We’ve finally made it to the end.
After months of hockey and weeks upon weeks of notes, it is finally the time to release who the Alliance Scout feels are the top five players playing in the association this season. While this is the top five at this point, it hasn’t always been in this order or for that matter, these five players.
Throughout the season, players have played their way up the rankings and some have even played themselves into the top five. While they are ranked there at this point, the competition behind them is fierce and it was take constant improvement in their game to remain at such a high stature.
5. Alex Gritz (Waterloo Wolves) – The American import has been an offensive terror for defenses across the league. Gritz possesses incredible speed bursts coming up the wing and probably the quickest release on his shot that can nail any corner of the net open. The Wolves use Gritz all over the ice whether it be on the powerplay or even on the PK. Gritz will be a weapon many teams will not want to defend when playdowns roll around next month.
4. Brady Hinz (Huron-Perth Lakers) – Hinz was one player whose stock was skyrocketing early this year as the Lakers continued their torrid pace to begin the season. Unfortunately for Hinz, injury halted his rise, but upon his return he picked up exactly where he left off. Hinz is a skilled playmaker who has an exceptional vision for where his teammates are. While Hinz has found himself as the setup man a lot this season, he can easily switch things up and put the puck in the net.
3. Jake Murray (Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs) – Jake Murray is right there alongside Alex Gritz as probably my favourite players to watch in person. Every time I see Murray play, it seems that he has added another aspect to his game and continually shows growth in what he does best. Speed, stick handling, heavy shot and the ability to glide untouched through the neutral zone is his game. Murray isn’t the biggest player on the ice, but his mindset on the ice will take him far in this game.
2. Eric Guest (London Jr. Knights) – The top player on the board to begin the season, Guest fell one spot mainly because he has been the target of every teams best defensive player all season long. There is no denying the talent Guest has and it was evident at the Silver Stick tournament where he showed how easily he can take over a game. Guest is obviously a gifted offensive player and has even had some reps on defense for the Jr. Knights. His game will translate well to the junior style and that has already been seen with his play with the Jr. B London Nationals.
1. Owen Lalonde (Windsor Jr. Spitfires) – The top player in the Alliance according to Alliance Scout is the defenseman out of Windsor Owen Lalonde. Lalonde has impressed plenty since the Alliance Showcase, all the way through All Star Weekend. Lalonde is a physical force on the blue line who is more about defense than leading the rush like other top defenseman in the Alliance. Despite not being one to lead a rush, Lalonde is a constant threat from the point whether he’s finding the open man in the slot or moving in for his lightning quick snap shot. Lalonde always maintains a calm demeanour when in his own zone which results in a minimal amount of turnovers. Lalonde is the class in the Alliance for the 2015/16 season and if the OHL Priority Selection Draft were tomorrow, I’d expect Lalonde to be the first Alliance player taken.