Peterborough Petes 2010-2011 Season Post-Mortem

The Petes have languished near the bottom of the OHL since going to the Memorial Cup back in 2006. The 2010-2011 season did them no favours as the Kawartha Kids got a new head coach in Dave Reid and had a memorable early season riff with superstar Ryan Spooner that eventually saw him sent to division rival Kingston. A late season injury to young star Matt Puempel only compounded the woes in Peterborough.

Final Record: 20-45-1-2

Key Graduates: Kalle Ekelund, Justin Larsson, Jack Walchessen

Key Returnees for Next Season: Austin Watson, Matt Puempel, Alan Quine, Lino Martschini, Slater Koekkoek

Possible Early NHL Graduates: Austin Watson

Draft Position: 2

Offseason Needs: Goaltending, Defensive depth

Plan For Next Year: There were some rumours that Austin Watson might be on the block this year at trade deadline but it’s easy to see that the likely astronomical asking price scared off the prospective buyers. The situation with Ryan Spooner early in the Petes’ season this year likely forced GM Dave Reid’s hand and robbed him of what should have been a team ready to compete next year. The future of this team now is Puempel, Quine, Martschini and Koekkoek which means that Watson should be moved to bring in pieces that can support those players for two years rather than bringing in pieces that can support Watson for only one.

When I say defensive depth, what I mean in particular is a partner for Slater Koekkoek. Steven Trojanovic, Nick Trecapelli and Cole Mudruff are all good young defenders and it’s been nice to see Dave Reid take the reins off them in the second half of the season. However, only Connor Boland has shown the ability to be the kind of big, shutdown counterpart to Koekkoek. The target for the Petes in any potential Watson deal should be a long term partner to play with Koekkoek.

A solution is possible from within the organization. The Petes hold the rights to USNTDP defender Robbie Russo. If they, or Russo’s NHL team after he’s drafted in June, could convince him to jump ship to the OHL, he’d immediately be a top pairing option to play next to Koekkoek.
But he'd have to give up a full-ride to Notre Dame.

The Petes need a goalie. Neither Andrew D’Agostini nor Bryce O’Hagan have been any kind of solution. You can’t compete in the OHL without a solid goaltending situation and the Petes just don’t have one.

If I Could Make One Trade:

To Peterborough: Matt Mahalak, draft picks
To Plymouth: Austin Watson, Andrew D'Agostini

The Whalers don't necessarily need to make this trade but there roster usually skews older and they've only got next season to spend with goaltender Scott Wedgewood. Wedgewood could legitimately win an OHL Goaltender of the Year trophy before his Major Junior career is out and I don't think Whalers Mike Vellucci wastes having an asset like that between the pipes. Watson immediately becomes the most potent offensive weapon the Whalers have and the Ann Arbor native would get to go home.

The Petes give up their best scorer, that's true. But they get a very solid young goaltender back who could be with the team for two seasons and help finally get them out of the OHL East's cellar.