If it wasn’t clear by now, the rebuild is officially on for the defending Memorial Cup champions.
The Windsor Spitfires, winners of the 2017 CHL title on home ice, finalized a huge deal Monday that sent forward Gabe Vilardi and defenceman Sean Day to the Kingston Frontenacs.
In return, the Spitfires received rookie forward Cody Morgan, five draft picks — four second-rounders and a third — and three conditional draft picks.
Vilardi, 18, was selected 11th overall by the Los Angeles Kings in 2017 after recording 61 points in 49 games last season. He also had seven assists in four games at the Memorial Cup tournament. The Kingston native has yet to play this season because of a back injury.
Day, 19, was drafted by the New York Rangers in the third round (81st overall) in 2016. He’s in his fifth OHL season after being granted exceptional status to join the league a year early in 2013-14. He has four goals and 21 points in 27 games this season.
In Morgan, the Spitfires are getting a 16-year-old who has four goals and seven points in 31 games. Morgan was selected 12th overall in last year’s OHL draft.
The two teams are separated by one point in the standings — the Frontenacs are 18-12-3-3 (42 points) and the Spitfires are 19-13-2-1 (41 points) — but Windsor plays in the more competitive Western Conference.
The blockbuster trade comes a couple weeks after overager Aaron Luchuk, the OHL’s goal-scoring leader, was dealt to the Barrie Colts.
The OHL trade deadline is Jan. 10. Vancouver Canucks prospect Michael DiPietro, 18, the final goaltending cut from Canada’s world junior team, is Windsor’s biggest trade chip.