It came as no surprise to me last week when I received the media release from the Red Deer Rebels saying Landon Ferraro had been traded to the Everett Silvertips.
After tallying 37 goals in 2008-2009 for a non-playoff team, the second overall pick on the 2006 WHL Bantam draft, Ferraro took a step back this past season, thanks in part to a training camp knee injury that put him on the shelf for parts of the season, and he only managed 16 goals in 53 games.
Ferraro’s struggles through the season were well documented, as he came back from the knee injury too early (by his own admission) and then required surgery.
He never seemed to regain that step that had made him an almost 40 goal scorer the year before.
And while always friendly with me when doing his pre or post game interviews, you could tell the lack of performance was starting to weight on the B.C. native.
After being held pointless in three playoff games, Ferraro was benched for the final game of a four game sweep at the hands of the Saskatoon Blades, as Rebels coach and GM Jesse Wallin pulled out all the stops to get his team going and extend the series.
When the season came to an end, I wondered how long it would be before Wallin pulled the trigger on a deal involving Ferraro, knowing that it most likely would not happen until after the bantam and import drafts.
When I talked to Wallin after the trade, he mentioned that the process had basically begun at the end of the season and involved several teams.
He also told me that he was steadfast in his wanting a player that could help the Rebels right away coming back in any trade.
Ferraro didn’t help matters when he did an interview with the Detroit Free Press in early July while attending prospects camp for the Red Wings.
He told the interviewer that he had basically played the entire year on one leg, wasn’t seeing eye to eye with Wallin, and suggested that he wasn’t happy anymore in Red Deer, hinting that a return to the Rebels wasn’t going to happen.
And while some may wonder what’s going on down at the Centrium, this parting is actually a good thing for the Red Deer Rebels.
They rid themselves of a player who is in need of a fresh start and didn’t want to be here anymore, and they pick up a player who put up more points over two seasons than did Ferraro and is by all accounts a more complete player.
Byron Froese is a 19-year-old centre who elevates those he plays with, while Ferraro, who can be a game breaker when he wants to be, is someone who needs to play with good players in order to have success.
This is also a good deal for Ferraro.
He gets to go to a team that wants him, is a little closer to his hometown, and he also gets out of a situation that he felt wasn’t good for his career.
An old hockey coach of mine once told me, “You play for the logo on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.”
Ferraro, it would appear, had started to worry more about himself than the team, and when you have 22 guys going one way, and one guy going the other way, it can have an impact on the dressing room and the team’s success.
I’m not saying I blame Landon for looking after his own interests; in fact I wish him nothing but success and thank him for always being a good guy with the media.
But I think, at the end of the day, he had gotten to the point where he didn’t feel being in Red Deer was in the best interest of his future.
And that’s when you know it’s time to go.