Breaking Down a Frantic Couple of Hours in Londonby Michael Oram | January 26, 2018, 5:30 PM ET
At the 2017 entry draft the Monarchs made waves shooting up the draft board to take Nolan Patrick with the second overall pick. The cost to make such a splash, three first round picks. The Monarchs moved their first in 2017 and 2019 along with Las Vegas’ first in 2018 to make that second overall selection.
Fast forward to the mid point of the 2017-18 season. The Monarchs are once again battling just to have a shot at making the playoffs. They are struggling with inconsistent play. And just like last season they have lost team MVP Alexander Ovechkin for an extended period.
This left the Monarchs with two options. The first was for them to stay the course. Play out this season and let cards fall as they may. Then head into 2018 free agency and spend to the max for a one season all in shot at a championship. This is a risky plan. It would deplete the team’s financial reserves and leave them with a not so bright future.
Then came the rumours. The Monarchs were pushing to reacquire their 2019 first round pick. Why would they do this? Were they trying to undo the gamble they made at the SICHL Summit? Would they be successful? What does this mean for the future of the team?
It only took a few short hours for London’s plan to emerge. A frantic few hours. A few hours that reshaped the league and the team. An insane few hours that turned everything upside down.
In a surprise move the Monarchs announced they were successful in reacquiring their 2019 first round pick. In this first deal of the evening the Monarchs shipped out their first in 2020 and penalty minute machine, defenceman Rasmus Andersson to Banff. Coming back to London was the aforementioned first round pick and Whitehorse’s fourth in 2018.
The floodgates had opened.
The rebuild was on.
And supporting it all was a competing arms race at the top of the league.
The next move saw the Huskies acquire Jarome Iginla in exchange for Whitehorse’s 2018 5th round pick.
While this deal was coming together two teams stepped up. Two teams with eyes on the same players. Two teams at the top of the standings. The bidding war began and frantic negotiations commenced.
When the dust settled two blockbuster trades had been made. Two teams had loaded up for playoff runs and one team fast tracked their rebuild.
To the Nova Scotia Schooners went Roman Josi and Luke Glendening along with $1.25M in cash. Coming back to London was defenceman Adam Larsson, prospect Jack Roslovic, the Schooners 2019 third round pick and Stephen Gionta and Blake Siebenaler.
The Havana Revolution meanwhile walked away with Tyler Myers, Mikael Backlund and $1M in cash. Coming back to London in this swap is Havana’s 2019 first round pick, Shane Bowers, Mirco Mueller, and Jason Dickinson.
The end result of this crazy shake up? Three of the top teams in the league bolstered their lineups. Havana and Nova Scotia put the league on notice that they are for real and gunning for the big prize.
On the other end of the scale, London put up the “For Sale” sale sign. The rebuild is in full swing and the future is looking bright already. The trades gave the team additional picks bringing their total to 20 picks in the next two drafts. They added top talent to their stable of young players which already included Sebastian Aho, Jake Bean, and Nolan Patrick among others.
Are the Monarchs done? Not by a long shot. They have informed the league they are willing to move anyone over the age of 25 and for the right price some of their other talent (like Sami Vatanen and Adam Larsson) are available. Rumours are swirling that Ben Bishop is already drawing a lot of interest and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him moved out in the next couple of days.
Some say this move by the Monarchs is long overdue. Others are baffled at how the team could go forward with this when they had such a solid core already. All we know for certain is that the Monarchs are now in full rebuild and open for business. The team hopes to be back in the playoffs and competitive again in two seasons.