Ryan Suzuki – Barrie Colts – Player Profile

Height: 6’

Weight: 170 pounds

Date of birth: May 28, 2001

Hometown: London, Ontario

Position: Center

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: 1st overall pick, 2017 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings: Pre-season, November: A prospect. Mid-term: 10th overall, NA

Barrie Colts’ pivot Ryan Suzuki is the younger brother of the Guelph Storm’s Nick Suzuki, who was the 13th overall pick at the 2017 National Hockey League Draft by the Vegas Golden Knights (since traded to the Montreal Canadiens). Many in the scouting community coming into this season believed Ryan would be picked higher then his elder brother come this June in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Ryan played his Minor Midget AAA hockey with the London Jr Knights during the 2016-2017 season amassing 19 goals and 40 assists in 32 games. He would add 9 goals and 13 assists in 11 playoff games, leading the Knights to the Championship. He led the league in assists and points and was named the Alliance Hockey Player of the Year.

Following his Minor Midget season, he would appear in 1 game with the London Nationals of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League scoring 2 goals. And in 6 playoff games he recorded a goal and 3 assists.

Ontario Hockey League Central Scouting had this to say about Ryan:

Ryan is one of the most skilled players in this year’s Priority Selection. He is the type of player that makes

everyone around him better. Ryan is an unselfish player that sees the ice better than most at this age group. He makes plays that a lot of people don’t see developing from the stands and his passes are usually tape to tape. He is a good skater with the ability to beat players off the rush. He is dangerous every time he is on the ice. Ryan will be an offensive force in the OHL.

Ryan Suzuki of the Barrie Colts. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Ryan Suzuki of the Barrie Colts. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images

Ryan appeared in 64 games for the Colts last season compiling 14 goals and 30 assists. He would be named to the OHL Second All-Rookie Team. Ryan would also represent Canada at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17. In 6 games he scored 3 goals and 4 assists, helping Team Red capture a silver medal.

This season began with Ryan representing Canada once again, this time with Team Canada at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. He scored once and added 7 helpers and helping Canada win a Gold Medal.

The Colts did not make the playoffs this season, and sadly, Ryan’s OHL season has come to an end. He appeared in 65 games and scored 25 goals and 50 assists.

One area of Ryan’s game that he needs to work on is faceoffs. His game is best suited down the middle so improve on winning 453 of 989 draws (45.8%) is vital.

The second area is learning to be a more selfish player. Possessing the threat that you might shoot to go along with what borders on elite playmaking abilities opens up more possibilities. And Ryan has a very good shot. His shot percentage is at 16.5%, but when you consider he is at 18.2% from the low danger zone areas of the ice (19 of his goals come from that area), then you can see he can beat goaltenders from any area.

As mentioned, Ryan’s playmaking abilities border on elite. He sees the ice extremely well, and sees things developing before they actually do. And he can deliver a tape-to-tape pass or lead a teammate with a pass. The fact that 29 of his assists are primary assists speaks to the fact that he can deliver the disc for a scoring threat.

As much as Ryan is an offensive threat on the powerplay (8 goals and 20 assists) he has shown that he can be a threat when down a man as well, although the numbers don’t reflect that (2 goals, 1 assist). He thinks the game so well and has excellent anticipation that he can steal the puck defending and go on the attack in a flash. Defensively he understands the game and works hard at it. You won’t find many coming back on the backcheck harder then he does.

He transitions quickly. While he has good speed, I wouldn’t consider him a speedster. He is excellent at puck possession and gaining the zone with possession.

If you follow the independent scouting services available to you, then you will see there is a mixed bag of where Suzuki is ranked. The rankings are anywhere from 12th overall (including TSN’s Bob McKenzie’s ranking) to 23rd. NHL Central Scouting has him 10th among North American skaters and 2nd among OHL skaters, behind defenceman Thomas Harley of the Mississauga Steelheads.

Personally, I think it comes down to Suzuki and Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs. Take your pick: The playmaker or the goal scorer.

Stat page from Elite Prospects

 

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OHL’s End of Season Draft Eligible Statistical Leaders

Well, the 2018-2019 Ontario Hockey League’s regular season has come to a close. That means it’s time for us to look at players eligible for the 2019 National Hockey League Draft in June and their statistical accomplishments for the season.

For this installment, we’ve added some categories such as shooting percentage from high, mid and low danger zones, primary assists, powerplay goals and more. While we take great care in accumulating stats, always refer to the OHL site for official stats.  We also recommend checking out Prospect-Stats. It is a great resource, but usually takes a day to update.

Harley, Thomas (1)
Thomas Harley of the Mississauga Steelheads. Photo by OHL Images

As in years past, we only include players eligible for the NHL draft for the first time.

Points Leaders
Player Team GP G A Pts
Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton Bulldogs 67 51 51 102
Ryan Suzuki Barrie Colts 65 25 50 75
Connor McMichael London Knights 67 36 36 72
Philip Tomasino Niagara IceDogs 67 34 37 71
Cole MacKay Soo Greyhounds 65 27 34 61
Ethan Keppen Flint Firebirds 68 30 29 59
Thomas Harley Mississauga Steelheads 68 11 47 58
Nick Robertson Peterborough Petes 54 27 28 55
Danil Antropov Oshawa Generals 66 15 37 52
Blake Murray Sudbury Wolves 66 30 20 50
Goal Scoring Leaders
Player Team GP G GPG
Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton Bulldogs 67 51 0.76
Connor McMichael London Knights 67 36 0.54
Philip Tomasino Niagara IceDogs 67 34 0.51
Ethan Keppen Flint Firebirds 68 30 0.44
Blake Murray Sudbury Wolves 66 30 0.45
Cole MacKay Soo Greyhounds 65 27 0.42
Nick Robertson Peterborough Petes 54 27 0.50
Ryan Suzuki Barrie Colts 65 25 0.38
Graeme Clarke Ottawa 67’s 55 23 0.42
Daniel D’Amico Windsor Spitfires 67 21 0.31
Assist Leaders
Player Team GP A APG
Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton Bulldogs 67 51 0.76
Ryan Suzuki Barrie Colts 65 50 0.77
Thomas Harley Mississauga Steelheads 68 47 0.69
Danil Antropov Oshawa Generals 66 37 0.56
Philip Tomasino Niagara IceDogs 67 37 0.55
Connor McMichael London Knights 67 36 0.54
Cole MacKay Soo Greyhounds 65 34 0.52
Keean Washkurak Mississauga Steelheads 66 31 0.47
Cole Schwindt Mississauga Steelheads 68 30 0.44
Ethan Keppen Flint Firebirds 68 29 0.43
Primary Assists
Player Team GP  P1A
Ryan Suzuki Barrie Colts 65 29
Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton Bulldogs 67 28
Connor McMichael London Knights 67 27
Philip Tomasino Niagara IceDogs 67 24
Danil Antropov Oshawa Generals 67 22
Thomas Harley Mississauga Steelheads 68 21
Ethan Keppen Flint Firebirds 68 20
Cole MacKay Soo Greyhounds 65 18
Jamieson Rees Sarnia Sting 37 18
Keean Washkurak Mississauga Steelheads 66 16
Defencemen Point Leaders
Player Team GP G A Pts
Thomas Harley Mississauga Steelheads 68 11 47 58
Billy Constantinou Kingston Frontenacs 66 10 23 33
Vladislav Kolyachonok Flint Firebirds 54 4 26 30
Michael Vukojevic Kitchener Rangers 68 3 27 30
Nathan Staios Windsor Spitfires 64 9 20 29
Jack York Barrie Colts 61 7 21 28
Mason Millman Saginaw Spirit 66 3 22 25
Simon Rose North Bay Battalion 57 3 19 22
Plus/Minus Leaders
Player Team GP +/-
Philip Tomasino Niagara IceDogs 67 +37
Jacob LeGuerrier Soo Greyhounds 68 +33
Nikita Okhotyuk Ottawa 67’s 56 +30
Mason Millman Saginaw Spirit 66 +22
Keegan Stevenson Guelph Storm 55 +21
Cole MacKay Soo Greyhounds 65 +20
Camaryn Baber Saginaw Spirit 48 +17
Grayson Ladd Windsor Spitfires 48 +15
Connor McMichael London Knights 67 +15
Matvey Guskov London Knights 59 +12
Penalty Minutes Leaders
Player Team GP PIM M/G
Navrin Mutter Hamilton Bulldogs 67 96 1.43
Joe Carroll Soo Greyhounds 65 71 1.09
Ethan Keppen Flint Firebirds 68 67 0.99
Michael Vukojevic Kitchener Rangers 68 65 0.96
Mason Primeau North Bay Battalion 69 59 0.86
Keean Washkurak Mississauga Steelheads 66 58 0.88
Nathan Allensen Barrie Colts 67 54 0.81
Faceoff Leaders  (minimum 325 faceoffs)
Player Team GP FOA FOW %
Connor McMichael London Knights 67 595 328 55.1
Tye Kartye Soo Greyhounds 64 438 240 54.8
Blake Murray Sudbury Wolves 66 583 317 54.4
Cole Schwindt Mississauga Steelheads 68 1041 551 52.9
Tyler Angle Windsor Spitfires 58 886 462 52.1
Erik Cermak Peterborough Petes 68 378 193 51.1
Philip Tomasino Niagara IceDogs 67 345 175 50.7
Powerplay Goals
Player Team GP PPG
Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton Bulldogs 67 20
Connor McMichael London Knights 67 10
Cole MacKay Soo Greyhounds 65 9
Graeme Clarke Ottawa 67’s 55 8
Tyler Angle Windsor Spitfires 58 8
Powerplay Assists
Player Team GP PPA
Thomas Harley Mississauga Steelheads 68 26
Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton Bulldogs 67 24
Ryan Suzuki Barrie Colts 65 20
Danil Antropov Oshawa Generals 66 15
Vladislav Kolyachonok Flint Firebirds 54 11
Shorthanded Goals
Player Team GP SHG
Ryan Suzuki Barrie Colts 65 2
Nicholas Porco Saginaw Spirit 67 2
Eric Uba Flint Firebirds 67 2
Grayson Ladd Windsor Spitfires 48 1
Tyler Angle Windsor Spitfires 58 1
Longest Goal Scoring Streak
Player Team From To Gms Goals
Ethan Keppen Flint Firebirds 2/1 2/9 5 7
Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton Bulldogs 12/31 1/6 4 7
Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton Bulldogs 10/13 10/19 4 7
Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton Bulldogs 9/21 9/30 4 6
Thomas Harley Mississauga Steelheads 1/19 1/26 4 4
Longest Assist Streak
Player Team From To Gms Assts
Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton Bulldogs 12/8 12/15 5 8
Jamieson Rees Sarnia Sting 12/12 12/30 5 5
Daniel D’Amico Windsor Spitfires 1/10 1/18 5 5
Cole Schwindt Mississauga Steelheads 2/13 2/22 5 5
Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton Bulldogs 2/2 2/9 4 5
Longest Point Streak
Player Team From To Gms Pts
Ethan Keppen Flint Firebirds 1/2 1/26 11 13
Daniel D’Amico Windsor Spitfires 12/31 1/20 10 14
Philip Tomasino Niagara IceDogs 12/15 1/11 9 17
Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton Bulldogs 1/26 2/13 8 17
Ryan Suzuki Barrie Colts 12/1 1/13 7 15
Shots On Goal Leaders
Player Team GP SOG
Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton Bulldogs 67 320
Connor McMichael London Knights 67 221
Ethan Keppen Flint Firebirds 68 213
Philip Tomasino Niagara IceDogs 67 200
Blake Murray Sudbury Wolves 66 168
Cole McKay Soo Greyhounds 65 165
Shooting Percentage
Player Team SOG G %
Keegan Stevenson Guelph Storm 87 19 21.84
Kyen Sopa Niagara IceDogs 87 19 21.84
Graeme Clarke Ottawa 67’s 116 23 19.83
Blake Murray Sudbury Wolves 168 30 17.86
Cole MacKay Soo Greyhounds 165 27 16.36
High Danger Zone Shooting Percentage
Player Team HDS G %
Connor McMichael London Knights 33 15 45.45
Graeme Clarke Ottawa 67’s 14 6 42.86
Nick Robertson Peterborough Petes 13 5 38.46
Liam Van Loon Hamilton Bulldogs 17 6 35.29
Keegan Stevenson Guelph Storm 24 8 33.33
Mid Danger Zone Shooting Percentage
Player Team MDS G %
Cole MacKay Soo Greyhounds 24 10 41.67
Danil Antropov Oshawa Generals 21 7 33.33
Graeme Clarke Ottawa 67’s 15 4 26.67
Blake Murray Sudbury Wolves 35 9 25.71
Jacob Winterton Flint Firebirds 16 4 25.00
Low Danger Zone Shooting Percentage
Player Team LDS G %
Kyen Sopa Niagara IceDogs 54 11 20.37
Ryan Suzuki Barrie Colts 103 18 17.48
Graeme Clarke Ottawa 67’s 81 12 14.81
Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton Bulldogs 240 34 14.17
Keegan Stevenson Guelph Storm 36 5 13.89
Goaltenders Leaders – Goals Against Average
Player Team GP Min GA Avg
Ethan Taylor Soo Greyhounds 22 983 53 3.23
Nico Daws Guelph Storm 20 1126 61 3.25
Hunter Jones Peterborough Petes 57 3156 174 3.31
Jet Greaves Barrie Colts 27 1411 79 3.36
Zachary Roy Hamilton Bulldogs 44 2508 150 3.59
Mack Guzda Owen Sound Attack 49 2644 160 3.63
Ethan Langevin Saginaw Spirit 43 2235 140 3.76
Kari Piiroinen Windsor Spitfires 27 1445 102 4.24
Ryan Dugas Kingston Frontenacs 15 692 49 4.25
Andre MacLean Owen Sound Attack 32 1446 105 4.36
Luke Cavallin Flint Firebirds 36 1734 151 5.22
Goaltending Leaders – Save Percentage
Player Team GP SH  SVS SV%
Jet Greaves Barrie Colts 27 884 805 0.911
Hunter Jones Peterborough Petes 57 1777 1603 0.902
Ethan Taylor Soo Greyhounds 22 502 449 0.894
Nico Daws Guelph Storm 20 570 509 0.893
Zachary Roy Hamilton Bulldogs 44 1293 1143 0.884
Mack Guzda Owen Sound Attack 49 1307 1147 0.878
Ethan Langevin Sarnia Sting 43 1147 1007 0.878
Kari Piiroinen Windsor Spitfires 27 815 713 0.875
Andre MacLean Owen Sound Attack 32 802 697 0.869
Ryan Dugas Kingston Frontenacs 15 374 325 0.869
Luke Cavallin Flint Firebirds 36 1109 958 0.864
Goaltending Leaders – Wins
Player Team GP W L OL
Hunter Jones Peterborough Petes 57 28 24 4
Zachary Roy Hamilton Bulldogs 44 20 18 3
Mack Guzda Owen Sound Attack 49 20 19 5
Ethan Langevin Sarnia Sting 43 18 15 3
Andre MacLean Owen Sound Attack 32 11 12 1
Goaltending Leaders – Shutouts
Player Team GP SO
Hunter Jones Peterborough Petes 57 3
Mack Guzda Owen Sound Attack 49 2
Ryan Dugas Kingston Frontenacs 15 1
Nico Daws Guelph Storm 20 1
Jet Greaves Barrie Colts 27 1
Kari Piiroinen Windsor Spitfires 27 1
Andre MacLean Owen Sound Attack 32 1

Jacob LeGuerrier – Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds – Player Profile

Height: 6’3

Weight: 200 pounds

Date of birth: November 22, 2000

Hometown: Gloucester, Ontario

Position: Defence

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 8, 150th overall, 2016 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings: Pre-season: C Prospect, November: B Prospect, Mid-term: 72 NA

If you had suggested a season ago, or in the pre-season, that Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds defender Jacob LeGuerrier could rise to a late second or early third rounder at the 2019 National Hockey League Draft, then give yourself a pat on the back because that is exactly what he has done.

The Gloucester, Ontario native played his Minor Midget AAA hockey with the Gloucester Rangers during the 2015-2016 season, scoring twice and adding 5 assists in 27 games. The Greyhounds selected LeGuerrier with the 150th overall pick at the 2016 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection. He won a Minor Bantam AA Championship in 2014 and a Bantam AAA Championship in 2015.

LeGuerrier, Jacob
Jacob LeGuerrier of the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds. Photo by OHL Images

LeGuerrier would make his OHL debut on September 23, 2016 as a 15-year-old and being entrusted with such a task at that age speaks volumes as to how the Greyhounds felt about him. He would appear in 35 games that season and would record 6 assists and a very respectable plus-6.

The following season, LeGuerrier would appear in 62 games notching 11 assists and an even more respectable plus-21. After appearing in 97 OHL regular season games without scoring a goal, he would notch two in the playoffs as the Greyhounds made it to the OHL Finals, eventually falling to the Hamilton Bulldogs.

As the regular season comes to a close this weekend, LeGuerrier has appeared in 67 games for the Greyhounds. He’s registered 6 goals and 10 assists and a plus-32 while compiling 52 minutes in penalties.

LeGuerrier has shown marked improvement in areas of his game that he needed to pay more attention to detail too. A year ago, there were times he would take himself out of the play looking to make a hit. Now, he has become more patient, staying in his lane and defending, especially through the neutral zone and at his blue line. He’s always been an excellent skater, but as he’s matured and gained confidence, he’s seizing his opportunities to rush the puck or jump into the offense.

Defensively, LeGuerrier is beyond sound. His skating and long reach allows him to keep gaps very tight. He is difficult to beat one on one. He has a physicality in his game to go along with his size. He can ride opponents out along the walls, win the physical battles and is a force in front of the blue paint.

Offensively there is some intriguing untapped potential in LeGuerrier. As mentioned, his skating allows him to move laterally and open up lanes. He sees the ice extremely well and possesses some deceptive passing abilities. His shot isn’t overpowering, but there is always a purpose to it.

The coaching staff has also trusted LeGuerrier to play in any situation and against the opposition’s best. And on a team that boasts NHL drafted d-men in Jordan Sambrook (Detroit-137th in 2016) and Mac Hollowell (Toronto-118th in 2018), the confidence they have shown in LeGuerrier speaks volumes.

In this OHL draft class, LeGuerrier is a top 15 pick. If you believe that the last game sticks in the minds of NHL Scouts the most, then the OHL Playoffs represent an opportunity for his stock to continue to climb.

Stat page from Elite Prospects

Mack Guzda – Owen Sound Attack – Player Profile

Height: 6’5”

Weight: 218 pounds

Date of birth: January 11, 2001

Hometown: Knoxville, TN

Position: Goaltender

Catches: Left

OHL Draft: Round 2, 31st overall, 2017 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings: Pre-season: B, November: C, Mid-term: 15 North American goalies

Owen Sound Attack and Knoxville Tennessee native Mack Guzda is a product of the Honeybaked Under-16 program where he played during the 2016-2017 season prior to the Attack selecting him in the middle of the second round at the 2017 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection. Guzda has both American and Canadian citizenship and he attended Canada’s Under-17 development camp last season. Guzda is the cousin of former NHL’er Jeff Woywitka.

Guzda appeared in 30 games for the attack last season and posted a goals-against-average of 3.20 and a save-percentage of .879. Coming into this season he was widely considered the top goaltending prospect from the OHL eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Mack Guzda of the Owen Sound Attack. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Mack Guzda of the Owen Sound Attack. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

But it’s been a disappointing season of sorts for Guzda. As we enter the final week of the OHL season, Guzda has appeared in 46 games for the Attack posting a 3.59 goals-against-average and a save-percentage of .879. For a brief time, he lost the crease to fellow draft eligible netminder Andrew MacLean.

When breaking down Guzda’s save percentage by zone, it paints a better picture. With shots from the high danger zone area he has a save-percentage of .800. From the mid danger zone area however, it drops to .779. And from the low danger zones it sits at where he should be with a .909 save-percentage.

First and foremost, Guzda has the physical attributes that NHL scouts are enamored with when it comes to netminders. He stands 6’5” tall and at 218 pounds, he takes up a lot of net. Despite the size, he is incredibly athletic. He uses that size to his advantage to see over players and track pucks. However, he sometimes loses pucks in his feet and I believe it’s just a matter of continuing to learn to play with his size.

I wouldn’t call Guzda a pure butterfly netminder but more of a hybrid. His size and athleticism allow him to use whatever it takes to stop pucks. He gets to the top of the paint quickly and with ease and squares up to shooters. He has shown that he is capable of excellent rebound control, but at times he can stumble with control and give up second chance opportunities.

Giving up bad goals is sort of a two-faced sword. He has shown he can rebound from shots he’d like to have over again. Then other times he seems to get rattled by them.

I would say the biggest negative impact with Guzda has been the inability to find consistency. Good coaching can solve the issues he’s facing. But the Attack have a very good goaltending coach in Greg Redquest who has worked with the likes of Jordan Binnington and Michael McNiven in Owen Sound. It may be an issue where Guzda was thrown to the wolves too early and didn’t have the luxury of watching and learning from the beginning of his OHL career.

Whatever the case may be, I believe Guzda has the tools and the willingness. He’ll just have to find consistency and fine tune some aspects of his game.

Stat page from Elite Prospects

 

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Tyler Angle – Windsor Spitfires – Player Profile

Height: 5’10”

Weight: 168 pounds

Date of birth: September 30, 2000

Hometown: Thorold, Ontario

Position: Center

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 6, 114th overall, 2016 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings: Pre-season, November: Not Ranked. Mid-Term: 135th North America

Tyler Angle played his Minor Midget AAA hockey with the Southern Tier Admirals during the 2015-2016 season. The Thorold Ontario native appeared in 34 games scoring 19 goals and adding 13 assists while compiling 66 minutes in penalties. The diminutive pivot was selected in the 6th round of the 2016 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.

The following season would begin in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. Angle would play in 11 games and notch 5 goals and 3 assists. Injuries and a depleted lineup forced the Spitfires to call up Angle when their preference was to probably have him spend the year in Junior B. He would appear in 41 games that seasons scoring twice and adding two helpers as a 16-year-old.

Tyler Angle of the Windsor Spitfires. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Tyler Angle of the Windsor Spitfires. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images

Last season Angle appeared in all but one game for the Spitfires. He scored 10 goals and added 7 assists in those 67 games.

This season Angle has been a bright spot for a Spitfires squad fighting for their playoff lives. In 56 games (9 fewer then his teammates) he is fifth on the squad in goals (20), fifth in assists (24), first in power play goals (8) and first in powerplay assists (11).

As a September 30, 2000 birthdate, Angle missed being eligible for the 2018 National Hockey League Draft by just two weeks. And despite having almost two full seasons in the OHL, NHL Central Scouting didn’t seem fit to have him on either their pre-season or November’s players to watch lists. However, when they released their mid-term rankings, they found a spot for him at 135 among North American skaters.

Central Scouting, a majority of times, tends to lean towards bigger players even though independently, NHL Teams are shying away from it. But Angle certainly plays much bigger then his size. He will not shy away from contact nor will he duck from a hit to make a play. He’s kind of a pest out on the ice and is willing to take the licks that come with that.

Again, despite the size, Angle is incredibly strong on the puck. His work ethic and puck pursuit are at an extremely high level. And when the puck is on his stick he protects it extremely well. He’s incredibly difficult to take the puck away from when he is using his skating, smarts and overall awareness. I think that if he were 6 feet tall or taller with his skillset, that he would crack the top-100 on Central’s list.

I want to categorize Angle as a shooter first, and I think if you asked folks around the game you might get the same result, maybe overwhelmingly. But I’ve seen enough awareness, vision, puck skills and patience to suggest he has some very good playmaking skills, and that becomes most evident with the man advantage. But his primary assists and secondary assists are split evenly at 12. He ranks 85th in the OHL in points and when you compare him to those ahead of him, the vast majority have more primary assists to secondary assists ratio.

Angle’s shot can be called underrated. He’s accurate and he can fire the puck quickly. His shooting percentage is at 13.3%. But when you break it down by shot difficulty you get a better picture. He’s fired 151 shots on goal this season but only 15 of those are high danger area shots with a shooting percentage of 33.3%. When you get to the mid-danger zone, he’s fired 26 shots at the net and a 15.4% percentage. But his low-danger area shots are at 110, showing that he’s willing to fire the disc from anywhere. And he’s scoring on 10% of those.

In the faceoff circle Angle does what is expected. It’s a tough spot for a draft eligible player and he’s winning 51.5% of his draws. When you consider there are only 8 draft eligible players at or above the 50% mark, he is holding his own.

Defensively, it’s a repetitive statement when it comes to draft eligible players: It’s a work in progress. His awareness and smarts means he has good positioning. His relentless puck pursuit means he backchecks hard. He plays bigger then his size so he’s willing to battle in the hard areas. And he has shown he can kill penalties.

If he can continue to work on his defensive game, add some much-needed bulk and keep his work ethic at the level he’s at now, I don’t see why he can’t be an effective third liner at the next level who can eventually kill penalties and put up some points.

Stat page from Elite Prospects

 

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Petr Cajka – Erie Otters – Player Profile

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 168 pounds

Date of birth: December 11, 2000

Hometown: Kadan, Czech Republic

Position: Center

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 1, 12th overall, 2018 CHL Import Draft

NHL Central Scouting Rankings: Pre-season: NR, November: C Prospect. Mid-term: 103 overall NA

Erie Otters forward Petr Cajka was born in the Czech Republic but spent most of his time playing at different levels in Switzerland. The lanky pivot earned a reputation of being a shooter first and when you look at his stats throughout his career, it is confirmed by the fact he almost always puts up more goals than assists.

That reputation has carried over to the Ontario Hockey League where the Otters selected Cajka with the 12th overall pick at the 2018 CHL Import Draft. To date, the Otters centreman has appeared in 57 games and has posted 20 goals and 14 assists.

Petr Cajka of the Erie Otters. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Petr Cajka of the Erie Otters. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images

Let’s begin by looking at areas that Cajka needs to improve. The first thing that draws my attention is faceoffs. With just 249 faceoff wins on 622 attempts, which is only 40%, it is a major concern. I can live with draft eligible players being in the 47%-49% range in their rookie season as they tend to always show improvement, but 40% makes me wonder whether he is better suited on the wing – at least for now.

Secondly, if you are going to have success in the middle, using your teammates more effectively has to at some point become a staple in your arsenal. Sure, we can look at the quality of teammates, but at some point, we must recognize there is a trend happening.

But there is so much to like about Cajka’s game. Despite the lack of size and bulk, he is incredibly strong on his skates. Combined with a motor that always seems to be in high gear, he wins more battles then he loses along the wall. His puck protection skills are very good and he uses his excellent edgework to escape the check.

Cajka’s shot is high calibre and he uses it with a deceptive release and accuracy. He has a 22.2% shooting percentage from high to mid danger zone shots. He’s not afraid to shoot from anywhere on the ice. Half his goals come from low-danger zone shots where he is scoring on 11.24% of those shots. In fact, he has twice as many low danger zone shots as he does high to mid danger zone shots.

When you look at Cajka’s defensive game, you have to come away with nothing less then impressed. He is highly skilled on the penalty kill using that same motor he has offensively to do the necessary battling when down a man. He understands his positioning extremely well, gets into lanes, battles for pucks and does not shy away from going down to block shots. He’s also a threat offensively when a man down.

Now let’s circle back to that playmaking. Cajka has shown that he is capable of doing more in the area. It’s interesting to note that 8 of his 14 assists are primary assists. And they were all high quality – not just bouncing in off a teammates skate. So, there is some quality playmaking ability there.

At this point, I’m just not convinced Cajka is better suited down the middle at the next level. There is some work that needs to be put in. The wing might be a better situation for him. That said, he has the ability to be a quality third liner in the NHL who can kill penalties, take on defensive responsibilities and chip in some offence.

Stat page from Elite Prospects

Mike Vukojevic – Kitchener Rangers – Player Profile

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 206 pounds

Date of birth: June 8, 2001

Hometown: Oakville, Ontario

Position: Defence

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 2, 33rd overall, 2017 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings: pre-season, November: C prospect, Mid-term: 61 North America

The Kitchener Rangers selected Oakville Ontario native Michael Vukojevic in the second round, 33rd overall at the 2017 Ontario Hockey League’s Priority Selection after playing his Minor Midget AAA hockey with the Mississauga Rebels during the 2016-2017 season.

With the Rebels, Vukojevic appeared in 51 games scoring 11 goals and adding 21 assists. He would go on to add 3 assists in 5 games at the OHL Cup with the Rebels. Following his Midget season, he would make the jump to Junior A and the Georgetown Raiders for a playoff run, notching 2 assists in 5 games and winning an Ontario Junior Hockey League Championship. The Raiders would head to the CJHL Championship and the Dudley-Hewitt Cup but fell short.

Here’s what OHL Central Scouting had to say about Vukojevic:

Michael is a complete all-round defenceman that has been one of the top defencemen all year. He is an excellent skater with a nice, long stride and good lateral mobility. He is not afraid to take chances on the ice whether it’s jumping up into the rush or by making a difficult high-risk pass. He plays with a ton of confidence. Michael has good puck skills and loves to have the puck on his stick. He is dangerous in open ice or on the offensive blue line. He plays a lot and in every situation.

Michael Vukojevic of the Kitchener Rangers Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images
Michael Vukojevic of the Kitchener Rangers. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images

Vukojevic (pronounced Voo-koy-e-vich) was also a first round pick, eighth overall of the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League in 2017. After declaring his intentions to join the Michigan Wolverines and the NCAA for the 2018-2019 season, and since the NCAA considers Major Junior players professionals and thereby ineligible there were really two choices for him: return to the Raiders or join Gamblers. I also believe that commitment to the NCAA caused him to drop in the OHL Draft. He certainly could have been a top-10 pick in the OHL.

Vukojevic chose the Gamblers thus keeping his NCAA eligibility. It was there he would begin his Junior Hockey during the 2017-2018 season and he would appear in 12 games notching 2 assists and 21 penalty minutes.

Then in January of 2018, Vukojevic had a change of heart and signed with the Rangers, opening the door for him in the OHL. He would appear in 24 games scoring once and adding 4 assists. But it was during the Rangers playoff run to the Western Conference Championship final that showed us there is more to come from him. He scored once and added 9 assists in 19 games.

This season began with a spot on Team Canada at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. He currently has 3 goals and 22 assists in 63 games playing the role of top defenceman in Kitchener.

This is my favorite part of the NHL Draft. It’s relatively easy to make a first round selection but finding those gems in the second round and beyond is what most strive to do. And a lot of eyes should be on Vukojevic.

At 6’3” Vukojevic has very good size and with 206 pounds on that frame, he is pretty much filled in. He is as close to having an NHL body as anyone in the draft class. With his long hard strides, he creates some good speed. He has very good mobility and lateral movement. He is strong on his skates and once he plants himself is hard to move.

Defensively, Vukojevic gets all the tough assignments almost always going up against the oppositions best. He is an extremely intelligent player who understands how to defend. He is one of the toughest defenders to beat one-on-one in his age group. He is capable of angling people off and taking them out of the play, uses a very active stick to defend and reads and anticipates well. It’s hard to find a lane when he is defending. And from his age group, he’s one of the better defenders on the PK.

Offensively, Vukojevic is just scratching the surface. His smarts and ability to read the play gives him a lot of potential. He has shown an ability to join in the rush. At times there has been some hesitation, choosing to play it safe, but he has the ability to make difficult plays. The offence has become more evident in the second half of the season. 14 of his 22 assists have come in the last 28 games since January 1.

Vukojevic is a defender who can eat up a lot of minutes and play in any situation and as mentioned, can defend against the best the opposition has to offer. Statistically speaking, he matches up against Vladislav Kolyachonok, who is ranked higher on every draft publication but are similar type of defenders. Bob McKenzie had Vukojevic ranked 73rd in his mid-term rankings with Kolyachonok 39th.

If that holds true, someone could have a good pickup in Vukojevic.

Stat page from Elite Prospects  

Luke Cavallin – Flint Firebirds – Player Profile

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 190 pounds

Date of birth: April 29, 2001

Hometown: Greely, Ontario

Position: Goaltender

Catches: Right

OHL Draft: Round 2, 28th overall, 2017 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings: pre-season, November: C Prospect. Mid-term: 23 NA goaltenders

The Flint Firebirds have a bright future ahead of them with the likes of NHL draft eligible players Ethan Keppen, Eric Uba, Vladislav Kolyachonok and today’s topic, goaltender Luke Cavallin. My hope is that one looks at Cavallin that consideration is given to where the Firebirds are today as a team – one that has allowed 51 goals more then the next team. That isn’t always a reflection of the goaltending, and it shouldn’t be in this case.

Cavallin was born in Swindon, Great Britain and holds both Canadian and English citizenships.

Luke Cavallin of the Flint Firebirds. Photo by Terry Wilson - OHL Images.
Luke Cavallin of the Flint Firebirds. Photo by Terry Wilson – OHL Images.

During the 2016-2017 season, Cavallin manned the crease for the Midget AAA Kemptville 73’s where he appeared in 25 games posting a 2.22 goals-against-average and a .920 save-percentage. His numbers were even more impressive during 4 playoff games with a 1.41 goals-against-average and a .952 save-percentage. He would appear in both the OHL Cup and the OHL Gold Cup.

As a rookie during the 2017-2018 season, Cavallin appeared in 31 games for the Firebirds posting a 4.20 goals-against-average and a .827 save-percentage. He was a champion with Team Green at the Under-17 Development camp. At the World Hockey Challenge Under-17, he won a silver medal and was named to the tournament’s all-star team after posting a 3.02 goals-against-average and a .904 save-percentage.

Calling this season, a tough one for Cavallin and the Firebirds is an understatement, but I believe this is a team on the rise. To date, Cavallin has a 5.48 goals-against-average and a .859 save-percentage while basically splitting the duties with veteran Emanuel Vella.

But we need to ignore the numbers at this point.

Like any goaltender at this stage, Cavallin has some work to do. But let’s start with the positives. At 6’2” he has good size and that’s a plus. He is very athletic with great reflexes and has shown he can make saves he or no goaltender has business making. He can move post-to-post quickly. He darts out to the top of the blue paint in a snap. And he can drop into the butterfly and back quickly. He anticipates well and tracks the puck well. His rebound control is very good and he is quick to respond to second chance opportunities. And he might just be the best skating goaltender in his class.

However, Cavallin needs some work on his technique and that will come as he advances in hockey with better coaching available as he progresses. I find that he sometimes he overcommits. While he remains square to the shooter, he sometimes finds himself to far to his left or right. He sometimes leaves openings he shouldn’t but he plays with such a calm demeanor that he doesn’t allow it to rattle him and gets right back at it.

Those aren’t major issues in my opinion. As I said, I think those kinks will get worked out as he progresses with better coaching. Only 217 players will hear their names called out on June 21 and 22 in Vancouver, British Columbia. If Luke Cavallin doesn’t hear his name called, I can confidently say a couple of NHL teams will ask him to come to their development camps in the summer. And then he’ll have to choose.

It happened to Kaden Fulcher and Kyle Keyser in 2017.

Stat page from Elite Prospects

Vladislav Kolyachonok – Flint Firebirds – Player Profile

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 188 pounds

Date of birth: May 26, 2001

Hometown: Minsk, Belarus

Position: Defence

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 2, 102nd overall, 2018 CHL Import Draft (London Knights)

NHL Central Scouting Rankings: pre-season: B prospect, November: A prospect, mid-term: 22nd NA

To say it’s been a bit of a whirlwind season for Flint Firebirds’ defenseman Vladislav Kolyachonok is an understatement. Drafted by the London Knights at the 2018 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft, once the Chicago Black Hawks decided they would send Adam Boqvist to the OHL, the Knights were left in a position to decide which Import they would place on waivers so they could comply with the CHL rule that the team could only ice two imports.

The Sudbury Wolves had the first crack at Kolyachonok but were already in the position of having two imports on the roster. The Firebirds were second and made room for his arrival by releasing Nikita Alexandrov and on October 2, 2018, the claim was made. Unfortunately for Firebirds’ fans, a delay in obtaining a U.S. Visa kept him out of the lineup until October 26, 2018.

To date, Kolyachonok has 4 goals and 23 assists in 45 games, good for third among the OHL’s draft eligible defenders, despite having played in as many as 15 fewer games.  

At 6’2” Kolyachonok has good size but lacks the bulk to his frame. But once he adds that bulk, there are areas to his game that will show improvement. For example, he will not shy away from physicality, but the added strength will not only make him a physical force, but I believe it will give him greater confidence going into board battles, or those battles to claim the space in front of his netminder.

Kolyachonok is an excellent skater with tremendous agility and very good speed. His excellent mobility was proven at the Sherwin-Williams NHL/CHL Top Prospects Game testing both on ice and off ice where he finished fifth overall in the testing. He ranked third in forward skating with the puck, first in reaction without the puck, second in transition agility without the puck and first in transition agility with the puck.

Kolyachonok, Vladislav
Vladislav Kolyachonok of the Flint Firebirds. Photo courtesy of OHL Images.

In off-ice testing, Kolyachonok ranked second in the broad jump, and first in pro-agility left. All in all, a very good showing.

Kolyachonok is an intelligent player. His positioning in the defensive zone is very sound. His skating allows him to angle opponents off – difficult to beat one-on-one. He uses a very active stick to defend and closes lanes smartly and quickly. His transitioning from defence to offence is excellent. He has the ability to skate out of danger and out of the zone but he is also capable of making an excellent first pass. He is also a left shot defender who plays as strong on his off side.

Offensively, Kolyachonok reads plays extremely well. He is capable of jumping into the play but chooses his opportunities very carefully. He is not a risk taker but I wonder how much of that is confidence, or that he worries about defence first on a team that while is trending in the right direction, still needs some work. And how much of it is due to getting use to the North American game?

Once in the offensive zone, he rarely makes a bad pinch, choosing the safe play most of the time. He sees the ice extremely well and is an excellent passer. He has a very good shot from the point that almost always hits the target, and he gets his shot through. Most of the time he keeps it low looking for tips or trying to create rebounds.

Kolyachonok is a very raw player – a project if you will, who, in my humble opinion, has all the tools to be a solid two-way defender at the next level.

Stat page from Elite Prospects

 

OHL Writers’ Draft Eligible Player of the Month for February

February may be the shortest month of the year, but it produced the best offensive numbers of the season led by Hamilton Bulldogs’ sniper and our draft eligible player of the month, Arthur Kaliyev.

Kaliyev led the way with 11 goals and 10 assists in just 11 games as he attempts to hit the 50-goal, 50-assist plateau on the season. Entering tonight’s action, Kaliyev sits at 47 goals along with 46 assists in 60 games. Among draft eligible players, he is dominating in just about every offensive category.

Kaliyev finished February with points in 9 of his 11 games and 6 of those being multi-point games. Twice he was named the games first star as well as second star on two other occasions.

Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Also Considered were Flint Firebirds’ Ethan Keppen who had 8 goals and 5 assists in 10 games, and Cole MacKay of the Soo Greyhounds with 9 goals and 5 helpers in 12 games. In goal, Jet Greaves of the Barrie Colts led the way 286 of 310 shots in just 8 games for a .919 save-percentage. He was named CHL Goaltender of the Week for the week ending February 4.

Player of the Month

Arthur Kaliyev – Hamilton Bulldogs – February

Arthur Kaliyev – Hamilton Bulldogs – January

Connor McMichael – London Knights – December

Philip Tomasino – Niagara IceDogs – November

Hunter Jones – Peterborough Petes – October