Monday, 16 October 2017

OHL Power Rankings Week 4

After an almost full week which included 29 OHL games and 18 of the 20 teams playing 3 during the week we are starting to see teams reach the 10 game mark. The standings have its share of expected early contenders as well as a few surprises. The scoring race is also a nice mix of expected leaders and quickly developing surprises. The league continues to crack down on head checks but there has been a surprising amount of slew foot majors. You can check out my suspension tracker here

With less than a month till the OHL vs Russia games some players are making a strong case for inclusion like Attack defender Sean Durzi who has 17 points in 9 games and Greyhounds defender Mac Hollowell who has 12 in 5 games. While draft eligible stars like Akil Thomas and Barret Hayton are among the top forwards in the OHL and deserve a shot at that roster before being a serious WJC threat next year as 18 year olds.

Speaking of the World Junior camp OHL fans should keep an eye on Thursdays match up between Peterbough and Windsor as 2 hopefuls between the pipes will be battling it out as Dylan Wells visits Michael DiPietro.

Speaking of Dipietro the Spits continue to put up good showings. Mind you the 18 year old goalie right now is making a pretty strong case for the OHLs most outstanding player. With a .946 save percentage he is allowing a Spits team that has been outplayed to stay competitive against anyone in the league. It has also allowed the Spits to stay above water as they have gotten Sean Day back and are hoping to get Logan Brown back soon as well. The question is do they move DiPietro now or next season. He is arguably the 1 goalie who would justify an exceedingly large return. In my opinion there are really only 3 teams right now that make sense as potential landing spots for Dipietro and they are Owen Sound, Guelph and Oshawa. Owen Sound obviously would become the overwhelming favourites this year if they picked up DiPietro. They could also move him next year to recoup some of the assets he cost. Guelph and Oshawa make sense because these two teams as of right now have lineups that make them the early favorites for next season. Would they pull the trigger early or wait another year when the cost is a little lower. A dark horse though is Ottawa. They are loaded in picks from 2 years of trading with Sarnia and have an intriguingly competitive lineup but with 2 major questions marks manning the crease for them.

North Bay seems to be falling back to earth after an early hot start. Luke Burghardt was held pointless in 3 games this week and was a -8 after starting the year with 11 points in his first 6 games. The lack of depth in North Bay is starting to become evident with the 2 gut wrenching losses this weekend after blowing 3rd period leads. Between the pipes neither of their goalies have SV% above .860. Cam Dineen is a bonafide super star on the backend and while they have some nice blueline depth among their top 6. Up front however this team will continue to struggle to score goals. They will need to win with defence and will need to get more out of their goaltending.

The Owen Sound Attack are sporting the best power play in the league which shouldnt be a surprise given their talent. 8 players are averaging a point per game for the Attack so far in this young season with 2016 1st round pick Aiden Dundas not far behind with 8 in 9 games. 8 different players have scored power play goals and 11 different players are averaging more than 2 shots per game. The one question mark remains in net. While Zack Bowman has gotten the job done so far he is sporting a .883 save percentage. That could become an issue come playoff time when teams are more evenly matched. Based on how they have played so far this season this Owen Sound team will be a tough team to keep pace with through the season as their depth is enviable to say the least.

In Oshawa a 2-4-1 stretch after an opening weekend sweep has tempered expectations some. Some of that poor stretch can be attributed to starting goalie Kyle Keyser being injured. The offence is still averaging close to 5 goals per game, in fact their 4.77 goals per game has them tied for 3rd in the league. Right now the most likely fix would be ab upgrade at the backup goalie position. One name I threw out last week was Mario Culina who is currently playing for Ryerson University. While an OA backup may not be ideal his memorial cup experience could be a good thing to have in a crease shared with Kyle Keyser. There are no guarantees that he would leave Ryerson and it is just speculation that this is something that Oshawa would look into but this would be a rather prudent fix for Oshawa that will allow them to continue to build for the next 2 seasons.

(1) Sarnia Sting 9-1 Power Rank Percentage (PR%) .8610

The Sting continue to role as they picked up another 6 points on the weekend. Their offence is averaging a healthy 5.1 goals per game which sits them 2nd in the league behind only Owen Sound and their goalies are giving up only 2.5 per game which is the fewest per game. One player whose play seems to have done a 180 is Adam Ruzicka. Usually you see a big improvement in an imports 2nd year in the CHL and Ruzicka is showing that. With 15 points in 10 games he is doubling his points per game from last year but more importantly he is a +12 when he was a -15 last year and is averaging 4.3 shots per game. More comfortable in North America and not just on the ice but with a year to adjust to a new Culture we are seeing a new Adam Ruzicka and the Sting are reaping the benefits.
Games this Week Oct 19 @ NB; Oct 20 @ Sby; Oct 21 @ Bar

(2) Owen Sound Attack 6-1-2 PR% .7615

Owen Sound flexed its offence muscle this weekend scoring 21 goals in 3 games including a 12 goal explosion vs the Oshawa Generals where they victimized the leagues worst penalty kill for 5 goals. We all know the big 3 that returned up front for the Attack this year but one question at the begining of the year was who was going to replace the offence on the blueline that graduated once Santino Centorame finished his OA season? Sean Durzi has answered that question as the 19 year old rearguard has picked up 17 points in 9 games this year and sits 2nd in the OHL in scoring. He has 5 multi point games and points in 8 straight as he helps lead the charge for the leagues best offence.
Games This Week: Oct 21 @ Eri; Oct 22 @ Eri

(3) Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 7-1-2 PR% .7518

The Greyhounds have points in all games since a season opening loss to Oshawa but like their last OT failure this one felt like a missed opportunity. The Greyhounds led by 2 goals at 3 different points versus Ottawa before finally squandering the lead with less than a minute to go in the 2nd period. They finished with 5 out of 6 points but it should have been more. The Hounds dropped to 2-1-2 vs the East this year and while the East is much stronger this season it is something that needs to be improved. One player who had a strong showing this week and is likely the favourite for player of the week is 19 year old defenceman Mac Hollowell who finished with 8 points in 3 games. The veteren blue liner now has 12 points in 5 games this season. Not bad for a player who had his summer derailed a bit after breaking his fibula at the Maple Leafs prospect camp.
Games this Week: Oct 18 @ Sby; Oct 20 vs Kgn; Oct 22 vs Gue

(4) Barrie Colts 7-2-1 PR% .7365

Ive talked a lot about the stellar play of the Russian players on the Colts roster and the teams struggle with suspensions but on a team with limited depth there is one player who has really stepped up for them this season. That player is former 15th round OHL priority selection pick Lucas Chiodo. His 53 points in 68 games last year alone was fantastic value for a 15th round pick. This season he has stepped it up even more with 14 points in 10 games. His 77 points is most by a 15th round draft pick since Niagara pick Blake Siebenaler finished his OHL career with 96 in 199 career games.
Games This Week: Oct 21 vs Sar; Oct 22 @ OSH

(5) Peterborough Petes 7-2-1 PR% .7291

Gogolev, Der-arguchinstev, Korostelev and Babinsev. The PMC has more Russian influence than the White House and for the Petes it is working out fantastically. After scoring 5 goals in 53 games last year Gogolev has already equaled that in 10 games. Der-Arguchinstev is averaging .6 points per game this year which is an increase over last year. Korostelev has 7 points in 6 games where the Petes are 5-0-1 and Babinsev has adjusted quite well to life in Peterborough with solid play through 10 games for an import rookie. Their upcoming 3 game Western road trip will be an important step for the Petes as they look to take the next step in contender status.
Games This Week: Oct 19 @ Wsr; Oct 21 @ Fli; Oct 22 @ Sag

(6) Niagara Icedogs 6-2-1 PR% .7139

The Icedogs now have points in 4 straight games and if it wasnt for an atrocious 1st period in Erie on Sunday it would likely be 4 straight wins. The young team showed resilience in fighting back and earning the point after spotting the Otters a 4-1 opening period lead. On player who deserves some spotlight is 3rd year forward Ben Jones who 12 points in 9 games this season after a 3 point outburst versus the Otters which was his 2nd 3 point game of the year. Jones has also won 63.5% of his faceoffs this year which is 2nd in the league to Sarnia center Drake Rymsha.
Games This Week: Oct 19 vs Miss; Oct 22 vs Ott

(7) Kitchener Rangers 7-3-1 PR% .6984

After dropping the opening game of their 3 in 3 road trip through Northern Ontario and Michigan on Friday to Sault Ste. Marie the Rangers bounced back and picked up wins in Flint and Saginaw. Connar Bunnaman seems to have found his offensive mojo as he exploded for 7 points (5-2) on the road trip after opening the year with only a pair of assists in 6 games. They get the Knights at home this week who will have some reinforcements as Alex Formenton has been returned by the Ottawa Senators.
Games This Week: Oct 20 vs Ldn; Oct 21 vs Osh

(8) Hamilton Bulldogs 5-1-3 PR% .6808

Since opening the season with a lose the Bulldogs have points in their last 8. All have been 1 goal games except for their 2-0 win over Mississauga. They are starting to score more goals which is a plus. Brandon Saigeon looks to be 100% healthy and is starting to realize the potential he showed that made him a top OHL draft pick. The team showed great resiliency with a pair of 3rd period comebacks on the weekend. With a road game in Guelph and a home game vs Ottawa this week they have a very good chance at continuing their winning ways.
Games This Week: Oct Oct 20 @ Gue; Oct 22 vs Ott

(9) Kingston Frontenacs 5-2-2 PR% .6658

The Fronts had a rough week picking up only 2 out of 6 possible points. 2nd year forward Nathan Dunkley served the first 3 of a 5 game suspension and the team looked stagnant on offence because of it picking up only 6 goals in the 3 games and being out played for most of the weekend. With a Northern Ontario road trip coming up they could be in for another long weekend.
Games This Week: Oct 20 @ SSM; Oct 21 @ Sby; Oct 22 @ North Bay

(10) Windsor Spitfires 6-3-1 PR% .6557

I don't want to keep talking about DiPietro so I will keep his praise short this week. He was stellar once again keeping the Spits in it vs Sarnia and helping them pick up a pair of wins against London including on Saturday night when the Spits were outshot 39-11. When Logan Brown returns given the way the team has played so far you could argue that this team has enough pieces to compete for home ice in the West. With the dearth of talent returning next season though it wont be enough to not sell off. Dipietro, Brown and Day will all fetch big returns but arguable the most intriguing piece is OA captain Aaron Luchuk. The veteran of 216 OHL games picked up his 150th career point this weekend and now has 9 goals and 6 assists on the season. He scores in all situations and is great on the faceoff circle.
Games This Week: Oct 19 vs Pbo; Oct 22 @ Fli

(11) Flint Firebirds  5-3-1 PR% .6246

It was a good week for the Firebirds as they thumped Guelph and Mississauga before playing the Rangers tight, ultimately dropping that game 5-3 after giving up 2 late goals. The Bluejackets have assigned Kole Sherwood to the Firebirds so they have just added an 85 point player for a 2nd round draft pick as per the condition of their original trade with London. Sherwood now gives the Firebirds 5 OAs so you can expect some moves coming up but they have a very strong group of forwards that should allow them to continue to fill the net.
Games This Week: Oct 21 vs PBO; Oct 22 vs Wsr

(12) Ottawa 67's 6-4-1 PR% .5992

The 67s are an interesting team. In their 4 regulation losses they have been outscored 29-5. The other 7 games including their 6 wins have all been 1 goal games including a 4-1 record in extra time. I don't think the issue is all goaltending as their defence seemed overwhelmed at times vs Sault Ste. Marie. They have some young and exciting pieces on their blueline but it seems like they are missing something back there. On big plus I got while watching the 67s is that their forward depth is greater than I expected. They are a fantastic fore checking team and do a great job of applying pressure and taking advantage of their chances. This upcoming week is an interesting gift from the schedule makers. A home game Friday vs Oshawa and then a long bus trip to Niagara the next night for a game against the Icedogs before wrapping up their weekend vs Hamilton.
Games This Week: Oct 20 vs Osh; Oct 21 @ Nia; Oct 22 @ Ham

(13) Oshawa Generals 4-4-1 PR% .5265

The Generals are giving up 5 goals a game this year and have an absolutely atrocious penalty kill. They got victimized for 12 goals vs Owen Sound this weekend. I still feel however that goalie Kyle Keyser has been a bright spot for the Generals. He has a .905 SV% when you take out the Owen Sound thumping and has looked solid in most of his games. It is his first foray into being a number one goalie and has been progressing rather nicely. He is a goalie who should have a firm grip on the starting job.
Games This Week: Oct 20 @ Ott; Oct 21 vs Kit; Oct 22 vs Bar

(14) North Bay Battalion 3-4-2 PR% .4996

What a rough week to be a Battalion fan! First they blow a 2 goal 3rd period lead to Barrie on Saturday by giving up 4 in the final period including a short handed game winner with less than 2 minutes to go. On Sunday they fought back vs Hamilton and took a 3-2 lead before giving up the tying goal with less than 2 minutes to go and the winning goal in the final minute.
Games This Week: Oct 19 vs Sar; Oct 20 @ Miss; Oct 22 vs Kgn

(15) Guelph Storm 3-5-1 PR% .4590
The Guelph Power Play has outscored their opponents 8-4 so far this season. Unfortunately at even strength on on the penalty kill they have been outscored by 16 goals which has led to some rather ugly +/- on the team. This team has the depth to do better at even strength so I have a hard time believing this disparity will be sustained but it is a cause for worry.
Games This Week: Oct 20 vs Ham; Oct 21 @ Sag; Oct 22 @ SSM

(16) Erie Otters 3-6-1 PR% .4367

The Otters picked up a win for the 2nd week in a row. Not sure if it will happen for a 3rd week in a row as they get 2 games vs Owen Sound next weekend. Ivan Lodnia has goals in 4 straight games for the Otters and Kyle Maksimovich is closing in on 200 career OHL points. With 15 goals in their last 4 games it seems the Otters offence is starting to turn the corner.
Games This Week: Oct 21 vs OS; Oct 22 vs OS

(17) Sudbury Wolves 2-6-2 PR% .4079

Dmitry Sokolov seemed to wake up with 4 goals and 2 assist in 2 games this weekend before being a healthy scratch Sunday for disciplinary reasons vs Oshawa. It left a glaring hole in the Wolves lineup and Oshawa cruised to victory. Outside of his 4 point game vs Ottawa this year David Levin has 4 points in his other 9 games this season and is a -7 in those contests.
Games This Week: Oct 18 vs SSM; Oct 20 vs Sar; Oct 21 vs Kgn

(18) Saginaw Spirit 2-5-1 PR% .3761

It was another difficult week for the Spirit. They blew a 3-1 lead vs SSM, blew a 2-1 3rd period lead vs Kitchener, then on Sunday they blew another 2-1 3rd period lead before salvaging their weekend with 2 late goals to reclaim the win. This Spirit team Came out flying in each game outshooting their opponents in the 1st period in each game (21-10, 12-5, 14-8). The hot starts are a positive for sure but they will need to learn how to close better.
Games This Week: Oct 21 vs Gue; Oct 22 vs PBO

(19) Mississauga Steelheads 1-7-0 PR% .2771

The Steelheads Dropped all 3 games this week, a thumping at the hands of Sarnia, a loss to Flint and a missed opportunity vs Saginaw. In all this sets up the OHLs turd cup on Sunday when London comes to visit. On the NHL front they received some bad news as Michael McLeod had knee surgery which will inevitably delay his return to Mississauga. I would expect New Jersey to take their time with his rehab and keep him around as long as possible. Owen Tippet continues to be a healthy scratch for the Panthers so either he will be returned shortly or Steelheads fans will just have to wait longer for his 10 games.
Games This Week: Oct 19 @ Nia; Oct 20 vs NB; Oct 22 vs LDN

(20) London Knights 1-8-1 PR% .2687

The Knights dropped a pair to the Windsor Spitfires although they completely outplayed them in 1 games. They fought back vs Owen Sound on Sunday before ultimately dropping the game in OT. Alex Formenton will be returning this week from Ottawa as the Knights are slowly getting players back from NHL camp. Mete is still the biggest hole in their lineup and his 35 minutes a game will be a big boost if the Canadians return him. Till then Defence and goaltending will continue to be a weakness.
Games This Week: Oct 20 @ Kit; Oct 22 @ Miss

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

OHL Power Rankings Week 3

With 3 games on Monday the rankings come a day late this week. The league though still named their player of the week Monday before the 3 Thanksgiving games played. Maybe they feel the week ended on Sunday but heading into this week the only player to get a major and not get suspended plays for the London Knights so whose judgement do you really trust here?

The coming week will be quite the busy one for the OHL as 18 of the 20 teams in the league will be playing 3 games. The only 2 teams that will be playing 2 will be Barrie and Niagara. That means 29 games will be played from Wednesday to Sunday which should keep OHL fans busy and happy.

Guelph is one team whose early season jump so far seems to be one that can really be sustainable. They have a great top 9 now that they are healthy and it seems that Merkley and Lalonde are getting better every game. There are still people who bemoan some of the things that Merkley does but there are aspects of his game that you cant teach. In my eyes he is the best Ontario born prospect in the OHL right now and if you are an NHL team that passes on him all I have to do is ask what are you doing to improve your player development system because if you pass on Merkley you must not believe in it.

Barrie have some serious electricity in their offence this year but boy what did they ever do to David Branch to make him come down on them so hard with suspensions year after year. I know every fan base will say Branch hates there team and will say he hits every team hard but the Knights but the Colts must have a special suspension dart board in his office. Already with 4 suspensions this year (including preseason) and I a really curious to see how many man games they can lose this year at the hands of Branch

Kingston, man I really enjoy watching this team. I think their top 6 is vastly underrated. Young no doubt but vastly underrated. Their Defense has plenty of high end talent that can soak up high leveraged minutes and they have a great tandem of goalies. 3 divisional games this week will allow them a chance to really assert themselves with the rest of the conference early on in this season.

Saginaw has had quite the difficult start to the Troy Smith era as special teams issues have really torpedoed this young team early. They are a -5 on special teams but a slightly more respectable -1 at even strength. The offensive struggles were predictable given that their leading returning scorer picked up only 47 points last season. This team will need to find away to get some offence out of their younger players but with their painful lack of depth there wont be many easy situations for these players to get things going.

(1) Sarnia Sting 6-1-0 Power Ranking Percentage (PR%) .814

The Sting are off to a great start and one of the main reasons is the production from converted OA defenceman Jordan Ernst who has 6 goals and 3 assists this year and has taken 30 shots in 7 games. Star forward Jordan Kyrou continues to put up the points and now sits at 190 for his OHL career. If he keeps up his pace he should become the 3rd player from the 2014 priority selection to hit 200 career OHL points. You have to consider him as close to a lock as possible for the World Junior Championships this year but what about the Olympics? If Cory Conacher is considered an intriguing Olympic option than how can you not look at a player like Jordan Kyrou. Will David Branch step in his way?
Games this Week: Oct 13 vs Miss; Oct 14 vs Gue; Oct 15 @ Wsr

(2) Kingston Frontenacs 5-1-0 PR% .783

The Fronts continue to find ways to win as they have a perfect week even if it only consisted of 1 game. One bright spot that shines a light on the Fronts early season success is that in their last 2 games the have had 3 players pick up 2 goal games and not one of them was named Jason Robertson. The young scoring depth is chipping in earlier than expected and the hope is that they continue to grow as a unit.
Games this Week: Oct 12 @ Ptb; Oct 13 vs Ptb; Oct 14 @ Ham

(3) Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 5-1-1 PR% .744

After finishing last season with the best record on the road the Greyhounds continue to assert themselves as the most dominant road warriors since Hawk and Animal as they sport a 4-0-1 record away from the Essar Centre. Boris Katchouk is another player who is staking claim to a world junior spot early in the season. The 4th year forward is finally the focal point of the Hounds offence and after a pair of 2 goal games this weekend has 8 on the season to go along with 3 assists. He is scoring in all situations with a pair of OT winners a short handed marker and one on the power play. What he was missing was a 5 on 5 goal which was the situation all his goals were this weekend.
Games this Week: Oct 11 vs Sag; Oct 13 vs Kit; Oct 15 vs Ott

(4) Niagara Icedogs 5-2-0 PR% .709

There has been some impressive production this season through the first 3 weeks by what seems like a bumbper crop of '01 players. One high pick whose production seems to be flying a bit under the radar is that of Philip Tomasino. Currently sitting tops among '01 forwards with a +5 the electric young skater has 4 points and has taken 10 shots. He is a player who is sticking out every game like Akil Thomas did last year and is one of the many reasons to watch these young Dogs play.
Games this Week: Oct 13 v@Gue; Oct 14 @ Eri

(5) Barrie Colts 5-2-0-1 PR% .703

With 32 goals this year the Colts sit 2nd in the OHL in goals through 3 weeks. Star import Andrei Svechnikov has been as advertised and is almost unstoppable at this level it seems. The suspensions however keep adding up as the Colts will without Ben Hawerchuk and Justin Murray for an extended period of time. Depth is an issue with this team so you have to wonder how much longer they can keep this up with such important depth pieces being forced out of the lineup.
Games this Week: Oct 12 vs Eri; Oct 14 vs NB

(6) Owen Sound Attack 3-1-2 PR% .677

The Attack were all set to claim top spot in the power rankings till they dropped their Monday game to the Rangers. I blame all the tryptophan in the turkey. They will have to settle for 6th but Nick Suzuki did claim player of the week honours and they absolutely blitzed a tired Spits team on Saturday who were playing a goalie making his league debut. There 4.6 goals a game are among the leaders in the OHL
Games this Week: Oct 11 vs Eri; Oct 14 vs Osh; Oct 15 @ Ldn

(7) Kitchener Rangers 5-2-1 PR% .668

How about the play of OA goalie Anthony Dumont-Bouchard. picked up for a 14th round pick from the Barrie Colts he has raced out to a 5-0 record with a 1.80 GAA and a .940 save percentage. Almost enough to make you forget about the fact that Assistant coach Matthew Barnaby and the team parted ways this week. That news of course puts be in a bit of a pickle. How am I supposed to get my Matthew Barnaby jersey signed now?
Games this Week: Oct 13 @SSM; Oct 14@ Sag; Oct 15 @ Fli

(8) Peterborough Petes 4-2-1 PR% .662

The Petes continue to pick up points as they are 3-0-1 in their last 4. They however continue to give an obscene amount of shots. Dylan Wells has faced 231 shots so far through 6 games which averages out to 38.5. He will be a tired man come March if this keeps up. On the brightside is Nikita Korostolev has not missed a beat with 5 points in his first 3 games back. Hunter Jones also picked up his first win on Monday and picked up a power play assist in the process. He now has more power play assists than all but 5 members of the 2017-18 London Knights
Games this Week: Oct 12 vs Kgn; Oct 13 @ Kgn; Oct 14 vs Sby

(9) Windsor Spitfires 4-2-1 PR% .659

DiPietro stood on his head and helped the Spits earn 1 point vs the Greyhounds on Thursday. Absolutly stole a point vs Guelph on Friday before resting for 40 minutes on Saturday while the Owen Sound Attack welcomed Brock Baier to the OHL. Still only 1 goal has been scored on him this season while the Spits have been shorthanded. Which makes me wonder is there a goalie in the OHL who far and a way makes a teams penalty kill go from mediocre to world class just by being in the net? What are some of the biggest gaps in recent memory between a starter and a back up. If I ever won lotto max this is the type of useless information I would investigate.
Games this Week: Oct 12 vs Ldn; Oct 13 @ Ldn ; Oct 15 vs Sar

(10) Guelph Storm 3-2-1 PR% .617

Much to the chagrin of Steve McLean the Storm dropped game 2 of the OHL Fan Boys cup vs the Spits on Friday. They did however look great vs the Rangers the next night. With the return of Nate Schnarr (inj) and McEwan (Pro Camp) to their lineup this team has gotten a lot more dangerous. This teams Top 9 is among the best in the OHL.
Games this Week: Oct 11 @ Fli; Oct 13 vs Nia; Oct 14 @ Sar

(11) North Bay Battalion 3-2-1 PR% .59187

The fact that 50% of the goals have been scored by only 2 players is starting to catch up with the Battalion. They will need more players to step up but you really have to wonder if the talent is there on this roster. One player who has had some great production this year is the pride of New Liskard Ontario Justin Brazeau. The hulking forward has 7 points in 6 games this year and will need to keep up the pace while the rest of the scoring depth figures things out. The addition of OA Brett McKenzie who was returned from pro camp will certainly help however.
Games This Week: Oct 12 vs Ott; Oct 14 @ Bar; Oct 15 vs Ham

(12) Oshawa Generals 3-2-1 PR% .59183
The Generals seem to have weathered the storm that was Kyle Keysers injury. The need for a improvement at the backup position is something that is on the mind of Generals fans. The pickings are slim out there but with their depth you have to wonder if trading one of their OAs is an option and bringing in a guy like Mario Culina makes sense.
Games This Week: Oct 13 vs Ham; Oct 14 @ OS; Oct 15 vs Sby

(13) Flint Firebirds 3-2-1 PR% .589

A winless 3 game Eastern Ontario roadtrip drop the Firebirds from 1st down to 13th. They did a good job of earning a point against the 67s after falling behind early and likely would have picked up 2 points had Olivier Trembley not played so fantastically. Still lots to like about this Firebirds team and a 3 game homestand this weekend is the perfect time to stem the bleeding
Games This Week: Oct 11 vs Gue; Oct 14 vs Miss; Oct 15 vs Kit

(14) Hamilton Bulldogs 2-1-3 PR% .580

The good news is the Bulldogs found a way to score more than 3 goals in a game on Thanksgiving. The bad news is the spotted the Sting a 4 goal lead in the 1st period. The Bulldogs have now dropped 3 straight games in extra time and outside of their 5 goal explosion in the final 2 periods vs Sarnia they still have some rather large question marks on offence. From a fan perspective the development of this team the last 2 years has not been all that inspiring.
Games this Week: Oct 13 @ Osh; Oct 14 vs Kgn; Oct 15 @ NB

(15) Ottawa 67s 4-3-1 PR% .562

With 40 goals allowed the 67s proudly lead the OHL in that category. In spite of the -14 goal differentual the 67s are miraculasly sporting a winning record (thank you OT loser point). The big bright spot this weekend however was the play of Olivier Trembley who junior hockey fans in the NCR can thank for their 4 point weekend after wins over Peterborough and Flint.
Games This Week: Oct 12 @ NB; Oct 13 @ Sby; Oct 15 @ SSM

(16) Erie Otters 2-4-1 PR% .444

The Otters claimed the Western Conference's Turd cup on Saturday night as the spanked the London Knights at the EIA. Still plenty of pieces on this team to like but for a team that is looking to restock the cupboard in terms of future assets the play of Ivan Lodnia has to be a little concerning.
Games This Week: Oct 11 @ OS; Oct 12 @ Bar; Oct 14 vs Nia

(17) Sudbury Wolves 1-4-2 PR% .380

The Wolves picked up thier first win of the season on the road with a big win over the Niagara Icedogs. They followed that up by dropping the Eastern Conferences Turd cup with a loss in Mississauga the following night. The future though continues to look bright as Blake Murray continues to be among the leaders in points among '01 born rookies.
Games this Week: Oct 13 vs Ott; Oct 14 @ PTB; Oct 15 @ Osh

(18) Saginaw Spirit 1-3-1 PR% .373

The law of averages tells us that the power play and penalty kill of Saginaw can not be this bad for that much longer. They are due for a break out in that aspect of their game. One player who has really stood out so far is OA Marcus Crawford. Moving in on his 200th career game the blueliner is averaging 5 shots a game and has a focal point for the spirit when they have been trying to generate offence. An intriguing trade chip if they ever go that route but in the meantime his has exceptional value in terms of insulating their young D-core and allowing them to develop
Games this Week: Oct 11 @ SSM; Oct 14 vs Kit; Oct 15 vs Miss

(19) Mississauga Steelheads 1-4-0 PR% .348

The Steelheads picked up their 1st win of the season! Their reward is a trip to Sarnia to face the powerful Sting. After that they finish a 3 in 3 with a pair of games in Michigan. Import Albert Michnac exploded with a 4 point game. On Sunday they Steelheads moved surplus D Austin Omanski to the Petes for a pair of 4th round picks. With Hague, Moverare, Rippon and Gibson firmly entrenched in their top 4 it made sense to move the 19 year old and open up some development time for their younger players on their 3rd pair.
Games this Week: Oct 13 @ Sar; Oct 14 @ Fli; Oct 15 @ Sag

(20) London Knights 1-6-0 PR% .256

The good news for 95% of the OHL fanbases is that the London Knights are in last place in these rankings. The bad news is that it likely wont last for long. Well I wouldnt bet on it anyways but hey if they do finish last at least they would get a generational player like Quinton Byfield without him holding the league hostage and demanding where he plays. The brightside for Knights fans is that Sam Militic returned from the AHL and they picked up underrated OA Tyler Rollo who could be a point per game player for the Knights.
Games this Week: Oct 12 @ Wsr; Oct 13 vs Wsr; Oct 15 vs OS

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

September Trade Recap

Opening month of the season saw 8 trades go down in the league. 5 out of those 8 trades involved overage players as teams try to work their roster composition in a way that gives them the greatest chance of success going forward depending on where they sit in the Jr hockey cycle.

Historically teams will tend to tweak as they continue to go through October while being patient in November with the occasional splash before they start gearing up around the deadline. There are still some interesting pieces out there like Soo goalie Joseph Raaymakers but who can ever understand the goalie marker. We also have everyone on Erie but some players may make more sense to hold on to if they can get a 2017 1st back at the deadline.

For an up to date breakdown on the draft picks that each team has be sure to check out the great work from Matt Wilson who has a much better looking draft pick database than I had. You can find it here Draft Pick Database

Breakdown by Team

Team - number of Trades

Barrie Colts - 3 Trades
Erie Otters - 1 Trade
Flint Firebirds - 1 Trade
Guelph Storm - 1 Trade
Hamilton Bulldogs - 3 Trades
Kitchener Rangers - 1 Trade
London Knights - 1 Trade
Ottawa 67s - 2 Trades
Sarnia Sting - 1 Trade
Sudbury Wolves - 2 Trades

Breakdown by Age
'97 - 5
'98 - 3

Draft Pick Breakdown
2nd round picks - 3
3rd round picks - 4
4th round picks - 1
10th round picks - 1
14th round picks - 1
conditional picks - 6

September 10th


Leo Lazarev



Con 12th 2020


In need of an improvement between the pipes the Colts picked up Lazerav the OA goalie from Ottawa. When this trade first went down I felt that there was no doubt this was an improvement I just didnt think this would get the Colts anywhere near the top 3 of Peterborough, Oshawa or Mississauga (assuming McLeod and Tippet are back) and may not be enough to get them past Hamilton or Kingston (but with some luck they now have a fighting chance). Through 3 starts in September however Lazarev has been fantastic. He has had 3 game stretches like this in the past so it is important to not get to carried away with such a small sample size but the early returns are great. If he can finally find the consistency that has been lacking in his OHL career then this will turn out great for the Colts.

September 11th


Anthoney Dumont-Bouchard


Kitchener Rangers

14th 2018

After a stellar 2nd half in the QMJHL the Barrie Colts did a great job of using their waiver position to claim Dumont-Bouchard and pick up an extra asset for him. The french canadian has been stellar for the Rangers through 3 games this year and has solidified that team between the pipes.

September 15th


Olivier Tremblay


Ottawa 67s

10th rd pick 2018

The 67's ensured their monopoly on the OHL goalie market of goalies named Olivier by sending a 10th round pick to the Colts for another goalie that Barrie claimed on waivers from the QMJHL. Unfortunately for the 67s his early results have been less than exciting and they will need someone to turn things around in net if they hope to make some noise this season

September 19th

London Knights
Nicolas Mattinen


Flint Firebirds
Fli 3rd 2018
Fli 2nd 2019
Nia 2nd 2020
con. Mis 3rd 2019

Not a bad haul for the Knights considering they traded a 19 year old who was on their 3rd pair last year. Obviously September has not been kind to the Knights in terms of players returning from the NHL. That said I would do the trade again because this is a fantastic return for Mattinen. The Firebirds are still doing well in the draft pick department and had a glaring need for a veteren D man with the graduation of Peters, Henderson and Smerek. Mattinen has fit in well so far and while I dont think he continues his offensive pace he should be in line for a career year just based on the ice time he should get in Flint.

September 20th

Hamilton Bulldogs
Cole Candella


Sudbury Wolves
Ldn 2nd 2018
Wsr 3rd 2018
Sby 3rd 2019
Sby 3rd 2022


At first glance by picking up 1 2nd and 2 3rds it seems like the Bulldogs got a weaker return for Candella than the Knights got for Mattinen. At closer look however they get a 2nd a year earlier 2018 vs 2019 which has a higher present value and they get a 3rd in 2019 vs a 2nd in 2020 while the present value is not as high as the 2nd it is closer than one might think. In all it was a good haul. Comparable and possibly slightly better than what London got depending on how much value you put in the year of the picks. From Sudbury's perspective I really think you will see Candella thrive playing under associate coach Jordan Smith as the season moves on. His development seemed to stall last year under John Gruden but Smith as a sterling record of developing while coaching the Soo Thunderbirds and I think Candella will really take off this year.

September 21st

TJ Fergus



3rd 2018
Con 5th 2020
Con 6th 2020


A year after winning an OHL championship TJ Fergus was looking to end his OHL career closer to home and with a glut of OAs the Otters gladly obliged. In return for the veteran rearguard who played on their top pair last season beside Max Kaminsky winner Darren Raddysh the Otters get a 3rd round pick in 2018 a draft which before this trade their earliest pick was the 6th round. They also get 2 conditional picks whose conditions have not been released but I suspect at least 1 may be based on games played this year. For the Bulldogs they add a veteran piece to their blueline although it does give them for OA defenceman. Obviously you cant dress 4 although I would argue having 3 OA D is an inefficient roster make up. I would expect at least 2 to move either through trade or waivers as they could use an OA forward to help kick start their offence.

September 22nd

Hamilton Bulldogs
Cole Ceci


Guelph Storm
con. 9th 2018


With projected back up Nico Daws banged up the Storm needed a body to sit on the bench in case Anthony Popovich went down. The Storm sent a conditional pick down highway 6 for the backup who lost is spot on the depth chart to Nick Donofrio who has a bit more upside in his projection. There were some who speculated Raaymakers was on his way but if the Storm were to go that route it would make more sense to wait and see what is happening with Dipietro. When it comes down to it there are really only 3 teams that make sense as landing spots for the Windsor goalie. Owen Sound, Guelph and Oshawa. Owen Sound is in win mode this year and Dipietro would make them overwhelming favorites but Dipietro in Guelph or Oshawa would make those teams favourites for 2018-19. Maybe he goes to Owen Sound at the deadline only to get traded to one of those teams over the summer so they can recoup some draft picks while Dipietro goes on to win 3 straight Memorial Cups all with different teams. Wow that was quite the tangent that had nothing to do with this trade.

September 25th

Sarnia Sting
Troy Lajeunesse


Sudbury Wolves
4th round pick 2021

The Wolves lost projected OA leader Ryan Valentini to a shoulder injury so they were in need of an OA addition up front. For a 4th round asset 4 years down the road they get a season of Troy Lajeunesse from Sarnia. A solid 2 way forward will serve more of a depth offensive role with the Wolves but will be able to take some high leveraged minutes on the ice to help insulate and protect the development of some of the younger forwards in the Nickle City. From an asset management perspective this was a very good pick up by the Wolves. For the Sting they were able to move surplus early in the season while picking up a future asset.

Monday, 2 October 2017

OHL Power Rankings Week 2

Week 2 is in the books and while it is still too early to really garner anything from power rankings there are a few things that stand out so far this season.

London has looked really bad this season. Even considering that they are missing so much talent. They have a gapping hole on their blueline with Victor Mete turning heads in Montreal and with Brandon Crawley signing a contract with the New York Rangers.

Niagara has really improved their possesion game this year and now Stephen Dhillon is only facing 30 shots a game. Sure he has only played 3 games but this is a huge improvement over last season. With Mississauga in limbo thanks to the NHL they have a real chance to take this division.

Hamilton is really struggling on offence. Another week like this and they will have to consider dropping 2 of their OA D so they can add an OA F to help kick start the offence. 7 goals in 4 games (1 win was a shootout victory) and no goals on the power play.

Sarnia is showing a lethal offence early this season. With 5 points in his first 2 games Jordan Kyrou is showing why he is a threat to take the league scoring title. The Sting would get quite the haul if they traded him at the deadline but he could have them competing for home ice if everything lines up for Sarnia this year.

(1) Flint Firebirds 3-0-0 Power Rank Percentage (PR%) .8737
The only unbeaten team in the league won their only game of the week as they beat the visiting Ottawa 67's erasing 2 deficits in the final period before winning in OT. Ryan Moore picked up 2 points in his 1st game after serving the last 2 of the suspension her earned in the playoffs. With Moore back the offence should keep clicking.
Games This Week; Oct 5 @ PBO; Oct 6 @KGN; Oct 8 @OTT

(2) Windsor Spitfires3-1-0  PR% .7917

The Spits sit 1st in the league in both power play and penalty kill. Don't know if they will be able to maintain that but they did have the best PK last year and Sean Day has been returned which will help them maintain their power play production.
Games this Week: Oct 5 vs SSM; Oct 6 @ GUE; Oct 7 @ OS

(3) North Bay Battalion 3-0-1 PR% .78935
Luke Burghardt continued to put up points in week 2 and sits tied for the league lead. Cam Dineen continues to show what he means to the Battalion with 8 points this year including 4 on the power play.
Games This Week: Oct 5 @ Bar; Oct 9 vs PBO

(4) Owen Sound Attack 2-0-1 PR% .7681
After dropping their season opener in a shootout to Flint they won both games this weekend. Small sample size but 6 players on the roster at at a point per game while 18 year old forward with 5 points is already more than 25% of the way to a career high in points.
Games This Week: Oct 4 vs SAR; Oct 7 vs WSR; Oct 9 @ KIT

(5) Sarnia Sting 3-1-0 PR% .7586
Jordan Kyrou was returned to the Sting this week and they promptly went out and scored 13 goals in his first 2 games. They wont be able keep up that pace through the season but Kyrou adds a dimension to this offence that takes it to another level. Add that to their enviable depth at center and you have a dangerous team.
Games this Week: Oct 4 @ OS; Oct 6 vs Bar; Oct 9 vs Ham

(6) Kingston Frontenacs 4-1-0 PR% .7583
4 out of 6 points this weekend for the Fronts capped off with a resilient win vs Hamilton in which they trailed 3 times. Had a meeting in the GTA so I drove down from the Soo to catch the game and while you could tell each team was playing their 3rd in less than 48 hours Eemeli Rasanen really stood out as a defensive force. Add his 7 points this season and he is a top 5 defender in the OHL right now.
Games This Week: Oct 6 vs Fli

(7) Niagara Icedogs 3-1-0 PR%  .7386
The young Icedogs continue to get it done and compete. They picked up 4 of a possible 6 points and fought hard  in their lose to the Petes on Sunday erasing a 4-1 lead before giving up 4 late goals. The biggest thing this year is that Stephen Dhillon is only facing 30 shots a game. This should keep him fresh and allow the Icedogs to stay competitive even if their young roster has some off games.
Games This Week: Oct 5 vs SBY; Oct 6 @ OSH; Oct 7 @ HAM

(8) Barrie Colts 3-1-1 PR% .7261
Colts picked up 5 of 6 points this weekend. Their PP did a great job of cashing in on their opportunities late vs the Greyhounds. Lazarev and Propp are both sporting save percentages greater than .912 and they are getting points throughout their roster.
Games This Week: Oct 5 vs NB; Oct 6 @ SAR; Oct 7 @ SAG

(9) Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 3-1-1 PR% .682
Not very often do 5 points in 6 games feel as underwhelming as they did this weekend for the Hounds. 2 ill timed penalties cost them 2 points late vs Barrie. Then they needed OT to beat both North Bay and Sudbury. One cause for concern early is the penalty kill but also they are averaging being on the PK 5 times per game vs 4 PP. It is early but the Hounds have finished either 1st or 2nd in PP differential in each of the last 4 seasons.
Games This Week: Oct 5 @ WSR; Oct 6 @ LDN

(10) Kitchener Rangers 3-1-1 PR% .6677
The Rangers are winless at home but have picked up 3 conference road wins this year against Sarnia, Windsor and Erie. Stanley looks poised to have his best offensive season in the O with 5 points in 4 games already this season
Games This Week: Oct 6 vs ERI; Oct 7 @ GUE; Oct 9 vs OS

(11) Guelph Storm 2-1-1 PR% .6352
The Storm continue to look strong. They took advantage of Oshawa playing their backup on Friday. Toropchenko leads all imports in scoring with 8 points in 4 games and Ryan Merkley leads all OHLers with 5 power play points.
Games This Week: Oct 6 vs WSR; Oct 7 vs KIT

(12) Oshawa Generals 3-2-0 PR%  .6167
Only 2 out of 6 points this weekend but the bigger worry is the Keyser injury although it sounds like it is only minor. On the bright side '01 Nick Wong leads all OHLers with 7 goals in 5 games. Only 4 16 year olds have hit 20 goals the last 3 seasons (Akil Thomas, Nick Suzuki , Taylor Raddysh, Tye Felhaber).
Games This Week:  Oct 6 vs Nia

(13) Hamilton Bulldogs 2-1-1 PR%  .6100
The Bulldogs pick up 5 out of a possible 6 points while playing 3 games in less than 48 hours this week. Disappointing to lose out on a point to Kingston after holding the lead 3 times. Of bigger concern however is their offence. A worry coming into the season with the graduation of Luff and Petti. They have 11 players who have played at least 3 games this year and are still without a point and only have goals from 5 players. On a positive note though is the strong play of Kaden Fulcher who is sporting a .935 save percentage.
Games This Week: Oct 7 vs NIA; Oct 9 @ SAR

(14) Peterborough Petes 2-2 PR% .5485
A mixed bag week for the Petes. A big win vs the Generals followed by a stinker in Niagara and then a win over Niagara where they let the Icedogs back in before a 4 goal explosion in a 9 minute stretch in the 3rd. A Great news though is that Nikita Korostelev has been released by the Marlies and will be back to lead the Petes.
Games This Week: Oct 5 vs FLI; Oct 6 @ OTT; Oct 9 @ NB

(15) Ottawa 67s  2-3-1 PR% .4685
The 67's have big issues in the net having given up a league high 5.6 goals per game. I don't know if they pull the plug on Lafreniere but Joseph Raaymakers is starting to look like an intriguing option as the 67's dont want suspect goaltending to derail the development of some of their younger players.
Games This Week: Oct 6 vs PBO; Oct 8 vs FLI

(16) Saginaw Spirit 1-2-1 PR% .4293
The good news is Evan Cormier is back and 2017 1st rounder Nic Porco scored his first career OHL goal. The Bad news they are 0 for 25 on the power play and their PK is below 70%. Blade Jenkins is also having a difficult time getting it going with only 1 assist in 4 games.
Games This Week: Oct 7 vs Bar

(17) Erie Otters 1-3-1 PR%  .4011
Raddysh is banged up and the Otters have only 1 point in 4 games since their opening night win. On paper they are better than a team with a .300 point percentage but with the inevitible sell off they will want to do better to build a cushion before that happens.
Games This Week: Oct 6 @ KIT; Oct 7 vs LDN

(18) Sudbury Wolves  0-3-2 PR%.3193
The Wolves are still winless this year and found out this week that potential OA Ryan Valentini is out for the year with a shoulder injury. They acquisition of Troy Lajeunesse should fill some of the void. One bright spot is the play of 2017 1st rounder Blake Murray who had his first career hattrick and leads the team in points with 5
Games This Week: Oct 5 @ NIA; Oct 6 @ MISS

(19) London Knights 1-4-0 PR% .2935
Max Jones is back but the Knights are still desperatly missing Victor Mete on the blueline. They have lost 4 of 5 for the first time since March 1-12 2015 and 3 in a row for the first time since they lost 6 in a row from Jan 30 - Feb 12th that same year. It is still early but their special teams have been a mess and they have been horribly outplayed.
Games This Week: Oct 6 vs SSM; Oct 7 ERI

(20) Mississauga Steelheads 0-4-0 PR% .2059
Still winless and now Owen Tippet has made the Panthers opening night roster. Assuming Tippet is not scratched the Panthers 10th game of the season is October 28th vs Detroit. McLeod is still in New Jersey although their roster is a little deeper. I would still expect him to get a few games like Speers last year but I would be more confident in him returning.
Games this Week: Oct 6 vs SBY

Monday, 25 September 2017

OHL Power Rankings Week 1

Power Rankings in the first few weeks of the season are rather pointless. For one it is such a small sample size that you really can't come to any quantifiable conclusions. The big thing is though that so many keys players are still at camp that you dont really get a true picture of what a team is capable of.

That being said I have committed to doing a power rankings this season based on a formula I have been fooling around with the last few seasons. It is weighted towards recent play but since we are early in the season that doesn't mean much. At the very least organizing teams into a list with flawed rankings due to the fact that we have only played 1 week with some teams only playing 1 game will give people something to complain about. If sports have taught us anything it is that people are happy when they get to complain (@Petes_Updates I'm looking in your direction).

Enjoy but keep in mind that these will be subject to some wild swings over the next few weeks while teams gel and slowly see their star players trickle back into their lineups.

1) Windsor Spitfires 3-0-0 Power Rank % (PR%) .98

Couldn't have asked for a better opening week. Michael DiPietro should be on his way to POW honours after picking up 3 wins with a GAA of 1.00 and a SV% of .966
Games This Week: Sept 28 vs Kit

2) Niagara Ice Dogs 1-0-0 PR% .9567

This Ice Dogs took game 1 of the K-9 cup Challenge presented by TSN 1150 and 610 CKTB. They ranking takes advantage of the small sample size but their young players showed great growth in that first game. Looks like Niagara his stepping on the gas in their Jr Hockey cycle.
Games This Week: Sept 29 vs Eri; Sept 30 vs Ptb; Oct 1 @ Ptb

3) Oshawa Generals 2-0-0 PR% .9202

The young Gens came out flying this weekend as their 15 goals were tops in the league. They steamrolled Sudbury and took advantage of a Soo team missing some key pieces at NHL camp. They will be a threat all year in the East with their depth and speed.
Games This Week: Sept 28 @ Ptb; Sept 29 @ Gue; Oct 1 vs Ldn

4) North Bay Battalion 2-0-0 PR% .9108

In the OHL Fan Boys season preview podcast Neate Sager and Steve McLean talked about Stan Butlers ability to take cast offs from other teams and have them have career years on the Battalion. Well with 5 goals on the opening weekend former Storm forward Luke Burghardt is 29% of the way to a career high in goals.
Games This Week: Sept 27 vs Sby; Sept 29 vs SSM

5) Kingston Frontenacs 2-0-0 PR% .8958

Kingston isn't wasting any time showing the league how they will win games this year. Great goaltending by Helvig (2 wins .937 sv%) and timely scoring from Robertson (3 goals including OT winner). Have to be pleased with the supplemental scoring from 2017 1st round pick Cody Morgan who had goals in both games.
Games This Week: Sept 29th @ Ldn; Sept 30 @ Sar; Oct 1 @ Ham

6) Flint Firebirds 2-0-0 PR%  .88

Flint jumps out to an impressive start even while leading returning scorer Ryan Moore continues to serve a suspension from the playoffs. Newest Firebird Nicolas Mattinen hasnt wasted anytime showing the Flint faithful what he can offer with 3 points in 2 games. Not bad for a player whose career high is 10 points.
Games This Week: Sept 30th vs Ott

7) Ottawa 67s 2-1-0 PR % .6455

The 67s got absolutely run over by the Colts in the opening game of the season. They recovered nicely by winning their next 2 while riding a hot power play.
Games This Week: Sept 29 @ Sag; Sept 30 @ Fli; Oct 1 @ Sar

8) Barrie Colts 1-1-0 PR% .6017

Thumped the 67s on opening night only to follow that up with a tough loss at the hands of North Bay the next night. If they offence clicks like it did on opening night this will be an exciting team to watch but can they do enough to stop chances at the other end?
Games This Week: Sept 28 vs SSM; Sept 29 @ SBY; Sept 30 vs Ham

9) Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds 1-1-0 PR% .5815

Dominated a depleted London Knights team on Sunday playing their 3rd game in 3 nights after the shorthanded Hounds struggled vs Oshawa the night before. Rumours swirl around the Soo that Hamilton is pushing hard for Raaymakers. Could the Vet D that they are looking for be playing in the other steel city?
Games This Week: Sept 28 @ Bar; Sept 29 @ NB; Oct 1 @ Sby

10) Sarnia Sting 1-1-0 PR% .5502

The Sting split their opening weekend although they did so without the services of their star forward Jordan Kyrou who is still at NHL camp. He will add another dimension once he returns
Games This Week: Sept 30 vs Kgn; Oct 1 vs Ott

11) Kitchener Rangers 1-1-0 PR% .5453
2nd year forward Riley Damiani had a great weekend with 3 points well on his way to the OHL sophmore jump in production. Team showed great poise by earning the split with a road win in Sarnia after dropping their opener at home vs Flint
Games This Week: Sept 28 @ Wsr; Sept 29 vs OS; Sept 30 @ Eri

12) Erie Otters 1-1-1 PR% .5445

Picked up a big opening win against the Petes on Thursday before losing a 3rd period lead vs Kingston and then dropping their final game of the week vs Ottawa. Tough way to start the season by only getting 3 points vs the East but one of their longest road trips of the year is now out of the way.
Games This Week: Sept 29 @ Nia; Sept 30 vs Kit

13) Owen Sound Attack 0-0-1 PR% .5429

Only 1 game on opening weekend for the Attack as they lost in a shootout vs the Firebirds. Outshot their opponents 46-27 but ran into a hot goalie. Wont be this far down the list for long as this team is dangerous
Games This Week: Sept 29 @ Kit; Sept 30 vs Miss

14) London Knights 1-2-0 PR% .3699

Knights were missing plenty of star power this weekend where they played 3 games in less than 48 hours with plenty of KM put on the bus in between. Special Teams were very unLondon like and should improve greatly in the coming weeks.
Games This Week: Sept 29th vs Kgn; Oct 1 @ Osh

15) Saginaw Spirit 0-1-1 PR% .3365

A popular sleeper pick by some did not have the opening week they had hoped for coming away with only 1 point from their 2 games with only 3 goals. They will need more out of Blade Jenkins who could only muster 3 shots on goal in their opening 2 games.
Games This Week: Sept 29 vs Ott; Sept 30 vs Gue

16) Guelph Storm 0-1-1 PR% .3139

Lost their home opener in a shootout before running into the wall that is known as Michael DiPietro. Their import Toropchenko looked strong but they will need more from the rest of their lineup. That said it has only been 2 games so I would not worry
Games This Week: Sept 29th vs Osh; Sept 30th @ Sag

17) Mississauga Steelheads 0-2-0 PR% .2631

Not the start the Steelheads wanted to their season after last year. If anything it magnifies this teams need to have Michael McLeod in the lineup.
Games This Week: Sept 29 vs Ham; Sept 30 @ OS

18) Sudbury Wolves 0-2-0 PR% .1836

The Wolves gave up 3 goals late to North Bay on Sunday to blow their lead. They were shorthanded 6.5 time per game this weekend. If they want to improve they will need to stay out of the box.
Games This Week: Sep 27 @ NB; Sept 29 vs Bar; Oct 1 Vs SSM

19) Peterborough Petes 0-1-0 PR% .1524

The Petes did not have the start to the season they had hoped for against the reigning OHL champion Erie Otters. Playing only 1 game hurts them in these power rankings but on the brightside they have no where to go but up and up is where they shall go
Games This Week: Sept 28 vs Osh; Sept 30 @ Nia; Oct 1 vs Nia

20) Hamilton Bulldogs 0-1-0 PR% .1433

Bulldogs looked strong at times vs the Ice Dogs but at the end of the day goaltending seemed to be the difference. They have the talent but will need Fulcher to play stronger and will also need better play from their defence.
Games This Week: Sept 29 @ Miss; Sept 30 @ Bar;  Oct 1 vs Kgn

Friday, 22 September 2017

2016-17 OHL Suspension Tracker

Something new I decided to do this year is keep a running total of the suspensions handed out this season. Ive kept databases of it in the past but this seems like something that would be of interest to my followers. I will break it down by teams so that those fan bases who feel the league has it out for them (Barrie im looking at you although some suspensions the last few years make your complaints valid) and in the event London doesnt get many it will be more fuel for everyone to complain.

I will also break it down by suspension type whether it is head checking, boarding, slashing, etc. To possibly quantify how hard the league is working to crack down on certain infractions. If any of my readers have any suggestions I am always open to it. Also if there is every a suspension that I miss feel free to let me know.

By Team
Barrie 4 Suspension - 20 Games
Erie 1 Suspension - 2 games
Guelph 1 Suspension - 2 games
Kingston 2 Suspension - 7 Games
Oshawa 1 Suspension - 10 Games
Niagara 2 Suspension - 6 games
North Bay 2 Suspension - 7 games
Saginaw 2 Suspensions - 4 games
Sault Ste. Marie 1 Suspension 5 Games
Sudbury 1 Suspension 2 Games

Checking from Behind 1 Suspension - 3 games
Head Check 4 Suspension - 28 games
Kneeing 1 Suspension - 2 games
Slashing 3 Suspension - 13 games
Slew Foot 6 Suspension - 12 games
Fighting - 2 games
Inappropriate Conduct - 5 games


Oct 11
Nicolas Porco 2 games Slewfoot
The reigning GTHL minor midget player of the year and the Spirits 1st round pick did not have the return to his hometown of Sault Ste. Marie as he had hoped as he got hit with a 5 minute major for slewfooting in the 2nd period and will miss the rest of the week for the Spirit

Max Grodin 2 games Fighting < 5 minutes to go in 3rd
The Spirit forward instigated a fight against Greyhounds defenceman Noah Carroll with less than a minute go in Saginaw's loss on Wednesday. The fact that there was an instigator penalty allowed Carroll to escape suspension although he did not show much interest in partaking in the fight at the end of the game. Grodin will sit for the rest of the weekend as the Spirit try to gain some traction on their season
Oct 9
Kyle Potts 4 games Match Penalty Slash

A match penalty comes with an automatic 2 game suspension plus an automatic league review. The league deemed it necessary to tack an extra 2 games on the suspension for Potts. The fact that this came with less than 2 minutes to go in the 3rd period did not help. Surprisingly enough a rather blatant headcheck to Potts earlier in the 3rd escaped supplemental discipline from the league offices.
Oct 6
Nathan Dunkley 5 games Inappropriate conduct
The burgeoning star 2nd year forward was tagged for 5 games by the OHL for using inappropriate words while skating by the Flint bench after scoring a goal last week. This is a tough blow to the Fronts who have depth issues to begin with up front and having Dunkley out of the lineup for 5 games leaves a crater size hole up front. As a 17 year old it is something that he should no better and hopefully something he can learn from as his game grows.
Doug Graham has more on it here
Oct 5 
Kirill Maksimov 2 games Slewfoot

The dynamic Icedogs forward got hit with the 5th slewfooting major of the season in his game vs the Sudbury Wolves. An automatic 2 was handed the forward who only missed the remaining games that week.

Justin Murray 4 games head check

The Colts defender picked up Barrie's 4th suspension of the season but at only 4 games it is the shortest head check suspension handed out this year by David Branch. A minor break for the Colts who are short on depth and can't possible continue to pick up wins the way they have with all of these suspensions.

Oct 1

Zach Shankar 4 games Slashing

The Icedogs OA blue liner was given a match penalty for a slash in the 3rd period of their game against Peterborough. It is the 2nd slashing suspension of the year and both have been over 4 games which is quite unexpected as the league has never taken stick infractions seriously when it comes to supplemental discipline. The league has yet to put the suspension up but Matt and DJ from @Icedogsthisweek were able to break the news of the suspension yesterday.


Sept 30
Ben Hawerchuck 8 games head check
One of those sneaky David Branch suspensions that seemingly come out of nowhere. Ben Hawerchcuk caught Bulldogs defenceman Jack Hanley with the headcheck and no penalty was called. The Bulldogs sent video to the league to be reviewed and the Colts got hit with their 3rd suspension of the year and Hawerchuk his 2nd in only 2 weeks!

Sept 29
Matt Shoemaker 2 games Slewfoot
The Guelph Storm OA defender picked up the OHLs 3rd Slew footing major of the year (4th if you include the preseason) 2 of the 3 slew footing penalties have come against the Oshawa Generals so congrats to them for figuring out how to draw those 5 minute power plays. The suspension has yet to be placed on the OHL website but Tony Saxon has confirmed it via twitter

Sept 28
Sean Allen indefinite Head check

The Gens bruising defender was given a 2 minute minor for head checking against the Petes but the league seems to have come down hard on him giving him an indefinite suspension while they take their special suspension dart board out of storage to decide how many games he gets.

Sept 24
Jack Duff Erie Otters 2 games Slewfoot

A controversial call as there were some in the Ottawa media who felt that Duff was not deserving of the 5 minute major. The league however decided not to overturn the auto suspension and the Otters forward has to sit 2 games

Sept 22nd

Ben Hawerchuk Barrie Colts 2 games Kneeing

Received his major the same game as Rhys Forhan but with Barrie off till Thursday his suspension didnt come down till Wednesday. Had to know it was coming because there aren't many instances where Barrie gets a major that does not result in a suspension of some kind.

Darian Pilon Sudbury Wolves 2 games Slew Foot

The most suspended team last year gets one in their 1st regular season game of the year. The real surprise here is that it took one of the Pilon brothers 46:06 to commit a suspendable offence. This one was for a slewfoot.

Rhys Forhan North Bay Battalion 3 games Checking from Behind

At 4:40 of the 3rd period against Barrie Forhan was given a 5 minute major for checking from behind. Before Sundays game against Sudbury he was handed a 3 game suspension for his actions.

Sept 15th

Domenico Argento Kingston Frontenacs 2 games Slew Foot

Argento the rookie '00 for the Fronts got hit with a major for slewfooting against the 67s with that comes an auto 2 game suspension. I can only think of 2 instances the last 2 seasons where a player did not get an auto 2 game for slewfooting and that was Senyshyn last year and Ryan MacInnis 2 years ago while playing for Kitchener.

Joe Carrol Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 5 games Slashing

No penalty was called on the play but the Sudbury Wolves asked the league to look into it. They came down hard on the '17 draft pick giving him 5 games. The league tends not to take stick infractions seriously so I cant imagine how bad this must have been to warrent a 5 game suspension. Either that or David Branch is off his dart throwing game. After all Ryan Rupert (a repeat offender) got 5 games for taking a baseball swing at Nick Cousins abdomen with the replays being picked up by TSN and SportsNet.

Peter Ruicci of the Sault Star has more information on it at the bottom of this article

Sept 4th
Tyler Tucker Barrie Colts 6 games Head Check

Tucker the 2nd year rearguard for the Barrie Colts is a repeat offender having been on the receiving end of some suspensions last season. The league takes head shots seriously so you knew they were going to comedown hard on Tucker

@VeryBarrieColts  breaks it down here

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

2016-17 OHL Playoff and Awards Prediction

The last part of my Season Preview I will take a stab at predicting the playoff results as well as this years award winners. Remember though that Predictions like records are meant to be broken or in this case wrong. Lets face it to many variables in predicting the OHL from Injuries to Trades to development of teenagers.

First a recap of how I think the conferences will finish for a more in depth look I have links up top to my Conference Previews


(1) Mississauga - Picked them last year if I keep picking them I am bound to be right
(2) Peterborough - If they get Korostolev back they will be dangerous.
(3) Oshawa - Young core that is exciting and won a playoff round last year. Very deep.
(4) Hamilton - Not confident with this pick. Vet D returns but they struggled last year
(5) Kingston - Great goalie, one of the best pair of imports and developing offensive talent.
(6) Barrie - Have a trio of young electric Russians. Can they score their way to a playoff spot?
(7) Niagara - Burgeoning talent but how quickly can young D overcome lose of Mantha and Haydon?
(8) Ottawa - Pair of '98s and '99s lead the offence with a well regarded group of young D
(9) Sudbury - Moved a fair bit of young talent. How far can Sokolov and Levin take this team?
(10) North Bay - The East is better than last year but I dont think North Bay is.

(1) Sault Ste Marie - I feel this team is better than last years team was in September.
(2) Owen Sound - McNiven will be a tough loss to over come but they are deep at F and D
(3) London - Team is deep enough where Kooy can develop and not worry about being shell shocked
(4) Kitchener - Mascherin and Stanley are nice pieces. Can the rest of the roster come along?
(5) Flint - I'll admit this is very bullish. Young D needs to develop quickly. Can Forrest steal games?
(6) Guelph - A lot hinges on Popovich. If they pick up Raaymakers they could flirt with home ice.
(7) Sarnia - Love their depth at C. Fazio is underappreciated. Question is do they sell?
(8) Windsor - Dipietro is the best goalie in the league. 2 NHL 1st round picks up front
(9) Saginaw - LOTS of young talent coming in but leading returning scorer only had 47 points.
(10) Erie - Has the talent now to finish as high as 6th but they have to sell dont they?

Playoff Predictions
Based on my predicted (best guess) regular season finish
Mississauga over Ottawa
Peterborough over Niagara
Oshawa over Baarrie
Kingston over Hamilton

Mississauga over Kingston
Oshawa over Peterborough

Mississauga over Oshawa

SSM over Windsor
Owen Sound over Sarnia
London over Guelph
Kitchener over Flint

SSM over Kitchener
Owen Sound over London

SSM over Owen Sound

SSM over Mississauga

Award Predictions

Red Tilson Award (MOP)

1) Nick Suzuki - Huge numbers on a top team
 Jordon Kyrou - Can he carry the Sting to a high playoff seed or does he get traded
Dylan Wells - Top goalie on a top team. Petes success depends on him
Conor Timmins - One of the best players on the best team in the league
Jason Robertson - Leading returning scorer from the Eastern Conference
Owen Tippett - Top NHL draft pick is a year older and bigger. Ready for jump in production

Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy
1) Nick Suzuki - Plenty of talent around him to put up big numbers once again
Jorodn Kyrou - Does he finish the year in Sarnia?
Jason Robertson - Teams will gameplan for him.
Adam Mascherin - No Bracco to help pad stats early
Ryan Moore - Being an OA means no WJC threat. Can he take advantage of the extra games?
Matthew Strome - Has the IQ and puck skills to create offence and capitalize on chances

Max Kaminsky
1) Victor Mete - Best D in the league but can he put up the points to win the award?
Conor Timmins - 2nd among OHL D in ES points last year. Now he gets PP time.
Matthew Timms -  Should continue to pile on points as Petes #1 D
Ryan Merkley - Growing pains in year 1. Roster is older and more talented in year 2. Watch Out!
Nick Hague - A lot depends on McLeod coming back but all around game is strong
Logan Stanley - In convo with Mete for top 19 year old D. Will voters over look offence?

Goaltender of the Year

1) Dylan Wells - Best 19 year old goalie in league playing on strong team in the weaker conference
Jeremy Helvig - Best OA goalie in the league has had a strong 2 year run.
Michael DiPietro - Best goalie in the league but does he have the talent in front of him to pad stats
Jacob Ingham - Was a revelation for Steelheads last year can he keep it up?
Mathew Villalta - The crease is his. No doubt he can get over his bad start in the playoffs.

Overage Player of the Year

1) Ryan Moore - No longer has Sherwood but they young Firebirds are a year older which will help
Jeremy Helvig - Top 3 goalie in the league will have a chance to carry a team
Garret McFadden - Will be overshadowed by Merkley but will have a chance at a career year
Sam Miletic - Hard for OAs to put up big numbers in London with their young talent but Miletic can
Matt Luff* Dont think he comes back but if he does he will put up lots of points

Other must read OHL Season Previews

From Brock Otten at OHL Prospects Blog
West Preview
Awards Preview 
Also on Brock's blog you can find his preseason Top 30 for the NHL draft and a great Import draft recap.

From Josh Brown at the Waterloo Record

From Matt and DJ from @IcedogsThisWeek

From OHLFanBoys Podcast

Some must follow OHL twitter Accounts that didnt fall under any particular team.
OHL Prospects Blog @BrockOtten

OHL Fan Boys Podcast @ohlfanboys 
Host Steve @stevemclean88
Host Brian aka the toast  @Toast84

For your Draft Pick Data base needs @WriteMattWilson

The Venerable @NaitSayger

For your OHLdraft needs @TheScoutdotca
Head Scout the scouting worlds Earl of Essex @Asykes_7
SCTA Scout great opinions poor choice of team fandom @Stewbucs

Last but not least @msconduct one of the best the league has to offer. Writes for dobber hockey and recrutes.

A new OHL podcast from Matt and DJ of Icedogs this week and their producer Sawyer. @OHLtothepoint

Another great podcast to follow along with is @AroundtheOHL hosted by Jake Jeffery @AOHLjake

Bulldogs Radio colour man Louis Butko @TSN_LouisB has a great OHL radio show on TSN 1150 in Hamilton

Finally for all your coverage south of the border dont forget to give a follow to OHL Pucks & Stripes @OHLPucks