Years down the road it’s likely only the most knowledgeable trivia buff will remember Sam Studnicka’s name as the second player acquired by the Sting in the trade with the Ottawa 67’s to bring Travis Konecny to Sarnia.
But, according to Sting General Manager Nick Sinclair, Studnicka was an integral part of the much talked about deadline deal.
“He’s kind of the guy who is going unnoticed in this whole thing,” said Sinclair of the Windsor-area product who celebrated his 21st birthday last Friday.
“I think our fans will quickly see that he’s a very big part of the transaction.”
Studnicka was originally selected by his hometown Spitfires in the fifth round of the OHL Priority Selection in 2011, playing parts of two seasons with the Spits before being dealt to Ottawa in June, 2013.
Sinclair said the one-time Chatham Maroon had been on the Sting’s radar for months, but up to the league’s trade deadline the answer from Ottawa brass to Sarnia inquiries had always been no.
But the availability of the overage centre changed when the 67’s decided to go with a younger lineup for the second half of the season, Sinclair said. And, the Sting was delighted to add Studnicka’s versatility to the roster.
“He’s a team guy first,” said Sinclair. “He can play on your power play, he’s a great penalty killer, he can score, he can check, he’s very good on faceoffs.”
In fact, statistically, Studnicka is one of the top men on draws in the OHL. Only twice this season has he had games where he lost more faceoffs than he won.
“He’s a character kid with tremendous leadership ability,” concluded Sinclair. “The impact that he’s going to have in our dressing room is going to very substantial.”