Injuries have decimated the Saginaw Spirit defensive corps so much recently that, with just four healthy defensemen on the roster, the team had been relegated to using two forwards on defense, which prompted Spirit GM Dave Drinkill to pick up third year defenseman Reilly Webb (who was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2017 NHL draft)
in a trade with the Hamilton Bulldogs earlier this week.
“We are thrilled to welcome Reilly Webb to the Saginaw Spirit Hockey Club,” Drinkill said. “Reilly is a tough, stay-at-home defenseman that will add stability and depth to our back end.”
Drinkill added another defenseman as well, announcing the signing of 2017 seventh round pick, Mason Millman
to an OHL standard player agreement and educational package on the same day as the Webb trade.
The 18 year old Webb is a 6-foot-3, 200-pound stay-at-home defenseman who was drafted by Hamilton in the second round (33 overall) of the 2015 OHL priority selection draft, before being drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the sixth round (164 overall) of the 2017 NHL draft.
Webb is no stranger to the Spirit coaching staff after playing junior-B hockey for the Ancaster Avalanche
in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League,
who were coached by Spirit assistant coach Ryan Kuwabara for the 2015-16 GOJHL season, before going on to play for Spirit head coach Troy Smith the following year when Smith was an associate coach for the Hamilton Bulldogs during the 2016-17 OHL season.
The trade fills a need on the back end for the Spirit, while mutually benefiting Webb and the Red Wings, who have close ties to the Spirit and will now be able to monitor his development much easier, with Saginaw just over an hour drive by car from Detroit.
In exchange for Webb, Hamilton will receive (from Saginaw) Kitchener's second round pick in the 2018 OHL priority selection draft, Saginaw's fifth round pick in 2023, and a conditional third round pick (from Saginaw) in 2023 with the condition that Saginaw use Webb as an over age player for the 2023 OHL season.
Millman, a 6-foot-1, 170-pound defenseman who was drafted by the Spirit after graduating (along with fellow Spirit rookie, second round pick, Aidan Prueter) from the London Jr. Knights' minor midget triple-A program last year.
After Saginaw's training camp, the 16 year old London, ON native went on to play for the St. Thomas Stars
in the GOJHL, where he was third on the team among defenseman in scoring, with 17-points (6-goals, 11-assists) through 33-games this season.
Both Webb and Millman dressed in Saginaw's 3-1 loss to the Soo Greyhounds at the Essar Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, ON two nights ago, where Spirit back up goal tender Cameron Lamour (despite the loss) put together a very strong performance, stopping 22 of the 25 shots he faced from the No. 1 ranked team in the 60-team Canadian Hockey League.
Webb and Millman will make their home debut when the Spirit host the second place team in the OHL's western conference, the Kitchener Rangers (26-13-2-0) for a 7:05 pm face off Saturday night at the Dow Event Center in downtown Saginaw.
Spirit highlights from 3-1 loss to the Soo Greyhounds: