Team Canada is finalized and ready to play for World Junior gold. Hockey Canada released the final five players Friday night after the team completed its four-day selection camp with a 5-2 win over Team Denmark in St. Catharines.
The new year is always centred around rumours and speculation about who will go where leading up to the OHL trade deadline. It’s a period fans look forward to for sure, but while the dominoes always fall in the week leading up to the early January trade deadline, there are usually a few big trades that are orchestrated in the fall as general managers find the need to bolster their lineups earlier.
2015’s HockeyNow Minor Hockey Player of the Year for Alberta, Ty Smith broke the first ISS Hockey prospects list of the season at #10 and has slipped one spot this month.
We’re halfway through the Canada Russia Series, and like this point last year, the Russians are one win ahead after completing the WHL portion and half of the OHL loop.
ISS Hockey just releases their first list of top prospects for the 2018 NHL Draft, and the QMJHL looks poised to make a strong draft showing, with five players listed in the Top 31 and the predicted 1 and 2 goalie picks also from the Q. Saint John captain Joe Veleno is occupying the #3 spot after a career year and Memorial Cup run with the Sea Dogs
In one sense, you could say the Mississauga Steelheads and London Knights are victims of their own success. Major junior hockey is a development stream after all and they’ve each developed multiple players well enough for extended stays in the NHL this season, albeit they could still come back to the OHL.
There’s some hesitancy to read too much into the standings early on in the OHL season, and understandably so. It’s a long season and there’s a lot of good teams that don’t truly get up to speed until sometime in November, maybe even later.
It’s hard to build a sustainable contender in the OHL, but we’ve seen it done before. The London Knights have maintained that status for years thanks to shrewd asset management and drafting, often going against the grain to take a chance on talented prospects that may have slipped under the radar.
Nick Suzuki could have a big season in store. The Owen Sound Attack forward was a top-five scorer in the OHL last year leading up to the NHL Draft, where he was selected 13th overall by the Vegas Golden Knights.
The OHL preseason is now in full swing and many of the top players in the league are off to their respective NHL rookie camps. A successful run there will lead to a main camp invite, and perhaps beyond.
Ryan Merkley made a seamless transition into the OHL last season. With 55 points (12 goals and 43 assists), he led all OHL rookies in scoring, becoming the first defenceman to do so in nearly 30 years.
After a one year hiatus away from the medals, Canada returned to glory as gold medal champions at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Team Canada crushed the Czech Republic 4-1 on home ice at the Ice Bors Arena to capture their ninth championship in the last ten years.
1) Prospect Profiles: Alexander Alexeyev, Hunter Holmes & Xavier Bouchard
2) Ask a Coach: University of Vermont Associate Coach Kyle Wallach: Academics, Recruiting & Preparation
3) 2018 HockeyNow Minor Hockey Player of the Year: November Shortlists
4) Cornered Coach: The Peanut Gallery
5) The Search Begins for the 2018 HockeyNow Minor Hockey Players of the Year