Sarnia Sting 2010-2011 Season Post Mortem

The Sting jumped out of the gate this season as Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk made seamless transitions to the Major Junior game. While the Sting plummeted back down to earth by the end of the season, there remains a little hope for next season on the shores of the St. Clair.

Final Record: 25-36-5-2

Key Graduates: Tyler Peters, Kale Kerbashian, Joe Rogalski, Troy Passingham

Key Returnees for Next Season: Nail Yakupov, Alex Galchenyuk, Brett Ritchie, Brandon Francisco, JC Campagna, Garret Hooey, Nathan Chiarlitti, Brandon Hope

Possible Early NHL Graduates: None

Draft Position: 4

Offseason Needs: Powerplay Quarterback

Plan For Next Year: The Sting have the firepower to go from missing the playoffs to winning their division next season. And it’s a good thing because next season could be Nail Yakupov’s last in the OHL. The Russian rookie lit up the OHL in his first season. He’s surrounded by considerable high-end forward talent and if you’re going to make a run with him as your gamebreaker, it’s got to be next year.

There are problems to doing that in Sarnia next year. For one, long-time Coach and General Manager Dave McQueen was fired this past winter and replaced by Sting alumnus and former NHLer Trevor Letowski. Now, coaches pulling a Dan Bylsma and taking a team to the big show in their first real season behind the bench isn’t unheard of and Letowski has the talent to make it happen but he’s going to have to bring in a big piece on the blue-line.

Realistically, the price of a piece that size is less in the offseason than it is at the trade deadline. It’s foreseeable with the way the Majors and Attack built for this season that players like Stuart Percy, Geoff Schemitsch and Keevin Cutting would be available in the offseason. The Sting should also look into putting some goaltending assurance behind Brandon Hope as well.

If I Could Make One Trade:

To Sarnia: Stuart Percy
To Mississauga: Garrett Hooey, Sarnia's 1st Round Import Pick 2011, other draft picks

Sarnia gets a puck moving defender capable of quarterbacking the powerplay and contributing defensively. I'm not sure whether Stuart Percy will be #1 defenseman in the OHL next season or just a very good number two, but givern Sarnia's need, either is an upgrade. Also, given Percy's age, he's likely a two year player in Sarnia, which ups the price.

You hate to give up a young player like Garrett Hooey, but he's absolutely a piece Dave Cameron would need back in a Percy trade. Hooey is a physical young player whose motor never stops running. He's also progressing as the kind of two-way player that Dave Cameron likes. The Import pick for the Sting would be tenth overall but since Sarnia is going to carry two imports already next year (Yakupov and Nick Latta), it has no value to Sarnia but considerable value to Mississauga who is going to lose Maksim Kitsyn this offseason and who's import selection is 57th.