Almost as quickly as it started, the race to land coveted forward Ryan Spooner is over.
The Kingston Frontenacs paid a hefty price Thursday in order to acquire the 18-year-old Spooner, who was sent home by the Peterborough Petes earlier in the week after requesting a trade. Peterborough’s leading scorer will head to Kingston along with defenceman Jeff Braithwaite in exchange for forward Alan Quine, 17, defenceman Clark Seymour, 17, a second-round pick in 2011 and a conditional second-round pick in 2013.
“I think we’re a legitimate contender and anytime you can add someone like Spooner, one of the top guys in the league, it can only make us better,” said Frontenacs general manager Larry Mavety on Thursday morning. “(Braithwaite) has been in the league three years and we obviously feel he’s going to be a big asset to our hockey club.”
As of this morning, the deal had yet to be finalized by the Ontario Hockey League head office, though the process is usually only a formality.
Spooner, a second-round pick of the Boston Bruins at the NHL entry draft in June, had a team-high 10 goals and nine assists in 14 games. He left the team on Monday citing his desire for a fresh start after two seasons with the last-place Petes.
“It’s something we had been talking about for a couple weeks now,” said Spooner’s agent Murray Kuntz on Monday. “He’s been through a rebuild for two straight years now (in Peterborough) and it’s gotten to a point where it looks like it’s going in the same direction, so he just felt it was time to move on.”
Both Quine, 17, and Seymour, 17, are expected to suit up for the Petes (4-11-01) Thursday night when they host the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
"As an organization we are very pleased to have acquired Alan Quine and Clark Seymour and look forward to seeing them in a Petes uniform beginning tonight," said Peterborough GM Dave Reid in a release.
Quine, a centre, has scored four goals and seven assists in 17 games with the Frontenacs this season. Seymour, a 6-foot-4 defenceman, has two goals and two assists in 18 games this season.
Mavety says Spooner and Braithwaite are scheduled to be in Kingston for practice on Thursday afternoon and play their first game on Friday night when it’s their turn to host the Western Conference ‘Hounds. The Frontenacs, 11-6-1-0, are tied with the Oshawa Generals for first place in the East Division and sit behind the front-running Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors in the Eastern Conference standings.
“When we found out about Spooner we were obviously interested,” said Mavety. “(Reid) told me what he was looking for and we just had to iron some things out. Obviously with a player of his calibre there were other teams involved. I think the draft picks (Reid) were something he was going to get from probably everybody, probably even more, but you can’t put draft picks on the ice today.”
A native of Kanata, Ont., Spooner wanted to move closer to home and this deal will see him reunited with a number of former Ottawa-area friends like Frontenacs star defenceman Erik Gudbranson, who is from Orleans, Ont.
“We have about 10 guys here from the Ottawa area so they all know him,” said Mavety. “I think the transition from that standpoint is going to be easy.”
Last year with Peterborough, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound centre finished with 19 goals and 35 assists in 45 games after his season was cut short by a broken clavicle. Spooner’s arrival in Kingston will leave the Frontenacs with an abundance of centres, something he asked Mavety about during their first conversation.
“His main concern at the start was where he was going to play because we have (Ethan) Werek in the middle,” said Mavety, adding that centre Nathan Moon would likely move over to play right wing to start because Spooner is a left-handed shot.
“You’re only a centreman until they drop the puck anyway.”
Sunaya Sapurji is the junior hockey editor at Yahoo! Sports. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org