I hate to begin with a negative but there really is no other place to begin. I just can’t buy into some of the mid-term rankings of London Knights blueliner Jackson Edward. When the Knights selected Edwards with the 22nd overall pick at the 2020 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection, at the very least his production at both the Under-15 and Under-16 levels indicated there was some offensive abilities there.
Of course, the lost 2020-2021 season didn’t do any favors for Edward but every OHL player was in the same situation except for a handful of players that got to play a few games. I also understand that when you play defence for the London Knights, your first responsibility is, well, defence. With everything under consideration, 6 points in 52 games for me was a disappointment. I had him penciled in for a 20-point season and he fell short of that. Maybe my expectations were too high.
Edward has good size at 6’2” and very good mobility. He’s able to retrieve pucks and has the ability to start the transition to offense. He has shown he can be strong defensively and make the right decisions. He has the ability to keep gaps close with his mobility and reach, keep players to the outside, take away lanes and be positionally sound. However, there is a lack of consistency to all those. While he has shown the abilities, they just don’t happen on a consistent enough basis.
Now for the good stuff. There is one thing you can’t take away from Edward and that’s his work ethic and commitment to improve his game and be the best player he can possibly be. In speaking with those close to the situation, they same the same things: Failure is not an option for Edward and he will put in all the hard work to improve his game day in and day out.
His meal ticket to the next level may just have to be his defensive game but he’ll need to continue to put the heavy lifting into fully developing. And who knows? Maybe he will find his offence once again.
Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Jackson Edward of the London Knights, Matthew Mania of the Sudbury Wolves, Brad Gardiner of the Ottawa 67’s and Bryce McConnell-Barker of the Soo Greyhounds have been named Academic Players of the Month for February.
East Division: Ottawa 67’s rookie forward Brad Gardiner is the OHL East Division Academic Player of the Month for February.
Gardiner achieved an 88 percent average in grade 11 university-level Functions and English, as well as grade 12 World Issues and International Business, completing four credits over two quadmesters. He is now taking Grade 12 university-level English as well as Nutrition and Health at Blyth Academy.
“Brad’s excellent marks are a direct reflection of his solid work ethic and dedication to his educational goals,” said 67’s academic advisor Eileen Duffin. “His teachers describe him as well organized, conscientious, and dedicated to working hard.”
“Bradley has proved to be an organized and conscientious student athlete in his first season with the 67’s,” said general manager James Boyd. “As a result, he has shown continuous development throughout the season, both on and off of the ice.”
The 16-year-old from Aurora, Ont. has played 42 games this season, recording three goals and four assists for a total of seven points. Gardiner was Ottawa’s third round (40th overall) pick in the 2021 OHL Priority Selection.
Central Division: Sudbury Wolves rookie defender Matthew Mania is the OHL Central Division Academic Player of the Month for February.
Mania is currently enrolled in Algebra, Chemistry, Art and English where he is maintaining a straight-A average at Great River Connections Academy.
“Matthew is a an excellent student and dedicated player,” said Wolves academic advisor Gord Ewin.
The 16-year-old Olmsted, Ohio native has recorded two goals and six assists in 35 games this season. He was Sudbury’s fourth round (60th overall) pick in the 2021 OHL Priority Selection.
Midwest Division: Draft eligible London Knights rookie defenceman Jackson Edward is the OHL Midwest Division Academic Player of the Month for February.
Edward achieved a 93.5 percent average in Data Management, English, Communications Technology and Classical Civilizations at Blyth Academy.
“Jackson is an exemplary student,” said Knights academic advisor Wendy Glover. “In addition to achieving high grades, he attends all academic advising meetings and assists other players as a peer tutor when needed. He exhibits the work ethic and desire to learn more than the required material in all classes.”
The Newmarket, Ont. native has played 32 games this season, recording four assists for the Knights, who selected him in the second round (22nd overall) of the 2020 OHL Priority Selection. He’s the 75th-ranked North American skater on NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings.
West Division: Draft eligible Soo Greyhounds forward Bryce McConnell-Barker is the OHL Midwest Division Academic Player of the Month for February.
McConnell-Barker earned an overall average of 87 percent in his three grade 12 university-level courses, highlighted by a mark of 98 percent in English at Superior Heights Secondary School.
“Bryce shows qualities of a team leader and a positive role model,” said Greyhounds academic advisors Jerry Bumbacco and Mary Lynne Lukenda. “He has been described by his teachers and classmates as a mature young man who is well respected by the younger players. He has demonstrated, by his actions and achievements, that he is an outstanding representative of the Soo Greyhounds and the OHL.”
The rookie from London, Ont. has scored 14 goals, 18 assists and 32 points in 50 games this season. McConnell-Barker was the fourth overall pick of the 2020 OHL Priority Selection and is the 28th-ranked North American skater on NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Draft Rankings.
2021-22 OHL Academic Players of the Month:
East Division: February – Brad Gardiner (Ottawa 67’s) January – Luca Marrelli (Oshawa Generals) December – Shane Wright (Kingston Frontenacs) November – Cole Brown (Hamilton Bulldogs) October – Sam Alfano (Peterborough Petes)
Central Division: February – Matthew Mania (Sudbury Wolves) January – Pano Fimis (Niagara IceDogs) December – Owen Van Steensel (North Bay Battalion) November – Hunter Haight (Barrie Colts) October – Owen Beck (Mississauga Steelheads)
Midwest Division: February – Jackson Edward (London Knights) January – Jackson Parsons (Kitchener Rangers) December – Matthew Poitras (Guelph Storm) November – Nolan Lalonde (Erie Otters) October – Cal Uens (Owen Sound Attack)
West Division: February – Bryce McConnell-Barker (Soo Greyhounds) January – Ryder McIntyre (Sarnia Sting) December – PJ Forgione (Saginaw Spirit) November – Ethan Hay (Flint Firebirds) October – Bronson Ride (Windsor Spitfires)
A total of 343 graduates utilized their OHL Scholarship at post-secondary institutions across North America during the 2020-21 academic year, with a total contribution by teams of over $3.1 million. Over the past 10 seasons, OHL Scholarship payments have totalled more than $25 million.
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.