OHL Writers Draft Eligible Player of the Month December

It seems like the easiest thing to do would be to take November’s write-up, change a couple of names, and use it for December.

But how much fun would that be?

Barrie Colts superstar and consensus top-two pick for the 2018 National Hockey League Draft Andrei Svechnikov returned from injury and appeared in 6 games scoring 4 goals and 3 assists before leaving to represent Russia at the World Junior Championship in Buffalo where he has 5 assists to date.

Adam Liska of the Kitchener Rangers posted 4 goals and 4 assists in just 6 games before he departed for Buffalo to represent his native Slovakia.

I wanted to specifically recognize those two players, but I also wanted to take the whole month into consideration without taking into consideration what was happening at the World Juniors.

Evan Bouchard of the London Knights. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
Evan Bouchard of the London Knights. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

There are a few players that deserve recognition. Akil Thomas of the Niagara IceDogs posted 4 goals and 8 assists in 10 games and is currently riding a 6-game point streak. Barrett Hayton has been huge in helping the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds stretch their winning streak to 23 games in the absence of Boris Katchouk. Hayton registered 5 goals and 8 assists in 11 games.

Like November there are also two dynamic defencemen in the picture: Ryan Merkley of the Guelph Storm and Evan Bouchard of the London Knights. Merkley has 3 goals and 10 assists in 11 games and leads the Storm in scoring. He also had a 6-game point streak where he scored 3 goals and 8 assists.

Bouchard notched 5 goals and added 11 assists in 11 games and is tied for his team lead in points. Bouchard has an active point streak of 6 games heading into January with 3goals and 7 assists and now leads all draft eligible players in points as well as a large lead in shots on goal.

Like November however, I must go with one of the two defencemen who run their team’s offence. But like November, it’s not just about the offence and I have to once again go with Bouchard.

Bouchard finished December with a plus-7. He averaged over 30 minutes per game playing in all situations with some very clutch offence. He notched 3 game winning goals, two if them coming in overtime while setting up 2 game winning goals, one in overtime.

Bouchard was named the game’s first star once, second star once and third star twice in December.

Player of the Month

Evan Bouchard – London Knights (November)

Brady Hinz – Sarnia Sting (October)

Matthew Struthers – Owen Sound Attack (September)


2017 CHL Import Draft Results

Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League today announced the final results of the 2017 CHL Import Draft.

The 26th annual CHL Import Draft included a total of 72 players consisting of 50 forwards and 22 defencemen selected from 11 different countries featuring a draft-high 19 players from Russia.

The two-round draft took place online with the order of selection rotating through each of the CHL’s three leagues using an inverse order of final regular season standings within each league from the 2016-17 season.

The Barrie Colts used the first overall pick to acquire Russian forward Andrei Svechnikov, a 2018 NHL Draft prospect who recently earned bronze at the 2017 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.  His international hockey success this season also included a MVP performance at the World Junior A Challenge, and a bronze medal at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge where he led the tournament in points.  The Moncton Wildcats used the second overall pick to select fellow Russian forward and 2018 NHL Draft prospect Alexander Khovanov who was an Under-17 teammate of Svechnikov capturing bronze in Sault Ste. Marie last November.  At third overall the Kootenay ICE selected Switzerland’s Gilian Kohler, a forward also eligible for the 2018 NHL Draft.


The 2017 CHL Import Draft featured 11 players previously selected by NHL teams in 2016 and 2017 drafts.  Of that group, five players were selected in the first two rounds this past weekend in Chicago including first round picks Martin Necas (12th, Carolina) chosen 10th overall by the Saginaw Spirit, Timothy Liljegren (17th, Toronto) chosen 13th overall by the Niagara IceDogs, and Filip Chytil (21st, New York Rangers) chosen seventh overall by the North Bay Battalion.  Second round NHL Draft picks selected in the Import Draft include Alexandre Texier (45th, Columbus) taken 17th overall by the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, and Joni Ikonen (58th, Montreal) chosen 28th overall by the Hamilton Bulldogs.

A total of 37 players selected in the 2017 CHL Import Draft are first-year eligible for the 2018 NHL Draft, while four players selected are not eligible for the NHL Draft until 2019.

Each team in the CHL is permitted to dress and play a maximum of two import players each season who are selected annually through the CHL Import Draft.

2017 CHL Import Draft Summary:

Draft Picks by Position:
Forward – 50
Defence – 22

Draft Picks by Country:
Russia – 19
Czech Republic – 15
Sweden – 8
Slovakia – 7
Belarus – 6
Germany – 6
Finland – 4
Switzerland – 4
Denmark – 1
France – 1
Slovenia – 1

Draft picks by Birthdate and NHL Status:
2000-born late and 2019 NHL Draft eligible – 4
2000-born and 2018 NHL Draft eligible – 29
1999-born late and 2018 NHL Draft eligible – 8
1999-born and 2017 NHL Drafted – 8
1999-born early and NHL Undrafted – 15
1998-born and NHL Drafted – 3
1998-born and NHL Undrafted – 5

NHL Draft picks in CHL Import Draft:
4. Alexei Toropchenko (Guelph – 4th round to St. Louis in 2017)
7. Filip Chytil (North Bay – 1st round to NY Rangers in 2017)
10. Martin Necas (Saginaw – 1st round to Carolina in 2017)
13. Timothy Liljegren (Niagara – 1st round to Toronto in 2017)
17. Alexandre Texier (Baie-Comeau – 4th round to Columbus in 2017)
28. Joni Ikonen (Hamilton – 2nd round to Montreal in 2017)
41. Jan Drozg (Shawinigan – 5th round to Pittsburgh in 2017)
45. Oleg Sosunov (Moose Jaw – 6th round to Tampa Bay in 2016)
49. Jesper Bratt (London – 6th round to New Jersey in 2016)
53. Ostap Safin (Saint John – 4th round to Edmonton in 2017)
119. Linus Nassen (Medicine Hat – 3rd round to Florida in 2016)

A total of 15 players acquired through the CHL Import Draft were recently selected in the 2017 NHL Draft including New Jersey Devils first overall pick Nico Hischier of the Halifax Mooseheads. Other first round picks included Finnish defencemen Juuso Valimaki of the Tri-City Americans selected 16th overall by the Calgary Flames and Henri Jokiharju of the Portland Winterhawks selected 29th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks.

Last season a total of 79 players were selected from 11 different countries led by 24 players from Russia and consisting of 53 forwards and 26 defencemen.