In hindsight, it’s looking like one of the better swaps of the OHL season.
At the trade deadline, Brett Cook, Greg McKegg and Tyson Teichmann were dealt from the Erie Otters to the London Knights for Dane Fox, Troy Donnay and a pair of second-round picks.
Both squads got what they wanted: Erie nabbed relative youth to inject into their rebuilding lineup, while London plucked away a pair of veterans to complement their first-place roster.
When the Knights open up the OHL championship series Thursday, McKegg will be front and centre. It will be the first time the St. Thomas native dresses since suffering an upper-body injury during Game 6 of the Western Conference semi-final.
“I don’t think you’ll see much of a change in my play,” the 19-year-old Toronto Maple Leafs prospect said. “I just have to keep doing what I’m doing and contribute to the strong unit we have here.”
Before his four-game stint on the shelf, McKegg had nine points in 10 playoff games. And while the sniper has been leaned on for supplemental scoring since arriving in London, teammate Cook, 21, has embraced a dissimilar role as the squad’s sturdy No. 5 defenceman.
To put their differences in perspective, McKegg recorded nine more points in the 2011-12 regular season than Cook has over 246 regular season games in the OHL.
Nevertheless, the six-foot, 200-pound blueliner has done his part on the back-end. From killing penalties to a game-saving dive across the Knights’ goal-line in Game 3 against the Windsor Spitfires, Cook has been his typical self during the duo’s first real playoff experience.
Neither saw the second round of the post-season as members of the oft-lowly Otters.
“Where would you rather be – at home or here?” Cook asked rhetorically. “It’s not nice enough at home to do anything anyways, so it’s definitely a thrill to be playing hockey still.”
McKegg — who could technically play one more year of major junior hockey next year — will likely turn pro after the season.
“Whatever happens, happens. I haven’t thought once about what I am doing next year,” McKegg said.
In January, the London Knights traded away 167 games of OHL experience (Fox, Donnay) for 571 (Teichmann, McKegg, Cook).