Monthly Archives: October 2015

2015-16 OHL Season Preview

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Heading into the 2015-16 season, the Ontario Hockey League is about to undergo a major sea change, and not just because the Belleville Bulls and the Plymouth Whalers are no longer in the league.

In addition to new franchises in Flint and Hamilton, coaches such as DJ Smith and Sheldon Keefe have moved on to the pro ranks and players like Max Domi, Darnell Nurse and Connor McDavid have all graduated to the NHL.

With those changes though, some things remain the same when it comes to the contenders for the league championship, which I will again attempt to try and predict. (Of note, all of these picks were done prior to the start of the season, which will be important when we get to a couple of awards.)

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Barrie Colts

Last Season: First in Central Division – Second in Eastern Conference (41-24-1-2) – Lost 4-1 to North Bay in East Semis

Departing: Joseph Blandisi (F – 94 – 51-60-111 – New Jersey), Daniel Gibl (G – 95 – 2.60 – 7-6-0), Ben Harpur (D – 95 – 5-26-31 – Ottawa), Garrett Hooey (F – 94 – 17-26-43 – Pro Fisherman), Matthew Kreis (F – 97 – 3-10-13 – Saginaw), Jonathan Laser (D – 94 – 1-20-21), Stephen Nosad (F – 95 – 3-11-14), Nick Pastorious (F – 96 – 4-3-7 – Niagara)

Arriving: Matthew Brassard (D – 98 – 4th in ’14 – Barrie Midget Colts), Aidan Brown (F – 99 – 3rd in ’15), Lucas Chiodo (F – 98 – 15th in ’14 – Barrie Midget Colts), Giordano Finoro (F – 98 – 8th in ’14 – Guelph Hurricanes), Kody Gagnon (D – 97 – 9th in ’13 – Toronto Patriots), Zachary Magwood (F – 98 – 6th in ’14 – Cambridge), Justin Murray (D – 98 – 8th in ’14 – London Nationals), Julius Nattinen (F – 97 – ’15 Import Draft – Anaheim)

NHL Prospects: Rasmus Andersson (D – 96 – 12-52-64 – Calgary), Mackenzie Blackwood (G – 96 – 3.09 – 33-14-2 – New Jersey), Kevin Labanc (F – 95 – 31-76-107 – San Jose), Brendan Lemieux (F – 96 – 41-19-60 – Winnipeg), Andrew Mangiapane (F – 96 – 43-61-104 – Calgary), Julius Nattinen (F – 97 – ’15 Import Draft – Anaheim), Roy Radke (F – 96 – 9-9-18 – Chicago)

Rights Held: Karch Bachman (F – 97 – 11th in ’13 – Miami – Florida), Mario Ferraro (D – 98 – 10th in ’14 – Western Michigan), Joey Keane (D – 99 – 5th in ’15 – Miami), Adrian Kempe (F – 96 – ’13 Import Draft – Los Angeles), Matthew McLeod (F – 96 – 6th in ’12 – Canisius), Cameron Orchard (F – 98 – 8th in ’15 – Western Michigan), Drew Worrad (F – 97 – 5th in ’13 – Clarkson)

Prediction: Fourth in Central Division (While they do return some scoring punch and do have one of the best goalies in the league in Mackenzie Blackwood, the Colts do have some new players coming in to try and replace some holes that have question marks around them. They should be in the mix for a home-ice spot, but it’s hard to pick them for one of the top four seeds.)

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Erie Otters

Last Season: First in Midwest Division – Second in Western Conference (50-14-2-2) – Lost 4-1 to Oshawa in OHL Finals

Departing: Nicholas Baptiste (F – 95 – 32-32-64 – Buffalo), Daniel Dekoning (G – 96 – 3.05 – 18-3-1 – Owen Sound), Troy Donnay (D – 94 – 4-19-23 – NY Rangers), Remi Elie (F – 95 – 30-46-76 – Dallas), Cory Genovese (D – 94 – 4-11-15 – Queen’s), Kurtis MacDermid (D – 94 – 8-32-40 – Los Angeles), Connor McDavid (F – 97 – 44-76-120 – Edmonton), Patrick Murphy (D – 95 – 6-25-31 – Sudbury)

Arriving: Mitchell Byrne (D – 98 – 5th in ’14 – Brampton), Erik Cernak (D – 97 – ’15 Import Draft – Los Angeles), Taylor Egan (D – 98 – 6th in ’14 – Kanata), Christian Girhiny (F – 98 – 11th in ’14 – Ridley College), Jake Lawr (G – 98 – 2nd in ’14 – Brampton), Vanya Lodnia (F – 99 – 1st in ’15), Jakob Mayenschein (F – 97 – ’15 Import Draft), Riley MacRae (F – 98 – 7th in ’14 – Cambridge), Brett Neumann (F – 99 – 3rd in ’15), Frankie Pucci (F – 97 – 12th in ’13 – Niagara Falls Canucks), Jordan Sambrook (D – 98 – 10th in ’14 – Toronto Nationals)

NHL Prospects: Erik Cernak (D – 97 – ’15 Import Draft – Los Angeles), Travis Dermott (D – 96 – 8-37-45 – Toronto), Jake Marchment (F – 96 – 10-13-23 – Los Angeles), Kyle Pettit (F – 96 – 16-11-27 – Vancouver), Dylan Strome (F – 97 – 45-84-129 – Arizona)

Rights Held: Matthew Baker (F – 97 – 11th in ’13 – Dartmouth), Owen Headrick (D – 97 – 14th in ’13 – Lake Superior State), Anton Karlsson (F – 96 – ’14 Import Draft – Frolunda – Arizona), Nathan Kwiecinski (D – 96 – 9th in ’13 – Colorado College), Sean Kohler (F – 97 – 6th in ’13 – Penn State), Bryan Sienerth (F – 96 – 13th in ’12 – Mercyhurst)

Prediction: Fourth in Midwest Division (Obviously trying to replace Connor McDavid is a huge task and Dylan Strome may not return from the Arizona Coyotes. If he does come back, Strome and Alex DeBrincat should both put up solid numbers while the addition of Kings draft pick Erik Cernak on defence should allow the Otters to return to the playoffs.)

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Flint Firebirds

Last Season (as Plymouth Whalers): Fourth in West Division – Ninth in Western Conference (23-38-5-2) – Missed Playoffs

Departing: Sean Callaghan (D – 94 – 5-9-14), Matthew Campagna (F – 94 – 26-25-51 – Toronto Varsity Blues), Victor Crus Rydberg (F – 95 – 15-30-45 – NY Islanders – Vita Hasten), Gianluca Curcuruto (D – 94 – 4-17-21), Mitch Jones (D – 95 – 9-9-18 – Alaska), Yannick Rathgeb (D – 95 – 5-11-16 – Gotteron), Danny Vanderwiel (F – 96 – 6-3-9)

Arriving: Samuel Duchesne (D – 99 – 4th in ’15), Zach Grzelewski (F – 97 – 5-7-12 – London), Dane Johnstone (F – 98 – 9th in ’14 – St. Thomas), Matyas Kantner (F – 98 – ’15 Import Draft), Kyle Keyser (G – 99 – 4th in ’15), Hakon Nilsen (D – 98 – 7th in ’15), Zack Pittman (D – 95 – 0-10-10 – Ottawa), Vili Saarijarvi (D – 97 – ’15 Import Draft – Detroit)

NHL Prospects: Connor Chatham (F – 95 – 17-20-37 – New Jersey), Sonny Milano (F – 96 – 22-46-68 – Columbus), Alex Nedeljkovic (G – 96 – 3.13 – 20-28-7 – Carolina), Alex Peters (D – 96 – 0-4-4 – Dallas), Josh Wesley (D – 96 – 5-5-10 – Carolina)

Rights Held: Jordan Greenway (F – 97 – 1st in ’13 – Boston – Minnesota), Dakota Joshua (F – 96 – 8th in ’13 – Ohio State – Toronto), Grant Jozefek (F – 97 – 14th in ’13 – Northeastern), Vasili Kolias (D – 97 – 12th in ’14 – Boston), Jacob Linhart (D – 96 – 9th in ’12 – Wisconsin), Seamus Malone (F – 96 – 14th in ’12 – Wisconsin), Laine McKay (F – 97 – 5th in ’13 – Merrimack), Aaron O’Neill (F – 97 – 10th in ’13 – New Hampshire), Adam Parsells (D – 97 – 13th in ’13 – Wisconsin – San Jose), Jack Roslovic (F – 97 – 9th in ’13 – Miami – Winnipeg), Mitchell Smith (F – 96 – 8th in ’12 – Yale), Keegan Ward (F – 97 – 13th in ’13 – Northern Michigan), Daniel Willett (D – 96 – 8th in ’12 – Northeastern)

Prediction: Fifth in West Division (After getting a billion draft picks for Ryan McLeod, Flint is a team that’s working towards contending in the long-term. With Sonny Milano’s status still up in the air as to where he will play this year, the Firebirds could deal Alex Nedeljkovic to continue with the rebuilding process.)

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Guelph Storm

Last Season: Third in Midwest Division – Fourth in Western Conference (38-26-2-2) – Lost 4-0 to Sault Ste. Marie in West Semis

Departing: Phil Baltisberger (D – 95 – 4-14-18 – ZSC Lions), Tyler Bertuzzi (F – 95 – 43-55-98 – Detroit), Luke Cairns (F – 94 – 16-18-34 – Ryerson), Jason Dickinson (F – 95 – 27-44-71 – Dallas), Ryan Foss (F – 96 – 6-3-9 – Drummondville), Zac Leslie (D – 94 – 11-37-48 – Los Angeles), Chris Marchese (F – 94 – 17-32-49 – Ryerson), Pius Suter (F – 96 – 43-29-72 – ZSC Lions)

Arriving: Vladislav Braulin (F – 96 – ’15 Import Draft), Nicholas Deakin-Poot (F – 99 – 3rd in ’15), Timo Haussener (F – 97 – ’15 Import Draft), Brock Phillips (D – 98 – 5th in ’14 – Fergus), Isaac Ratcliffe (F – 99 – 1st in ’15),  Nicholas Sicoly (F – 98 – 4th in ’14 – Soo Thunderbirds), Liam Stevens (F – 99 – 2nd in ’15), Levi Tetrault (D – 98 – 4th in ’14 – Chatham), Kyle West (F – 98 – 7th in ’14 – Burlington)

NHL Prospects: Robby Fabbri (F – 96 – 25-26-51 – St. Louis)

Rights Held: Derek Daschke (D – 98 – 10th in ’14 – Western Michigan), David Farrance (D – 99 – 6th in ’15 – Boston), Owen Grant (D – 98 – 13th in ’14 – Vermont), Matthew Jakubowski (F – 98 – 11th in ’14 – Penn State), Zachary Osburn (D – 97 – 11th in ’13 – Michigan State), Nolan Stevens (F – 96 – 9th in ’12 – Northeastern), Alex Tuch (F  – 96 – 5th in ’12 – Boston College – Minnesota)

Prediction: Fifth in Midwest Division (Fabbri and overage netminder Justin Nichols are the last major pieces left from Guelph’s run to the Memorial Cup final in 2014. I would be stunned to see them stay all year with the Storm as the squad needs to rebuild and quickly.)

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Hamilton Bulldogs

Last Season (as the Belleville Bulls): Fourth in East Division – Seventh in Eastern Conference (27-33-3-5) – Lost 4-0 to Barrie in East Quarters

Departing: Adam Bignell (F – 94 – 1-3-4 – Waterloo), Brett Gustavsen (F – 94 – 20-22-42 – Carleton), Jordan Subban (D – 95 – 25-27-52 – Vancouver), David Tomasek (F – 96 – 13-18-31 – Dynamo Pardubice), Brett Welychka (F – 94 – 17-22-39 – Carleton), Alex Yuill (D – 95 – 4-17-21 – UOIT)

Arriving: MacKenzie Entwistle (F – 99 – 2nd in ’15), Fedor Gordeev (D – 99 – 3rd in ’15), Ondrej Kachyna (D – 98 – ’15 Import Draft), Mitchell Mendonca (F – 98 – 5th in ’14 – Thorold), Christian Mieritz (D – 97 – ’15 Import Draft), Joseph Mizzi (F – 98 – 7th in ’14 – Newmarket), Brody Morris (D – 96 – 9th in ’12 – Wellington), Matthew Strome (F – 99 – 1st in ’15), Reilly Webb (D – 99 – 2nd in ’15)

NHL Prospects: N/A

Rights Held: Luke Martin (D – 98 – 11th in ’14 – Michigan), Jacob Panetta (D – 96 – 15th in ’12 – Colgate), Trent Shore (D – 96 – 12th in ’12 – Cornell), Josh Supryka (F – 97 – 5th in ’13 – Canisius), Joseph Wegwerth (F – 96 – 13th in ’12 – Notre Dame – Florida)

Prediction: First in East Division (I might be slightly early on the Bulldogs hype train but with some good young players and guys that can break out, they may surprise some this season. Plus, all eyes will be on the attendance figures compared to Belleville, so Hamilton may fly in under the radar.)

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Kingston Frontenacs

Last Season: Third in East Division – Sixth in Eastern Conference (32-28-5-3) – Lost 4-0 to North Bay in East Quarters

Departing: Sam Bennett (F – 96 – 11-11-22 – Calgary), Jake Gilmour (F – 96 – 0-1-1), Jacob Graves (D – 95 – 0-7-7 – Oshawa), Evan McEneny (D – 94 – 9-36-45 – Vancouver), Jarkko Parikka (D – 97 – 1-6-7 – Ilves), Corey Pawley (F – 95 – 8-22-30 – Caledonia), Robert Poleselllo (F – 94 – 17-19-36), Samuel Schutt (F – 94 – 16-15-31 – Lakehead)

Arriving: Jakob Brahaney (D – 99 – 2nd in ’15), Graeme Brown (D – 96 – 2-6-8 – Windsor), Robbie Burt (F – 99 – 1st in ’15), Konstantin Chernyuk (D – 98 – ’15 Import Draft), Ryan Cranford (F – 98 – 10th in ’14 – Ottawa Jr. Senators), Austin Grzenia (F – 98 – 11th in ’14 – Oakland Jr. Grizzlies), Zachary Moore (D – 98 – 6th in ’14 – St. Catherines), Jacob Paquette (D – 99 – 2nd in ’15), Brett Primeau (F – 97 – 8th in ’13 – Lasalle), Jason Robertson (F – 99 – 4th in ’15)

NHL Prospects: Lawson Crouse (F – 97 – 28-21-49 – Florida), Juho Lammikko (F – 96 – 17-26-43 – Florida), Roland McKeown (D – 96 – 6-24-30 – Carolina), Spencer Watson (F – 96 – 20-28-48 – Los Angeles)

Rights Held: Brad Cocca (F – 99 – 10th in ’15 – Harvard), Warren Foegele (F – 96 – 7th in ’14 – New Hampshire – Carolina), Grant Gabriele (D – 97 – 8th in ’13 – Western Michigan), Marcel Godbout (F – 96 – 9th in ’12 – Michigan State), Jacob Hayhurst (F – 97 – 10th in ’13 – RPI), Kris Myllari (D – 97 – 2nd in ’13 – Penn State), Keenan Suthers (F – 98 – 8th in ’14 – Western Michigan), Matthew Thom (D – 98 – 4th in ’14 – Princeton)

Prediction: Fifth in East Division (With Sam Bennett moving on to Calgary and Lawson Crouse making a run at cracking Florida’s roster, the window for Kingston to be a legit Eastern Conference contender may have slammed shut. Crouse, Roland McKeown and Lucas Peressini could all be dealt as the Frontenacs will have to start yet another rebuild process as they try to win a first round series for the first time in nearly two decades.)

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Kitchener Rangers

Last Season: Fifth in Midwest Division – Sixth in Western Conference (32-26-3-7) – Lost 4-2 to London in West Quarters

Departing: Max Iafrate (D – 94 – 11-24-35 – Providence), Matthew Greenfield (G – 95 – 3.56 – 8-7-4 – Tri-City Storm), Jack Kilgour (F – 97 – 0-2-2 – Sherbrooke), Liam Maaskant (D – 94 – 3-10-13 – Acadia), Jake Paterson (G – 94 – 2.90 – 26-21-3 – Detroit)

Arriving: Sean Allen (D – 98 – 3rd in ’14 – Kitchener Dutchmen), Brian Brosnan (D – 95 – 4-8-12 – Niagara), Joseph Garreffa (F – 99 – 3rd in ’15), Connor Hall (D – 98 – 3rd in ’14 – Elmira), Nicholas McHugh (F – 99 – 7th in ’15), Luke Opilka (G – 97 – 6th in ’13 – US NTDP – St. Louis), Luke Richardson (G – 99 – 4th in ’15), Elijah Roberts (D – 99 – 2nd in ’15)

NHL Prospects: Ryan MacInnis (F – 96 – 25-37-62 – Arizona), Nick Magyar (F – 96 – 16-16-32 – Colorado), Luke Opilka (G – 97 – 6th in ’13 – US NTDP – St. Louis), Dmitrii Sergeev (D – 96 – 5-23-28 – St. Louis)

Rights Held: Chris Birdsall (G – 96 – 14th in ’13 – Boston College), Jeremy Bracco (F – 97 – 5th in ’13 – Boston College – Toronto), Jake Evans (F – 96 – 8th in ’12 – Notre Dame – Montreal), Colin Felix (D – 99 – 13th in ’15 – UMass), Adam Fox (D – 98 – 8th in ’14 – Harvard), Tyler Inamoto (F – 99 – 6th in ’15 – Wisconsin), Hayden Lavigne (G – 96 – Belleville’s 6th in ’12 – Michigan), Griffin Luce (D – 98 – 5th in ’14 – Michigan), Charlie McAvoy (D – 97 – 6th in ’13 – Boston), Thomas Novak (F – 97 – 13th in ’14 – Minnesota – Nashville), Adam Scheel (G – 99 – 10th in ’15 – Notre Dame), Ethan Spaxman (D – 96 – 14th in ’12 – Merrimack)

Prediction: Second in Midwest Division (The addition of St. Louis draft pick Luke Opilka is huge for the Rangers as it answered the one big question mark the squad had heading into the summer. With a decent defence and a veteran forward group, the Rangers can make a legit case to be the second best team in the Western Conference behind London.)

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London Knights

Last Season: Second in Midwest Division – Third in Western Conference (40-24-1-3) – Lost 4-0 to Erie in West Semis

Departing: Julius Bergman (D – 95 – 13-29-45 – San Jose), Max Domi (F – 95 – 32-70-102 – Arizona), Michael Giugovaz (G – 95 – 25-12-2 – Windsor), Zach Grzelewski (F – 97 – 5-7-12 – Flint), Matt Rupert (F – 94 – 30-45-75 – Toronto Marlies), Tait Seguin (F – 95 – 1-5-6 – Caledonia), Josh Sterk (F – 95 – 20-27-47 – Owen Sound), John Warren (F – 97 – 5-2-7 – London Nationals), Joel Wigle (F – 94 – 2-8-10 – Ryerson)

Arriving: Evan Bouchard (D – 99 – 1st in ’15), Eric Henderson (F – 98- 3rd in ’14 – Leamington), Max Jones (F – 98 – 1st in ’14 – US NTDP), Olli Juolevi (D – 98 – ’15 Import Draft), Nicolas Mattinen (D – 98 – 6th in ’14 – Cumberland), Sam Miletic (F – 97 – 15th in ’13 – Green Bay), JJ Piccinich (F – 96 – 6th in ’12 – Boston – Toronto), Kole Sherwood (F – 97 – 22-26-48 – Ohio Blue Jackets – Columbus), Robert Thomas (F – 99 – 2nd in ’15), Matthew Tkachuk (F – 97- 4th in ’13 – US NTDP), Ryan Valentini (F – 97 – 7-12-19 – St. Thomas), Emanuel Vella (G – 98 – 3rd in ’14 – Toronto Patriots)

NHL Prospects: Christian Dvorak (F – 96 – 41-68-109 – Arizona), Mitchell Marner (F – 97 – 44-82-126 – Toronto), Chris Martenet (D – 96 – 7-9-16 – Dallas), JJ Piccinich (F – 96 – 6th in ’12 – Boston – Toronto), Kole Sherwood (F – 97 – 22-26-48 – Ohio Blue Jackets – Columbus), Chandler Yakimowicz (F – 96 – 13-20-33 – St. Louis)

Rights Held: Daniel Bernhardt (F – 96 – ’15 Import Draft – Djurgarden – NY Rangers), Ian Blacker (D – 99 – 4th in ’15 – Western Michigan), Sean Dhooghe (F – 99 – 13th in ’15 – Ohio State), Christian Evers (D – 97 – 5th in ’13 – North Dakota), Jacob Golden (D – 99 15th in ’15 – Harvard), Michael Latorella (G – 98 – 7th in ’14 – Ohio State), Michael Prapavessis (D – 96 – Saginaw’s 10th in ’12 – RPI – Dallas), Alex Rasner (D – 96 – ’13 Import Draft – HC Olomouc), James Sanchez (F – 98 – 11th in ’14 – Michigan), Brady Tkachuk (F – 99 – 4th in ’15 – Boston), Zach Werenski (D – 97 – 2nd in ’13 – Michigan – Columbus)

Prediction: First in Midwest Division (Sure the defence isn’t as strong as it has been over the years and the goaltending may need a slight upgrade when the trade deadline rolls around. However, the Knights offence is beyond loaded this year with a ton of high impact players joining the squad. Once again, London appears to be the team to beat.)

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Mississauga Steelheads

Last Season: Fourth in Central Division – Ninth in Eastern Conference (25-40-2-51) – Missed Playoffs

Departing: Sam Babinstev (F – 94 – 18-28-46 – Nomad Astana), Jacob Brennan (G – 94 – 4.12 – 6-15-0 – Queen’s), Bryson Cianfrone (F – 95 – 13-39-52 – Owen Sound), Brandon Devlin (D – 94 – 20-19-39 – Ryerson), Adam Donnelly (F – 96 – 0-2-2 – Alberni Valley), Jimmy Lodge (F – 95 – 28-35-63 – Winnipeg), Bobby MacIntyre (F – 96 – 5-19-24 – Sault Ste. Marie), Spencer Martin (G – 95 – 2.98 – 15-13-1 – Colorado), Cody Thompson (F – 95 – 1-5-6)

Arriving: Daniel Muzito Bagenda (F – 96 – ’15 Import Draft), Jack Flinn (G – 95 – 2.99 – 18-16-7 – Owen Sound), Nicolas Hague (D – 98 – 2nd in ’14 – Kitchener Dutchmen), Brandon Harrogate (F – 98 – 7th in ‘14 – Lasalle), Luke Kutkevicius (F – 98 – 2nd in ’14 – North York), Ryan McLeod (F – 99 – Flint’s 1st in ’15), Alexander Nylander (F – 98 – ’15 Import Draft), Austin Osmanski (D – 98 – 6th in ’14 – Buffalo Jr. Sabres), Owen Tippett (F – 99 – 1st in ’15)

NHL Prospects: N/A

Rights Held: Lukas Haudum (F – 97 – ’14 Import Draft – Sodertalje), William Nylander (F – 96 – ’14 Import Draft – Toronto Marlies – Toronto), Cayden Primeau (G – 99 – 5th in ’15 – Northeastern)

Prediction: Third in Central Division (This isn’t your father’s Mississauga based OHL team. With the McLeod brothers, Tippett, Nylander and Sean Day, this is going to be a fun squad to watch. Losing Spencer Martin to graduation hurts, but adding Jack Flinn is a good stop gap and might help the Steelheads contend for a home playoff seed.)

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Niagara IceDogs

Last Season: Third in Central Division – Fifth in Eastern Conference (37-27-2-2) – Lost 4-1 to Oshawa in East Semis

Departing: Brian Brosnan (D – 95 – 4-8-12 – Kitchener), Brandon Hope (G – 94 – 2.86 – 21-7-5 – St. Francis Xavier), Billy Jenkins (F – 94 – 15-41-56 – Lakehead), Cody Payne (F – 94 – 13-18-31), Carter Verhaeghe (F – 95 – 33-49-82 – NY Islanders)

Arriving: Hayden Davis (D – 99 – 1st in ’15), Ben Jones (F – 99 – 1st in ’15), Evan Krassey (F – 98 – 8th in ’14 – St. Mary’s), Kyle Langdon (F – 98 – 4th in ’14 – Thorold), William Lochead (D – 98 – 3-11-14 – Ridley College), Christian Mitri (F – 98 – 12-4-16 – Vaughan Kings), Nick Pastorious (F – 96 – 4-3-7 – Barrie), Jonathon Schaefer (D – 98 – 6th in ’14 – Milton), Jack Wieringa (D – 98 – 4th in ’14 – St. Mary’s)

NHL Prospects: Vince Dunn (D – 96 – 18-38-56 – St. Louis), Aaron Haydon (D – 96 – 8-17-25 – Dallas), Joshua Ho-Sang (F – 96 – 17-64-81 – NY Islanders), Graham Knott (F – 97 – 25-18-43 – Chicago), Ryan Mantha (D – 96 – 10-15-25 – NY Rangers), Brent Moran (G – 96 – 3.46 – 18-18-1 – Dallas), Brendan Perlini (F – 96 – 26-34-60 – Arizona), Blake Siebenaler (D – 96 – 12-25-37 – Columbus)

Rights Held: Trent Frederic (F – 98 – 6th in ’14 – Wisconsin), David Kase (F – 97 – ’15 Import Draft – KLH Chomutov – Philadelphia), Johnny Kovacevic (D – 97 – 12th in ’13 – Merrimack), Edwin Minney (G – 96 – 8th in ’12 – Michigan State), Joshua Norris (F – 99 – 6th in ’15 – Michigan)

Prediction: First in Central Division (In hindsight, I was probably a year early on the IceDogs but they seem to be the clear-cut favourite to win the Eastern Conference this time around with an impressive offence and a strong defence. The one question mark is with Brent Moran in goal as he will need to prove he can carry the full workload as a starter after losing the job to Brandon Hope last year.)

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North Bay Battalion

Last Season: Second in Central Division – Third in Eastern Conference (37-20-6-5) – Lost 4-2 to Oshawa in East Finals

Departing: Alexander Henriksson (F – 95 – 20-19-39 – Oskarshamn), Ray Huether (F – 94 – 12-24-36 – Western), Ryan Kujawinski (F – 95 – 34-25-59 – New Jersey), Marcus McIvor (D – 94 – 5-33-38 – New Brunswick), Brendan Miller (D – 94 – 19-36-55 – Toronto Marlies), Nick Moutrey (F – 95 – 25-37-62 – Columbus), Hampus Olsson (F – 95 – 4-12-16 – Kallinge), Nick Paul (F – 95 – 37-29-66 – Ottawa)

Arriving: Jacob Ball (F – 99 – 3rd in ’15), Justin Brazeau (F – 98 – 13th in ’14 – New Liskeard), Cam Dineen (D – 98 – 11th in ’14 – New Jersey Rockets), Maximilian Kislinger (F – 98 – ’15 Import Draft), Brady Lyle (D – 99 – 1st in ’15), Kyle Moore (F – 98 – 5th in ’14 – Powassan), Kyle Potts (F – 98 – 5th in ’15 – Oakville Rangers), Jacob Ramalho (D – 98 – 4th in ’14 – Almonte)

NHL Prospects: Michael Amadio (F – 96 – 24-47-71 – Los Angeles), Riley Bruce (D – 97 – 0-3-3 – Calgary), Kyle Wood (D – 96 – 16-24-40 – Colorado)

Rights Held: Drake Board (F – 96 – 11th in ’12 – Niagara), Brody Brunet (F – 97 – 12th in ’13 – Lake Superior State), Ryan Hitchcock (F – 96 – 10th in ’12 – Yale), Robin Kovacs (F – 96 – ’15 Import Draft – AIK – NY Rangers), Cameron Morrison (F – 98 – 3rd in ’14 – Notre Dame)

Prediction: Second in Central Division (Although many of the key cogs from the strong teams over the last two season have now departed, the Battalion are a team that you should never take likely. It may take a bit for the new faces to get settled in, but I think North Bay will again be a team to watch in the East.)

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Oshawa Generals

Last Season: First in East Division – First in Eastern Conference (51-11-2-4) – 2013-14 OHL Champions – 2015 Memorial Cup Champions

Departing: Josh Brown (D – 94 – 6-15-21 – Florida), Chris Carlisle (D – 94 – 7-37-44 – Binghamton), Cole Cassels (F – 95 – 30-51-81 – Vancouver), Sonny Hertzberg (D – 95 – 1-5-6 – Herlev), Bradley Latour (F – 95 – 22-28-50 – Windsor), Tobias Lindberg (F – 95 – 32-46-78 – Ottawa), Michael McCarron (F – 95 – 28-40-68 – Montreal), Dakota Mermis (D – 94 – 6-24-30 – Arizona), Brent Pedersen (F – 95 – 17-20-37 – Laurentian), Will Petschenig (D – 95 – 3-10-13 – Saginaw), Hunter Smith (F – 95 – 23-26-49 – Calgary), Michael Turner (F – 95 – 6-6-12), Aidan Wallace (F – 95 – 12-12-24 – Toronto Varsity Blues)

Arriving: Domenic Commisso (F – 98 – 5th in ’14 – Mississauga Chargers), Liam Devine (G – 98 – 9th in ’14 – Guelph Hurricanes), Jacob Graves (D – 95 – 0-7-7 – Kingston), Lukas Lofquist (F – 96 – ’15 Import Draft), Matt Latin (F – 97 – 9-5-14 – Oshawa Midget Generals), Kyle MacLean (F – 99 – 4th in ’15), Owen McDade (F – 96 – 10-14-24 – Pembroke), Misha Moor (D – 97 – ’15 Import Draft), Daniel Robertson (D – 97 – 4th in ’13 – Whitby), Jalen Smereck (D – 97 – 15th in ’13 – Bloomington), Sullivan Sparkes (F – 99 – 5th in ’15), Riley Stillman (D – 98 – 4th in ’14 – Cobourg), Jack Studnicka (F – 99 – 1st in ’15), Brock Welsh (F – 98 – 15th in ’14 – Orilla)

NHL Prospects: Anthony Cirelli (F – 97 – 13-23-36 – Tampa Bay), Michael Dal Colle (F – 96 – 42-51-93 – NY Islanders), Stephen Desrocher (D – 96 – 10-13-23 – Toronto), Matt Mistele (F – 95 – 37-27-64 – Los Angeles), Mitchell Vande Sompel (D – 97 – 12-51-63 – NY Islanders)

Rights Held: Cory Caruso (F – 96 – 13th in ’12 – Mercyhurst), Joseph Cecconi (D – 97 –  8th in ’14 – Michigan – Dallas), Patrick Grasso (F – 96 – 11th in ’13 – New Hampshire), Ian Johnston (F – 97 – 5th in ’13 – Lake Superior State), Brett Murray (F – 98 – 12th in ’14 – Penn State), Brett Seney (F – 96 – 9th in ’12 – Merrimack – New Jersey), Kelly Summers (D – 96 – 6th in ’12 – Clarkson – Ottawa)

Prediction: Third in East Division (As you may have noticed, the Generals are losing quite a lot from last year’s Memorial Cup winning side. Even if Michael Dal Colle is traded the Generals still have enough solid pieces, especially on the back-end, to make it into the playoffs.)

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Ottawa 67’s

Last Season: Second in East Division – Fourth in Eastern Conference (38-25-4-1) – Lost 4-2 to Niagara in East Quarters

Departing: Brendan Bell (F – 94 – 22-17-39), Taylor Davis (D – 95 – 2-11-13 – Weeks Crushers), Alex Lintuniemi (D – 95 – 7-27-34 – Los Angeles), Brandon Lukezic (D – 96 – 0-3-3), Dylan McDonald (F – 97 – 2-2-4), Curtis Meighan (F – 94 – 7-20-27 – Carleton), Matt Mercer (D – 97 – 0-1-1), Zack Pittman (D – 95 – 0-10-10 – Ottawa), Mike Vlajkov (D – 95 – 0-1-1)

Arriving: Ryan Barbosa (D – 98 – 10th in ’14 – Don Mills), William Brown (D – 98 – 3rd in ’14 – Metcalfe), Stepan Falkovsky (D – 96 – ’15 Import Draft), Nolan Gardiner (F – 98 – 11th in ’14 – Wheatley), Noel Hoefenmayer (D – 99 – 2nd in ’15), Austen Keating (F – 99 – 1st in ’15), Hudson Wilson (D – 99 – 3rd in ’14)

NHL Prospects: Jeremiah Addison (F – 96 – 19-28-47 – Montreal), Travis Konecny (F – 97 – 29-38-68 – Philadelphia), Jacob Middleton (D – 96 – 3-23-26 – Los Angeles)

Rights Held: Ben Blacker (G – 97 – 7th in ’13 – Western Michigan), Noah Delmas (D – 96 – 14th in ’12 – Niagara), Charlie Dovorany (F – 99 – 14th in ’15 – Minnesota-Duluth), Donovan Ott (F – 97 – 11th in ’13 – Cornell), Andrew Peeke (D – 98 – 15th in ’14 – Notre Dame), Steven Ruggiero (D – 97 – 7th in ’13 – Providence – Anaheim)

Prediction: Second in East Division (The offence will be good with Konecny and Dante Salituro leading the way and Liam Herbst seems to have his injury woes behind him to become a top-line starter. The one question mark I have is how a much younger defence will look for the 67’s as they had five 1995-birth year players going into the off-season.)

Thomas Schemitsch of the Owen Sound Attack. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Owen Sound Attack

Last Season: Fourth in Midwest Division – Fifth in Western Conference (35-24-2-7) – Lost 4-1 to Guelph in West Quarters

Departing: Chris Bigras (D – 95 – 20-51-71 – Colorado), Erik Bradford (F – 94 – 28-42-70 – Toronto Marlies), Holden Cook (F – 94 – 15-19-34 – St. Francis Xavier), Jack Flinn (G – 95 – 2.99 – 18-16-7 – Mississauga), Jeffrey Gilligan (F – 96 – 9-7-16 – Retired – Heart Condition), Ryan Heeps (F – 97 – 2-3-5 – Whitby), Daniel Milne (F – 94 – 20-24-44 – McGill), Zach Nastasiuk (F – 95 – 35-42-77 – Detroit), Kyle Platzer (F – 95 – 33-47-80 – Edmonton)

Arriving: Bryson Cianfrone (F – 95 – 13-39-52 – Mississauga), Riley Daniels (G – 99 – 3rd in ’15), Daniel Dekoning (G – 96 – 3.05 – 18-3-1 – Erie), Sean Durzi (D – 98 – 12th in ’14 – Mississauga Rebels), Jacob Friend (D – 97 – 1-6-7 – Cobourg), Markus Phillips (D – 99 – 1st in ’15), Greg Smith (F – 98 – 2-2-4 – Wellington), Josh Sterk (F – 95 – 20-27-47 – London), Matthew Struthers (F – 99 – 3rd in ’15), Nicholas Suzuki (F – 99 – 1st in ’15)

NHL Prospects: Liam Dunda (F – 97 – 2-7-9 – St. Louis), Jaden Lindo (F – 96 – 7-2-9 – Pittsburgh), Michael McNiven (G – 96 – 2.78 – 15-8-0 – Montreal), Thomas Schemitsch (D – 96 – 13-35-48 – Florida), Damir Sharipzyanov (D – 96 – 9-25-34 – Los Angeles)

Rights Held: Brent Gates (F – 97 – 6th in ’13 – Minnesota – Anaheim), Cameron Hackett (G – 96 – 4th in ’12 – RPI), William Knierim (F – 98 – 2nd in ’14 – Miami), Joseph Masonius (D – 97 – 12th in ’13 – Connecticut), Jamie McLaughlin (F – 96 – 13th in ’12 – Dartmouth), Connor Murphy (F – 96 – 7th in ’12 – Michigan), Evan Smith (F – 96 – 3rd in ’12 – Yale), Colin Tonge (F – 98 – 8th in ’14 – Princeton)

Prediction: Third in Midwest Division (On the surface, this isn’t a strong looking lineup compared to some of the other teams in the conference. However, with Michael McNiven leading the way in goal and a strong defence, they should prove a tough task for any team to go up against even if they don’t have a high-powered offence.)

Matt Spencer of the Peterborough Petes. Photo by Terry Wilson/OHL Images.

Peterborough Petes

Last Season: Fifth in East Division – Eighth in Eastern Conference (26-36-1-5) – Lost 4-1 to Oshawa in East Quarters

Departing: Michael Clarke (F – 94 – 23-32-55 – St. Francis Xavier), Josh MacDonald (F – 94 – 29-23-52 – Utah), Matt McCartney (D – 95 – 0-4-4 – Caledonia), Nathan Pancel (F – 94 – 22-21-43 – St. Francis Xavier), Steven Varga (D – 95 – 2-13-15), Artem Vladimirov (D – 97 – 2-5-7 – Sibriskie)

Arriving: CJ Clarke (F – 99 – 2nd in ’15), Cole Fraser (D – 99 – 3rd in ’15), Zachary Gallant (F – 99 – 1st in ’15), Nick Grima (D – 99 – 2nd in ’15), Adam McPhail (F – 97 – 2-4-6 – Saginaw), Eddie Schulz (F – 98 – 5th in ’14 – Strathroy), Scott Smith (G – 97 – 9th in ’13 – Milton), Matthew Watson (D – 96 – 1-6-7 – Cobourg)

NHL Prospects: Eric Cornel (F – 96 – 14-38-52 – Buffalo), Kyle Jenkins (D – 96 – 7-29-36 – Carolina), Steven Lorentz (F – 96 – 15-21-36 – Carolina), Dominik Masin (D – 96 – 7-19-26 – Tampa Bay), Matt Spencer (D – 97 – 6-24-30 – Tampa Bay)

Rights Held: Matt Alvaro (F – 96 – 10th in ’12 – Providence), Matthew Cairns (D – 98 – 3rd in ’14 – Cornell), Logan Cockerill (F – 99 – 14th in ’15 – Boston), Logan Hutsko (F – 99 – 6th in ’15 – Penn State), Hunter Racine (F – 96 – 4th in ’12 – Colgate), Matthew Robson (G – 97 – 9th in ’13 – Milton), Jonne Tammela (F – 97 – ’15 Import Draft – Kalpa – Tampa Bay), Zac Tierney (D – 97 – 9th in ’12 – Ferris State), Jake Walman (D – 97 – 6th in ’14 – Providence – St. Louis)

Prediction: Fourth in East Division (While I like the defence and the goaltending, I have no idea where the goals are going to come from, especially after the first line. Unless a couple of forwards have massive seasons, that might prove costly in the quest for a playoff berth.)

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Saginaw Spirit

Last Season: Third in West Division – Eighth in Western Conference (29-36-2-1) – Lost 4-0 to Sault Ste. Marie in West Quarters

Departing: Vladislav Kodola (F – 96 – 6-15-21 – Cherepovets), Adam McPhail (D – 97 – 2-4-6 – Peterborough), Jacob Ringuette (D – 94 – 9-15-24 – Lakehead)

Arriving: Cole Coskey (F – 99 – 3rd in ’15), Brady Gilmour (F – 99 – 1st in ’15), Matthew Kreis (F – 97 – 3-10-13 – Barrie), Kirill Maximov (F – 99 – 2nd in ’15), Markus Niemelainen (D – 98 – ’15 Import Draft), Will Petschenig (F – 95 – 3-10-13 – Oshawa)

NHL Prospects: Dylan Sadowy (F – 96 – 42-32-74 – San Jose), Mitchell Stephens (F – 97 – 21-26-47 – Tampa Bay)

Rights Held: Tarek Baker (F – 97 – 7th in ’13 – Minnesota), Jackson Bales (F – 97 – 8th in ’13 – Merrimack), Kyle Connor (F – 96 – 14th in ’12 – Michigan – Winnipeg), Michael Pastujov (F – 99 – 4th in ’15 – Michigan) Nick Pastujov (F – 98 – 4th in ’14 – Michigan)

Prediction: First in West Division (I might be a year early on the Spirit as I was with Niagara last year, but I love the young core that Saginaw has. It won’t be enough to make it to the final given what London has on offence, but the Spirit might be a force in the coming seasons.)

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Sarnia Sting

Last Season: Second in West Division – Seventh in Western Conference (29-32-4-3) – Lost 4-1 to Erie in West Quarters

Departing: Davis Brown (F – 95 – 19-14-33 – Sollentuna), Josh Chapman (D – 94 – 0-8-8 – Rochester), Taylor Dupuis (G – 94 – 3.38 – 21-16-5 – Ryerson), Stephen Pierog (F – 94 – 13-27-40 – Evansville)

Arriving: Chase Campbell (F – 98 – 3rd in ’14 – Waterloo Siskins), Sacha Chmeleveski (F – 99 – 1st in ’15), Kaden Fulcher (G – 13th in ’14 – The Hill Academy), Josh Jacobs (D – 96 – 4th in ’12 – Michigan State – New Jersey), Ryan McGregor (F – 99 – 2nd in ’15), Franco Sproviero (D – 98 – 8th in ’14 – Lambton Shores)

NHL Prospects: Josh Jacobs (D – 96 – 4th in ’12 – Michigan State – New Jersey), Nikita Korostelev (F – 97 – 24-28-52 – Toronto), Pavel Zacha (F – 97 – 16-18-34 – New Jersey)

Rights Held: Bradley Belisle (F – 98 – 3rd in ’14 – Bemidji State), Nicholas Boka (D – 97 – 6th in ’13 – Michigan – Minnesota), Mitch Eliot (D – 98 – 11th in ’14 – Michigan State), Martin Frechette (F – 97 – 7th in ’13 – Vermont), Quinton Hughes (D – 99 – 3rd in ’15 – Michigan), Luke Kunin (F – 97 – 12th in ’13 – Wisconsin), Patrik Laine (F – 98 – ’15 Import Draft – Tappara), Louis Latta (F – 98 – ’15 Import Draft – Kolner), Graham McPhee (F – 98 – 9th in ’14 – Boston College), Andrew Peski (D – 97 – 6th in ’13 – North Dakota), Brody Stevens (F – 97 – 9th in ’13 – Western Michigan)

Prediction: Third in West Division (While the Sting have a pretty decent lineup, there are a few question marks that prevent me from going all in on them. How good will a very young goaltending tandem be? Will Pavel Zacha come back to the OHL or will he play in New Jersey? And lastly, how good of a head coach will Derian Hatcher be?)

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Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds

Last Season: First in West Division – First in Western Conference (54-12-0-2) – Lost 4-2 to Erie in West Finals

Departing: Justin Bailey (F – 95 – 34-35-69 – Buffalo), Connor Boland (D – 94 – 4-18-22 – Carleton), Michael Bunting (F – 95 – 37-37-74 – Arizona), Anthony DeAngelo (D – 95 – 25-64-89 – Tampa Bay), Jean Dupuy (F – 94 – 18-28-46 – Buffalo), Tyler Ganly (D – 95 – 2-14-16 – Carolina), Bryan Moore (F – 94 – 23-27-50 – San Diego), Darnell Nurse (D – 95 – 10-23-33 – Edmonton), Nick Ritchie (D – 95 – 29-33-62 – Anaheim), Sergey Tolchinsky (F – 95 – 30-65-95 – Carolina)

Arriving: Theodore Calvas (D – 98 – 14th in ’15), Anthony DeMeo (D – 99 – 3rd in ’15), Morgan Frost (F – 99 – 4th in ’15), Liam Hawel (F – 99 – 1st in ’15), Boris Katchouk (F – 99 – 2nd in ’14 – Soo Thunderbirds), Jack Kopacka (F – 98 – 8th in ’14 – Compuware), Bobby MacIntyre (F – 96 – 5-19-24 – Mississauga), Conor Timmins (D – 98 – 4th in ’14 – St. Catherines), Makar Tokarev (F – 98 – ’15 Import Draft)

NHL Prospects: Gustav Bouramman (D – 97 – 5-39-44 – Minnesota), Brandon Halverson (D – 96 – 2.63 – 40-5-2 – NY Rangers), Jared McCann (F – 96 – 34-47-81 – Vancouver), Zachary Senyshyn (F – 97 – 26-19-45 – Boston), Blake Speers (F – 97 – 24-43-67 – New Jersey), Colton White (D – 97 – 6-16-22 – New Jersey)

Rights Held: Anthony Angello (F – 96 – 15th in ’12 – Cornell – Pittsburgh), Kyle Betts (F – 97 – 10th in ’14 – Cornell), Austin Cho (D – 97 – 12th in ’13 – RPI), Adrian Clark (G – 97 – 8th in ’13 – Dartmouth), Austin Dittenhafer (D – 97 – 9th in ’13 – Vermont), Justin Fregona (F – 97 – 13th in ’13 – New Hampshire), Jake Gingell (D – 97 – 13th in ’13 – Michigan Tech), Keeghan Howdeshell (F – 98 – 10th in ’14 – Ferris State), Cody Milan (F – 96 – 4th in ’12 – Michigan State)

Prediction: Second in West Division (Although the Greyhounds lose a ton of firepower from last year’s team, this is still a pretty solid roster. However, with so many picks being dealt to load up at the trade deadline back in January, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jared McCann (provided he doesn’t stick in Vancouver) or Brandon Halverson are both dealt later this year to build towards the future.)

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Sudbury Wolves

Last Season: Fifth in Central Division – Tenth in Eastern Conference (12-54-1-1) – Missed Playoffs

Departing: Austin Clapham (D – 97 – 2-5-7 – Saint John), Jeff Corbett (D – 94 – 8-19-27 – Brock), Ivan Kashtanov (F – 97 – 6-11-17 – Zvezda Chekhov), Brody Silk (F – 94 – 9-11-20 – Brock), Samuel Tanguay (G – 95 – 4.79 – 3-18-1 – Prince George Spruce Kings), Travis Wood (F – 95 – 5-7-12 – Bismarck), David Zeppieri (F – 97 – 1-11-12)

Arriving: Brandon Bastasin (D – 98 – 7th in ’14 – Don Mills), MacAuley Carson (F – 99 – 2nd in ’15), Ben Garagan (F – 99 – 5th in ’15), David Levin (F – 99 – 1st in ’15), Alan Lyszczarzyk (F – 98 – 27-39-66 – KLH Chomutov), Matthew Menna (G – 98 – 7th in ’14 – Mississauga Rebels), Patrick Murphy (D – 95 – 6-25-31 – Erie), Nicholas Romero (F – 98 – 11th in ’14 – Don Mills Flyers), Dmitri Sokolov (F – 98 – ’15 Import Draft)

NHL Prospects: Kyle Capobianco (D – 97 – 10-30-40 – Arizona), Pavel Jenys (F – 96 – 15-30-45 – Minnesota), Matt Schmalz (F – 96 – 24-16-40 – Los Angeles)

Rights Held: Bradley Bell (D – 96 – Mississauga’s 3rd in ’12 – RPI), Zachary Berzolla (D – 98 – 13th in ’14 – Colorado College), William Harrison (F – 96 – 9th in ’12 – St. Lawrence), Tyler Madden (F – 99 – 8th in ’15 – Colorado College)

Prediction: Fifth in Central Division (It can’t go much worse for Sudbury after their struggles last year, but things are looking up for them. Granted, there are still some holes that need to be filled before they can be a true contender in the East, but Levin and Sokolov are a nice 1-2 youthful punch that may sneak them into the playoff discussion.)

Logan Brown of the Windsor Spitfires. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Windsor Spitfires

Last Season: Fifth in West Division – Ninth in Western Conference (23-38-5-2) – Missed Playoffs

Departing: Graeme Brown (D – 96 – 2-6-8 – Kingston), Slatter Doggett (F – 94 – 25-26-51 – Queen’s), Alex Fotinos (G – 95 – 3.85 – 12-24-0), Jamie Lewis (F – 94 – 19-22-41), Trevor Murphy (D – 95 – 24-39-63 – Nashville), Sam Povorozniouk (F – 95 – 15-24-39 – Saint John), Lucas Venuto (F – 94 – 20-21-41 – Morrums)

Arriving: Kyle Auger (D – 99 – 2nd in ’15), Daniel Beaudoin (F – 96 – 19-26-45 – LaSalle), Lucas Boka (F – 99 – 5th in ’15), Cole Carter (F – 98 – 4th in ’15), Mario Culina (G – 97 – 2.24 – 21-7-0 – Soo Thunderbirds), Michael DiPietro (G – 99 – 2nd in ’15), Christian Fischer (F – 97 – 11th in ’13 – US NTDP – Arizona), Michael Giugovaz (G – 95 – 3.59 – 25-12-2 – London), Christof Kromp (F – 97 – ’15 Import Draft), Bradley Latour (F – 95 – 22-28-50 – Oshawa), Mikhali Sergachev (D – 98 – ’15 Import Draft), Gabriel Vilardi (F – 99 – 1st in ’15)

NHL Prospects: Cristiano DiGiacinto (F – 96 – 21-24-45 – Tampa Bay), Christian Fischer (F – 97 – 11th in ’13 – US NTDP – Arizona), Patrick Sanvido (D – 96 – 3-8-11 – Dallas), Markus Soberg (F – 95 – 13-17-30 – Columbus)

Rights Held: Adam Baughman (D – 96 – 14th in ’12 – Harvard), Louis Belpedio (D – 96 – 9th in ’12 – Miami – Minnesota), Robbie DeMontis (F – 96 – 13th in ’12 – Yale), Chris Dodero (F – 96 – 14th in ’12 – Colorado College), Fletcher Fineman (F – 99 – 11th in ’15 – Union), Clayton Keller (F – 98 – 2nd in ’14 – Boston), Ryker Killins (D – 96 – 12th in ’12 – Ferris State), Chase Pearson (F – 99 – Oshawa’s 4th in ’13 – Maine – Detroit), Nick Schmaltz (F – 96 – 4th in ’12 – North Dakota – Chicago), Brendan Warren (F – 97 – 5th in ’13 – Michigan – Arizona), Evan Wisocky (F – 98 – 13th in ’14 – Connecticut)

Prediction: Fourth in West Division (The offence looks good and the defence isn’t too bad, although Trevor Murphy did go to the pro ranks after signing with Nashville. The goaltending is pretty interesting though as they now have four players on the roster after picking up Michael Giugovaz in a trade. Michael DiPietro is highly touted, but how often does a team that wants to make the playoffs lean on a rookie that heavily?)

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OHL Standings

Eastern Conference

  1. Niagara IceDogs
  2. Hamilton Bulldogs
  3. Ottawa 67’s
  4. North Bay Battalion
  5. Mississauga Steelheads
  6. Barrie Colts
  7. Sudbury Wolves
  8. Oshawa Generals
  9. Peterborough Petes
  10. Kingston Frontenacs

Western Conference

  1. London Knights
  2. Saginaw Spirit
  3. Kitchener Rangers
  4. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
  5. Sarnia Sting
  6. Windsor Spitfires
  7. Owen Sound Attack
  8. Erie Otters
  9. Flint Firebirds
  10. Guelph Storm

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First Coach To Be Fired: Paul McFarland (The Frontenacs are in an odd situation given that they haven’t won in a playoff series in ages and they don’t have a lot of young depth it appears for the future. McFarland might become the fall guy for an organization that’s spinning their tires.)

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Biggest Name To Be Traded: Michael Dal Colle (Robby Fabbri is probably the safer bet here but with Dal Colle back from Islanders camp I wouldn’t be surprised if a team in the West, mainly London, makes a move for him.)

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Best First Year Import: Dimitri Sokolov (The way-to-early NHL Mock Drafts have Sokolov pegged as a potential top ten pick for the 2016 draft. Granted, I’m not sure how strong he’ll be in Sudbury, but with that type of pedigree around him, it’s hard for me to pick someone other than Sokolov.)

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Top Scorer: Mitchell Marner (Sure he’s probably going to miss some games because of the World Juniors. However, have you seen the offence that London has and the points that he put up last year? This was another no-brainer.)

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Coach Of The Year: Greg Gilbert (Last season’s Spirit squad was the youngest ever to make the playoffs in OHL history. With a veteran coach like Gilbert helping them out, the Spirit should be even better this year and their bench boss will be rewarded for it.)

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Overage Player Of The Year: Ken Appleby (As I post this, Appleby has just signed a contract with the New Jersey Devils and is rumoured to be headed to the ECHL. Obviously, that would make this pick wrong but I’ll leave it up since that’s what I had on opening night. If I had to pick someone else for this though, I would go with his Generals teammate Matt Mistele.)

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Rookie Of The Year: Ryan McLeod (As ever, there are a lot of talented players to pick from here. In the end, I went with the third overall pick in this year’s draft, who was dealt from Flint to Mississauga where he joins a very talented young forward group.)

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Top Defenceman: Jakob Chychrun (With Darnell Nurse, Anthony DeAngelo and Chris Bigras all graduating to the pro ranks, their isn’t a lot of high level veteran defenceman floating around the OHL at the moment. As a result, I’ve decided to pick the player who will more than likely be picked after Auston Matthews in June’s NHL Entry Draft, provided that he stays healthy.)

Brandon Halverson of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Top Goalie: Brandon Halverson (It remains to be seen if Halverson will remain with the Greyhounds come playoff time or if he will be dealt away to another team. Either way, the expected starter for this year’s United States world junior squad should have another strong season.)

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Most Valuable Player: Mitchell Marner (It’s hard to pick anyone else for this one. With Connor McDavid moving on, Marner has now assumed the mantle as the OHL player you have to stop everything you are doing to watch him do his thing.)

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OHL Champions: London Knights over Niagara Ice Dogs (This potential rematch of the 2012 OHL final will hopefully be a little bit closer. At the moment, I’m not sure anyone can match the Knights firepower on offence and they look to be the clear favourites to win their third OHL title in the last five years.)

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