OHL Playoff Preview and Predictions Round Two

Before we look at the second round series matchups, lets look back and see how poorly I did in round one:

(1) Hamilton vs (8) PeterboroughHamilton in 4Hamilton wins 4-0
(2) North Bay vs (7) OttawaNorth Bay in 5North Bay wins 4-0
(3) Kingston vs (6) OshawaKingston in 6Kingston wins 4-2
(4) Mississauga vs (5) BarrieMississauga in 7Mississauga wins 4-2
(1) Windsor vs (8) SarniaWindsor in 5Windsor wins 4-2
(2) London vs (7) KitchenerLondon in 6Kitchener win 4-3
(3) Flint vs (6) Owen SoundFlint in 6Flint wins 4-3
(4) Sault Ste Marie vs (5) GuelphSault Ste Marie in 7Sault Ste Marie wins 4-1

So, 7 out of 8 correct winners. The Hockey Gods looked after the Kitchener Rangers after they were robbed of a goal as video review deemed it kicked in when it wasn’t. (The OHL officially came out and said the next day that it was an error). That call quite possibly cost the Rangers game 5. But they bounced back, tied the series and forced a game 7 in London in which they won in overtime to take the series.

But in only two of the series where I picked the correct winner did, I hit on the number of games. The biggest discrepancy was the Soo Greyhounds taking care of business against the Guelph Storm in 5 games where I had predicted it to go the distance. I don’t think anyone predicted the Storm wouldn’t give the Greyhounds a fight.

So, I try again with round two:


(1) Hamilton vs (4) Mississauga

PP Regular Season27.6%20.9%
PP Playoffs39.4%33.3%
PP vs opponent16.7%14.3%
PK Regular Season80.9%81.3%
PK Playoffs91.3%75.0%
PK vs opponent85.7%83.3%
GF Regular season300229
GF Playoffs2717
GA Regular season176189
GA Playoffs913
PIM /game regular season11.3/game11.5/game
PIM /game playoffs21.5/game9.8/game

I want to say “it’s hard to imagine the Hamilton Bulldogs losing a game in these playoffs” but I can’t because it’s bound to happen at some point. Offensively, the Bulldogs dominated during the regular season and the playoffs. Defensively, the Steelheads were almost as good as Hamilton during the regular season and the playoffs.

Both teams brought their powerplays to new levels during the playoffs. Mississauga’s penalty kill took a hit during the playoffs while Hamilton’s skyrocketed. However, one must take into account their respective opponents. If special teams are going to be a factor in this series, then you have to take into account that Mississauga is taking fewer penalties in the playoffs than the regular season while Hamilton has almost doubled theirs. But I’m not going to overthink this trying to find wins for Mississauga.

Prediction: Hamilton in 5 games.

(2) North Bay vs (3) Kingston

 North BayKingston
PP Regular Season25.9%25.3%
PP Playoffs30.0%26.7%
PP vs opponent53.8%13.3%
PK Regular Season80.6%79.8%
PK Playoffs90.0%60.0%
PK vs opponent86.7%46.2%
GF Regular season267285
GF Playoffs1727
GA Regular season198242
GA Playoffs1118
PIM /game regular season9.1/game11.1/game
PIM /game playoffs7.8/game11.5/game

As you can see above, the North Bay Battalion swept the season series against the Kingston Frontenacs. Only 6 points separated the two teams in the regular season. Their powerplays were pretty even as was their penalty kills and their goals for. North Bay had a decisive advantage in the goals against department.

Where North Bay had the big advantage was on specialty teams head-to-head. North Bay’s powerplay clipped along at 53.8% against Kingston while the Fronts could only score on 13.3% of their chances against the Battalion. And in the four games head-to-head during the regular season North Bay outscored Kingston 19-10. If Kingston gets into penalty trouble, this series could be over quickly.

Prediction: North Bay in 6 games.


(1) Windsor vs (7) Kitchener

PP Regular Season26.1%18.3%
PP Playoffs7.4%22.7%
PP vs opponent21.9%16.0%
PK Regular Season82.6%77.4%
PK Playoffs76.0%80.0%
PK vs opponent84.0%78.1%
GF Regular season305236
GF Playoffs1823
GA Regular season248271
GA Playoffs1123
PIM /game regular season10.3/game11.0/game
PIM /game playoffs14.3/game9.3/game

The regular season series between the Kitchener Rangers and Windsor Spitfires was pretty even. The Spits were better team on the powerplay and the penalty kill against each other and the rest of the league. The Spits scored 69 more goals than the Rangers – that’s a goal per game more and also allowed 23 fewer goals against than the Rangers.

But in the playoffs, it was the Rangers who came out on top in the special team’s department while also playing a tougher opponent in the London Knights than Windsor had against the Sarnia Sting. The Spits have some star power for sure but of Rangers goalie Pavel Cajan can play as he did versus the Knights it will be a tight series. Mathias Onuska was no slouch for Windsor in the blue paint either.

Prediction: Windsor in 6 games.  

(3) Flint vs (4) Sault Ste Marie

 FlintSault Ste Marie
PP Regular Season19.7%28.4%
PP Playoffs9.7%35.3%
PP vs opponent34.6%17.6%
PK Regular Season84.3%78.7%
PK Playoffs87.5%90.9%
PK vs opponent82.4%65.4%
GF Regular season286295
GF Playoffs2221
GA Regular season238246
GA Playoffs                              2011
PIM /game regular season10.4/game11.5/game
PIM /game playoffs10.9/game15.4/game

The Flint Firebirds and Soo Greyhounds were also very close in the regular season. Only 4 points separated them in the standings. Their offence and defence were also close. The Greyhounds win out in the powerplay department while the Firebirds topped them on the penalty kill. However, head-to-head the Firebirds dominated.

Flint couldn’t get the man advantage to work for them in their first round series against the Owen Sound Attack while the Greyhounds exploded against the Guelph Storm. Unless the Greyhounds can limit the number of penalties, they take the powerplay could be the difference in this series. It could also come down to home ice advantage. For me, this is a flip a coin series.

Prediction: Sault Ste Marie in 7



**Note: The results are in from the two game sevens and this is the schedule for round two:

Series E: (1) Windsor Spitfires (44-17-4-3) vs. (7) Kitchener Rangers (30-31-5-2) – Scenario #3
Game 1, Sat., May 7 at Windsor, 7:05pm
Game 2, Sun., May 8 at Windsor, 7:05pm
Game 3, Tues., May 10 at Kitchener, 7:00pm
Game 4, Thurs., May 12 at Kitchener, 7:00pm
Game 5, Sat., May 14 at Windsor, 7:05pm*
Game 6, Mon., May 16 at Kitchener, 7:00pm*
Game 7, Tues., May 17 at Windsor, 7:05pm*

Series G: (3) Flint Firebirds (42-21-1-4) vs. (4) Soo Greyhounds (39-22-6-1) – Scenario #1
Game 1, Fri., May 6 at Flint, 7:00pm
Game 2, Sun., May 8 at Flint, 4:00pm
Game 3, Tues., May 10 at Sault Ste. Marie, 7:07pm
Game 4, Thurs, May 12 at Sault Ste. Marie, 7:07pm
Game 5, Sat., May 14 at Flint, 7:00pm*
Game 6, Mon., May 16 at Sault Ste. Marie, 7:07pm*
Game 7, Wed., May 18 at Flint, 7:00pm*


Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the result of a review into a video replay situation involving a disputed goal scored by the Kitchener Rangers at the 6:19 mark of the second period of their Game 5 matchup against the host London Knights on Sunday, May 1.

Based on a review by the League, an error was made and the play in question should have been ruled a goal for the Rangers as it was directed into the net with a Ranger stick and not a distinct kicking motion of the puck with a skate as ruled.

In addition, the League announced that the Kitchener Rangers Hockey Club has been fined $2500 for public comments directed towards the League following Game 5 which is in violation of League policy.


Toronto, Ont. – The Canadian Hockey League announced today the Week 4 edition of the Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings for the 2021-22 season.

Following the Quebec Remparts, Winnipeg ICE and Acadie-Bathurst Titan, the undefeated 6-0 London Knights rise one spot to number four in this week’s rankings. The Knights won their lone game of the weekend, defeating the visiting Owen Sound Attack 2-1 on Friday as Brett Brochu turned aside 36 of 37 shots and Nashville Predators prospect Luke Evangelista scored the shorthanded game winner early in the third period. The Knights also had Dallas Stars prospect Antonio Stranges in their lineup for the first time this season after the shifty winger returned from injury. London hits the road to face Owen Sound on Wednesday before a home date with the Sarnia Sting on Friday night.

A weekend split saw the Kitchener Rangers enter the Top-10 for the first time this season, defeating the Windsor Spitfires in a thrilling shootout finish on Friday as Pavel Cajan stood tall in the crease and rookie Carson Rehkopf netted the winner in a 3-2 decision. The Blueshirts fell 4-2 to the rival Guelph Storm on Sunday to see their undefeated start come to a halt as they own a mark of 5-1-0-0 entering a week with a Wednesday/Friday home-and-home against the Soo Greyhounds before visiting the Windsor Spitfires on Saturday.

The Kingston Frontenacs keep hanging around inside the Top-10, falling one spot to tenth despite a 6-1 triumph over the Peterborough Petes at home on Friday. Lucas Edmonds scored two more goals in the win and now leads the team with 12 points (5-7–12) over six games. Dallas Stars prospect Francesco Arcuri recorded a career-high four points and has eight (3-5–8) over his first four games while overage centre Jordan Frasca has nine (3-6–9) to his credit through six games.

Netting four out of a possible six points in a three-in-three road trip last weekend has the Ottawa 67’s as an honourable mention this week. The Barber Poles fell 5-2 to the Mississauga Steelheads on Friday before taking a 3-0 shutout win over the Barrie Colts in Saturday’s CHL on CBC broadcast. St. Louis Blues prospect Will Cranley stopped all 28 shots he faced for his fifth career shutout. Ottawa wrapped up the weekend in thrilling fashion, scoring three third period goals in under a minute en route to stunning the Oshawa Generals 5-4 in a shootout on a winner from Brenden Sirizzotti.

For further analysis on the Week 4 edition of the Kia CHL Top 10 Rankings, visit CHL.ca.

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.

Declan McDonnell – Kitchener Rangers – Player Profile

Height: 5’10”

Weight: 171 Pounds

Date of birth: February 25, 2002

Hometown: Lake View, New York

Position: Right Wing

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 3, 57th overall, 2018 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season November Mid-term Final
N.R. N.R. N.R. 155 NA

Kitchener Rangers right wing Declan McDonnell played his Midget hockey with the Buffalo Jr Sabres Under-15 squad during the 2017-2018 season, scoring 64 goals and assisting on 44 in 73 games. The Rangers selected him with the 57th overall pick at the 2018 OHL Priority Selection. He was also selected by the Lincoln Stars at the 2018 USHL Futures Draft in the third round, 43rd overall.

The following season, McDonnell played in 54 games with the Junior Sabres of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, scoring 18 goals and 31 assists, He would add 4 goals and 7 helpers in 12 playoff games and was named to the OJHL Second Team All Prospect. McDonnell would also play in 7 USHL games with the Stars, scoring 1 goal.

In this shortened OHL season, McDonnell appeared in 63 games with the Rangers, scoring 21 goals and 21 assists. His 21 goals ranked third among OHL Rookies while his 21 assists ranked him 7th. His 42 points were good enough for second among OHL rookies.

Declan McDonnell of the Kitchener Rangers. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Declan McDonnell of the Kitchener Rangers. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

One of McDonnell’s most interesting traits is his tenacity. He is seemingly almost always after the puck whether on the forecheck, attacking the opposition, or coming back on the backcheck. His ability to steal pucks and create turnovers is uncanny.

McDonnell also possesses some excellent speed and whether he’s just stolen the puck or is attacking he shows that speed off well and combined with some very good puck skills he can create scoring opportunities. He also uses that speed to come back and defend his zone.

McDonnell has an excellent wrister that he gets velocity behind and with some deadly accuracy. He has a lot of confidence in his shot and he has the ability to beat goaltenders with it. He’s not shy about using it either and he likes to use it coming down the wing. Adding a one-timer to his shooting could bode well for him.

McDonnell has shown some playmaking skills and appears to have the vision. He is strong in puck possession but could work on slowing down the play to give his teammates the time to get into scoring position.

McDonnell has been a climber in draft rankings after he wasn’t listed on NHL Central Scouting’s Players to Watch lists or even their mid-term rankings. But he really took off in the second half of the season scoring at almost a point per game pace.

I expect a big season from McDonnell next season as he’ll get more opportunities with players graduating from the Rangers and more powerplay time. Getting some penalty killing time could be beneficial to him as well.

McDonnell projects as a third liner at the NHL level that could provide some energy and a bit of offence.

Reid Valade – Kitchener Rangers – Player Profile

Height: 5’10”

Weight: 162 Pounds

Date of birth: March 14, 2002

Hometown: Caledon, Ontario

Position: Right Wing

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 1, 17th overall, 2018 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings


November Mid-term Final
N.R. N.R. 123 N.A.

148 N.A.

Reid is a speedy winger that is constantly moving and putting pressure on the other team. He has electric speed and is always challenging defencemen wide or jumping quickly in and out of holes for scoring chances. He has a good skill set which allows him to beat players one-on-one as well as finish off scoring chances when they arrive. He shoots the puck well and has a quick release. Reid is a smart player that can play any type of game or role on his team.

That was OHL Central Scouting’s scouting report on Kitchener Rangers Right winger Reid Valade following his Minor Midget AAA season with the Toronto Marlboros during the 2017-2018 season. Valade scored 31 goals and assisted on 38 in 55 games for the Marlboros. He added 3 goals and 6 helpers for the Marlboros in 6 games at the OHL Cup and represented Team GTHL Blue at the OHL Gold Cup, scoring 3 goals and 4 points in 4 games.

Valade made his OHL debut on September 21, 2018 and registered his first point, an assist, on October 5, 2018. His first OHL goal didn’t come until his 31st game on January 4, 2019 against the Owen Sound Attack. Valade would finish the year with 5 goals and 15 assists in 62 games. He would also represent Canada at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17 and record 2 assists in 5 games.

Valade, Reid
Reid Valade of the Kitchener Rangers.

By the time the 2019-2020 season was cancelled, Valade had appeared in 52 games, scoring 18 goals and assisting on 21.

Valade is an exceptional skater with tremendous speed and very quick acceleration from zero. Even when in motion, he has a surprisingly quick separation gear. He gets in on the forecheck quickly and despite his 5’10” frame, he’s not shy about going into battle when he gets there. He’s also willing to drive to the blue paint with or without the puck.

Valade plays at a high pace and does so at every turn. He provides the Rangers with a lot of energy the way he plays the game and he can get under the oppositions skin. Valade possesses a very good shot, with a quick release and an ability to beat goaltenders with. He’s been used on the powerplay and has shown he can be effective with limited opportunity.

Valade by all accounts is a very coachable player. He can be seen absorbing what coaches are telling him on the bench and taking direction from teammates. He can also be trusted defensively. His skating allows him to come back on the forecheck, he understands the need to get into and take away lanes. He uses his stick effectively; he can kill penalties and be trusted to go up against the opposition’s top players.

Most believe that the knock on Valade is that his head and his hands need to catch up to his feet. There is some truth to that. He plays at such a high pace with a lot of energy, that he doesn’t always make the right decisions. But there is certainly a lot to like.

NHL Central Scouting didn’t list Valade on their players to watch list in the preseason or November lists. However, when their mid term rankings came out, they had Valade at 123 among North American Skaters and dropped him 25 spots on their final rankings. That puts him in the 7th round for the 2020 NHL Draft.

Valade can be a solid 4th liner at the next level that can kill penalties, can be trusted defensively provide energy and pop in the odd goal. If he can put it all together, he can bring the same attributes on the third line with a little more scoring ability.


Jacob Ingham

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Los Angeles Kings prospect Jacob Ingham of the Kitchener Rangers is the 2019-20 recipient of the Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy awarded to the OHL Humanitarian of the Year presented by Kia.

Ingham joins Ben Fanelli (2012-13) as the second player in Rangers franchise history to be recognized with the award, spearheading a movement that has inspired the hockey community to become more involved in donating blood and stem cells in support of Canadian Blood Services. Inspired by his grandparents’ need for blood donations following a car accident in August 2018, Ingham became the first-ever Player Ambassador for Hockey Gives Blood and subsequently received the inaugural Dayna Brons Honorary Award as a result of his charitable efforts. He raised upwards of $26,000 for Canadian Blood Services through a combination of his ‘Jake Saves’ campaign in addition to extensive work in the community. Ingham, who wears the number 68 (6-Give, 8-Blood), organized a 68 Day Blood Drive that resulted in 40 blood donations between January 24 and March 31. Through Jacob’s influence both in the community and over social media, 14 Canadian Hockey League players followed in becoming Hockey Gives Blood Player Ambassadors throughout the course of the season.

“The Kia Humanitarian of the Year award is a recognition of players who have devoted their time to the communities they represent,” said Michael Kopke, Director of Marketing at Kia Canada. “We would like to congratulate Jacob Ingham for winning the OHL Kia Humanitarian of the Year award. Kia Canada is committed to Powering the Future of Hockey and is honoured to acknowledge and reward players like Jacob who display their commitment to community.”

Ingham’s charitable spirit was also evident in his regular provision of signed memorabilia for community fundraising events, his frequent presence at Rangers community appearances and autograph sessions as well as school and hospital visits. Even in his spare time, Ingham was in constant contact with the Rangers front office, actively pitching new ideas to shed further light on the importance of blood and stem cell donation.

“I want to express my gratitude for the honour of being named the OHL’s Humanitarian of the Year,” said Ingham. “I am proud to play a small part in the incredible community response to supporting the need for blood in Ontario and throughout Canada.

Thank you to the Kitchener Rangers organization and the greatest fans in the OHL for all their support,” he added. “I also want to send a sincere thank you to Hockey Gives Blood, Canadian Blood Services, and the Brons family for all their inspiration over the last two years. As a hockey community, we can make a difference.”

The 19-year-old from Barrie, Ont. was the team’s backbone on the ice, leading the OHL in wins (33) and saves (1,501) while posting a 2.96 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and two shutouts over 46 games. Ingham earned the Rangers’ Jim Malleck Memorial Trophy as the club’s Most Valuable Player and signed a three-year entry-level NHL contract with the Los Angeles Kings, who selected him in the sixth round of the 2018 NHL Draft. The 6-foot-4, 198Ib. goaltender owns a career OHL record of 93-61-9-8 with a 3.23 goals-against average, .899 save percentage and five shutouts over 177 regular season games spent between Kitchener and Mississauga. He was originally the Steelheads’ second round pick in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection from the Barrie Colts minor midgets.

“Jacob is an extremely deserving recipient of this award and we are very proud of him,” said Rangers general manager Mike McKenzie. “It was impressive to see him have such an impact off the ice and in the community. He put in a lot of time and effort throughout the year and it’s great to see him get recognized and rewarded for it.”

Each year the OHL awards a player that has demonstrated outstanding qualities as a positive role model in the community with the Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy.  The Ontario Hockey League Board of Governors announced in 2004 that the OHL Humanitarian of the Year award would be renamed in recognition of the former Owen Sound Platers captain, who was twice named his team’s Humanitarian of the Year in recognition of his tremendous efforts in supporting community activities.

Past recipients include Chris Terry and Ryan Hayes who represented the Plymouth Whalers with back-to-back awards in 2009 and 2010 respectively, before Jack Walchessen and Andrew D’Agostini of the Peterborough Petes won in 2011 and 2012.  Ben Fanelli (Kitchener 2013), Scott Simmonds (Belleville 2014), Nick Paul (North Bay 2015), and Will Petschenig (Saginaw 2016) are also among recent award recipients before Garrett McFadden of the Guelph Storm became the first player to be recognized twice in 2017 and 2018. Nicholas Canade of the Mississauga Steelheads was the 2019 award recipient.

Ingham will be the OHL’s nominee for the Canadian Hockey League Humanitarian of the Year Award to be announced in the coming weeks.

From Canadian Blood Services CEO Dr. Graham Shier:
“The difference that Jacob has helped make in the lives of patients across the country since joining the Hockey Gives Blood movement and Canada’s Lifeline has quite literally been game-changing. His significant fundraising achievements and efforts to mobilize the hockey community to donate blood and stem cells will have a huge and lasting impact for patients who rely on these life essentials.

“Jacob’s commitment to patients has made him an inspiring role model within the Canadian Hockey League and we are so grateful to see how his efforts have started a lifesaving domino effect among his fellow players and hockey community. Congratulations on this very well-deserved honour, Jacob – keep making saves and saving lives!”

From Hockey Gives Blood President Stu Middleton:
“We appreciate the OHL taking the time to recognize Jacob Ingham for the work he has done this past season. The acknowledgement of peer influencers and community advocates like Jacob is essential to the sustainability of volunteerism nationwide.

Jacob has far exceeded the basic responsibility we all share and has inspired both young and old to be better people and better citizens. We continue to wish Jacob the best of luck in the next chapter of his career and congratulate him on winning the Ontario Hockey League Humanitarian of the Year.”

2019-20 Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy Nominees:
Barrie Colts – Aidan Brown
Erie Otters – Jack Duff
Flint Firebirds – Jack Phibbs*
Guelph Storm – Cam Hillis
Hamilton Bulldogs – Kade Landry
Kingston Frontenacs – Braden Haché
Kitchener Rangers – Jacob Ingham
London Knights – Hunter Skinner
Mississauga Steelheads – Nicholas Canade*^
Niagara IceDogs – Ivan Lodnia
North Bay Battalion – Nick Grima
Oshawa Generals – Mitchell Brewer
Ottawa 67’s – Noel Hoefenmayer
Owen Sound Attack – Mark Woolley
Peterborough Petes – Hunter Jones*
Saginaw Spirit – Blade Jenkins
Sarnia Sting – Sam Bitten
Soo Greyhounds – Cole MacKay
Sudbury – Quinton Byfield
Windsor – Connor Corcoran

^- 2018-19 award winner
*- repeat nominee

2020 OHL Awards announcements continue on Wednesday when the OHL recognizes its academic award winners.

For full coverage of the 2020 OHL Awards, be sure to visit ontariohockeyleague.com or follow along on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

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. For more information visit http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/.

Ville Ottavainen – Kitchener Rangers – Player Profile

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 204 Pounds

Date of birth: August 12, 2002

Hometown: Oulu, Finland

Position: Defence

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 1, 35th overall, 2019 CHL Import Draft

NHL Central Scouting Rankings


November Mid-term Final
C Prospect C Prospect 71 N.A.

137 N.A.


Hulking Kitchener Rangers defenceman Ville Ottavainen has followed fellow Finnish OHL’ers Ruben Rafkin and Kari Piiroinen, both of the Windsor Spitfires and signed a professional contract to play in his native Finland for the 2020-2021 season, though as the tweet mentions, his preference is to return to the OHL which might indicate there is an “North American out clause” in his contract.

One can’t help but wonder if the COVID-19 pandemic is playing a role here as restrictions in Europe will likely end before the restrictions in North America do, meaning hockey could return in Europe before North America.

During the 2018-2019 season, Ottavainen played for Karpat Under-18 in Finland’s Junior B SM-Sarja league. In 49 games he scored 9 goals and assisted on 25 others and was named to the First All-Star squad at the end of the season. The Rangers selected him with the 35th pick at the 2019 Canadian Hockey League’s Import Draft.

Ville Ottavainen of the Kitchener Rangers. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Ville Ottavainen of the Kitchener Rangers. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Ottavainen appeared in 53 games for the Rangers this season and scored 4 goals to go along with 11 helpers. His father Risto, played 4 seasons in Finland’s Suomi-Sarja league – Finland’s third highest league.

First and foremost, everyone is going to notice Ottavainen’s size. At 6’4” and 200-plus pounds, he’s already in a man’s body and he doesn’t turn 18 until August 12th. But for a player of his size, he has pretty good mobility. And he is a right-handed shot – something NHL teams are always looking for.

NHL Central Scouting dropped him 66 spots from their mid-term ranking (71st among North Americans) to their final rankings (137th among North Americans). Whether that’s fair or not, you be the judge.

Ottavainen got off to a blazing start, causing most of his offensive damage in the first 15 games scoring 4 goals and 6 assists in that time, but managed just 5 assists in the remaining 38 games (and two of them came in one game). So, any questions surrounding his adapting to the North American ice should have been laid to rest in those first 15 games, right? So, what happened?

Well, for one Ottavainen saw his ice time drop as the season progressed, especially after the Rangers acquired veteran Holden Wale in a trade with the Soo Greyhounds. As a player though, you have to make the most of the opportunities presented to you. It’s no fault of his, Wale was just a very experienced OHL’er

If you are a reader of some of the independent draft publications available to you, there are a couple questions regarding Ottavainen. One of them is his first step speed. Well, he has such a long reach, he keeps the opposition close enough that he effectively uses that reach to his advantage. Defensively, there isn’t much need for him there, but it could help the transition game. But he is such a mobile and agile skater that I don’t see the lack of blazing speed as an issue.

Another issue is his questionable decision making. I don’t really buy into that. He is one of the youngest defenders in the draft class and he has shown the ability to make very good passes and his playmaking skills are very good and he moves well enough to jump up into the play. Did we mention he has a booming shot? As he gains experience and confidence, this won’t be an issue, and maybe playing pro in Finland is a blessing in disguise.

There are also issues raised with his defensive game. Truth is, we can say that with just about every blueliner at this level. Does Ottavainen make more then his share of mistakes? Probably, yes. But being that it is his first time on the North American ice and that he played the entire season as a 17-year-old, well there is a transition that needs to take place and a lot more projection to take place here.

We think the tools are there in Ottavainen’s tool box. For an NHL team drafting him, it’s going to take a lot of patience waiting for the tools to develop and it’s going to take some good coaching at the development level. If there’s a team that could provide both, then they’ll have a good find here.

We asked Mike Farwell (@farwell_ohl), the color voice of the Kitchener Rangers on 570 News to provide us with a quick thought:

One of the first things you’ll notice about Ville is his skating. He’s got a smooth and easy stride and it makes him a solid puck-mover. Ville’s decision-making is also above average, quick and confident, seeing him make the right — even safe — play more often than not.

Donovan Sebrango – Kitchener Rangers – Player Profile

Height: 6’

Weight: 184 Pounds

Date of birth: January 12, 2002

Hometown: Kingston, Ontario

Position: Defence

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 2, 40th overall, 2018 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings


November Mid-term Final
C Prospect B Prospect 59 N.A.

60 N.A.

Kitchener Rangers defender and native of Kingston Ontario Donovan Sebrango, is a graduate of the CIHA White Midget AAA (Canadian International Hockey Academy) squad of 2017-2018. There, Sebrango would appear in 30 games, scoring 5 goals and assisting on 20. He would add 3 goals and 2 assists in 6 playoff contests.

For those unfamiliar with the CIHA, watch this feature on Gabriel Vilardi, the Los Angeles’ Kings 11th overall pick at the 2017 National Hockey League Draft.

Once his CIHA season was over, Sebrango would appear in 4 games for the Ottawa Jr Senators of the CCHL (Junior A). He went pointless in those 4 contests. The Rangers would select Sebrango in the 2nd round, 40th overall at the 2018 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection. Here is what OHL Central Scouting had to say at that time:

Donovan is one of the best skaters in this year’s Priority Selection. He has the ability to skate by anyone in the neutral zone. He can beat forecheckers by using his speed and edge work and he is a threat whenever he is in the offensive zone. He has good puck skills and can handle pucks at high speed and he is a very high risk high reward type of player. He competes hard all over the ice and won’t back down from anyone. Donovan has the skating ability and skill to be a very good player at the next level.

Back in October 2017, Sebrango would commit to Boston University and the NCAA for the 2020-2021 season. But almost 8 months later to the day, Sebrango sign a standard players agreement with the Rangers and thus nullifying his NCAA eligibility. (*Note: Every year I get dragged into the debate of players backing out of commitments, and I don’t want to get dragged into it again).

Donovan Sebrango of the Kitchener Rangers. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Donovan Sebrango of the Kitchener Rangers. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images

Sebrango would join the Rangers for the 2018-2019 season. He would appear in 62 games, scoring 7 goals and assisting on 19 others. His 26 points were 3rd best among OHL rookie defenders. He would also represent Canada at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17 and assisted on 2 goals in 5 games.

Sebrango began this season representing Canada at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup where he and his teammates captured a silver medal. As you know by now, the coronavirus has shortened this OHL season and at the time the OHL closed its doors on the regular season, Sebrango had appeared in 56 games scoring 6 goals and adding 24 helpers.

Sebrango is known as a two-way blue liner. At 6 feet, 184 pounds, he has decent size, but he sometimes plays even bigger. He’s a workhorse in front of his net, below the goal line and in the corners and along the wall. It’s hard to imagine how much more difficult it’ll be to go into battle in those areas with him once he adds more strength.

Sebrango’s skating is also a huge benefit while defending. He is able to maintain his gap control and keep players to the outside because of his agility on his blades. But it is also a benefit to him in transitioning. While he’s shown the ability to transition with his feet, he is sometimes caught forcing a play instead of making the safe play. The hockey IQ is there along with the vision. I think it comes down to gaining experience and learning to utilize his teammates more effectively. At this stage, we can say that about a lot of defenders and ultimately, it comes down to whether one thinks they’ll grow from the experience. We think Sebrango will.

Sebrango has also shown he can quarterback the powerplay effectively. He can control the blueline, keeping pucks in the attacking zone. He walks the line extremely well, allowing lanes to open up and with his vision, set up teammates for opportunities.

Sebrango won’t be a top pairing defenceman at the NHL level. We see him as a quality number 4 defender who can play a shut down role as has been evidenced in two year at the OHL level, and one who can maybe quarterback the second powerplay unit.


Kia CHL Top 10 Rankings – Week 25

Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League today announced the week twenty-five edition of the Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings for the 2019-20 season.  The weekly rankings of the CHL’s Top-10 teams are selected by a panel of National Hockey League scouts.

Kia CHL Top 10 Rankings – Week 25

Rank: Team: Last Week Ranked: Total Weeks Ranked:
1 Sherbrooke Phoenix (51-8-3-1) 1 25
2 Ottawa 67’s (50-11-0-1) 2 23
3 Moncton Wildcats (49-13-1-0) 3 19
4 Portland Winterhawks (45-11-3-4) 6 15
5 Everett Silvertips (46-13-3-1) 4 19
6 London Knights (45-15-1-1) 7 11
7 Chicoutimi Sagueneens (44-12-5-1) 8 25
8 Edmonton Oil Kings (42-12-6-4) 5 22
9 Saginaw Spirit (41-16-3-2) 10 4
10 Spokane Chiefs (41-18-4-1) 1
Honourable Mention:
Kitchener Rangers (39-16-5-2) 9 5
Kamloops Blazers (41-18-3-1) 5
Cape Breton Eagles (40-19-2-1) 6