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Barrie Colts winger looked uninspired in recent games

By Gene Pereira, Special to Postmedia Network

The Barrie Colts have traded winger Josh MacDonald to the Peterborough Petes for a package of draft picks. EXAMINER FILES

The Barrie Colts have traded winger Josh MacDonald to the Peterborough Petes for a package of draft picks. EXAMINER FILES

That the Barrie Colts and Josh MacDonald have parted ways shouldn’t be a surprise.

The Colts winger and head coach Dale Hawerchuk certainly saw things differently when it came to MacDonald’s role on the team and his ice time.

MacDonald’s tenure with Barrie officially came to an end Friday when the club dealt him to the Peterborough Petes for a conditional 15th-round selection.

If MacDonald plays a single game for the Petes, the deal then requires Peterborough to give up a fourth-round pick in 2014 (originally London’s), a sixth-round pick in 2014 and a conditional fourth-round selection in 2015.

The conditional fourth-round pick becomes a third-round selection if MacDonald plays an overage season.

Things have certainly changed since MacDonald first arrived in Barrie.

The Colts believed the talented forward would become a key cog in their offence when they selected him in the third round of the 2010 OHL Priority Selection.

MacDonald is an intelligent forward with strong playmaking skills and a pretty good finishing touch around the net.

During his rookie season in 2011-12, MacDonald showed off those skills and gave hope of what was to come, especially during Barrie’s playoff run.

With a rash of injuries up front, MacDonald, and other rookies such as Erik Bradford, were needed to step up in the second round against Ottawa and that they certainly did.

With his strong finish, expectations were high for MacDonald in his second season and his role would likely reflect that.

But Hawerchuk never appeared to show a great deal of confidence in his young forward and as the season went on MacDonald’s ice time dwindled.

Despite not playing on the power play and spending most of the season on the club’s third or fourth line, the winger still managed to posted respectable numbers of 15 goals and 15 assists.

MacDonald was frustrated with his role, but with Mark Scheifele, Anthony Camara and Steven Beyers moving on he hoped that it would increase this season.

MacDonald got off to a strong start this year with three goals and a helper in the opening five games.

But it wasn’t too long before he appeared to be back in Hawerchuk’s “dog house” and receiving bottom-six minutes.

MacDonald was also never was granted the opportunity to play on the team’s top power-play unit, something the Colts certainly envisioned for him eventually when they first drafted him back in 2010.     

In fairness, MacDonald’s play of late had looked uninspired and it was becoming clearer and clearer that a change had to be made.

But let’s be honest here. MacDonald is far more talented than what we saw in Barrie.

Does former Colt and now Mississauga forward Dylan Smoskowitz ring a bell?

Former Colts goaltender Alex Fotinos is another who appears that change has done him good. Fotinos, who did struggle here in Barrie, has started off strong in Windsor.

I understand that’s the way it goes sometimes. Sometimes change is the best thing.

That it’s best to cut your losses and move on.

And that’s pretty much what the Colts are doing here.

While one can question this move, it should also be pointed out that the Colts have had a great deal of success on the ice over the last couple of seasons.

Still, it was expected MacDonald would play an important part in keeping that success going this season.

Obviously, that hasn’t happened.

Somewhere after that rookie season, Hawerchuk must have lost faith in MacDonald. The role and ice time he gave the winger made that clear.

A fresh start is what MacDonald needs. What he does with that now is up to him.

Gene Pereira covers the Barrie Colts for the Barrie Examiner.

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