National Hockey League Central Scouting releases it’s updated players to watch list today and as we peruse the list, we find 46 players from the Ontario Hockey League and 4 from the Ontario Junior Hockey League making the grade as either an A, B, or C prospect.
An A prospect is considered a first round talent, while a B prospect is considered a second or third rounder, while a C prospect is considered a fourth, fifth or sixth rounder.
Just three players, all from the OHL, are given consideration as first rounders by Central Scouting. RyanSuzuki of Barrie, ArthurKaliyev of Hamilton and VladislavKolyachonok of Flint will find their names under the A heading.
It doesn’t get much better for B prospects as only sixteen, again all from the OHL, find their names on the list to potentially go in the next two rounds. Two goaltenders will find themselves among the sixteen, HunterJones of Peterborough and KariPiiroinen of Windsor.
Three other goaltenders from the OHL will also find themselves making the grade, but as C prospects.
Six players from the OHL are re-entering the draft and make the list. They include: NathanDunkley and Billy Moskal (London), Nando Eggenberger (Oshawa), David Maier and Matthew Struthers (North Bay) and Merrick Rippon (Ottawa).
Here are the OHL and OJHL players on Central’s list:
The 2019 National Hockey League Draft is considered to be a very good draft with some depth. But for Ontario Hockey League players, it’s one of the poorest in a long time. That doesn’t mean there are not some players of interest.
Ryan Suzuki of the Barrie Colts and Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs will garner a lot of attention as top first round picks. Offensively, they are the leaders in most statistical categories and barring injury, the two will flip flop at the top of the leader board as the season progresses. A player starting to garner some attention is Cole MacKay of the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds. He sits quietly in third place in points with 17, behind Kaliyev and Suzuki at 24 a piece.
On defence, Billy Consantinou of the Niagara Ice Dogs and Thomas Harley of the Mississauga Steelheads lead the way with 11 points. Both are also in the top 10 in league scoring among draft eligibles. You will also find Constantinou among the leaders in plus/minus and penalty minutes.
When it comes to draft eligible players from the 2018-2019 Ontario Hockey League season, most of the attention will be focused around Ryan Suzuki of the Barrie Colts and Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs, and rightfully so.
Unless you are the most ardent follower, then a young netminder from the Peterborough Petes being named our draft eligible player of the month may come as a surprise to you. That young netminder is none other than Hunter Jones.
Don’t be fooled by his 6-5-0 record during the month of October. The Petes have suffered through some key injuries and had it not been for Jones, that record could have been worse. In those eleven contests in October, Jones posted a remarkable .939 save percentage.
As of today, no goaltender has played more minutes then Jones (897) including some seasoned veterans: Jacob Ingham (780), Cedrick Andree (755), Matthew Villalta (719) and Michael DiPietro (641). Jones has also faced more rubber (527) then any other goaltender, 127 more then Ingham and stopped more shots (491), 130 more then Stephen Dhillon of the Niagara Ice Dogs.
Jones currently sits forth in goals against average among goaltenders with four or more starts with a 2.41 goals-against average. He currently sits second in save percentage at .931.
Jones was the OHL goaltender of the week and runner up to the CHL goaltender of the week for the week of October 8-14 – he was both the OHL and CHL goaltender of the week on opening week.
His performance earned him an invitation to participate for Team OHL in the upcoming Canada-Russia Super Series, a precursor to the World Junior Championships.
Also considered were Suzuki, who posted 2 goals and 11 assists in 9 games, Kaliyev and his 7 goals and 4 assists in 11 games and Cole MacKay of the Soo Greyhounds who recorded 2 goals and 10 assists in 11 games.
At the 2018 National Hockey League Draft, the Los Angeles Kings selected JacobIngham of the Mississauga Steelheads in the sixth round, 175th overall, while the Las Vegas Goldens Knights chose London Knights puck stopper JordanKooy in the seventh round, 208th overall.
At the 2017 Draft, the Vancouver Canucks selected MichaelDiPietro of the Windsor Spitfires in the third round, 64th overall. Also selected in the third round was Sault Ste Marie netminder MatthewVillalta, 72nd overall by the Los Angeles Kings. KadenFulcher of the Hamilton Bulldogs and KyleKeyser of the Oshawa Generals were signed as free agents by the Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins respectively before the start of the 2017-2018 season.
In 2016, TylerParsons of the London Knights was selected in the second round, 54th overall, by the Calgary Flames. The New Jersey Devils would nab EvanCormier from the Saginaw Spirit in the fourth round, 105th overall. DylanWells of the Peterborough Petes was selected in the fifth round. 123rd overall, by the Flames neighbours the Edmonton Oilers. while the Carolina Hurricanes would take JeremyHelvig of the Kingston Frontenacs in the fifth round, 134th overall.
In 2015, MacKenzieBlackwood would be the only Ontario Hockey League goaltender selected at the draft. The New Jersey Devils would select Blackwood in the second round, 42 overall.
Ask around in hockey circles and many would tell you that goaltending is an area of weakness in the OHL when it comes to the NHL Draft. 2017 looks good at the moment, but Fulcher and Keyser were never drafted which means all 31 NHL Clubs passed on them seven times.
So why would 2019, which takes place in Vancouver, British Columbia, on June 21-22 be any different? Well the simple answer is: I don’t know. I don’t have some magic crystal ball that helps predict the future. Just the sheer number of goaltenders entering their draft year adds some intrigue. Add to them a couple of undrafted goaltenders that will be re-entering the draft adds another dimension.
During the 2016-2017 OHL season, an undrafted (in the OHL) Villalta drew my attention very early on. And as the season progressed, his draft stock began to rise. All the way to number 72 in the draft. So, is there another Matthew Villalta knocking at the door in 2018-2019?
When NHL Central Scouting released it’s players to watch list earlier this month, five OHL goaltenders were found on the list. They include MackGuzda of the Owen Sound Attack as a B prospect, LukeCavallin of the Flint Firebirds, HunterJones of the Peterborough Petes, NicholasDaws of the Guelph Storm, and KariPiiroinen of the Windsor Spitfires, all as C prospects. (a B prospect is considered a second or third rounder while a C prospect is considered a fourth, fifth or sixth round prospect).
It was no surprise to see Guzda at the top of Central’s list as he already had the benefit of an OHL season under his belt. During the 2017-2018 season, Guzda appeared in 30 games for the Attack posting a 3.20 goals-against average and .879 save percentage. But it has been a less-then-expected start for Guzda and his Attack Team. In seven games he boasts a 2-5-0-0 record with a save percentage at just .859 and a goals-against average of 4.11. But I have no doubt that he will improve on those stats as the season progresses.
Much like Villalta during the 2016-2017 season, if you haven’t started paying attention to the Petes’ Hunter Jones, then you should probably start now before you lag behind. He leads all OHL goaltenders in appearances (10), minutes played (539), shots faced (323), saves (303) and wins (8). Among puck stoppers who have played in four or more contests, he trails only Kooy in goals-against average (2.22 versus 2.01) and leads all netminders in save percentage (.938).
In eight of the complete games Jones has started this season, he has faced under 35 shots just twice. He had one poor start, allowing 6 goals against the Hamilton Bulldogs in two periods on September 29, 2018. His other starts would be a record setting pace.
Speaking of the Bulldogs, not making Central Scouting’s opening list is Hamilton netminder ZacharyRoy. One has to wonder if things keep going the way they are in the Steel City, if there will be a goaltending controversy in the crease. NickDonofrio, who went undrafted in 2018 and re-enters the draft, was the backup last season to Fulcher and the incumbent starter for this season.
It’s been a slow start for Donofrio, posting a 3-3-1-0 record with a 3.74 goals-against average and .881 save percentage. Roy was given his first OHL start on October 10 and put in a brilliant 42 save performance in a 5-2 victory over the Windsor Spitfires. A week later, Roy was given the start against the Mississauga Steelheads stopping 29 of 30 shots and getting the 5-1 victory. He was rewarded for his performance and started in back-to-back games and getting a 6-5 overtime victory on the road against the Oshawa Generals. Roy now has a 2.61 goals-against average and .929 save percentage.
Perhaps the goaltender that is going to be the toughest to get a read on is Flint Firebirds’ Luke Cavallin. The Firebirds are off to a dismal start at 0-9-0-0 having allowed the most goals (53) and scoring the fewest (17) so wins are going to be tough to come by in Flint.
EmanuelVella is the number one goaltender in Flint. Cavallin has only appeared in two complete games this season, five in total. He’s come on in relief of Vella twice, not allowing a goal on both occasions. But he was also given the hook on one occasion in a game everyone would like to forget, a 12-1 drubbing by the Erie Otters.
The only way to get a good read on Cavallin is to hope he plays and plays a lot and to constantly have eyes on his performance and not paying attention to the outcome. Because the outcome may not be pretty.
Kari Piiroinen of the Windsor Spitfires is in kind of a similar situation. Not that the Spits are the Firebirds, but that you need to have eyes on Piiroinen constantly as you never know when he will make his next appearance. At least that is what one would think when you are backing up the best netminder in the OHL in Micheal DiPietro.
However, the Finnish born Piiroinen has started three of the Spits nine games and came on in relief of DiPietro in another. He boasts a 2-2-0-0 record with a goals-against average of 2.70 and a save percentage of .913, all of which are better then DiPietro’s stats. It’s possible the Spitfires might consider trading DiPietro in order to recoup some assets and that could benefit Piiroinen and his draft stock.
In Sault Ste Marie, Villalta is the incumbent for the Greyhounds. They began the season with OHL veteran TylerJohnson as his backup, but he has since made the jump to the Lincoln Stars of the United States Hockey League. In comes EthanTaylor, who was not on Central Scouting’s list.
Taylor has gotten 2 starts in the last ten days and has come on in relief of Villalta where he stopped all 15 shots he faced in a 6-2 loss the Ottawa 67’s handed the Greyhounds. Taylor has exceptional numbers: a 1-0-1-0 record to go along with his 1.65 goals-against average and .973 save percentage. There was a lot of intrigue surrounding Taylor, and with Johnson moving on, a window of opportunity has opened up for him. Now he has to make the best of his chances when his number is called upon.
The Guelph Storm’s Nicholas Daws did make Central Scouting’s list. He appeared in 14 games for the Storm a season ago posting a goals-against average of 4.06 and a save percentage of .880 and a 1-7-1-1 record. He has started three games for the Storm this season and his stats have regressed from a year ago with his 4.25 goals-against average and .843 saver percentage and a 2-1-0-0 record.
Daws is backing up veteran AnthonyPopovich and will likely see more starts then the other backups who are draft eligible. The Storm currently lead the Midwest Division, second overall in the league, with a 6-2-1-0 record but with the league’s eighth worst goals allowed (33). There is a real opportunity here for Daws and the Storm if he can put it all together and improve on his early season start.
RyanDugas of the 3-7-0-0 Kingston Frontenacs is another netminder not on Central Scouting’s list. The Fronts occupy the basement of the East Division and are third from the bottom in the entire league. Although he is backing up veteran BrendanBonello, Dugas has been a bright spot of sorts for Kingston.
Dugas has appeared in 4 games, one of those being in relief of Bonello, and has a 2-1-0-0 record. His first OHL game was a 27 save shutout performance on September 29 against the Erie Otters. He holds a 2.52 goals-against average and .916 save percentage. He is Kingston’s goalie of the future and if he can steal some starts – and wins – he will draw some attention.
Finally, we have to give a mention to Barrie Colts netminder JetGreaves. Currently behind veteran KaiEdmonds and 2017 Vegas Golden Knights draft pick MaksimZhukov who the Colts selected in the 2018 Import Draft, I really like Greaves coming into the season if not for name alone.
The fact is that Edmonds and Zhukov were not getting it done for the Colts, who sit second to last in the Central Division and Greaves got a chance and has outperformed his partners. Although he has a 1-1-0-0 record, his loss came against the Mississauga Steelheads in which he stopped 28 of 30 shots and his teammates could only score once.
Greaves holds a 1.52 goals-against average with a .949 save percentage. It could be in the Colts best interest to give him more starts right now and see if he can run with it.
With all that said and out of the way, 2019 is not the best draft class to come out of the OHL. In fact, it could be one of the worst ever for the OHL. And that could bode well for a goaltending class that is better then usual – at least in sheer numbers.
It’s happening more and more when the National Hockey League Draft takes place in late June. Grandsons, sons, brothers and cousins of former NHL’ers and other professional leagues from around the world look to carve their own niche and it all begins with hearing their names called on the draft floor, which takes place in Vancouver, British Columbia on June 21-22, 2019.
There is no shortage of Ontario Hockey League players that will be in that position. A total of 17 players eligible for the draft for the first time have had a relative play in the NHL, drafted by an NHL squad, or played some form of professional hockey.
Today, we take a look at those players beginning with the Barrie Colts. The Colts have 3 players with bloodlines. Defenceman Victor Hadfield is the grandson on former NHL’er Vic Hadfield who appeared in 1002 NHL games with the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Center Ryan Suzuki is the younger brother of Nick Suzuki, a first round pick of the Vegas Golden Knights, selected thirteenth overall in 2017 and later traded to the Montreal Canadiens. Finally, goaltender Luke Cavallin is the son of Mark who played professional hockey in Germany and represented Canada internationally in 25 contests. He also has a younger brother Adam playing Bantam Hockey.
The Guelph Storm also have a trio with hockey in their blood and hockey fans will certainly recognize two of the names. Centreman Mason Primeau is the son of Wayne Primeau and nephew of Keith Primeau. Wayne played in 774 NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres, Tampa Bay Lightning, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs. Keith appeared in 909 games with the Detroit Red Wings, Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers.
Left Winger Tag Bertuzzi is the son of former NHL’er Todd Bertuzzi. His NHL career consisted of 1159 games with the New York Islanders, Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers, Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames and Detroit Red Wings. He is also the cousin of Tyler Bertuzzi who has thus far played in 58 NHL games with the Detroit Red Wings.
German born Hamilton Bulldogs’ forward TimFleischer has a brother Marc, who is just three years older and trying to make Germany’s top league.
Kitchener Rangers’ blueliner JackYork is the son of former NHL’er Jason York, who played a total of 757 games for Detroit, Anaheim Ducks, Ottawa Senators, Nashville Predators and Boston. The elder York also spent the lockout year in the Swiss League. Jack also has a younger brother Matthew playing in the CCHL.
For the London Knights, defenceman AndrewPerrott is the son of Nathan Perrott, a forward with 89 NHL games experience, who also played 266 American Hockey League games and 168 International Hockey League games.
Also from the Knights, is centreman Matvey Guskov. His father Alexander never played in the NHL but competed in 294 Kontinental Hockey League games and 468 games in the top Russian League (prior to the formation of the KHL). He also appeared in 54 international contests for the Russians.
Oshawa Generals right wing DanilAntropov is the son of former NHL’er Nik Antropov, a veteran of 788 NHL games with the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Atlanta Thrashers and Winnipeg Jets. Nik also played in 168 KHL games over his career.
MackGuzda is a goaltender with the Owen Sound Attack and the son of a former goaltender Brad Guzda. The elder puck stopper never did play in the NHL but spent his career bouncing around the AHL, ECHL and IHL. He is also the cousin of Jeff Woywitka who played in 278 NHL games as well as 355 AHL games and a couple of seasons in Germany.
Peterborough Petes centreman NickRobertson is the younger brother of Kingston Frontenacs scoring star and the 37th overall pick at the 2017 NHL draft Jason Robertson. They also have an older brother Michael currently playing at the University of Southern California.
That brings us to NathanStaios, a defenceman with the Windsor Spitfires and the son of the current General Manager of the Hamilton Bulldogs, Steve Staios. Steve had a long career, appearing in 1001 NHL games with the Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks, Atlanta Thrashers, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and New York Islanders. He also appeared in 64 AHL games and 104 IHL games.
If you are a fan of the Ontario Hockey League and the National Hockey League Draft is your thing, you might want to wait until day two of the two day event to be held June 21 and 22 from Vancouver, British Columbia.
The 2019 draft is considered to be a strong and deep draft with strength at every position. While it is still very early, the fact that this could be a down year for the OHL as it pertains to the draft is proving to be just that.
Just two OHL’ers, Ryan Suzuki of the Barrie Colts and Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs are listed on NHL Central Scouting’s players to watch list as “A prospects.” An A prospect is considered to have first round potential.
It gets slightly better for “B prospects”, typically considered to have second and third round potential. That list includes goaltender Mack Guzda of the Owen Sound Attack, widely considered the top goaltender available from the OHL.
The OHL could be hard pressed to reach the 35 players selected from their league in 2018 and might be closer to the all time low of 31 selected at the 2015 NHL Draft. It’s a far cry from the 56 drafted in 1999. In the past 28 years, on average, 43 players have been drafted from the OHL.
Here are the OHL players listed on Central Scouting list:
We are two weeks into the Ontario Hockey League season and so begins our watch of the league’s players eligible for the 2019 National Hockey League Draft that comes your way on June 21 and 22, 2019 from Vancouver British Columbia.
Our draft watch begins with the league’s statistical leaders as of September 30, 2018 and has always been the case at OHL Writers, we list players eligible for the NHL Draft for the first time – those passed over in previous years are not included.
Despite being a handful of games into the season, Ryan Suzuki of the Barrie Colts and Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs are beginning to show why they are considered the top two prospects from the OHL in most circles.
Nothing is decided in September of course. But it all starts here and we’ll strive to keep tabs on the prospects for your pleasure throughout the season.
Here are the OHL leaders in a variety of statistical categories:
Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs and Nick Robertson of the Peterborough Petes, both of whom represented Team USA at the recently completed Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, will take part at the All American Prospects Game as a precursor to the 2019 National Hockey League Draft.
For those unfamiliar with the event, it is America’s version of the CHL Top Prospects Game, held each season and involves only players eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft. This years AAPG takes place on September 19, 2018 at the Xcel Energy Center in Minnesota. The CHL Top Prospects Game will take place on January 23, 2019 in Red Deer Alberta. Kaliyev and Robertson will also be eligible for the CHL Game.
Here are the players that will be competing at the American event:
Intriguing roster for the Swiss Team at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup with a mix of smaller players and those with decent size. The Swiss defence is the most balanced of any team in the tournament – when it comes to left and right shooting blueliners. But it’s a different story when it comes to the forwards. Of the twelve forwards on the roster, only one shoots from the right hip and that is Aron Welter.
There are no Ontario Hockey League players on the club. Dean Schwenninger of the Western Hockey League is the only Canadian Hockey League player to make the squad. Cédric Fiedler has both Swiss and American citizenship.
Team Canada announced its roster for the 2018 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, which begins august 6, 2018 in Edmonton and Red Deer, and of the 22 players named to the roster, just four hail from the Ontario Hockey League.
Michael Vukojevic (Kitchener Rangers), Graeme Clarke (Ottawa 67’s), Jamieson Rees (Sarnia Sting) and Ryan Suzuki (Barrie Colts) are your OHL’ers on Team Canada.