft picks, four of which are highly valuable second-round selections while three of which will also fall in the third-round of coming OHL Priority Selections.

Given the sheer magnitude of this trade, let’s take a moment to analyze each of the assets acquired by both the IceDogs and Frontenacs in greater detail.

Niagara IceDogs Receive:

  • Jason Robertson (2017 NHL Draft: DAL, 2nd Round, 39th Overall)

The IceDogs have quickly proven to be a team to beat within the OHL this season, and have dramatically strengthened their roster through the acquisition of Robertson. A two-time 40-goal scorer for the Frontenacs who was on-pace for 65 goals at the time of this trade, Robertson boasts terrific size and skating ability and is remarkably consistent in his ability to produce offensively.

Jason Robertson of the Kingston Frontenacs. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
Robertson is on-pace to smash his previous career-high goal total of 42. (Photo Credit: Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

However, it would appear as though Robertson is skating in his final season of OHL competition. In his fourth-season of major junior play, Robertson will be eligible to play in the AHL next season — a reality which makes him an expensive yet lethal short-term rental player for the IceDogs. If able to embark upon a long postseason run, the stockpile of picks surrendered by Niagara in order to acquire Robertson will prove to have been well worth it.

  • Jacob Paquette (2017 NHL Draft: NASH, 7th Round, 216th Overall)

Although his game isn’t flashy by any means, Jacob Paquette is a solid stay-at-home defender who can munch significant minutes while shutting down his opponents’ top attackers. Drafted by the Nashville Predators in the seventh-round of the 2017 NHL Draft, Paquette is in the midst of his third season of OHL play and is an intimidating force given his terrific size on the blue line.

While he shouldn’t be counted upon to produce offence from the IceDogs’ blue line, Paquette will provide Niagara with exceptional depth given his ability to play in all situations.

Kingston Frontenacs Receive:

  • Billy Constantinou (2019 NHL Draft-Eligible)

Given the weakness of the Frontenacs’ blue line, it was crucial for the organization to secure a capable young defender in return for one of their most dynamic players. In Constantinou, Kingston acquired a sturdy, puck-moving defender of ample agility and creativity. A smooth and purposeful skater, Constantinou can contribute at both ends of the ice and features a steadily improving offensive game.

Billy Constantinou of the Niagara IceDogs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Constantinou is quickly establishing himself as a premier two-way defenceman. (Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

One of the OHL’s top defenders eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft, Constantinou will provide the Frontenacs with an added level of skill and security on their blue line as the team reloads its roster in the coming years. Given he is a 2001-born prospect, Kingston should boast the native of Scarborough, Ontario for an additional two seasons during which time he will undoubtedly develop into a high-end OHL defender and leader within a young Frontenacs roster.

  • Ian Martin (2019 NHL Draft-Eligible)

Ian Martin got off to a slow start with the IceDogs in his first season of NHL Draft-eligibility, yet he could bounce-back extremely well as the result of a fresh start with the Frontenacs. A former third-round choice of the IceDogs in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection, Martin has long been buried deep within Niagara’s roster — a fact which will immediately change upon his arrival in Kingston.

A sizeable forward widely regarded for his natural goal-scoring abilities, Martin could prove to be a pleasant surprise for the Frontenacs this season, who desperately need to attain greater depth scoring from within their lineup.

  • Four 2nd-Round Draft Picks (2019, 2021, 2022, 2023)
  • Three 3rd-Round Draft Picks (2020, 2022, 2024)
  • One 5th-Round Draft Choice (2021)
  • One 7th-Round Draft Choice (2019)
  • One 11th-Round Draft Choice (2021)
  • One 13th-Round Draft Choice (2020)

The draft picks received by the Frontenacs are where the true value lays within this mega-trade.

With this plethora of draft picks, Kingston will be able to supplement and strengthen its roster for years to come — stuffing it with unparalleled depth and skill. Although it might have been a good idea for Kingston to wait until the trade deadline to complete this deal, un-loading a number of their top players now allows the Frontenacs to compete with the Flint Firebirds for the opportunity to select Shane Wright in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection.

In short, this trade is a win for both teams teams involved.

In Niagara, the IceDogs now feature one of the OHL’s most consistent goal-scorers as well as impeccable depth throughout their roster. Meanwhile, although their future is blurry, Kingston now boasts the assets necessary to complete a comprehensive rebuild — one which could produce an Eastern Conference powerhouse in the near future.

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