2017/18 Kitchener Jr. Rangers Season Preview

Minor Midget Record: 17-9-7 (3rd Place)

Minor Midget Result: Lost in semi-finals to Waterloo in 8 games (Lost in OHL Cup Play-In Game)

Major Bantam Record: 12-15-5 (9th Place)

Major Bantam Result: Lost in first round to Waterloo in 4 games

Following another disappointing end to their season at the OHL Cup, the Kitchener Jr. Rangers will once again aim for a permanent spot in the provincial championship tournament.

Last year’s Minor Midget team was one of the more surprising teams in the league. After finishing bantam in last place, the 2001 version of the Kitchener Jr. Rangers were a top tier team in the Alliance thanks to the offensive additions of Cole Mackay and Justin McCombs. In addition to Mackay and McCombs, it was the emergence of Cole Schwindt and the play of Zach Russell that got Kitchener to the semi-finals of the playdowns, culminating in one of the best postseason series I’ve ever seen.
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2017 OHL Priority Selection Draft Results

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.

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2017 Final Alliance Scout Top 25 Player Rankings

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.

Series Preview: (3) Kitchener Jr. Rangers vs. (6) Windsor Jr. Spitfires

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.
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2016/17 Alliance Scout Player Rankings 6-15

Just one day after releasing our first round of Alliance Scout player rankings, we are back at it again as we get closer and closer to the top of the list. This group of players, which counts down to the top five, features some skaters who I probably would have had in the top five had I done a preseason rankings.

That isn’t to say that their game has regressed by any means, but that some others players have seen immense improvements in their game. To repeat something that I talked about yesterday, the difference between some of these players is incredibly miniscule. After making the tough decision of getting down to 25 players, placing them in a specific order was even more of a challenge.

With the players from 6-15 now released, look for the top five Alliance Scout rankings to come out very soon. Click here for full article

2016/17 Minor Midget Rankings (Week 7)

Although the last couple of weeks have been slow when it comes to the Alliance regular season, the next week will be super busy as the league winds down for the holiday season.

Even though season play does wrap up for the holidays, that doesn’t mean these teams and players will get some time for rest and relaxation. The majority of the Alliance teams will be heading down for the Toronto Marlies Holiday Classic, one of the top tournaments of the season.

While the tournament won’t have any impact on the rankings, the slow period does give some time for other project. Most importantly, look out for the Alliance Scout Top 25 player rankings to be released in the final week of December. The initial list will then be updated in February and a final ranking released just prior to the OHL Draft in April.

Housekeeping out of the way, here are the latest and greatest team rankings.
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Alliance All-Star Rosters Released

Coming up this weekend, Waterloo will host yet another Alliance All-Star weekend. The event, which showcases players from Bantam to Midget, is also the beginning of the selection process for the Alliance OHL Gold Cup team as well as the first viewing for some looking to represent Team Canada next year at the U16 tournament.

68 Minor Midget players were selected as part of the four team mini tournament that occurs throughout the weekend. 36 forwards, 24 defenseman and 8 goalies in total will make the trek.

Here are the full team rosters.

Team Blue:

G – Corson Marit (Kitchener)

G – Lewis Boulton (London)

D – Stefan Dobrich (Sun County)

D – Mason Howard (London)

D – Stefan Panzalovic (Sun County)

D – Dylan Schives (Chatham-Kent)

D – Michael Van Loon (Elgin-Middlesex)

D – Gavin Wood (Waterloo)

F – David Anderson (Cambridge)

F – Cal Christner (Waterloo)

F – Stephane Crevier (Sun County)

F – Nolan Degurse (Lambton)

F – Luke Drewitt (London)

F – Tyson Hillier (Waterloo)

F – T.J. Hughes (Hamilton)

F – Jakob Marche (Elgin-Middlesex)

F – Keean Washkurak (Waterloo)
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2016/17 Minor Midget Rankings (Week 5)

Apologies for missing the rankings last week. The flu bug ran around the household and put myself out of capacity for some time.

Back and full of health, it was a busy and interesting weekend in the Alliance. Much like myself, a few teams have begun preparations for the Silver Stick tournament in Whitby coming up on Thursday.

Some teams shined as Waterloo and Kitchener both had successful weekends at home while others like Windsor and Sun County faltered a bit. Tomorrow will mark exactly two months until the Alliance regular season and while there aren’t a tonne of races, there is still plenty of time for teams to make a significant jump or stumble towards the end.

Here we go with the Week 5 Minor Midget rankings

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2016/17 Minor Midget Rankings (Week One)

Alliance Showcase Day 2 Roundup

Good news! I barely saw any nets come loose causing multiple stoppages in the play. Aside from the quality of the games on the ice, the biggest positive to take away from the second day at the Alliance Showcase.

Chatham-Kent speeds past host Huron-Perth

In the opening game of the morning, the Chatham-Kent Cyclones continued their strong play this weekend with a 2-0 shutout win over host Huron-Perth. While not complete domination, the Lakers were hard pressed to get any good scoring chances instead attempting long shots on net and crashing for the rebounds.

The Cyclones showed that they will be a handful for teams that don’t possess to speed and size that is currently in the Chatham-Kent lineup. Lucas Fancy was one forward who stood out for me this morning. Small in size, he makes up for it by making quick decisions and is one of the leaders on the ice. Reminds me a bit of Sean Kawalec from last year’s Kitchener squad. Along with Fancy, forwards Evan Wells and Cole Mackinnon were strong in the win. Nolan Dekoning picked up the shutout, his first win of the season.
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