The Canadian Hockey League today announced the third edition of the Vaughn CHL Team of the Week for the 2019-20 season based on individual performances from Sept. 30 – Oct. 6.
The forward ranks begin with Rimouski Oceanic star Alexis Lafreniere, who reached double-digit points in notching four goals and six assists in four outings, including a four-point effort in a 9-2 victory over the Cape Breton Eagles to begin the week. Lafreniere, 17, is the early favourite to be selected first overall in the coming 2020 NHL Draft in Montreal.
Joining Lafreniere up front is Oceanic teammate Cedric Pare, who led all CHL talents this week with five goals, including his first career hat-trick Saturday versus the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. Pare also added four assists in his last four appearances to bring his weekly point total to nine and help Rimouski hold down top spot in the QMJHL’s East Division.
Rounding out the forward ranks is Eagles right-wing Ryan Francis, a 2020 NHL Draft hopeful who claimed Ultramar Player of the Week recognition after he recorded nine points counting two goals and seven assists in three games. That stretch included Friday’s incredible five-point showing in a 7-2 win over the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in which Francis was honoured as the game’s first star.
The blue line begins with Spokane Chiefs captain Ty Smith, who upon returning to the club after attending training camp with the New Jersey Devils needed little time to adjust to game action as he came away with six points counting three goals and three assists in a trio of appearances. The high-water mark was Smith’s season debut against the Seattle Thunderbirds in which he collected three points and claimed first-star honours. For his efforts, Smith was named the WHL On the Run Player of the Week.
Also on the back end is Oshawa Generals blue-liner and New York Rangers prospect Nico Gross, whose week saw him register four goals and one assist in three games to help his club remain the lone undefeated CHL squad with a perfect 7-0 record. A Swiss import, Gross is skating in his third year with the Generals, while his four-goal total already matches his previous career high set in 2017-18.
Between the pipes, Red Deer Rebels goaltender Ethan Anders had a busy week as he turned aside 100 of 105 shots and collected three consecutive victories. His top performance came with a 33-save effort in a 2-1 victory versus the Saskatoon Blades. In all, Anders wrapped up the week with an impressive .952 save percentage alongside a miniscule 1.66 goals-against average.
Toronto, ON – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that forward Andrei Svechnikov of the Barrie Colts is the 2017-18 recipient of the Emms Family Award presented to the OHL’s Rookie of the Year.
Svechnikov led all OHL rookies with 40 goals and 32 assists in just 44 games for a point total of 72 that ranked 25th overall in league scoring and a points-per-game mark of 1.64 that was fifth best.
“I am extremely happy to accept this award as the OHL’s Rookie of the Year,” Svechnikov said. “I’d like to thank my coaches and teammates for all of the help they have given me this year to achieve this goal. I am very excited.”
The 18-year-old from Barnaul, Russia, is the top ranked prospect for the 2018 NHL Draft among North American skaters as listed by NHL Central Scouting. He joined the Colts as the first overall pick in the 2017 CHL Import Draft and becomes the club’s fourth player to receive Rookie of the Year honours following Aaron Ekblad (2011-12), Bryan Little (2003-04), and Sheldon Keefe (1998-99).
“We are really proud of Andrei for the season he had with our club,” said Colts General Manager Jason Ford. “He came into the lineup and made an immediate impact. We feel that the composure he showed on and off the ice, really excelled his game to this level, which ultimately earned himself this award. We could not be more proud of him for what he did this past year and we wish him the best of luck at the NHL Draft this June in Dallas.”
Svechnikov was an OHL star from start to finish in 2017-18 beginning with a two-goal performance in his debut against the Ottawa 67’s on September 21, right through to season’s end where he carried the league’s longest point-streak at 23 games from January 18 through the final game of the regular season on March 17. He recorded 24 multi-point games including a stretch of nine-straight in January and was named OHL Rookie of the Month four of the six times the award was announced. The Russian National Junior Team member was also recognized in the annual Coaches Poll where he was voted Best Skater and second Best Shot in the Eastern Conference. His 72 points are the most by a Colts rookie since Mark Scheifele produced 75 in 66 games back in 2010-11, while his 1.64 points-per-game mark is the best among OHL rookies since London Knights Patrick Kane and Sam Gagner posted 2.50 and 2.23 figures respectively in 2006-07.
First presented in 1973, Emms Family Award recipients include Wayne Gretzky (Sault Ste. Marie 1977-78), Joe Thornton (Sault Ste. Marie 1995-96), Rick Nash (London 2000-01), John Tavares (Oshawa 2005-06), Taylor Hall (Windsor 2007-08), Connor McDavid (Erie 2012-13), Travis Konecny (Ottawa 2013-14), Alex DeBrincat (Erie 2014-15), Alexander Nylander (Mississauga 2015-16), and Ryan Merkley (Guelph 2016-17).
The Emms Family Award was donated by Leighton “Hap” Emms, former owner of the Barrie, Niagara Falls, and St. Catharines OHL franchises. The award is selected by all 20 member club General Managers. Teams were asked to submit only one nominee from their own club for consideration on the ballot and were not permitted to vote for the player from their own hockey club. Voting was conducted in two stages beginning with a Conference only vote followed by a Final ballot that included the top three candidates from the initial Conference phase. Players received five points for a first vote, three points for a second place vote, and one point for a third place vote.
Svechnikov earned 86 of a possible 95 voting points ahead of forward Cam Hillis of the Guelph Storm who finished second with 37 voting points and forward Arthur Kaliyev of the Hamilton Bulldogs who finished in third place with 31 voting points.
The Emms Family Award will be formally presented to Svechnikov at the OHL’s annual Awards Ceremony at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto on Wednesday June 6. He will be the OHL’s nominee for CHL Rookie of the Year to be announced at the Mastercard Memorial Cup on Saturday May 26
Svechnikov was also announced to the OHL’s First All-Rookie Team at right wing along with Hillis at centre and fellow NHL Draft eligible forward Blade Jenkins of the Saginaw Spirit at left wing. Rasmus Sandin of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and Alec Regula of the London Knights comprise the First Team defence corps, with Mack Guzda of the Owen Sound Attack between-the-pipes. Kaliyev was among the Second Team honourees voted behind Svechnikov at right wing and joined up front by first overall Priority Selection pick Ryan Suzuki of the Colts at centre, and Maxim Golod of the Erie Otters at left wing. Oshawa Generals Mitchell Brewer and Nico Gross were both voted Second Team defenders, with the Knights’ Jordan Kooy in goal.
The OHL All-Rookie Teams were also selected by the OHL’s General Managers. Players were voted on initially by position within their conference receiving five points for a first place vote, three for a second place vote, and one for a third. Top vote getters in each position made up the final ballot that was then circulated to all 20 teams.
2017-18 OHL All-Rookie Teams (voting points in brackets):
Centre – Cam Hillis, Guelph Storm (68)
Left Wing – Blade Jenkins, Saginaw Spirit (84)
Right Wing – Andrei Svechnikov, Barrie Colts (95)
Defence – Rasmus Sandin, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (87)
Defence – Alec Regula, London Knights (57)
Goaltender – Mack Guzda, Owen Sound Attack (55)
Centre – Ryan Suzuki, Barrie Colts (53)
Left Wing – Maxim Golod, Erie Otters (36)
Right Wing – Arthur Kaliyev, Hamilton Bulldogs (59)
NHL Central Scouting final rank: Not available at present
The 2018 National Hockey League Draft could be the year for defencemen with as many as 10 Ontario Hockey League blueliners going in the first two rounds of this year’s draft on June 22 – 23 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Where do I think Oshawa Generals’ rearguard Nico Gross gets selected? Well those rankings will come out before the draft.
Gross hails from Pontresina, Switzerland where the Swiss are developing more and more quality players. Look no further than last year’s first overall pick by the New Jersey Devils and Nico Hischier.
Prior to being the 40th overall selection at the 2017 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft, Gross played for EVZ Academy in the Swiss NLB League – a level below their top National League. Gross carries with him a wealth of international experience having represented the Swiss at the Under-16, while competing twice at each of the World Hockey Championship Under-18, the World Hockey Championship Under-20, and the Ivan Hlinka Memorial.
Gross has okay size for a blueliner at 6’1” but could stand to add some muscle. Despite that, he will not shy away from the physical game as he is comfortable throwing the body and battling down low and in front of his goal area. Once he adds that bulk, he could become a more dominant physical presence.
Gross is also an excellent skater with very good lateral movement and a superb backwards skater. His good acceleration allows him to evade the forecheck and skate out of danger. Along with his skating abilities, his hockey smarts allow him to jump into the play and join the offence. He is however, a little weak on his skates and that can change when he adds some strength.
Gross is very good with the puck on his stick. He handles it well and protects the puck very well. With his vision, he finds open lanes and can make crisp, clean passes to his teammates. He has shown an ability to quarterback the powerplay. He’s grown as a player who was prone to making bad pinches to one who picks his spots better.
Defensively, Gross is difficult to beat one-on-one. His skating allows him to keep forwards to the outside. He keeps his gaps tight and uses his stick effectively. He holds the blue line like a seasoned veteran. It’s hard to judge his penalty killing abilities on a Generals’ team where the PK wasn’t that great. But he seems to understand his responsibilities when a man down.
Gross is the type of high-risk, high-reward type of player that could make an NHL team jump early on him or cause him to slide a bit in the draft. He certainly has plenty of experience playing against older players and already having some professional games under his belt.
Wherever he is drafted, I think an NHL team will come away happy with him.
Guelph, ON – The next wave of NHL Draft talent were put to the test on Wednesday competing on and off the ice in advance of the 2018 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.
All 40 of the Canadian Hockey League’s top prospects in attendance seized the opportunity to showcase their individual strengths with Sport Testing to gauge fitness and skill levels for NHL management and scouts.
The day began at the University of Guelph with a series of off-ice performance measures that included strength testing, agility runs, and leg power evaluations. The afternoon shifted to on-ice tests at Sleeman Centre including forward and backward sprints, reaction, weave agility, and transition agility drills each performed with and without a puck.
Forward Barrett Hayton of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, ranked 6th by NHL Central Scouting in their Midterm Rankings, finished atop the overall standings in the off-ice portion which factored performance results from across the seven different fields. Defenceman Kevin Bahl of the Ottawa 67’s (ranked 30th by NHL CS) finished in second, followed by a pair of London Knights including defenceman Evan Bouchard (ranked 5th by NHL CS) in third and forward Liam Foudy (ranked 91st by NHL CS) in fourth, and forward Ryan McLeod of the Mississauga Steelheads (ranked 16th by NHL CS) finished in fifth.
Defenceman Noah Dobson of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan (ranked 8th by NHL CS) led the way in overall on-ice testing based on results across the 10 different categories. Fellow defenceman Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs (ranked 14th by NHL CS) tied for second with Knights forward Liam Foudy, followed by forward Dmitry Zavgorodniy of the Rimouski Oceanic (ranked 54th by NHL CS) in fourth, and top ranked North American skater Andrei Svechnikov of the Barrie Colts finished in fifth.
In specialized Sport Testing for goalies, Jacob Ingham of the Mississauga Steelheads (ranked 3rd by NHL CS) claimed top honours in an array of reaction, agility, and movement challenges.
2018 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game – Sport Testing Combine Top Performers:
Sport Testing scores provide valuable performance benchmarks to coaches and players at all levels of hockey with data collected at the Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game shared with NHL Central Scouting and distributed to all 31 NHL teams.
Switzerland announced it’s preliminary roster for the 2018 World Junior Championships. Two Ontario Hockey League players will take part, Nico Gross of the Oshawa Generals and Stephane Patry of the Erie Otters.
Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League today announced the final results of the 2017 CHL Import Draft.
The 26th annual CHL Import Draft included a total of 72 players consisting of 50 forwards and 22 defencemen selected from 11 different countries featuring a draft-high 19 players from Russia.
The two-round draft took place online with the order of selection rotating through each of the CHL’s three leagues using an inverse order of final regular season standings within each league from the 2016-17 season.
The Barrie Colts used the first overall pick to acquire Russian forward Andrei Svechnikov, a 2018 NHL Draft prospect who recently earned bronze at the 2017 IIHF World Under-18 Championship. His international hockey success this season also included a MVP performance at the World Junior A Challenge, and a bronze medal at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge where he led the tournament in points. The Moncton Wildcats used the second overall pick to select fellow Russian forward and 2018 NHL Draft prospect Alexander Khovanov who was an Under-17 teammate of Svechnikov capturing bronze in Sault Ste. Marie last November. At third overall the Kootenay ICE selected Switzerland’s Gilian Kohler, a forward also eligible for the 2018 NHL Draft.
The 2017 CHL Import Draft featured 11 players previously selected by NHL teams in 2016 and 2017 drafts. Of that group, five players were selected in the first two rounds this past weekend in Chicago including first round picks Martin Necas (12th, Carolina) chosen 10th overall by the Saginaw Spirit, Timothy Liljegren (17th, Toronto) chosen 13th overall by the Niagara IceDogs, and Filip Chytil (21st, New York Rangers) chosen seventh overall by the North Bay Battalion. Second round NHL Draft picks selected in the Import Draft include Alexandre Texier (45th, Columbus) taken 17th overall by the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, and Joni Ikonen (58th, Montreal) chosen 28th overall by the Hamilton Bulldogs.
A total of 37 players selected in the 2017 CHL Import Draft are first-year eligible for the 2018 NHL Draft, while four players selected are not eligible for the NHL Draft until 2019.
Each team in the CHL is permitted to dress and play a maximum of two import players each season who are selected annually through the CHL Import Draft.
2017 CHL Import Draft Summary:
Draft Picks by Position:
Forward – 50
Defence – 22
Draft Picks by Country:
Russia – 19
Czech Republic – 15
Sweden – 8
Slovakia – 7
Belarus – 6
Germany – 6
Finland – 4
Switzerland – 4
Denmark – 1
France – 1
Slovenia – 1
Draft picks by Birthdate and NHL Status:
2000-born late and 2019 NHL Draft eligible – 4
2000-born and 2018 NHL Draft eligible – 29
1999-born late and 2018 NHL Draft eligible – 8
1999-born and 2017 NHL Drafted – 8
1999-born early and NHL Undrafted – 15
1998-born and NHL Drafted – 3
1998-born and NHL Undrafted – 5
NHL Draft picks in CHL Import Draft:
4. Alexei Toropchenko (Guelph – 4th round to St. Louis in 2017)
7. Filip Chytil (North Bay – 1st round to NY Rangers in 2017)
10. Martin Necas (Saginaw – 1st round to Carolina in 2017)
13. Timothy Liljegren (Niagara – 1st round to Toronto in 2017)
17. Alexandre Texier (Baie-Comeau – 4th round to Columbus in 2017)
28. Joni Ikonen (Hamilton – 2nd round to Montreal in 2017)
41. Jan Drozg (Shawinigan – 5th round to Pittsburgh in 2017)
45. Oleg Sosunov (Moose Jaw – 6th round to Tampa Bay in 2016)
49. Jesper Bratt (London – 6th round to New Jersey in 2016)
53. Ostap Safin (Saint John – 4th round to Edmonton in 2017)
119. Linus Nassen (Medicine Hat – 3rd round to Florida in 2016)
A total of 15 players acquired through the CHL Import Draft were recently selected in the 2017 NHL Draft including New Jersey Devils first overall pick Nico Hischier of the Halifax Mooseheads. Other first round picks included Finnish defencemen Juuso Valimaki of the Tri-City Americans selected 16th overall by the Calgary Flames and Henri Jokiharju of the Portland Winterhawks selected 29th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks.
Last season a total of 79 players were selected from 11 different countries led by 24 players from Russia and consisting of 53 forwards and 26 defencemen.