TLN’s OHL Update
Photo credit:Header Image: Mike Westlake
1 year ago
Welcome to TLN’s OHL Update, the place to be for everything you need to know about the OHL after each weekend of action. This past weekend saw some incredible performances and exciting storylines in the NHL that could be significant in the OHL.
However, first, a much more critical note. Sunday, Greyhounds defenceman Luc Brzustowski was hit along the boards and suffered a seizure on the ice. The medical staff was with him instantly, and the team later announced that he was transported to a hospital and was in good spirits. They also announced that initial tests ruled out some more serious concerns. Our thoughts are with Brzustowski and his family, and we wish him a speedy recovery.
67’s suffer first loss
After starting the season a perfect 9-0, the Ottawa 67’s finally suffered their first loss of the season Friday night, 5-3, at the hands of the Peterborough Petes.
It would have been nice for the team to achieve 10 straight wins to begin the season; 10 is just a nice, sharp number. They did, though, rebound with their 10th win of the season on Sunday, blowing out the Soo Greyhounds 6-1, showing that they quickly got over their first loss easily.
This team is legit and are early favourites to be OHL champions in the spring. They already have seven skaters with 10 or more points, and Brad Gardiner is just one away with nine. They play with a lot of speed and skill and are coached by one of the best in the league, Dave Cameron. This team will only get better as a buyer at the trade deadline, and there are some Hamilton Bulldogs vibes from last season with their pure domination in what seems like each game.
Michael Misa can’t stop scoring
Three players are tied for the league lead in goals with 10 on the season. Two are Brennan Othmann (FLNT) and Francesco Arcuri (KGN), two players with proven goal-scoring abilities in the OHL. The other is Michael Misa, a 15-year-old granted exceptional status, and so far has proven that decision to be correct.
The best players always know how to be in the right spot at the right time, and it feels like the puck follows them around the ice. That’s precisely what happens when you watch Misa play; his hockey IQ and ability to find open space are immediately evident.
What he is doing right now is truly special. John Tavares holds the OHL record for most goals by an exceptional status player in his rookie season with 45, and if Misa can keep this pace for most of the season, that record could soon be his.
Wolves fire Duncanson
On Monday, the Sudbury Wolves relieved Craig Duncanson of his head coaching duties.
The Wolves have struggled to begin the season and currently own a 3-7-1-0 record, which is the worst in the Central Division. Despite their record, the team possesses a talented group of players, including David Goyette, Quentin Musty, and Kocha Delic, so the problem certainly isn’t a lack of talent.
Assistant GM Ken Mackenzie will take over behind the bench interim while the organization searches for a replacement. The next seven games for the Wolves will be at home, which presents an excellent opportunity for the team to find a rhythm and go on a run.
Quick notes & thoughts
With Shane Wright already being a healthy scratch multiple times this season, one has to wonder if Seattle will send him back to Kingston if they aren’t comfortable playing him in the NHL every night. The Frontenacs getting Wright back would be fascinating, as they would have to either go for a championship this season or trade him for what one would think would be a monster of a return.
Niagara was hoping to take a big step forward after a brutal 2021-22 campaign, and so far, it has gotten off to a rocky start. An 11-3 loss to the Windsor Spitfires Friday night might have been a wake-up call that they are still far off from being amongst the league’s best.
For a team that was in a full sell-now mode last season, many raised an eyebrow when the Petes acquired forward Chase Stillman on deadline day from the Sudbury Wolves. Peterborough is a much better team this season, and Stillman looks to fit into their offence very well, with eight points in 11 games so far.
The Saginaw Spirit have been involved in some high-scoring games early this season. They have scored 56 goals (T-2nd best in OHL) and allowed 54 (3rd worst in OHL). Wonder if they will start looking for external help to keep the puck out of their net by adding to their blue line. The offence certainly isn’t an issue.
Leafs prospect updates
Ty Voit continues to lead the OHL in points with 24 in 12 games, 18 of which are assists. He’s only been kept off the scoresheet in two games this season and is the centre-point of the Sting’s offence. He’s showcasing all the attributes you want to see from an elite playmaker; high hockey IQ, strong edges, and excellent decision-making abilities. He’ll be amongst the league leaders in points all season if healthy.
Braeden Kressler has only played in 5 games this season but has scored six goals and added three assists. Othmann might get the majority of attention on the Firebirds offence, but make no mistake, the Maple Leafs prospect will be a dynamic force this season. Flint projects to be a great team this season, so we could see him make a deep playoff run in the spring.
Stats from eliteprospects.com