Last month featured the end of the always hectic OHL trade deadline as teams scrambled to put their team in a position to push for the end of the season. I’ll take a look at the biggest trades before the deadline, take a look at the standings and stat leaders, as well as some of the other storylines around the league.
The Saginaw Spirit made a gigantic leap of faith at the trade deadline, dealing an absolute mass of 11 picks and two players for Ryan McLeod and Owen Tippett, who both come from Mississauga to join Bode Wilde, Cole Coskey, Blade Jenkins and Cole Perfetti as the Spirit go all in. Along the same lines, the Guelph Storm also dealt even more draft real estate, with 19 draft picks in total heading to different teams for a haul of Nick Suzuki, Markus Phillips, Mackenzie Entwistle, Fedor Gordeev, Sean Durzi and Zachary Roberts. After dealing Ryan Merkley, they’ve gone the extra mile to replace him with Phillips, Gordeev and Durzi. The Ottawa 67’s had already made a splash by adding Michael DiPietro in December, but they had capped off their additions by trading six draft picks and two players for Lucas Chiodo and Kyle Maksimovich. The Niagara IceDogs added to their big trade deadline as well, dealing six draft picks and Lleyton Moore to Oshawa for Jack Studnicka and Matt Brassard. In other notable movements, Brandon Saigeon, Brett Neumann and Nicolas Mattinen were dealt to the Oshawa Generals, Jan Jenik was dealt to the Hamilton Bulldogs, Adam Ruzicka was dealt to the Sudbury Wolves.
In the standings, Ottawa and London are still the two top teams who have separated from the pack, consistently winning about eight of every ten games. The bottom-feeding Flint Firebirds have gone on somewhat of a ‘tear’ recently, going 4-5-1 in their last ten games, which doesn’t sound very good, but for a team who hasn’t even hit double-digit wins nearly 50 games into the season, this is quite impressive stuff. The teams who have made big pushes seem to have really done well so far as Niagara Guelph, Saginaw and Oshawa have all been playing at a high level recently with their new additions.
This month has included some very dominant performances by individual players, and the list of’ OHL On the Run Player of the Week’ winners are as follows:
Week 1: RW Arthur Kaliyev (Hamilton Bulldogs) – 4GP, 11P, 7G, 4A +2
Week 2: LW Isaac Ratcliffe (Guelph Storm) – 4GP, 10P, 7G, 3A, +4
Week 3: C Morgan Frost (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) – 3GP, 10P, 7G, 3A, +10
Week 4: C Liam Foudy (London Knights) – 4GP, 8P, 4G, 4A, +8
Overager RW Tye Felhaber of the Ottawa 76’s has taken over the league lead in points with 84 in 48 games, leading North Bay’s Justin Brazeau by four. Felhaber also leads the league in goals with a whopping 51. His linemate Austen Keating leads the league in assists. Finnish goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen of the Sudbury Wolves is the king of goaltenders with the best goals-against average and save percentage in the league with 2.44 and 0.921 respectively. Sault Ste. Marie defenseman and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Mac Hollowell leads all defensemen in points with 54 in 43 games, followed closely by Bode Wilde and Ryan Merkley with 50. American sniper Arthur Kaliyev leads all 2019 eligible prospects with 71 points this year, an impressive tally which is followed by London Knights center Connor McMichael who has a team-leading 55. Finally, the rookie scoring race is currently a tie between Sarnia Sting winger Jacob Perreault and Ottawa 76’s center Marco Rossi who both have 43 points, although Rossi has ten fewer games played due to an elbow sprain to which he has recently come back and continued to dominate. Erie Otters defenseman Jamie Drysdale leads all rookie defenseman with an impressive 25 point season so far.