Sunday, May 10, 2009
Sunday Top 10 - Playoff Performers
With the OHL Playoffs coming to an end Friday night, it's only fitting that this week's Sunday Top 10 takes a look at the top performers of this years playoffs. This was a hard list to make because so many players stepped up their games this year. However, here's what I think...
10. John Carlson - London Knights
Carlson was outstanding for London in the playoffs this year, his first time going to the OHL playoffs. Posting 7 goals, 15 assists and a +11 rating, Carlson was the second highest scoring defenseman of the playoffs, behind Windsor's Ryan Ellis. Carlson's ppg average was actually slightly higher than Ellis'. His 22 points also lead the Knights in scoring.In past years, the Knight's defense had taken some criticism in the playoffs for not quite playing well enough, so Carlson's (and the rest of the defense) effort was huge this year to push London to the West final. Carlson has since moved on to the AHL where he's actually playing with Hershey in their quest for the Calder Cup, already scoring a game winning goal for them.
9. J.P. Anderson - Mississauga St. Michael's Majors
Sure Mississauga only made it to the Eastern semi final, but the reason for that was the play of this young, 1993 born rookie. After veteran starter Chris Carrozzi faltered at the beginning of the team's first round series with Barrie, Majors Coach Dave Cameron turned to Anderson to get the Majors further in the playoffs. The rookie was up to the test, playing out of this world in the net for the Majors. The Majors ended up losing to the eventual Eastern Champion Brampton Battalion in a hard fought 6 game series in the second round, however Anderson's effort can not go overlooked. With the OHL playoffs over, his 2.50 GAA is still tops among playoff goalies, and his .928 SV% is right up near the top. With his performance at the Under 17's and now in the playoffs, this somewhat undersized goaltender is quickly making himself a serious prospect for the 2010 NHL entry draft.
8. Tyler Seguin - Matt Caria - Chris Terry - Plymouth Whalers
After finishing the OHL regular season as the hottest line in the league, these three carried it over to the playoffs, steamrolling the Sarnia Sting in the first round and coming close against the eventual OHL Champion Spitfires in the second round. They finished the playoffs with a combined 21 goals, and 26 assists in 11 games. Outside of Ryan Hayes, the Plymouth secondary scoring just wasn't occuring, so these three had to take over games, and take over games they did.
7. Nick Palmieri - Belleville Bulls
After a somewhat underwhelming regular season, Palmieri absolutely exploded in the playoffs for Belleville. He finished the playoffs with 14 goals, 2nd overall for the playoffs, 3 of which were game winners. While the big guns in Eric Tangradi, and Luke Pither, among others were solid for Belleville too, they needed someone like Palmieri to step up to provide that secondary scoring. It's only the wish of this blogger that Palmieri play like that all the time. He has the ability to take over games with his physical abilities, however he seldom does so. Hopefully at the next level, he's able to make a more consistent contribution.
6. Cody Hodgson - Brampton Battalion
Hodgson, as always, was fantastic for Brampton in this years playoffs, cementing the fact that he's one of the best players not currently in the NHL. He finished the playoffs as the 3rd leading scorer and was obviously a huge reason Brampton was able to reach the OHL finals. I wish him the best in Vancouver next season, as I can all but guarentee he won't be back in Brampton next season for another playoff run.
5. Phil Varone - London Knights
Varone may not have lead the Knights in scoring, but he was certainly critical in the team's push for the Western Championship. He finished tied with John Tavares with 10 goals in 14 games, however he had 3 of the teams 9 game winning goals. He was also +17. Varone, always a solid secondary scoring threat, stepped up huge to become a primary scoring threat in the playoffs. The undersized forward may have done a lot to help his draft stock for the 2009 draft with his performance in the playoffs.
4. Ryan Ellis - Windsor Spitfires
The reigning OHL defenseman of the year did nothing to disappoint in this years playoffs, finishing tied for third in playoff scoring with 31 points. He also finished the playoffs at +16 and largely stepped up his defensive game, which has taken some lashings in the past few months. There are still some doubts as to where Ellis is going to go in the 2009 NHL draft, however I'm sure scouts were in attendance to see him play in the playoffs, and you had to think most of them came away pretty impressed with the way he was able to step up his game to yet another level.
3. Andrei Loktionov - Windsor Spitfires
The second leading scorer in the playoffs, Loktionov stepped up huge for the Spits, adding yet another element to its already dominant offense. The super skilled Russian upped his ppg average from 1.30 to 1.65 in the playoffs and is really starting to generate a lot of buzz about his offensive ability. Loktionov also finished the playoffs at a league leading +18, implying even further his dominance while on the ice.
2. Matt Duchene - Brampton Battalion
Scouts have to be drooling all over this kid. Redline Report has even gone so far as to suggest he's a better professional prospect than John Tavares. His playoff performance goes a long way to support their claim. Duchene finished with 14 goals (tied for 2nd) and 26 points. However, 6 of his goals were game winners, meaning Duchene scored nearly half of Brampton's game winning goals in the playoffs. His clutch play earns him this spot on the list. I think he pretty much locked up his spot in the top 5 of the NHL draft.
1. Taylor Hall - Windsor Spitfires
How can you argue with the OHL's selection as playoff MVP? Hall was fantastic for Windsor, leading the playoffs in goals with 16 and points with 36. Even more so, Hall erases some of the doubts after last year's disappointing play in the first round. He's showed that he's matured as a player and become the leader of the best team in the OHL. If he keeps playing the way he has, I can't see how anyone else but Hall can be the first overall pick in the 2010 NHL draft.
Stay tuned for next week's Top 10, where I'll take a look at the best "mini mights" in the OHL.