We only have one month to go in the regular season and it should be a busy one. Not only are 10 of the 12 Alliance teams making the trip for the Toronto Marlboros Holiday tournament beginning today, but the standings in the Alliance are super tight.
Heading into 2020, there is a three point separation between Elgin, Hamilton and Waterloo for the top three spots in the league. Following those teams, only four points separates 4th from 8th place with the Cambridge Hawks and Kitchener Jr. Rangers still clinging to life for that final playdown spot.
As we are looking at player rankings this time around, below is the December edition of the rankings as I once again have players slotted in A, B and C categories.
A new year leads us to a new format for the Alliance Scout player rankings. In previous years, the site would release a top 25 player list during the Toronto Marlboros tournament and then a final list prior to the OHL Priority Selection.
This year, we are changing things up. Rather than just having two rankings, we will be releasing a new ranking every month. And rather than just doing the top 25, we will be modeling the list after how OHL and NHL Central Scouting does their lists. Doing these lists monthly will allow for a more accurate representation and also can allow for players who have been having strong months to make their way onto the lists.
Prospects have been split into three different categories. Those in the “A Prospect” pool are players who I see as the cream of the crop and those who could be hearing their name called in the opening four rounds of the OHL Draft. A player under the “B Prospect” heading I believe could be going in rounds 5-10 while players in the C category could be going in rounds 11-15. Players names are all listed alphabetically and not in any ranking order.
So without any further delay, here is our initial list.
2018/19 Minor Midget Record: 3-27-3 (12th overall)
2018/19 Minor Midget Result: Did not qualify for playdowns
2018/19 Major Bantam Record: 20-7-5 (2nd overall)
2018/19 Major Bantam Result: Lost in semi-finals to Elgin-Middlesex
Following two years of the Minor Midget Hamilton Huskies occupying the cellar of the Alliance standings, this year sees a Hamilton team that should be a contender come January.
The last two seasons have definitely been trying times for the Huskies organization. Just a three win season a year ago, Hamilton did grow as a team and was able to have some success in the postseason as they knocked out Cambridge in the consolation bracket before being swept by the Jr. Knights. Turnover from bantam to minor midget has been a trend over the past couple of seasons and this year looks to be a similar story on that front.
We have finally made it to the holiday break, which actually isn’t much of a break for many teams. 10 of the 12 Alliance squads will be participating in the Toronto Marlboros Holiday Classic, with just the Chatham-Kent Cyclones and the Lambton Jr. Sting skipping out on the tournament.
The new year will bring plenty of battles and lots of exciting play in the Alliance loop. While the eight teams that will be advancing to the playdowns seems to get clearer and clearer every day, it is the battle for positioning that should take us down to the wire. Add in the new postseasons twist of the “consolation” playoff winner having a shot at an OHL Cup Wildcard spot and there is lots of meaningful hockey ahead.
With only a month left to play, here is what I think the opening round of the playdowns will look like.
Brantford vs Huron-Perth
London vs Chatham-Kent
Windsor vs Cambridge
Kitchener vs Waterloo
Now here is the final team rankings for the year of 2018.