Rosters Announced for 2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League in association with National Hockey League Central Scouting have announced the rosters for the 2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game which takes place on Wednesday January 23 in Red Deer, Alberta.

Top Prospects Game

The 40 players from across the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League selected by NHL clubs to compete in the 24th annual showcase of draft eligible talent have been divided into Team Cherry and Team Orr by NHL Central Scouting.

Team Cherry will be coached by Ron MacLean alongside Dave Hunter and Brent Sutter, with Team Orr to be coached by Kelly Hrudey with Robyn Regehr and Marc Habscheid.

NHL Central Scouting ‘A’ rated prospects Bowen Byram (Vancouver Giants), Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes), Nolan Foote (Kelowna Rockets), Arthur Kaliyev (Hamilton Bulldogs), Peyton Krebs (Kootenay ICE), Raphael Lavoie (Halifax Mooseheads), Samuel Poulin (Sherbrooke Phoenix), and Matthew Robertson (Edmonton Oil Kings) headline the Team Cherry roster.  The group also includes World Junior Championship talents in Mads Sogaard (Medicine Hat Tigers) from Denmark, and Valentin Nussbaumer (Shawinigan Cataractes) from Switzerland.  A total of 20 different CHL teams are represented on Team Cherry including eight WHL, six OHL, and six QMJHL clubs.  The home team will feature the host Rebels with forward Oleg Zaytsev.

‘A’ rated prospects on Team Orr include Kirby Dach (Saskatoon Blades), Vladislav Kolyachonok (Flint Firebirds), and Ryan Suzuki (Barrie Colts).  The group also includes Brett Leason (Prince Albert Raiders) who was a member of Canada’s National Junior Team.  The roster breakdown includes nine OHL players, with seven WHL, and four from the QMJHL representing a total of 17 CHL teams.  Kelowna Rockets defencemen Kaedan Korczak and Lassi Thomson will compete together, as will London Knights forwards Matvey Guskov and Connor McMichael, and teammates Nikita Okhotyuk and Graeme Clarke of the Ottawa 67’s.  The Rockets pair will play opposite Foote, Orr forward Josh Williams will face his Tigers teammate Sogaard, and Orr goaltender Hunter Jones will face his Peterborough Petes teammate Nick Robertson on Cherry.

2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Rosters:

Team Cherry:


Goaltenders:

Taylor Gauthier (Prince George Cougars)
Mads Sogaard (Medicine Hat Tigers)

Defencemen:
Samuel Bolduc (Blainville-Boisbriand Armada)
Bowen Byram (Vancouver Giants)
Billy Constantinou (Kingston Frontenacs)
Thomas Harley (Mississauga Steelheads)
Matthew Robertson (Edmonton Oil Kings)
Michael Vukojevic (Kitchener Rangers)

Forwards:
Maxim Cajkovic (Saint John Sea Dogs)
Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes)
Nolan Foote (Kelowna Rockets)
Arthur Kaliyev (Hamilton Bulldogs)
Peyton Krebs (Kootenay ICE)
Raphaël Lavoie (Halifax Mooseheads)
Nathan Légaré (Baie-Comeau Drakkar)
Valentin Nussbaumer (Shawinigan Cataractes)
Samuel Poulin (Sherbrooke Phoenix)
Jamieson Rees (Sarnia Sting)
Nick Robertson (Peterborough Petes)
Oleg Zaytsev (Red Deer Rebels)

Team Orr:

Goaltenders:
Colten Ellis (Rimouski Océanic)
Hunter Jones (Peterborough Petes)

Defencemen:

Artemi Kniazev (Chicoutimi Saguenéens)
Vladislav Kolyachonok (Flint Firebirds)
Kaedan Korczak (Kelowna Rockets)
Jake Lee (Seattle Thunderbirds)
Nikita Okhotyuk (Ottawa 67’s)
Lassi Thomson (Kelowna Rockets)

Forwards:
Nikita Alexandrov (Charlottetown Islanders)
Joe Carroll (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)
Graeme Clarke (Ottawa 67’s)
Kirby Dach (Saskatoon Blades)
Matvey Guskov (London Knights)
Brett Leason (Prince Albert Raiders)
Connor McMichael (London Knights)
Sasha Mutala (Tri-City Americans)
Jakob Pelletier (Moncton Wildcats)
Ryan Suzuki (Barrie Colts)
Philip Tomasino (Niagara IceDogs)
Josh Williams (Medicine Hat Tigers)

The teams are named in recognition of event builders and hockey icons Don Cherry and Bobby Orr who were instrumental in the success of the event when it was first introduced in 1996.  Since 2006, the winning team has been presented with the Don Cherry and Bobby Orr CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Trophy engraved with the names of every player to ever participate in this prestigious event.  Teams wearing the Orr crest carry an overall record of 13-6 while Team Cherry holds an all-time record of 7-13 with the extra victory opposite Team Davidson in 2005.

The 2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is proudly supported by title partner Sherwin-Williams, and CHL associate sponsors CIBC, Kia Canada, Cooper Tires, and Kubota Canada.  The game will be broadcast live across Canada on Sportsnet and TVA Sports, and in the United States on NHL Network.

Tickets are still available and can be purchased via reddeerrebels.com or ticketsalberta.com.  For further ticket details please contact the Rebels office at 403-341-6000.

For more event information please visit http://sherwin-williamstopprospects.ca.

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40 Players Selected for 2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League in association with National Hockey League Central Scouting announce today the 40 players that will compete in the 2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.

The 24th annual showcase of the CHL’s top prospects eligible for the NHL Draft will be played on Wednesday January 23, 2019, at the ENMAX Centrium, home of the Western Hockey League’s Red Deer Rebels.  The 40 competing players were chosen by NHL clubs and include talent from across the WHL, the Ontario Hockey League, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

“The Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game provides scouts and general managers the unique opportunity to evaluate talent competing in a best-on-best showcase,” said Dan Marr, NHL Central Scouting Director. “All 31 NHL clubs contributed to the roster selection and have a great interest in this priority scouting event to see which players can elevate their game under the spotlight.”

Headlining the talent in Alberta will be 11 CHL players identified by NHL Central Scouting as potential first round candidates in their November ‘Players to Watch’ list.  Six of those players hail from WHL clubs including forwards Dylan Cozens of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Kirby Dach of the Saskatoon Blades, Nolan Foote of the Kelowna Rockets, and Peyton Krebs of the Kootenay ICE, along with defencemen Bowen Byram of the Vancouver Giants, and Matthew Robertson of the Edmonton Oil Kings.  Additional ‘A’ rated players competing in the event include OHL forwards Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs and Ryan Suzuki of the Barrie Colts, defenceman Vladislav Kolyachonok of the Flint Firebirds, plus QMJHL forwards Raphael Lavoie of the Halifax Mooseheads and Samuel Poulin of the Sherbrooke Phoenix.

33 of the CHL’s 60 member clubs will be represented in the game with a total of 16 WHL players from 12 different teams, 15 OHL players from 12 teams, and nine QMJHL players each from a different organization.  Kelowna leads the way with three players selected followed by the London Knights, Medicine Hat Tigers, Ottawa 67’s, Peterborough Petes, and Seattle Thunderbirds each with two.  The host Rebels will be represented in the game by forward Oleg Zaytsev.

2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Roster:

Goaltenders:
Colten Ellis (Rimouski Océanic)
Taylor Gauthier (Prince George Cougars)
Hunter Jones (Peterborough Petes)
Mads Sogaard (Medicine Hat Tigers)

Defencemen:
Samuel Bolduc (Blainville-Boisbriand Armada)
Bowen Byram (Vancouver Giants)
Billy Constantinou (Kingston Frontenacs)
Thomas Harley (Mississauga Steelheads)
Artemi Kniazev (Chicoutimi Saguenéens)
Vladislav Kolyachonok (Flint Firebirds)
Kaedan Korczak (Kelowna Rockets)
Jake Lee (Seattle Thunderbirds)
Nikita Okhotyuk (Ottawa 67’s)
Matthew Robertson (Edmonton Oil Kings)
Lassi Thomson (Kelowna Rockets)
Michael Vukojevic (Kitchener Rangers)

Forwards:
Nikita Alexandrov (Charlottetown Islanders)
Maxim Cajkovic (Saint John Sea Dogs)
Joe Carroll (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)
Graeme Clarke (Ottawa 67’s)
Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes)
Kirby Dach (Saskatoon Blades)
Nolan Foote (Kelowna Rockets)
Matvey Guskov (London Knights)
Dillon Hamaliuk (Seattle Thunderbirds)
Arthur Kaliyev (Hamilton Bulldogs)
Peyton Krebs (Kootenay ICE)
Raphaël Lavoie (Halifax Mooseheads)
Brett Leason (Prince Albert Raiders)
Nathan Légaré (Baie-Comeau Drakkar)
Connor McMichael (London Knights)
Sasha Mutala (Tri-City Americans)
Jakob Pelletier (Moncton Wildcats)
Samuel Poulin (Sherbrooke Phoenix)
Jamieson Rees (Sarnia Sting)
Nick Robertson (Peterborough Petes)
Ryan Suzuki (Barrie Colts)
Philip Tomasino (Niagara IceDogs)
Josh Williams (Medicine Hat Tigers)
Oleg Zaytsev (Red Deer Rebels)

The 40 players will be divided into Team Cherry and Team Orr by NHL Central Scouting prior to the event.  Coaching staffs for both teams will also be announced at a later date.

10 CHL players from last year’s game in Guelph were chosen in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft led by Barrie’s Andrei Svechnikov picked second overall by the Carolina Hurricanes.  In 23 years, a total of 317 CHL players from this event have been chosen by NHL clubs in the first round of the NHL Draft representing over 45% of all players selected.  Since the event was first introduced in 1996 the game has featured 14 players selected with the first overall pick in the NHL Draft including Nico Hischier, Connor McDavid, Aaron Ekblad, Nathan MacKinnon, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, John Tavares, Steven Stamkos, Patrick Kane, Marc-Andre Fleury, Rick Nash, Vincent Lecavalier, Joe Thornton, and Chris Phillips.


The 2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is proudly supported by title partner Sherwin-Williams, and CHL associate sponsors CIBC, Kia Canada, Cooper Tires, and Kubota Canada.  The game will be broadcast live across Canada on Sportsnet and TVA Sports, and in the United States on NHL Network.

Tickets are still available and can be purchased via reddeerrebels.com or ticketsalberta.com.  For further ticket details please contact the Rebels office at 403-341-6000.

For more event information please visit http://sherwin-williamstopprospects.ca.

OHL’s Draft Eligible Statistical Leaders as of November

It was supposed to be a two-horse race between Ryan Suzuki of the Barrie Colts and Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs, two OHL’ers expected to go in the first round of the 2019 National Hockey League Draft in June from Vancouver, British Columbia.

It’s still early, just passing the one-third mark of the season, so there is still a lot of hockey remaining to be played, but Kaliyev has put a little distance between himself and Suzuki – for the moment. But the gap between the points leader – Kaliyev (40 points in 26 games) and Suzuki (32 points in 24 games) is greater then the gap between Suzuki and third place Cole MacKay of the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds (27 points in 27 games).

Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

It’s also no surprise that Kaliyev, the best pure scorer in the draft class, leads in goals with 21. What may surprise some people is that Connor McMichael of the London Knights is just 4 behind the goal scoring leader. There’s a drop off to the third-place skater, Philip Tomasino of the Niagara IceDogs with 11 goals.

Among defencemen, Thomas Harley of the Mississauga Steelheads and Billy Constantinou of the Kingston Frontenacs continue to be offensive sparkplugs. Harley leads defender with 22 points in 27 games while Constantinou comes in second with 19 points in 26 games. They are trailed by four defencemen with 12 points.

In the crease, Hunter Jones of the Peterborough Petes leads netminders in goals-against-average, save percentage, games played, minutes played, wins and tied with Mack Guzda of the Owen Sound Attack in shutouts.

Here are the statistical leaders in a variety of categories. Always refer to the OHL website for official stats.

Points Leaders
Player Team GP G A Pts
Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton Bulldogs 26 21 19 40
Ryan Suzuki Barrie Colts 24 8 24 32
Cole MacKay Soo Greyhounds 27 10 17 27
Connor McMichael London Knights 25 17 9 26
Philip Tomasino Niagara Ice Dogs 26 11 13 24
Thomas Harley Mississauga Steelheads 27 4 18 22
Eric Uba Flint Firebirds 27 11 10 21
Kyen Sopa Niagara Ice Dogs 26 11 8 19
Danil Antropov Oshawa Generals 26 7 12 19
Billy Constantinou Kingston Frontenacs 26 5 14 19
Goal Scoring Leaders
Player Team GP G GPG
Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton Bulldogs 26 21 0.81
Connor McMichael London Knights 25 17 0.68
Philip Tomasino Niagara Ice Dogs 26 11 0.42
Eric Uba Flint Firebirds 27 11 0.41
Kyen Sopa Niagara Ice Dogs 26 11 0.42
Cole MacKay Soo Greyhounds 27 10 0.37
Nicholas Porco Saginaw Spirit 26 10 0.38
Graeme Clarke Ottawa 67’s 22 10 0.45
Petr Cajka Erie Otters 27 9 0.33
Daniel D’Amico Windsor Spitfires 26 9 0.35
Assist Leaders
Player Team GP A APG
Ryan Suzuki Barrie Colts 24 24 1.00
Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton Bulldogs 26 19 0.73
Thomas Harley Mississauga Steelheads 27 18 0.67
Cole MacKay Soo Greyhounds 27 17 0.63
Billy Constantinou Kingston Frontenacs 26 14 0.54
Philip Tomasino Niagara Ice Dogs 26 13 0.50
Keean Washkurak Mississauga Steelheads 25 12 0.48
Danil Antropov Oshawa Generals 26 12 0.46
Matvey Guskov London Knights 25 11 0.44
Mason Millman Saginaw Spirit 26 11 0.42
Defencemen Point Leaders
Player Team GP G A Pts
Thomas Harley Mississauga Steelheads 27 4 18 22
Billy Constantinou Kingston Frontenacs 26 5 14 19
Mason Millman Saginaw Spirit 26 1 11 12
Simon Rose North Bay Battalion 26 1 11 12
Jack York Kitchener Rangers 26 1 11 12
Nathan Staios Windsor Spitfires 27 1 11 12
Grayson Ladd Windsor Spitfires 26 2 9 11
Liam Ross Sudbury Wolves 26 3 7 10
Plus/Minus Leaders
Player Team GP +/-
Lucas Peric Ottawa 67’s 28 +16
Ashton Reesor Sarnia Sting 26 +14
Louka Henault Windsor Spitfires 25 +8
Grayson Ladd Windsor Spitfires 26 +8
Mathew Hill Barrie Colts 23 +6
Nathan Allensen Barrie Colts 25 +6
Jacob LeGuerrier Soo Greyhounds 27 +6
Nikita Okhotyuk Ottawa 67’s 17 +4
Mason Howard Niagara Ice Dogs 20 +4
Billy Constantinou Kingston Frontenacs 26 +4
Penalty Minutes Leaders
Player Team GP PIM M/G
Brendan Kischnick Erie Otters 17 27 1.59
Nathan Allensen Barrie Colts 25 27 1.08
Michael Vukojevic Kitchener Rangers 27 27 1.00
Jacob LeGuerrier Soo Greyhounds 27 26 0.96
Matthew Hill Barrie Colts 23 23 1.00
Evan Brand Kingston Frontenacs 27 20 0.74
Billy Constantinou Kingston Frontenacs 26 18 0.69
Faceoff Leaders  (minimum 90 faceoffs)
Player Team GP FOA FOW %
Tye Kartye Soo Greyhounds 23 151 85 56.3
Connor McMichael London Knights 25 252 139 55.2
Camaryn Baber Saginaw Spirit 17 114 61 53.5
Philip Tomasino Niagara Ice Dogs 26 228 119 52.2
Tim Fleischer Hamilton Bulldogs 26 178 90 50.6
Keean Washkurak Mississauga Steelheads 25 328 165 50.3
Blake Murray Sudbury Wolves 25 292 147 50.3
Longest Goal Scoring Streak
Player Team From To Gms Goals
Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton Bulldogs 10/13 10/19 4 7
Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton Bulldogs 9/21 9/30 4 6
Nicholas Porco Saginaw Spirit 10/5 10/13 4 4
Tag Bertuzzi Guelph Storm 10/5 10/13 4 4
Kyen Sopa Niagara Ice Dogs 10/4 10/13 4 4
Longest Assist Streak
Player Team From To Gms Assts
Philip Tomasino Niagara Ice Dogs 11/9 11/17 4 4
Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton Bulldogs 9/21 9/30 3 4
Ryan Suzuki Barrie Colts 9/20 9/27 3 7
Keean Washkurak Mississauga Steelheads 9/23 9/30 3 5
Danil Antropov Oshawa Generals 9/27 9/30 3 3
Longest Point Streak
Player Team From To Gms Pts
Ryan Suzuki Barrie Colts 9/20 10/7 7 15
Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton Bulldogs 10/13 10/20 7 11
Philip Tomasino Niagara Ice Dogs 11/2 11/23 7 11
Nicholas Porco Saginaw Spirit 11/3 11/14 6 6
Danil Antropov Oshawa Generals 9/27 10/6 5 7
Shots On Goal Leaders
Player Team GP SOG
Arthur Kaliyev Hamilton Bulldogs 26 113
Connor McMichael London Knights 25 81
Philip Tomasino Niagara Ice Dogs 26 72
Petr Cajka Erie Otters 27 68
Eric Uba Flint Firebirds 27 66
Goals Against Average (minimum 612 minutes)
Player Team GP Min GA Avg
Hunter Jones Peterborough Petes 26 1425 63 2.65
Zachary Roy Hamilton Bulldogs 14 825 42 3.05
Mack Guzda Owen Sound Attack 22 1221 68 3.34
Ethan Langevin Sarnia Sting 16 851 50 3.53
Luke Cavallin Flint Firebirds 17 759 71 5.61
Save Percentage Minimum 612 minutes)
Player Team GP SH  SVS SV%
Hunter Jones Peterborough Petes 26 822 759 0.923
Zachary Roy Hamilton Bulldogs 14 426 384 0.901
Mack Guzda Owen Sound Attack 22 585 517 0.884
Ethan Langevin Sarnia Sting 16 403 353 0.876
Luke Cavallin Flint Firebirds 17 487 416 0.854
Goaltending Leaders – Wins
Player Team GP W L OL
Hunter Jones Peterborough Petes 26 15 11 0
Mack Guzda Owen Sound Attack 22 10 8 2
Zachary Roy Hamilton Bulldogs 14 7 7 0
Ethan Langevin Sarnia Sting 16 6 7 1
Ryan Dugas Kingston Frontenacs 12 5 3 1
Goaltending Leaders – Shutouts
Player Team GP SO
Mack Guzda Owen Sound Attack 22 2
Hunter Jones Peterborough Petes 26 2
Kari Piiroinen Windsor Spitfires 9 1
Ryan Dugas Kingston Frontenacs 12 1

OHL Writer’s Draft Eligible Player of the Month for November

It’s now December, most folk’s favorite month of the year. The holidays are fast approaching, the World Junior Championships are around the corner, and the Ontario Hockey League season is past the one-third point.

But before we look forward, let’s look back at the month of November and our pick for the draft eligible player of the month.

Each month, we select one player eligible for the National Hockey League Draft for the first time he stood out just a little bit more then the rest of the draft class. And for November, our choice is Philip Tomasino of the Niagara IceDogs.

Philip Tomasino of the Niagara IceDogs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Philip Tomasino of the Niagara IceDogs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Tomasino appeared in eleven games for the IceDogs and recorded 9 goals to go along with 8 helpers and a plus-11. He was held off the scoreboard in just two contests and had five multi-point games.

Tomasino was named the game’s first star on two occasions and second star in another. He had tw0 game-winning goals and assisted on another while also scoring two insurance goals. On the season, Tomasino has appeared in 26 games and has contributed 11 goals and 13 helpers while also being very good defensively with a plus-17 to show for it.

Also considered were Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs and Thomas Harley of the Mississauga Steelheads. Kaliyev posted 7 goals and 9 assists in 11 games while Mississauga’s smooth skating defenceman posted a goal and 10 assists in 13 games. In goal, Peterborough Petes netminder Hunter Jones appeared in 11 games with a 6-5-0 record and a .908 save percentage.

Past Draft Eligible Player of the Month

Philip Tomasino – Niagara IceDogs – November

Hunter Jones – Peterborough Petes – October

Greyhounds’ Morgan Frost named OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Philadelphia Flyers prospect Morgan Frost of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds is the OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week for the regular season week ending November 25 after scoring twice with seven assists for nine points in three games with a plus-minus rating of plus-5.

Frost put together a pair of multi-point performances that helped the Greyhounds earn five of a possible six points last week to extend their lead atop the West Division standings.  On Wednesday night he scored once and added two assists including a shorthanded set-up on Zack Trott’s Teddy Bear Toss goal to earn first star of a 7-4 win over the Sudbury Wolves.  He scored once in Friday’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Guelph Storm then rebounded with a career-high five points, all assists, as first star of a 7-4 victory against the Owen Sound Attack.  Frost now leads the league with 30 assists and the Greyhounds hold a 15-6-4-1 record.

Morgan Frost of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Morgan Frost of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

A 19-year-old from Aurora, Ont., Frost is playing in his fourth career season after being chosen by the Greyhounds in the fourth round of the 2015 OHL Priority Selection.  He’s currently tied for second in OHL scoring with 46 points in 26 games which brings his career total to 247 points in 225 games.  The first round pick by the Flyers in the 2017 NHL Draft recently competed for Team OHL at the 2018 CIBC Canada Russia Series as one of the league’s top candidates aspiring to represent Canada at the World Junior Championship.

Watch video highlights of Frost and the Greyhounds against the Wolves, Storm, and Attack.

Also considered for the award this week was overage forward Anthony Salinitri of the Sarnia Sting who scored four goals and five assists for nine points in four games, and Columbus Blue Jackets first round pick Liam Foudy of the London Knights who scored three goals and four assists for seven points in three games.  In goal, NHL Draft prospect Hunter Jones of the Peterborough Petes posted a 2-0-0-0 record making a total of 68 saves for a goals-against-average of 1.00 and save percentage of .971 highlighted by a shutout victory on Teddy Bear Toss night in Erie.

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

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)

Hunter Jones – Peterborough Petes – Player Profile

Height: 6”4”

Weight: 196 pounds

Date of birth: September 21, 2000

Hometown: Brantford, Ontario

Position: Goaltender

Catches: Left

OHL Draft: Round 5, 89th overall, 2016 Priority Selection

 

NHL Central Scouting Rankings: Pre-season – C Prospect, November – B Prospect

It’s hard to determine what kind of Ontario Hockey League careers most players this age will carve out. Today though, it’s hard to imagine Peterborough Petes’ netminder Hunter Jones not being the first goaltender selected from the OHL at the 2019 National Hockey League Draft in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Jones played his Minor Midget hockey with the Mississauga Reps during the 2015-2016 season. The Petes would select Jones in the fifth round of the 2016 OHL Priority Selection, 89th overall.

Goalie #29 Hunter Jones of the Peterborough Petes
Goalie Hunter Jones of the Peterborough Petes. Photo courtesy of OHL Images

The following season, Jones would go on to man the net for the Stouffville Spirit of the Ontario Junior Hockey League where he posted a 2.74 goals-against-average and .917 save-percentage. He would be named to the league’s second all-prospects team at season’s end.

Last season, Jones made the jump to the OHL – and because of his September 21 birthdate, missed being eligible for last year’s NHL draft by 6 days. That may have been a blessing in disguise for the goalkeeper.

Jones backed up incumbent Dylan Wells in the Petes’ crease and his numbers weren’t anything to write home about. In 15 games he posted a 3-9-1 record with a 5.14 goals-against-average and .866 save-percentage.

There were concerns about goaltending entering this season for the Petes, but Jones has taken the bull by the horns and ran with it. He’s been nothing but a workhorse with little signs of slowing down. He’s appeared in 24 of the Petes 25 games this season. This stat tells a tale: Only 9 Petes’ skaters have appeared in more games then Hunter Jones.

Jones’ record heading into today’s schedule has him at 14-10-0. The above stat goes to show that there have been some key injuries for the Petes and one can only imagine what his win-loss record would be with a healthy squad in front of him. He has literally stolen games the Petes had no business winning.

From the start of the season, he’s been among the league leaders in goals-against-average and save-percentage. No OHL goaltender has appeared in more games, faced more shots and made more saves then Jones.

Jones’ progression this season can be described as otherworldly. At 6’4, he possesses that size that NHL Scouts love. He plays big in his net, even when in the butterfly, he stands tall and doesn’t give shooters the top of the net.

His size also allows him to see through traffic, and even when he can’t see the shooter, he reads things so well that he sets himself up to make a positional save. He moves well for a big guy getting from post-to-post quickly and efficiently and jumps to the top of the blue paint in a hurry. His movements are controlled and rarely does he over commit.

Jones has made some major improvements to his rebound control. He directs pucks out of danger and in areas for teammates to retrieve them, and makes it look relatively easy in doing so. Still, there are things to work on as with any goaltender at this level. But we believe in his commitment level and his abilities to put in the necessary work.

Jones himself will admit that the key for him is to maintain a positive attitude and when things get tough for the team, to continue to work hard and worry about the things he can control. He’s proven to have the mindset to do that.

The Petes are getting calls from NHL Scouts about Jones. I’m not sure he can continue at this pace. The Petes are going to have to find some time to rest him.

But today, he has NHL starter written all over him.

OHL Writers’ Draft Eligible Player of the Month for October

When it comes to draft eligible players from the 2018-2019 Ontario Hockey League season, most of the attention will be focused around Ryan Suzuki of the Barrie Colts and Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs, and rightfully so.

Unless you are the most ardent follower, then a young netminder from the Peterborough Petes being named our draft eligible player of the month may come as a surprise to you. That young netminder is none other than Hunter Jones.

Don’t be fooled by his 6-5-0 record during the month of October. The Petes have suffered through some key injuries and had it not been for Jones, that record could have been worse. In those eleven contests in October, Jones posted a remarkable .939 save percentage.

Goalie #29 Hunter Jones of the Peterborough Petes
Goalie Hunter Jones of the Peterborough Petes. Photo courtesy of OHL Images

As of today, no goaltender has played more minutes then Jones (897) including some seasoned veterans: Jacob Ingham (780), Cedrick Andree (755), Matthew Villalta (719) and Michael DiPietro (641). Jones has also faced more rubber (527) then any other goaltender, 127 more then Ingham and stopped more shots (491), 130 more then Stephen Dhillon of the Niagara Ice Dogs.

Jones currently sits forth in goals against average among goaltenders with four or more starts with a 2.41 goals-against average. He currently sits second in save percentage at .931.

Jones was the OHL goaltender of the week and runner up to the CHL goaltender of the week for the week of October 8-14 – he was both the OHL and CHL goaltender of the week on opening week.

His performance earned him an invitation to participate for Team OHL in the upcoming Canada-Russia Super Series, a precursor to the World Junior Championships.

Also considered were Suzuki, who posted 2 goals and 11 assists in 9 games, Kaliyev and his 7 goals and 4 assists in 11 games and Cole MacKay of the Soo Greyhounds who recorded 2 goals and 10 assists in 11 games.

CHL Announces Weekly Award Winners

Spirit’s Damien Giroux named CHL Player of the Week

Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League today announced that Minnesota Wild prospect Damien Giroux of the Saginaw Spirit is the CHL Player of the Week for the regular season week ending October 14 after scoring four goals and three assists for seven points in two games with a plus-minus rating of plus-7.

Giroux contributed to seven of the Spirit’s eight goals last week helping extend their winning-streak to five games for a hold of first place in the OHL’s West Division standings with a 6-2-1-0 record.  His first of back-to-back multi-point performances featured a career-high five points and first hat-trick scored entirely in the third period to earn first star honours of a 6-2 win over the North Bay Battalion.  On Sunday the first year captain scored the game-winning goal for the second straight game and added one assist as second star of a 2-1 victory over the Kitchener Rangers.

An 18-year-old from Hanmer, Ont., Giroux is playing in his third season with the Spirit after being chosen by the club in the third round of the 2016 OHL Priority Selection.  So far this season he’s produced six goals and five assists for 11 points in nine games following a sophomore season of 19 goals and 24 assists for 43 points in 68 games.  Giroux was picked by the Wild in the fifth round of the 2018 NHL Draft in June.

Also considered for the award this week was forward Brett Leason of the Prince Albert Raiders who scored five goals and three assists for eight points in three games, and top 2020 NHL Draft prospect Alexis Lafreniere of the Rimouski Oceanic who scored twice with seven assists for nine points in four games.

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

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)

Mooseheads’ Alexis Gravel named Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week

Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League today announced that Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alexis Gravel of the Halifax Mooseheads is the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week for the regular season week ending October 14 after posting a 2-0-0-0 record including one shutout victory for a goals-against-average of 1.00 and save percentage of .970.

Gravel turned aside 65 shots last week for the Mooseheads who have now won three-straight games and rank second in the QMJHL’s overall standings with an 8-2-0-0 record.  On Thursday night his 35-save performance earned him third star honours in an 8-2 road win over the Charlottetown Islanders.  Then on Sunday his 30-save effort produced his second career shutout and first star honours blanking the Acadie-Bathurst Titan by a 5-0 score.

An 18-year-old from Asbestos, Que., Gravel is playing in his third season with the Mooseheads who chose him in the second round of the 2016 QMJHL Entry Draft.  So far this season he has six wins in eight starts for the 2019 Memorial Cup presented by Kia hosts maintaining a 2.51 goals-against-average and a .927 save percentage which improve upon his 2017-18 marks of 3.38 and .890 respectively in 39 appearances.  Gravel was a sixth round selection by the Blackhawks in the 2018 NHL Draft.

Also considered for the award this week was 2019 NHL Draft prospect Hunter Jones of the Peterborough Petes who posted a 4-0-0-0 record making 122 saves for a goals-against-average of 1.19 and save percentage of .968.  In the WHL, Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Ian Scott of the Prince Albert Raiders maintained a 3-0-0-0 record including one shutout victory while stopping a total of 77 shots for a goals-against-average of 1.00 and save percentage of .963.

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

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)

Goaltenders: Is This the Year For the OHL?

At the 2018 National Hockey League Draft, the Los Angeles Kings selected Jacob Ingham of the Mississauga Steelheads in the sixth round, 175th overall, while the Las Vegas Goldens Knights chose London Knights puck stopper Jordan Kooy in the seventh round, 208th overall.

At the 2017 Draft, the Vancouver Canucks selected Michael DiPietro of the Windsor Spitfires in the third round, 64th overall. Also selected in the third round was Sault Ste Marie netminder Matthew Villalta, 72nd overall by the Los Angeles Kings. Kaden Fulcher of the Hamilton Bulldogs and Kyle Keyser of the Oshawa Generals were signed as free agents by the Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins respectively before the start of the 2017-2018 season.

Michael DiPietro of the Windsor Spitfires. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Michael DiPietro of the Windsor Spitfires. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

In 2016, Tyler Parsons of the London Knights was selected in the second round, 54th overall, by the Calgary Flames. The New Jersey Devils would nab Evan Cormier from the Saginaw Spirit in the fourth round, 105th overall.  Dylan Wells of the Peterborough Petes was selected in the fifth round. 123rd overall, by the Flames neighbours the Edmonton Oilers. while the Carolina Hurricanes would take Jeremy Helvig of the Kingston Frontenacs in the fifth round, 134th overall.

In 2015, MacKenzie Blackwood would be the only Ontario Hockey League goaltender selected at the draft. The New Jersey Devils would select Blackwood in the second round, 42 overall.

Ask around in hockey circles and many would tell you that goaltending is an area of weakness in the OHL when it comes to the NHL Draft. 2017 looks good at the moment, but Fulcher and Keyser were never drafted which means all 31 NHL Clubs passed on them seven times.

So why would 2019, which takes place in Vancouver, British Columbia, on June 21-22 be any different? Well the simple answer is: I don’t know. I don’t have some magic crystal ball that helps predict the future. Just the sheer number of goaltenders entering their draft year adds some intrigue. Add to them a couple of undrafted goaltenders that will be re-entering the draft adds another dimension.

During the 2016-2017 OHL season, an undrafted (in the OHL) Villalta drew my attention very early on. And as the season progressed, his draft stock began to rise. All the way to number 72 in the draft. So, is there another Matthew Villalta knocking at the door in 2018-2019?

When NHL Central Scouting released it’s players to watch list earlier this month, five OHL goaltenders were found on the list. They include Mack Guzda of the Owen Sound Attack as a B prospect, Luke Cavallin of the Flint Firebirds, Hunter Jones of the Peterborough Petes, Nicholas Daws of the Guelph Storm, and Kari Piiroinen of the Windsor Spitfires, all as C prospects. (a B prospect is considered a second or third rounder while a C prospect is considered a fourth, fifth or sixth round prospect).

It was no surprise to see Guzda at the top of Central’s list as he already had the benefit of an OHL season under his belt. During the 2017-2018 season, Guzda appeared in 30 games for the Attack posting a 3.20 goals-against average and .879 save percentage. But it has been a less-then-expected start for Guzda and his Attack Team. In seven games he boasts a 2-5-0-0 record with a save percentage at just .859 and a goals-against average of 4.11. But I have no doubt that he will improve on those stats as the season progresses.

Much like Villalta during the 2016-2017 season, if you haven’t started paying attention to the Petes’ Hunter Jones, then you should probably start now before you lag behind. He leads all OHL goaltenders in appearances (10), minutes played (539), shots faced (323), saves (303) and wins (8). Among puck stoppers who have played in four or more contests, he trails only Kooy in goals-against average (2.22 versus 2.01) and leads all netminders in save percentage (.938).

In eight of the complete games Jones has started this season, he has faced under 35 shots just twice. He had one poor start, allowing 6 goals against the Hamilton Bulldogs in two periods on September 29, 2018. His other starts would be a record setting pace.

Speaking of the Bulldogs, not making Central Scouting’s opening list is Hamilton netminder Zachary Roy. One has to wonder if things keep going the way they are in the Steel City, if there will be a goaltending controversy in the crease. Nick Donofrio, who went undrafted in 2018 and re-enters the draft, was the backup last season to Fulcher and the incumbent starter for this season.

It’s been a slow start for Donofrio, posting a 3-3-1-0 record with a 3.74 goals-against average and .881 save percentage. Roy was given his first OHL start on October 10 and put in a brilliant 42 save performance in a 5-2 victory over the Windsor Spitfires. A week later, Roy was given the start against the Mississauga Steelheads stopping 29 of 30 shots and getting the 5-1 victory. He was rewarded for his performance and started in back-to-back games and getting a 6-5 overtime victory on the road against the Oshawa Generals. Roy now has a 2.61 goals-against average and .929 save percentage.

Perhaps the goaltender that is going to be the toughest to get a read on is Flint Firebirds’ Luke Cavallin. The Firebirds are off to a dismal start at 0-9-0-0 having allowed the most goals (53) and scoring the fewest (17) so wins are going to be tough to come by in Flint.

Emanuel Vella is the number one goaltender in Flint. Cavallin has only appeared in two complete games this season, five in total. He’s come on in relief of Vella twice, not allowing a goal on both occasions. But he was also given the hook on one occasion in a game everyone would like to forget, a 12-1 drubbing by the Erie Otters.

The only way to get a good read on Cavallin is to hope he plays and plays a lot and to constantly have eyes on his performance and not paying attention to the outcome. Because the outcome may not be pretty.

Kari Piiroinen of the Windsor Spitfires is in kind of a similar situation. Not that the Spits are the Firebirds, but that you need to have eyes on Piiroinen constantly as you never know when he will make his next appearance. At least that is what one would think when you are backing up the best netminder in the OHL in Micheal DiPietro.

However, the Finnish born Piiroinen has started three of the Spits nine games and came on in relief of DiPietro in another. He boasts a 2-2-0-0 record with a goals-against average of 2.70 and a save percentage of .913, all of which are better then DiPietro’s stats. It’s possible the Spitfires might consider trading DiPietro in order to recoup some assets and that could benefit Piiroinen and his draft stock.

In Sault Ste Marie, Villalta is the incumbent for the Greyhounds. They began the season with OHL veteran Tyler Johnson as his backup, but he has since made the jump to the Lincoln Stars of the United States Hockey League. In comes Ethan Taylor, who was not on Central Scouting’s list.

Taylor has gotten 2 starts in the last ten days and has come on in relief of Villalta where he stopped all 15 shots he faced in a 6-2 loss the Ottawa 67’s handed the Greyhounds. Taylor has exceptional numbers: a 1-0-1-0 record to go along with his 1.65 goals-against average and .973 save percentage. There was a lot of intrigue surrounding Taylor, and with Johnson moving on, a window of opportunity has opened up for him. Now he has to make the best of his chances when his number is called upon.

The Guelph Storm’s Nicholas Daws did make Central Scouting’s list. He appeared in 14 games for the Storm a season ago posting a goals-against average of 4.06 and a save percentage of .880 and a 1-7-1-1 record. He has started three games for the Storm this season and his stats have regressed from a year ago with his 4.25 goals-against average and .843 saver percentage and a 2-1-0-0 record.

Daws is backing up veteran Anthony Popovich and will likely see more starts then the other backups who are draft eligible. The Storm currently lead the Midwest Division, second overall in the league, with a 6-2-1-0 record but with the league’s eighth worst goals allowed (33).  There is a real opportunity here for Daws and the Storm if he can put it all together and improve on his early season start.

Ryan Dugas of the 3-7-0-0 Kingston Frontenacs is another netminder not on Central Scouting’s list. The Fronts occupy the basement of the East Division and are third from the bottom in the entire league. Although he is backing up veteran Brendan Bonello, Dugas has been a bright spot of sorts for Kingston.

Dugas has appeared in 4 games, one of those being in relief of Bonello, and has a 2-1-0-0 record. His first OHL game was a 27 save shutout performance on September 29 against the Erie Otters. He holds a 2.52 goals-against average and .916 save percentage. He is Kingston’s goalie of the future and if he can steal some starts – and wins – he will draw some attention.

Finally, we have to give a mention to Barrie Colts netminder Jet Greaves. Currently behind veteran Kai Edmonds and 2017 Vegas Golden Knights draft pick Maksim Zhukov who the Colts selected in the 2018 Import Draft, I really like Greaves coming into the season if not for name alone.

The fact is that Edmonds and Zhukov were not getting it done for the Colts, who sit second to last in the Central Division and Greaves got a chance and has outperformed his partners. Although he has a 1-1-0-0 record, his loss came against the Mississauga Steelheads in which he stopped 28 of 30 shots and his teammates could only score once.

Greaves holds a 1.52 goals-against average with a .949 save percentage. It could be in the Colts best interest to give him more starts right now and see if he can run with it.

With all that said and out of the way, 2019 is not the best draft class to come out of the OHL. In fact, it could be one of the worst ever for the OHL. And that could bode well for a goaltending class that is better then usual – at least in sheer numbers.

CHL Announces Weekly Award Winners

Blades’ Kirby Dach named CHL Player of the Week

Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League today announced that 2019 NHL Draft prospect Kirby Dach of the Saskatoon Blades is the CHL Player of the Week for the opening week of regular season action ending September 23 after scoring three goals and four assists for seven points in two games with a plus-minus rating of plus-5.

Dach produced back-to-back multi-point performances leading the Blades to a home-and-home series sweep over the defending WHL champion Swift Current Broncos.  He assisted on both of the club’s goals in Friday’s season opening 2-1 victory, then recorded his first career hat-trick on home ice Saturday while adding two helpers as first star of the 8-0 win.  The five-point effort is a new career-high as the Blades begin a season 2-0 for the first time since 2011-12.

A 17-year-old from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., Dach is playing in his second full season with the Blades after being chosen by the club with the second overall pick in the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft.  He finished fourth in rookie scoring a year ago with 46 points in 52 games and was a member of Canada’s gold medal winning under-18 team at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.

Also considered for the award this week was QMJHL rookie Josh Lawrence of the Saint John Sea Dogs scoring two goals and two assists for four points in two games, and Los Angeles Kings prospect Akil Thomas of the Niagara IceDogs who scored once with four assists for five points in just one game to start his OHL season.

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

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

Petes’ Hunter Jones named Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week

Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League today announced that 2019 NHL Draft prospect Hunter Jones of the Peterborough Petes is the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week for the opening week of regular season action ending September 23 after posting a 2-0-0-0 record including a shutout victory for a goals-against-average of 1.50 and save percentage of .962.

Jones turned aside 75 shots last week for the Petes who finished OHL opening week with a pair of victories against fellow East Division competition.  On Thursday night he recorded his first career OHL shutout with 38 saves to earn first star honours blanking the Kingston Frontenacs by a 4-0 score, then made 37 saves on Sunday and earned second star honours in a 7-3 triumph over the Ottawa 67’s.

A recently turned 18-year-old from Brantford, Ont., Jones was originally chosen by the Petes in the fifth round of the 2016 OHL Priority Selection.  He appeared in 15 contests last season earning three victories with a goals-against-average of 5.14 and save percentage of .866.

Also considered for the award this week was Vegas Golden Knights prospect Dylan Ferguson of the Kamloops Blazers who opened the season with a 2-0-0-0 record while stopping 64 shots for a goals-against-average of 1.00 and save percentage of .970.  In the QMJHL, Tristan Berube of the Gatineau Olympiques posted a 2-0-0-0 record stopping 86 shots for a goals-against-average of 2.50 and save percentage of .945.

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

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