Roth sent to Sarnia for picks

Jeffrey Ougler/Sault Star Soo Greyhounds winger Ryan Roth (left) and Hamilton Bulldogs winger Marian Studenic jockey for puck possession during OHL championship action last May in Sault Ste. Marie.

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Ryan Roth had been concerned about getting more of an opportunity to play this season.

In a late August interview with The Sault Star, the winger spoke of his frustration over the ice time he received in last season’s playoffs.

“It was hard,” Roth admitted at the time. “I played more in the playoffs my first year than last season.”

At the start of the 2019-2020 campaign, those thoughts were relayed to the Soo Greyhounds by Roth’s agent, Jeff Boston of RSG Hockey.

On Thursday, despite playing on the team’s top line through six games, Roth was dealt to the Sarnia Sting.

In exchange for the 19-year-old (2000 birth year) native of Ladue, Mo., the Hounds received a second-round draft choice in 2022, a fourth-rounder in 2021 and a conditional fifth-round pick in 2023. The Soo receives the fifth-rounder if Roth returns next season to play as an overage.

General manager Kyle Raftis said the deal was made due to the Hounds depth on right wing and the club’s interest in developing its younger forwards.

“We’re trying to get more ice time for the younger guys,” added Raftis, pointing to the likes of rookies Dominic Mufarreh and Kalvyn Watson. “We found a fit with Sarnia and everything just came together. We wanted some draft choices and Sarnia is getting a good player.”

The five-foot-eight, 166-pound Roth was in his third OHL season after joining the Soo in 2017 as a free agent.

He had two goals and four assists in six games this season and 38 goals and 43 assists in 142 career contests.

Roth, who walked away from a full-ride scholarship offer at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y. to join the Hounds, was unavailable for comment on Thursday.

Raftis said Boston “made it clear they’d be open to a move if it meant more of an opportunity for Ryan.”

Asked how Roth reacted, Raftis said: “He was good. He seemed fine about it. It wasn’t a shocker to him.”

As a result of previous deals, the Soo doesn’t have a second-round selection in next April’s draft. They do have a second-rounder in 2021, but didn’t in 2022 – prior to this trade.

“The draft choices give us flexibility,” said Raftis, hinting at the option of adding a veteran player later in the season.

The deal for Roth leaves the Hounds with 13 forwards, not counting Barrett Hayton, who remains with the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes.

Meantime, the Sting, off to an 0-5-0-0 start this season, welcomes the addition of a player who knows where the net is.

“Since the onset of training camp we have been targeting the addition of another older forward that could come in to provide additional experience and offence with our current younger nucleus,” GM Nick Sinclair said in a prepared statement.