OHL WRITERS’ DRAFT ELGIBLE PLAYERS OF THE MONTH: DECEMBER 2021

The Ontario Hockey League had to postpone more games than anyone wanted to see in December due to the COVID-19 Protocols, but there were some pretty good performances that should not be ignored.

Pavel Cajan of the Kitchener Rangers. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images

In previous season, I looked for one performance that I would feel comfortable saying that player was the Player of the Month. But because of the lost season one year ago and the number of players re-entering the NHL Entry Draft in 2022, I decided for this year to select one forward, one defenceman and one goaltender. Here we go.

Up front, It’s Mississauga Steelheads forward Luca DelBelBelluz who scored 4 goals and 9 assists in 9 contests in the month of December and a whopping 31 shots on goal. He had 4 multi point games including a four-assist night against North Bay on December 29 and he was held off the scoresheet in just two contests.

DelBelBelluz now has 15 goals and 21 assists on the season and sits second in points on the Steelheads just two points behind James Hardie. Among draft eligible players, he is third in points, tied for third in goals and second in assists and easily leads all draft eligible players in plus/minus with a plus-27.

Also considered were a pair of Hamilton Bulldogs. Avery Hayes had 6 goals and 7 assists in 9 games while Ryan Humphrey had 3 goals and 8 assists in 9 games. Shane Wright of the Kingston Frontenacs had 3 goals and 7 assists but played in just 4 games because of the World Junior Championships and the Fronts being in COVID protocol.

On the blueline I could have gone a number of different ways but settled on Kirill Kudryavtsev of the Soo Greyhounds. The 5’11, 200-pound Russian scored once and added 6 assists in 7 games for the Greyhounds raising his totals to 2 goals and 16 assists in 28 games on the season.

I gave the nod to Kudryavtsev because I liked his all-around game. He was kept off the scoresheet in 2 of those 7 games, but the Greyhounds were 0-1-1 in those games. In the 5 games he registered a point? 4-0-1. He is an important player on the Greyhounds blueline as a rookie.

Also considered were Saginaw Spirit defenceman Pavel Mintyukov with 3 goals and 5 assists in 10 games, Samuel Mayer of the Peterborough Petes with 3 goals and 3 assists in 7 games, Ty Nelson of the North Bay Battalion with 8 assists in 9 games and Rodwin Dionicio of the Niagara IceDogs with a goal and 5 assists in 5 games.

The decision in net was the easiest and that was Pavel Cajan of the Kitchener Rangers. The draft re-entry netminder simply gives the Rangers a chance every time he mans the crease. He went 4-1-1 in the month of December with a stellar .919 save-percentage.

In his only regulation loss, Cajan stopped 32 of 34 shots in a 2-1 loss to the Windsor Spitfires. In his only other loss – in overtime- he stopped 34 of 38 shots in a 4-3 OT loss to the Soo Greyhounds. On the season Cajan has a save-percentage of .904 – third among draft eligible goalies and a goals-against-average of 3.23 – fifth among draft eligible goalies.

Also considered was North Bay Battalion netminder Dom DiVincentiis. In 4 appearances he went 1-2-0 with a .909 save-percentage

FORWARDS

December – Luca DelBelBelluz – Mississauga Steelheads

November – Kyle Jackson – North Bay Battalion

October – Tucker Robertson – Peterborough Petes

DEFENCEMEN

December – Kirill Kudryavtsev – Soo Greyhounds

November – Gavin While – Hamilton Bulldogs

October – Ty Nelson – North Bay Battalion

GOALTENDERS

December – Pavel Cajan – Kitchener Rangers

November – Patrick Leaver – Oshawa Generals

October – Brett Brochu – London Knights

HOCKEY CANADA RECOGNIZES 13 OHL PLAYERS INVITED TO 2021 NATIONAL SUMMER UNDER-18 TEAM DEVELOPMENT CAMP

CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada has recognized 13 Ontario Hockey League players as part of a group of 45 players invited to attend Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team Development Camp at Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on the Tsuut’ina Nation near Calgary from July 25th to Aug 4th. Sarnia Sting head coach Alan Letang, Ottawa 67’s goaltending coach Charles McTavish and Kingston Frontenacs equipment manager Chris Cook have also been recognized, along with Owen Sound Attack therapist Andy Brown, North Bay Battalion therapist Andrew Sachkiw and Guelph Storm mental performance consultant Dr. Ashwin Patel.

One OHL goaltender, four defencemen and eight forwards were recognized as invitees to the 11-day camp. Players will be split into two teams, Red and White, and participate in practices and intrasquad games, including combined practices and intrasquad games with Canada’s National Junior Team on Aug. 2nd and 3rd.

“This stage of our Summer Showcase is about bringing together the top under-18 players in Canada to work and learn from an elite-level coaching staff, giving them the necessary skills for their hockey development to grow and succeed,” said Alan Millar, director of player personnel for Hockey Canada. “We have an opportunity to connect with the players through on- and off-ice sessions to give them the tools that will only enhance their skill set as they advance through our program and prepare for the upcoming season.”

Letang, who was appointed head coach of the Sting late last month after serving behind the Attack bench, will return to Canada’s coaching staff. Letang won a gold medal as an assistant coach with Canada’s National Junior Team at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship and, as a player, helped Canada’s National Men’s Team to a 1998 Spengler Cup championship and won a bronze medal at the 2006 Deutschland Cup.

The camp is typically a stepping stone in evaluating and selecting Canada’s roster for the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, but Canada will not participate this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The focus will now turn to the 2022 IIHF U18 World Championship next spring, where Canada will look to defend their gold medal after claiming the top prize at this year’s tournament in Texas.

OHL Players Invited to Canada’s National Summer Under-18 Team Development Camp

Goaltenders:
Domenic DiVincentiis (North Bay Battalion)

Defencemen:
Jorian Donovan (Hamilton Bulldogs)
Donovan McCoy (Sudbury Wolves)
Ty Nelson (North Bay Battalion)
Spencer Sova (Erie Otters)

Forwards:
Sam Alfano (Peterborough Petes)
Pano Fimis (Niagara IceDogs)
David Goyette (Sudbury Wolves)
Cedrick Guindon (Owen Sound Attack)
Hunter Haight (Barrie Colts)
Paul Ludwinski (Kingston Frontenacs)
Bryce McConnell-Barker (Soo Greyhounds)
Matthew Poitras (Guelph Storm)

Coaches:
Assistant Coach – Alan Letang (Sarnia Sting)
Goaltending Coach – Charles McTavish (Ottawa 67’s)
Equipment Manager – Chris Cook (Kingston Frontenacs)
Therapist – Andy Brown (Owen Sound Attack)
Therapist – Andrew Sachkiw (North Bay Battalion)
Mental Performance Consultant – Dr. Ashwin Patel (Guelph Storm)

About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league.