With eight goals and nine assists in nine games during the month of February, Barrie Colts forward and top prospect for the 2018 National Hockey League Draft Andrei Svechnikov is our draft eligible player of the month for February.
Svechnikov posted points in each of his nine games in February. Six of his none games were multi point games including a hattrick on February 3rd, a 6-2 victory over the Windsor Spitfires at home. He is currently on a 15-game point streak, dating back to January 13th when the North Bay Battalion kept him off the scoreboard.
The Ontario Hockey League named Svechnikov the Rookie of the Month for February. He was named one of the games three stars 5 times in his 9 games in February, receiving first star honours once, second star once and third star on three occasions.
Svechnikov gets our nod on consecutive months following back-to-back consideration for Evan Bouchard of the London Knights in November and December.
Speaking of Bouchard, we gave him some serious consideration this month after scoring 5 goals and 11 assists in 11 games. Consideration was also given to Bouchard’s teammate Liam Foudy, who scored 10 goals and 6 assists in 11 games as well as Allan McShane of the Oshawa Generals with 6 goals and 12 assists in 12 games.
With all due respect to London Knights’ star defenceman Evan Bouchard, were it not for a two-month absence of Barrie Colts’ superstar Andrei Svechnikov, things may look a little different then they do statistically as we roll into the final couple weeks of the Ontario Hockey League season.
Bouchard led all draft eligible players in points with 76. He is followed by Akil Thomas of the Niagara IceDogs with 68. A trio of players that includes Aidan Dudas of the Owen Sound Attack, Ryan McLeod of the Mississauga Steelheads and Ryan Merkley of the Guelph Storm are tied for third with 58 points. Only Allan McShane of the Oshawa Generals lies between them and Svechnikov.
It goes without saying then that Bouchard also leads defencemen in scoring. Not only the draft eligible defencemen but all defencemen, and barring a meltdown in the final 9 games, he should end the season at the top of the list. Merkley sits in second place while Rasmus Sandin of the Soo Greyhounds places third with 39 points.
Despite playing in 20-plus fewer games, Svechnikov leads the way in goal scoring with 31. He is followed by Dudas with 28. Pavel Gogolev of the Peterborough Petes, who is climbing fast, comes in third with 26 goals.
Here is a list of leaders (first time draft eligible players) in a variety of categories. For official stats, always refer to the OHL website.
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.
2018 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game – Sport Testing Combine Top Performers:
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.
Oshawa Generals’ forward Allan McShane played his minor midget hockey with the Toronto Marlboros during the 2015-2016 season where he put up very good offensive numbers with 30 goals and 28 assists in 55 games. That offensive output led the Erie Otters to select McShane in the first round of the 2016 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection, using their 19th overall pick.
The following season, McShane would make the Otters’ roster right out of camp. He would appear in 33 games for Erie and notched 7 goals and 16 assists for 23 points.
A mid season trade would send McShane to the Oshawa Generals. McShane was the focal point in a deal that sent Anthony Cirelli to the Otters in their quest for an OHL and Memorial Cup Championship.
McShane would go on to appear in 29 games for the Generals scoring 10 goals and adding another 11 assists. His 16 goals on the campaign ranked him 6th among rookies, while his 27 assists left him tied for 3rd and his 44 points 5th. He would be named to the OHL First All-Rookie squad.
Internationally, McShane has represented Canada at the Under-16 (4 goals, 6 assists in 6 games) and the World Hockey Challenge Under-17 (3 goals, 2 assists in 6 games). He was also an offensive force at the OHL Cup scoring 5 goals and 8 assists in 13 games. He helped his team capture silver in all 3 events.
Coming into this season, McShane would find himself on the National Hockey League Central Scouting’s players to watch list as a B prospect – typically a second or third round pick. On Central’s updated list where 139 Canadian Hockey League players made the cut in November, some were surprised to still find him as a B prospect and expected a rise in the rankings like teammate Serron Noel received.
McShane may just be the second-best playmaker out of the OHL draft group behind only top-2 consensus pick Andrei Svechnikov of the Barrie Colts.
While McShane lacks an explosive first step and high-end speed, he navigates around the offensive zone because of his shiftiness, the ability to go undetected and excellent hockey IQ and anticipation. Once he receives the puck, he has excellent possession skills and excellent patience which allows time for the play to develop. He also has underrated strength despite being a “smaller” forward. Fear of battling along the walls or driving to the net with or without the puck does not exist in McShane.
Despite the excellent playmaking abilities, McShane can sometimes be seen as having a shoot-first mentality. Being selfish in certain situations can only lead to good things. He possesses a deceptively good shot that he can get off in stride or on his back skate which can cause trouble for netminders.
Defensively, McShane is no slouch either. He puts in a strong effort on the backcheck despite the explosive speed, never giving up on it. He understands his role and where he should be in behind his own blueline. He gets into lanes with either his body or his stick, creates turnovers and he effectively clears the zone.
Size can sometimes unfairly come into play for a sub-6-foot player. But there is no questioning McShane’s talent.
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.
“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)
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)