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.
There’s some hesitancy to read too much into the standings early on in the OHL season, and understandably so. It’s a long season and there’s a lot of good teams that don’t truly get up to speed until sometime in November, maybe even later.
It’s hard to build a sustainable contender in the OHL, but we’ve seen it done before. The London Knights have maintained that status for years thanks to shrewd asset management and drafting, often going against the grain to take a chance on talented prospects that may have slipped under the radar.
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.
After a one year hiatus away from the medals, Canada returned to glory as gold medal champions at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Team Canada crushed the Czech Republic 4-1 on home ice at the Ice Bors Arena to capture their ninth championship in the last ten years.
Team Canada is heading to its ninth Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament final since 2008. Thanks in part to a goal and an assist from Benoit-Olivier Groulx (Halifax Mooseheads), as well as a 24-save effort from Olivier Rodrigue (Drummondville Voltigeurs), the Canadians were able to defeat the previously unbeaten Swedes 4-1 in Friday’s semifinal.
Canada’s National Summer Under-18 Team is off to the semifinals after downing Slovakia 6-1 on Wednesday, August 9 at the Slovnaft Arena in Bratislava.
Team Canada’s outlook is a lot brighter after day two of the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. Thanks in large part to a 3-for-7 effort on the power play, the Canadians defeated Finland 5-1 Tuesday in their second round-robin game.
Team Canada’s hopes of redemption will begin Aug. 7 in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. After a disappointing fifth-place finish that ended a eight-year championship run at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, the Canadians will return to the annual under-18 summer tournament.
It’s been a revolving door for OHL coaches and general managers this off-season. Nearly half of the 20 teams in the league will begin the 2017-18 season with a new head coach as many successful ones from last season have moved on to coach in the professional ranks.
1) ISS Hockey Releases May Top 31 Rankings for 2018 NHL Draft
2) 2018 RBC Cup Kicks Off in Chilliwack
3) Ontario Hockey Association Announces 2017-18 Prospects
4) Western Canada Cup No More
5) Meet Matthew Savoie, the NAX Forward Taking the CSSHL by Storm