Akil Thomas – Niagara IceDogs – Player Profile

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 170 pounds

Date of birth: January 2, 2000

Hometown: Brandon, Florida

Position: Right Wing

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 1, 12th overall, 2016 Priority Selection

For Brandon Florida native and Niagara IceDogs pivot Akil Thomas, there are some bloodlines in the hockey family. While they never carved out a National Hockey League career, his father Kahlil Thomas carved out a hockey career while getting a cup of coffee in the American Hockey League and the International Hockey League. Ditto for his uncle Leo Thomas, who finished his hockey career two years ago in the East Coast Hockey League.

Akil Thomas of the Niagara IceDogs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Akil Thomas of the Niagara IceDogs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Thomas played his minor midget hockey with the Toronto Marlboros during the 2015-2016 season. In 56 games with Toronto he notched 33 goals while setting up 39 others.

Thomas is an OHL Gold Cup Champion. He led the tournament with 11 points on 6 goals and 5 assists during the 2015-2016 season. In the same year, he won silver at the OHL Cup, again leading all scorers with 13 points with 6 goals and 7 assists in 7 games and being named to the OHL Cup All-Star Team.

With dual citizenship, Thomas chose to represent Canada. He hit the international stage a season ago at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17 as a leader for Canada White, where he scored twice and added an assist in 6 games. Later that season, he was kept off the score board at the World Junior Championships Under-18.

Last season was also Thomas’ rookie Ontario Hockey League season where he finished third in goals (21), assists (27) and points (48) in 61 games. He was named to the OHL All-Rookie squad.

This season began in August 2017 for Thomas when he represented Canada once again at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial. He won gold with the Canadians and helped the cause with 2 goals and 4 assists in 5 games.

Thomas has led the IceDogs offense for most of the season, until a trade with the London Knights brought Sam Miletic in. Thomas has 16 goals and 48 assists in 55 games to date. 4 of his goals and 21 assists have come with the man advantage making him a dangerous offensive threat with the extra man. He’s firing at a 9.8 shooting percentage and has won 496 of 920 faceoffs for a 53.9 winning percentage.

There is a lot to like about Thomas. He has excellent leadership qualities having worn a letter in the past and wearing one for the IceDogs this season. His tenacity and work ethic go unmatched on most nights and his teammates seem to follow his lead.

Thomas possesses excellent puck handling skills, vision and passing abilities. He’s also a very good skater with very good speed and works his edges extremely well. When combined, he is difficult to contain in the o-zone, making him one of the better playmakers in the draft class.

Thomas is also a very good three zone player who puts as much pride and effort on the defensive side of the game as he does on the offensive side. He skates hard on the back check, puts his body or stick into lanes, doesn’t shy away from physicality and is a key cog on the IceDogs penalty kill.

Thomas was on NHL Central Scouting’s Players to Watch List as an A prospect – typically a first-round pick. On their mid term rankings, Thomas was ranked tenth among North American Skaters. On Bob McKenzie’s mid-term rankings, Thomas was ranked 29th among all skaters.

Akil Thomas

Stat page of Akil Thomas from elite prospects

 

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OHL’s Draft Eligible Statistical Leaders: January

January 31 brings us within a hair of the three-quarter mark of the Ontario Hockey League season and there are many interesting individual races in a variety of statistical categories. As always, we look at players eligible for the National Hockey League Draft in June in Dallas Texas, for the first time. That is not meant to take away from players re-entering the draft. While I believe some of them will get drafted the second time around, history has shown that they are usually passed over the second time.

It’s hard to imagine, or maybe it is not, where Andrei Svechnikov of the Barrie Colts would be had he not missed almost two months with a wrist injury. Despite missing seven weeks and playing in twenty fewer games, Svechnikov leads all draft eligible players with 23 goals in 27 games. That’s two more then Aidan Dudas of the Owen Sound Attack and three more then Ty Dellandria of the Flint Firebirds, who both have played 47 games.

Andrei Svechnikovof the Barrie Colts. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Andrei Svechnikov of the Barrie Colts. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Thanks in part to Svechnikov’s absence, a pair of highly touted defensemen lead all players in points. Evan Bouchard of the London Knights leads the pack with 60 points in 47 games. He is followed closely by Ryan Merkley of the Guelph Storm who has 57 points in 47 games. Akil Thomas of the Niagara IceDogs comes in third with 56 points in 47 games.

Of course, it goes without saying that Bouchard and Merkley lead all defensemen in the point scoring race. Rasmus Sandin of the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds sits in the next tier by himself with 30 points in 34 games. Yours truly has made it no secret that Sandin would be my choice as the second defenseman taken from the OHL. Giovanni Vallati of the Kitchener Rangers comes in fourth with 20 points in 47 games.

Over the years, there has been a great debate over the value of the plus-minus stat. Whether you agree or not, there is some value to the stat. And Sandin leads the way with a plus-28. That’s a comfortable plus-10 more than teammate Barrett Hayton and Nathan Dunkley of the London Knights.

Serron Noel of the Oshawa Generals led the entire OHL for most of the season in shooting percentage. As of January 31, he drops to second, but still leads all draft eligible players at 25%. Svechnikov comes in second, scoring on 22.3% of his shots, while Cam Hillis of the Guelph Storm comes in third at 21.8%.

Bouchard leads all shooters in shots on goal with 211, which is good enough for second overall in the OHL. He has a comfortable lead over Dellandria (173) and Dudas (172).

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

Points Leaders
Player Team GP G A Pts
Evan Bouchard London Knights 47 16 44 60
Ryan Merkley Guelph Storm 47 12 45 57
Akil Thomas Niagara Ice Dogs 47 13 43 56
Ryan McLeod Mississauga Steelheads 47 17 36 53
Aidan Dudas Owen Sound Attack 47 21 25 46
Cam Hillis Guelph Storm 47 18 28 46
Barrett Hayton Soo Greyhounds 47 17 27 44
Ty Dellandrea Flint Firebirds 47 20 21 41
Nathan Dunkley London Knights 40 15 24 39
Andrei Svechnikov Barrie Colts 27 23 15 38
Goal Scoring Leaders
Player Team GP G GPG
Andrei Svechnikov Barrie Colts 27 23 0.85
Aidan Dudas Owen Sound Attack 47 21 0.45
Ty Dellandrea Flint Firebirds 47 20 0.43
Cam Hillis Guelph Storm 47 18 0.38
Serron Noel Oshawa Generals 42 18 0.43
Pavel Gogolev Peterborough Petes 43 18 0.42
Ryan McLeod Mississauga Steelheads 47 17 0.36
Barrett Hayton Soo Greyhounds 47 17 0.36
Evan Bouchard London Knights 47 16 0.34
Kody Clark Ottawa 67’s 38 16 0.42
Assist Leaders
Player Team GP A APG
Ryan Merkley Guelph Storm 47 45 0.96
Evan Bouchard London Knights 47 44 0.94
Akil Thomas Niagara Ice Dogs 47 43 0.91
Ryan McLeod Mississauga Steelheads 47 36 0.77
Cam Hillis Guelph Storm 47 28 0.60
Barrett Hayton Soo Greyhounds 47 27 0.57
Allan McShane Oshawa Generals 47 27 0.57
Aidan Dudas Owen Sound Attack 47 25 0.53
Rasmus Sandin Soo Greyhounds 34 24 0.71
Nathan Dunkley London Knights 40 24 0.60
Defencemen Point Leaders
Player Team GP G A Pts
Evan Bouchard London Knights 47 16 44 60
Ryan Merkley Guelph Storm 47 12 45 57
Rasmus Sandin Soo Greyhounds 34 6 24 30
Giovanni Vallati Kitchener Rangers 46 3 17 20
Merrick Rippon Ottawa 67’s 48 2 16 18
Peter Stratis Sudbury Wolves 49 5 12 17
Caleb Everett Saginaw Spirit 39 4 13 17
Kevin Bahl Ottawa 67’s 48 1 16 17
Plus/Minus Leaders
Player Team GP +/-
Rasmus Sandin Soo Greyhounds 34 +28
Nathan Dunkley London Knights 40 +18
Barrett Hayton Soo Greyhounds 47 +18
Evan Bouchard London Knights 47 +17
Tyler Tucker Barrie Colts 40 +16
Adam Liska Kitchener Rangers 44 +12
Andrei Svechnikov Barrie Colts 27 +11
Alec Regula London Knights 47 +11
William Sirman Windsor Spitfires 46 +10
Ryan Roth Soo Greyhounds 49 +10
Penalty Minutes Leaders
Player Team GP PIM M/G
Tyler Tucker Barrie Colts 40 67 1.68
Kevin Bahl Ottawa 67’s 48 67 1.40
Daylon Groulx Owen Sound Attack 39 60 1.54
Merrick Rippon Ottawa 67’s 48 57 1.19
Curtis Douglas Windsor Spitfires 46 55 1.20
Ryan Merkley Guelph Storm 47 50 1.06
Max Grondin Saginaw Spirit 46 47 1.02
Faceoff Leaders  (Minimum 200 faceoffs)
Player Team GP FOA FOW %
Billy Moskal London Knights 46 445 266 59.8
Allan McShane Oshawa Generals 47 695 382 55.0
Nathan Dunkley London Knights 40 484 263 54.3
David Levin Sudbury Wolves 32 232 125 53.9
Ryan McLeod Mississauga Steelheads 48 1043 556 53.3
Akil Thomas Niagara Ice Dogs 47 761 405 53.2
Ty Dellandrea Flint Firebirds 47 985 500 50.8
Aidan Dudas Owen Sound Attack 47 662 326 49.2
Barret Kirwin Guelph Storm 48 659 324 49.2
Cam Hillis Guelph Storm 48 776 379 48.8
Longest Goal Scoring Streak
Player Team From To Gms Goals
Brady Hinz Sarnia Sting 10/9 10/19 5 7
Kody Clark Ottawa 67’s 10/12 10/21 5 6
Nathan Dunkley Kingston Frontenacs 11/26 12/3 4 5
Blade Jenkins Saginaw Spirit 10/29 11/4 4 6
Ryan McLeod Mississauga Steelheads 1/19 1/26 3 6
Longest Assist Streak
Player Team From To Gms Assts
Ryan Merkley Guelph Storm 10/22 11/16 9 13
Akil Thomas Niagara Ice Dogs 9/30 10/19 8 10
Ryan Merkley Guelph Storm 1/11 1/28 8 10
Ryan McLeod Mississauga Steelheads 10/27 11/9 6 9
Akil Thomas Niagara Ice Dogs 12/7 12/31 6 6
Longest Point Streak
Player Team From To Gms Pts
Ryan McLeod Mississauga Steelheads 10/6 11/10 14 20
Akil Thomas Niagara Ice Dogs 12/9 1/13 12 18
Ryan Merkley Guelph Storm 11/19 12/15 10 16
Ryan Merkley Guelph Storm 10/22 11/16 9 17
Akil Thomas Niagara Ice Dogs 9/29 10/19 9 15
Shooting Percentage
Player Team GP G S %
Serron Noel Oshawa Generals 42 18 72 25.0
Andrei Svechnikov Barrie Colts 27 23 103 22.3
Cam Hillis Guelph Storm 48 19 87 21.8
Nathan Dunkley London Knights 40 15 74 20.3
Brady Hinz Peterborough Petes 49 14 73 19.2
Shots On Goal Leaders
Player Team GP SOG
Evan Bouchard London Knights 47 211
Ty Dellandrea Flint Firebirds 47 173
Aidan Dudas Owen Sound Attack 47 172
Riley Damiani Kitchener Rangers 49 133
Barrett Hayton Soo Greyhounds 47 131
Goaltenders Leaders – Goals Against Average (Min 10 games)
Player Team GP Min GA Avg
Jordon Kooy London Knights 17 827 40 2.90
Nick Donofrio Hamilton Bulldogs 11 581 30 3.10
Kai Edmonds Barrie Colts 12 569 32 3.37
Jacob Ingham Mississauga Steelheads 33 1865 117 3.76
Cameron Lamour Saginaw Spirit 12 522 37 4.25
Goaltending Leaders – Save Percentage (Min 10 games)
Player Team GP SH  SVS SV%
Jordon Kooy London Knights 17 442 402 0.910
Nick Donofrio Hamilton Bulldogs 11 270 240 0.889
Kai Edmonds Barrie Colts 12 278 246 0.885
Jacob Ingham Mississauga Steelheads 33 959 842 0.878
Marshall Frappier Sudbury Wolves 13 376 329 0.875
Goaltending Leaders – Wins
Player Team GP W L OL
Jacob Ingham Mississauga Steelheads 17 13 16 1
Nick Donofrio Hamilton Bulldogs 11 7 1 1
Jordon Kooy London Knights 17 6 6 1
Kai Edmonds Barrie Colts 12 5 4 0
Cameron Lamour Saginaw Spirit 12 5 4 0
Goaltending Leaders – Shutouts
Player Team GP SO
Nick Donofrio Hamilton Bulldogs 11 1
Mario Peccia Oshawa Generals 8 1

OHL Writers Draft Eligible Player of the Month for January

Barrie Colts’ Andrei Svechnikov is our draft eligible player of the month for January.

Svechnikov had a dominant offensive performance for the Colts posting 9 goals and 8 assists in 11 games in January. He was held off the score sheet just once, on January 13 versus the North Bay Battalion. Seven of his remaining ten games were multi-point games. He was named the OHL Rookie of the Month for January.

Andrei Svechnikovof the Barrie Colts. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Andrei Svechnikov of the Barrie Colts. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Heading into the season, Svechnikov was a consensus top-two pick for the 2018 National Hockey League draft. More recently, it’s almost assured that Sweden’s Rasmus Dahlin will be the first player selected, while Filip Zadina (Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL) is challenging Svechnikov to go second.

Svechnikov missed almost two months with a wrist injury. Prior to his injury, he was second in the Ontario Hockey League with 10 goals in 10 games. Despite playing in 20 fewer games, he still leads all draft eligible players in goals with 23 at the end of January (27 games played) and is among the top 10 in points. He sits second next to fellow draft eligible Serron Noel of the Oshawa Generals in shooting percentage at 22.3% on 23 goals on 103 shots.

Also considered was Mississauga Steelheads’ Ryan McLeod who had 7 goals and 8 assists in 10 games. Evan Bouchard of the London Knights was also given consideration after posting 3 goals and 11 assists in 11 OHL games and tying the NHL/CHL Top Prospects Game record with 4 assists and being named player of the game. Akil Thomas was also considered after posting 3 goals and 14 assists in 12 games.

Player of the Month

Andrei Svechnikov – Barrie Colts (January)

Evan Bouchard – London Knights (December)

Evan Bouchard – London Knights (November)

Brady Hinz – Sarnia Sting (October)

Matthew Struthers – Owen Sound Attack (September)

CHL’s Top Prospects Showcase Strengths in Sport Testing Combine

Guelph, ON – The next wave of NHL Draft talent were put to the test on Wednesday competing on and off the ice in advance of the 2018 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.

All 40 of the Canadian Hockey League’s top prospects in attendance seized the opportunity to showcase their individual strengths with Sport Testing to gauge fitness and skill levels for NHL management and scouts.

The day began at the University of Guelph with a series of off-ice performance measures that included strength testing, agility runs, and leg power evaluations.  The afternoon shifted to on-ice tests at Sleeman Centre including forward and backward sprints, reaction, weave agility, and transition agility drills each performed with and without a puck.

Forward Barrett Hayton of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, ranked 6th by NHL Central Scouting in their Midterm Rankings, finished atop the overall standings in the off-ice portion which factored performance results from across the seven different fields.  Defenceman Kevin Bahl of the Ottawa 67’s (ranked 30th by NHL CS) finished in second, followed by a pair of London Knights including defenceman Evan Bouchard (ranked 5th by NHL CS) in third and forward Liam Foudy (ranked 91st by NHL CS) in fourth, and forward Ryan McLeod of the Mississauga Steelheads (ranked 16th by NHL CS) finished in fifth.

Defenceman Noah Dobson of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan (ranked 8th by NHL CS) led the way in overall on-ice testing based on results across the 10 different categories.  Fellow defenceman Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs (ranked 14th by NHL CS) tied for second with Knights forward Liam Foudy, followed by forward Dmitry Zavgorodniy of the Rimouski Oceanic (ranked 54th by NHL CS) in fourth, and top ranked North American skater Andrei Svechnikov of the Barrie Colts finished in fifth.

In specialized Sport Testing for goalies, Jacob Ingham of the Mississauga Steelheads (ranked 3rd by NHL CS) claimed top honours in an array of reaction, agility, and movement challenges.

SWTP Skills Development - 01-24-18 (10)
Images captured during the 2018 Sherwin-Williams CHL / NHL Top Prospects Events. Photo by Terry Wilson / CHL Images.

2018 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game – Sport Testing Combine Top Performers:

Off-Ice Tests:

Vertical Jump: 1 – Liam Foudy (London Knights) 2 – Barrett Hayton (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhound) 3 – Kevin Bahl (Ottawa 67’s)

Broad Jump: 1 – Liam Foudy (London Knights) 2 – Serron Noel (Oshawa Generals) 3 – Kevin Bahl (Ottawa 67’s)

Medicine Ball Toss: 1 – Kevin Bahl (Ottawa 67’s) 1 – Anderson MacDonald (Moncton Wildcats) 3 – Liam Foudy (London Knights)

Grip Left: 1 – Barrett Hayton (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) 2 – Andrei Svechnikov (Barrie Colts) 3 – Riley Sutter (Everett Silvertips)

Grip Right: 1 – Xavier Bernard (Drummondville Voltigeurs) 2 – Riley Sutter (Everett Silvertips) 3 – Gabriel Fortier (Baie-Comeau Drakkar)

Pro-Agility Left: 1 – Barrett Hayton (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) 2 – Liam Foudy (London Knights) 3 – Noah Dobson (Acadie-Bathurst Titan)

Pro-Agility Right: 1 – Liam Foudy (London Knights) 2 – Ryan McLeod (Mississauga Steelheads) 3 – Nico Gross (Oshawa Generals) 

On-Ice Tests:

30M Forward Skate: 1 – Serron Noel (Oshawa Generals) 2 – Dmitry Zavgorodniy (Rimouski Oceanic) 3 – Liam Foudy (London Knights)

30M Forward Skate with Puck: 1 – Ty Smith (Spokane Chiefs) 2 – Liam Foudy (London Knights) 3 – Noah Dobson (Acadie-Bathurst Titan)

30M Backward Skate: 1 – Noah Dobson (Acadie-Bathurst Titan) 2 – Evan Bouchard (London Knights) 3 – Xavier Bernard (Drummondville Voltigeurs)

30M Backward Skate with Puck: 1 – Noah Dobson (Acadie-Bathurst Titan) 2 – Ty Smith (Spokane Chiefs) 3 – Liam Foudy (London Knights)

Reaction: 1 – Barrett Hayton (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) 2 – Allan McShane (Oshawa Generals) 3 – Nico Gross (Oshawa Generals)

Reaction with Puck: 1 – Liam Foudy (London Knights) 2 – Vladislav Kotkov (Chicoutimi Sagueneens) 3 – Ty Smith (Spokane Chiefs)

Weave Agility: 1 – Andrei Svechnikov (Barrie Colts) 2 – Dmitry Zavgorodniy (Rimouski Oceanic) 3 – Ty Smith (Spokane Chiefs)

Weave Agility with Puck: 1 – Andrei Svechnikov (Barrie Colts) 2 – Allan McShane (Oshawa Generals) 3 – Philipp Kurashev (Quebec Remparts)

Transition Agility: 1 – Akil Thomas (Niagara IceDogs) 2 – Barrett Hayton (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) 3 – Ryan McLeod (Mississauga Steelheads)

Transition Agility with Puck: 1 – Akil Thomas (Niagara IceDogs) 2 – Aidan Dudas (Owen Sound Attack) 3 – Cameron Hillis (Guelph Storm)

Sport Testing scores provide valuable performance benchmarks to coaches and players at all levels of hockey with data collected at the Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game shared with NHL Central Scouting and distributed to all 31 NHL teams.

For more information please visit www.sporttesting.com.

sporttesting

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)

OHL Writer’s Draft Eligible Player of the Month for October: Brady Hinz

Sarnia Sting forward Brady Hinz has been selected our draft eligible player of the month for October. The 5’8” native of Stratford Ontario notched 10 goals while adding 6 assists in 12 games and helping the Sting to the top of the Canadian Hockey League rankings at the end of October.  

Brady Hinz of the Sarnia Sting. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
Brady Hinz of the Sarnia Sting. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Hinz recorded 3 multi-goal games and 5 multi-point games. Among players eligible for the 2018 National Hockey League Draft, Hinz is tied for top spot in goals, second in points, leads in the plus/minus department, owns the longest goal scoring streak of the season, the second longest assist an point streak of the season, and leads all OHL players in shooting percentage.

Hinz was named the OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the week for October 9 to October 15 and runner up for CHL Player of the Week for the same period.

Also considered were: Mississauga Steelheads forward Ryan McLeod who had 4 goals and 9 assists in 10 games. Akil Thomas of the Niagara IceDogs notched 3 goals while adding 10 assists in 11 games.

Previous Winners

Matthew Struthers – Owen Sound Attack (September)

Petes’ Jonathan Ang named OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Florida Panthers prospect Jonathan Ang of the Peterborough Petes is the OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week for the week ending October 1 scoring three goals and four assists for seven points in three games with a plus-minus rating of plus-1.

Jonathan Ang of the Peterborough Petes. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
Jonathan Ang of the Peterborough Petes. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Ang’s seven points led the league during the second week of 2017-18 regular season play and featured a pair of three-point performances that helped the Petes earn a pair of victories.  On Thursday night he scored a goal and two assists and was named second star of a 5-2 win over East Division rivals the Oshawa Generals.  On Saturday Ang scored the lone goal for the Petes in a 5-1 road loss at Niagara, but rebounded on Sunday in the second of a home-and-home set beginning October with another goal and two assists as second star of an 8-4 win against the IceDogs.

A 19-year-old from Markham, Ont., Ang is playing in his fourth OHL season with the Petes who chose him ninth overall in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection.  The speedy forward has now played in 198 games during his OHL tenure tallying 135 points including a career-high 59 with 27 goals and 32 assists in 67 games last season.  The fourth round pick of the Panthers in the 2016 NHL Draft was among 20 OHL players who attended Canada’s World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth.

Watch video highlights of Ang and the Petes against the Generals, on the road against the IceDogs, and at home against the IceDogs.IceDogs

Also considered for the award this week was St. Louis Blues prospect Alexey Toropchenko of the Guelph Storm who earned first star honours twice in a pair of victories recording three goals and three assists, and 2018 NHL Draft prospect Akil Thomas of the Niagara IceDogs who picked up four goals and two assists for six points over three games.  In goal, Kaden Fulcher of the Hamilton Bulldogs posted a 2-0-0-1 record including a shutout victory with 82 saves for a goals-against-average of 1.26 and save percentage of .953.

2017-18 OHL ‘On the Run’ Players of the Week:

Sept. 25 – Oct. 1: Jonathan Ang (Peterborough Petes)

Sept. 21 – Sept. 24: Michael DiPietro (Windsor Spitfires)

Storm’s Ryan Merkley named OHL Rookie of the Year

OHL Announces First and Second All-Rookie Teams

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that defenceman Ryan Merkley of the Guelph Storm is the 2016-17 recipient of the Emms Family Award presented to the OHL’s Rookie of the Year.

Merkley led all OHL rookies with 55 points in 62 games played scoring 12 goals and 43 assists positioning him eighth overall among all OHL defenders.  He became the first rookie in franchise history to lead the team in scoring, and is the first OHL defenceman since London’s Rick Corriveau in 1987-88 to lead all rookies in scoring.

Ryan Merkley of the Guelph Storm. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL  Images.
Ryan Merkley of the Guelph Storm. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

“It is an honour to be selected as the OHL Rookie of the Year,” said Merkley. “Knowing that there are so many talented first year players, makes the award extra special.  I would like to thank my teammates and the Storm organization for all their help and support.”

The 16-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., selected first overall by the Storm in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection, is just the second member of the organization to earn the award following fellow Storm first overall pick Jeff O’Neill during the 1992-93 season.  Merkley’s 55 points are the most by a Storm 16-year-old since O’Neill’s 79 during his first campaign.

“Being selected as OHL Rookie of the Year is a special honour, but one that Ryan richly deserves,” said Mike Kelly, Guelph’s departing General Manager. “Even as a 16-year-old, Ryan was a critical part of a very young Guelph Storm Hockey team, and he provided our fans, and fans throughout the OHL with some spectacular hockey memories.  As good as Ryan was this past year, he will be even more special in upcoming seasons.”

Merkley joined the OHL after earning GTHL Player of the Year honours with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens and made an immediate impact with recognition as the OHL’s Rookie of the Month for October and December and represented Team Canada Red at the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Sault Ste. Marie.  He recorded 16 multi-point performances during 2016-17 and was voted third in both the Best Playmaker and Best Stickhandler categories in the Western Conference Coaches Poll.

First presented in 1973, Emms Family Award recipients include Wayne Gretzky (Sault Ste. Marie 1977-78), Joe Thornton (Sault Ste. Marie 1995-96), Rick Nash (London 2000-01), Taylor Hall (Windsor 2007-08), and most recently Alex DeBrincat (Erie 2014-15), and Alex Nylander (Mississauga 2015-16).  Merkley is the eighth player to earn the Emms Family Award after also earning the Jack Ferguson Award as the first overall pick in the OHL Priority Selection beginning with O’Neill, Patrick O’Sullivan (Mississauga 2001-02), Rob Schremp (Mississauga 2002-03), John Tavares (Oshawa 2005-06), Aaron Ekblad (Barrie 2011-12), Connor McDavid (Erie 2012-13), and Travis Konecny (Ottawa 2013-14).

The Emms Family Award was donated by Leighton “Hap” Emms, former owner of the Barrie, Niagara Falls, and St. Catharines OHL franchises.  The award is selected by all 20 member club General Managers.  Teams were asked to submit only one nominee from their own club for consideration on the ballot and were not permitted to vote for the player from their own hockey club.  Players received five points for a first vote, three points for a second place vote, and one point for a third place vote.

Merkley earned 75 of a possible 95 voting points ahead of forward Akil Thomas of the Niagara IceDogs who finished second with 44 voting points and forward Allan McShane of the Oshawa Generals who finished in third with 24 voting points. 

The Emms Family Award will be formally presented to Merkley at the OHL’s annual Awards Ceremony at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Thursday June 8.  He will be the OHL’s nominee for CHL Rookie of the Year to be announced at the Mastercard Memorial Cup on Saturday May 27.

Merkley was also announced to the OHL’s First All-Rookie Team alongside NHL Draft prospect Eemeli Rasanen of the Kingston Frontenacs on defence, and goaltender Jacob Ingham of the Mississauga Steelheads.  First team forwards include McShane at centre, Thomas at right wing, and Kingston’s Linus Nyman at left wing.  Second team honours went to NHL Draft prospects Adam Ruzicka of the Sarnia Sting, Alex Formenton of the London Knights, and Greg Meireles of the Kitchener Rangers at forward, while 16-year-olds Giovanni Vallati of Kitchener, and Owen Lalonde of the Sudbury Wolves comprise the defence.  Second team goaltending honours went to Matthew Villalta of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

The OHL All-Rookie Teams were also selected by the OHL’s General Managers.  Players were voted on initially by position within their conference receiving five points for a first place vote, three for a second place vote, and one for a third.  Top vote getters in each position made up the final ballot that was then circulated to all 20 teams. 

2016-17 OHL All-Rookie Teams (voting points in brackets):

First Team:
Centre – Allan McShane, Oshawa Generals (85)
Left Wing – Linus Nyman, Kingston Frontenacs (73)
Right Wing – Akil Thomas, Niagara IceDogs (93)
Defence – Ryan Merkley, Guelph Storm (91)
Defence – Eemeli Rasanen, Kingston Frontenacs (74)
Goaltender – Jacob Ingham, Mississauga Steelheads (73)

Second Team:
Centre – Adam Ruzicka, Sarnia Sting (51)
Left Wing – Alex Formenton, London Knights (38)
Right Wing – Greg Meireles, Kitchener Rangers (39)
Defence – Giovanni Vallati, Kitchener Rangers (44)
Defence – Owen Lalonde, Sudbury Wolves (39)
Goaltender – Matthew Villalta, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (70)

Chiefs’ Anderson-Dolan to Captain Canada at World Under-18 Hockey Championship

Hockey Canada

POPRAD, Slovakia – Jaret Anderson-Dolan (Spokane Chiefs) will wear the ‘C’ on his Team Canada jersey at the 2017 IIHF U18 World Championship in Poprad and Spisska Nova Ves, Slovakia, April 13-23.

Anderson-Dolan will be assisted by Stelio Mattheos (Brandon Wheat Kings) and Maxime Comtois (Victoriaville Tigres).

“We are very excited about our leadership group,” said Darren Rumble (Moncton Wildcats), head coach of Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team. “Jaret, Max and Stelio have shown great leadership right from day one. They are excellent competitors on the ice, and super people off the ice.”

Twenty players have been registered to play for Canada when the puck drops on the team’s opening game against Latvia on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. ET. Hockey Canada can add up to three more players to its roster before the playoff round begins on April 20.

“It’s a huge honour; if you look at some of the guys who’ve worn the ‘C’ for Team Canada before, there’s some big names out there,” said Anderson-Dolan about Wednesday’s news. “It’s just an honour to be recognized on this team as one of its leaders. I’m going to do everything I can to represent Canada as best I can and to help us win a gold medal.”

TSN, the official broadcast partner of Hockey Canada, is broadcasting 12 games, including all of Team Canada’s match-ups at the IIHF U18 World Championship. RDS will broadcast 10 games, including Canada’s four preliminary-round games, two quarter-final games, both semifinals, and the bronze- and gold-medal games.

Canada has won seven medals at the IIHF U18 World Championship, including three gold medals (2003, 2008, 2013).

19 CHL PLAYERS ON CANADA’S NATIONAL UNDER-18 TEAM:

Goaltenders:
Alexis Gravel (Halifax Mooseheads)
Jake McGrath (Sudbury Wolves)
Ian Scott (Prince Albert Raiders)

Defencemen:
Josh Brook (Moose Jaw Warriors)
Jocktan Chainey (Halifax Mooseheads)
Jared McIsaac (Halifax Mooseheads)
Ty Smith (Spokane Chiefs)
Jett Woo (Moose Jaw Warriors)

Forwards:
Jaret Anderson-Dolan (Spokane Chiefs)
Maxime Comtois (Victoriaville Tigres)
Ty Dellandrea (Flint Firebirds)
MacKenzie Entwistle (Hamilton Bulldogs)
Liam Hawel (Guelph Storm)
Stelio Mattheos (Brandon Wheat Kings)
Kyle Olson (Tri-City Americans)
Isaac Ratcliffe (Guelph Storm)
Nate Schnarr (Guelph Storm)
Matthew Strome (Hamilton Bulldogs)
Akil Thomas (Niagara IceDogs)

Pre-Tournament Recap:

Game 1: Canada overcame a 3-1 first-period deficit, but ultimately lost its first pre-tournament game by one goal, with Russia besting them 5-4 on Sunday.

  • Isaac Ratcliffe (Guelph Storm) and Matthew Strome (Hamilton Bulldogs) racked up one goal and one assist each, while Ian Scott (Prince Albert Raiders) was between the pipes and made 20 saves.
  • Game Summary

Game 2Canada edged Switzerland 5-4 on Monday to close out its pre-tournament action ahead of the 2017 IIHF U18 World Championship.

  • Stelio Mattheos (Brandon Wheat Kings) recorded a hat-trick in the come-from-behind win, with Maxime Comtois (Victoriaville Tigres) scoring two for the red-and-white.
  • Jacob McGrath (Sudbury Wolves) made 19 saves for Canada.
  • Game Summary

For more information on Hockey Canada and the Program of Excellence, please visit HockeyCanada.ca or follow along via social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter.com/HC_Men.