With the OHL season getting underway in late September, it was great to see so many 2001 born Alliance players making their OHL clubs. In addition to the 01’s, there were plenty of 2000 alumni who were also making the step to major junior hockey.
As we did last season, every month we are going to be taking a look at some of the Alliance standouts each month and how they are doing in the OHL. Having covered both the 2001 and 2000 age groups extensively, I will be looking at both years to see who is standing out in the league and there are plenty.
Ryan Suzuki – Barrie Colts (London Jr. Knights)
The first overall pick in last year’s draft, Suzuki has continued to find the same success in Barrie as he did in London last season. Grouped in with a plethora of young talent, Suzuki’s vision and playmaking ability has translated into 10 assists through the first month of the season to go along with a goal, giving him 10 points. Suzuki is second in rookie scoring, behind only injured teammate and potential 1st overall pick in the upcoming NHL Draft Andrei Svechnikov. Look for Suzuki to find continued success as Barrie looks towards a spot in the playoffs this season and Suzuki continues to see success much like older brother Nick in Owen Sound.
Cole Schwindt – Mississauga Steelheads (Kitchener Jr. Rangers)
Schwindt has probably been the most surprising story of all the 2001 Alliance players now calling the OHL home. Schwindt, who showed vast improvement with Kitchener last season, showed some offensive flashes with Mississauga in October when the team struggled out of the gate. Schwindt registered four goals and three assists in his 14 contests. The 4th round pick has seen an increased role with Mississauga due to his strong start. Known for his defensive play at the minor midget level, Schwindt also registered a respectable -2 in a month where the Steelheads were near the bottom of the Eastern conference.
Nathan Allensen – Barrie Colts (Waterloo Wolves)
Heading back over to Barrie, nobody had a better debut than Nate Allensen did with the Colts. Coming out of the gate strong, Allensen registered his first OHL goal along with two assists in his first game and got attention nationally for it. While his opening game pace was never sustainable, Allensen has still posted five points in the 11 games he has played for Barrie through October. With the Colts being in a position to contend, Allensen will gain valuable experience this season as he prepares for an increased role come 2018/19.
Other 2001 Alliance alumni in the OHL: (Games Played – Goals – Assists – Points)
Mark Woolley – Guelph Storm (Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs) 15-1-1-2
Navrin Mutter – Hamilton Bulldogs (Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs) 5-0-0-0
Luke Drewitt – Kingston Frontenacs (London Jr. Knights) 1-0-0-0
Grayson Ladd – Kitchener Rangers (Chatham-Kent Cyclones) 7-0-0-0
Keean Washkurak – Mississauga Steelheads (Waterloo Wolves) 13-3-0-3
Aidan Prueter – Saginaw Spirit (London Jr. Knights) 13-1-2-3
Cole Mackay – Soo Greyhounds (Kitchener Jr. Rangers) 4-0-3-3
Brady Hinz – Sarnia Sting (Huron-Perth Lakers)
Hinz has been an offensive force for the OHL leading Sting through the first month of the season. Hinz averaged more than a point per game in October and was top five in goal scoring to end the month. Hinz registered 10 goals and 16 points in his teams first 15 games and was a fantastic +11 through that stretch. The #4 ranked player in my final rankings of the 2000 born players, Hinz has shown great improvement in his 2nd OHL season. Should a pace like this continue on a strong Sarnia team, Hinz should see his NHL Draft stock continue to rise.
Alex Gritz – Erie Otters (Waterloo Wolves)
A move from the Soo closer to home in Erie for Gritz has shown great results thus far. Gritz, who only had five points in 37 games during his rookie campaign, put up five goals and eight points in his first 14 games with Erie to begin the season. Known for his goal scoring during his lone year with Waterloo in 2015/16, it’s great to see Gritz finally be able to find that touch at the junior level. With Erie not being the powerhouse they once were, Gritz may get the opportunity to find the back of the net even more and present himself as a legitimate goal scorer in the OHL.
Other 2000 Alliance alumni in the OHL: (Game Played – Goals – Assists – Points)
Luke Bignell – Barrie Colts (Kitchener Jr. Rangers) 8-4-0-4
Owen Lalonde – Guelph Storm (Windsor Jr. Spitfires) 15-0-3-3
Jake Murray – Hamilton Bulldogs (Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs) 10-0-0-0
Eric Guest – Kitchener Rangers (London Jr. Knights) 9-1-1-2
Mason Hardy – Mississauga Steelheads (Waterloo Wolves) 4-0-2-2
Isaac Walker – Mississauga Steelheads (London Jr. Knights) 8-0-0-0
Mitch Hoelscher – Ottawa 67’s (Waterloo Wolves) 15-1-1-2
John Parker-Jones – Peterborough Petes (Brantford 99ers) 6-1-1-2
Marko Jakovljevic – Sarnia Sting (Brantford 99ers) 8-0-0-0
Holden Wale – Soo Greyhounds (Brantford 99ers) 11-1-0-1
Owen Gilhula – Sudbury Wolves (Huron-Perth Lakers) 16-3-2-5
Blake McConville – Sudbury Wolves (Windsor Jr. Spitfires) 11-0-0-0
Chris Playfair – Windsor Spitfires (Waterloo Wolves) 14-2-0-2