OHL Update: January

Peter Harling

2023-01-02

This month we will look at OHL players playing in the World Juniors Tournament.

I am watching the quarter final games as I write this so this update will include the round-robin play.

The big question here is after the WJC, where will Shane Wright and Brandt Clarke play?

Both started the year in the NHL, both were a healthy scratch for more games than they played. Both were loaned to the AHL for a conditioning stint. Both have played nine NHL games or less and if returned to the OHL, would not burn off the first year of their ELC.

Clarke is still property of the Barrie Colts who are in third place in the Eastern Conference. His addition would bolster that roster lead by Evan Vierling, Ethan Cardwell (SNJ), and Jacob Frasca.

Shane Wright belongs to the Kingston Frontenacs who are having a surprisingly good year standing at fifth overall in the East. Despite their strong and competitive play, the general consensus is that Wright will be immediately traded if returned to the OHL.

I was speaking to an NHL scout recently about Wright and his opinion was that he is not ready for the NHL, and he said it with a certain amount of certainty. I agree with the scout but would not be surprised to see Wright join Seattle after the WJC for their game in Montreal on January 9th, which will be an emotional game for Wright, and his ninth NHL game. Then look for Wright to be sent to Kingston and for the Fronts to immediately announce a trade.

Kingston will have several offers on the table should Wright become available. The top candidates would likely be

Ottawa 67’s, Peterborough Petes, North Bay Battalion, and Barrie Colts in the East. The Saginaw Spirit, London Knights, and Windsor Spitfires from the West.

Junior players can have some say as to if they can be traded and to where and Wright will only go to a contender and could easily be talked into either Peterborough or Barrie to reunite with his Don Mills and WJC teammates in Brennan Othmann or Brandt Clarke.

What will Kingston want in return? A look at history suggests they can ask for a package of several draft picks and some players. Kingston is going to bid on the 2024 Memorial Cup and a Shane Wright trade package can really boost their chances of being a contender with a bolstered roster.

What players could be coming in return? The most intriguing options include:

Ottawa – Henry Mews, Frankie Marrelli, Chris Barlas, and Cooper Foster

Peterborough – Nick Lardis, Jack Van Volsen, Donovan McCoy.

London – Oliver Bonk, Easton Cowan, Ben Bujold,

Saginaw – Luke McNamara, Oliver Savard.

Windsor – Anthony Cristoforo, Liam Greentree, Ethan Miedema, Ryan Abraham, Bronson Ride.

No question some combination of the listed players above in combination with a slew of second and third round draft picks would help Kingston in the future and would strengthen their Memorial Cup bid. Can’t wait to see how this unfolds!

More on players from the OHL on Team Canada.

Ben Gaudreau had a golden opportunity to lead Canada to the Gold but really struggled in his first game in an upset loss to Czechia. Canada did not play their best game, but Gaudreau allowed a few goals that just can’t be allowed. Gaudreau has so-so stats in the OHL with Sarnia but has been lights out good at times including with Canada at the U18 where he won Gold and was named the best goaltender in the tournament. The Sharks third round pick in 2021 won’t likely get back in net for Canada unless Thomas Milic has a melt down.

Ethan Del Mastro has been paired mainly with Olen Zellweger and is an alternate captain for Canada. His point production of two assists through the four games is a bonus as he is a defense first role player for Canada.

Jack Matier, like Del Mastro, has been a force on defense for Canada. An interesting side story here is in his hometown of Sault St Marie there is a brewery that has named a beer after Matier.

Brennan Othmann has a pair of goals and an assist for three points. The Othmann-Wright pairing has come as advertised as the pair have chemistry going back to their Don Mills days. Got to think the Petes are paying close attention to that.

USA

Tyler Boucher

The only player from the OHL on the USA roster in Tyler Boucher from the Ottawa 67’s and property of the Ottawa Senators. Ottawa was criticized for drafting Boucher in the top ten of the NHL Draft, and he struggled at the NCAA and with injuries since then. This is an important tournament for Boucher and he is delivering with three goals in four games.

Czechia

Matyas Sapovaliv of the Saginaw Spirit, a Vegas Golden Knights 2022 second round pick has 30 points in 30 games for the Spirit and has found his game in the WJC as well with five assists in four games. He has been the center for their top line between Jiri Kulich and Eduard Sale. If you are scouting the WJC for prospects to pick up in your dynasty league, Sapovaliv is only 4% Fantrax owned. He recently has been signed by Vegas which improves his NHL probability.

Thomas Hamara is an offensive defenseman that did not score a point in the round-robin. The Ottawa Senators 2022 third round pick is in his first season in the OHL and has 11 points in 24 games for the Kitchener Rangers. Despite not getting on the score sheet, he has been a solid player defensively for Czechia.

Slovakia

Filip Mesar was Montreal’s first second first round pick in the 2022 draft they hosted. Mesar started the year in the AHL with Laval, but after one game was assigned to Kitchener in the OHL where he had a four-point debut against the Sudbury Wolves. After 17 games with the Rangers, he ahs 22 points and has been one of the top players for Slovakia with two goals and five points.

Servac Petrovsky has been quiet until the final game f the round-robin where he had a multi-goal game against the Swiss. Petrovsky plays for the Owen Sound Attack and has 28 points in 27 games for the Attack in his second year in the OHL. The Minnesota Wild 2022 sixth round selection has some work to do before he is fantasy relevant.

Around the OHL

Another conversation I had with a Scout recently we talked about drafting overage players and specifically Lucas Edmonds and Logan Morrison. Edmonds was selected by Tampa and has struggled in the AHL this year. Logan Morrison was undrafted, and he was the scouts preferred between the two. Morrison has returned for an overage year in the OHL and has been dominating. He is currently riding a 19-game point streak that began on November 4th and has 34 points in 19 games. He could be a prime candidate to sign as a free agent as he is second in league scoring with 53 points in 32 games.

Speaking of point streaks, 2023 draft eligible Quentin Musty just had his 18-game point streak end. The 17-year-old started his scoring streak on October 29th and in 18 games since he has scored 35 points. Musty is a 6-2, 205-pound winger with quick and soft hands, a high skill level with a pro level shot. He is widely ranked as a late first to second-round prospect. Our Director of North American Scouting Sebastian High had this to say about Musty “Quentin Musty is a frustrating, albeit intriguing, player to watch. The high-end toolkit and the skill are both obvious but are marred by a consistent lack of hockey sense, engagement, and planning.”

Musty is still only 17-years-old and has some work to do to work out some of the warts and holes in his game, but he has massive upside to be sure.

We have a trade to announce!

The London Knights have acquired Ryan Winterton (Seattle Kraken) and Ryan Humphrey from the Hamilton Bulldogs for Luca Testa, Carson Lloyd, and a 2026 second round pick. Testa was one of the players I thought London could use in a Shane Wright trade offer. This may signal that they are out of the Wright sweepstakes.

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