The playoffs in the CHL continue and most of the first round series have concluded. Updating the leagues from East to West…
In the QMJHL Cape Breton Screaming Eagles hold a 3-2 series lead over the Chicoutini Sagueneens with game six tonight, and if necessary game seven on Tuesday. Clark Bishop of the Screaming Eagles signed his ELC with the Carolina Hurricanes today. Bishop has developed significantly since being drafted in fifth round in 2014. Originally pegged as a defensive specialist, he scored 39 points in 50 games this year as the team captain.
In the OHL there are three game sevens, all scheduled for Tuesday night. The Sarnia Sting will look to complete the comeback after trailing the series 3-1 and having lost Philadelphia prospect Travis Konecny. Konecny flew to Philadelphia to be examined for an upper body injury (perhaps the same shoulder that gave many scouts concerns with drafting him) but has returned to Sarnia and reportedly does not require surgery. He did not play in game six and remains doubtful for game seven. The Peterborough Petes will travel to North Bay for game seven of their series. Perhaps the most intriguing series in the first round features the Barrie Colts and the Mississauga Steelheads, two teams with the potential to compete in the Eastern Conference Final and one will go down in the first round. There are plenty of prominent players in this series with 2016 NHL Draft eligible prospects Michael McLeod, Alexander Nylander, and Sean Day on the Steelheads. The Barrie Colts feature more established prospects led by Kevin Labanc and Dylan Sadowy (San Jose Sharks), Andrew Mangiapane and Rasmus Andersson (Calgary Flames) and Mackenzie Blackwood. Keep an eye on Cameron Lizotte who (surprisingly) went undrafted in the 2015 draft. He was invited to the Toronto Maple Leafs rookie camp this past summer. Lizotte is a big man who has drastically improved his skating since joining the OHL with the Peterborough Petes. He plays a defensive game but would have fantasy value in deeper leagues with hits, blocks and penalty minute categories.
The WHL has two series yet to be decided, the Kelowna Rockets and Kamloops Blazers will determine their series tonight in game seven in Kelowna. The WHL player of the month Jayce Hawryluk (Florida Panthers) and Ivan Provorov (Philadelphia Flyers) of the Brandon Wheat Kings will look to eliminate the Edmonton Oil Kings in game six or seven either Tuesday or Wednesday in Brandon.
As some series have concluded, some prospects will get the chance to join their affiliate clubs in the AHL for a sneak preview. These are always important viewings as it gives fantasy owners an indication of how close their prospect could potentially be to playing in the NHL.
Brendan Lemieux (Winnipeg Jets) has been assigned to the Manitoba Moose. The Toronto Maple Leafs may have found the steal of the 2015 draft in Andrew Nielsen of the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The 6’3” defenceman finished third in defencemen scoring with 70 points in 71 games with a plus -30 and posted 122 penalty minutes. Pretty impressive stat line! Nielsen has been assigned to the Toronto Marlies on an ATO to play out the season. Arizona Coyotes prospect Christian Fischer who had a break out 40 goal, 90 point season has been assigned to the Springfield Falcons. The Buffalo Sabres 2015 second round pick Brendan Guhle , who already signed his ELC, will join the Rochester Americans in the AHL for the rest of the season.
The World Under 18 Hockey Championships begin on April 12-14th in North Dakota and will give some 2016 Draft eligible prospects one last chance to impress scouts. With the Windsor Spitfires being eliminated, Logan Brown who is the son of former NHL player Jeff Brown and has dual citizenship has announced he will play internationally for the USA. Teammate’s defenceman Mikhail Sergachev will be playing for team Russia, while Logan Stanley is an option for Team Canada.
The OHL draft combine was this weekend. It was a three day event full of on and off ice fitness tests, with the third day wrapping it up with a mini four on four tournament.
The top off ice performers were
Off-Ice Testing Top Performers:
Top 5 Forwards
1. Eric Guest (London Jr. Knights) (White)
2. Quinn Yule (Central Ontario Wolves) (Black)
3. Isaac Emon (North Central Predators) (Red)
4. Liam Peyton (Cumberland Grads) (Red)
5. Nathan Dunkley (Quinte Red Devils) (White)
Top 5 Defencemen
1. William Ennis (Selects Academy) (Red)
2. Emmett Gordon (Toronto Red Wings) (White)
3. Charlie Mackie (Toronto Marlboros) (Red)
4. Jack Duff (Kingston Jr. Frontenacs) (Grey)
5. Chet Phillips (Grey Bruce Highlanders) (Grey)
Top 5 Goaltenders
1. Hunter Jones (Mississauga Reps) (White)
2. Cameron Lamour (Sudbury Jr. Wolves) (White)
3. Tyler Szczepaniak (North York Rangers) (Red)
4. Tyler Masternak (Oshawa Jr. Generals) (Black)
5. Jacob Ingham (Barrie Jr. Colts) (Red)
Following the combine this weekend will be the OHL Priority Selection Draft on Saturday April 9th at 9am. Our friends at the Scout.ca have the who’s who in their OHL Draft Primer
Be sure to watch the OHL Priority Selection Preview video here featuring a spotlight on top prospects Ryan Merkley, Owen Lalonde, Kirill Nizhnikov, Nathan Dunkley, Aidan Dudas, and Liam Foudy
The top five selections in the OHL draft belong to
1. Guelph Storm
2. Sudbury Wolves
3. Flint Firebirds
4. Hamilton Bulldogs
5. Flint Firebirds
With two top five picks and a very cloudy future, it will be very interesting to follow the Flint saga as they are sure to move. The team as is will be faced with monumental recruitment challenges as a result of meddling ownership and a poisoned water supply.
There are a few top 100 prospect countdowns currently counting down. Chris Dilks @ChrisDilks the Managing Editor of College Hockey is looking at the Top 100 Prospects in the NCAA with #41-50 the latest. Read it here
My top 100 prospects in hockey series continues on Todays Slapshot with this week’s installment 40-36