Mike Vellucci: Matt Mistele Staying as OHL Trade Deadline Draws Near

Jan 04, 2013 - 03:30 EST

WHALERS TONIGHT - Owen Sound (25-9-1-2) at Plymouth Whalers (17-12-5-3), 7:05 pm, Compuware Arena.

BROADCAST - www.plymouthwhalers.com at 6:50 pm.  Schoolcraft College Sports network provides video streaming.

Click here for tonight's media package as supplied by the Ontario Hockey League.

George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press has the story:

Plymouth Whalers forward Matthew Mistele doesn't have to worry about what team he'll be playing for next week. The same thing can't be said for some older teammates.

The Ontario Hockey League's trade deadline is approaching, and the Whalers are expected to be one of the teams that will make at least one deal.

Coach and general manager Mike Vellucci said opposing GMs continue to ask about Mistele, 17. Vellucci said he's not interested in moving his rising star.

Mistele has 16 goals and 14 assists in 37 games. He's tied for the team lead in scoring with forwards Garrett Meurs (17 goals, 13 assists) and Rickard Rakell (13 goals, 17 assists).

"I love Plymouth, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else," Mistele said. "There's a bunch of teams that have a couple guys that score all their points and get all their goals. For us, there's a bunch of guys that can chip in."

Mistele is one of nine Whalers with at least 21 points.

As a rookie last season, Mistele had three goals and two assists in 28 games.

"As the year went on, he just got nothing but better and better," Vellucci said. "We were very excited for him coming into the year. It was kind of like a Stefan Noesen -- his underage year he didn't play a ton and then was very good the next year."

Vellucci said he isn't surprised teams are asking for Mistele.

"No surprise whatsoever, but again, I'm not trading him," Vellucci said.

Vellucci will have to move one of his 20-year-olds by Wednesday, the OHL deadline for overage players. Teams can't have more than three overage players in the lineup and must be down to three on their roster by Wednesday. The trade deadline for all other players is Thursday.

Vellucci usually carries three overagers so he doesn't have to worry about getting down to the limit at the deadline. Forward Mitchell Heard, who had 29 goals and 57 points in 57 games last season for Plymouth, returned this week from Lake Erie of the American Hockey League.

The Whalers' other 20-year-olds are forward Alex Aleardi (15 goals, 12 assists), and defensemen Colin MacDonald (seven assists) and Austin Levi (five assists).

MacDonald was scratched from a 6-2 win over Guelph on Wednesday.

"We never expected to get Mitchell Heard back," Vellucci said. "We've been fortunate enough to get him sent back, so now we have to make an adjustment. I haven't decided what I'm going to do. We'll wait and see what happens and try to make it less painful for everybody. We just want to get it done."

SATURDAY - Guelph at Plymouth, 7:05 pm, Compuware Arena.

BROADCAST - Comcast 900/Xfinity Television, live at 7 pm.