The London Knights did not have a member of their club playing for Team Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championship.
Late Monday afternoon, they acquired one.
The Knights made a deal with the Saginaw Spirit for Mitchell Stephens. In return, London gave four second round picks (none of them initially belonging to London), two third round picks and a conditional third round pick.
London Knights’ General Manager Rob Simpson told AM 980 that his predecessoirs had left him quite the stockpile of draft picks to work with.
“I’m a little lucky with Basil (McRae) and Mark (Hunter) in past years doing a good job with draft picks and having them made some of these moves possible.”
Stephens had five points in five games at this year’s World Junior tournament and seemed to score at key times.
He was one of very few players who makes more than one appearance, having represented Canada in Helsinki last year.
Stephens has been known for being a key contributor on every team he has played for. He has excellent offensive and defensive skills and is an extremely intelligent player. He has good character and has been wearing the “C” for the Spirit this season.
Stephens is from Peterborough and after starting his minor hockey career there, he joined the Toronto Marlboros. He won championships in Pee Wee, Bantam and Minor Midget where he was a teammate of Dylan Strome and Michael McLeod.
The Tampa Bay Lightning selected him in the 2nd round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. He was thought to be a draft-day steal at number 33 overall. Tampa Bay signed him to an entry-level contract last April.
Stephens is a cousin of OHL goal scoring leader, Owen Tippett.