GOYETTE AND WEEKS NAMED NAMED OHL TOP PERFORMERS OF THE WEEK

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced Top Performers of the Week for the week of regular season games ending Sunday, January 16, 2022.

Wolves’ David Goyette Named OHL Player of the Week

2022 NHL Draft prospect David Goyette of the Sudbury Wolves is the OHL Player of the Week, helping his club claim five of a possible six points with five goals, two assists and seven points in three games with a plus/minus rating of plus-6.

Goyette picked up an assist in Sudbury’s 3-1 road win over the Peterborough Petes on Thursday before exploding for the OHL’s first four-goal showing of the 2021-22 season on Friday in Kingston. He had his best single game performance to date before a national audience on TSN, lighting the lamp four times in an 8-4 victory. He joins a list of other prominent Wolves four-goal scorers that includes Adam Ruzicka (Mar. 15, 2019), Benoit Pouliot (Feb. 17, 2006), Norm Milley (Nov. 14, 1999) and Mike Fisher (Dec. 18, 1998) among others. Goyette finished off the weekend with a goal and an assist in Saturday’s 5-4 shootout loss to the Ottawa 67’s.

A 17-year-old from Hawkesbury, Ont., Goyette climbed into a tie for the OHL’s rookie scoring lead over the weekend, drawing even with Mississauga’s Owen Beck with 29 points (12-17–29) over 31 games. The 5-foot-11, 174Ib. centreman was Sudbury’s first round (11th overall) pick in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection. He was listed as the 35th-ranked North American skater on NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings for the 2022 NHL Draft.

Also considered for the award this week, Seattle Kraken prospect Ryan Winterton of the Hamilton Bulldogs returned from injury to make his season debut, exploding for six points (1-5–6) in a pair of victories. Goyette’s Wolves teammate Kocha Delic was also in the running, registering seven points (2-5–7) across three games.

2021-22 OHL Players of the Week – Regular Season:
Jan. 10 – Jan. 16: David Goyette (Sudbury Wolves)
Jan. 3 – Jan 9: Wyatt Johnston (Windsor Spitfires)
Dec. 27 – Jan. 2: James Hardie (Mississauga Steelheads)
Dec. 13 – Dec. 19: Ty Tullio (Oshawa Generals)
Dec. 6 – Dec. 12: Lucas Edmonds (Kingston Frontenacs)
Nov. 29 – Dec. 5: Wyatt Johnston (Windsor Spitfires)
Nov. 22 – Nov. 28: Brennan Othmann (Flint Firebirds)
Nov. 15 – Nov. 21: Brandon Coe (North Bay Battalion)
Nov. 8 – Nov. 14: Antonio Stranges (London Knights)
Nov. 1 – Nov. 7: Shane Wright (Kingston Frontenacs)
Oct. 25 – Oct. 31: Tucker Robertson (Peterborough Petes)
Oct. 18 – Oct. 24: Rory Kerins (Soo Greyhounds)
Oct. 11 – Oct. 17: Calum Ritchie (Oshawa Generals)
Oct. 4 – Oct. 10: Jack Thompson (Sudbury Wolves)


Wolves’ Mitchell Weeks Named OHL Goaltender of the Week

Mitchell Weeks of the Sudbury Wolves is the OHL Goaltender of the Week, playing to a 2-0-0-1 record with a 2.92 goals-against average and .924 save percentage.

Weeks made 109 saves over three outings, helping the Wolves collect five of a possible six points on a three-in-three road trip with stops in Peterborough, Kingston and Ottawa. He provided 31 saves in Thursday’s 3-1 victory in Peterborough, claiming third star honours as the Wolves snapped an eight-game slide, earning their first win since Nov. 26th. Weeks was back in the crease on Friday in Kingston, backstopping the Wolves to an 8-4 win in front of a national audience on TSN. Weeks made 44 saves as Sudbury was outshot 48-28 in the high-scoring win. He helped the Wolves pick up a point on Saturday in Ottawa, making 34 saves in a 5-4 shootout loss as Sudbury was outshot 38-20.

A 20-year-old native of Barrie, Ont., Weeks owns a 10-11-3-1 record this season with a 3.71 goals-against average and .901 save percentage. The former first overall pick in the 2018 OHL Under-18 Priority Selection has appeared in 60 career contests with Sudbury, going 23-26-3-2 with a 3.88 goals-against average and .887 save percentage.

Also considered for the award this week, Flint Firebirds goaltender Luke Cavallin played to a 2-1-0-0 mark, posting a 3.00 goals-against average and .915 save percentage with one shutout.

2021-22 OHL Goaltenders of the Week – Regular Season:
Jan. 10 – Jan. 16: Mitchell Weeks (Sudbury Wolves)
Jan. 3 – Jan. 9: Nolan Lalonde (Erie Otters)
Dec. 27 – Jan. 2: Joe Ranger (Mississauga Steelheads)
Dec. 13 – Dec. 19: Owen Bennett (Guelph Storm)
Dec. 6 – Dec. 12: Mack Guzda (Barrie Colts)
Nov. 29 – Dec. 5: Leevi Merilainen (Kingston Frontenacs)
Nov. 22 – Nov. 28: Tye Austin (Peterborough Petes)
Nov. 15 – Nov. 21: Ben Gaudreau (Sarnia Sting)
Nov. 8 – Nov. 14: Joe Vrbetic (North Bay Battalion
Nov. 1 – Nov. 7: Roman Basran (Mississauga Steelheads)
Oct. 25 – Oct. 31: Patrick Leaver (Oshawa Generals)
Oct. 18 – Oct. 24: Jacob Oster (Guelph Storm)
Oct. 11 – Oct. 17: Brett Brochu (London Knights)
Oct. 4 – Oct. 10: Tucker Tynan (Niagara IceDogs)


About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league.

Danny Zhilkin – Guelph Storm – Player Profile

HTWTDOBPOSSHOOTSOHL DRAFTNHLCSCOUNTRY
6’2”18512-19-2003CL14th 201927th MidCANADA
SEASONLEAGUETEAMGPGAPTS
2018-19U-16 AAAToronto Marlboros69322557
2018-19GTHL U-16Toronto Marlboros33111223
2019-20OHLGuelph Storm607815
2019-20WHC U-17Canada Black5426
2020-21WJC U-18Canada U187022
2020-21OHLDID NOT PLAY    
Danny Zhilkin of the Guelph Storm. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images

While Guelph Storm forward Danny Zhilkin (Daniil) has both Russian and Canadian citizenship, we list him as Canadian because he has already represented Canada at IIHF tournaments, and under their rules, once you make a decision and represent one country, that designation follows you throughout your career.

A handful of the independent scouting services available have Zhilkin ranked in the 41 to 43 range, so there is some consistency there. However, others like Craig Button (30th), Sportsnet (25th) and Consolidated Ranking (32nd) have him inside the first round. NHL Central Scouting has him 27th among North American skaters in their mid-term rankings. But opinions of those that follow the OHL closely are very split.

So, what are you getting with Zhilkin? Here’s my thoughts.

Well, you’re getting a player with good size at 6’2” that will need to add some mass to his 185-pound frame for one. You’re getting a player that plays with pace when he’s on. You’re getting a player that can bring you to your feet with electrifying moves – when he’s on.

Let’s start with some positives: Zhilkin certainly has all the skills and the tools to dominate in the OHL. He can beat defenders one-on-one almost with relative ease. He can keep possession of the puck. He can set up teammates. He can pass. He will go to the dirty areas to clean up rebounds or set himself in position to receive a pass and fire off a superb shot.

The negative to all that is ‘when he wants to’. At times he is too lackadaisical for me. Other times, he’s trying to beat everyone on the ice himself rather than utilizing his teammates.

Somewhat surprisingly, Zhilkin is a very good three zone player. He at least puts in the effort through the neutral zone and the defensive zone to disrupt the opposition and when he, or his teammates do and the puck is on his stick, his ability to transition is matched by few.

Zhilkin has gotten better as the season has progressed after a somewhat slow start. He has 10 goals and 14 helpers through 27 games at this point of the season, good for second among point getters on his squad. At this point, I expected him to be at least a point-per-game player and it is likely he will get there by the end of the season.

As I said earlier, the tools and the skillset are all there. If he can put it all together, he will be a fine addition to a team’s prospect stable.

Here’s just a sample of what he’s capable of, picking up the rebound in front of his net and going end to end.

62 OHL Players Included NHLL Central Scouting’s Mid Term Rankings

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League is proud to announce that 62 OHL players have been included on NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings for the 2022 NHL Draft that takes place July 7-8 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, QC.

The list includes 41 OHL forwards, 14 defencemen and seven goaltenders.

A total of 10 OHL players are ranked inside the first round led by Kingston Frontenacs centreman Shane Wright, a former OHL Rookie of the Year Award recipient and exceptional status first overall pick in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection.

“Shane is an excellent prospect and a guy that the scouting community has been tracking for a while now so everyone’s familiar with the attributes he can bring to a team,” OHL graduate Joey Tenute of NHL Central Scouting said. “He shows up every night, is a leader and plays every situation. He does what it takes all over the ice and any coach can rely on a player like that because he not only provides offense but is an all-around leader of a team … lead by example type of guy.”

Frontenacs teammate Paul Ludwinski joins Wright as a potential first round selection, being listed 29th among North American skaters.

Joining Czech forward Matyas Sapovaliv as one of two Saginaw Spirit players ranked inside the top-32, Russian defender Pavel Mintyukov comes in at number five on the list.

“Mintyukov, to me, is the best at his position for the 2022 draft,” said NHL Central Scouting Director Dan Marr. “He plays a very dynamic game utilizing his size, skating, smarts and skills to control the play in all zones and situations. The confidence, composure and degree of authority in which he takes charge and executes on plays places him in a category all to himself.”

The Spirit also boast the highest-ranked goaltender on the list in 17-year-old Shelby Township, Mich. native Andrew Oke, who is the eighth-ranked North American netminder.

The OHL’s first place Mississauga Steelheads also feature two players ranked inside the first round with 18-year-old forward Luca Del Bel Belluz at eleventh on the list and 17-year-old centreman Owen Beck at number 19.

The Guelph Storm join Kingston, Saginaw and Mississauga in producing another pair of players ranked inside the first round in first-year centreman Matthew Poitras at 23rd and sophomore talent Danny Zhilkin at 27th. Rookie defender Michael Buchinger came in just outside of the top-32, being ranked 36th on the list.

Former first overall 2020 OHL Priority Selection choice Ty Nelson of the North Bay Battalion is the highest-ranked Canadian-born defenceman at number 25 on the list.

Nineteen of the OHL’s 20 member teams feature at least one player included on the list, with the London Knights (8), Guelph Storm (6) and North Bay Battalion (5) leading the way.

2022 NHL Central Scouting Midterm Draft Rankings

SKATERS:

RANKPLAYERTEAMPOSITION
1Shane WrightKingston FrontenacsC
5Pavel MintyukovSaginaw SpiritD
11Luca Del Bel BelluzMississauga SteelheadsC
13Matyas SapovalivSaginaw SpiritC
19Owen BeckMississauga SteelheadsC
23Matthew PoitrasGuelph StormC
25Ty NelsonNorth Bay BattalionD
27Danny ZhilkinGuelph StormC
28Bryce McConnell-BarkerSoo GreyhoundsC
29Paul LudwinskiKingston FrontenacsC
35David GoyetteSudbury WolvesC
36Michael BuchingerGuelph StormD
38Spencer SovaErie OttersD
39Jorian DonovanHamilton BulldogsD
42Isaiah GeorgeLondon KnightsD
46Vinzenz RohrerOttawa 67’sC
47Hunter HaightBarrie ColtsC
52Servac PetrovskyOwen Sound AttackC
61Jake KarabelaGuelph StormC
62Ruslan GazizovLondon KnightsLW
66Liam ArnsbyNorth Bay BattalionC
68Gavin HayesFlint FirebirdsLW
75Jackson EdwardLondon KnightsD
76Cedrick GuindonOwen Sound AttackLW
77Pano FimisNiagara IceDogsC
88Evan KonyenSudbury WolvesRW
103Kirill KudryavtsevSoo GreyhoundsD
107Lucas EdmondsKingston FrontenacsRW
109Tucker RobertsonPeterborough PetesC
120Samuel MayerPeterborough PetesD
121Vsevolod GaidamakOttawa 67’sC
124Zakary LavoieMississauga SteelheadsRW
129Colton SmithLondon KnightsLW
132Rodwin DionicioNiagara IceDogsD
137Beau JelsmaBarrie ColtsC
138Brady StonehouseOttawa 67’sRW
142Stuart RolofsOshawa GeneralsLW
152Tnias MathurinNorth Bay BattalionD
155Aidan CastleNiagara IceDogsRW
160Gavin BryantOwen Sound AttackC
163Brice CookeNiagara IceDogsLW
179Christian KyrouErie OttersD
182Kyle JacksonNorth Bay BattalionC
183Tyler SavardSoo GreyhoundsLW
188Brody CraneLondon KnightsLW
190Sam AlfanoPeterborough PetesRW
195Roberto ManciniSaginaw SpiritD
196Kirill SteklovLondon KnightsD
200Kocha DelicSudbury WolvesC
204James HardieMississauga SteelheadsLW
210Ryan AbrahamWindsor SpitfiresC
213Landon SimLondon KnightsRW
217Braeden BowmanGuelph StormRW
219Max NamestnikovSarnia StingC
224Nolan DannSarnia StingLW
LVSimon SlavicekFlint FirebirdsLW

GOALTENDERS:

RANKGOALTENDERTEAM
8Andrew OkeSaginaw Spirit
10Nolan LalondeErie Otters
12Charlie SchenkelSoo Greyhounds
14Domenic DivincentiisNorth Bay Battalion
15Jacob OsterGuelph Storm
16Brett BrochuLondon Knights
29Patrick LeaverOshawa Generals

LALONDE AND JOHNSTON NAMED OHL TOP PERFORMERS OF THE WEEK

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced Top Performers of the Week for the week of regular season games ending Sunday, January 9, 2022.

Spitfires’ Wyatt Johnston Named OHL Player of the Week

Dallas Stars prospect Wyatt Johnston of the Windsor Spitfires is the OHL Player of the Week, recording two goals and six assists for eight points in two games along with a plus/minus rating of plus-6.

Johnston helped the Spitfires climb to within two points of the West Division-leading Soo Greyhounds, defeating them in back-to-back games on the road. Johnston earned first star honours in Windsor’s first action since Dec. 28th on Saturday, scoring while adding three assists in a 5-2 win. He added another goal and three more helpers in Sunday’s 10-4 victory over the Greyhounds, picking up second star recognition in his fourth 4+ point outing of the season. He also extended his current point streak to seven games.

An 18-year-old native of Toronto, Ont., Johnston has climbed into a tie for second in OHL scoring with 54 points (20-34–54) in 29 games. His 1.86 points-per-game are the third-most in the League while his 127 shots on goal have him tied for third. Johnston was selected by the Dallas Stars with the 23rd overall pick of the 2021 NHL Draft. He was originally Windsor’s first round (6th overall) pick in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection from the Toronto Marlboros U16 program.

Johnston is the OHL’s first player to claim Player of the Week honours twice this season.

Other candidates from the past week include Windsor Spitfires teammate Matthew Maggio who recorded seven points (3-4–7) in two games on a line alongside Johnston. Mississauga Steelheads forward Luca Del Bel Belluz was also in the running with seven points (2-5–7) in three games.

2021-22 OHL Players of the Week – Regular Season:
Jan. 3 – Jan 9: Wyatt Johnston (Windsor Spitfires)
Dec. 27 – Jan. 2: James Hardie (Mississauga Steelheads)
Dec. 13 – Dec. 19: Ty Tullio (Oshawa Generals)
Dec. 6 – Dec. 12: Lucas Edmonds (Kingston Frontenacs)
Nov. 29 – Dec. 5: Wyatt Johnston (Windsor Spitfires)
Nov. 22 – Nov. 28: Brennan Othmann (Flint Firebirds)
Nov. 15 – Nov. 21: Brandon Coe (North Bay Battalion)
Nov. 8 – Nov. 14: Antonio Stranges (London Knights)
Nov. 1 – Nov. 7: Shane Wright (Kingston Frontenacs)
Oct. 25 – Oct. 31: Tucker Robertson (Peterborough Petes)
Oct. 18 – Oct. 24: Rory Kerins (Soo Greyhounds)
Oct. 11 – Oct. 17: Calum Ritchie (Oshawa Generals)
Oct. 4 – Oct. 10: Jack Thompson (Sudbury Wolves)


Otters’ Nolan Lalonde Named OHL Goaltender of the Week

Nolan Lalonde of the Erie Otters is the OHL Goaltender of the Week, securing back-to-back wins with a 1.44 goals-against average and .957 save percentage in a pair of weekend contests.

Lalonde helped the Otters extend their winning streak to four, turning aside 67 of the 70 shots he faced to defeat the Kitchener Rangers in consecutive road wins. He made 27 saves and stopped four of five shootout opponents in a 3-2 win over the Rangers on Friday. Lalonde returned to the crease on Saturday, making a season-high 40 saves as the Otters prevailed over Kitchener 4-1 to earn second star recognition.

An 18-year-old from Kingston, Ont., Lalonde leads OHL rookies with nine wins, also posting a 3.59 goals-against average and .888 save percentage in 24 games this season. The 6-foot-1, 186Ib. goaltender was assigned a ‘C’ rating by NHL Central Scouting on their latest Players to Watch list for the 2022 NHL Draft. Lalonde was selected by Erie with their third round (49th overall) pick in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection.

Also considered for the award this week, Niagara IceDogs netminder Josh Rosenzweig went 2-0-0-0, recording his first career OHL shutout to go with a 2.00 goals-against average and .945 save percentage. Montreal Canadiens prospect Joe Vrbetic of the North Bay Battalion made 71 saves across a pair of wins, recording a 2.37 goals-against average and .934 save percentage.

2021-22 OHL Goaltenders of the Week – Regular Season:
Jan. 3 – Jan. 9: Nolan Lalonde (Erie Otters)
Dec. 27 – Jan. 2: Joe Ranger (Mississauga Steelheads)
Dec. 13 – Dec. 19: Owen Bennett (Guelph Storm)
Dec. 6 – Dec. 12: Mack Guzda (Barrie Colts)
Nov. 29 – Dec. 5: Leevi Merilainen (Kingston Frontenacs)
Nov. 22 – Nov. 28: Tye Austin (Peterborough Petes)
Nov. 15 – Nov. 21: Ben Gaudreau (Sarnia Sting)
Nov. 8 – Nov. 14: Joe Vrbetic (North Bay Battalion
Nov. 1 – Nov. 7: Roman Basran (Mississauga Steelheads)
Oct. 25 – Oct. 31: Patrick Leaver (Oshawa Generals)
Oct. 18 – Oct. 24: Jacob Oster (Guelph Storm)
Oct. 11 – Oct. 17: Brett Brochu (London Knights)
Oct. 4 – Oct. 10: Tucker Tynan (Niagara IceDogs)


About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league.

Paul Ludwinski – Kingston Frontenacs – Player Profile

HTWTDOBPOSSHOOTSOHL DRAFTNHLCSCOUNTRY
5’11”1724-23-2004CL5th – 2020B ProspectCANADA
SEASONLEAGUETEAMGPGAPTS
2019-20YOGTeam Canada4033
2019-20Under-16Toronto Marlboros31151732
2020-21OHLDID NOT PLAY    
Paul Ludwinski of the Kingston Frontenacs. Photo by Robert Lefebvre/OHL IMAGES

One thing we know for sure is that because Shane Wright plays for the Kingston Frontenacs, his teammate Paul Ludwinski is going to have a lot of eyes on him this season. What those eyes take away from those viewings may differ. The people I have spoken to have varying opinions.

Currently. Ludwinski is ranked as a B-Prospect on NHL Central Scouting’s players to watch list. That typically means a second or third round pick. A few of the independent scouting services has him in the 32 to 35 range while one has him as high as 27. A couple of more have him in the 40’s and just one as low as 54.

One of the first things you’ll notice is that he plays the game at an extremely high pace. His ability and willingness to motor is very noticeable. He gets in on the forecheck quickly and isn’t afraid to after anyone to try and create turnovers – and he’s actually pretty successful at it. He is more than willing to drive to the net with or without the puck. Unless you are looking for it, you won’t notice, but Ludwinski uses subtle little moves in front of the blue paint to separate himself from defenders and pounce on loose pucks for second chance opportunities.

Ludwinski is an accomplished three-zone player. He positions himself perfectly to break up plays or passes through the neutral zone or defensive zone. And when he breaks those up, he transitions quickly and with possession with an excellent ability to gain the offensive blue line. His defensive game is well into his development.

Along with Ludwinski’s pace and willingness to battle physically, he is a strong technical skater with very good top speed and acceleration. He gets to top speed quickly but he has that separation gear as well. He has a knack of being able to slow down and then burst back into top gear quickly and uses his body to protect the puck very well.  

Some question his hockey IQ. I don’t have any questions about that IQ as some of the things I have spoken of speak to his IQ. But to add to that, he sees the ice very well and can make plays to set up teammates using those smarts and passing abilities.

What I have been somewhat disappointed in his production this season. I thought he would be further along than he is. But in fairness, he has come on lately. Of his 6 goals and 12 assists through 25 games, 3 goals and 5 assists have come in his last 7 games. He’s going to have to keep close to that pace to lock himself into an early second round pick.

I don’t have a read on what Ludwinski could become at the next level. Can he be a middle six player or is he destined to be a bottom six? By the end of the season it could become clearer but for now we know his defensive game and pace of play is surely going to garner him some attention.

OHL ANNOUNCES TOP PERFORMERS OF THE MONTH FOR DECEMBER

Toronto, Ont. The Ontario Hockey League today announced the Top OHL Performers of the Month for regular season games played in December 2021, including Windsor Spitfires forward Wyatt Johnston, Mississauga Steelheads defenceman Ethan Del Mastro, Flint Firebirds forward Coulson Pitre and Barrie Colts goaltender Mack Guzda.

OHL Player of the Month – Wyatt Johnston (Windsor Spitfires):
Dallas Stars prospect Wyatt Johnston of the Windsor Spitfires is the OHL Player of the Month for December, sitting tied for the League lead with 19 points including seven goals and 12 assists over eight games to go with a plus/minus rating of plus-13. Johnston recorded points in seven of his eight outings as the Spitfires played to a December mark of 6-1-1-0, holding down second place in the West Division. Johnston opened the month with three assists, going 14-for-17 in the faceoff circle in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Erie Otters on Dec. 2nd. He built off that performance a night later, recording a career-high six points (2-4–6) as the Spitfires defeated the Sarnia Sting 7-5. The six points were the most in a single game by a Spitfires player since Josh Ho-Sang on Feb. 9, 2014. Johnston would proceed to post three more multi-point efforts, doing so with three point showings on Dec. 16th and 17th as Windsor defeated Sault Ste. Marie and Saginaw. Johnston rounded-out December on a five-game goal-scoring streak. He’s the first Spitfires player to claim OHL Player of the Month honours since Brendan Lemieux in December 2015.

An 18-year-old native of Toronto, Ont., Johnston sits fourth in OHL scoring with 46 points (18-28–46) in 27 games along with a plus/minus rating of plus-17. He currently leads all OHL players, having received recognition in the three stars of the game on 12 different occasions. Johnston was a first round (23rd overall) pick of the Dallas Stars in the 2021 NHL Draft, and signed a three-year entry level NHL contract with the club on Sept. 28, 2021. A former World Under-18 Hockey Championship gold medalist with Team Canada, Johnston was Windsor’s first round (6th overall) pick in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection.

OHL Defenceman of the Month – Ethan Del Mastro (Mississauga Steelheads):
Chicago Blackhawks prospect Ethan Del Mastro of the Mississauga Steelheads is the OHL Defenceman of the Month for December, leading OHL rearguards with 11 points, all assists, in nine games to go with a plus/minus rating of plus-9. Del Mastro helped the Steelheads ascend to first place in the OHL standings with assists in seven of his nine outings as Mississauga played to a December record of 8-1-0-0. The 6-foot-4, 206Ib. defender finished the month with six points in his last two contests, recording a pair of helpers in Wednesday’s 5-4 win over visiting North Bay. He racked up a career-high four assists in a first star performance on New Year’s Eve as the Steelheads defeated the Sudbury Wolves 8-2 on the road. Del Mastro is the first Steelheads blueliner to earn Defenceman of the Month honours since Nicolas Hague in March 2018.

An 18-year-old native of Freelton, Ont., Del Mastro has 21 points (4-17–21) through 28 games in his second OHL season. The Steelheads’ captain also boasts a League-leading plus-28 plus/minus rating. Del Mastro was Chicago’s fourth round (105th overall) pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. The former Canadian National Under-18 Team gold medalist was selected by the Steelheads with the 12th overall pick of the 2019 OHL Priority Selection.

OHL Rookie of the Month – Coulson Pitre (Flint Firebirds):
Flint Firebirds forward Coulson Pitre is the OHL Rookie of the Month for December, recording four goals, seven assists and 11 points over eight games with a plus/minus rating of plus-6. Pitre posted four different multi-point efforts as the Firebirds went 4-3-0-1 in December, opening the month with goals in three consecutive games. Pitre recorded the first of two three-point efforts on Dec. 4th with a goal and two helpers in a 7-4 win over Owen Sound. He recorded three assists on Dec. 8th as Flint defeated the Erie Otters 9-6. Pitre is the first Firebirds player to ever earn OHL Rookie of the Month honours.

A 17-year-old native of Stouffville, Ont., Pitre sits tied for fourth among OHL rookies with 21 points (9-12–21) in 20 games with the Firebirds. Formerly a fourth round (73rd overall) pick by the Windsor Spitfires in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection, Pitre was acquired by Flint in September 2021.

OHL Goaltender of the Month – Mack Guzda (Barrie Colts):
Mack Guzda of the Barrie Colts is the OHL Goaltender of the Month for December, playing to a 4-0-0-0 record with a league-best 1.45 goals-against average and .952 save percentage with one shutout. Guzda made at least 30 saves in three of his four wins, starting the month with back-to-back 32-save performances on Dec. 2nd and 11th as the Colts defeated Hamilton and North Bay on home ice. He recorded a 26-save shutout, his first as a Colt, on Dec. 12th in a 1-0 road win over the Battalion. Guzda finished December with a 30-save road win over Ottawa as the Colts skated to a 5-2 decision. Guzda is the first Barrie netminder to earn OHL Goaltender of the Month honours since Mackenzie Blackwood last did so in November 2015.

A 20-year-old native of Knoxville, Tenn., Guzda owns an overall record of 11-5-0-1 with a 2.77 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in 17 games between the Colts and Owen Sound Attack this season. Since joining Barrie on Nov. 19th, Guzda has played to a 6-1-0-0 mark. The 6-foot-5, 205Ib. fourth-year veteran owns a career OHL record of 69-50-10-7 with a 3.28 goals-against average and .892 save percentage with six shutouts over 147 regular season games. Owen Sound’s second round (31st overall) pick in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection, Guzda attended rookie camp with the Buffalo Sabres last September.

2021-22 OHL Performers of the Month:

Player of the Month:
December – Wyatt Johnston (Windsor Spitfires)
November – Kyle Jackson (North Bay Battalion)
October – Sasha Pastujov (Guelph Storm)

Defenceman of the Month:
December – Ethan Del Mastro (Mississauga Steelheads)
November – Nathan Staios (Hamilton Bulldogs)
October – Jack Thompson (Sudbury Wolves)

Rookie of the Month:
December – Coulson Pitre (Flint Firebirds)
November – Owen Beck (Mississauga Steelheads)
October – Calum Ritchie (Oshawa Generals)

Goaltender of the Month:
December – Mack Guzda (Barrie Colts)
November – Joe Vrbetic (North Bay Battalion)
October – Brett Brochu (London Knights)

HARDIE AND RANGER NAMED OHL TOP PERFORMERS OF THE WEEK

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced Top Performers of the Week for the week of regular season games ending Sunday, January 2, 2022

Steelheads’ James Hardie Named OHL Player of the Week

Mississauga Steelheads forward James Hardie is the OHL Player of the Week, recording three goals and three assists for six points in a pair of victories.

Hardie helped Mississauga stay on top of the OHL standings with consecutive wins, recording a season-high four points with two goals and two assists in Wednesday’s 5-4 win over visiting North Bay. He followed-up that first star performance with a goal and an assist on New Year’s Eve in Sudbury as Mississauga won 8-2, claiming their fourth consecutive win.

A 19-year-old product of Innisfil, Ont., Hardie sits tied for second in OHL goal-scoring with 21 this season. He leads the Steelheads with 38 points (21-17–38) through 28 contests while posting a plus/minus rating of plus-26. A former first round (8th overall) selection by Mississauga in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection, Hardie has posted 70 goals, 53 assists and 123 points in 149 career regular season games with the Steelheads. He attended rookie camp with the Toronto Maple Leafs this past September.

Hardie is the first Steelheads player to earn OHL Player of the Week honours since former goaltender Jacob Ingham last did so in February 2019.

Also considered for the award this week, Calgary Flames prospect Rory Kerins of the Soo Greyhounds recorded seven points (4-3–7) as the Greyhounds won two of their three games last week. Chicago Blackhawks prospect and Hardie’s Mississauga Steelheads teammate Ethan Del Mastro also had a strong showing, recording six assists in two games.

2021-22 OHL Players of the Week – Regular Season:
Dec. 27 – Jan. 2: James Hardie (Mississauga Steelheads)
Dec. 13 – Dec. 19: Ty Tullio (Oshawa Generals)
Dec. 6 – Dec. 12: Lucas Edmonds (Kingston Frontenacs)
Nov. 29 – Dec. 5: Wyatt Johnston (Windsor Spitfires)
Nov. 22 – Nov. 28: Brennan Othmann (Flint Firebirds)
Nov. 15 – Nov. 21: Brandon Coe (North Bay Battalion)
Nov. 8 – Nov. 14: Antonio Stranges (London Knights)
Nov. 1 – Nov. 7: Shane Wright (Kingston Frontenacs)
Oct. 25 – Oct. 31: Tucker Robertson (Peterborough Petes)
Oct. 18 – Oct. 24: Rory Kerins (Soo Greyhounds)
Oct. 11 – Oct. 17: Calum Ritchie (Oshawa Generals)
Oct. 4 – Oct. 10: Jack Thompson (Sudbury Wolves)

Steelheads’ Joe Ranger Named OHL Goaltender of the Week

Joe Ranger of the Mississauga Steelheads is the OHL Goaltender of the Week, helping the Steelheads remain on top of the standings by posting a 3.00 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and turning aside 60 shots in a pair of victories.

Ranger made 35 saves on Wednesday as the Steelheads won a Central Division showdown, defeating the visiting North Bay Battalion 5-4 despite being outshot 39-22. He was solid in a New Year’s Eve road win over the Sudbury Wolves on Friday, making 25 saves as the Trout took it 8-2 for their fourth straight win.

A 19-year-old native of Carp, Ont., Ranger currently leads the League in goals-against average (1.93) and save percentage (.929) while posting a 9-2-1-0 record with two shutouts over 13 games. He’s played to an overall record of 15-12-5-0 with a 3.40 goals-against average and .885 save percentage in 39 career OHL regular season games with Mississauga. Ranger was originally the Steelheads’ fourth round (63rd overall) pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection and joins Roman Basran as the second Mississauga netminder to earn the award this season.

Also considered for recognition this week, Saginaw Spirit rookie Andrew Oke went 2-1-0-0 with a 2.62 goals-against average and .908 save percentage. Flint Firebirds netminder Luke Cavallin was 1-0-0-1 with a 2.41 goals-against average and .918 save percentage.

2021-22 OHL Goaltenders of the Week – Regular Season:
Dec. 27 – Jan. 2: Joe Ranger (Mississauga Steelheads)
Dec. 13 – Dec. 19: Owen Bennett (Guelph Storm)
Dec. 6 – Dec. 12: Mack Guzda (Barrie Colts)
Nov. 29 – Dec. 5: Leevi Merilainen (Kingston Frontenacs)
Nov. 22 – Nov. 28: Tye Austin (Peterborough Petes)
Nov. 15 – Nov. 21: Ben Gaudreau (Sarnia Sting)
Nov. 8 – Nov. 14: Joe Vrbetic (North Bay Battalion
Nov. 1 – Nov. 7: Roman Basran (Mississauga Steelheads)
Oct. 25 – Oct. 31: Patrick Leaver (Oshawa Generals)
Oct. 18 – Oct. 24: Jacob Oster (Guelph Storm)
Oct. 11 – Oct. 17: Brett Brochu (London Knights)
Oct. 4 – Oct. 10: Tucker Tynan (Niagara IceDogs)


About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league.

Pavel Mintyukov – Saginaw Spirit – Player Profile

HTWTDOBPOSSHOOTSOHL DRAFTNHLCSCOUNTRY
6’2”19011-25-2003DL52nd ImportA – NovemberRUSSIA
SEASONLEAGUETEAMGPGAPTS
2018-19Under-16Russia Under-162491120
 Under-18Russia Under-1872810
2019-20MHLDynamo Moskva33123
 WHC U-17Russia6055
2020-21OHLDID NOT PLAY    
Pavel Mintyukov of the Saginaw Spirit. Photo by Natalie Shaver/OHL Images

Saginaw Spirit defenceman Pavel Mintyukov arrived in the Ontario Hockey League primarily known for his offensive contributions. Don’t let his MHL (OHL equivalent in Russia) fool you as he was playing above his age group starting there as a 16-year-old.

Mintyukov’s offensive game has come as advertised. Despite playing in fewer games, he’s third among draft eligible defensemen in points (22 points in 27 games) and second on goals (6 goals in 27 games) at this point.

Mintyukov is a gambler, willing to make high risk plays from the blueline. The fact is he checks off all the boxes necessary to pull them off: Skating, stick handling, vision, hockey sense, you name it, he’s got it and he quite possibly end up as the best offensive defenceman in the OHL draft class.

In his own zone, Mintyukov retrieve’s pucks quickly. He will draw in forecheckers and beat them on the transition mostly with his skating, but he can make a great first pass out of his zone. His ability to stickhandle in a phone booth is up there with the best of them.

What makes Mintyukov a high-risk high-reward type of player is that he makes those same high risk plays in his own zone as he does in the offensive zone and he can leave you scratching your head with his decision making. I love a player who has the confidence in his abilities and is willing to take risks, but he does need to reel them in some. In fairness, he has taken the steps to pick his spots better, but it is a work in progress.

You can certainly find a “safer” pick among OHL blueliners, but they don’t possess Mintyukov’s offensive talent. And you could say that sometimes he looks disinterested or doesn’t put in the effort. Some who cover the OHL suggest they would take him before Ty Nelson of the North Bay Battalion and is the clear number one blueliner. Others say they prefer the safer picks.

Myself? I believe if Mintyukov can put it all together he has the ability to be a top pairing defenceman at the NHL level. It all comes down to whether you believe he can. We’re only half way through the OHL season. Once the season comes to an end, we’ll have a better understanding on where he fits.

OHL WRITERS’ DRAFT ELGIBLE PLAYERS OF THE MONTH: DECEMBER 2021

The Ontario Hockey League had to postpone more games than anyone wanted to see in December due to the COVID-19 Protocols, but there were some pretty good performances that should not be ignored.

Pavel Cajan of the Kitchener Rangers. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images

In previous season, I looked for one performance that I would feel comfortable saying that player was the Player of the Month. But because of the lost season one year ago and the number of players re-entering the NHL Entry Draft in 2022, I decided for this year to select one forward, one defenceman and one goaltender. Here we go.

Up front, It’s Mississauga Steelheads forward Luca DelBelBelluz who scored 4 goals and 9 assists in 9 contests in the month of December and a whopping 31 shots on goal. He had 4 multi point games including a four-assist night against North Bay on December 29 and he was held off the scoresheet in just two contests.

DelBelBelluz now has 15 goals and 21 assists on the season and sits second in points on the Steelheads just two points behind James Hardie. Among draft eligible players, he is third in points, tied for third in goals and second in assists and easily leads all draft eligible players in plus/minus with a plus-27.

Also considered were a pair of Hamilton Bulldogs. Avery Hayes had 6 goals and 7 assists in 9 games while Ryan Humphrey had 3 goals and 8 assists in 9 games. Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs had 3 goals and 7 assists but played in just 4 games because of the World Junior Championships and the Fronts being in COVID protocol.

On the blueline I could have gone a number of different ways but settled on Kirill Kudryavtsev of the Soo Greyhounds. The 5’11, 200-pound Russian scored once and added 6 assists in 7 games for the Greyhounds raising his totals to 2 goals and 16 assists in 28 games on the season.

I gave the nod to Kudryavtsev because I liked his all-around game. He was kept off the scoresheet in 2 of those 7 games, but the Greyhounds were 0-1-1 in those games. In the 5 games he registered a point? 4-0-1. He is an important player on the Greyhounds blueline as a rookie.

Also considered were Saginaw Spirit defenceman Pavel Mintyukov with 3 goals and 5 assists in 10 games, Samuel Mayer of the Peterborough Petes with 3 goals and 3 assists in 7 games, Ty Nelson of the North Bay Battalion with 8 assists in 9 games and Rodwin Dionicio of the Niagara IceDogs with a goal and 5 assists in 5 games.

The decision in net was the easiest and that was Pavel Cajan of the Kitchener Rangers. The draft re-entry netminder simply gives the Rangers a chance every time he mans the crease. He went 4-1-1 in the month of December with a stellar .919 save-percentage.

In his only regulation loss, Cajan stopped 32 of 34 shots in a 2-1 loss to the Windsor Spitfires. In his only other loss – in overtime- he stopped 34 of 38 shots in a 4-3 OT loss to the Soo Greyhounds. On the season Cajan has a save-percentage of .904 – third among draft eligible goalies and a goals-against-average of 3.23 – fifth among draft eligible goalies.

Also considered was North Bay Battalion netminder Dom DiVincentiis. In 4 appearances he went 1-2-0 with a .909 save-percentage

FORWARDS

December – Luca DelBelBelluz – Mississauga Steelheads

November – Kyle Jackson – North Bay Battalion

October – Tucker Robertson – Peterborough Petes

DEFENCEMEN

December – Kirill Kudryavtsev – Soo Greyhounds

November – Gavin While – Hamilton Bulldogs

October – Ty Nelson – North Bay Battalion

GOALTENDERS

December – Pavel Cajan – Kitchener Rangers

November – Patrick Leaver – Oshawa Generals

October – Brett Brochu – London Knights

OHL’s DRAFT ELIGIBLE STATISTICAL LEADERS ENDING DECEMBER 31, 2021

Tucker Robertson of the Peterborough Petes. Photo by Robert Lefebvre/OHL Images

Happy New Year everyone! Here’s to hoping for a fantastic 2022 and hockey everywhere will be able to continue their seasons.

As you know, the Ontario Hockey League had to postpone a large number of games due to the COVID-19 pandemic as over half the league is in COVID protocol. As much as I hate to admit it, I hope that the OHL follows the lead of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and suspends all action for a couple of weeks.

That said, there were games played in the month of December, and as is always the case, we look at players eligible for the National Hockey League Entry Draft and the statistical leaders in a variety of different categories. Some players have obviously played more games than others due to the postponement of games, but eventually, those games will be made up.

In past years, we’ve always looked at first time draft eligible players. But, because of the lost OHL season a year ago, there are too many players re-entering the draft this time around and we are including them. There are some third-time eligible players re-entering the draft, but we are not including them here with the exception of Brett Brochu of the London Knights as he only made the 2020 NHL Entry Draft by 5 days. If an NHL team is interested in those players, they are more likely to sign a professional contract as free agents rather than a team using a draft pick on them.

One of those players re-entering the draft is Tucker Robertson of the Peterborough Petes. Robertson leads all draft eligible players in points, goals and goals, sits second in assists and third in faceoff winning percentage. A pair of Hamilton Bulldogs are also on the list. Avery Hayes is second to Robertson in goals and fourth in points, while Gavin White is second among defencemen in points and assists.

While we take great care in compiling stats, always refer to the OHL website for official statistics.

Points Leaders
PlayerTeamGPGAPts
Tucker RobertsonPeterborough Petes26192241
Kyle JacksonNorth Bay Battalion23152237
Luca DelBelBelluzMississauga Steelheads28152136
Avery HayesHamilton Bulldogs29161430
Shane WrightKingston Frontenacs22111930
Nolan BurkeSarnia Sting25141327
Denis GoureOwen Sound Attack25121426
Ryan HumphreyHamilton Bulldogs2991726
Ty NelsonNorth Bay Battalion3152126
Owen BeckMississauga Steelheads28121325
Goal Scoring Leaders
PlayerTeamGPGGPG
Tucker RobertsonPeterborough Petes26190.73
Avery HayesHamilton Bulldogs29160.55
Kyle JacksonNorth Bay Battalion23150.65
Luca DelBelBelluzMississauga Steelheads28150.54
Nolan DannSarnia Sting25150.60
Nolan BurkeSarnia Sting25140.56
Vsevolod GaidamakOttawa 67’s27140.52
Denis GoureOwen Sound Attack25120.48
Owen BeckMississauga Steelheads28120.43
Colton SmithLondon Knights26120.46
Assist Leaders
PlayerTeamGPAAPG
Kyle JacksonNorth Bay Battalion23220.96
Tucker RobertsonPeterborough Petes26220.85
Luca DelBelBelluzMississauga Steelheads28210.75
Ty NelsonNorth Bay Battalion31210.68
Shane WrightKingston Frontenacs22190.86
Gavin WhiteHamilton Bulldogs29190.66
Ryan HumphreyHamilton Bulldogs29170.59
Jake KarabelaGuelph Storm27160.59
Pavel MintyukovSaginaw Spirit27160.59
Kirill KudryavtsevSoo Greyhounds28160.57
Defencemen Point Leaders
PlayerTeamGPGAPts
Ty NelsonNorth Bay Battalion3152126
Gavin WhiteHamilton Bulldogs2941923
Pavel MintyukovSaginaw Spirit2761622
Christian KyrouErie Otters2651520
Samuel MayerPeterborough Petes2681018
Kirill KudryavtsevSoo Greyhounds2821618
Roberto ManciniSaginaw Spirit276915
Rodwin DionicioNiagara IceDogs2421315
Michael BuchingerGuelph Storm2701515
Luca D’AmatoFlint Firebirds245712
Plus/Minus Leaders
PlayerTeamGP+/-
Luca DelBelBelluzMississauga Steelheads28+27
Isaiah GeorgeLondon Knights26+17
Tnias MathurinNorth Bay Battalion22+16
Ryan HumphreyHamilton Bulldogs29+16
Avery HayesHamilton Bulldogs29+15
Dylan GordonMississauga Steelheads16+13
Matthew PoitrasGuelph Storm27+13
Jorian DonovanHamilton Bulldogs29+13
Ethan MacKinnonLondon Knights20+12
Kyle JacksonNorth Bay Battalion23+12
Penalty Minutes Leaders
PlayerTeamGPPIMM/G
Liam ArnsbyNorth Bay Battalion29491.69
Thomas JohnstonOttawa 67’s22431.95
Samuel MayerPeterborough Petes26421.62
Ryan HumphreyHamilton Bulldogs29411.41
Roberto ManciniSaginaw Spirit27391.44
Landon McCallumSudbury Wolves24361.50
Teddy SawyerOttawa 67’s27351.30
Lawson SherkHamilton Bulldogs27331.22
Nathan PooleKingston Frontenacs20311.55
Stepan MachacekOwen Sound Attack25281.12
Faceoff Leaders
PlayerTeamGPFOAFOW%
Owen BeckMississauga Steelheads2858635961.3
Landon McCallumSudbury Wolves2427916458.8
Tucker RobertsonPeterborough Petes2666938557.5
Jacob MailletWindsor Spitfires2824313957.2
Max NamestnikovSarnia Sting2530116454.5
Cedrick GuindonOwen Sound Attack2527314854.2
Nolan BurkeSarnia Sting2522512254.2
Danny ZhilkinGuelph Storm2747925954.1
Amadeus LombardiFlint Firebirds2427014553.7
Ethan LarmandSudbury Wolves2438120052.5
Minumum 225 faceoffs
Shooting Percentage Leaders
PlayerTeamGPShotsGoalsSH%
Jonathan MeleeHamilton Bulldogs2621628.6
Kyle JacksonNorth Bay Battalion26531528.3
Dean LoukusSaginaw Spirit2532928.1
Braeden BowmanGuelph Storm19361027.8
Tucker RobertsonPeterborough Petes26721926.4
Thomas JohnstonOttawa 67’s2228725.0
Gavin BryantOwen Sound Attack2024625.0
Nolan BurkeSarnia Sting25591423.7
Cameron LoweErie Otters2517423.5
Nolan DannSarnia Sting25661522.7
Goaltenders Leaders – Goals Against Average
PlayerTeamGPMinGAAvg
Brett BrochuLondon Knights221306542.48
Jacob OsterGuelph Storm15776403.09
Dom DiVincentiisNorth Bay Battalion12652343.13
Patrick LeaverOshawa Generals191083583.21
Pavel CajanKitchener Rangers171023553.23
Samuel IvanovSoo Greyhounds201145693.62
Nolan LalondeErie Otters221263803.80
Ian MicheloneFlint Firebirds8476324.03
Andrew OkeSaginaw Spirit14782554.22
Goaltending Leaders – Save Percentage
PlayerTeamGPSHSVSSV%
Brett BrochuLondon Knights226806260.921
Patrick LeaverOshawa Generals196155570.906
Pavel CajanKitchener Rangers175745190.904
Dom DiVincentiisNorth Bay Battalion123242900.895
Ian MicheloneFlint Firebirds82872550.889
Jacob OsterGuelph Storm153413010.883
Nolan LalondeErie Otters226685880.880
Samuel IvanovSoo Greyhounds205514820.875
Michael SimpsonPeterborough Petes185414710.871