OHL THIS WEEK: MARCH 5 TO 8, 2020

OHL This Week

Toronto, Ont. – The 2019-20 regular season is winding down and the playoff races are heating up! Here’s all you need to know in the latest edition of the OHL This Week.

OHL THIS WEEK PODCAST WITH SUDBURY WOLVES VETERAN MACAULEY CARSON:
Sudbury Wolves captain Macauley Carson discusses his upcoming record-breaking night in his hometown of Barrie as he’ll play his 302nd career regular season game to climb atop the Wolves’ all-time list. He shares some of his memories and some details on the friendships he’s made along the way. Erie Otters captain Jack Duff also joins the show, sharing his new community initiative with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Northwest Pennsylvania.
LISTEN

OHL TOP PERFORMERS OF THE MONTH FOR FEBRUARY:
Kingston’s Shane Wright and London Knights teammates Alec Regula and Brett Brochu are OHL Top Performers for February 2020.
READ MORE

OHL ACADEMIC PLAYERS OF THE MONTH FOR FEBRUARY:
Hamilton’s Lawson Sherk, Barrie’s Ethan Cardwell, Erie’s Aidan Campbell and Flint’s Braeden Kressler are the OHL’s Academic Players of the Month for February.
READ MORE

SPITFIRES AND RANGERS SQUARE OFF SUNDAY ON SPORTSNET:
OHL action comes to Sportsnet on Sunday afternoon as the Kitchener Rangers pay a visit to the Windsor Spitfires at 2:05pm. See the game across the country on Sportsnet as two Western Conference teams bound for the OHL Playoffs meet in Windsor.

67’s, KNIGHTS, RANGERS AND SPIRIT IN KIA CHL TOP 10:
The Ottawa 67’s remain as the second-ranked team in this week’s Kia CHL Top 10 Rankings while the London Knights, Kitchener Rangers and Saginaw Spirit are also on the national radar.
FULL RANKINGS

KNIGHTS’ FOUDY NAMED OHL ‘ON THE RUN’ PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Liam Foudy of the London Knights is the OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week with seven points over three victories.
READ MORE

FOUDY AND YETMAN NAMED TO VAUGHN CHL TEAM OF THE WEEK:
Forwards Liam Foudy of the London Knights and Chad Yetman of the Erie Otters have been named to the Vaughn CHL Team of the Week.
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WAWANESA OHL PLAYS OF THE WEEK – MAR. 4, 2020:
Wawanesa OHL Plays of the Week is brought to you by some perfect passes and some outstanding goals. Catch Windsor’s Jean-Luc Foudy with some jump in his step, Kingston’s Shane Wright with an effortless move behind the skates, Owen Sound’s Adam McMaster splitting the defenders, Niagara’s Jackson Doherty capping off a toe drag with a wicked snipe and Niagara’s Ivan Lodnia getting real fancy on his way to the net.
WATCH

VAUGHN SAVES OF THE WEEK – MAR. 3, 2020:
We’ve got glove saves, pad saves and even a save off the mask in this week’s Vaughn Saves roundup! Tune in for the good stuff from Mississauga’s Kai Edmonds, Flint’s Peyton Grainer, Hamilton’s Zachary Roy, Sarnia’s Benjamin Gaudreau, Sudbury’s David Bowen, London’s Brett Brochu, Niagara’s Andrew MacLean, Windsor’s Xavier Medina, Oshawa’s Jordan Kooy, Peterborough’s Hunter Jones, Saginaw’s Tristan Lennox and Ottawa’s Cedrick Andree.
WATCH

ICEDOGS’ LODNIA REPRESENTS OHL IN CHL SHOWDOWN:
Niagara IceDogs forward Ivan Lodnia is the OHL’s representative in this week’s CHL Showdown featuring one great play from all three leagues.
WATCH & VOTE AT CHLSHOWDOWN.CA

OHL CUP POWERED BY UNDER ARMOUR MINOR MIDGET TOP-10 RANKINGS:
The top-ranked Toronto Jr. Canadiens and fourth-ranked Vaughan Kings are squaring off in the GTHL Championship Series while third-ranked Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs and fifth-ranked Hamilton Huskies are going head-to-head for ALLIANCE Minor Midget supremacy. In the OMHA, Top-10 teams in the Quinte Red Devils (2), Southern Tier Admirals (8) and Whitby Wildcats (9) are off to this weekend’s OMHA Championship in Belleville alongside the Niagara North Stars and the Oshawa Generals. A total of seven teams have now secured spots at the 2020 OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour.
FULL RANKINGS

VETERANS AND ROOKIES WORKING TOGETHER ON THE OHL OFFICIATING TEAM:
Veterans and rookies work together on the OHL Officiating Team as 21-year linesman Kevin Hastings skates alongside newcomer Matt Mannella in this behind the scenes look.
WATCH

A TALE OF TWO LONDON KNIGHTS DRAFT ELIGIBLE SOPHOMORES:
Luke Evangelista and Antonio Stranges are reaping the rewards of lessons learned during their rookie seasons, developing valuable skills and a long-term vision under the coaching of Dale Hunter.
WATCH

67’s LOCK UP SECOND STRAIGHT EAST DIVISION TITLE:
The Ottawa 67’s are East Division champions for a second straight year following Friday’s 4-1 win over the visiting Oshawa Generals. The 2020 East Division title secures the franchise’s 17th Leyden Trophy.
READ MORE

SPITFIRES HEADED TO THE POSTSEASON:
The Windsor Spitfires are headed to the 2020 OHL Playoffs for the fifth straight season. Their 10-2 win over the Kingston Frontenacs, led by multi-point performances from a pair of top NHL Draft prospects in Jean-Luc Foudy (2-2—4) and Will Cuylle (2-1—3), solidified their spot in the postseason with a 34-19-6-0 tally on the season and 74 points for fifth in the Western Conference, becoming the fifth Western team to enter the playoff tree.
READ MORE

COLTS BACK IN THE PLAYOFF PICTURE:
The Barrie Colts are officially back in the playoff picture. Despite a 6-1 loss to the Peterborough Petes on Sunday, the Niagara IceDogs’ loss to the North Bay Battalion vaulted the Colts into the playoff tree with their 27-26-4-2 record and 60 points at fifth in the Eastern Conference.
READ MORE

BULLDOGS PART WAYS WITH HEAD COACH VINCE LAISE:
The Hamilton Bulldogs announced Tuesday that Vince Laise has been relieved of his coaching duties effective immediately. President and general manager Steve Staios will oversee the coaching staff for the remainder of the season.
READ MORE

FIREBIRDS’ TUCKER SIGNS WITH BLUES:
Flint Firebirds defenceman Tyler Tucker has signed a three-year entry level NHL contract with the St. Louis Blues. The 20-year-old has 55 points (17-38–55) over 52 games between the Firebirds and Barrie Colts this season. He was St. Louis’ seventh round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.
READ MORE

PETES’ ROBERTSON IS OHL’S FIRST TO 50 GOALS IN 2019-20:
Nick Robertson is the Canadian Hockey League’s first to 50 in 2019-20. The Toronto Maple Leafs prospect netted a hat-trick in Sunday’s 6-1 Peterborough Petes win over the visiting Barrie Colts to hit the 50-goal mark, doing so in just his 43rd game. He’s in good company, joining 13 other names to accomplish the feat in the storied history of the Peterborough Petes.
READ MORE

FRONTENACS’ ROOKIE WRIGHT SETS NEW FRANCHISE MARK FOR GOALS BY A ROOKIE:
Shane Wright made Kingston Frontenacs history on Saturday, recording his first OHL hat-trick to become the franchise’s all-time leading goalscorer among rookies.
READ MORE

ATTACK’S LYLE SETS FRANCHISE RECORD FOR CAREER GOALS BY A DEFENCEMAN:
Overage defenceman Brady Lyle scored 58 seconds into action on Wednesday in Flint, burying the Attack’s first shot of the game to become the franchise’s all-time leader in career goals by a defenceman.
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NOLAN FORSTER COMMITS TO STORM:
The Guelph Storm have received a commitment from 2019 eighth round selection Nolan Forster. Forster enjoyed a great rookie season with the Cambridge Redhawks of the GOJHL, recording 14 goals and 44 assists for a total of 58 points in 47 regular season games.  Forster finished the season second in team scoring.
READ MORE

5 QUESTIONS WITH JACOB INGHAM:
Los Angeles Kings prospect Jacob Ingham of the Kitchener Rangers shares thoughts about a season where he has made an impact on and off the ice.
READ MORE

OHL PERFORMANCE DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE: SPOTS FILLING UP FAST!
The OHL Performance Development League launches April 26th and spots are filling up fast! The registration deadline is April 22nd. Don’t miss out, book your spot today!
DETAILS

BEYOND THE BOARDS:

Captain Jack’s Kids: Erie Otters Captain Jack Duff has teamed up with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Family Services of NW PA for an initiative he’s called Captain Jack’s Kids. Duff invites a new kid and their family to each Otters home game, meets with them after the game, gifts them a signed puck, and gives them an overall one-of-a-kind experience. Inspired by visits from the Kingston Frontenacs when he was a child in school, Duff wants to be an inspiration for younger kids, reach out to the less fortunate and help them “do whatever it is they want to do” in the future.
VISIT OTTERSHOCKEY.COM FOR MORE

Canadore Community Appreciation Night in North Bay: Fans are asked to join Canadore College and their guests for a fun-filled night at the Memorial Gardens on Thursday as the Troops host the Kingston Frontenacs. There’ll be plenty of prizes to win along with a special intermission promo fans won’t want to miss! Fans are asked to wear their Canadore ‘Red’ clothing to the game and bring their favourite noise maker.

Guelph’s annual Pick Up The Tab Night: The Storm are collecting beer tabs for their annual Pick Up The Tab night this Friday when they face off against the Oshawa Generals. They’re teaming up with Sleeman Breweries and the tabs are being collected for Elora Legion Branch 229 “Tabs for Wheelchairs” program. Money raised from the recycled tabs will go towards new wheelchairs, new walkers, and new motorized scooters.
MORE INFO AT GUELPHSTORM.COM

OHL ONSIDE touches down in Kitchener: With the Barrie Colts in town Friday, the Kitchener Rangers are hosting their fourth annual OHL ONSIDE event in support of ending gender-based violence with the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region. There will be an information table set up at the game as well as a ceremonial puck drop. OHL ONSIDE is an initiative between the Ontario Hockey League and the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC) aimed at increasing the understanding and awareness of players’ responsibility to demonstrate respect for women and people of all genders.
READ MORE AT KITCHENERRANGERS.COM

Niagara IceDogs’ ‘Night School’ Game: The Icedogs’ “Night School” game will take place this Saturday against the visiting Erie Otters in partnership with the Education Foundation of Niagara and Niagara Foundation for Catholic Education. The team will be sporting the jerseys designed by elementary school student Owen McNeish-Fortune.
MORE DETAILS AT NIAGARAICEDOGS.NET

Oshawa Generals and Hockey Gives Blood host upcoming Blood Drive: On Tuesday, March 10th, the Oshawa Generals and their Hockey Gives Blood player ambassador Lleyton Moore will be host a Blood Drive. All those interested in taking part can visit OshawaGenerals.com to book an appointment.
SIGN UP AT OSHAWAGENERALS.COM

Peterborough Petes looking for Playoff Slogan: The Petes are on the hunt for a playoff slogan and they’ve reached out to the community for help. Entries are being accepted until March 15th and the winner will receive some great prizes.
CONTINUE READING AT GOPETESGO.COM

ALUMNI NOTES:

Hishon, Bieber’s close friendship blasts Attack into social media stratosphere: The CHL’s smallest market hit the world stage early Monday morning when Justin Bieber blasted out a photo wearing a personalized Owen Sound Attack jersey while posing with assistant coach Joey Hishon, a former Attack star who helped guide the team to an OHL Championship in 2010-11. The image was sent out to Bieber’s 129-million Instagram followers, becoming an instant viral sensation. Hishon and Bieber, the Stratford duo, have been hitting the ice in Los Angeles and New York recently as Bieber prepares for his eventual 10-breakaway challenge against former Attack goaltender and NHL all-star Jordan Binnington. The Owen Sound Sun-Times’ Greg Cowan has the story.
READ MORE AT OWENSOUNDSUNTIMES.COM

Studnicka a shorthanded force for Bruins: Niagara IceDogs graduate and long-time Oshawa Generals forward Jack Studnicka received high praise over at bostonbruins.com this week. The 21-year-old centreman has scored an AHL-leading seven shorthanded goals this season as part of a 46-point (22-24–46) rookie campaign. Studnicka was Boston’s second round pick in 2017 and played four seasons in the OHL from 2015-19.
READ MORE AT NHL.COM/BRUINS

Garlent named ECHL Player of the Month: Peterborough Petes graduate Hunter Garlent of the Florida Everblades has been named ECHL Player of the Month for February. The 25-year-old recorded seven goals, 12 assists and 19 points in 12 games, tacking on a plus-15 rating. Garlent is tied for seventh among ECHL rookies with 41 points (16-25–41) in 51 games this season. Following a five-year OHL career between Guelph and Peterborough from 2011-16, he played U SPORTS Men’s Hockey at St. Mary’s University from 2016-19.
READ MORE AT ECHL.COM

12 OHL alumni set to battle for Queen’s Cup: The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees and University of Guelph Gryphons are headed to the 109th Queen’s Cup Final with a total 12 former OHL skaters suiting up for the one game showdown.
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CHL Leaders – Zack Shepley: There are no shortage of parallels between Zack Shepley’s current career and his former days in the Ontario Hockey League. Currently serving as a firefighter in the Windsor, Ont., area, Shepley vastly enjoys his new work environment, one that comes with a recollection of his time around his teammates and the friendships that came with it during his five seasons with the Plymouth Whalers and Brampton Battalion from 2003-08.
READ MORE

KEY MATCHUPS:

Erie Otters at Niagara IceDogs
Saturday, March 7

The Erie Otters (25-25-4-7) are looking to maintain that Western Conference eighth place seed and the Niagara IceDogs (18-36-5-1) are hoping to get the leg up on the Kingston Frontenacs for eighth in the East.

The Otters are led by third year skaters Maxim Golod (25-52—77) and Chad Yetman (41-31—72), and have top NHL Draft prospect Jamie Drysdale monitoring the blueline.

The IceDogs have struggled to find themselves in the win column as of late with only one win in their last 17 games, but they currently sit tied with the eighth place Kingston Frontenacs, meaning that playoff berth could be anyone’s.

Minnesota Wild prospect Ivan Lodnia sits atop the Niagara scoring race with 60 points to his name (26-34—60) and is followed up by fellow overager Oliver Castleman, posting a 57-point total (21-36—57).

The Otters hold a 4-0-0-1 tally over the course of the season and will wrap up their series with the ‘Dogs on Saturday night at the Meridian Centre.

Kingston Frontenacs at Soo Greyhounds
Saturday, March 7

Dwindling in eighth place and tied for 42 points on the year with Niagara, the Kingston Frontenacs (19-36-2-2) will head to Sault Ste. Marie Saturday hungry to hold down the playoff spot and widen that point cushion.

The next few wins are just as crucial for the ninth place Greyhounds (26-31-3-1), who trail the Erie Otters by five points over in the Western Conference.

Shane Wright continues to lead the squad with a franchise record-setting 66 points, whose numbers match Connor McDavid’s rookie total as a fellow exceptional status skater. The 16-year-old rookie notched his first OHL hat-trick last weekend to hit the 38 goal-marker, surpassing former Kingston Canadian Bernie Nicholls’ 36 rookie goals scored over a single season. Linemate Zayde Wisdom has kept up consistent numbers, boasting 58 points over his 59 appearances.

Zack Trott leads the pack in Sault Ste. Marie, boasting 61 points over 59 games in his third OHL season, and trailing five points behind him is sophomore skater Rory Kerins with his team-highest 29 goals.

Saturday will see the two squads square off for the second and final time this season. The ‘Hounds scored five in a row to defeat the Fronts 5-2 back in late January in their first meeting.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE:

Thursday, March 5th:
Saginaw at Mississauga – 11:00pm
Kingston at North Bay – 7:00pm
Hamilton at Peterborough – 7:05pm
Owen Sound at Windsor – 7:05pm
Sudbury at Barrie – 7:30pm

Friday, March 6th:
North Bay at Mississauga – 7:00pm
Soo at Sudbury – 7:05pm
Oshawa at Guelph – 7:30pm
Barrie at Kitchener – 7:30pm
Sarnia at London – 7:30pm

Saturday, March 7th:
Saginaw at Hamilton – 4:00pm
Windsor at Flint – 7:00pm
Erie at Niagara – 7:00pm
Mississauga at Peterborough – 7:05pm
Kingston at Soo – 7:07pm
Ottawa at Barrie – 7:30pm
London at Owen Sound – 7:30pm

Sunday, March 8th:
Saginaw at Erie – 2:00pm
Peterborough at Niagara – 2:00pm
Ottawa at North Bay – 2:00pm
Kingston at Sudbury – 2:05pm
Kitchener at Windsor – 2:05pm (Live on Sportsnet)
Guelph at Sarnia – 4:05pm
Oshawa at London – 6:00pm

Vaughn CHL Team of the Week

The Canadian Hockey League today announced the 22nd edition of the Vaughn CHL Team of the Week for the 2019-20 season based on individual performances from February 17-23.

Among the top performers was Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Nathan Legare of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar who wrapped up the week with nine points counting six goals and three assists over a pair of appearances. Facing the Val-d’Or Foreurs on Sunday, captain Legare put up a season-high performance of five points including his second consecutive hat-trick plus two assists en route to 6-3 victory in which he was recognized as the game’s first star. For his efforts, Legare was honoured as the Ultramar QMJHL Player of the Week.

Also up front is overage right-wing Jeremy McKenna of the Moncton Wildcats whose impressive showing counted four goals and five assists for nine points over four contests extending the club’s win-streak to 12 and point-streak to 18. Currently riding a five-game point streak of his own, McKenna’s stretch includes Wednesday’s 4-3 overtime win versus the Rimouski Oceanic in which he received first-star recognition after matching a season high of four points counting two goals and two assists that included a helper on the game-winning goal.

Rounding out the forward ranks is Minnesota Wild prospect Damien Giroux of the Saginaw Spirit who notched five goals and two assists for seven points over three games helping the Spirit clinch a playoff berth. Against the North Bay Battalion on Sunday, the captain and fourth-year forward finished with a season high of four points, putting up two goals plus two assists in a 6-3 road win that saw him recognized as the game’s first star for the second consecutive game.

On the blue line, St. Louis Blues draft pick Tyler Tucker of the Flint Firebirds shined as he collected three goals and eight assists for 11 points over four games as the Firebirds also punched their postseason ticket. A late-season addition to the Firebirds, Tucker has impressed since joining his new club from the Barrie Colts by setting a franchise single-game record for points by a defenceman with two goals and five assists for seven points in a 12-7 victory over the Sarnia Sting last Monday. For his efforts, Tucker was honoured as the OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week.

Also on the back end is Saskatoon Blades defenceman and 2020 NHL Draft hopeful Aidan De La Gorgendiere whose week counted six points including one goal and five assists over a pair of contests.  De La Gorgendiere’s best showing came against the Swift Current Broncos on Saturday as he finished with a season high of four points – all coming as helpers – to guide his squad to an 8-1 victory in which he was recognized as the game’s first star. For his efforts, De La Gorgendiere was honoured as the WHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week.

Between the pipes, Calgary Flames prospect Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips put up a dominant showing as he came away with three victories over a trio of appearances in which he combined for a .952 save percentage and a 1.00 goals-against average. Wolf’s busiest night came against the rival Portland Winterhawks on Sunday as he turned aside 35 shots en route to a 6-2 road win and first-star honours. In all, Wolf closed out the week with his league best ninth shutout of the season while stopping 60 of 63 total shots, helping him earn recognition as the WHL Eli Wilson Goaltending Goaltender of the Week.

FIREBIRDS’ TYLER TUCKER NAMED OHL ‘ON THE RUN’ PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Tucker

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that St. Louis Blues prospect Tyler Tucker of the Flint Firebirds is the OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week with 11 points in four games including three goals and eight assists along with a plus/minus rating of plus-4.

Tucker joins Firebirds teammate Riley McCourt as the second defenceman to claim the honour this season, marking the fifth different occasion that a Flint player has been recognized. Tucker’s 11 points over an extended week that included a Family Day holiday on Monday led the League as Flint’s club record-setting winning streak reached 15 games. Tucker set a new Firebirds record for points by a defenceman in a single game on Monday, racking up seven consisting of two goals and five assists in a 12-7 road win over the Sarnia Sting. He chipped in with an assist in Thursday’s 4-0 road win over the Niagara IceDogs before scoring his 16th goal of the season and picking up a helper in Friday’s 6-3 victory over the Mississauga Steelheads. Tucker and the Firebirds saw their 15-game winning streak snapped back at home on Saturday as the defender collected an assist in a 4-1 loss to the Kitchener Rangers.

A 19-year-old product of Longlac, Ont., Tucker sits seventh among OHL defencemen with 53 points (16-37–53) over 49 games between Flint and Barrie this season. The fourth-year veteran has registered 24 points (8-16–24) over 21 games since being acquired by the Firebirds on January 7th. A former first round (14th overall) pick of the Barrie Colts in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection, Tucker has recorded 149 points (34-115–149) over 238 career regular season contests. He was a seventh round (200th overall) pick of the St. Louis Blues in the 2018 NHL Draft. Tucker made his professional debut last spring, appearing in two regular season games with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage.

Two goaltenders were also in the running for this week’s award including Guelph Storm netminder Nico Daws who went 3-0 with a 1.88 goals-against average and .932 save percentage along with Oshawa Generals puckstopper Zachary Paputsakis who won a pair of games while posting a 1.50 goals-against average and .951 save percentage.

OTR_2017_Logo

2019-20 OHL ‘On the Run’ Players of the Week – Regular Season:
Feb. 17 – Feb. 23: Tyler Tucker (Flint Firebirds)
Feb. 10 – Feb. 16: Cole Perfetti (Saginaw Spirit)
Feb. 3 – Feb. 9: Evgeniy Oksentyuk (Flint Firebirds)
Jan. 27 – Feb. 2: Connor McMichael (London Knights)
Jan. 20 – Jan. 26: Ty Dellandrea (Flint Firebirds)
Jan. 13 – Jan. 19: Mitchell Hoelscher (Ottawa 67’s)
Jan. 6 – Jan. 12: Philip Tomasino (Oshawa Generals)
Dec. 30 – Jan. 5: Jacob Ingham (Kitchener Rangers)
Dec. 16 – Dec. 29: Joseph Garreffa (Ottawa 67’s)
Dec. 9 – Dec. 15: Jacob Ingham (Kitchener Rangers)
Dec. 2 – Dec. 8: Ty Dellandrea (Flint Firebirds)
Nov. 25 – Dec. 1: Marco Rossi (Ottawa 67’s)
Nov. 18 – Nov. 24: Riley McCourt (Flint Firebirds)
Nov. 11 – Nov. 17: Jan Jenik (Hamilton Bulldogs)
Nov. 4 – Nov. 10: Cam Hillis (Guelph Storm)
Oct. 28 – Nov. 3: Connor McMichael (London Knights)
Oct. 21 – Oct. 27: Nico Daws (Guelph Storm)
Oct. 14 – Oct. 20: Hunter Jones (Peterborough Petes)
Oct. 7 – Oct. 13: Mack Guzda (Owen Sound Attack)
Sept. 24 – Oct. 6: Philip Tomasino (Niagara IceDogs)
Sept. 23 – Sept. 29: Connor McMichael (London Knights)
Sept. 19 – Sept. 22: Semyon Der-Arguchintsev (Peterborough Petes)

Tyler Tucker – Barrie Colts – Player Profile

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 203 pounds

Date of birth: March 1, 2000

Hometown: Longlac, Ontario

Position: Defence

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 1, 14th overall, 2016 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting pre-season: C Prospect

NHL Central Scouting mid-term: 104 North American Skaters

NHL Central Scouting final rank: 171 North American Skaters (pdf)

When it comes to the 2018 National Hockey League Draft, Barrie Colts’ defenseman Tyler Tucker may just be one of the biggest enigmas there is. Coming into the season he was on NHL Central Scouting’s Players to Watch list as a C prospect – typically a fourth, fifth or sixth round pick.

When Central Scouting released its mid-term rankings, Tucker was just outside the top 100 among North American Skaters at 104. When their final rankings were released, we were somewhat surprised to see him ranked 171st. That ranking, if that is where NHL Teams view him, would leave him outside the draft looking in when you consider Europeans and Goaltenders.

So, the questions that come to mind are: did Tucker do enough in the second half to maintain the close to top 100 pick among North Americans? Was his second half worthy of dropping out of the draft? Did 67 players show that much improvement in the second half and thus surpassing Tucker?

We will try and shed some light on the topic. But first, some history.

Tyler Tucker of the Barrie Colts. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Tyler Tucker of the Barrie Colts. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Tucker played his Minor Midget AAA hockey with the Toronto Titans during the 2015-2016 season where he posted 6 goals and 12 assists in 39 games. There was a lot to like about the big, physical, in your face defenseman. Even OHL Central Scouting had some love for him prior to the OHL Draft:

Tyler is a big, physical stay-at-home defender that loves to look for the big hit. He is a good skater with good mobility and stride, which allows him to take away time and space. Tyler makes a solid outlet pass and keeps his game simple for the most part. Tyler will be a player that coaches love to have on their team because of his high compete level and solid defensive play. 

Last season was Tucker’s rookie year in the OHL and he appeared in 62 games for the Colts scoring once and adding 13 assists with 51 penalty minutes. His minus-12 raised some eyebrows, but after all, he was a rookie.

Tucker showed the improvement needed this season. In 59 games, he scored 3 goals and 20 assists while piling up 87 minutes in penalties and a very good plus-27. Among draft eligible players, he finished tied for eighth among defensemen in points, third in plus/minus and first in penalty minutes. He raised his offence in the playoffs to .5 points-per-game on 3 goals and 3 assists in 12 games.

Tucker will never be accused of being an offensive defenseman that will rack up a lot of points. What he is, is a stay-at-home-defender who can take care of business in his own zone against top players. He is a bruising blueliner who relishes the physical part of the game. He is not the world’s fastest skater, but he possesses a powerful stride that allows him to keep his gaps closed or close them sufficiently. He is hard to beat one-on-one and rarely gets overpowered in the physical department.

Tucker will also never be known for making end-to-end rushes or skating the puck out of danger and up ice. What he does do because of his never-ending work ethic is do what ever it takes and outwork his opponent to get the puck back onto his stick and then make a smart heads up pass to clear the zone.

Tucker is very good on the penalty kill. He knows how to use his stick effectively, box out opponents and is a force in front of his own goal. He makes it difficult for opponents to take away his goaltender’s vision. He uses his long reach to take away options.

Skating is an area Tucker can improve on. While he possesses good mobility and that strong stride, adding some speed could be advantageous to him. It could add to his confidence in skating with the puck more and could help him in the offensive zone.

Tucker is not the “new breed” of defensemen that act as a fourth forward, which may be the reason he has dropped on Central Scouting’s list. But where exactly do you select a defensive defenseman of his calibre? That question will be answered in June. Or maybe not.

Stat page from Elite Prospects