1 Hamilton vs 8 Ottawa
The Bulldogs have by far the best depth in the Eastern Conference and it will be way too much for Ottawa to handle. Hamilton went 4-0-0 against Ottawa in the regular season and none of the games were within 3 goals, I don’t see that changing now. Ottawa doesn’t have a bad roster but Olivier Tremblay will get exposed in this series.
Prediction: HAM 4-1
2 Barrie vs 7 Mississauga
I think Mississauga had a chance to win this series before Svechnikov got suspended and now that he’s gone for 4 games, I think it’s a real possibility. Barrie is run by their top end talent (Svechnikov/Sokolov/Luchuk) but Mississauga’s is arguably even better (M.McLeod/Tippett/Hague). Mississauga needs to get off to a good start and go 3-1 or at worst 2-2 with Svechnikov out. This series will likely come down to who gets hotter between Lazarev and Vella. I don’t think either one of them are anything special, but Barrie’s back end is deeper so I think they take it in game 7, but this is the potential upset series in the East.
Prediction: BAR 4-3
3 Kingston vs 6 North Bay
Kingston has had some injury troubles that have hurt them since they made all the big trades so their record doesn’t look so good in the 2nd half, but they’re starting to get healthy again and will be too deep for North Bay in this series. Kingston having more depth, the best player (Vilardi) and the better goalie, has me thinking this series will end in 5 games.
Prediction: KGN 4-1
4 Niagara vs 5 Oshawa
This will be the best East series in my opinion. Niagara has the higher scoring top forwards but Oshawa has more depth and a better goalie. Most of Niagara’s top players (Miletic, Jones, Thomas, Dhillon., Corniel, Carbonara) have all really struggled in the playoffs whereas Studnicka, Keyser, Commisso, Krastenbergs all have really good career playoff numbers. The big difference maker to me will be special teams and since Jan 1st the Gens had one of the best PP’s in the OHL at over 26%. Carbonara alone will give the Gens a bunch of PP attempts and whether they can do anything with them could decide the series.
Prediction: OSH 4-3
1 Sault Ste. Marie vs 8 Saginaw
Your typical 1 vs 8 series. Sault Ste. Marie is so much deeper and so much better in almost every category. Saginaw would be happy to win a game.
Prediction: SSM 4-0
2 Kitchener vs 7 Guelph
Guelph has some good pieces but they’re all at least a year away from making a big difference in the playoffs I think. That coupled with how bad Guelph was the last month of the season and how Kitchener is finally healthy, I think KIT makes short work of them in this series.
Prediction: KIT 4-0
3 Sarnia vs 7 Windsor
Sarnia’s roster is so much better than Windsor’s in almost every single category. Windsor has arguably the best goalie in the league, which will steal them a win I think, but unless he’s going to post a .970 save %, they don’t have much of a chance to win the series.
Prediction: SAR 4-1
4 Owen Sound vs 5 London
I like Owen Sound to win this series because of what London did at the deadline. They traded away Thomas, Pu, Miletic, and Jones. Obviously that was a calculated plan and they knew they weren’t going to win this year so you can’t fault them for it, but it will be the reason they lose this series. The only chance London has is that Raaymakers badly outplays Lafreniere, which is very possible. But even if that does happen, I think OS just has so many more weapons and they’ll win.
Prediction: OS 4-1