Finland, USA Announce Preliminary Rosters for the World Junior Championships

Today, Finland and the United States announced their preliminary rosters that will take part in their respective camps for the 2018 World Junior Championships Under-20. Both countries have a couple of Ontario Hockey League players on their rosters, but the majority will come Wednesday when Hockey Canada announces their preliminary roster.

Team USA

Team USA
From Elite Prospects www.eliteprospects.com

 

Team Finland

Goaltenders

Luukkonen Ukko-Pekka, HPK Hämeenlinna
Lehtinen Lassi, Lukko Rauma
Halonen Niilo, HIFK Helsinki

Defencemen

Heiskanen Miro, HIFK Helsinki
Salo Robin, Sport Vaasa
Räsänen Eemeli, Kingston Frontenacs OHL
Välimäki Juuso, C Tri-City Americans WHL
Juolevi Olli, TPS Turku
Vaakanainen Urho, SaiPa Lappeenranta
Laavainen Roope, HPK Hämeenlinna
Jokiharju Henri, Portland Winterhawks WHL
Kotkansalo Kasper, Boston University NCAA

Forwards

Jääskä Juha, HIFK Helsinki
Kuokkanen Janne, Carolina Hurricanes NHL
Turkulainen Jerry, JYP Jyväskylä
Koivula Otto, Ilves Tampere
Vesalainen Kristian, HPK Hämeenlinna
Koppanen Joona, Ilves Tampere
Moilanen Sami, Seattle Thunderbirds WHL
Tuulola Eetu, HPK Hämeenlinna
Tolvanen Eeli, Jokerit Helsinki
Nurmi Markus, TPS Turku
Räsänen Aapeli, Boston College NCAA
Ikonen Joni, KalPa Kuopio
Luostarinen Eetu, KalPa Kuopio
Heponiemi Aleksi, Swift Current Broncos WHL
Innala Jere, HPK Hämeenlinna
Kupari Rasmus, Kärpät Oulu

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Sting’s Jordan Kyrou named OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that St. Louis Blues prospect Jordan Kyrou of the Sarnia Sting is the OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week for the week ending October 22 with eight points including four goals and four assists in three games with a plus-minus rating of plus-6.

Jordan Kyrou of the Sarnia Sting. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Jordan Kyrou of the Sarnia Sting. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Kyrou led the league in scoring as the Sting extended their franchise record winning-streak to 11 games following a trio of road victories last week to improve their first overall standing to 12-1-0-0.  He began the week with his top performance of the season scoring his first career hat-trick while adding an assist as first star of an 8-2 win over the North Bay Battalion.  The next night he scored the game-winning goal in a 5-2 win over the Sudbury Wolves, then wrapped up the road trip Saturday in Barrie with three assists as part of a 7-2 victory over the Colts.  Kyrou is the second straight member of the Sting to earn Player of the Week honours following NHL Draft prospect Brady Hinz.

A 19-year-old from Toronto, Ont., Kyrou is playing in his fourth OHL season in Sarnia after being chosen by the Sting in the second round of the 2014 OHL Priority Selection.  He is currently second in league scoring with eight goals and 14 assists for 22 points in 11 games after finishing the 2016-17 campaign sixth overall with 94 points in 66 games powered by 30 goals and 64 assists.  The second round pick of the Blues in the 2016 NHL Draft has now surpassed two OHL milestones in recent weeks with his career games played mark now at 205 and career points at 203.  He will compete for Team OHL in the 2017 CIBC Canada Russia Series on Thursday November 9 in Owen Sound.

Watch video highlights of Kyrou and the Sting against the Battalion, Wolves, and Colts.Battalion

Also considered for the award this week was Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Taylor Raddysh of the Erie Otters with a goal and four assists for five points in two games, and Anaheim Ducks prospect Max Jones of the London Knights with four goals in two games.  In goal, Justin Fazio was solid between-the-pipes for the Sting making 78 saves in two games posting a goals-against-average of 2.03 and save percentage of .951 while setting a new franchise record for career wins with 64.

2017-18 OHL ‘On the Run’ Players of the Week:

Oct. 16 – Oct .22: Jordan Kyrou (Sarnia Sting)

Oct. 9 – Oct. 15: Brady Hinz (Sarnia Sting)

Oct. 2 – Oct. 8: Nick Suzuki (Owen Sound Attack)

Sept. 25 – Oct. 1: Jonathan Ang (Peterborough Petes)

Sept. 21 – Sept. 24: Michael DiPietro (Windsor Spitfires)

OHL Announces 2015-16 Awards Finalists

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the finalists for seven of the league’s major awards for the 2015-16 regular season.

OHL

Six of the seven awards are voted on by OHL Member Teams including Rookie of the Year, Overage Player of the Year, Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Goaltender of the Year, and Defenceman of the Year.  Teams were asked to submit one nominee from their club for consideration on the ballot and were not permitted to vote for the player from their own hockey club.  The first stage of voting was by conference only with the top three players from each conference making the final ballot which is voted on by all 20 OHL General Managers.

All finalists for the Red Tilson Trophy were also nominated by the Member Teams of the Ontario Hockey League as their Most Outstanding Player for the 2015-16 regular season.  The Red Tilson Trophy is voted on by the sports writers and broadcasters in the OHL.

2015-16 OHL Awards Finalists:

Rookie of the Year / Emms Family Award Finalists:

Cam Dineen (North Bay Battalion)
Michael DiPietro (Windsor Spitfires)
Max Jones (London Knights)
Boris Katchouk (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)
Alex Nylander (Mississauga Steelheads)
Matthew Strome (Hamilton Bulldogs)

Overage Player of the Year / Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy Finalists:

Aaron Berisha (London Knights)
Jack Flinn (Mississauga Steelheads)
Hunter Garlent (Peterborough Petes)
Gabe Guertler (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)
Kevin Labanc (Barrie Colts)
Devin Williams (Erie Otters)

Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year / William Hanley Trophy Finalists:

Mike Amadio (North Bay Battalion)
Eric Cornel (Peterborough Petes)
Christian Dvorak (London Knights)
Taylor Raddysh (Erie Otters)
Blake Speers (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)
Spencer Watson (Kingston Frontenacs)

Coach of the Year / Matt Leyden Trophy Finalists:

Stan Butler (North Nay Battalion)
Dale Hawerchuk (Barrie Colts)
Kris Knoblauch (Erie Otters)
Paul McFarland (Kingston Frontenacs)
Rocky Thompson (Windsor Spitfires)
Mike Van Ryn (Kitchener Rangers)

Goaltender of the Year Award Finalists:

Mackenzie Blackwood (Barrie Colts)
Michael McNiven (Owen Sound Attack)
Alex Nedeljkovic (Niagara IceDogs)
Tyler Parsons (London Knights)
Jake Smith (North Bay Battalion)
Devin Williams (Erie Otters)

Defenceman of the Year / Max Kaminsky Trophy Finalists:

Jakob Chychrun (Sarnia Sting)
Travis Dermott (Erie Otters)
Cam Dineen (North Bay Battalion)
Roland McKeown (Kingston Frontenacs)
Mikhail Sergachev (Windsor Spitfires)
Mitchell Vande Sompel (Oshawa Generals)

Most Outstanding Player of the Year / Red Tilson Trophy Finalists:

Barrie – Kevin Labanc
Erie – Devin Williams
Flint – Will Bitten
Guelph – James McEwan
Hamilton – Niki Petti
Kingston – Roland McKeown
Kitchener – Ryan MacInnis
London – Mitch Marner
Mississauga – Alex Nylander
Niagara – Jordan Maletta
North Bay – Mike Amadio
Oshawa – Anthony Cirelli
Ottawa – Leo Lazarev
Owen Sound – Santino Centorame
Peterborough – Hunter Garlent
Saginaw – Mitchell Stephens
Sarnia – Pavel Zacha
Sault Ste. Marie – Zach Senyshyn
Sudbury – Dmitry Sokolov
Windsor – Christian Fischer

The 2016 OHL Awards Ceremony takes place on Tuesday June 7 at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, however award recipients will be announced periodically throughout the remainder of the 2016 OHL Playoffs.  Additional player awards to be announced include Humanitarian of the Year, Academic Players of the Year, and the 2015-16 Mickey Renaud Captain’s Trophy recipient.

OHL Announces Disciplinary Action

The Ontario Hockey League today announced the results of a review of two separate incidents which took place in OHL playoff games on Wednesday March 30, 2016.

OHL

Game of March 30th, 2016 – London at Owen Sound

 The Ontario Hockey League today announced the results of a review of an incident which took place in a playoff game played in Owen Sound on the 30th of March, 2016 involving the Attack and the visiting London Knights Hockey Club.

The incident reviewed was a checking to the head infraction involving player Max Jones of the London Knights Hockey Club and Owen Sound player Justin Brack.

Based on such review, it is the position of the League that player Max Jones shall be suspended for twelve (12) games effective immediately.

Click here for video and rationale of the Max Jones suspension.

Game of March 30th, 2016 – Kitchener at Windsor

The Ontario Hockey League today announced the results of a review of an incident which took place in a playoff game played in Windsor on the 30th of March, 2016 involving the Spitfires and the visiting Kitchener Rangers Hockey Club.

The incident reviewed was a play where there was unnecessary contact to the head area of an opponent by player Jake Henderson of the Kitchener Rangers Hockey Club.

Based on such review, it is the position of the League that player Jake Henderson shall be suspended for two (2) games effective immediately.

Links to News Around the OHL

Max Jones says Sean Day is underestimated

Max Jones has Sean Day’s back — now and always.

The London Knights power forward believes his best friend has been painted with the wrong brush throughout a turbulent major junior hockey career.

Day, who visits London Saturday with the Mississauga Steelheads, was the fourth 15-year-old granted early entry to the OHL after Connor McDavid, Aaron Ekblad and John Tavares in 2013.

But unlike the others, the big defenceman was not picked first overall in the OHL priority selection and he is no longer even projected to be a first-rounder in the next NHL draft (the other three were all No. 1 picks).

“He’s really patient but people don’t notice that,” said Jones, who last played with Day in minor hockey with Detroit Compuware. “That’s why NHL scouts have their jobs. They see the stuff most people don’t. I think Sean is outstanding and he’s playing the way he’s always played.

“He’s in a tough situation and it’s not his fault. Stuff will come his way and he’s a great player.”

Full story

Six reasons to believe in the Rangers, post-trade deadline

KITCHENER — The Ontario Hockey League trade deadline has come and gone and the Kitchener Rangers did not make any improvements to their current roster.

The Rangers did acquire the rights to St. Louis Blues forward Robby Fabbri from the Guelph Storm for a trio of draft picks. Two of the selections are conditional on Fabbri reporting to the Aud which, at this time, seems very unlikely.

So what you see is what you get with this year’s Rangers crew, who take on the Mississauga Steelheads Friday at the Aud.

And that has some fans down in the dumps. After all, the veteran-laden squad is off to one of its best starts ever and is poised to be a real contender for the league championship and, perhaps, the Memorial Cup.

One or two elite additions could have put the Rangers over the top in a year when there really isn’t a clear cut favourite to take the OHL crown.

Some see it as a missed opportunity. Others understand the sense in standing pat after watching the ridiculous amount of draft picks and prospects that were tossed around by other teams at the trade deadline to land marquee players.

But don’t fret, the Rangers are in good shape.

Full Story

The winding road that led Travis Konecny to Sarnia

As a youngster, Travis Konecny wasn’t sure he wanted to play hockey.

Even now at age 18 he can get nervous meeting new people, so as a four- or five-year-old kid the prospect of joining a minor hockey team full of fresh faces seemed terrifying.

“I turned down playing hockey, I really didn’t want to,” Konecny recalled. “My parents signed me up behind my back and made me throw on the gear.

“I’ve never looked back, I love it.”

It’s been quite the winding road for the right-handed shooting winger from Clachan, Ont. ever since his parents stepped in and registered him with the Ridgetown Rebels program. He’s gone on to become a first-round OHL and NHL draft pick and a Canadian world junior, but now in his third Ontario Hockey League season he had to go through another new, and perhaps somewhat scary, experience: Being traded.

Just over one week ago, Konecny was involved in a massive deal – four players and 11 picks changed hands – that sent him from the Ottawa 67’s to the Sarnia Sting.

“I’ve never been through a trade, so it was obviously difficult at the start leaving a place that I’ve been for almost three years now and friends and all the connections that I had there,” he said. “But coming to a team like Sarnia and the way they’re moving in the right direction, all the things were so promising here, even coming to a contender has just made it that much easier for me to decide to come here, and I’m really excited.”

Full story

Former Petes’ goalie headed to AHL Hall of Fame

Weeks prior to his enshrinement in the American Hockey League Hall of Fame, Bruce Landon skimmed over nearly a half-century of hockey memories back to his hockey baptism.

Roger Neilson brought Landon, a Kingston native, to Peterborough in 1968 to serve as the Petes’ first string goalie. The next season he joined the AHL’s Springfield Kings starting a nine-year pro career split between the AHL and World Hockey Association (WHA).

But Landon said it all started because one person — big brother Terry.

“Terry’s the one who stuck me between a pair of boots when I was four years old and began shooting frozen tennis balls at me,” said Landon, from his adopted home in Springfield, Mass.

Landon is set to become the AHL hall’s first Kingston-born member (Fred ‘Bun’ Cook, born in Saskatchewan but raised in Kingston, was inducted in 2007).

“He was there for me when it counted,” Landon added, turning serious. “Long story short, if it wasn’t for my brother, I would’ve never been able to follow my (hockey) dream.”

The erstwhile goaltender-turned-front office executive refers to a time of financial strain in the Landon family, in the mid-1960s, that threatened his looming junior career. “Terry gave up his own hockey dream and took a job with the Kingston Fire Department so I could continue mine,” explained 66-year-old granddaddy of two. “If he hadn’t done that, I doubt I would’ve been able to go to Peterborough to play with the Petes. I owe him a lot.”

Full story

Wolves not afraid to talk playoffs

Yes, the Sudbury Wolves are still at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, 13 points out of a playoff spot.

But improved play of late that has the team playing .500 hockey at 5-4-0-1 in their last 10 has made it a confident group not that is not afraid to talk publicly about a goal that might cause many to raise an eyebrow.

“I think looking at the standings should motivate us,” Wolves head coach Dave Matsos said. “We have a steep hill to climb, but mathematically it’s doable and we still have to focus on our game and hopefully get some breaks from the rest of the league, but if we continue to chip away and keep the wins coming, it will make it exciting to wake up each morning to see how close we are getting.

“It is good to give these guys a goal, though I think our goals need to be set real short term, maybe every weekend or just every 60 minutes,” he continued. “If we do get there, and we have every intention of throwing our hat in the ring, it’s going to be a grueling two-and-a-half months here and the process will happen slow. For us, I think short term focus is the best way to go, and myself and (fellow coaches) Drake (Berehowsky) and Bryan (Verreault) will figure out the best way for us to get there.”

Improved play from the team’s youngsters of late have given Matsos more options, which has led to a better effort on the ice.

“I really like the balance we have right now,” he said. “We took (Ben) Garagan out of that fourth line role and put him with (Dmitry) Sokolov and (Mikkel) Aagaard and he gave us some great minutes last weekend and didn’t look out of place against other teams’ top lines, and I think by putting more trust into our young guys, we now have the ability to roll four lines without numbering them. We still prefer to get (Danny) Desrochers’ line with the older guys out there against the opposition’s top line, but after that I think just let them go.”

Full story

Amadio 100% Battalion

Some veterans might seek a trade that would allow them to finish their careers playing for a powerhouse.

North Bay Battalion forward Mike Amadio apparently isn’t one of them.

In the midst of his finest season, the Sault native says he had no interest in joining a championship contender prior to Monday’s 12 noon OHL trade deadline.

And while his name was prominent in numerous trade rumours – Barrie, Kitchener and Kingston were thought to be possible landing spots — Amadio says the Battalion never spoke to him to gauge his interest in moving on.

Meantime, North Bay head coach and general manager Stan Butler spoke of “not really having an interest,” in dealing Amadio.

“Anyone can be traded – Wayne Gretzky was traded,” Butler said Friday. “I listened to offers. But we’re an organization that likes to have our guys finish up here.”

Amadio said he loves playing for the Battalion and living in North Bay.

“I didn’t have any thought at all of asking for a trade,” said Amadio, who captains the Battalion and is the team’s leading scorer. “I wanted to finish my career with the same organization with which I started.”

Full story

Second half should bring bigger crowds

Expect more butts in seats during the second half of the season, not only in Hamilton but across the Ontario Hockey League.

According to George Burnett, attendance is typically higher following the holiday break — in particular, for midweek games. “I think it’s traditional that crowds generally pick up after Christmas on the run to the playoffs,” he said. “It’s legitimately hockey season.”

The numbers appear to back up the Bulldogs coach and general manager.

A quick analysis shows the average draw rose for all but one of Hamilton’s divisional rivals in the second half of last season. In Belleville, when the Bulldogs were still the Bulls, the turnout swelled from 2,326 to 2,740 in the wake of the break — an 18 per cent increase.

Burnett said one of the reasons for the jump is that folks have more opportunity and more time to take in a game. Fall sports have wrapped up, minor hockey is winding down and the holiday gauntlet has come to an end. On top of that, the games just seem to matter more in the midst of a post-season push.

Jeff Brown, his Ottawa 67’s counterpart, agrees.

“In the first half, there are still other sports around,” he said. “People are getting into hockey, but it’s more just getting a feel for how the team is looking, that kind of thing.

“In the second half,” he added, “it’s the only game in town.”

Another possibility is that interest in tournaments such as the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship peaks around the holidays. That certainly could excite people, Burnett said — especially when the marquee names come into your building.

Full story

2016 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Rosters Announced

40 top NHL Draft eligible CHL players will compete January 28, 2016, in Vancouver, BC
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Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League in association with the host Vancouver Giants Hockey Club, and title partner BMO Financial Group, today announced the 40 players that will compete in the 2016 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Vancouver, BC, on Thursday January 28, 2016.

The 40 CHL players competing in the game were chosen by all 30 NHL clubs and divided into teams by NHL Central Scouting.  This season’s event marks the 21st annual showcase of the CHL’s top-40 NHL Draft eligible players featuring talent from the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League competing before hundreds of NHL scouts in attendance.

“The BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is one of the highlights of the hockey season,” said CHL President David Branch. “Since 1996 the CHL’s top prospects have showcased their skills in this event providing NHL scouts, General Managers, and fans the opportunity to catch the next wave of NHL talent which in recent years has featured first overall picks Connor McDavid, Aaron Ekblad, Nathan MacKinnon, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. We look forward to January 28 with coaches Don Cherry and Bobby Orr, and 40 of the top CHL players eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft competing before the passionate hockey fans in Vancouver and to CHL fans across Canada watching live on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.”

The Giants’ Tyler Benson and Port Moody, BC, native Lucas Johansen of the Kelowna Rockets are among the 20 players to suit up for Team Cherry along with Canadian National Junior Team member Julien Gauthier of the Val-d’Or Foreurs, and OHL top goal scorer Alex DeBrincat of the Erie Otters who won World Junior bronze with the United States.  Team Orr features World Junior gold medalist Olli Juolevi of the London Knights, fellow Knight and World Junior bronze medalist Matthew Tkachuk, Canadian National Junior Team Selection Camp invite Pierre-Luc Dubois of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, and Alexander Nylander of the Mississauga Steelheads who led Sweden in World Junior scoring.

“We are thrilled for the up-and-coming talent chosen for this year’s BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game,” said Michael Bonner, Senior Vice President, BC and Yukon Division, BMO Bank of Montreal. “As the Official Bank of the CHL, we’re proud to sponsor an event that allows Canadians to watch some of the top young athletes across the country, and we’re excited to bring them to Vancouver later this month.”

25 of the CHL’s 60 member clubs are represented on the rosters.  The 40 competing players include 20 from the OHL, 12 from the WHL, and eight from the QMJHL.  13 CHL Players who competed in the 2015 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in St. Catharines, ON, were selected in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft.  In 20 years, 278 CHL players from this event have been chosen by NHL clubs in the first round of the NHL Draft representing 47% of all players selected.

“The BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game provides a unique opportunity for NHL scouts and General Managers to evaluate top CHL talent for the 2016 NHL Draft in a best-on-best competition,” said NHL Central Scouting Director Dan Marr. “The game is also a unique opportunity for the players to take advantage of the spotlight in what is consistently an exciting and highly competitive showcase.”

Since the event was first introduced in 1996 the game has featured 13 players selected with the first overall pick in the NHL Draft including 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.

2016 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Rosters:

Team Cherry:

Goaltenders:

Evan Fitzpatrick (Sherbrooke Phoenix)

Zach Sawchenko (Moose Jaw Warriors)

Defencemen:

Jakob Chychrun (Sarnia Sting)

Kale Clague (Brandon Wheat Kings)

Sean Day (Mississauga Steelheads)

Samuel Girard (Shawinigan Cataractes)

Lucas Johansen (Kelowna Rockets)

Markus Niemelainen (Saginaw Spirit)

 Forwards:

Vitalii Abramov (Gatineau Olympiques)

Tyler Benson (Vancouver Giants)

Logan Brown (Windsor Spitfires)

Alex DeBrincat (Erie Otters)

Dillon Dube (Kelowna Rockets)

Julien Gauthier (Val-d’Or Foreurs)

Tim Gettinger (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)

Noah Gregor (Moose Jaw Warriors)

Max Jones (London Knights)

Jordan Kyrou (Sarnia Sting)

Michael McLeod (Mississauga Steelheads)

Sam Steel (Regina Pats)


Team Orr:

Goaltenders:

Carter Hart (Everett Silvertips)

Dylan Wells (Peterborough Petes)

Defencemen:

Jake Bean (Calgary Hitmen)

Luke Green (Saint John Sea Dogs)

Libor Hajek (Saskatoon Blades)

Olli Juolevi (London Knights)

Mikhail Sergachev (Windsor Spitfires)

Logan Stanley (Windsor Spitfires)

Forwards:

Nathan Bastian (Mississauga Steelheads)

Will Bitten (Flint Firebirds)

Pierre-Luc Dubois (Cape Breton Screaming Eagles)

Brett Howden (Moose Jaw Warriors)

Boris Katchouk (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)

Jack Kopacka (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)

Pascal Laberge (Victoriaville Tigres)

Alexander Nylander (Mississauga Steelheads)

Taylor Raddysh (Erie Otters)

Otto Somppi (Halifax Mooseheads)

Simon Stransky (Prince Albert Raiders)

Matthew Tkachuk (London Knights)


The 2016 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is proudly supported by title partner BMO Bank of Montreal, and CHL associate sponsors Cooper Tire, autoTRADER.ca and Sherwin-Williams.  The game will be broadcast live on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.

For more information please visit www.bmotopprospects.ca.

BMO and the Canadian Hockey League:
BMO Financial Group and the Canadian Hockey League announced BMO as the Official Bank of the Canadian Hockey League in 2011. The sponsorship builds on BMO’s partnership with the CHL of more than 10 years and affirms BMO’s exclusivity as a financial services sponsor of the league in the retail banking category. It also engrains a presence with the 48 teams which currently participate in the BMO CHL Affinity MasterCard program, which enables CHL fans to support their favourite teams through a co-branded credit card.

Super series

Mid-season OHL’s Draft Eligible Rankings

The mid way point of the Ontario Hockey League season is upon us and it’s time for my mid-season rankings of players eligible for the 2016 National Hockey League Draft.

Jakob Chychrun of the Sarnia Sting. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
1. Jakob Chychrun – Sarnia Sting

 

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 215 pounds

Date of birth: March 31, 1998. Boca Raton, Florida

Position: Defence

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 1, 1st overall, 2014 Priority Selection

 

Matthew Tkachuk of the London Knights. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
2. Matthew Tkachuk – London Knights

Height:  6’1”

Weight: 195 pounds

Date of birth: December 11, 1997. St Louis, MO

Position: Left Wing

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 4, 64th overall, 2013 Priority Selection

Nylander, Alexander (1)
3. Alexander Nylander – Mississauga Steelheads

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 172 pounds

Date of birth: March 2, 1998, Södertälje, Sweden

Position: Right Wing

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 1, 12th overall, CHL Import Draft

 

Max Jones of the London Knights. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
4. Max Jones – London Knights

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 200 pounds

Date of birth: February 17, 1998, Orion, MI

Position: Left Wing

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 1, 18th overall, 2014 Priority Selection

Mikhail Sergachev of the Windsor Spitfires. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
5.Mikhail Sergachev – Windsor Spitfires

Height:  6’2”

Weight: 205 pounds

Date of birth: June 25, 1998. Nizhnekamsk, Russia

Position: Defence

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 1, 6th overall, 2015 CHL Import Draft

Alex DeBrincat of the Erie Otters. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
6. Alex DeBrincat – Erie Otters

Height: 5’7”

Weight: 160 pounds

Date of Birth: December 18, 1997 – Detroit, Michigan

Position: Right Wing

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Undrafted, signed as a free agent.

 

Olli Juolevi of the London Knights. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
7. Olli Juolevi – London Knights

Height:  6’2”

Weight: 185 pounds

Date of birth: May 5, 1998. Helsinki, Finland

Position: Defence

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft:  Round 1, 45th overall, CHL Import Draft.

McLeod, Michael (2)
8. Michael McLeod – Mississauga Steelheads

Height:  6’2”

Weight: 187 pounds

Date of birth: February 3, 1998. Mississauga, Ontario

Position: Center

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 1, 5th overall, 2014 Priority Selection

Brown, Logan (1).JPG
9. Logan Brown – Windsor Spitfires

Height: 6’6”

Weight: 218 pounds

Date of birth: March 5, 1998, Chesterfield, MO

Position: Center

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 1, 6th overall, 2014 Priority Selection

Bastian, Nathan (2).jpg
10. Nathan Bastian – Mississauga Steelheads

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 208 pounds

Date of birth: December 6, 1997. Kitchener, Ontario

Position: Center

Catches: Right

OHL Draft: Round 7, 127th overall, 2013 Priority Selection

All photos courtesy of Terry Wilson/Aaron Bell – OHL Images

Max Jones – Player Profile – London Knights

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 200 pounds

Date of birth: February 17, 1998, Orion, MI

Position: Left Wing

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 1, 18th overall, 2014 Priority Selection

Last season Jones played for the USNTDP and in 24 games scored 5 goals and 5 assists. He joined the US National U-17 squad and in 38 games scored 18 times while adding 10 assists. He also put in a solid performance for the U.S. at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17. In 6 games he scored 7 goals while contributing 4 assists. He was named to the All Tournament team and finished second in scoring in leading the Americans to silver.

Max Jones of the London Knights. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
Max Jones of the London Knights. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Jones father Brad is a former NHL player who played in 148 games in 4 seasons and scored 25 goals and 31 assists in his NHL career. His brother Mitch is a former OHL’er with the Plymouth Whalers and is currently playing for the Alaska Aces of the ECHL.

With one goal and two assists for Jones in his first eight games, it took him a few weeks to get accustomed to the OHL. Since then, he’s been on a bit of a tear with 14 goals and 12 assists in his last 21 games.

Jones is a straightforward north-south player who possesses aggressiveness, great speed and nastiness who is more than willing to go through defenders –successfully- rather than try and dangle around them.  He’s a prototypical power forward who can get on top of the defence and punish them. He battles along the walls and is near impossible to move off the puck.

Jones will fight for his space in front of the opposition goal. He plays on the powerplay and that is usually where you’ll find him planted.  He’s very good in tight and has some finish there.

It’s not all strength and power to Jones’ game however. There is finesse to his repertoire. He’s an excellent skater with high end top speed and an excellent first step. He possesses a pro level shot with an excellent release and accuracy. His vision is very good and has the high hockey IQ to go with it – an underrated playmaker in my opinion.

Jones’ play without the puck needs some improvement and is a work in progress. He also needs to better choose his spots to be physical – he sometimes goes out of his way chasing the hit. As he matures, those things will come to him.

London Knights coach Dale Hunter

“He’s a complete player. He’s a fast player. He’s skilled. In big games, like you see in the National Hockey League right now, he raises his game . . . That’s what we need in London. He’s going to put up lots of numbers during the year but come playoff time, he raises his game to another level and that’s what you need to win.”