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Thursday January 10th, 2013

Posted at 4:26pm

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The deadline has come and gone for Warren Rychel and the Windsor Spitfires. As the World Junior Hockey Championships were underway, the trade deadline was looming. Now – unless delayed due to the end of the NHL lockout – general managers and coaches look at their acquisitions, and their losses.

For the Spitfires, it was an eventful week, with a lot of moves.

Windsor certainly grabbed the upper hand following the world juniors. Already expecting the return of Russian forward Alexander Khokhlachev, other big names were added to the roster.

One of the hottest players eligible in this year’s trade season was defenseman Slater Koekkoek, who was acquired (by Windsor) from the Peterborough Petes for Michael Clarke and draft picks. Koekkoek was a 1st round pick (10th overall) by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

The team received overager Alex Aleardi from the Plymouth Whalers in exchange for Zach Lorentz. This season, Aleardi has 15 goals and 29 points in 39 games for the Whalers.

From Ottawa, the Spitfires gained Remy Giftopoulos, who also has 15 goals, as well as 27 points in 42 games. Windsor sends Ottawa a number of draft picks.

The Spitfires also shipped forward Jordan Maletta up to the Niagara Ice Dogs, and gained a pair of draft picks for the future.

 Spitfires Say Goodbye to Saverio

On a personal level, the biggest deal made had to be the trading of Spitfires Captain Saverio Posa. Posa began his OHL career with Windsor, and was the last remaining player from the 2010 Memorial Cup team.

“There’s always those rumours that you might go somewhere else. But I didn’t really think too much of it. You can’t, especially come deadline because the more you dwell on it, the more it starts to affect your play. But I’m really glad to get to go to a team like Guelph. They’re sitting pretty solid in a playoff spot right now. I’m pretty excited to get out there and hopefully take some leadership over there.”

It was surely an emotional moment for the defenseman. “There are a couple of instances where you’re trying to fight back tears. You really grow a relationship with the guys when you’re here. Especially a young team like our guys, they really look up to the older guys so it’s almost like you’re a big brother to them in a way. When you say goodbye to your little brothers, it’s tough.”

Posa is already looking forward to coming back to play in front of the “home” crowd. “When I walk back through these doors, even though I’ll be on the other side, I can still say I had a lot of memories in here.”

As for the fans, Saverio did not forget about them; he left them a few kind words. “Thank you so much for the support that they’ve shown. No matter how many times you make a mistake, they’re always behind you. They’re some of the best fans in the OHL; there’s no doubt about it. I just want to say thank you so much, for the support they’ve shown.”

Posa heads to Guelph, while Windsor gets a 4th round pick in the 2013 OHL Priority Selection.

Windsor’s newest acquirements are expected to be in the lineup tonight, against the Brampton Battalion. Puck drop is 7:05pm.

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