Tuesday
Dec102013

OHL's Draft Eligible 3 Stars - Week 12

by Dominic Tiano (@DominicTiano)

With week 12 of the Ontario Hockey League season completed, it’s time to name out draft eligible 3 stars for the week ending December 8, 2013.

1st Star – Alex Fotinos – Windsor Spitfires: Fotinos started in two games last week for the Spitfires stopping 72 of 75 shots and leading his team to victories. On Thursday, Fotinos stopped 38 of 40 shots he faced in getting a 5-2 victory over the Saginaw Spirit while earning second star honors. On Saturday he stopped 31 of the 32 shots he faced earning the games first star and the victory as Windsor defeated the Kitchener Rangers 2-1.

2nd Star – Nikolay Goldobin – Sarnia Sting: Goldobin scored three times while adding five assists in three games for the Sting. On Thursday Goldobin scored twice while adding an assist in a 5-3 win over the North Bay Battalion and was named the games 1st star. That was followed up on Friday with a goal and 2 assists in a 7-6 overtime loss to the Sudbury Wolves where he was named the games 3rd star. On Sunday, the Sting lost again, this time 7-4 to the Guelph Storm as Goldobin notched another two assists in the loss.

3rd Star – Andrew Mangiapane – Barrie Colts: Mangiapane finished the week with 2 goals, 4 assists and was a plus 8 in three games last week. On Friday he notched a goal and an assist in Barrie’s 5-2 loss to the Kingston Frontenacs. On Saturday, Barrie rebounded with a 5-1 win over the Belleville Bulls with Mangiapane adding an assist. On Sunday, he was named the game’s 2nd star after scoring once and adding two assists in a 7-2 win over the Ottawa 67’s

Monday
Dec092013

OHL's NHL Draft Eligible: December Rankings

by Dominic Tiano (@DominicTiano)

The calendar has flipped to December and that means it’s time to look back at the Ontario Hockey League to date and who has stood out, improved their stock or come out of nowhere when it comes to the 2014 National Hockey League Draft.

Today we look at the top 20 skaters available for the NHL draft. As always, this is first time draft eligible players only – those passed over in previous drafts are not included. We also rank the top 5 goaltenders from the OHL, but include all the goaltenders eligible, including those passed over in 2013 and 2012.

There was no change in the goalie rankings from November but there are a couple of tweaks in the top 20 skaters.

GOALTENDERS

5. Devin Williams – Erie Otters

Catches: Left

Height: 5’11

Weight: 160 lbs

2012 – 2013 season: 33GP – 4.64 GAA - .886 Sv% (Erie, OHL)

Season stats:  12GP – 2.56 GAA - .905 Sv%

D.O.B.: October 30, 1995

Hometown: Windsor, Ont

Previous rank:  5

4. Matt Mancina – Guelph Storm

Catches: Left

Height:  6’1

Weight: 170 lbs

2012 – 2013 season: 29GP – 2.77 GAA - .904 Sv% (Leamington, GOJHL)

Season stats:  11GP – 2.86 GAA - .906 Sv%

D.O.B.: April 29, 1996

Hometown: Windsor, Ont

Previous rank:  6

3. Jordan DeKort – Kitchener Rangers

Catches: Left

Height: 6’5

Weight: 198 lbs

2012 – 2013 season: 25GP – 4.34 GAA - .883 Sv% (Windsor, OHL)

Season stats:  18GP – 4.06 GAA - .873 Sv%

D.O.B.: August 8, 1995

Hometown: Markham, Ont

Previous rank:  4

2. Charlie Graham – Belleville Bulls

Catches: Left

Height: 6’

Weight: 173 lbs

2012 – 2013 season: 25 GP – 2.59 GAA - .922 Sv% (Belleville, OHL)

Season stats:  20GP – 4.05 GAA - .908 Sv%

D.O.B.: June 30, 1995

Hometown: Toronto, Ont

Previous rank:  2

1. Alex Nedeljkovic – Plymouth Whalers

Catches: Left

Height: 6’

Weight: 186 lbs

2012 – 2013 season: 26GP – 2.28 GAA - .923 Sv% (Plymouth, OHL)

Season stats:  24GP – 3.32 GAA - .914 Sv%

D.O.B.: January 7, 1996

Hometown: Parma, OH

Previous rank:  1

SKATERS

20. Aaron Haydon – Niagara Ice Dogs

Position: Defense

Shoots: Right

Height: 6’3

Weight: 185 lbs

2012 -2012 season: 42GP – 4G – 6A (Niagara, OHL)

Season stats:  29GP – 1G – 4A

D.O.B.: January 6, 1996

Hometown: Plymouth, MI

Previous rank:  20

19. Brandon Robinson – Kitchener Rangers

Position: Left Wing

Shoots: Left

Height: 6’3

Weight: 200

2012 – 2013 season: 62GP -17G – 17A (Brampton, OHL)

Season stats:  19GP – 4G -3A

D.O.B.: October 13, 1995

Hometown: Pickering, Ont

Previous rank: 19

18. Jaden Lindo – Owen Sound Attack

Position: Right Wing

Shoots: Right

Height: 6’1

Weight: 194 lbs

2012 – 2013 season: 63GP – 5G – 17A (Owen Sound, OHL)

Season stats: 25GP - 7G - 7A

D.O.B.: January 11, 1996

Hometown: Brampton, Ont

Previous Rank:  18

17. Brendan Lemieux – Barrie Colts

Position: Left Wing

Shoots: Left

Height: 6’

Weight: 194

2012 – 2013 season: 42GP – 6G – 8A (Barrie, OHL)

Season stats:  26GP – 12G – 7A

D.O.B.: March15, 1996

Hometown: Phoenix, AR

Previous rank:  17

16. Ryan MacInnis – Kitchener Rangers

Position: Center

Shoots: Left

Height: 6’3

Weight: 170

2012 – 2013 season: 51GP – 15G – 10A (U.S. National U17, USDP)

Season stats:  26GP – 7G – 8A

D.O.B.: February 14, 1996

Hometown: St. Louis, MO

Previous rank:  16

15. Mathew Mistele – Plymouth Whalers

Position: Left Wing

Shoots: Left

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 183

2012 – 2013 season: 68GP – 34G – 26A (Plymouth, OHL)

Season stats:  12GP – 3G – 2A

D.O.B.:  October 17, 1995

Hometown: Whitby, Ont.

Previous rank:  11

14. Robby Fabbri – Guelph Storm

Position: Center

Shoots: Left

Height: 5’10

Weight: 160 lbs

2012 – 2013 season: 59GP – 10G – 23A (Guelph, OHL)

Season stats:  18GP – 10G – 14A

D.O.B.: January 22, 1996

Hometown: Mississauga, Ont

Previous rank:  14

13. Anthony DeAngelo – Sarnia Sting

Position: Defense

Shoots: Right

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 167 lbs

2012 – 2013 season: 62GP – 9G – 49A (Sarnia, OHL)

Season stats:  27GP – 9G – 30A

D.O.B.: October 24, 1995

Hometown: Sewell, NJ

Previous rank:  13

12. Blake Clarke – North Bay Battalion

Position: Left Wing

Shoots: Left

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 190 lbs

2012 – 2013 season: 68GP – 19G – 32A (Brampton, OHL)

Season stats:  13GP – 1G – 1A

D.O.B.: January 24, 1996

Hometown: Wildwood, MO

Previous rank:  10

11. Josh Ho-Sang – Windsor Spitfires

Position: Right Wing

Shoots: Right

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 160 lbs

2012 – 2013 season: 63GP – 14G – 30A (Windsor, OHL)

Season stats:  27GP – 15G – 15A

D.O.B.:  January 22, 1996

Hometown: Thornhill, Ont.

Previous rank:  12

10. Spencer Watson – Kingston Frontenacs

Position: Right Wing

Shoots: Left

Height: 5’10”

Weight: 157 lbs

2012 – 2013 season: 63GP – 23G – 20A (Kingston, OHL)

Season stats:  124GP – 14G – 13A

D.O.B.: April 25, 1996

Hometown: London, Ont

Previous rank: 11

9. Jacob Middleton – Ottawa 67’s

Position: Defense

Shoots: Left

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 194 lbs

2012 – 2013 season: 29GP – 1G -5A (Ottawa, Owen Sound, OHL)

Season stats: 26GP – 1G – 6A

D.O.B.: January 2, 1996

Hometown: Stratford, Ont.

Previous rank:  9

8. Jared McCann – Soo Greyhounds

Position: Center

Shoots: Left

Height: 6’

Weight: 174 lbs

2012 – 2013 season: 64GP – 21G – 23A (Soo Greyhounds, OHL)

Season stats: 25GP – 13G – 17A

D.O.B.: May 31, 1996

Hometown: London, Ont

Previous rank:  8

7. Nick Ritchie – Peterborough Petes

Position: Left Wing

Shoots: Left

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 218 lbs

2012 – 2013 season: 41GP – 18G – 17A (Peterborough, OHL)

Season stats:  25GP – 15G – 10A

D.O.B.: December 5, 1995

Hometown: Orangeville, Ont

Previous rank:  6

6. Nikolay Goldobin – Sarnia Sting

Position: Right Wing

Shoots: Left

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 165 lbs

2012 – 2013 season: 68GP – 30G – 38A (Sarnia, OHL)

Season stats:  28GP – 18G – 18A

D.O.B.: October 7, 1995

Hometown: Mockobckar, Russia

Previous rank:  7

5. Brendan Perlini – Niagara Ice Dogs

Position: Left Wing

Shoots: Left

Height: 6’2

Weight: 182 lbs

2012 – 2013 season: 59GP – 8G – 4A (Niagara, OHL)

Season stats: 29GP – 16G- 24A

D.O.B.: April 27, 1996

Hometown: Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Previous rank: 5

4. Roland McKeown – Kingston Frontenacs

Position: Defense

Shoots: Right

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 186 lbs

2012 – 2013 season: 61GP – 7G – 22A (Kingston, OHL)

Season stats:  27GP – 4G – 12A

D.O.B.: January 20, 1996

Hometown: Listowel, Ont

Previous rank:  2

3. Sam Bennett – Kingston Frontenacs

Position: Center

Shoots: Left

Height: 6’

Weight: 168 lbs

2012 – 2013 season: 60GP – 22G – 18A (Kingston, OHL)

Season stats: 26GP – 16G – 22A

D.O.B.: June 20, 1996

Hometown: Holland Landing, Ont

Previous rank: 3

2. Michael Dal Colle – Oshawa Generals

Position: Center/Left Wing

Shoots: Left

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 171 lbs

2012 – 2013 season: 63GP – 15G – 33A (Oshawa, OHL)

Season stats:  29GP – 18G – 30A

D.O.B.: June 20, 1996

Hometown: Vaughan, Ont

Previous rank:  4

1. Aaron Ekblad – Barrie Colts

Position: Defense

Shoots: Right

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 213 lbs

2012 – 2013 season: 54GP – 7G – 27A (Barrie, OHL)

Season stats:  26GP – 9G – 14A

D.O.B.: Feb 7, 1996

Hometown: Belle River, Ont

Previous rank:  1

Sunday
Dec082013

OHL Hotstove: Biggest Surprise of World Junior Camp Roster

by Peter Kneulman (@PeterKneulman)

With the announcement of team Canada’s WJ selection camp roster what is your biggest surprise? It can be a roster omission or a roster addition.

Dominic Tiano ( @dominictiano )

I guess with only 25 players named to the selection camp, I can't say that there is any real surprise other than that itself. 

With that said, if there is a surprise for me it has to be on defense. You can't argue the selection of Aaron Ekblad, Chris Bigras or Adam Pelech from theOHL but the omissions speak to the depth of the Canadian blue line whenOHL'ers Darnell Nurse and Slater Koekkoek are not named.

Nurse was the 7th overall pick of the Edmonton Oilers in the 2013 NHL Draft and is having another fine season for the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds and has plenty of international experience. Koekkoek has suffered through injuries the past few seasons but is healthy and having a great season for the Windsor Spitfires. He also has plenty of international experience. 

 

Phil Phillips ( @FilPhillips )

For me the biggest surprise with the 25 players that have been invited to attend Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp, is how Guelph Storm LW Brock McGinn was not invited ?  Brock McGinn and his physical approach to the game and his defensive play are made for this tournament, he can skate well, forecheck hard and help his team control play in the offensive zone by winning battles in front and along the boards.  McGinn's the type of player who hits anything that moves and is usually the first one in on the forecheck to win a puck battle in the corner or along the boards. Many of his contributions don't always show up on the scoresheet.  He started to change that last season,  McGinn had a career season in Guelph in 2012-2013 and contributed more offense than he ever had before. Despite starting the year with a bad wrist, McGinn ended the season with 28 goals and scored at nearly a point-per-game pace, both of which are impressive for a player that was considered a "grinder" up to that point in his career.|

 

This season with 22G - 23A, McGinn in on pace to at least double all of his career highs.  This season the pride of Fergus, ON has been one of the the most consistent players in the OHL,  starting the season on a 23 game point streak.  That seen him pick up 20 goals and 20 assists.  In 28 games played so far Brock has points in all, but two.  Sitting 4th in league scoring you would think that McGinn scored a bunch on the Storm's 5th ranked man advantage.  But that's not the case,  out of Brock's 45 points only 4 have came on the power play. McGinn plays a type of game that can translate nicely to the WJC.  Team Canada is always going to have forwards who light up the scoreboard but they don't fit into a bottom-six role or play well away from the puck. McGinn is sort of the opposite of that. He has natural skill, but won't dazzle you on the ice and most of his points come by crashing the net or shooting to create rebounds. He isn't shy about physical play, so going to the dirty areas to score is not an issue for McGinn.  Team Canada has usually had success with players who can do this effectively. The fact that McGinn doesn't need to score to be a contributing player says a lot, he would have fit nicely into a third or fourth line role.

Brandon Sudeyko ( @intheoradio )

Biggest surprise is the lack of names to the camp. only 25? makes it easy with one set of cuts, but you are going to risk your goaltending on just two bodies. not even 4 to give someone a shot? Is this a futures move? How can it be. Sutter is setting up Canadian Goaltending to fail and then leading Hockey Canada to possibly ban imports entirely. Paterson got the experience of travelling with the team and being around the atmosphere knowing what to expect. Fucale will do that this year, but heaven forbid Jake faulters and you have a rookie at this level need to go in and also fail. Now do you got to Fucale next year or bring in two rookies who never had U20 experience. 

People will point to Nurse or Domi being omitted and you can say Tyler Toffoli should have had a chance. But bringing so few to camp, putting all your eggs in one basket so to speak is probably not the best for the entire program as a whole. 

 

Alex Quevillon ( @A_Quevillon )

It should be the omission of Nurse for me, because guys who play textbook two-way defence are generally a premium, but I actually understand that decision. He didn't look so good in the Russia series, and while that shouldn't be the basis for Hockey Canada's decision making, two years ago Dougie Hamilton really struggled in the series then had a very underwhelming tournament.  Leaving Nurse out is tough, but understandable. The one that still gets me is McDavid, and don't get me wrong, I love watching McDavid play, but I don't see it being a good thing rushing him into this tourney. Let him dominate kids his own age for another year, bring him back in his draft year. He's been forced to grow up fast enough as a result of the exceptional status ruling, let him play another year of u-17. I'm wishing all the best for McDavid, he's a truly unique talent and such a humble kid given his age and talent.  I just haven't ever been a fan of taking 16-year olds to a tournament dominated by 19-year olds. That, and I grew up with the 67's, I've had time to get used to criticizing Canada's decisions; 11 years and counting without a 67 in red and white!

 

Chris Mcdonald ( @ChrisMcdonald91 )

A surprise for me, was seeing Josh Anderson's name. But it was a good surprise. The London knight has done nothing but improve all aspects of his game under the tutelage of the Hunters. He has gone from being an undrafted free agent signing to an NHL prospect (Columbus '12) and if he continues to play his game he can add member of Team Canada to his growing list of accomplishments.  He would be a perfect fit as a bottom 6 forward and a great penalty killer for Canada at the world juniors if he does make the team. I was disappointed to see Matt Finn's name left off the list of players invited to camp.  If Canada had invited it's regular amount of players I have no doubt Finn would've gotten an invite but with management deciding to only bring 8 d man to camp Finn became expendable in their eyes.  Finn has rebounded nicely after missing a third of last year due to mono and a knee injury.  The leafs prospect sits 4th in points amongst defence man in the OHL.  Offence isn't all he brings to the table, Finn plays a good two way game and can play a defensively sound game when he needs too.

 

Peter Kneulman ( @PeterKneulman )

When only 25 players get an invite compared to 30+ in most years there are going to be a few surprise omissions. To me what caught me most off guard when the rosters were announced was the fact that there were no Guelph Storm invited and the absence of Darnell Nurse.

Aside from Erie, Guelph in my opinion has been one of the most excited and most well rounded teams. Their forward and defense are all extremely versatile and can fill a plethora of rolls which helps that team roll 4 lines and wear down opponents. Matt Finn, Brock McGinn and Scott Kosmachuk could all fill multiple rolls and add a versatility that is needed in a short tournament in case of injury.

Darnell Nurse was the other shocker as I figured he was a lock to make the team based on his play so far early in the season. Given the extra opportunities presented to him due to your typical junior hockey roster turnover his offensive exploits have finally be able to show up on the stat sheet. Defensively he has been solid as usual as his combination of size, speed and nasty make him a difficult player to play against.  In the end a rough summer camp may have held him back as he battled discipline issues in some of the exhibition games. As they say trust is the hardest thing to gain but the easiest thing to lose and Brent Sutter will want to trust is Dmen.

When looking at the big picture while surprised I don’t neccesairly disagree with these moves after all Brent Sutter has coached 2 more world junior teams to gold than I have. In some sense a smaller seems like the right move. After all wouldn’t you rather have decisions made over the long haul rather than someone getting hot during a 3 game camp? That being said if the ’05 only had a 25 man camp would Corey Perry have been given a chance to earn his spot on the team?

Wednesday
Dec042013

Aaron Ekblad, Barrie Colts - Prospect Profile

by Dominic Tiano (@DominicTiano)

A native of Belle River Ontario, Ekblad played his Midget AAA hockey with the Sun County Panthers. In 62 games he recorded 14 goals and added 53 assists for 67 points. Combined with his maturity and academic achievements, Ekblad received exceptional status on March 31, 2011 and thus available for the OHL draft as a 15 year old.

At that time John Tavares was the only player to receive exceptional status and no defenseman before him had received the honor. The Barrie Colts held the number one pick and the rest – shall we say – is history.

He played his rookie season in 2011-2012 and scored 10 goals and 19 assists in 63 regular season games. He added 2 goals and 3 assists in 13 playoff games. Ekblad was named OHL Rookie of the Year and was named to the first all-rookie team. He became just the forth defenseman to ever win rookie of the year.

He was selected to play for Team Ontario at the World Hockey Challenge and finished with a goal and 2 assists in 5 games and winning a bronze medal. He was invited to the Team Canada selection camp for the Men’s National Under 18 team that was going to challenge at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup in August 2012 but failed to make the squad as a 16 year old.

His sophomore season saw him play in 54 games and scoring 7 goals while adding 27 assists. He had a phenomenal playoffs scoring 7 goals and adding 17 assists in 22 games. He was again selected to play for Team Ontario and was named Captain of his squad and finished a disappointing 6th. He scored twice and added 4 assists in the tournament.

The summer of 2013 saw another invitation to the Team Canada camp that was going to participate in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup. Making the squad was a foregone conclusion and Ekblad was named captain. He finished first among defenders in goals (two) and points (five) and tied for fourth overall in points in 5 tournament games in leading Canada to its sixth consecutive gold medal.

Ekblad has NHL size and has had it since he was 15 years old. Finding a weakness in his game requires some magnification and even then – there isn’t anything noticeable. He’s an excellent skater with an NHL ready shot. He is very intelligent both on and off the ice – an asset that enables him to read plays at both ends of the ice. He has an excellent work ethic and understands that he can always improve and doesn’t accept the status quo. He’s an excellent powerplay quarterback who finds a way to get his shot through or move along the blue line with possession to find an open man. His defensive game has improved and will continue to improve.

Ekblad is primed for a breakout season and there is a tremendous amount of expectations from him. These eyes tell me that there is nothing to suggest he won’t handle it. Unfortunately, for two years now we’ve heard comparisons to some of the game’s greatest, including the legendary Bobby Orr, whose agency just happens to represent Ekblad. No one could have said it better than Orr himself who told The Toronto Star: “Let’s let the kid be.”

Ekblad was chosen to play for Team OHL in the Subway Super Series against Russia – the final chance for players to make their mark in an attempt to earn a spot on Team Canada at the World Junior Championships. In a press conference following the announcement of the squad, Hockey Canada chief scout Ryan Jankowski had this to say about Ekblad:

“Aaron was a very key player for us at the Under 18 Ivan Hlinka Tournament this summer. He was the captain of the team, played a large amount of minutes and was a huge part of the success that we had. Obviously with the run they had last year with the Barrie Colts last year in the playoffs he really established himself as a premier defenseman in the Ontario Hockey League and he has certainly been rewarded again with an opportunity to try his stuff with Team OHL and we’ll see how his play goes towards having an opportunity to play for Canada’s world junior team.”

 Colts General Manager Jason Ford dubbed Ekblad “The best defenseman to ever play in Barrie through my time.” That’s saying a lot considering Alex Pietrangelo played for the Colts during Ford’s tenure. 

Ekblad was selected in the 5th round, 171st overall in the 2013 KHL Draft.

Monday
Dec022013

Petes Need to Buy

by Brandon Sudeyko (@intheoradio)

On the weekend, there was a potential trade between the Peterborough Petes and the Kitchener Rangers... well to be fair the team that Radek Faksa was not traded to wasn't revealed. But if you look at the scenario of a team with an open import spot there is only a fifth of the league that could take on an import without giving up an import. 

The main point is that the talk of the town was focused on the fact that the Petes shouldn't be buying, but rather selling everything they have. 

Unfortunately, that is the wrong thinking. Peterborough must buy and make every effort to not only make the playoffs but come out of the first round with 4 W's.

Why do the Petes have to buy and go for it? The Peterborough faithful haven't seen a playoff game since the team dismissed Jeff Twohey, who is now the Oshawa Generals GM. But it is more than just that, the Petes Board of Directors handed out two year contract extensions to GM Mike Oke and Head Coach Jody Hull after 3 weeks of turning the club around. Jody Hull was able to coach the team to a winning record once he stepped behind the bench, but their luck ran out in the last game of the season. Winning four of their final 5 games just wasn't good enough as they missed out on a playoff berth by one point.

Although they missed the playoffs, can such a historic franchise miss the playoffs for four straight seasons and justify keeping your GM and Head Coach? It isn't fair to either Oke or Hull, but sometimes the business of Jr. Hockey isn't fair. The fan base just want's to see a winning team, and making the playoffs could give the fans everything they need this year. Why? because it is progress and the fans will buy into what you want to sell. 

Fast forward to right now and the Petes sit in 7th place, 8 points ahead of Belleville in 9th. The odds to make the playoffs this season are high for Peterborough. The pair of Belleville and Niagara appear to be selling off everything and opening the doors for their young players. Niagara traded away Jesse Graham, while Belleville has sent Brady Austin and Brendan Gaunce to Western Conference teams. Peterborough has a good chance of getting as high as 5th but could also drop to 8th spot. Although home ice advantage would be something to truly cheer about, the current lineup would not get you higher than 5th in the conference. 

And that right there is the reason that Peterborough needs to buy. Make a real statement. Show that you are committed to moving upward, helping your young players by providing veteran talent and playoff experience, while grooming your draft picks and making Peterborough a place you want to play. The assets for this team are there. You have some pieces that you can trade away: Brandon Devlin, Clark Seymour, Michael Guigovaz, Josh Maguire and Chase Hatcher spring to mind. There are some OA's on the market that could really boost this team and if the players listed could not fetch some help, throw in some draft picks. Peterborough has 3 seconds, 2 fourths and 3 six round picks in this year's draft alone. Not to mention some extra 2015 draft picks that can sweeten the deal.

Like it or not, the Petes need to be buyers even if only for a short term gain. They know how to draft the talent, they just have to make the environment capable of supporting the talent and making it a hot bed to play in once again. No better way of doing that then showing that you are not afraid to make mistakes and take chances. 

Buy, Buy, Buy!