In one sense, you could say the Mississauga Steelheads and London Knights are victims of their own success. Major junior hockey is a development stream after all and they’ve each developed multiple players well enough for extended stays in the NHL this season, albeit they could still come back to the OHL.
Nick Suzuki could have a big season in store. The Owen Sound Attack forward was a top-five scorer in the OHL last year leading up to the NHL Draft, where he was selected 13th overall by the Vegas Golden Knights.
The OHL preseason is now in full swing and many of the top players in the league are off to their respective NHL rookie camps. A successful run there will lead to a main camp invite, and perhaps beyond.
Ryan Merkley made a seamless transition into the OHL last season. With 55 points (12 goals and 43 assists), he led all OHL rookies in scoring, becoming the first defenceman to do so in nearly 30 years.
A real competitor who has many above average aspects and skills to his game, Owen Tippett’s most highly rated skill is his ability to shoot the puck. One of the hardest shooters in the draft with a lightning quick release, he doesn’t always the accuracy behind his shot.
All three CHL leagues are down to two teams, and the final round is set to begin this week. All three league powerhouses have advanced to the finals, but they’ll have to overcome some hot underdogs to advance to the Memorial Cup.
The OHL final is set now that the Erie Otters defeated the Owen Sound Attack in their six-game Western Conference final to set up a series against the East champion Mississauga Steelheads.
When the CHL playoffs began (and throughout most of the year), there were three clear favourites in every league: the Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL), the Erie Otters (OHL) and the Regina Pats (WHL).
When I started this “Hot and Cold” column at the beginning of the playoffs, I had a feeling that it could get repetitive. Given that the Otters generally score twice as many goals as everyone else, they have four or five guys who will always be tearing up the stat sheet.
There are four teams remaining in the OHL playoffs as the Peterborough Petes, Mississauga Steelheads, Owen Sound Attack and Erie Otters have all earned their spot.
Time will tell if the Mississauga Steelheads’ gamble in the OHL Draft will eventually pay off. With the eighth overall pick, they chose Jack Hughes, who would have easily been selected with the first overall pick had he not declared his intentions of playing with the US National Team Development Program next year.
Hockey is a family sport, and over the years there have been too many great sets of brothers to count. Today, each junior league in the CHL has several pairs of brothers in its ranks. To satisfy geographic and logistic concerns, they often end up playing together on the same team.
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