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Canadian Press
Jan 10, 2007, 6:34 PM EST


(CP) - The Plymouth Whalers were the big winners Wednesday at the Ontario Hockey League trade deadline, acquiring forward Daniel Ryder from the Peterborough Petes for forward John Armstrong and three draft picks.

Ryder, who turns 20 on Friday, should provide a significant upgrade to the Plymouth offence. Entering play Wednesday night, his 59 points (24 goals, 35 assists) ranks tied for 10th in the league with former teammate Steve Downie, who was traded from Peterborough to the Kitchener Rangers on Sunday.

Ryder finished serving a 10-game suspension for making contact with a linesman in a Dec. 8 game against Oshawa, and should be in the Plymouth lineup for Friday's game against the Saginaw Spirit.

Ryder's acquisition gives Plymouth an upper hand in the tight West Division, where the Whalers (26-11-1-2) enjoy a two-point lead over the Sarnia Sting and a three-point advantage over the Spirit.

Whalers general manager Michael Vellucci said the deal was just too good to pass up.

"We weren't intent on being the biggest movers, but obviously Daniel is an outstanding player," said Vellucci. "Our team has done well of late scoring by committee, but you throw in a guy with 24 goals, obviously you can separate yourself a little from the teams in your division."

Ryder, the younger brother of Montreal Canadiens forward Michael Ryder, captured the Wayne Gretzky 99 Award last season as the MVP of the OHL playoffs. His 15 goals and 16 assists helped the Petes reach their first Memorial Cup since 1996.

"The best thing about him is his playoff performance," said Vellucci, who first became interested in Ryder over a month ago. "That's something we're hoping he'll bring here."

The Bonavista, N.L., native has 111 goals and 164 assists in 225 career OHL games, all with Peterborough. He was selected in the third round of the 2005 NHL draft by the Calgary Flames.

Armstrong, 18, had eight goals and 13 assists in 34 games for the Whalers, who also relinquish a third-and a sixth-round pick in 2007, and a second-round choice in 2008.

Two other Western Conference teams made significant moves at the deadline.

The Sting picked up forward Craig Voakes and a sixth-round pick in 2007 from the Windsor Spitfires for a fourth-rounder in 2007 and a sixth-rounder in 2008. Voakes, a Windsor native, had 10 goals and 24 assists in 39 games with the Spitfires.

Windsor was the busiest team Wednesday, returning goaltender Scott Bowles to Prince George of the WHL, calling up netminder Matt Hackett from the Jr. B St. Thomas Stars and dealing goalie John Faulkner to Erie for netminder Ryan Ludzik.

The Spitfires also shipped forward Cory McGillis and defenceman Chris Purves to the Barrie Colts for a second-rounder in 2009 and a ninth-rounder in 2010.

The Owen Sound Attack upgraded in two areas, snagging slick forward Howie Martin and rugged defenceman Phil Oreskovic from the Brampton Battalion.

Martin had 15 goals and 21 assists in 42 games with Brampton. Oreskovic, a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect, had two goals, 12 assists and a team-high 113 penalty minutes in 36 games with the Battalion.

Brampton received defenceman Dalyn Flatt, forward Thomas Stajan and six draft picks - a third-rounder in 2008, fourth-and fifth-round picks in 2009, a third-rounder in 2010 and first-round choices in the 2008 and 2009 import drafts.

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