OHL: Revisiting Spitfires-67’s June 2019 Matthew Maggio Trade – The Hockey Writers – OHL

Sometimes, a seemingly small trade can have incredible results for a franchise. This happened when the Windsor Spitfires acquired a hometown kid in June 2019.

With the 2023-24 Ontario Hockey League (OHL) season wrapped up, the league’s trade window has opened for June. This is an annual occurrence, and the Spitfires are no strangers to pulling off a move or three. In 2019, then-general manager Warren Rychel did what he does best and brought in a local player with potential. The youngster didn’t have impressive numbers at first but soon became an icon within the organization and the community. Let’s take a look back.

Maggio Heads Home to the Spitfires

On June 26, 2019, just two weeks before stepping down as the Spitfires’ GM in July 2019, Rychel made a move with the Ottawa 67’s. Here’s how it went down.

To Spitfires:

To 67’s:

  • Kingston Frontenacs’ second-round pick in 2022
  • Kitchener Rangers’ second-round pick in 2023

What the Spitfires Got

The 5-foot-11, 183-pound Maggio hails from Tecumseh, just outside of Windsor, and the Spitfires saw all kinds of potential in him. He was a former fifth-round pick of the 67’s and had just seven points in 35 games in 2018-19 so giving up a pair of seconds wasn’t ideal. However, nobody knew what was coming next.

The youngster had 14 points in 45 games in 2019-20 before COVID shut everything down. During the stoppage, he played for SK Lejon in HockeyEttan, a third-tier league in Sweden. There, he had three goals and 11 points in 19 games. However, something seemed to click, and he became a different player when he got back.

Matthew Maggio Windsor Spitfires
Former Windsor Spitfires’ captain Matthew Maggio. (David Jewell / The Hockey Writers)

In 2021-22, the OHL returned, and Maggio joined forces with Spitfires captain Will Cuylle and Dallas Stars prospect Wyatt Johnston. The trio had breakout seasons, including Maggio exploding for 38 goals and 85 points in the regular season. In the playoffs, he had another 17 points in 25 playoff games as the club made it to Game 7 of the OHL Championship (lost to the Hamilton Bulldogs).

The New York Islanders promptly drafted Maggio in July 2022, and when Cuylle and Johnston graduated, he took over as captain for 2022-23. It was his best season; he quietly scored 54 goals and 111 points in 66 games, including tying a franchise-high five-goal outing against the Erie Otters on Dec. 15, 2022. This was his team and his organization. No matter where he went in the community, fans adored him, and the feeling was mutual.

Related: OHL: Spitfires’ Captain, Isles’ Prospect Maggio Joins 50-Goal Club

When the season was over, Maggio said his goodbyes, packed up, and headed to the Islanders’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Bridgeport Islanders. He’s been with them ever since, though he occasionally returns to the Windsor-Essex region.

What the 67’s Got

While getting two second-rounders for a kid who hasn’t broken out yet should be a home run, it didn’t work out great for the 67’s.

The Frontenacs’ pick was used on forward Caden Kelly, who has been with the 67’s since day one. In 104 games, he has nine goals and 24 points. The Rangers’ second-round pick was sent to the Oshawa Generals in a package for forward Dylan Robinson. He wasn’t as fruitful, with seven goals and 14 points in 29 games from 2019-22. The club released him on Jan. 7, 2022.

Rychel’s Swan Song

While Rychel made a minor move involving the Niagara IceDogs after this, getting Maggio was his swan song. He passed the GM torch to Bill Bowler, the club’s all-time leading scorer, and Rychel’s protege since 2015-16.

Since he was a part of the group that bought the Spitfires in 2006 (including Bob Boughner and Peter Dobrich), Rychel had an incredible reputation for swinging for the fences in moves. While some were complete misses, others were home runs, including this one. At the time, it was tough to justify two high picks for a kid who hadn’t produced at the OHL level, local or not. However, looking back, it was a power mic drop as Rychel strolled into the sunset.

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