image courtesy of the OHL
Happy December y’all! I don’t know about you, but this year has flown by. We are already through the first third of the OHL season and we’ll be talking about playoffs before we know it.
The CIBC Canada/Russia Series occurred in early November and every game was a thriller. Four of the six games went into overtime and the two countries were tied with nine points after six games so we got an extra shootout to decide the whole series. Team WHL won the shootout and gave Canada the 10-9 victory for their 13th series victory in it’s 17 years.
The OHL played Game 3 and 4, winning their first match 4-1. Quinton Byfield was named MVP for Canada in Game 3, recording two assists and dominating play. He was running the power play and even though he is only 17 years old, he has a very good chance of making the world junior squad; much more on Byfield later.
Serron Noel was named the MVP for Game 4 as he registered a goal and five shots, wreaking havoc in the offensive zone and creating many chances during the game. He stripped a Russian forward at the blue line, walked in and fired a wrister far side to give the OHL a 2-1 lead in the third.
Connor McMichael, Ryan Merkley, Akil Thomas, and the previously mentioned Byfield all registered two points throughout the two games. McMichael continues his dominating season and there will be more from him below.
While Game 3 was split between Cedrick Andree and Nico Daws, Hunter Jones played all of Game 4 and looked stellar. He made a big stop on Vasili Podkolzin late in the third period to keep the game tied and finished with 29 saves. Jones was a second round pick of the Minnesota Wild this past summer and if he can continue to gain confidence with the Peterborough Petes, he has the tools to develop into an NHL goalie.
Our own Peter Harling made it out to Game 3 and has seen many games live this season, check out his notes from recent action here.
Jan Jenik is quietly putting up a monster season. He is first in the league with 34 assists and tied for second in points with his Bulldog teammate Arthur Kaliyev at 54. A fun little stat, Jenik is the only player in the league who has scored in every game. That is right, he is currently on a 25 game point streak. He definitely needs to add some weight to his frame, but the Arizona Coyotes may have found a gem in the third round. Peter Harling recently mentioned him on the DPR podcast; if you are looking for some in-depth prospect coverage, give the show a listen.
Behind Jenik, the aforementioned McMichael is on a 17 game point streak with 42 points and 56 total on the season. With 25 goals and 31 assists, he is absolutely dominating the league and carrying the London Knights while they are on a current seven-game win streak. I was recently asked on Twitter if I could redo the 2019 NHL draft, would McMichael go higher than 25th to the Washington Capitals. While I think it is too early to re-rank the draft, his stock has certainly skyrocketed this season as he is second in goals and first in points.
Byfield continues to give NHL scouts reasons to make him the first overall selection in this summer’s draft. He is up to 20 goals and 30 assists through 28 games. He had the game winning goal in overtime for his third of the game in his most recent outing.
Peter recently had him as a guest on the DPR podcast. Peter deep dives into his game with great analysis and then shares a little chat with him postgame. If you haven’t heard it yet, check it out.
Oliver Suni is a rookie I really like; he has 23 points in 25 games. His play has been pretty impressive considering this is his first year on North American ice. He is not afraid to drive the net, plays a smart all-around game and has a good, hard shot. I currently have him projected as a high second round selection in this summer’s draft.
As highlighted above, Suni likes to streak down the wing and cut to the middle. He then displays his soft hands as he makes a little move in tight in front of the net and puts the puck home.
Another rookie that is on everyone’s list is Shane Wright. The 15-year-old is not eligible until the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, but is already averaging almost a point-per-game for the Kingston Frontenacs. He has 11 goals and 20 points in 21 games and three of those goals are game-winners, which is pretty impressive considering the Fronts only have six wins so far.
Sometimes it is hard to remember he is only 15 years old; he is second on his team in points, power play points, and shots on goal, tied for first in power play goals, is two for three in shootouts, and close to 50% in the faceoff circle. He already possesses NHL size and is the way too early favorite to go first overall in 2022.
I hope everyone has a happy holiday and a happy new year and we’ll chat again next year! If you miss me before then, let’s get together on Twitter, @LAM1926.