Monday, 28 November 2016

OHL Opening Trimester Awards

On Wednesday November 23rd the OHL reached the one third mark of its season as the London Knights battled the Owen Sound Attack in game number 227. What better time to take a look at some of the best performers through the first third of the season.

Who would your picks be for each Award?



Most Outstanding Player

  1. Alex Debrincat – Erie Otters

I don't know if there is a player in the OHL whose accomplishments are more under appreciated. DeBrincat is coming off of back to back 51 goal seasons in his 17 and 18 year old seasons and now has 23 goals in 22 games so far this year. Sure he has had great linemates from McDavid to Strome to Raddysh but Alex is an elite goal scorer who can score in multiple ways.

What impresses me most about DeBrincat this season is that he has been absolutely deadly at even strength. In his rookie season 21 of his 51 goals were on the power play. Last year 13 of his 51 came on the man advantage. This season only 2 of his 23 goals have come on the power play with one short handed marker tossed in there.

He is averaging more shots per game this year (4.91 vs 4.48) and scoring at a higher shooting percentage (21.2% vs 18.9%). He really slowed down in after getting injured at the world juniors last year and it seems like that is the only thing that can slow him down this year as after 3 seasons OHL defenses sure havn't.

  1. Jeremy Bracco – Kitchener Rangers

Honestly you could flip a coin between Debrincat, Bracco and Taylor Raddysh and make an argument for all in the top spot.

After coming over in the middle of the season last year from the NCAA Bracco picked up 64 points in 49 games. This year after a few graduations on the Rangers roster Bracco has made them his team. With 16 goals and 29 assists in 22 games Bracco has shown the elite finishing and play making skills that made him a Maple Leafs draft pick and what allowed him to break Patrick Kane's single season and career USNTDP assist records.

So far this year Bracco has 9 3+ point games (40% of his games), has gotten a point in every single one of his games and has been named OHL player of the week twice.

  1. Anthony Cirelli – Oshawa Generals

May be an off the board pick to some but I dont know if there is a player who has meant more to his team then Cirelli.

I know Oshawa plays in what some refer to as the “Leastern Conference” but still I dont think many expected them to be in 1st place at this point in the season and with a sizable 5 point lead at that.

What makes Cirelli special is that he affects the game for the Generals in so many different ways. He leads the team in scoring with 13 goals and 17 assists. His 30 points may have him in 14th in league scoring but he doesn't have the weapons around him that those above him do. On top of that he has been dynamite in the face off circle winning 61% of his draws and taking countless face offs in the D zone on the penalty kill and the O zone on the power play giving the Generals possession at critical times. Finally he is a perfect 3 for 3 in the shootout, this is something that cant be understated as the Gens don't have the scoring depth of other top teams so having their star player step up his critical.

Honourable Mentions

Taylor Raddysh – Erie Otters
League leader in points. Right up there with Bracco and DeBrincat although only 1 player from each team can get nominated for this award.

Cliff Pu – London Knights
Has taken huge strides this year and has helped fill the scoring void left by Marner, Dvorak and Tkachuk.

Michael McNiven – Owen Sound Attack
Best goalie in the league and has the Attack competitive in the West as they work their way up the junior hockey competitive cycle.

Overage Player of the Year

  1. Bobby Macintyre – Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds

Just a reminder to my readers who are Steelheads fans that the Greyhounds picked up MacIntyre for a 12th round draft pick before last season.

After coming over from Mississauga before the season MacIntyre went out and doubled his previous career high by picking up 48 points in 62 games for the Hounds. He then came out in the playoffs and helped the Hounds upset the Sting and push the Otters by picking up 11 points in 11 games.

This season MacIntyre has been on fire as he already has 41 points from 14 goals and 27 assists in 26 games. This value of this production for the Hounds can not be understated as Blake Speers has only played 1 game this season (NHL + Broken Wrist) and Zach Senyshyn is still getting up to speed after offseason bouts with Mono and Appendicitis.

Sometimes it takes a while for a young player to realize his potential. In MacIntyres case getting older and coming to the Greyhounds at the right time has allowed him to reach the potential that made him a 2nd round draft pick by the Steelheads in 2012.

  1. Ryan Mantha – Niagara Icedogs

Back in the spring of 2009 the Pittsburgh Penguins had a question to answer. Sign 2007 5th rounder Jake Muzzin or not to. The Penguins chose the latter and Muzzin returned to Sault Ste. Marie for his overage season and went on to win the Max Kaminsky award for top defencemen and finished runner up to Bryan Cameron for OA fo the year.

This past spring the Rangers chose not to sign Ryan Mantha whom they selected in the 4th round in 2014. Mantha has been a different player in Niagara this season as an OA as he has already tied his career high in points with 25 while anchoring a young blueline on the rebuilding Icedogs. Much like Muzzin in 09-10 Mantha's steller play on the backend is a big reason why the Icedogs are vastly exceeding expectations this season.

His 8 goals are tied for 1st among OHL Defencemen, he is 2nd in points and tied for 3rd in power play assists. In the shot department he has a 22 shot lead over the 2nd best defenceman and a 37 shot lead over number 3.

  1. Darren Raddysh – Erie Otters

The older brother of OHL scoring leader Taylor Raddysh, Darren his having a career year. His point per game average is highest in the league among Dmen at 1.32 which is more than double last season when he finished with 40 points.

The step up in play this season by Raddysh has given the Otters young blue line time to develop as they get over the lose of stud reargaurd Travis Dermott who has graduated on the AHL.

As an NHL free agent Raddysh has been garnering attention from scouts for his play this season.

Honourable Mention

Mathieu Henderson – Flint Firebirds
OHL defencemen of the month for October is having his best season of his career

Kevin Spinozzi – Sarnia Sting
Has helped the Sting stay competitive with Zacha, Konecny and Chychrun staying in the NHL.

Niki Petti – Hamilton Bulldogs
Bulldogs are a different team with him in the line up. Arguably the most underrated OA in the league.


Defenceman of the Year

  1. Victor Mete – London Knights

I don't know if there is a better defencemen in the OHL in transition then Victor Mete. Watching him patiently exit the zone whether it be carrying the puck or with a slick first pass is poetry in motion. Currently 5th in scoring among defence with 22 points in 25 games he is tied for the lead with 8 goals, 3 of which have been game winners.

The most impressive stat tidbit from Mete this season is that he has only taken 2 minor penalty while playing top pair minutes for the Knights.


  1. Ryan Mantha – Niagara Icedogs

Not much to add after what I posted under the OA of the year.

     3. Darren Raddysh – Erie Otters

Not much to add after what I posted under OA of the year.

Honourable Mention

Mathieu Henderson – Flint Firebirds
OHL defenceman of the month for October

Mitchell Vande Sompel – Oshawa Generals
Anchor on the East leading Generals blue line. Should garner WJC interest.

Conor Timmins – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
After playing protected minutes last season Timmins has thrived in a higher leverage role this year and is climbing up draft boards.


Rookie of the Year

  1. Greg Meireles – Kitchener Rangers

The Rangers 2015 1st rounder who played last season on a “B” card while spending most of his time in the CCHL.

Meireles has cooled abit after a hot start with the Rangers this year but still leads all rookies in assists with 16 and points with 23. He also has 7 multi point games to his name this year as he has been an important cog in the Rangers lineup as they battle for home ice in the West.

  1. Ryan Merkley – Guelph Storm

In my opinion this is a two horse race between Merkley and Meireles and you could argue what Merkley has done is more impressive given his position, his age and the talent around him.

The OHLs 1st overall pick this past year has helped the Storm move from 10th in the West all the way up to 9th. More impressively he leads all rookie defencemen in points with 15. The next closes is 17 year old Barrie import Tim Hedberg with 11. On top of that he is only a -6 on a 9th place team that has been outscored by 20 goals this season.

  1. Matthew Villalta – Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds

Rookie goaltender the Greyhounds plucked as a free agent out of the Kingston midget program currently sits 15th in the OHL in wins with 7. While he hasn't played enough games to qualify he has a .911 save percentage and a 2.38 goals against average in 10 games this season.

The emergence of Villalta has given the Hounds piece of mind behind starter Joseph Raaymakers and is a key factor in the Hounds 13-2 record on the road this season as it has allowed them to keep both goalies fresh after long bus rides.

Was recently listed as a “C” prospect by NHL Central scouting and is a name you should watch if you are an NHL draft fan.

Honourable Mention

Allan McShane – Erie Otters
Tied with Merkley and Hinz for the scoring lead among '00 born rookies

Linus Nyman – Kingston Frontnacs
The Finnish import leads all rookies with 14 goals this year.

Brady Hinz – Sarnia Sting
The Stings 3rd round pick finds himself in a 3 way tie for the scoring lead among '00 born rookies

Coach of the Year

  1. Ryan Oulahen – Flint Firebirds

Currently 8th in the Western Conference with a 7 point lead over 9th place Guelph and I dont think anyone predicted that. I dont know if a coach of the year has ever coached a team that finished so low but you would be hard pressed to find someone who has extracted as much out of his team as Oulahen has.

The first year coach came to Flint after years as Stan Butlers lead assistant in North Bay and seems to have learned a thing or to about getting every drop of production from his lineup and maximizing every minute.

He may not win at the end of the year but I dont know if there is a coaching job that will have impressed me as much as his this year. If this young team continues to develop and they can maximize the plethora of assets they hold this team could be very dangerous very soon.


  1. Bob Jones – Oshawa Generals

The head man on the bench of the current Eastern Conference leaders Jones has the Generals getting better almost every game and has them in position to not only be a contender this year but next as well.

Led by Anthony Cirelli up front, Mitchell Vande Sompel on the back end and Jeremy Brodour between the pipes The Gens have a 5 point lead on division rival Hamilton and a 6 point lead on North Bay. They are also one of only 2 teams in the Eastern Conference with a positive goal differential.

  1. Kris Knoblauch – Erie Otters

No Devin Williams, No Travis Dermott and No Dylan Strome (well save for the last 2 games) yet here are the Erie Otters with the 2nd best point percentage in the OHL at .760

Every summer there is speculation that he will jump to the AHL or NHL yet he is back every September and all the Otters seem to do is win games. I dont know if another 50 win season isin the cards for them but given the constant turnover this start is the most impressive in my eyes of the last 4.


Goalie of the Year

  1. Michael McNiven – Owen Sound Attack

Back in his 16 year old season McNiven played for Georgetown in the OJHL. I voted on the year end awards that season and promptly put McNiven #2 to Milton Goalie Ben Blacker for Rookie of the Year, Goalie of the Year as well as the all prospect and all star teams.

3 years later I final get to put McNiven #1 in something although this means absolutely nothing. McNiven has been stellar for the Attack this season and has them in 6th position in the West while leading the league in GAA and save percentage.

  1. Stephen Dhillon – Niagara Icedogs

813 shots against this season for Dhillon, that is 100 more then the next closest OHL goalie. The man has faced more rubber than.... you know what I better not.

His play this season has been criminally underrated and is a major reason why the Icedogs are exceeding expectations a year after going all in during the Eastern Conference championship run. His .919 save percentage is 2nd in the league and he has stolen multiple points for the Icedogs this season. Makes you wonder what he has to do to get some recognition from NHL Central Scouting.

  1. Michael DiPietro – Windsor Spitfires

You could have one of any 5 goalies in this position but I went with DiPietro as he has been solid for the Spits as they continue to build their roster and gel as a team as they strive for a memorial cup title. He currently sits 4th in the OHL with a 2.55 GAA while playing in the Western Conference where half the teams have scored 100+ goals this year (0 teams in the East have done this).

Honourable Mentions
Jeremy Broduer – Oshawa Generals
Has blossomed in his OA season and is a major reason why the Generals have such a sizeable lead in the East.
Dylan Wells – Peterborough Petes
Finally with the crease all to himself Wells is tapping into the potential that made him such a high OHL draft pick.
Tyler Parsons – London Knights

Has come back strong after battling injury issues in the first bit of the season.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

OHL Arena Naming Rights

The deeper we get into the 21st century names that have grown synonymous with the OHL like the Peterborough Memorial Centre, Sudbury Arena, Bayshore arena and Kitchener Memorial Auditorium have grown fewer and fewer. With the arena boom that was kicked off by the Barrie Colts cities looking for new revenue streams started attaching corporate sponsors to their arena names.

Arena's in most OHL cities tend to be a focal point for the community and in most cases were memorials for those who served Canada in war. While it is hard for the sentimentalist in us to swallow some of these corporate names the tax payers in most of us can see the logic behind them.

Out of the 20 teams in the OHL 17 are located in Ontario. Of those 17 teams 12 play in arenas with corporate names attached to them. The names of the Windsor Arena, London Ice House, Soo Memorial Gardens and Copps Coliseum are long gone. In their place is the WFCU Centre, Budweiser Gardens, Essar Center and First Ontario Centre.

Only the 4 arenas from the opening Paragraph ( Peterborough, Sudbury, Owen Sound and Kitchener) and the North Bay Memorial Gardens lack the commercialization that has touched their OHL cousins. With some of those teams in the market for new arenas in the near future and 4 current teams about to have their current naming rights expire by 2018 I thought this was the perfect time to look into the various naming rights deals signed by arena's across the OHL.

With deals signed in different years I took out my trusty Texas Instruments BAII Plus calculator and found the present and future values of these rights deals. A deal today signed for $170,000 a year sure sounds a lot nicer then a deal signed 10 years ago for $160,000 a year but it is easy to forget that $170,000 today is worth a lot less then $170,000 10 years ago and the opposite is true for $160,000 10 years ago compared to $160,000 today.

Where I could I found information on who received the money and if any went to the various teams or if the naming rights money only went to the city or another organization. Finally some naming rights deals have added benefits to it. For example the WFCU Centre and the Meridian Centre only have ATM machines in their building from those financial institutions. While the Budweiser Gardens and Sleemans Centre also come with the pour rights for those beers (Pour rights can bring in as much as $50,000 a year just for the right to serve a particular brand of beer at an arena).


average naming rights dollars brought in per year from various arena's around the OHL


Naming Rights adjusted to 2016 dollars



Ranking OHL Arena Rights in 2016 Dollars

London Knights – Budweiser Gardens
$610,073 AAV in 2016 dollars
10 years $6.4 million total
Signed in 2012

Far and away the largest naming rights deal in the OHL. The deal likely includes the pour rights for Budweiser products but even when you take that into account (it will be some of the highest in the league due to the high attendence and usage of the arena) the money generated from the Arena name is large. Very few teams get a piece of the naming rights money but I would be interested to see if the Knights get any as they are a big reason why the City of London is able to get so much for this.


Hamilton Bulldogs – First Ontario Centre
327,091 AAV in 2016 dollars
10 years $3.5 millon total
Signed in 2014

This is an interesting rights deal as the city of Hamilton gets none of the money from it. Well not directly anyways. Global Spectrum the bane of Bulldogs fans exictince and the company in charge of running what will always be Copps Colisium is the main benefactor.


Oshawa Generals – Communities Tributes Centre
224,564 AAV in 2016 dollars (according to sources)
10 years $2.5 million total (according to sources)
Signed in 2016

The newest deal signed in the OHL and also the only unconfirmed number. For some reason Oshawa is very tight lipped about its naming rights deals. Even the numbers for when GM was the sponsor were hard to get ahold of. The rumoured total for the Communities Tributes Centre (the only home builder to acquire naming rights) is 2.5 million over 10 years. In 2016 dollars this comes out to approx 2.24 million over 10 years. The deal for GM was 1.5 million over 10 years which in 2016 dollars was worth approx 1.81 million. If the rumoured numbers are true then the city of Oshawa did a very good job with an increase of 23.75% in 2016 dollars. With 4 teams entering new deals in the next 4 years it will be interesting to see if others can reach these numbers.

It should be noted that the previous deal for GM was not a straight cash deal. Only 77K a year was cash while the approximate 87K remaining was "indirect financial benefits" which could be why the city kept it under wraps.

Windsor Spitfires – WFCU Centre
$189,373 AAV in 2016 dollars
10 years $1.75 million total (payments made quarterly)
Signed in 2008

The 2nd of 3 community credit unions on this list. The payment for which is made quarterly as opposed to yearly which is the case for most arena naming rights based on my research. With the increase in rights fees to Oshawa recently it puts the city of Windsor in a nice position. Personally I can't see anyone else stepping up and surpassing WFCU as they are rather entrentched in the community.

Kingston Frontnacs – K-Rock Cenre
$186,145 AAV in 2016 dollars
10 years $1.7 million total
Signed in 2007

Expires after this season so we could be looking at a new arena name in Kingston if K-Rock doesnt renew. Cant see that happening though due to their partnership with the Fronts as well as the potential synergy that goes along with a radio station and an entertainment venue. I found 2 sets of numbers when it came to the naming rights. The Durham news reported a deal worth 3.3 million a year, a number which is quite outragous. In the feasability study for the Niagara arena done by accounting firm Deloitte the number was pegged at 1.7 million a year over 10 years which is more in line with the arena deals signed at the time.

Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds – Essar Centre
$179,263 AAV in 2016 dollars
10 Years $ 1.5 million total (Total paid upfront in 1st year)
Signed in 2008

Another unique deal as this was paid in full in the first year. All 1.5 million dollars. Because of this the value of this deal increases greatly and was a very shrewd business move by the city of Sault Ste. Marie. In fact it blew the previous agreement with Steelback Breweries out of the water, a deal which was voided after the second payment was missed. On top of that the city of Sault Ste Marie was able to shop the pour rights for beer at the arena which added even more money to the cities cauffers. Now this deal expires after next season and you will likely be seeing a new name. Essar has been a little slow in paying their 14 million dollar tax bill to the city.

Niagara Icedogs – Meridian Centre
$178,244 AAV in 2016 dollars
15 years $3 million total
Signed in 2014

In terms of actual dollars prior to discounting the Icedogs contract is actually the 2nd highest in the OHL. After the original 15 years is up there is an option to increase the deal by 10 years with a 2% compounding escaleter per year. This would bring the dollar total to just north of 5.2 million over 25 years. For the puropse of this I only used the 15 year 3 million dollar contract.

While the $200,000 a year is nice the length of the contract causes the final years to be worth not as much in 2016 dollars which is why its AAV in said dollars is lower then most other deals. The big thing with the length though is that some teams will be able to sign 2 more rights deals potentially with increases before St Catherines can look to rework their contract. While Oshawas total is rumoured it is considerably higher then what Meridian pays.

At the end of the day the city of St Catherines did very well with the dollar total that they got. The length could come back to haunt them but they have cost certainty with this deal for 15 maybe even 25 years. From a political stand point they can spout a munch of mumbo jumbo about it being worth north of 5 million dollars even though from a present value perspective that is far far far from the case.

Guelph Storm – Sleemans Centre
$90,040 AAV in 2016 dollars
13 years $1.1 million total
Signed in 2007

Sleemans Breweries took over exclusive naming rights of what was then the Guelph Sports and Entertainment Centre. Quite a few deals were signed form 2007 to 2008 and the Sleemans Centre turned out to be for the lowest total and yearly amount as well as the longest. While Kingston, Windsor and Sault Ste. Marie all had 10 year terms the Sleemans Centre's deal is for 13. The AAV is one of only 2 under 100k a year.

Sarnia Sting - Progressive Auto Sales Arena
$39,021 AAV in 2016 dollars
10 years $434,415 total
Signed in 2016

I honestly dont know what to say about this deal that was signed in Sarnia. This is an incredibly low total that the city of Sarnia snagged. On top of that the revenue is split between the city and the OHL team with approx 23K going to the city and 19K going to the team. Most deals come with perks such as suites and tickets but as mentioned in the Sarnia Observer these perks for Progressive Auto Sales which include a suite and 12 season tickets has an annual value of about 30K which is more than 66% of what they pay for the naming rights.

Barrie and Mississauga

I couldn't find any recent information on Barrie and Mississauga. All I was able to find on the Colts home is that the contract with Molson is up in 2018 so they could be in the market for a new arena name along with Sault Ste. Marie and Windsor.

As for Mississauga I was only able to find that they had a 10 year agreement worth $190.000 expire in 2008. Obviously Hershey's reupped but that was a very good deal for the time. While the Hershey centre may not be a big draw for OHL hockey it has some advantages that allow for high naming rights fee. For starters it is along a busy stretch of highway. While the location for fans attending games leaves a lot to be desired it is perfect for maximizing naming rights. Secondly it is a very well used facility. The Steelheads may be the anchor tenant but the city of Mississauga has done a good job of maximizing its use.

What will we see in the future?


Kingston is up for a new contract after this season. Barrie, Windsor and Sault Ste. Marie are up for a new contract after 2017-18. Sudbury seems to be moving ahead with a new arena and Peterborough is having some financial difficulty which may spur the city into looking at a new arena that is more cost efficient with new revenue streams. Niagara and Oshawa seem to have set the bar with deals that bring in north of 200K a year and will be a starting point for any city as they look to maximize revenue oppertunities.  

Friday, 21 October 2016

Week 4 Transaction Round Up

Trades

Sault Ste Marie
Medric Mercier

to 

Oshawa

OSH 4 2018
KGN 8 2018

Synopsis

With the depth on the Greyhounds blueline and the development of some of the younger guys having an OA in the middle of the depth chart didnt seem to fit. While Mercier is a quality OHL defencemen his spot on the Hounds roster is better served to develop some of the Hounds younger talent like Anthoney DeMeo and Jacob Leguerrier. In return the Hounds picked up a pair of mid round picks which will help them in coming years as their draft cupboard is still rather bare from their run 2 years ago.

Mercier will be a nice boost for Oshawa on their backend and should thrive in the Eastern Conference. He will offer a good amount of expierience and should help as they try and develop their young core.


Mississauga
Sean Day
Miss 6 2017
Bar 3 2018

to

Windsor

Sar 2 2017
Nia 2 2018
Wsr 5 2019
Wsr 3 2020

Synopsis

While there is no denying that Sean Day is a talented hockey player based on reactions to this trade fans seem to be more infatuated with his potential rather than what he is right now.

At the end of the day the Steelheads dealt their 5th best defencemen for what boils down to a pair of 2nd round picks (although you could argue the present value of the non 2nds favours windsor). For Windsor he slots into the 3 or 4 slot depending on if Sergachev comes back.

With Windsor hosting the Memorial cup but still wanting to win the West these are the types of trades they need to make. Value moves with upside potential due to the fact that they are outgunned by London and Kitchener in the trade asset department.

For Mississauga who is also trying to earn a mem cup berth but needed to pick up extra tradeable assets in order to address serious depth issues up front having Windsor as a trade partner was a perfect scenario. Since Windsor is the Memorial Cup hosts and in the Western Conference they are not an impediment to Mississauga advancing. If they meet in the OHL finals Mississauga will get the OHLs spot (even if there is a more deserving team in the West but that is a post for another day).

Suspensions

Barrie

Tyler Tucker 2 Games Cross Check

2nd suspension of the year coming from a cross check Tucker is the first 2016 draft pick to get booked by Branch

Erie

Carson Edwardson 1 game Helmet infraction

Auto suspension for taking off his opponents helmet during a fight Wednesday in Niagara.

Niagara

Aaron Haydon 6 games I have no idea what this is for

I have no idea what this suspension is for as it was just posted on the OHL website and Haydon recieved no major on Wednesday but he did pick up a minor for boarding. The league in all their wisdom have posted nothing so I will update when I find out more.

Fight Tracker

No team is droping the mitts more than Oshawa (6) Sudbury (5) and Owen Sound (4). There are now 5 players up to 2 fights.

Oshawa Stephen Templeton 2
Oshawa Sean Allen 2
Sudbury Drake Pilon 2
Sudbury Zach Wilkie 2
Windsor Hayden McCool 2
Flint Fedor Gordeev 1
Guelph Nick Deakin Poot 1
Guelph Matthew Hotchkiss 1
Hamilton Brandon Saigeon 1
Hamilton Luke Kutkevicius 1
Kingston Cody Caron 1
Kingston Sam Field 1
Kitchener Dylan Seitz 1
Kitchener Doug Blaisdell 1
Kitchener Connor Hall 1
Mississauga Brandon Yeamans 1
Mississauga Damian Bourne 1
Niagata Ryan Mantha 1
North Bay Maurizio Colella 1
Oshawa Riley Stillman 1
Oshawa Robbie Burt 1
Ottawa Drake Rymsha 1
Owen Sound Jonah Gadjovich 1
Owen Sound Matt Schmalz 1
Owen Sound Santino Centorame 1
Owen Sound Zachary Roberts 1
Peterborough Zach Gallant 1
Peterborough Jonathan Ang 1
Peterborough Cole Fraser 1
Saginaw Chet Philips 1
Saginaw Keaton Middleton 1
Sarnia Jeff King 1
Sault Ste Marie Mac Hallowell 1
Sault Ste Marie Colton White 1
Sudbury Chandler Yakimowicz 1

Dangerous hit counter

4 of these types of minor penalties (Kneeing, Clipping, Boarding, Head Check, Checking from behind) will result in an automatic suspension. Includes games up to Sunday.

Kitchener Greg Meireles 3
Oshawa Sean Allen 3
Oshawa Alex Di Carlo 3
Sarnia Alex Black 3
North Bay Jacob Ball 2
North Bay Zach Poirier 2
Saginaw Hayden Hodson 2
SSM Jacob Leguerrier 2
Barrie Aidan Brown 1
Barrie Cordel James 1
Barrie Justin Murray 1
Barrie Ben Hawerchuck 1
Barrie Kade Landry 1
Barrie Joey Keane 1
Erie Jordan Sambrook 1
Erie Mitchell Byrne 1
Erie Patrick Fellows 1
Erie Carson Edwardson 1
Erie Josh Wainman 1
Erie TJ Fergus 1
Flint Ryan Littlejohn 1
Flint Mathieu Henderson 1
Flint Fedor Gordeev 1
Flint Jake Durham 1
Flint Nicholas Caamano 1
Guelph Nic Sicoly 1
Guelph Austin Hall 1
Guelph Luke Burghardt 1
Guelph James McEwan 1
Guelph Albert Michnac 1
Guelph Noah Carrol 1
Hamilton Zachary Jackson 1
Hamilton Will Bitten 1
Hamilton Michael Cramarossa 1
Kingston Cody Caron 1
Kingston Nathan Dunkley 1
Kingston Eemeli Rasanen 1
Kitchener Jacob Cascagnette 1
Kitchener Connor Bunnanman 1
Kitchener Adam Mascherin 1
Kitchener Mason Kohn 1
London Alex Formenton 1
London Brandon Crawley 1
Mississauga Marcus Dickerson 1
Mississauga Ryan McLeod 1
Mississauga Jeremy Goodwin 1
Niagara Ben Jones 1
Niagara Nick Pastorious 1
Niagara Kyle Langdon 1
North Bay Zach Shanker 1
Oshawa Stephen Templeton 1
Oshawa Domenic Commisso 1
Oshawa Kenny Huether 1
Oshawa Riley Stillman 1
Oshawa Eric Henderson 1
Ottawa Drake Ryshma 1
Ottawa Austen Keating 1
Ottawa Sasha Chmelevski 1
Ottawa Chase Campbell 1
Ottawa Ryan Orban 1
Owen Sound Maxim Sushki 1
Owen Sound Zachary Roberts 1
Owen Sound Matt Schmalz 1
Owen Sound Jonah Gadjovich 1
Owen Sound Jacob Friend 1
Peterborough Matyas Svoboda 1
Saginaw CJ Garcia 1
Sarnia Franco Sproviero 1
Sarnia Louis Latta 1
SSM Liam Hawel 1
SSM Conor Timmins 1
Windsor Logan Brown 1
Windsor Jalen Chatfield 1
Windsor Cole Purboo 1
.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Week 3 Transaction Round Up and Fight Counter

Trades

No Trades this week

Waiver pick ups

Jake O'Donnell
Mississauga to Kingston

Acquired by the Steelheads from Sarnia last November for a 4th round pick O'Donnell was a victim of numbers in Mississauga with the addition of 2 import defencemen. He had 1 assist in 35 games for the Steelheads playing mostly a bottom pairing role. He will add depth to the Frontnacs who now. With Warren Foegele being returned to Kingston by Carolina they now have 4 OAs and if they decide to move one of their defencemen O'Donnell will help cushion any fallout. Good pickup by Kingston and you cant fault Mississauga for letting him go. They have gotten better on the backend and he was expendable.

Suspensions

Jake Henderson 

Kitchener Match Penalty Head Butt

1 Game

There have been 3 match penalties this season and they usually carry a 2 game suspension. 2 have had a 3rd game added Nick Deaken Poot for a cross check and (see below) Jake Bricknell for high sticking. Now Henderson headbutts yet his suspension is only 1 game? I haven't seen video for the Deaken-Poot or Briknell incidents but I find it odd that the headbutt isnt more You can see video of it here

Jake Bricknell

Guelph Match Penalty High Stick

3 Games

Already explained a bit above. Bricknell was given a match penalty for high sticking and the league added an extra game.

Darren Raddysh

Erie Head Checking

4 Games

The 2nd head check that has resulted in a suspension this season both have been given 4 games. Near the end of the 2nd period Wednesday Raddysh caught Sarnia forward Adam Ruzicka with a high hit. This was the 4th head check this season that has resulted in a 5 minute major but only the 2nd that has brought a suspension.

Fight Counter

3 more players have added their 2nd fight of the season Hayden McCool as well as Pilon and Wilkie from Sudbury who happened to do it in the same game.

Oshawa Stephen Templeton 2
Sudbury Drake Pilon 2
Sudbury Zach Wilkie 2
Windsor Hayden McCool 2
Flint Fedor Gordeev 1
Guelph Nick Deakin Poot 1
Hamilton Brandon Saigeon 1
Kingston Cody Caron 1
Kingston Sam Field 1
Kitchener Dylan Seitz 1
Mississauga Brandon Yeamans 1
Niagata Ryan Mantha 1
Oshawa Riley Stillman 1
Oshawa Sean Allen 1
Owen Sound Jonah Gadjovich 1
Owen Sound Santino Centorame 1
Peterborough Zach Gallant 1
Saginaw Chet Philips 1
Sarnia Jeff King 1

Dangerous hit Counter

Alex Black of Sarnia was the only player to pick up his 2nd dangerous hit minor thanks to a checking from behind penalty. It was actually a pretty slow week in that regard which is nice because you don't want to see to many, head check, boarding or checking from behind penalties.

Oshawa Sean Allen 3
Kitchener Greg Meireles 2
Oshawa Alex Di Carlo 2
Saginaw Hayden Hodson 2
Sarnia Alex Black 2
Barrie Aidan Brown 1
Barrie Cordel James 1
Barrie Justin Murray 1
Barrie Ben Hawerchuck 1
Barrie Kade Landry 1
Erie Jordan Sambrook 1
Erie Mitchell Byrne 1
Erie Patrick Fellows 1
Erie TJ Fergus 1
Flint Ryan Littlejohn 1
Guelph Nic Sicoly 1
Guelph Austin Hall 1
Guelph Luke Burghardt 1
Guelph James McEwan 1
Hamilton Zachary Jackson 1
Kingston Cody Caron 1
Kingston Nathan Dunkley 1
Kitchener Jacob Cascagnette 1
Kitchener Connor Bunnanman 1
Kitchener Adam Mascherin 1
Kitchener Mason Kohn 1
London Alex Formenton 1
Mississauga Marcus Dickerson 1
Niagara Ben Jones 1
Niagara Nick Pastorious 1
North Bay Jacob Ball 1
North Bay Zach Poirier 1
North Bay Zach Shanker 1
Oshawa Stephen Templeton 1
Oshawa Domenic Commisso 1
Ottawa Drake Ryshma 1
Ottawa Austen Keating 1
Ottawa Sasha Chmelevski 1
Ottawa Chase Campbell 1
Owen Sound Maxim Sushki 1
Owen Sound Zachary Roberts 1
Owen Sound Matt Schmalz 1
Owen Sound Jonah Gadjovich 1
Peterborough Matyas Svoboda 1
SSM Jacob Leguerrier 1
SSM Liam Hawel 1
SSM Conor Timmins 1
Windsor Logan Brown 1
Windsor Jalen Chatfield 1
Windsor Cole Purboo 1

Friday, 7 October 2016

Week 2 Transaction Round Up and Fight Counter


Suspensions

Dylan Seitz Kitchener 
2 Games
Fight in Final 5 minutes of a game.

Automatic 2 game suspension for having a fight in the final 5 minutes. Because he was also awarded an instigator on the play his dance partner avoids sitting for 2 games. Seitz served the first game of his suspension Sunday in Sudbury.

Damien Giroux Saginaw
2 Games
Slewfooting Match Penalty

Automatic 2 game suspension. Only one has ever been rescinded since the OHL has implemented the rule and that was for Ryan MacInnis last season. Did not play last night (Thursday) so we can assume this is his suspension even though the league has not updated their website (What do they do at the league office from Monday to Thursday?)

Christiano DiGiacinto Windsor
2 Games
Boarding

This has not been put up on the OHL website yet either but this was reported by Jim Parker (@winstarparker) of the Windsor Star. A must follow if you are an OHL fan. I havnt seen the hit but with DiGiacinto's history you would have to think this was a borderline suspendable hit and is getting it on reputation. The Spirfires can not afford to have DiGiacinto sitting in the pressbox. While he has to play on the edge to be effective this year more then any he has to know when not to cross the line.

Eric Guest Kitchener
5 Games
Verbal Abuse of a player

Dont know what was said but the league has a list of what can't be said. These suspensions are based on the reports the league gets from referees and can not be appealed. Check this out from Josh Brown for a recap of what happened.

Posted by the league after last weeks post. Nick Deaken-Poot was given an extra game for his match cross check penalty. While Michael Pezzetta of Sudbury was given 4 games for his head check in Mississauga.

Trades

Flint
Alex Di Carlo

to 

Oshawa
Osh 5th 2020

Breakdown

This is the 3rd trade between these two teams since June 30th. With the pick up of Gordeev from Hamilton in the Bitten trade Di Carlo became surplus and the Firebirds were able to pick up a 5th for him. The Generals have a young but intriguing team in the East and Di Carlo will be able to give them some minutes on the backend.

London
Kole Sherwood

to

Flint
Sby 2nd 2018
OS 2nd 2019
Con OSH 2nd 2020 (If Sherwood plays his OA Year)

Breakdown
Sherwood who was a NHL FA signing by Columbus last year before signing as a FA with London moves to Flint where he will get a ton of ice time. Already made an impact on the weekend in his first games. London gets more draft picks to use as they look to make another run at an OHL title. A lot of fans were bemoaning the fact that London got as many 2nd round picks as Flint did for Bitten. What they tend to forget is that Flint also got 2 bodies back (Hicks and Gordeev) and that 2nd round draft picks are grossly overrated by fans. That said this was good value for London who should be able to put good use to those picks at the deadline.

London
Chandler Yakimowicz

to 

Sudbury
Brady Pataki
Sby 6 2017
Sby 3 2018

The Greyhounds got David Miller of waivers from Kitchener. After 2 weeks David Miller was in the top 10 in the OHL in scoring. The Wolves give up a player and 2 picks for Yakimowicz a player who has 23 goals in 151 career OHL games. Sure he brings more to the table then offence but for one season I think you want more then a player who is a 3rd liner on a top team for what the Wolves paid up. Will be curious to see where Pataki fits on this deep London team. He played minor hockey for Chatham-Kent and the Knights will be getting 2 non OA years for him for Yakimowicz OA year plus the 2 draft picks that the Knights will maximize. Another great trade by London.

Barrie
Kyle Auger

to 

Ottawa
Wsr 3rd 2017

With Middleton being assigned to the Sharks AHL camp the 67s were in the market for a defensive boost. Arguably the youngest D core in the league with 3 '00 born rookies I would not be surprised if they kick the tires on a '96 or '97 born defencemen to help insulate the minutes given to the young guys. In Kyle Auger they get a former HNO player of the year. An offensive minded defencemen who Warren Rychel likened to Ryan Ellis.

Fight Tracker

10 fights through 2 weeks (2 instigators if you do the math and see only 18 on my list) which has the leauge on pace for 162 by year end. Stephen Templeton became the first player to hit the 2 fight mark and the Generals as a team have been in 4 fights this season. Kingston and Sudbury are the only other teams with multiple non instigated fights this year.

Oshawa Stephen Templeton 2
Flint Fedor Gordeev 1
Guelph Nick Deakin Poot 1
Hamilton Brandon Saigeon 1
Kingston Cody Caron 1
Kingston Sam Field 1
Kitchener Dylan Seitz 1
Mississauga Brandon Yeamans 1
Niagata Ryan Mantha 1
Oshawa Riley Stillman 1
Oshawa Sean Allen 1
Peterborough Zach Gallant 1
Saginaw Chet Philips 1
Sarnia Jeff King 1
Sudbury Drake Pilon 1
Sudbury Zach Wilkie 1
Windsor Hayden McCool 1
Dangerous Hit Tracker

For a description of this and a blurb from the OHL site on this safety policy you can check out my week 1 transaction counter. Basically once you hit 4 boarding, headcheck, kneeing, clipping or hitting from behind minor you get an automatic suspension.

Oshawa Sean Allen 3
Oshawa Alex Di Carlo 2
Kitchener Greg Meireles 2
Saginaw Hayden Hodson 2
Barrie Aidan Brown 1
Barrie Cordel James 1
Barrie Justin Murray 1
Barrie Ben Hawerchuck 1
Erie Jordan Sambrook 1
Flint Ryan Littlejohn 1
Guelph Nic Sicoly 1
Guelph Austin Hall 1
Guelph Luke Burghardt 1
Hamilton Zachary Jackson 1
Kingston Cody Caron 1
Kitchener Jacob Cascagnette 1
Kitchener Connor Bunnanman 1
Kitchener Adam Mascherin 1
Mississauga Marcus Dickerson 1
Niagara Ben Jones 1
Niagara Nick Pastorious 1
North Bay Jacob Ball 1
Oshawa Stephen Templeton 1
Ottawa Austen Keating 1
Ottawa Sasha Chmelevski 1
Owen Sound Maxim Sushki 1
Owen Sound Zachary Roberts 1
Peterborough Matyas Svoboda 1
Sarnia Alex Black 1
SSM Jacob Leguerrier 1
SSM Liam Hawel 1
Windsor Logan Brown 1
Windsor Jalen Chatfield 1
Windsor Cole Purboo 1

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Week 1 Transaction Round Up and Fight Counter

The weekly Transaction Round Up is back, wasn't expecting a trade so early in the season (things are kind of slow on that front in September and October) but Flint and Hamilton gave me something extra to write about.

Still waiting to hear on some potential suspensions from the league and new this year a fight counter for all those fans who want to know who is close to a suspension as well as a dangerous minor penalty as most fans didnt realize that accumulating those also results in an automatic suspension.

Trades

From Flint

Will Bitten
Flint 12th round pick 2017

To Hamilton

Connor Hicks
Fedor Gordeev
OS 2nd 2019
Nia 2nd 2020

Breakdown

After refusing to report to Flint for his 3rd season following all the drama last season the Hamilton Bulldogs have stepped up and acquired 2 peak seasons of Will Bitten.

After picking up 31 points his rookie season the former Plymouth 1st round pick and future Montreal Canadians draft pick Bitten more then double that last year adding 30 goals and 35 assists for the last place Flint Firebirds. On Hamilton he will not be asked to carry the offensive load and should be able to explode offensively.

The Bulldogs top line is set in stone with Matt Luff, Nick Petti and Matthew Strome but the addition of Bitten with give the Bulldogs arguably the best top 6 in the Eastern Conference as he likely teams up with Mackenzie Entwhistle and either Michael Cramerossa or Brandon Saigeon.

The beauty of this from the Bulldogs perspective is the cost was relatively cheap. Their back up goalie Connor Hicks. If you want to argue that ill call him their 1B. Since Fulcher was acquired last year Hicks only played 53% of the teams minutes and most will argue Fulcher has more upward projection in his game. A 6th/7th defenceman in Fedor Gordeev who I admit is an intriguing prospect but there is little room on the Bulldogs back end for him this year. The 2 draft picks are a small price to pay as it is unlikely they would be used to get the 2 elite seasons they will likely get from Will Bitten.

Flint was in a tough spot as Bitten wanted out and they were already loaded with 2nd round draft picks so having a traded centered around those didn't have near the value it would if they had almost no draft picks.

GM George Burnett drafted both Hicks and Gordeev while GM of Belleville/Hamilton so he has a level of comfort with these 2 players.

Gordeev should get top 4 minutes by the end of the season with Flint and has a real opportunity to grow his game. The Hicks inclusion is puzzling in that Flint already has 2 capable OHL goalies with more of a future in this league then Hicks. The question now in Flint is who is the odd man out? Matthew Menna or Garrett Forrest?

As for the 2 2nds picked up from Hamilton that now pushes Flints totals to 11 2nd round draft picks over the next 5 seasons which is tied with Guelph for most in the league. I cant see them using all those draft picks but they will be a good case study for the law of diminishing returns in regards to the value teams get from their 2nd round draft picks. Cant see many teams having the ice time to develop 11 2nd round picks over that period of time.

Here is what some are saying about the trade

Bulldogs blogger @Rrestraint Had this to say about the Bitten trade

Mlive.com has the Michigan perspective on the trade

Suspensions

Nick Deaken-Poot Guelph Storm

Cross Check Match penalty - 2 Games

This hasnt been posted on the OHL site yet as they must have taken a 5 day weekend (Ill never understand why it takes so long to post suspensions, I Branch misplaced his suspension dartboard)

He has already missed 1 game and a Match Cross Checking is an auto 2 game and an automatic review by the league so it could be more but we likely wont know till the potential 3rd game.

There are a few more potential suspensions from last week but nothing has been posted but I will update when it happens


Fight Counter

Players now receive an automatic 2 games suspension after their 4th fight. In previous seasons players would receive this suspension after their 11th fight of the season.


OshawaStephen Templeton1Sept 23
GuelphDrake Pilon1Sept 23
HamiltonChet Philips1Sept 23
KingstonNick Deakin Poot1Sept 23
MississaugaBrandon Saigeon1Sept 24
SaginawCody Caron1Sept 24
MississaugaBrandon Yeamans1Sept 25
SudburyZach Wilkie1Sept 25

Dangerous Hit Penalty Counter

If a player receives 4 minor penalties for Checking from Behind, Head Checking, Kneeing, Clipping or Boarding they shall recieve and automatic 1 game suspension. Here is an excerpt from the league website.


OshawaSean Allen3
FlintAlex Di Carlo2
FlintRyan Littlejohn1
NiagaraBen Jones1
HamiltonZachary Jackson1
Owen SoundMaxim Sushki1
KitchenerJacob Cascagnette1
KitchenerGreg Meireles1
Owen SoundZachary Roberts1
SaginawHayden Hodson1
BarrieAidan Brown1
OttawaAusten Keating1
Sean Allen reveived 2 checking from behind minors against Sault Ste, Marie on Saturday and a head checking minor against Sudbury on Friday which leaves him on the cusp of being suspended. Alex Di Carlo of Flint a boarding and head checking penalty in the Firebirds game on Friday night.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

OHL 2016 season preview

The Western Conference looks to continue its domination after an uncharacteristic slip up by the conference in 2014-15. The Knights got them back on track last year and the lead a group of teams looking to continue the trend. The Steelheads are the runaway favourites in the east and have the assets to add the depth needed to challenge in the East. It will be an interesting year once again.

Before my season preview here are some links to a few others from around the league

OHL Prospects Blog Eastern Conference and Western Conference
Neate Sager of Sportsnet with his Western Conference Preview and Eastern Conference
Josh Brown from the Waterloo Region Record with his Eastern Conference Preview
Matt and DJ from Icedogs this week have their East Division and Central Division previews up
Tony Saxon of GuelphToday.com has his Western Conference Preview

Must OHL twitter Follows
I have a list of those I feel are most follow that are more connected to specific teams but here is a list that I find more leagiue wide

@BrockOtten the man behind OHLprospectsblog is arguably the best OHL blog on the internet. If you are reading this and have never been to his I just dont know what to say
@Naitsayger writer for Sportsnet does great work in putting junior hockey out there amidst all the noise of professional sports on their site. 
@DominicTiano writes about NHL draft eligible players in the OHL for ohlwriters.me
@msconduct Kathryn Jean is one of the best out there. You can follow her for her vines and OHL highlights but it is here insight that separates her from everyone else.
@Thescoutdotca If you are interested in the OHL draft this is the account to follow and the website to subscribe to. Elite coverage with everything you need to know about the top minor midgets about to enter the league.
@rossyyoungblood Director of Scouting for thescout.ca offers great insight not just with minor midget players but with those currently in the league
@OHLfanboys the best OHL podcast around is another great follow along with their hosts @SteveMclean888 and Brian @toast84 (their interview of rob faulds last year was fantastic!)


Western Conference
The Western Conference is pretty interesting to me as it is clearly broken up into 3 groups.

You have London, Windsor, Sarnia, Kitchener and Sault Ste Marie who all have what it takes to win the conference. They all have depth through their lineups and the high end talent needed to push a team over the top.

Next you have Owen Sound, Saginaw, Erie and Guelph who will be battling for the last 3 playoff spots. All 4 are at different stages of the jr hockey development cycle but on paper are not quite there to compete for home ice.

Finally you have Flint. From the water crisis to the ownership crisis they have an uphill battle. With arguably the best coaching hire of the off season there is reason for hope for this team. They will be hard pressed to push for 9th this year but there is reason for hope.

1st London Knights


The reigning OHL and Memorial cup champions will have plenty of roster turnover. Still they could return Marner, Tkatuck and Juolevi or they could all play in the NHL. Still the Knights have made some astute trades this off season and have enviable depth throughout their lineup. Top to bottom you would find many with as much talent as this team

Bold prediction.

Mitch Marner returns for his final season in London. How many junior aged players have played a full season under Mike Babcock? With Auston Matthews slated to have a roster spot I have a hard time seeing a 2nd jr eligible player suiting up all year for the Leafs especially with the likes of Nylander, Kapanen and Brown ready to play full seasons.

Tradeable Draft assets

Over the next 5 seasons the London Knights have 6 2nds and 7 3rds which is the most among Western Conference contenders.


2nd Windsor Spitfires

IMO among the 5 contenders in the West I feel the Spits have the most question marks. That said I feel that with the team hosting the Memorial Cup this year they will be more willing to Spend all assets needed to challenge for the West title and win the Memorial Cup on home ice.

Bold Prediction

I don't feel this is that bold but Michael DiPietro will win OHL goalie of the year this season.

Tradeable Draft Assets
4 2nds and 4 3rds over the next 5 seasons. Significantly less then London but more than the other 3 west contenders.

Must Twitter Follows
@WinstarParker Sports writer for the Windsor Star who brings years of experience covering the Spits.

3rd Sarnia Sting

I really like the look of Sarnia. If their big guns come back they have the high end talent to compete with London. There are some questions in net but people forget that even before the Graham trade was that Fazio helped lead the team to the 3rd fewest goals against before the OHL trade deadline.

Bold Prediction

Travis Konecney will be back for his 19 year old season. Chychrun will enjoy his healthiest season in the OHL and Ruzicka will cement his spot as a top 10 pick for the upcoming NHL entry draft.

Tradeable Draft Assets
Sarnia has 3 2nds and 4 3rds over the next 5 seasons. If Konecny makes the NHL and does not return to the OHL this year they will get some conditional picks returned to them from Ottawa.

@Stingupdates A very good “update” twitter account that offers all you need to know about the Sting.

4th Kitchener Rangers

No team has more depth between the pipes then Kitchener. Opilka and Carty are top 10 goalies in the league and if he had a starters job to shine and play everyday I feel that Luke Richardson would be in the top 10 discussion by the end of the season. While Kitchener did graduate lots of offense last season they still have Adam Mascherin and 2015 1st round pick Greg Miereles who played last year in the CCHL.

Bold Prediction

Miereles will win Rookie of the year and Adam Mascherin will top 100 points this season.

Tradeable Draft Assets

The Rangers have 4 2nds and 3 3rds over the next 5 drafts

Must Twitter Follows
@BrownRecord The best OHL report without a doubt. His blog is fantastic with great insight into the team and the league.

5th Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds

One of the youngest teams in the OHL last season the Hounds just kept getting better and better. Led by their first 4 draft picks from 2013 in Blake Speers, Colton White, Zach Senyshyn and Hayden Verbeek. The hounds also had 3 players on their roster from the 2014 draft picked by NHL teams this past June to add to their depth. With goalie Joseph Raaymakers ready to take the reins between the pipes the Hounds will be ready to push Windsor and Sarnia for the West division title.

Bold Prediction
Zach Senysyhn becomes the 1st hound in more then 20 years to hit the 50 goal mark and Bobby MacIntyre continues the trend of recent Hounds players who earn FA NHL contracts.

Tradeable Draft Assets
The hounds have 2 2nds which is 2nd fewest in the Western Conference and 4 3rds over the next 5 seasons.
Must Twitter Follows
@Bradcoccimigilio Heads the sports department at sootoday.com runs a live blog during Hounds games. Great hockey mind and an even better writer.

6th Owen Sound Attack

The Attack aren't really good enough to compete for home ice (although with Michael McNiven in net anything is possible) but are too good to sell of assets. They have some really intriguing '99 and '00 assets so their main goal this year will be developing those so they can position themselves for 17-18 and '18-19.

Bold Prediction

After years of losing Matt Schmaltz will finally tap into the talent that made him an 1st round OHL draft pick. Look for 25+ goals and 50 + points.

Tradeable Draft Assets

9 2nds and 4 3rds

7th Saginaw Spirit

The Spirit really disappointed last season. Some of their players who were expected to take the next step took a step back. They have a solid top pair on the blue line in Niemelainen and Middleton. Cormier has the talent to be one of the top goalies in the league. The main question is can their forward group put it all together. It seemed last season they were less then the whole of their parts. If they can develop some synergy then we could see the beginning of something special.

Bold Prediction

After a disappointing sophomore season Tye Felhaber takes the next step and becomes a point per game player and the offensive leader of the Spirit.

Tradeable Draft Assets

7 2nds and 6 3rds over the next 5 drafts.

8th Erie Otters

It will be interesting to see the Otters this year with no Connor McDavid or Dylan Strome. Debrincat will have to carry the offensive load but there is some help as Vania Lodnia should be the next great Otter. With a trade for Troy Timpano the Otters answered their goalie question with Williams graduating but can Timpano find the promise he showed in minor midget?

Bold Prediction

No McDavid, No Strome, No Problem for Debrincat. Debrincat will have his 3rd straight 50 goal season and pass Robbie Schremp as the 2nd highest scoring US born player in OHL history even without his 2 previous set up men. Also Debrincat will be traded as Erie starts recouping some draft picks.

Tradeable Draft Assets
0 2nd round picks 2 3rd round picks

Must Twitter Follows
@goErieHockey Victor Fernandes writes for the Erie Times-News and has a great blog on the Otters on Goerie.com

9th Guelph Storm

After finishing last a year ago the Storm will still face a battle to make the playoffs but have intriguing options throughout the lineup with the likes of Giavani Smith, Ryan Merkley and Nate Schnarr. If some of the teams ahead of them start to sell at the deadline the young storm who should get better as the year goes on could sneak in and steal a playoff spot.

Bold Prediction

Ryan Merkley will top the point total Ryan Murphy put up in his rookie year (39) That said he will not top Murphys 17 playoff points as a 16 year old.

Tradeable Draft Assets

11 2nd round picks 10 3rd round picks.

Must Twitter Follows
@Saxononthestorm Tony Saxon covers the Storm for GuelphToday and is one of the best in the business whether it is breaking trades or offering insight into the team.

10th Flint Firebirds

Well on the bright side there is more hope in Flint now then there was last year. Still I cant see them finishing out of the basement. The big question is will they be able to convince Jack Hughes to commit if they get the top pick. With Ryan Oulahen as coach you know the young players in Flint will develop.

Bold Prediction

William Bitten will get traded (not the bold part) but not to Ottawa.


Eastern Conference

Unlike the West there really isn't much of a debate who the top team is. After Mississauga though things get interesting from 2-7. from 8-10 though there should be an interesting competition for the final playoff spot between Kingston, Barrie and Niagara.

1st Mississauga Steelheads

Great highend talent and enviable depth on the blue line Shouldn't have much issue with the rest of the East but do they have the depth up front to role 3 or 4 lines against some of the top guns from the West?

Bold Prediction

Sean Day will be moved at some point. The team has the depth on the blue line to move him and the assets they pick up will help them address their depth issues up front.

Tradeable Draft Assets
4 2nds and 5 3rds over the next 5 seasons

2nd Peterborough Petes

I know I know I know. Having the Petes in 2nd is foolish as the Petes will likely do Petes things and disappoint everyone. They have young developing talent up front. A good mix of veteran and youngsters on defense. The big question is if Dylan Wells can find some confidence in net. If he can watch out.

Bold Prediction

Dylan Wells will put up better numbers then Matthew Mancina. With a starting job and consistent minutes Wells will thrive.

Tradeable Draft Assets
9 2nds and 7 3rds

Must Twitter Follows
@Petes_Updates At the very least it is enjoyable to watch him hate watch the Petes.

3rd Oshawa Generals

After an 8th place finish last year and a Memorial Cup title the year before the Generals are ready to take the next step. Look for them to add some players who will help them next year as they are submitting a bid to host the memorial cup in 2018. It is possible Vande Sompel gets moved to add more draft picks to trade in their next push for a title but a playoff round win or two may be more valuable to the young players on this team.

Bold Prediction

Daniel Antropov will be the highest scoring '00 born forward in the OHL this season.

Tradeable Draft Assets
4 2nds and 3rds over the next 5 seasons.

Must Twitter Follows
@GeneralsUpdates one of the better “updates” twitter accounts. Always has great insight into the Gens.

4th North Bay Battalion

While they have a huge hole to fill up front with the graduation of Mike Amadio it should be noted that if there is any coach that can win with questions on offense it is Stan Butler. Moran should be primed for his best year in the OHL and Cam Dineen is an absolute game changer offensively on the back end.

Bold Predictions

Brent Moran will finish with a save percentage greater than .900 for the first time in his career. Has never been above .891 before

Tradeable Draft Assets
5 2nds and 6 3rds

5th Hamilton Bulldogs

The Bulldogs found their elite top line last year after Christmas with Matt Luff, Nick Petti and Matthew Strome. Outside of the top line they are hoping for development and players taking the next step. After battling injuries all season last year Brandon Saigeon will be primed for his breakout after being passed over in the NHL draft. Kaden Fulcher should have a big year and pull away in the goalie competition.

Bold Predictions
Assuming he isn't involved in any trade for Will Bitten, Reilly Webb will be the highest drafted Bulldog in this Junes NHL Entry Draft. ( I know that may be more crazy than bold)

Tradeable Draft Assets
6 2nds and 4 3rds over the next 5 seasons

Must Twitter Follow
@Rrestraint The Reckless Restraint blog is a fantastically laid out and written blog with everything you need to know about the Bulldogs.

6th Ottawa 67's

Lots of high end '98 and '99 born talent up front but lots of '00 born talent on the back end. I could see them adding another OA dman or a solid '97 born rearguard to help insulate some of their younger guys.

Bold Predictions

Olivier Lafreniere will be the 67's starting goal by the time the calendar flips to 2017.

Tradeable Draft Assets
7 2nd round picks and 6 3rd round picks (they do have multiple conditional 2nd round picks)

7th Sudbury Wolves
I love the talent they have in David Levin who should see a big development jump in his sophomore season. 2016 1st round pick Owen LaLonde will be a special player and will be one to watch when Sudbury visits your team.

Bold Predictions

Former London Knights FA pickup Ryan Valentini will eclipse the 30 goal mark while finally finding regular playing time for a whole OHL season

Tradeable Draft Assets
3 2nds and 6 3rds over the next 5 seasons

8th Kingston Frontnacs

Even though they traded their 2015 1st round pick the Fronts have one of the best collections of '99 born talent in the league. This team reminds me in some ways of the 2015-16 Soo Greyhounds. It may be a rebuilding year but this team has the potential to be a dangerous match up in the 1st round as a road underdog.

Bold Predictions

Crouse will be traded at the deadline but the team will still make the playoffs and WILL pull off a 1st round upset.

Tradeable Draft Assets
1 2nd 3 3rd round picks over the next 5 seasons

9th Niagara Icedogs

A rebuilding year but they still have the parts to push for a playoff spot if they don't sell some of their assets to replenish their draft cupboard. High end young talent to grow around with Hayden Davis and Ben Jones as well as 2016 1st rounder Akil Thomas. Even if they miss the playoffs for the 1st time since moving to Niagara the fans in St. Catharines will have a fun team to watch grow.

Bold Predictions

With more ice time available Davis and Jones will find more consistency in their games and at least one will move in the the 1st round of the NHL draft.

Tradeable Draft Assets
0 2nd round picks 3rd round picks over the next 5 seasons

Must Twitter Follows
@icedogsthisweek Matt and DJ have a Icedogs show on TV cogeco once a week. They also write for Niagara This Week.

10th Barrie Colts

After a year in which they had 0 1st round picks on their team the Colts enter this year with 2 '00 born 1st round picks in Kirill Niznikov and Tyler Tucker. They also have comp pick Jack McBain although he is currently unsigned and playing the year in the OJHL. They have pieces on their roster that are tradeable that will allow them to recoup some of their picks. They have a good base to build upon with their '00 born talent so it will be interesting to see what direction this team goes with.

Bold Predictions
Anthony Stefano in his OA season will be on a 40 goal pace before being traded for draft picks.

Tradeable Assets
0 2nds 0 3rds over the next 5 seasons.

Must Twitter Follows

@verybarriecolts A very Barrie colts blog is one of the better team blogs in the league. A go to place if you are looking for more information on the Colts.