OHL Round 1 Predictions

EAST

1 Peterborough vs 8 Niagara

The Petes bought more than anyone else in the Eastern Conference at the deadline (spent 12 picks (7 of them were 2nds), Nick Grima, CJ Clarke, and Nate MacDonald to get Korostelev/Paquette/Black/Bricknell). Petes have by far the better offence and the better goalie. With all that being said, I don’t see a young Niagara team being able to take any games from the Petes.

Prediction: PBO 4-0

2 Mississauga vs 7 Ottawa

Mississauga is by far the hottest team in the East coming into the playoffs (despite losing the last game of the season which gives them a less favourable 1st round matchup). Ottawa is able to get scoring chances better than most teams in the league, but they also give up a ton and I expect the top guys on Mississauga to take advantage of that.

It’ll also be interesting to see what MISS does in net. Mancina is the veteran and the guy they brought in to lead them, but the rookie, Jacob Ingham, has been great lately.

Prediction: MISS 4-2

3 Oshawa vs 6 Sudbury

The Gens aren’t your traditional 3 seed because of how young they are. They were able to give away the 2 best players in the Eastern Conference (Cirelli and Vande Sompel) and still managed to get a top 3 seed. Sudbury has a much older and bigger team and I expect Sudbury’s Yakimowicz, Dunda, Pilon(s) to try to bully the younger Gens all series. In the end I think Oshawa is deeper than SBY and has a much better goalie, but Sudbury has the best player in the series (Sokolov), which is always scary.

An interesting side story will be if anything carries over from the Pilon hit on Burt in the final OSH/SBY game of the regular season. Pilon hit Burt and knocked him out and Sean Allen wanted a piece of both Pilon’s but one was kicked from the game and the other wouldn’t go anywhere near Allen.

Prediction: OSH 4-2

4 Kingston vs 5 Hamilton

This will be the best East series in my opinion. Kingston is very good at shutting teams down and keeping the games low scoring but they also have a big problem scoring goals. Jason Robertson and Jeremy Helvig will need to have a huge series if Kingston is going to get out of the 1st round

Prediction: Hamilton 4-2

WEST

1 Erie vs 8 Sarnia

Your typical 1 vs 8 series. Sarnia has the potential to steal a game because Kyrou/Rymsha/Spinozzi/Fazio are some elite OHL players, but they don’t really have a chance to win this series.

Prediction: Erie 4-0

2 Sault Ste. Marie vs 7 Flint

Flint is a great story this year for making the playoffs after the disaster that was last season, but they run into an offensive buzzsaw in round 1. SSM scores with the best of them and I expected some very high scoring games in this series.

Prediction: Sault Ste. Marie 4-1

3 Owen Sound vs 7 Kitchener

Owen Sound has been the story of the OHL in the 2nd half of the season despite not really doing anything at the deadline (got Cordell James for a 4th, gave up Justin Brack for an 11th). Kitchener is pretty scary for a 7 seed because of Adam Mascherin and his ability to take over a series with his scoring ability, but I think Owen Sound is just too deep and McNiven is just too good for an upset here.

Prediction: Owen Sound 4-1

4 London vs 5 Windsor

“The Sportsnet Series” because surely Sportsnet will pick up every game between their favourite team and the Memorial Cup hosts that don’t deserve to be Memorial Cup hosts. I like London to win this series because of what they did at the deadline. Adding the talent they did (Vande Sompel, Stephens, Salituro) to a roster that already has Mete/Juolevi/Jones/Pu and maybe the best goalie in the CHL (Tyler Parsons) will make them a very tough out in this playoffs.

Prediction: London 4-2

Oshawa vs Sudbury- Round 1 Preview

Season series: 2-2

Sept 23: OSH 3, SBY 4

Oct 16: SBY 5, OSH 3

Oct 28: OSH 3, SBY 1

Nov 13: SBY 2, OSH 4

Advantage: Tie

Special Teams:

OSH PP: 18.8% (T11th)

SBY PP: 17.8% (15th)

OSH PK: 83.1% (5th)

SBY PK: 81.7% (6th)

Advantage: Oshawa

Starting Goalie:

Jeremy Brodeur (33-14-1-2), 2.84 GAA, .916 save %, 2 shutouts

Jake McGrath (17-18-6-0), 3.77 GAA, .896 save %, 1 shutout

Advantage: Oshawa

Top Scorers

SBY:

Dmitry Sokolov: 48 G, 24 A, 72 P

David Levin: 18 G, 35 A, 53 P

Macauley Carson: 30 G, 20 A, 50 P

Ryan Valentini: 18 G, 31 A, 49 P

OSH:

Domenic Commisso: 19 G, 44 A, 63 P

Eric Henderson: 22 G, 30 A, 52 P

Medric Mercier: 22 G, 30 A, 52 P

Jack Studnicka: 18 G, 34 A, 52 P

Advantage: Sudbury because of Sokolov

Roster Makeup:

OSH:
96s: 2
97s: 3
98s: 6
99s: 3
00s: 4

SBY:
96s: 3
97s: 4
98s: 6
99s: 4
00s: 1

Advantage: Sudbury, they have the older roster

NHL Drafted Players:

SBY:

Sokolov (MIN)

Sanvido (DAL)

Pezzetta (MTL)

Capobianco (ARI)

Yakimowicz (STL)

Dunda (STL)

OSH:

Stillman (FLA)

Advantage: Sudbury 6-1

Projected OSH Lineup:

F:

Henderson-McShane-Commisso

MacLean-Kohn-Huether

Manchurek-Studnicka-Krastenbergs

Antropov-Noel-Burt

D:

Mercier-Brassard

Stillman-Ennis

Allen-Di Carlo

G:

Brodeur

Projected SBY Lineup:

F:

Valentini-Levin-Sokolov

Pilon-Pezzetta-Pilon

Dunda-Carson-Yakimowicz

Lysczarczyk-Bulitka-Lane

D:

Sanvido-O’Grady

Jamieson-Capobianco

Wilkie-Lalonde

G:

McGrath

2016-2017 OHL Predictions (Post Deadline)

There are my predictions on what the final standings will be now that the rosters are set.

*The lines are based on talking to certain media members/fans, so may not be 100% accurate*

Eastern Conference:

1st: Peterborough

I didn’t love the Petes deadline, for the price they paid for Paquette they probably could’ve gotten an elite player and made themselves head and shoulders better than the rest of the East (if Korostelev doesn’t come back next year (AHL or KHL) then I really hate their deadline). Petes have 3 very balanced lines and one of the best goalies in the OHL this year.  They get outshot almost every night but Dylan Wells seems to thrive under those circumstances. I think PBO and MISS will be very close the rest of the season, but PBO starts with a 10 point lead over them, so I think the Petes finishing 1st in the Eastern Conference is a pretty safe bet.

F Lines:

Lorentz-Paquette-Korostelev

Isaacson-Gallant-Ang

DeNoble-Der’Arguchintsev-Timleck

Svoboda-Coyle-Gogloev

Extra: Rollo, Tammela (hurt), Schulz, Bricknell

D Pairings:

Prophet-Spencer

Jenkins-Timms

Black-Fraser

Extra: Chisholm, Henley, McNamara

Goalie:

Wells

Smith

2nd: Mississauga

Mississauga will benefit from being in the terrible Central Division and I think they’ll have no problem winning that, which would put them into 2nd place automatically.  On paper this team has looked pretty good all year but it hasn’t translated into on-ice success yet. Adding depth forwards like Fox and Cascagnette is what this team needed, they already have the top end talent.  Matt Mancina will be a key for this team once the playoffs come, but I think they will be able to take the Central Division (and therefore 2nd place) fairly easily.

F Lines:

Tippett-M McLeod-Bastian

Fox-R McLeod-Watson

Cascagnette-Boomhower-Harrogate

Dow-McFarland-Dickerson

Extra: Titus, Little

D Pairings:

Moverare-Saarijarvi

LeBlanc-Hague

Gibson-Osmanski

Extra: Ramalho, Wells

Goalie:

Mancina

Ingham

3rd: Hamilton

They didn’t get better at the deadline (got Garagan/Templeton but lost Fox/Laishram/Saban) but I still think they can finish 3rd. It’ll likely come down to OSH and HAM for 3rd, and the Gens start with a 7 point lead on Hamilton but Hamilton is a more veteran team and now that they have 2 strong goalies, they should steal them some games too.  Matt Luff staying healthy could be a key for this team if they are going to finish 3rd in the Eastern Conference.

F Lines:

Petti-Bitten-Luff

Cramarossa-Kutkevicius-Entwistle

Strome-Saigeon-Studenic

Jackson-Garagan-Roberts

Extra: Nurse

D Pairings:

Hanley-Walters

Candella-Lemcke

Templeton-Gleason

Extra: Webb, McCourt

Goalie:

Fulcher

Carty

4th: Oshawa 

The Gens are currently in 1st place but Roger Hunt took one look at the rosters of London/Erie/Windsor/Sault Ste. Marie and realized that he can’t compete so he smartly sold off and got elite young talent and picks back. The impressive thing about this being a “rebuild year” now for the Gens is that they will still likely finish top 4 in the Eastern Conference and get a home playoff series. I could see the Gens finishing 3rd, but more likely that they finish 4th. They will rely on a lot of young players for the rest of the year, which will likely mean a few extended losing streaks. Bob Jones will give the young guys lots of playing time, which is great long term, but will also likely cost a few points in the standings this year.

F Lines:

Huether-Commisso-Manchurek

Henderson-Studnicka-Krastenbergs

Antropov-McShane-Noel

Kohn-MacLean-Burt

Extra: Sparkes, Gottschalk

D Pairings:

Stillman-Mercier

Blacker-Brassard

Di Carlo-Ennis

Extra: Allen

Goalie:

Brodeur

Keyser

5th: Sudbury

A team that will struggle to score (especially if Sokolov has a cold streak) but has enough talent that I think they can finish 5th in the East. McGrath has taken over the net, which is good for Sudbury’s future, but there will be some growing pains there this year. Their 3rd/4th line aren’t going to be adding much offensively which puts even more pressure on McGrath. Although the Sanvido pickup will help in that regard, a good veteran defensive D-man.

F Lines:

Valentini-Carson-Sokolov

Lyszczarczyk-Levin-Yakimowicz

Dr. Pilon-Pezzetta-Da. Pilon

Dunda-Bulitka-Lane

Extra: Gilhula

D Pairings:

Jamieson-Capobianco

Sanvido-O’Grady

Wilkie-Lalonde

Extra: Ali

Goalie:

McGrath

Bowman

6th: Ottawa

This is the wildcard team in the East to me. I could see them finishing as high as 3rd or as low as 7th. Consistency is an issue for them but they have the top end scoring and goalies to make a serious push. They have a very inexperience D-core but picking up Chris Martenet at the deadline should help that. If Foget gets comfortable in the OHL and starts to put up points then this team could surprise a lot of people in the 2nd half.

F Lines:

Felhaber-White-Tyanulin

Keating-Chemelevski-Foget

Steege-Barron-Clark

Evans-Dorval-Pearce

Extra: Gardiner, Bitten

D Pairings:

Martenet-Hoefenmayer

Bahl-Auger

Orban-Stratis

Extra: Robertson, Wilson

Goalie:

Lazarev

Lafreniere

 

7th: Kingston

Back to another down year for the Fronts after going all-in last year and getting swept in the 2nd round. They have a pretty strong top 4 on D and Jeremy Helvig which should combine to make it pretty tough for other teams to score, but I don’t expect Kingston’s offence to be putting up a ton of goals, which is why I think they’ll finish in the 7th spot in the Eastern Conference.

F Lines:

Nichol-Harding-Robertson

Popov-Neumann-Nyman

Davis-Dunkley-Cranford

Pringle-Field-Caron

Extra: Supryka, Burnie

D Pairings:

Desrocher-Paquette

Billitier-Rasanen

Murray, Brahaney

Extra: Gordon

Goalie:

Helvig

Peccia

 

8th: North Bay

A tough year for Stan Butler, who usually relies on systematic play and strong goaltending. They’ve had a ton of injuries in the crease already this year and they just don’t have the depth to put up much of a fight in the Eastern Conference. If things go their way I could see them getting up to 6th, but I think it’s more likely that they end up in the 8th spot.

F Lines:

Kislinger-McKenzie-Harland

Chenier-Poirier-Hargrave

Vertiy-Potts-Brazeau

Walker-McMaster-Ball

Extra: Forhan

D Pairings:

Shankar-Bruce

Allair-Shoemaker

Saban-Thilander

Extra: Dineen (injured), Lyle

Goalie:

Moran

Sime/Woroniuk

9th: Niagara

Similar to the Generals in the 2nd half in that they’re a very young team, which will likely result in a lot of growing pains. The difference being that the Generals have 50 points already and Niagara has 31. Will be a good development year for the young players but won’t be a good year for Niagara in the standings.

F Lines:

Corneil-Jones-Maksimov

Brack-Langdon-Thomas

Castleman-Philip-Singer

Dame-Demin-Machala

Extra: Johnson

D Pairings:

Schaefer-Mantha

Lochead-Haydon

Hunter-Ham

Extra: MacPherson

Goalie:

Dhillon

Incze

 

10th: Barrie

Likely the worst offensive depth in the Eastern Conference along with the worst starting goalie is not a recipe for success. These struggles were expected this year for Barrie and I think they’ll live up to expectations and get the 1st overall pick in the draft next year.

F Lines:

Stefano-Hawerchuk-Radke

Chiodo-Magwood-Nizhnikov

Finoro-Willms-Brown

Heitzner-Smith-Peca

Extra: Douglas

D Pairings:

Murray-Keane

Hedberg-Landry

Proner-Tucker

Extra: Cameron

Goalie:

Ovsjannikov

Propp

 

 

Western Conference:

1st: London

Good luck trying to score on these top 4 D-men (who each play 20+ minutes a night) and Tyler Parsons. Add in these deep 4 forward lines and I think London is the best, and most deep team in the OHL. What puts London over Erie for me is that they have the better defence and goalie. You can’t win if you can’t score, and I don’t see London giving up very many goals the rest of the season.

F Lines:

Jones-Pu-Salituro

Piccinich-Stephens-Kuokkanen

Militec-Thomas-Formenton

Foudy-MacDonald-Carbonara

D Pairings:

Vande Sompel-Bouchard

Mete-Juolevi

Crawley-Mattinen

Goalie:

Parsons

Johnson

2nd: Sault Ste. Marie

One of the deepest and most explosive offences in the whole league. Everyone in their top 12 can score and that’ll carry SSM to a lot of wins down the stretch. Their defence is obviously their biggest question mark but it should be good enough with how much help it’ll be getting from the offence each night. I think Erie will end up with more points, but Sault Ste. Marie will win their division, which puts them in the 2nd seed in the Western Conference.

F Lines:

Senyshyn-Makinen-Speers

MacIntyre-Frost-Kopacka

Gettinger-Verbeek-Katchouk

Hayton-Miller-Martin

Extra: Gritz

D Pairings:

White-Hollowell

Timmins-Bouramman

Carroll-DeMeo

Extra: Leguerrier

Goalie:

Raaymakers

Villalta

3rd: Erie

3 very strong lines for Erie post-deadline will make them very tough to play against. I have them in 3rd (2nd most points in the West) because I think their D+Timpano is much more susceptible to a bad game here and there than London’s D+Parsons is. Erie’s real calling card will be puck possession and how many times they’ll get easy puck possession off Cirelli/Strome/Pettit winning draws. All 3 are above 60% which is unheard of to have on one team. They also will have a guy who’s over 60% on draws on the wing (Foegele) because they can’t even fit all the great centres into their natural position.

F Lines:

Debrincat-Cirelli-T. Raddysh

Foegele-Strome-Lodnia

Maksimovich-Pettit-Fellows

Girhiny-Poddubnyi-Edwardson

D Pairings:

D Raddysh-Fergus

Cernak-Sambrook

Lizotte-Byrne

Goalie:

Timpano

Murdaca

4th: Windsor

Windsor has one of the more balanced teams in the OHL but the fact that they are in the Memorial Cup no matter what might hurt them in the standings. They will be more likely to roll all 4 lines and keep guys out of the lineup longer to ensure they’re fully healthy than other teams might because they know that they just need to be healthy and ready to go for the Mem Cup tournament. DiPietro is a future superstar in the league but is he ready to carry a team down the stretch at 17 years old? That’ll be a big question for Windsor in the 2nd half.

F Lines:

Addison-Brown-Vilardi

Knott-Nattinen-Bracco

DiGiacinto-Laishram-Boka

McCool-Luchuk-Purboo

D Pairings:

Sergachev-Day

Chatfield-Stanley

McEneny-Robertson

Extra: Nother/Corcoran

Goalie:

DiPietro

Culina

5th: Owen Sound

A real dark horse in the Western Conference because they are playing with house money. They aren’t expected to win until next year but they have so much talent that they’ll play spoiler to a ton of good teams down the stretch. Nobody in the Western Conference wants to play these guys in the 1st round of the playoffs. Also Michael McNiven is probably the best goalie in the league, which just adds to why this team is no joke.

F Lines:

Gadjovich-Hancock-Suzuki

Sushko-Szypula-Palmu

Campbell-James-Schmalz

Roberts-Struthers-Dudas

Extra: Groulx, Pryce

D Pairings:

Friend-Centorame

Phillips-Durzi

Bourque-Cameron

Extra: King

Goalie:

McNiven

Vella

6th: Kitchener

They traded away Bracco but still have enough top end scoring talent to get by, unfortunately the top teams in the West are so strong this year that Kitchener will likely end up down in the bottom half of the standings. Season ending injuries to 2 key D-men (Hall and Blaisdell) also are a big factor in Kitchener not getting a home playoff series (and likely one of the reasons they decided to sell Bracco).

F Lines:

Llewellyn-Bunnaman-Henderson

Garreffa-Merieles-Mascherin

Carter-Seitz-McHugh

Schiemenz-Guest-Yantsis

D Pairings:

Roberts-Hora

Burns-DiPerna

Vallati-Gentles

Goalies:

Opilka

Richardson

7th: Sarnia

Another team that went younger this year and likely won’t do much in the standings, but it will be a big development year for them to make a run in the future. They hung on to Spinozzi to anchor the back end and still have some elite scorers and Justin Fazio in net so I wouldn’t be surprised if Sarnia snuck up into 6th but I think that might be their ceiling this year.

F Lines:

Lajeunesse-Rymsha-Kyrou

Josling-Sproviero-Lindo

McGregor-Ruzicka-Salinitri

Latta-Hinz-Helt

D Pairings:

Spinozzi-Ernst

Schlichting-Grima

Hatcher-King

Extra: Calvas

Goalie:

Fazio

Hughes

8th: Flint

Love what Flint has done this year after the circus that was last year.  They have put together a very solid team but it just doesn’t have the stars to compete in the Western Conference this year. I think they are a playoff team though and could push for as high as the 6th spot if they get a big 2nd half from Sherwood and Moore

F Lines:

Colella-Moore-Sherwood

Clarke-Clark-Caamano

Collins-Dellandrea-Durham

Littlejohn-Holmes-Phibbs

Extra: Kirwan (injured)

D Pairings:

Smereck-Peters

Gordeev-Henderson

Duchesne-Busby

Extra: Nilsen, Steinocher

Goalie:

Hicks

Forrest

9th: Guelph

Guelph is still paying the price for deciding to keep Bertuzzi, Dickinson, and Fabbri (got a 3rd for him but we all know they could’ve gotten a ton more) and letting them walk with no return in terms of young players or picks. I don’t think Guelph will make the playoffs, for the 2nd straight season but I don’t have them finishing last in the West this year. Merkley one of the dynamic young players in this league and with time and maturity he will turn into a superstar, but the team just doesn’t have enough scoring depth or ability to keep the puck out of their own net to make the playoffs in the West this year.

F Lines:

Ratcliffe-Schnarr-Smith

McEwan-Hawel-Michnac

Hotchkiss-Burghardt-Sicoly

Stevens-Kirwin-Deakin Poot

Extra: Ralph, Moncada

D Pairings:

McFadden-Merkley

Samorukov-Rhodes

Phillips-Makkonen

Extra: Hall, Hanna, Tetrault

Goalie:

Herbst

Popovich

 

 

 

10th: Saginaw

Saginaw wasn’t good to start with so obviously trading away their best player (and captain) will be too tough for them to overcome. They actually have a very good D-core but have one of the worst offensive groups in the OHL. They will struggle big time to score in the 2nd half of the season and I think they’ll have them end up in last place in the West.

F Lines:

Giroux-Bennett-Hodgson

Busdeker-Gilmour-Coskey

Kreis-Barwell-Davies

Bollers-Grondin-Fuoco

D Pairings:

Middleton-Hronek

Garcia-Neimelainen

Crawford-Davis

Extra: Hill

Goalie:

Cormier

Bonello

 

Early Look Ahead to the 2017-2018 Potential Memorial Cup Roster

The Oshawa Generals are trying to host the 2017-2018 Memorial Cup and here is what the potential roster might look like right now:

Gone: Cirelli (AHL), Vande Sompel (AHL), Templeton (odd OA out), Mercier (too old), Manchurek (too old), Brodeur (too old).

Forwards:
Henderson-Commisso-Noel
Krastenbergs-Studnicka-Antropov
MacLean-Burt-Huether(OA)
Sparkes-Welsh-Gottschalk

Defence:
Robertson(OA)-Stillman
Ennis-Di Carlo(OA)
Allen-Allison
Extras: Matt Stoia, Joseph Rupoli, Dante Fantauzzi

Goalies:
Keyser
Gauthier/Mundell/Torchia

Maybe’s: Eeli Tolvanen (Boston College), Jack DeBoer (Boston University), Matty Franche (Merrimack College), Brett Murray (Penn State)

-Will also add the first round pick from next years OHL draft
-If Tolvanen doesn’t come then you’ll get the 1st round pick from next year’s Euro draft

Memorial Cup Winning team: Half a Year Later

Where are the players from last year’s Memorial Cup winning team now?

Line 1:

Brad Latour: Windsor Spitfires (OHL). 27 GP, 9 G, 14 A, 23 P, +9, 14 PIM.

Cole Cassels: Utica Comets (AHL). 14 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 P, -5, 7 PIM.

Hunter Smith: Stockton Heat (AHL). 12 GP, 1 G, 2 A, 3 P, 0 +/-, 14 PIM.

Line 2:

Brent Pedersen: Laurentian University (CIS). 9 GP, 6 G, 3 A, 9 P, 0 PIM.

Michael McCarron: St John’s IceCaps (AHL). 21 GP, 9 G, 11 A, 20 P, +2, 35 PIM. 7th in AHL in scoring, 3rd in AHL rookie scoring.

Tobias Lindberg: Binghampton Senators (AHL). 17 GP, 3 G, 8 A, 11 P, +5, 4 PIM.

Line 3:

Michael Dal Colle: Oshawa Generals (OHL). 25 GP, 7 G, 14 A, 21 P, -6, 6 PIM.

Anthony Cirelli: Oshawa Generals (OHL). 23 GP, 5 G, 13 A, 18 P, -7, 15 PIM.

Matt Mistele: Sarnia Sting (OHL). 19 GP, 8 G, 8 A, 16 P, -10, 16 PIM.

Line 4:

Joe Manchurek: Oshawa Generals (OHL). 27 GP, 11 G, 12 A, 23 P, +12, 9 PIM.

Aidan Wallace: University of Toronto (CIS). 10 GP, 1 G, 2 A, 3 P, 4 PIM.

Michael Turner: Not playing competitively.

D-Pair 1:

Josh Brown: Manchester Monarchs (ECHL). 18 GP, 1 G, 3 A, 4 P, +9, 38 PIM.

Dakota Mermis: Rapid City Rush (ECHL) 5 GP, 1 G, 2 A, 3 P, +1, 6 PIM. Springfield Falcons (AHL) 7 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 P, +/- 0, 4 PIM.

D-Pair 2:

Will Petschenig: Saginaw Spirit (OHL). 26 GP, 1 G, 8 A, 9 P, -15, 43 PIM.

Chris Carlisle: Binghampton Senators (AHL) 12 GP, 2 G, 1 A, 3 P, -1, 2 PIM. Evansville IceMen (ECHL) 2 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 P, +1, 0 PIM.

D-Pair 3:

Stephen Desrocher: Kingston Frontenacs (OHL). 28 GP, 5 G, 11 A, 16 P, -3, 16 PIM.

Mitch Vande Sompel: Oshawa Generals (OHL). 13 GP, 1 G, 6 A, 7 P, -6, 4 PIM.

Goalies:

Ken Appleby: Adirondack Thunder (ECHL). 9-2-0-1, 1.99 GAA, .932 save %, 1 shutout. (7th in GAA, 5th in save %, 3rd in wins)

Jeremy Brodeur: Oshawa Generals (OHL). 10-9-1-2, 2.77 GAA, .899 save %, 4 shutouts. (Leads the OHL in shutouts)

Depth Players:

Kenny Huether: Oshawa Generals (OHL). 24 GP, 10 G, 11 A, 21 P, -2, 2 PIM.

Sam Harding: Oshawa Generals (OHL). 25 GP, 6 G, 3 A, 9 P, -4, 10 PIM.

Stephen Templeton: Oshawa Generals (OHL). 28 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 P, -4, 25 PIM.

Sonny Hertzberg: Herlev Eagles (Denmark). 21 GP, 4 G, 7 A, 11 P, – 14, 24 PIM.

What Generals fans can expect this season: The Rebuild

Naturally there was a huge reaction on twitter and the HFBoards when Desrocher was traded for a bunch of draft picks today. Here’s my take on it:

I support it 100%. You need to understand that the cycle of the OHL is very different from the cycle of the NHL. In the NHL if you draft well you can be a good team for 10+ years before you need a rebuild, but in the OHL it doesn’t work like that. If you draft (and trade) well then you can strategically pick when your best shot is and you go all-in for a Memorial Cup run, and luckily for the Generals, they were right and won that year. But after that, it’s back to the drawing board and you need to strip your remaining assets and start over. Last year at the deadline alone the Generals traded 13 draft picks (and Cliff Pu, Josh Sterk and Chase Pearson) to pick up McCarron, Mermis, Mistele, Pedersen and Da Silva. So was trading 13 draft picks and 3 players worth it in the end? Definitely. But now you’re stuck with a very limited number of draft picks coming up in future years and you have to watch as guys like Cassels, Brown, Carlisle, Mermis, McCarron, Lindberg, Smith, Appleby, Pedersen, Turner, and Wallace all move on. You would never see anything even close to that kind of turnover after an NHL team wins a championship, which is why the two leagues are completely different in how you build for a potential championship run.

While it will definitely cost some wins in this 2015-2016 season, trading away guys like Desrocher, Latour, Petschenig, Mistele, Dal Colle and (maybe) Vande Sompel is necessary because the Generals do not have the resources to add at the deadline and the current team is not good enough to compete with the teams in the East after they stock up at the deadline, and definitely not able to compete with all the monsters in the West after they stock up at the deadline. In my opinion one of the worst thing you could ever do as a GM is not be realistic when assessing your own team and believe that you’re capable of something that you’re not. Look at the Guelph Storm for instance. They had a Memorial Cup run in 2014 (despite losing in the finals of it) and then the next year thought they would be better than they actually were and kept all their guys, losing out on getting back picks that they very much needed. Imagine if Guelph traded Robby Fabbri, Justin Nichols, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Jason Dickinson last year. They would be well on their way to another great team that could contend for an OHL championship, but instead they decided to keep all their players and they lost them all (Nichols is still there but his trade value has gone down tremendously) without getting anything in return, and now they have currently won 1 game of the 14 that they have played this season, and they also have limited draft picks in the near future because they stocked up in 2014 but then never traded guys away to get those picks back. That’s what the Generals would be faced with if they keep Dal Colle/Mistele/Desrocher/Vande Sompel and then lose them without getting anything in return for them (Vande Sompel is a little different because he will likely be back next year). So my opinion, and obviously Roger Hunt’s as well, is that you should trade anyone and everyone that teams are willing to make good offers for, so that the Generals can be a contending team again in 2 years, rather than in 5+ years like it would take if you decide to hang on to guys a year too long and don’t cash in on their value.

The Generals have already made it clear that they are looking at hosting the 2018 Memorial Cup (100th anniversary) so that would be their logical goal of having a contending team again, so they really can’t afford to keep these guys and still be in the middle of a rebuild when they’re expecting to be hosting a Memorial Cup tournament.

Fans that are acting like the franchise is doing the fans an injustice by trading away the top players this year is absolutely insane to me. It is very rare to see an OHL team make the Memorial Cup and then rebuild and make it again within 3 years. That would be one of the quickest rebuilds that you could ever have. So the fans saying that it’s unfair to them, ask Sudbury or Guelph how not properly evaluating your situation and then suffering through a 5+ year rebuild feels. Roger Hunt has continuously proven that he is a great hockey mind and that he deserves our complete trust in whatever direction he feels this team needs to go for it to get back to a Memorial Cup winning level.

Ps, I’ve heard from a couple people things like “I don’t mind the trade but I wish it would have come later, closer to the trade deadline”. Ideally that would be the case for Hunt I’m sure, but when you get an offer that you feel you might not get again, you have to take it. If Stephen Desrocher comes back for his OA season in Kingston, the Generals will get 3 2nd round picks, 2 3rd round picks and a 5th round pick. That is unbelievable return for a guy who just got drafted in the 6th round in the NHL draft.

As I tweeted out earlier today, it was very unpopular when the Generals traded guys like John Tavares and Michael Del Zotto to London for all those draft picks, but those picks ended up playing a huge role in the Gens winning the Memorial Cup last year. Now it’s time to trade Dal Colle and Vande Sompel for a bunch of picks so that those picks can lead to another great Generals team in the future. This is no slight on anyone that has been, or is going to be traded. If anything it’s a compliment because if nobody wanted them, then they wouldn’t be traded.

At the end of the day although losing guys like Desrocher, Petschenig and Latour are super tough because you see how great they are as people, it’s what’s necessary for the team in order to add to their CHL high 5 Memorial Cup titles. As a fan, just realize that it sucks to see good players go, but know that there is a bigger picture and understand that it is very important for the young guys like Studnicka, MacLean, Commisso, Stillman, Sparkes, etc. to get more playing time so that they can gain more confidence and become the leaders that Cole Cassels and Josh Brown were to lead the next wave of Generals talent to an OHL title.

2015/2016 OHL Predictions

*****These are very hard to predict because the trade deadline is so huge. A team that looks average could have a huge trade deadline and all of a sudden they’re the most talented team in the league. These predictions are based off the opening day rosters.

EAST:

1- Barrie Colts

  • Barrie is my favourite to win the East this year. With Lebanc/Lemiuex/Mangiapane as their top 3 forwards, Andersson/Webster/Prophet/Bauman as their top 4 D, and Mackenzie Blackwood between the pipes, you can expect a big year from the Colts. I expect Mackenzie Blackwood to carry this team with a monster season this year.

2- Kingston Frontenacs

  • Roland McKeown, Spencer Watson, Lawson Crouse (after his suspension) and Lucas Peressini are a very good core for the Frontenacs but they’ll need to make a bunch of trades to get the depth it’ll take to win the Eastern Conference.

3- Niagara IceDogs

  • The most dynamic offence in the East with names like Ho-Sang, Perlini, DiFruscia, Dunn, Knott, Siebenaler. But it will come down to Niagara’s ability to keep the puck out of their own net if they’re going to win the East this year. Brandon Hope is gone so that will fall on the shoulders of Brent Moran, who did not handle the pressure well last season, at all. Niagara can run and gun with anyone in the CHL, but can they play defence enough to win?

4- Ottawa 67’s

  • Not many big names on this team (except for Konecny) but coach Brown will get the best out of Konecny/Studnicka/Salituro and they will produce a lot of goals this season. A big year from Liam Herbst could have Ottawa right in the thick of things when the Eastern Conference playoffs start to wind down.

5- Mississauga Steelheads

  • Goaltending will be a huge factor for the Steelheads this season. If they can find some consistency then I expect them to be right around the middle of the pack in the East after adding Alex Nylander and Ryan McLeod.

6- Peterborough Petes

  • The Petes have gone 9 straight seasons without finishing above 6th place in the Eastern Conference and I expect that streak of mediocrity to continue. If the Petes are going to break that stretch, it will be up to Matt Mancina, who will have to play like he did in last year’s playoffs against Oshawa. The Petes also need Hunter Garlent and Matt Spencer to step up after having down years last season.

7- North Bay Battalion

  • This is the least talented team that Stan Butler’s has had in a while, but I doubt that he will mind that. He will still get them to play the same boring, defensive game that he always does. With Jake Smith in net, they will be capable of beating anyone in the league on any given night, but they won’t have the scoring punch to consistently do it, to stay high in the standings.

8- Oshawa Generals

  • Lost some very high end talent, and will Dal Colle, Mistele, Cirelli, Desrocher, and/or Vande Sompel get traded? You can add in Jack Studnicka (draft), Lukas Lofquist (import draft), Graves (trade) and then a higher workload for guys like Harding, Manchurek and Huether but this team will not have the depth to make a serious run. They’re in a rebuild.

9- Sudbury Wolves

  • While I think they will step out of the basement in the East, I don’t think it’ll get them a playoff spot. They have a very young team, so the people in Sudbury can look forward to that, but it’ll be another long year for Troy Timpano.

10- Hamilton Bulldogs

  • I think the new look Belleville Bulls will have a very unsuccessful first season in Hamilton. While Charlie Graham is back and can steal games from anyone in the league, the rest of the lineup doesn’t impress me very much. Especially if Graham gets dealt at the deadline.

WEST:

1- London Knights

  • The Team USA Knights dipped into their U.S. talent pool again this offseason and will start this season with 12 American players on their roster. It is tough for other teams to compete with the Knights when they are able to do this, but expect them to run away with the OHL in the regular season. The only question mark right now for London is their goaltending. Tyler Parsons is their #1 but with all their young talent, if they feel like he isn’t ready for it then they will just trade for a veteran #1 at the trade deadline. The OHL is London’s to lose.

2- Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds

  • Despite losing Nurse/Tolchinsky/DeAngelo/Ritchie/Bailey I still think SSM can win the West division this year and finish 2nd in the Western Conference. With Senyshyn, Guertler, Speers, McCann all returning this team will not have any problem scoring goals. If SSM is going to challenge London then Brandon Halverson will need to take another step forward and become one of the elite goalies in junior hockey.

3- Erie Otters

  • Losing 97 is obviously huge but now it is Dylan Strome’s time to show what he can do. He will no longer get every team’s #2 D pairing like he did last year, he will now go against all the #1 D pairings and shutdown lines in the league. Erie cut what I think was their best goalie in the offseason in Daniel Dekoning in favour of keeping Jake Lawr and Devin Williams. Lawr is the goalie of the future so it makes sense for him to be on the roster, but especially with how much coach Knoblauch threw Williams under the bus in the OHL finals last year, I’m surprised to see they brought him back over Dekoning.

4- Sarnia Sting

  • The main 2 questions for Sarnia are will Jakob Chychrun stay healthy? And will Pavel Zacha get sent back to Sarnia? If the answer to both of these are yes then Sarnia could have a very good shot at challenging in the West this year. Their biggest question mark will be goaltending. Justin Fazio is opening the season as the starter and will need to up his play from last year if Sarnia wants to hang around with London and SSM.

5- Kitchener Rangers

  • With a forward group of Ryan MacInnis, Brandon Robinson, Nick Magyar, Adam Mascherin, Darby Llewellyn, and David Miller, Kitchener could pose one of the most potent offences in the OHL. What they will get from newcomer Luke Opilka could be a deciding factor if they are going to make a deep run in the Western Conference playoffs.

6- Windsor Spitfires

  • I think Windsor will take a big step forward this year but it might not necessarily show in the standings. With how tough the Western Conference will be, 6th or 7th might be Windsor’s highest attainable position.

7- Saginaw Spirit

  • Connor Brown, Mitchell Stephens and Tye Felhaber will have some pieces around them this season that could put some fear into opposing defences, but at the end of the day the team is not deep enough to make a serious run at the Western Conference.

8- Owen Sound Attack

  • Owen Sound has a solid young squad, but not what it takes to be a contender in the West. They are still 1/2 years away from being in the top tier.

9- Flint Firebirds

  • Much like Hamilton, I expect the Firebirds first year in Flint to be a very unsuccessful one. They have a legitimate chance to win the first overall draft pick.

10- Guelph Storm

  • The loss of Suter/Dickinson/Fabbri/Bertuzzi will be way too much for this team to handle. They will have a very hard time scoring goals this year in a tough Western Conference.

AWARDS:

MVP: Mitch Marner (London)

Goalie of the Year: Mackenzie Blackwood (Barrie)

Top Defenceman: Jakob Chychrun (Sarnia)

Rookie of the Year: Max Jones (London)

OA of the Year: Gabe Guertler (SSM)