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 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.
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
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
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.
After cruising through Thursday afternoon traffic on the 401 and spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to find a parking spot, finally I was ready to take in my favourite tournament of the year, the Whitby Silver Stick.
This is the 2nd year that I have attended this tournament and after one day the Alliance has already surpassed what they did in last year’s tournament. I remember last year, there were a lot of high hopes for teams such as London, Waterloo and Windsor. Needless to say, the Alliance teams all laid an egg and none of the six teams that entered the tournament advanced to the quarter-final round.
Before I even got to the arena, the Alliance was 0-1 after the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs, in the first Minor Midget game of the tournament, fell to the Southern Tier Admirals. It was a tough start for the Chiefs, especially considering that Friday morning they will have to try and contain Jack Hughes and Graeme Clarke as they take on the Toronto Marlboros.
The first full game that I was able to take in was the Waterloo Wolves and the always tough Mississauga Rebels. Let’s just say, the day didn’t start off on quite the greatest foot.
Waterloo Wolves downed 8-2 by Mississauga Rebels in flat tournament opener
The game actually started in favour of the Wolves. The forecheck was putting lots of pressure on the Rebels defense and they were using some speed to stretch the offense. The Wolves opened up the scoring when Nathan Allensen took and pass and ripped it top corner from the faceoff dot and it appeared that the Wolves were in business. Click here for full article
Coming up tomorrow afternoon is arguably my favourite weekend of the hockey schedule, the Alliance Minor Midget Showcase tournament. It’s always great to have all of the teams from the league in one building and able to showcase their talents for people around the province to see. Teams people may see once or twice a year are exposed to a wider audience.
The event, which is once again hosted by the Huron-Perth Lakers in St. Mary’s, Ontario, is full of great team matchups and interesting angles from an observers perspective. I will personally be in attendance for all of the Showcase, which also gives me the hard task of deciding which games to view as many run concurrently with others.
For those not fully aware of the schedule, here is what the weekend looks like.
Friday, September 23
1:45pm – Elgin-MIddlesex vs Cambridge
2:00pm – London vs Huron-Perth
3:45pm – Hamilton vs Lambton
4:00pm – Chatham-Kent vs Brantford
5:45pm – Sun County vs Kitchener
7:45pm – Waterloo vs Windsor
Saturday, September 24
8:00am – Huron-Perth vs Chatham-Kent
8:15am – London vs Brantford
10:00am – Elgin-Middlesex vs Kitchener
10:15am – Waterloo vs Lambton
12:00pm – Sun County vs Cambridge
12:15pm – Windsor vs Hamilton
4:00pm – Elgin-Middlesex vs Brantford
4:15pm – Waterloo vs Chatham-Kent
6:00pm – Lambton vs Cambridge
6:15pm – Huron-Perth vs Sun County
8:00pm – Kitchener vs Windsor
8:15pm – London vs Hamilton
Sunday, September 25
8:00am – Sun County vs Brantford
8:15am – Elgin-Middlesex vs Huron-Perth
10:00am – Kitchener vs Lambton
10:15am – Windsor vs Cambridge
12:00pm – Hamilton vs Chatham-Kent
12:15pm – London vs Waterloo
Lots of really great matchups on paper throughout the schedule. While the showcase isn’t the bench mark for how teams will do this season, it does give teams the chance to excel and build some momentum while also risking a tough weekend lingering on for some time.
With that said, I do have five story lines, players and teams that I am most looking forward to checking out. This isn’t all I’m excited for, but more what intrigues me heading into the weekend.
Andrew MacLean – By all accounts, MacLean was stellar in net for the Jr. Sting when they fell to Waterloo over the weekend. He also played strong in goal for Lambton during their play at the Titans tournament. It will be interesting to see if MacLean can vault himself into the conversation for top goalie in the Alliance alongside AIdan Petrie and Cy Martin.
Sun County Panthers – I have had the opportunity to see lots of Panthers action early in the season. The team played very well at the Titans tournament, but lost both their season opening games, albeit against tough competition in Cambridge and Waterloo. The Panthers have a decent schedule this weekend and it would be a big boost to the club to come out on a good streak.
Tyler Tulio – Tulio, along with Zane Dalpe, are the lone players in the Alliance born in 2002. Tulio was very impressive in viewings at Bantam but the size of players at Minor Midget is a big difference. Very curious if he will be able to dictate play as well as he did a year ago.
London vs Waterloo – A rematch of both the Bantam and Minor Midget championship from a year ago, the Jr. Knights and Wolves always have nail biting games. London had the advantage at bantam last season, but a new look Waterloo squad are hopeful the new additions will put them over the top.
Jacob Bloomfield – Finally, a player whose bantam play always left me waiting for more, Bloomfield has continued to be a force in the 99ers lineup. One of the top scorers in the Alliance at the Titans tournament, Bloomfield is a player all those in attendance will need to keep their eyes on.
Those are a few of the reason why I’m excited for this coming weekend. With that said, let’s hear from you.
The game started off exactly how the Cambridge Hawks had hoped, jumping out in front with two early goals. However, London chipped away at that lead and ended up scoring six unanswered, taking the Alliance season opener 6-2.
While London got some really good early pressure in the first period, it was the Hawks who scored on their very first shot on net of the season. Ryan Campbell, whom some believe is the top forward in the Alliance this season, was the man behind the first goal as he banged the puck in from in front of the net. Later on in the first, the Jr. Knights got into some penalty trouble and it was David Anderson who picked a top corner from the circle to put Cambridge up 2-0. The offensive potential of Anderson was very apparent in the opening game. Continue reading →
The new season of Minor Midget hockey officially, to an extent, gets started later today with the beginning of the Toronto Titans Early Bird tournament. The tournament, which features 52 teams from across Ontario and the US, is a great first look at some of the top teams and players at the age group. It should be noted that the results from this tournament don’t always signify how the season will play out. One only has to go back to see that Windsor went 1-3 last year at this tournament and then went on to advance and compete at the OHL Cup.
For the Alliance this year, 11 of the 12 teams in the league will be competing at the tournament. The lone team not attending are the Kitchener Jr. Rangers. With 11 teams and just 10 divisions in the tournament, Chatham-Kent and Elgin-Middlesex end up in the same division but the rest of the Alliance is separated and will only meet in elimination play. There are some teams that are contenders to win this tournament while other teams have some difficult matchups coming up. Here’s a look at each team and where they stack up against the competition.
Sun County Panthers:
The Panthers roll into the tournament following a disappointing 0-3 weekend in Waterloo during the exhibition tournament. The Panthers played strong defensively, but were unable to break out on the offensive side of things. The offense will need to show up this week as the Panthers are in tough in their division. Matchups against Oakville and Clarington are tough, but having both the Don Mills Flyers and the Mississauga Rebels in your division is cause for concern. Look for Aidan Pitre to steal the show and open some eyes this week.
London Jr. Knights:
Many are touting the Jr. Knights as possibly being one of the top teams in the province this season. The Titans tournament will be the first chance London has to showcase their talent. The Jr. Knights, as per usual, did not compete in any exhibition games and this will be the first chance fans have to see London in game action. It won’t be easy as London is in a tough division. The Kingston Jr. Frontenacs, Toronto Red Wings and Chicago Mission are all solid clubs that will test London. With the news that London has added two new forwards in Levi Siau and Brett Budgell, they will be two names to keep an eye on especially Budgell. It will be a huge statement for London should they go deep in the tournament. Click here for full article