OHL Storylines to Watch




With the OHL season now underway, I’ll take a look at some of the most interesting storylines as we kick off the season.


The London Knights have a large predicament on their hands here. Each team has two international spots to fill on their team, but the Knights have three players who fit into this criteria. The most notable of these would be Blackhawks eighth overall selection in the 2018 draft Adam Boqvist. The Swede was just sent down by the Blackhawks which means the Knights can no longer use their two spots on two 2019 eligible players, Russian center Matvei Guskov, and Belarusian defenseman Vladislav Kolyachonok. Now that Boqvist has been sent down to London, there’s no doubt he will be staying and taking up one of the import spots, but one of the other two players will have to be traded or released, and most teams will be looking to get their hands on one of them. Guskov is most likely to stay, having had a great start already, but Kolyachonok has been playing very good lately as well.


With the new incoming season comes a new wave of fresh 2020 draft eligible rookies to the OHL. The most prolific of those would have to be Sudbury Wolves rookie and first overall pick Quinton Byfield. He has had a good start so far with a goal and an assist in two games. It will be interesting to see how the top prospect develops over the course of the year. Sault Ste Marie pick Alex Johnston is another 2020 eligible forward who currently leads the rookies in points after a strong start with three points in two games. Johnston was taken with the 118th pick in the 2017 draft, a pretty great value selection. A pair of former Whitby Fury teammates are making their impact in the OHL early, center Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit and defenseman Ryan O’Rourke of Sault Ste Marie. Perfetti scored two goals in his first two games and O’Rourke scored a goal, adding an assist. Jacob Perreault is a right winger for Sarnia who scored two goals in his first game last week, showing a good scoring touch. Mississauga left winger Filip Reisnecker has also scored two goals in his two games with the Steelheads and has been a notable threat on the ice. A few other notable players to watch are Jean-Luc Foudy (brother of Liam), Evan Vierling (2nd overall pick), Will Cuylle (3rd overall pick), and Antonio Stranges (viral shootout goal scorer).


The offseason and training camp saw many current OHL players sign their Entry Level Contracts. Over the next month, it will be interesting to see how these players play in the NHL and if some will return to the OHL. Semyon Der-Arguchintsev dazzled in training camp, tournaments, and preseason with the leafs, earning himself an ELC with the club after just turning 18 a few days before. Der-Arguchintsev has now been sent back to the Peterborough Petes, but surely a confidence boost will help for the youngster after staying up for so long. Rasmus Sandin, the Sault Ste Marie two-way defenseman has also signed his ELC with the Leafs this offseason, and he will start the season with the Toronto Marlies in the AHL before deciding whether he goes back to the OHL or alternate options including the SHL. Flint Firebirds ace, Ty Dellandrea, also signed his ELC with the Dallas stars on the offseason. He has now been reassigned to the Firebirds for the OHL season, although Flint has not been off to the best of starts so far.


Another Stars prospect,