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.

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2019 OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour Day 1 Summary

OHL Cup

Toronto, ON – The puck has dropped at the 2019 OHL Cup Showcase Tournament powered by Under Armour and hosted by the Greater Toronto Hockey League.

For the sixth time in event history a series of Wild Card Play-In Games opened the action to determine final tournament qualifiers. The North Central Predators, North York Rangers, London Jr. Knights and Mississauga Rebels earned spots in the showcase with Tuesday morning victories while the Mississauga Senators and Waterloo Wolves will play for the 20th and final available spot on Wednesday morning at 7:30am.

SCORES | STATS | STANDINGS | SCHEDULE
Here’s a look at Day 1 action:


2019 OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour Wild Card Play-In Results:


Tuesday March 12, 2019


WC 1 – North Central Predators 3 vs. Mississauga Senators 0

North Central MVP – Wade Montague (SO)
Senators MVP – Jacob Frasca
Recap – Stats


WC 2 – North York Rangers 3 vs. Niagara North Stars 0

North York MVP – Tony Theodoropoulos (SO)
Niagara North MVP – Parker Hendsbee
Recap – Stats


WC 3 – London Jr. Knights 1 vs. Guelph Gryphons 0

London MVP – Michael Simpson (SO)
Guelph MVP – Alex Nap (1 GA)
Recap – Stats


WC 4 – Mississauga Rebels 2 vs. Waterloo Wolves 0

Rebels MVP – Justin Wu (SO)
Waterloo MVP – Marshall Nicholls (1 GA)
Recap – Stats


WC 5 – Mississauga Senators 4 vs. Niagara North Stars 3 – OT

Senators MVP – Braeden Kressler (3G, 1A)
Niagara North MVP – Luca McLaren (2A)
Recap – Stats


WC 6 – Waterloo Wolves 5 vs. Guelph Gryphons 2

Waterloo MVP – Cooper Way (3G, 1A)
Guelph MVP – Ethan Broderick (1G, 1A)
Recap – Stats


2019 OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour Round-Robin Results:


Tuesday March 12, 2019


Game 1: Don Mills Flyers 6 vs. York-Simcoe Express 1

Don Mills MVP – Shane Wright (1G, 2A)
York-Simcoe MVP – Jacob Holmes
Recap – Stats


Game 2: Halton Hurricanes 3 vs. Toronto Nationals 2

Halton MVP – Braedyn McIntosh (2 GA)
Nationals MVP – Deven Nagra
Recap – Stats


Game 3: Toronto Red Wings 4 vs. Whitby Wildcats 1

Red Wings MVP – Francesco Pinelli (2G, 1A)
Whitby MVP – Brenden Sirizzotti (1A)
Recap – Stats


Game 4: Toronto Marlboros 5 vs. Quinte Red Devils 3

Marlboros MVP – Jack Beck (1G)
Quinte MVP – Ethan Fraser (5 GA)
Recap – Stats

Wednesday’s action begins with a Wild Card finale between the Mississauga Senators and Waterloo Wolves at 7:30am before all 20 teams are in action with 16 Round Robin games on the schedule. Round Robin play continues Thursday and Friday before Quarter-Final and Semi-Final action Saturday, concluding with Monday’s Championship Final at Mattamy Athletic Centre.

All games are available live and on demand through GameOnStream.

The showcase provides fans and scouts one last opportunity to see many of the top minor midget aged players from across Ontario and parts of the United States compete for the OHL Cup performing against the best competition prior to the 2019 OHL Priority Selection.

For more information, please visit ohlcup.ca.

OHL Cup 2

CHL Announces Weekly Award Winners

Meireles makes his mark, Scott shuts the door

Rangers’ Greg Meireles named CHL Player of the Week

Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League today announced that forward Greg Meireles of the Kitchener Rangers is the CHL Player of the Week for the regular season week ending March 10 with nine points in three games including two goals and seven assists with a plus-minus rating of plus-2.

Meireles put up multi-point efforts in all three appearances last week as the Rangers found the win column twice to improve to 32-29-3-1 and secure their fifth-straight playoff berth. His week began Wednesday as he tallied two assists against the Hamilton Bulldogs. Meireles then followed up that performance with a four-point night, including one goal and three assists, to tie his season-best showing in an 8-4 win over the Erie Otters in which he was recognized as the second star. He then wrapped his week with a goal and two assists in a 5-2 victory against the Midwest Division rival Guelph Storm en route to his second consecutive second-star honour.

A 20-year-old from Ottawa, Ont., Meireles is currently riding a 17-game point streak in which he has collected 12 goals and 21 assists for 33 points. Meireles, who is competing in his third full season with the Rangers, has recorded a career-high 92 points this season, including 34 goals and 58 assists, to lead Kitchener in scoring and rank 10th in the Ontario Hockey League.

Also considered for the award this week was Pittsburgh Penguins prospect and Lethbridge Hurricanes forward Jordy Bellerive, who notched four goals and three assists for seven points in three games, as well as Montreal Canadiens draft pick and Chicoutimi Sagueneens centre Samuel Houde after he registered two goals and three assists for five points in three games.

2018-19 CHL Players of the Week – Regular Season:

Mar. 4 – Mar. 10: Greg Meireles (Kitchener Rangers)

Feb. 25 – Mar. 3: Nate Schnarr (Guelph Storm)

Feb. 18 – Feb. 24: Brayden Tracey (Moose Jaw Warriors)

Feb. 11 – Feb. 17: Maxime Comtois (Drummondville Voltigeurs)

Feb. 4 – Feb. 10: Alexis Lafreniere (Rimouski Oceanic)

Jan. 28 – Feb. 3: Samuel Asselin (Halifax Mooseheads)

Jan. 21 – Jan. 27: Ethan Crossman (Baie-Comeau Drakkar)

Jan. 14 – Jan. 20: Morgan Frost (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)

Jan. 7 – Jan. 13: Bowen Byram (Vancouver Giants)

Dec. 31 – Jan. 6: Arthur Kaliyev (Hamilton Bulldogs)

Dec. 24 – Dec. 30: Kyle Maksimovich (Erie Otters)

Dec. 10 – Dec. 16: Justin Brazeau (North Bay Battalion)

Dec. 3 – Dec. 9: Ivan Chekhovich (Baie-Comeau Drakkar)

Nov. 26 – Dec. 2: Gregor MacLeod (Drummondville Voltigeurs)

Nov. 19 – Nov. 25: Brett Leason (Prince Albert Raiders)

Nov. 12 – Nov. 18: Peter Abbandonato (Rouyn-Noranda Huskies)

Nov. 5 – Nov. 11: Jason Robertson (Kingston Frontenacs)

Oct. 29 – Nov. 4: Joachim Blichfeld (Portland Winterhawks)

Oct. 22 – Oct. 28: Ivan Chekhovich (Baie-Comeau Drakkar)

Oct. 15 – Oct. 21: Justin Brazeau (North Bay Battalion)

Oct. 8 – Oct. 14: Damien Giroux (Saginaw Spirit)

Oct. 1 – Oct. 7: Dawson Davidson (Saskatoon Blades)

Sept. 24 – Sept. 30: Luka Burzan (Brandon Wheat Kings)

Sept. 19 – Sept. 23: Kirby Dach (Saskatoon Blades)

Raiders’ Ian Scott named Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week

Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League today announced that Ian Scott of the Prince Albert Raiders is the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week for the regular season week ending March 10 with a 3-0-0-0 record, three shutouts, a goals-against average of 0.00, and save percentage of 1.000.

Scott claims the honour for the second time this season after putting together three perfect games last week in which he stopped a combined 52 shots to help the Raiders improve to 53-9-2-2 and clinch the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy, presented to the Western Hockey League’s regular season champion. His top performance came Tuesday when he made 24 saves in a 6-0 win over the Swift Current Broncos. The Toronto Maple Leafs prospect then followed that up with consecutive 14-saving outings in two more games against Swift Current. Scott now has eight shutouts on the season, surpassing the Everett Silvertips’ Dustin Wolf for the most in the entire CHL.

Scott, 20, is competing in his fourth season with the Raiders, where this year he has already notched career highs in wins and shutouts. Through 47 games, the Calgary, Alta., native has posted a 37-7-1-2 record alongside a 1.82 goals-against average and .932 save percentage.

Also considered for the award this week was Jonathan Lemieux of the Val-d’Or Foreurs after he posted a 1-0-0-1 record in two appearances, including back-to-back first-star honours against the Charlottetown Islanders and Rimouski Oceanic, to go with a goals-against average of 1.44 and save percentage of .963. In the OHL, Buffalo Sabres prospect and Sudbury Wolves netminder Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen went 2-1-0-0, while making 91 saves over three games, a stretch which saw him notch the Wolves’ franchise record for shutouts in a season with six, alongside a goals-against average of 1.01 and save percentage of .968.

2018-19 Vaughn CHL Goaltenders of the Week – Regular Season:

Mar. 4 – Mar. 10: Ian Scott (Prince Albert Raiders)

Feb. 25 – Mar. 3: Dustin Wolf (Everett Silvertips)

Feb. 18 – Feb. 24: Stephen Dhillon (Niagara IceDogs)

Feb. 11 – Feb. 17: Joel Hofer (Portland Winterhawks)

Feb. 4 – Feb. 10: Mads Sogaard (Medicine Hat Tigers)

Jan. 28 – Feb. 3: Jet Greaves (Barrie Colts)

Jan. 21 – Jan. 27: Dustin Wolf (Everett Silvertips)

Jan. 14 – Jan. 20: Olivier Rodrigue (Drummondville Voltigeurs)

Jan. 7 – Jan. 13: Kevin Mandolese (Cape Breton Screaming Eagles)

Dec. 31 – Jan. 6: Ivan Prosvetov (Saginaw Spirit)

Dec. 24 – Dec. 30: Cedrick Andree (Ottawa 67’s)

Dec. 10 – Dec. 16: Mads Sogaard (Medicine Hat Tigers)

Dec. 3 – Dec. 9: Dustin Wolf (Everett Silvertips)

Nov. 26 – Dec. 2: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (Sudbury Wolves)

Nov. 19 – Nov. 25: Kyle Jessiman (Baie-Comeau Drakkar)

Nov. 12 – Nov. 18: Ian Scott (Prince Albert Raiders)

Nov. 5 – Nov. 11: Michael DiPietro (Windsor Spitfires)

Oct. 29 – Nov. 4: Joseph Raaymakers (London Knights)

Oct. 22 – Oct. 28: Stephen Dhillon (Niagara IceDogs)

Oct. 15 – Oct. 21: Emile Samson (Blainville-Boisbriand Armada)

Oct. 8 – Oct. 14: Alexis Gravel (Halifax Mooseheads)

Oct. 1 – Oct. 7: Trent Miner (Vancouver Giants)

Sept. 24 – Sept. 30: Luke Richardson (Kitchener Rangers)

Sept. 19 – Sept. 23: Hunter Jones (Peterborough Petes)

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.

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OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour Minor Midget Top-10 Rankings

Don Mills Flyers lead the way going wire-to-wire atop the weekly rankings

Revised Wild Card Schedule and Play-In Format (Full Details)

Showcase Tournament Begins Tuesday (Updated Schedule)
OHL Cup

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the final edition of the weekly minor midget rankings for the 2019 OHL Cup Showcase Tournament powered by Under Armour and hosted by the Greater Toronto Hockey League.

The 2019 OHL Cup powered by Under Armour and hosted by the GTHL is scheduled for March 12-18 and will feature 20 teams from across Ontario and the United States showcasing many of the top players eligible for the 2019 OHL Priority Selection.  All games will be played at Scotiabank Pond in Toronto until the Championship Final moves to the Mattamy Athletic Centre on Monday March 18 where it will be broadcasted nationally on Sportsnet.

The weekly rankings are determined by a panel of OHL Central Scouting staff and represent the top teams that are competing to play in the annual year-end championship tournament.

Minor Midget Rankings for the 2018 OHL Cup powered by Under Armour – Week 17

RANK TEAM LEAGUE LAST WEEK WEEKS RANKED
1 Don Mills Flyers* GTHL 1 17
2 Toronto Marlboros* GTHL 2 17
3 Toronto Young Nationals* GTHL 3 17
4 Sudbury Minor Midget Wolves NOHA 4 17
5 Whitby Wildcats* OMHA 5 17
6 Kitchener Jr. Rangers* ALLIANCE 6 14
7 Toronto Red Wings* GTHL 7 17
8 Halton Hurricanes* OMHA 8 3
9 York-Simcoe Express* OMHA 9 13
10 Brantford 99ers* ALLIANCE 10 10
Honourable Mention
Guelph Gryphons OMHA
Quinte Red Devils* OMHA
Windsor Jr. Spitfires* ALLIANCE
Mississauga Rebels GTHL 12

*officially qualified for 2019 OHL Cup Showcase Tournament powered by Under Armour.

The Don Mills Flyers lead the charge in the 2019 OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour, going wire-to-wire atop the weekly rankings while the GTHL’s Toronto Marlboros and Toronto Young Nationals follow close behind in second and third. Several players from the fourth-ranked Sudbury Minor Midget Wolves will compete this week for Team NOHA while the Whitby Wildcats, Kitchener Jr. Rangers, Toronto Red Wings, Halton Hurricanes, York-Simcoe Express and Brantford 99ers round out the Top 10 and have all secured spots at this week’s showcase.

Tournament Structure:

15 of the 20 spots in the 2019 OHL Cup powered by Under Armour are guaranteed through league competition.  The 15 guaranteed spots continue to include all four GTHL Semi-Finalists (Don Mills Flyers, Toronto Marlboros, Toronto Nationals, Toronto Red Wings), and the top four teams that place at the OMHA Championship (Whitby Wildcats, Halton Hurricanes, York-Simcoe Express, Quinte Red Devils).  Three teams from the ALLIANCE will still be guaranteed a spot in the tournament including the Finalists (Brantford 99ers and Kitchener Jr. Rangers), along with the winner of a best-of-three Semi-Final Wild Card Series to be played between the losers of the two league Semi-Finals (Windsor Jr. Spitfires).  Also as in past years, two tournament entries are reserved for United States competition (Detroit Little Caesars and TPH), while both an HNO (Thunder Bay Kings) and NOHA  (Team NOHA) representative will also compete.  This season there will not be a representative from HEO.

Wild Card Games:

The final five entries at the 2019 OHL Cup powered by Under Armour will be Wild Cards determined among eight teams that will play a one game ‘win and in’ scenario.


NEW – The four losing teams in the wild-card play-in games will compete in a play-off for the one spot previously assigned to Detroit Compuware.  A Consolation semi-final and Consolation final will be used to declare this team.

The eight competing teams aiming for the final five tournament spots will continue to include the fifth place team at the OMHA Championship (Guelph Gryphons), and the loser of the ALLIANCE Semi-Final Wild Card Series (Waterloo Wolves).  As introduced in 2016, two spots in Wild Card games will be reserved for GTHL teams.  The two competing GTHL teams will be determined through a pair of Wild Card Play-In Series matchups involving the four GTHL teams who qualified for the playoffs but lost in the first round (Mississauga Rebels and Mississauga Senators).  As introduced in 2017, one spot in a Wild Card will also be reserved for the winner of an OMHA SCTA Consolation Game that features both teams who lost in the SCTA Tournament Semi-Final (Niagara North Stars).  The OMHA teams eligible for this matchup will be determined annually based on the league not hosting the OMHA Championship.  Finally, the three remaining teams who will compete in the Wild Card matchups will be named by the Tournament Selection Committee (London Jr. Knights, North Central Predators, North York Rangers).  The Committee will evaluate and review a team’s post-season success as the first criteria for selection, with additional criteria to include regular season play and tournament play.  All four initial Wild Card games will take place on Tuesday March 12 with specific matchups and times of play determined by random draw among the eight competing teams in advance of the event.

History:

Last season the Toronto Jr. Canadiens were crowned OHL Cup Champions, capturing the annual Minor Midget showcase for the first time since 2008 with a 5-1 victory over the Vaughan Kings. Current Oshawa Generals forward Dylan Robinson finished second in event scoring with 11 points (6-5–11) over seven games, earning the Tim Adams Memorial Trophy as tournament MVP.

The 2018 OHL Priority Selection featured 17 players chosen in the first round who competed for the OHL Cup including Quinton Byfield (York-Simcoe Express – 1st overall Sudbury Wolves), Evan Vierling (York-Simcoe Express – 2nd overall Flint Firebirds), Will Cuylle (Toronto Marlboros – 3rd overall Peterborough Petes), Jamie Drysdale (Toronto Marlboros – 4th overall Erie Otters), Cole Perfetti (Vaughan Kings – 5th overall Saginaw Spirit), Cameron Tolnai (Oakville Rangers – 6th overall Ottawa 67’s), Daniil Chayka (Toronto Jr. Canadiens – 7th overall Guelph Storm), James Hardie (Barrie Colts – 8th overall Mississauga Steelheads), Pacey Schlueting (Team NOHA – 9th overall North Bay Battalion), Ty Tullio (Vaughan Kings – 11th overall Oshawa Generals), Lleyton Moore (Toronto Marlboros – 12th overall Niagara IceDogs), Jake Murray (Oakville Rangers – 13th overall Kingston Frontenacs), Luke Evangelista (Oakville Rangers – 14th overall London Knights), Riley Piercey (Toronto Marlboros – 16th overall Barrie Colts), Reid Valade (Toronto Marlboros – 17th overall Kitchener Rangers), Logan Morrison (Guelph Gryphons – 18th overall Hamilton Bulldogs), Ryan O’Rourke (Vaughan Kings – 20th overall Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds).

Notable OHL Cup graduates currently playing in the NHL include Robby Fabbri (Mississauga Rebels/St. Louis Blues), Travis Konecny (Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs/Philadelphia Flyers), Mitch Marner (Vaughan Kings/Toronto Maple Leafs), Connor McDavid (Toronto Marlboros/Edmonton Oilers), Max Domi (Don Mills Flyers/Montreal Canadiens), Sean Monahan (Mississauga Rebels/Calgary Flames), Taylor Hall (Greater Kingston Frontenacs/New Jersey Devils), Tyler Seguin (Toronto Nationals/Dallas Stars), John Tavares (Toronto Marlboros/Toronto Maple Leafs), P.K Subban (Markham Islanders/Nashville Predators), and Steven Stamkos (Markham Waxers/Tampa Bay Lightning).

2019 marks the third season of a three-year partnership between the OHL and GTHL with Under Armour that includes title sponsorship of the OHL Cup Showcase Tournament.  The OHL and GTHL are also in the third season of a five-year partnership extension announced in 2017 that ensures the event will continue to be hosted by the GTHL through 2021.

For more information, please visit ohlcup.ca.

Rangers’ Greg Meireles named OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that forward Greg Meireles of the Kitchener Rangers is the OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week for the regular season week ending March 10 after recording nine points in three games including two goals and seven assists with a plus-minus rating of plus-2.

Meireles led the league in scoring last week and extended his personal point-streak to 17 straight games while helping the Rangers pick up a pair of wins to clinch a berth in the Western Conference playoffs.  On Wednesday night he chipped in two assists despite a 5-3 road loss to the Hamilton Bulldogs, but rebounded Friday night with a goal and three assists to match a season-high earning second star honours in an 8-4 win over the Erie Otters.  His week wrapped up Sunday afternoon in Guelph with a goal and two assists and second star recognition as part of the 5-2 victory over the Storm.  Six of Meireles’ nine points were produced with the man advantage for the Rangers who own the league’s best power play operating at just over 28% efficiency.  Meireles was part of a dangerous unit that filled the game sheets for the blue shirts over the weekend as both Riley Damiani and Joseph Garreffa tallied seven points, while Jonathan Yantsis picked up six points in three games.  The Rangers currently occupy fifth place in the standings with a 32-29-3-1 record.

A 20-year-old from Ottawa, Ont., Meireles is playing in his fourth season with the Rangers who chose him in the first round of the 2015 OHL Priority Selection.  Not only does Meireles lead the Rangers in scoring, he’s currently ranked tenth overall in the league with career-high offensive figures that include 92 points with 34 goals and 58 assists in 65 games.  The alternate captain’s 17-game point-streak is the league’s longest active run and two games shy of the 19-game streaks recorded by Jason Robertson of the Niagara IceDogs and Hugo Leufvenius of the Sarnia Sting.  Meireles is the second member of the Rangers to win the award this season following Riley Damiani in February.

Watch video highlights of Meireles and the Rangers against the Bulldogs, Otters, and Storm.

Also considered for the award this week was Arizona Coyotes prospect Liam Kirk of the Peterborough Petes with four goals and three assists for seven points in three games, and Los Angeles Kings prospect Akil Thomas of the Niagara IceDogs who scored three goals and four assists for seven points in three games.  In goal, Buffalo Sabres prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen of the Sudbury Wolves went 2-1-0-0 making 91 saves in total for a goals-against-average of 1.01 and save percentage of .968 while establishing a new franchise record with his sixth shutout of the season.

2018-19 OHL ‘On the Run’ Players of the Week – Regular Season:

Mar. 4 – Mar. 10: Greg Meireles (Kitchener Rangers)
Feb. 25 – Mar. 3: Nate Schnarr (Guelph Storm)
Feb. 18 – Feb. 24: Stephen Dhillon (Niagara IceDogs)
Feb. 11 – Feb. 17: Nando Eggenberger (Oshawa Generals)
Feb. 4 – Feb. 10: Jacob Ingham (Mississauga Steelheads)
Jan. 28 – Feb. 3: Riley Damiani (Kitchener Rangers)
Jan. 21 – Jan. 27: Liam Foudy (London Knights)
Jan. 14 – Jan. 20: Morgan Frost (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)
Jan. 7 – Jan. 13: Isaac Ratcliffe (Guelph Storm)
Dec. 31 – Jan. 6: Arthur Kaliyev (Hamilton Bulldogs)
Dec. 24 – Dec. 30: Kyle Maksimovich (Erie Otters)
Dec. 10 – Dec. 16: Andrew MacLean (Owen Sound Attack)
Dec. 3 – Dec. 9: Brett Neumann (Kingston Frontenacs)
Nov. 26 – Dec. 2: Jason Robertson (Niagara IceDogs)
Nov. 19 – Nov. 25: Morgan Frost (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)
Nov. 12 – Nov. 18: Owen Tippett (Mississauga Steelheads)
Nov. 5 – Nov. 11: Jason Robertson (Kingston Frontenacs)
Oct. 29 – Nov. 4: Kevin Hancock (Owen Sound Attack)
Oct. 22 – Oct. 28: Stephen Dhillon (Niagara IceDogs)
Oct. 15 – Oct. 21: Justin Brazeau (North Bay Battalion)
Oct. 8 – Oct. 14: Damien Giroux (Saginaw Spirit)
Oct. 1 – Oct. 7: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (Sudbury Wolves)
Sept. 24 – Sept. 30: Lucas Chiodo (Barrie Colts)
Sept. 19 – Sept. 23: Akil Thomas (Niagara IceDogs)

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

Ontario Hockey Federation Announces Exceptional Player Status for Shane Wright

Press Release

Cambridge, ON – The Ontario Hockey Federation today announced the results of the review by Hockey Canada in consideration of the application by Shane Wright, determining that the player is to be granted “exceptional player” status and therefore is eligible for the Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection on Saturday April 6, 2019.

The process was administered by the Ontario Hockey Federation with a Hockey Canada Special Evaluation Panel assembled to evaluate Wright’s hockey and academic documentation and to assess his level of maturity in reaching their decision. 

“Having administered this process since 2005 with John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, Connor McDavid and Sean Day, I am continuously amazed by the well-rounded nature of those granted exceptional status,” said OHF Executive Director Phillip McKee. “His constant success both in the classroom and on the ice has demonstrated that Shane Wright is well deserving to be among those who have been granted status in the past.”

Born January 5, 2004, the 15-year-old Wright is a 6’, 183-pound forward who plays for the Don Mills Flyers Minor Midget AAA team, where he scored 66 goals and 84 assists for 150 points in 72 games with the GTHL team.  The Flyers currently sit atop the Minor Midget Rankings for the 2019 OHL Cup powered by Under Armour, securing their position in the tournament scheduled for March 12-18. Wright also captained Team Ontario to a silver medal at the 2019 Canada Winter Games, scoring 6 goals and 6 assists for 12 points in six games.

“This has been a goal of mine for quite some time and I am excited to take on this challenge,” said Wright. “There are many people that I would like to thank including my parents, my sister, my extended family, coaches, teachers and most importantly my teammates.”

Wright becomes just the fifth player to be granted “exceptional player” status in the Ontario Hockey League, following John Tavares (Toronto Marlboros, 2005), whose application formed the modern Exceptional Player process, defenceman Aaron Ekblad (Sun County Panthers, 2011), forward Connor McDavid (Toronto Marlboros, 2012), and defenceman Sean Day (Detroit Compuware, 2013).  The trio of Tavares, Ekblad, and McDavid were all chosen first overall in the OHL Priority Selection and later first overall in the NHL Draft.

Wright will continue his exciting season with the 2019 OHL Cup powered by Under Armour and the U16 OHL Gold Cup which is the evaluation event for the National Under 17 Development Camp.

Hamilton Bulldogs to host 2020 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

Press Release

Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League in association with the Ontario Hockey League and the Hamilton Bulldogs Hockey Club today announced that the 2020 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game will be hosted by the Bulldogs on Thursday January 16, 2020.

For the 25th straight year this event will showcase top NHL Draft eligible talent featuring players from across the OHL, as well as the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League competing before hundreds of NHL scouts in attendance.

“In 1996 this event began in partnership with the National Hockey League and with the support of builders Don Cherry and Bobby Orr,” said CHL President David Branch. “The CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game truly is one of the great hockey events circled annually on the calendar and it has been rewarding to experience its evolution over the last quarter of a century. We look forward to creating another special experience for our players, NHL scouts, and CHL fans in the City of Hamilton next season.”

The 2020 event will be played in Ontario for the 13th time with Hamilton becoming the 17th different Canadian city to host.  The list of past event hosts include Toronto (1996-98, 2000, 2011), Calgary (1999, 2001, 2014), Saskatoon (2002), Kitchener (2003), London (2004), Vancouver (2005, 2016), Ottawa (2006), Quebec City (2007, 2017), Edmonton (2008), Oshawa (2009), Windsor (2010), Kelowna (2012), Halifax (2013), St. Catharines (2015), Guelph (2018), and Red Deer (2019).

“We are excited to host this first class hockey event,” said Hamilton Bulldogs President and General Manager Steve Staios. “This is another proud moment for Hamilton to showcase junior hockey to the country. We’ve had great success hosting the CIBC Canada Russia Series and World Juniors pre-tournament events and we know the City of Hamilton and our passionate Bulldogs fans will rally behind this.”

In four seasons since the Bulldogs began OHL competition in Hamilton the club has been represented by three players in this event including MacKenzie Entwistle and Matthew Strome in 2017 and projected first round pick Arthur Kaliyev in 2019.  Kaliyev scored twice with one assist for Team Cherry on January 23 in Red Deer despite a 5-4 loss in a game that featured a total of 20 CHL players listed inside NHL Central Scouting’s top-31 ranked North American skaters for the 2019 NHL Draft.

Since the event was first introduced in 1996 the game has featured 14 players that were selected with the first overall pick in the NHL Draft including Chris Phillips (1996), Joe Thornton (1997), Vincent Lecavalier (1998), Rick Nash (2002), Marc-Andre Fleury (2003), Patrick Kane (2007), Steven Stamkos (2008), John Tavares (2009), Taylor Hall (2010), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011), Nathan MacKinnon (2013), Aaron Ekblad (2014), Connor McDavid (2015), and Nico Hischier (2017). 

The Bulldogs will offer competitive pricing structures for this game with tickets starting at just $22.  Season ticket holders will have access to an immediate pre-sale with the general public having access later this spring.

The 2020 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is proudly supported by CHL associate sponsors CIBC, Kia Canada, Cooper Tiers, and Kubota Canada.  The game will be broadcast live on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.

For more event information please visit http://chl.ca.

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