Had the chance to attend the OHL Cup, featuring the best U16 teams from all over Ontario. An amazing event that gives scouts a glimpse into the future. There were a few NHL teams in attendance, but if I were running a scouting staff, this event would be covered in whole, as would the WHL and QMJHL Cups. I’m all for starting a book on a player at this age because I feel you can never have too much information and it’s cost-effectiveness in terms of one location, make it a no-brainer for any NHL team.
This year, scouts would’ve seen a number of future NHL picks. Let’s start with the champion Mississauga Senators. Underager Michael Misa, who isn’t eligible until 2025, led the tournament with 21 points. In breaking Connor McDavid’s tournament record, Misa also became the first player to record a hat trick in the final game. His brother Luke plays for the Mississauga Steelheads, who was taken 9th overall in the 2021 OHL Priority selection.
Misa, is one of three players that applied for exceptional status to gain early entry into the OHL. Teammate William Moore, and London’s Ryan Roorbroeck are the others. Expect an official announcement before April 29th, the date of the 2022 OHL Priority selection.
Another impressive player from the final was JRC centre Michael Hage. He tied for the tournament lead with shots (31) and won over 53 per cent of his faceoffs. Hage, had at least one point in each of the seven games and lead JRC with 16 points in total.
A Few Others
Some other names to consider keeping an eye on for the future include Quinte’s trio of Ben Danford, Braedyn Rogers and Ethan Toms. Marlies defenceman Sam Dickinson, and forward Beckett Senecke.
Our Anthony Stewart warned me about Mississauga’s Malcolm Spence, who was in on each of the first three Senator’s goals. He wasn’t wrong. Spence skates well, shoots it well and projects as a top-five pick in the OHL Priority Selection. Spence was named the GTHL Player of the Year and was also named to the all-tournament team.
Super impressed with Toronto Junior Canadiens defenceman Anthony Cristoforo. He made several calm, effective, clean defensive plays while scoring one of JRC’s two goals in the final. During one stretch in the third, it seemed like he never got off the ice. He was also named to the Alll-tournament team.
In a casual discussion with The Pro Hockey Group’s owner and colleague Jason Bukala, he provided some interesting NHL draft information. With the very basics of analytics, considering drafts from 2010 through 2019, here’s some interesting data.
Pick AVG GP PTS
1st overall 369 295
5th 254 125
10th 189 81
15th 189 84
20th 190 78
25th 91 75
30th 164 75
Rumours of a new owner in Niagara have been circulating since IceDogs minority owners/GM/Head Coach Joey and Billy Burke went under investigation. With the investigation concluded and both brothers now expelled from the league until at least 2024, who will run the IceDogs draft? Will the alleged new owner(s) have any say, or will Niagara’s current scouting staff be given the reigns?
With just two games left, you have to be pulling for Blades netminder Nolan Maier. Maier tied the WHL record for career wins, with his 120th Tuesday night in a 20 save, 4-0 shutout at Medicine Hat. The Blades have two home games left, Friday against arch-rival Prince Albert and Friday, April 15th against Brandon. Maier has spent all five years of his WHL career in Saskatoon, and is without an NHL contract. The Blades are 4-5 against Prince Albert and 3-3-3 against Brandon this season.
Lucas Edmonds remains an interesting study for the 2022 NHL Draft. It’s rare to find an overaged rookie, especially one that puts up over 100 points. The Kingston freshman spent the last five years of his minor hockey career in Sweden before finally making his way to the OHL. Edmonds was taken in the 7th round of the 2017 OHL Priority selection.
Another rarity in the game is a player getting signed out of USports. It happens, but with not as much regularity as it should. The Edmonton Oilers announced the signing of Alberta Golden Bears forward Noah Philp. Philp is the younger brother of Calgary Flames prospect and Stockton Heat centre Luke. The 23-year-old centre spent the last three seasons with the University of Alberta Golden Bears, but because of the pandemic, had played less than 50 games over that stretch.
NHL scouts are anxious for the return of the NHL Draft Combine, which takes place May 29th through June 4th in Buffalo. There will be some challenges as each of the CHL leagues will still be playing, but the pandemic once again will have its say. The information gleaned through physical testing and through the interview process are key pieces in a draft that still has some uncertainties.