The Guelph Storm lost three straight games on their eastern swing to run their losing streak to five games, but the big news was that forward Jamie Arniel was sent home by the team last week.
Expected to be a leader offensively this year he never seemed to get rolling. While his nine goals were second on the team to Luke Pither, he had only four assists. The lack of production during his draft year had been nearing a boiling point and finally the lid came off this week after Wednesday’s practice.
After a meeting with coach and general manager Dave Barr, Arniel packed a few things and headed home to Kingston. Barr was mum on the subject as he road the bus back from Kingston Sunday night.
“Jamie is not with the team right now” repeated Barr over and over again despite being asked several times whether a trade was in the works or whether Arniel might return to the club.
At this point though, it looks like Arniel will be moved. If the Storm were riding high in the standings they could afford to have him sit home for awhile, but they have only won 35% of their games this season so the team needs help right now. Owen Sound seemed a distant eighth a couple of weeks ago but now sit just two points behind the Storm and the final playoff spot.
So let the speculation begin! Arniel has the chance to be an elite player in the OHL and that will be the only thing that saves Barr in this situation. With the player already sitting at home the price might ordinarily drop but it is rare to have such a young player with a bright future on the open market. There will likely be several teams lining up to take a shot at him. As a 17-year-old last season he had 31 goals and 31 assists. He played well on Canada‘s Under-18 team this summer and is expected to be a high second round pick in the upcoming NHL draft.
The kid can play the game, so now Barr has to go out and try and replace him with an equitable commodity and that will be the tough part.
Will he go to his hometown and play for the Frontenacs? Everyone expects 19-year-old Kingston forward Cory Emmerton to be traded before the deadline. Perhaps he’ll be moved to Sarnia to play with his Under 18 line mate Steven Stamkos? Maybe it will be to Sudbury. Maybe Barr hooks up with old trading partner Mark Hunter in London again, although it would be dangerous to trade Arniel to a team the Storm plays eight times every season. Who knows, this could even turn into a blockbuster deal involving more than one team.
One thing is for sure, when a player stops caring about his team and his teammates, the GM has little choice in the matter. But this is one trade that Barr has to get right. Quantity in return won’t cut it, it has to be quality. Look for a deal to be made sooner rather than later.
From the Land of Oz?.Of their 0-3 weekend Barr said “No one played well Friday in Ottawa (a 10-3 loss) but on Saturday in Belleville (a 3-1 defeat) I thought we did almost everything right except score enough goals. In Kingston we dominated early outshooting them something like 14-3 or 14-4 in the first half of the first period but then we started taking penalties.” Usually among the most disciplined teams the Storm now has the fifth most penalty minutes in the league. Last season they had the fourth fewest?Almost unbelievably overage forward Rafael Rotter is still looking for his first goal of the season.