Spirit acquire Christopoulos, Dionicio in trade with Spitfires
Saginaw, Mich. – Spirit General Manager Dave Drinkill announced Thursday that the team has acquired forward Alex Christopoulos, defenseman Rodwin Dionicio (ANA), and a sixth-round pick in the 2024 OHL Priority Selection (KGN) in a trade with the Windsor Spitfires.
In exchange, the Spirit send to Windsor:
- Defenseman Roberto Mancini
- Forward Valentin Zhugin
- 2024 2nd round pick (PBO)
- 2025 2nd round pick (SOO)
- 2026 4th round pick (OTT)
“It’s thrilling to add high-end players through trades, filling needs in our lineup and building the roster to be the Memorial Cup contender we strive to be,” said Drinkill. “With the acquisition of Rodwin and Alex, we have added elite talent to our already very strong group and we can’t wait to get both in our lineup this weekend.”
An overager from Richmond Hill, Ont., Christopoulos finished third in the 2022-2023 OHL scoring race with 49 goals. He’s tallied 11 points (6G, 5A) in nine games with Windsor this season, being held off the scoresheet in only one game. In 202 regular season games, the right-shot winger has piled up 81 goals and 44 assists for 125 career points. Christopoulos also has 29 games of postseason experience (12G-4A-16P), including a trip to the 2022 OHL Finals with the Spitfires.
“Alex is the top returning goal scorer from last season and will fit in extremely well with our forward group,” said Drinkill. “He doesn’t need a ton of time and space to produce, and we like his willingness go into dirty areas to score or create chances for his teammates. His experience in the 2022 OHL Finals is an invaluable asset to our dressing room as well.”
Prior to being drafted by the North Bay Battalion in the 3rd round of the 2019 OHL Priority Selection, Christopoulos won an OHL Cup with the Don Mills Flyers while tallying ten points (6G, 4A) in seven games.
In Rodwin Dionicio, the Spirit acquire a workhorse offensive defenseman. An offseason in which he was drafted by the Anaheim Ducks (5th round, 129th overall) has given way to a torrid scoring pace in his 19-year-old season. In 16 games with Windsor this year, the 6’2” left-shot defenseman has 5 goals and 15 assists for 20 points. Dionicio’s marks give him the fourth-best point total among OHL blueliners, and give Saginaw two of the top-five scoring defensemen in the league (Zayne Parekh, 2nd, 6G-16A-22P).
“Acquiring Rodwin gives us a dynamic puck-mover that adds a missing element to our back end,” said Drinkill. “He brings offense, size, and high-end puck skills to our group. Like Alex Christopoulos’s finals experience, Rodwin’s time at World Juniors, the NHL Draft, and NHL camps brings a wealth of high-level experience he can share with his new teammates.”
Born in Newark, NJ and raised in Switzerland, Dionicio captained the Swiss U16 squad in 2019-2020. He would find himself on the U18 squad at Hlinka Gretzky two years later, and has made two appearances at the World Junior Championships, skating in ten games and scoring a goal against Latvia.
Dionicio was a point-per-game player in his NHL draft year as well, scoring 15 goals and 35 assists for 50 points in 50 games between the Spitfires and Niagara IceDogs. He was acquired by Windsor via trade on January 6th, 2023.
“I want to thank Roberto and Valentin for their time and contributions to our organization, both on and off the ice,” said Drinkill. “It is always difficult to say goodbye to great young men like these, but we wish them nothing but success in Windsor this season.”
The Spirit selected Valentin Zhugin with their first round pick of the 2023 CHL Import Draft in July. In 17 Spirit games, Zhugin tallied nine goals and five assists for 14 points.
Roberto Mancini skated in 185 regular season and 11 playoff games with the Spirit. He was selected in the fifth round, 88th overall in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection. At the end of his time in Saginaw, Mancini lands 9th in games played (185) and 7th in penalty minutes (210) by a defenseman in franchise history. He recorded 66 points (25G, 41A) in a Spirit uniform.
Alex Christopoulos will wear #48 in Saginaw, while Rodwin Dionicio will don #94. Both players are expected to join the Spirit for their upcoming road trip to Erie on November 17th, and Niagara on November 18th.
For media inquiries, contact Dillon Clark at [email protected].