It is finally that time of the year. The OHL Priority Selection draft is upon us and as always it is a very exciting day.
This draft will be different than in past years because of the fact that we now do have the Midget draft in play. Not to say that changes a whole lot but we still do not know what teams strategies will be, especially when it comes to goaltenders.
Looking back at 2016, the Alliance had 36 players taken in the priority selection draft. Of those 36, 22 were forwards, 11 defenseman and 3 goaltenders. Those 36 players represented all 12 teams in the Alliance. When we look at the draft this season, I would expect to see the number of players remain around the 35-40 mark with the possibility of surpassing 40.
Stay tuned at AllianceHockeyScout.com for all the up to date picks involving Alliance players. It’s going to be quite the day so come along for the ride beginning at 9am EST.
Another season has come and gone and now it is time to look ahead to one of the final chapters of the season, the 2017 OHL Priority Selection draft. Prior to any draft, you will see hundreds of different rankings for hundreds of different things.
There wasn’t much change in my rankings from when they were released earlier this year. A couple of newcomers have joined the list and there was some shuffling around, but the top of the list remained the same.
Ryan Suzuki (London Jr. Knights) – The reported favourite to go 1st overall come Saturday, Suzuki shows fantastic vision on the ice and pinpoint passing skills. A playmaker, Suzuki has shown the ability to light the lamp when needed.
Brett Budgell (London Jr. Knights) – Budgell was a huge addition to London this season and helped them secure an Alliance championship and a semi-final run at the OHL Cup. Destined for the QMJHL, Budgell could be selected in the top 10.
Grayson Ladd (Chatham-Kent Cyclones) – The best D in the Alliance this year, Ladd has fine tuned his play with the Chatham Maroons once his minor midget season ended.
Aidan Prueter (London Jr. Knights) – Prueter has jumped up the list thanks to an impressive postseason run. Prueter has a knack for getting to the open areas and his puck control and possession is top notch.
Keean Washkurak (Waterloo Wolves) – Washkurak’s speed is undeniable and the 110% he gives every shift is evident. His 200ft game will be coveted by many teams.
Nathan Allensen (Waterloo Wolves) – Allensen was a workhorse for the Wolves near the end of the year. He defended many of the top players in Ontario this year with success and his offensive upside is very apparent.
Stephane Crevier (Sun County Panthers) – Injuries slowed Crevier down a bit at the end of the year but the talented winger continued his strong play to the very end. A wicked shot from the slot and quick cuts allow him to create so many chances on the ice.
Justin McCombs (Kitchener Jr. Rangers) – McCombs season was short due to injuries, but he showed in the postseason his value on the ice. Speed, vision and a strong defensive game should see him be one of the early Alliance picks.
Jeffrey Burridge (London Jr. Knights) – The big winger was a hit at the OHL Cup due to his outstanding play. Burridge is a smooth skater with deceptive speed. Has the potential to develop into a strong power forward.
Cole Mackay (Kitchener Jr. Rangers) – The Alliance leader in goals with arguably the best shot in the league, MacKay’s offensive upside could translate well to major junior hockey. His breakaway speed burned many teams this year.
David Anderson (Cambridge Hawks) – Anderson really developed into a two way player through his minor midget season. A lethal scorer, his defensive skills were on display during the OHL Cup.
Ryan Campbell (Cambridge Hawks) – Campbell had one of the best showings at the OHL Combine and that should boost his stock. Campbell’s play with the Winterhawks has also showed strong possibilities.
Aidan Pitre (Sun County Panthers) – The top and only goalie in the rankings, Pitre helped carry Sun County to a playoff win over Elgin-Middlesex. Pitre has size and has great poise under pressure.
Cole Schwindt (Kitchener Jr. Rangers) – Schwindt is a player many would enjoy on their roster as a strong defensive forward. Schwindt did a great job this season filling in as the top centre with McCombs out due to injury and impressed many onlookers.
Jordan Stock (Hamilton Huskies) – One of my personal favourites in the Alliance this year, Stock is a smooth forward who was a nightmare for defenders down low.
Navrin Mutter (Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs) – Mutter joins the list after just missing out earlier this year. Mutter is a physical force combined with offensive prowess.
Liam Van Loon (London Jr. Knights) – Many were raving about Van Loon at the OHL Cup and for good reason. The overtime hero for London in their Alliance clinching game, Van Loon gives it his all every second on the ice. He has an underrated shot that surprises many defenders.
Mark Woolley (Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs) – One of the best showings at the OHL Combine went to the Chief’s Woolley. Has speed and a bullet from the backend that compliments his physical style. Some added size will help propel him further.
Mason Howard (London Jr. Knights) – Another physical defenseman, Howard uses his great hockey IQ to always put himself in a spot for success. With some of the biggest hits I saw all season, Howard could be a force at the Jr. B level next season.
Nolan DeGurse (Lambton Jr. Sting) – DeGurse was the main offensive option for the Jr. Sting this season. A centre on the smaller end of the size chart, DeGurse uses his quick cuts and even quicker release to capitalize on small chances.
Jagger O’Toole (Cambridge Hawks) – O’Toole played some major minutes for the Hawks this year which included time up with the Winterhawks. A two-way defender, O’Toole’s stick handling is vastly understated.
Gavin Wood (Waterloo Wolves) – Wood showed a lot of improvement in multiple aspects of his game this season. He began the year as a solid defensive option and turned into an offensive threat, leading the offensive rush on several occasions.
Brayden Krieger (Waterloo Wolves) – Krieger was a great secondary scoring option for the Wolves this season. Krieger has good speed and smooth puck skills that allow him to get solid shooting options.
Aaron Shaw (Windsor Jr. Spitfires) – Shaw was a focal point of the Windsor offense this season playing alongside Tyler Tullio and Adam Jeffery. Shaw is underrated in my mind and could turn into a solid value pick for one lucky club.
Jacob Bloomfield (Brantford 99ers) – Rounding out the list is Bloomfield, the shifty 99er forward. Bloomfield has speed and skill that can create ample amounts of chances, which was displayed during All-Star weekend. Small in size now, Bloomfield has loads of potential should a growth spurt occur.
That does it for the Alliance Scout Top 25 player rankings. This was not an easy list to compile and there were a lot of players that just missed out. During the 2016 OHL Priority Selection draft, 22 out of the 25 players listed in the final top 25 rankings were taken.
Follow all the action right here at AllianceHockeyScout.com beginning at 9am on Saturday. We will be keeping you up to date on all Alliance players and goalies selected by OHL clubs.
The latest hockey season has come to an end for some of the teams in the Alliance but there is still hockey being played which includes four Alliance teams trying their hand at the illustrious OHL Cup championship title. The London Jr. Knights, Waterloo Wolves and Cambridge Hawks have all punched their ticket to the dance with the Kitchener Jr. Rangers just one win away from joining them. Last year was a disappointing tournament for the Alliance with no teams from the association making it past the round robin portion of the tournament. This season, the Alliance enters the tournament with London being ranked at the top and legitimate contenders to take the crown.
For the third consecutive year, Waterloo and London will meet with the Alliance championship up for grabs. With Waterloo having won both of those meetings, and the past three Alliance titles, the Jr. Knights will look to conquer the reigning champion with arguably the best team currently in the province and possibly the best team to wear the Jr. Knights jerseys.
London has cruised their way to the championship series. London powered their way past Sun County in the opening round and then had very little trouble sweeping away an incredibly talented Cambridge team in the second round. London has been led by some familiar faces through their seven postseason games with top OHL Draft prospect Ryan Suzuki leading the way with 18 points while talented winger Aidan Prueter has eight goals and 16 points.
With the Cambridge Hawks still awaiting word of who they will play against in the Alliance OHL Cup Play-In series, a couple of players will get some game action in this week. Goaltender Jet Greaves and defenseman Jagger O’Toole will be on the ice for the Jr. B Cambridge Winterhawks this week according to head coach Dan Fitzgerald. O’Toole is expected to play tomorrow against Listowel while Greaves will start in net Friday night as the Winterhawks travel to Listowel for another contest.
Greaves has been one of the standouts for the Hawks during their playdown run this season. He had a stellar series against the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs and then, despite being swept, Greaves had some great games against the top ranked London Jr. Knights. Greaves postseason record sits at 3-3 with a solid 2.67 GAA and a .911 SV%. In his lone game with the Winterhawks this season, Greaves took on Listowel back in October. Greaves allowed one goal while making 28 saves, falling to the Cyclones 2-0.
O’Toole has played in five of Cambridge’s postseason games thanks to a two game suspension he received in game one against London. In those games, O’Toole tallied one goal and two assists to go along with 33 penalty minutes. O’Toole suited up for the Winterhawks back in November against Stratford and did not register a point.
The London Jr. Knights cruised into the semi-finals by further cementing their offensive prowess against the leagues best goaltender. Cambridge also swept their way into the final four in a physical affair that featured a home away from home game. The obvious question heading into this 8 point series is whether the Hawks defense and stellar goaltending can last a full 50 minutes against London’s powerhouse forwards.
London, who still own top spot in the OHL Cup rankings, made a definite statement in their first round series with the Sun County Panthers, outscoring them 17-3 through the three game series. The Jr. Knights were lead by a few familiar faces as Ryan Suzuki (4G, 5A), Aidan Preuter (2G, 6A) and Brett Budgell (2G, 5A) led the way offensively. The offense was spread out though with London having the top five scorers during the postseason thus far.
A rematch of last year’s first round series, the Waterloo Wolves quest for yet another Alliance championship will need to go through a Hamilton team that has been playing tight, defensive hockey over the past month.
The Waterloo Wolves are on an incredibly impressive run heading into the postseason. The Wolves have won 16 straight games which includes a huge win over the London Jr. Knights just a couple weeks ago. While Waterloo has not dominated throughout their win streak, they have found a way to pull out games when they needed to and get timely scoring along the way. Click here for full article
The London Jr. Knights are currently the number one team in the province according to the OHL Cup rankings and have been nearly untouchable for the Alliance season. Sun County recently clinched a playoff spot and a some recent tough games led them to falling into the 8th seed.
London only lost two season games all year and dominated the majority of the teams. The one team they did not totally dominate was the Sun County Panthers. In three league games this year, London went 2-0-1 but their largest victory was just two goals. Only Waterloo and Kitchener played the Jr. Knights tougher than the Panthers did this season. Click here for full article
Last season, the Windsor Jr. Spitfires took on the Kitchener Jr. Rangers in a preliminary round series at Major Bantam. Windsor was a six seed, Kitchener was last at 11. Kitchener pulled off the upset in three games. These two teams meet again this year, but this time Kitchener is the top seed and Windsor is looking for the upset.
These two teams are not strangers to each other. Both squads met up four times this year with a quarter-final date at the Dale Parker tournament joining their three league games. Kitchener took the season series 3-1, winning the final three meetings which included that quarter-final game. Click here for full article
In sports history, the playoff battle between the fourth and fifth seeds has always been a tight one. When it comes to the Alliance this season, I full expect that trend to continue.
The Cambridge Hawks and Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs are two fairly similar clubs. They have forwards who can light up the scoresheet on occasion, a defense that is led by an offensively minded player and solid goaltending on the back end. The Chiefs and Hawks played three games this season, but two of those were within the first month of the season. In those two games, each team came away with a victory. In their latest meeting, the Hawks sprung out to a quick lead but Elgin battled back and the two ended with a tie in a very physical contest. Click here for full article