John Tavares traded to London
John Tavares, who starred for Canada's gold medal-winning team at the world junior championship, has been traded from the OHL's Oshawa Generals to the London Knights.
Tavares's agent, Pat Brisson, confirmed the deal on Thursday.
The deal includes five other players and six draft picks. Defenceman Michael Del Zotto — a first-round pick of the New York Rangers — and goaltender Daryl Borden are also headed to London, while Oshawa receives a package of forward Christian Thomas, defenceman Scott Valentine, and goaltender Michael Zador.
In addition, the Generals will get six draft picks — London's four second-round picks for the next four years, and the Knights third round picks in both 2010 and 2011.
"In the end, it became obvious to us that it made more sense for Oshawa to move John to another team," Brisson said Thursday. "We are glad that it was done in a professional matter by [Generals GM and coach] Chris DePiero.
"After being in Oshawa for three and half years, it's not an easy departure for John."
Tavares, 18, is expected by many to go first overall in this spring's NHL draft. He was named the most valuable player at the recent world juniors in Ottawa after helping Canada to its fifth consecutive title.
The soft-handed forward tied Russia's Nikita Filatov for the tournament lead with eight goals and added seven assists.
Tavares has 26 goals and 54 points in 31 games this season for the Generals, who are scheduled to play in London on Friday night. It's not known whether he will appear in that game.
In the Knights, Tavares appears to be joining a superior team. London (30-8-0-1) has the second-best record in the OHL and leads the Midwest Division. Oshawa (18-16-1-4) is third in the East Division.
Tavares, who hails from Oakville, Ont., had to waive a no-trade clause for the deal to be made. When he returned to the Toronto area on Tuesday, he was asked about the possibility of being dealt to another club.
"Oshawa's been my home for three-and-a-half years and my heart will always be there," Tavares said earlier this week. "No matter whether I get moved or not it's been a big part of my life and a stepping stone in my career and they gave me the opportunity to play hockey in the OHL.
"I'm very thankful for that."
Tavares is the second player from Canada's winning team to be traded from his junior club this week. The day after the gold medal game, forward Chris DiDomenico was dealt to the Drummondville Voltigeurs by the Saint John Sea Dogs.
With files from the Canadian Press