Two teams managed to pull of perfect records in games this past week: The London Knights and the Oshawa Generals. The Knights played three games in four days, coming back from a 3-0 deficit to edge Kitchener 5-4 on Thursday, defeating Saginaw 5-1 on Friday and blasting the Bulldogs 7-2 in Hamilton on Sunday. The Knights are now just one point out of first place overall in the OHL. The Generals are just three points out of top spot after a come-from-behind overtime win over Guelph and a 6-2 victory over the visiting Sarnia Sting. Sarnia, Kitchener, Erie and Sault Ste. Marie sit jammed atop the standings with 17 points each.
Owen Tippett of the Mississauga Steelheads has been putting pucks into nets at a furious rate. After scoring once in his first six games, he has poured in 11 goals in his last six games. Tippett is just 17 and in his NHL draft year. He came into the league as the fourth overall pick in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection and was known for his ability to shoot the puck, but not many players average a goal per game one month into their second season.
Counting To Nine
A junior-aged player is allowed to play nine games in the NHL without the first year of his contract kicking in. There are eight OHL players who are quickly making their way through those nine games, whose teams will have to decide whether to keep them or send them back to their junior teams.
Mitch Marner – Anyone who has seen Marner play for the Toronto Maple Leafs this season would be quite surprised to see him in anything but blue and white. He has a goal and two assists in five games and is averaging over sixteen minutes of ice time per game.
Jakob Chychrun – Not many 18-year old defencemen find permanent homes in the NHL, but Chychrun is making his case to stay in Arizona instead of returning to Sarnia. He has a goal and two assists in four games, is even in plus-minus and is playing over sixteen minutes a game.
Travis Konecny – Sarnia is also keeping an eye on the Clachan native, who has five assists in five games for Philadelphia. His audition is going well.
Matthew Tkachuk – The Flames’ first round pick has played in five games, has scored a goal and has been his best disruptive self on the ice. Tkachuk was a healthy scratch on Saturday, but Calgary head coach Glen Gulutzan deflected any questions away by saying, “It’s good for young players to watch.”
Dylan Strome – The Erie Otters’ forward has played in three games for the Coyotes, has an assist and is a minus-3. He is averaging just over twelve minutes of ice time.
Blake Speers – The Greyhounds’ forward has appeared in three games and while he does not have a point, he is even in plus-minus. Speers is also playing less than ten minutes per game. It will be up to the Devils to decide whether that is enough to make his development worthwhile at the NHL level.
Lawson Crouse – The Mt. Brydges’ native is in a similar boat. He has played four games for Arizona and is averaging 7:42 per game. Crouse has not recorded a point and is a minus-3. He does have five shots on goal and has been a very good physical presence.
Mikhail Sergachev – The Windsor Spitfires defenceman has played in three games for the Montreal Canadiens. He is averaging just over ten minutes per game, but his ice time has been consistent. Montreal doesn’t have to rush a decision just yet.
Off To Under-17s
Twenty-six OHL players played their final games in the league for a couple of weeks. They will all be heading to Sault Ste. Marie for the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge. Normally the tournament takes place around the Christmas break, but it has been moved up this year to avoid direct competition with the World Junior Championship and to make it easier on clubs that lose a number of players to both international tournaments. Team Canada is split into three squads, Red, White and Black. Liam Foudy and Billy Moskal of the London Knights will be taking part. Foudy is a member of Team White. Moskal will play for Team Black. Moskal will be alongside Londoner, Eric Guest, who plays for the Kitchener Rangers. The tournament gets going on October 30th.