Already three games into the season, The London Knights are hitting the panic button. In lieu of being outscored 9-4 and failing to pick up a win, GM Mark Hunter has seen enough. Pulling off two trades in one night to try and give the shakey Knights some stability.
In the first trade of the afternoon, yesterday, London acquired hometown kid, and former London Jr. Knights player, overage forward George Diaco from the Hamilton Bulldogs in exchange for two draft picks; a 2023 3rd round as well as a 2024 2nd rounder that used to belong to the Windsor Spitfires.
“It’s a surreal experience. I’ve been watching the Knights my whole life. I had that logo on my chest for a while, so it will be great to have it back on again. Playing at the Bud is a tremendous experience with all those fans and I can’t wait.” Said Diaco to The London Free Press.
Diaco looks to grow off his 2021-2022 season, where he scored at over a point per game pace, picking up 27 goals and 43 assists to tally a whopping 70 points and a new career high.
The second trade Hunter was able to cook up was for right-shot defenceman Alec Leonard from the Niagara Ice Dogs, accompanied by a 2023 third-round and a 2026 second-round selection. The picks once belonged to the North Bay Battalion and Mississauga Steelheads, respectively. In return, the Ice Dogs received United States-born, 20-year-old stay-at-home defenceman Gerard Keane. While some may point out that Leonard appeared in only six games last season, the Knights are confident that the former 2020 second-round pick will hit the ground running in his new colours.
Only time will tell if the trades will end up working in London’s favour, but with that being said the Knights front office is hoping for a bigger splash sooner rather than later as both new acquisitions are expected to make their Budweiser Garden debut Friday, October 14, at 7pm vs the Mississauga Steelheads