Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Top 10 - Performers of the 2011 Preseason

The 2011 OHL preseason wraps up today when Oshawa and Peterborough face off. With only one game remaining, we can take a look at some of the stronger performances in today's Top 10.

Here are the preseason standings (minus the OSH/PBO game).


1. Barrie Colts - 4-0-2 - .883%
2. Belleville Bulls - 4-2 - .667%
3. Ottawa 67's - 2-2-1 - .500%
4. Niagara IceDogs - 1-1-1 - .500%
5. Brampton Battalion - 2-3 - .400%
6. Oshawa Generals - 1-2-1 - .375%
7. Kingston Frontenacs - 1-2-1 - .375%
8. Mississauga Majors - 1-3-2 - .333%
9. Peterborough Petes - 1-3 - .250%
10. Sudbury Wolves - 0-4-2 - .167%


1. Sarnia Sting - 4-1-1 - .750%
2. London Knights - 3-1-1 - .700%
3. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds - 3-1-1 - .700%
4. Guelph Storm - 3-1-2 - .667%
5. Kitchener Rangers - 3-2 - .600%
6. Owen Sound Attack - 2-2-1 - .500%
7. Plymouth Whalers - 1-1-2 - .500%
8. Windsor Spitfires - 1-2-2 - .400%
9. Saginaw Spirit - 1-3 - .250%
10. Erie Otters - 1-4 - .200%

I know a lot of people would love to jump to conclusions based on the results of the preseason, but it just isn't logical. With the large majority of the league's "star" players away at NHL camps, it's just impossible to determine whether these above results mean anything.

Just the same, individual player results can sometimes be deceiving. Who are these players racking up points against? A team full of first year OHL players? Against a goalie who was just drafted and has never faced OHL competition? It's a mix bag. Accumulating correct stats is also mind numbing and excruciating. Some teams post full box scores. Others don't even mention who scored all the goals in a game. So consider the below accumulation of stats to be extremely unofficial.

That being said, the preseason does often give us some great indications of players who'll have big years in the OHL...who aren't already attached to NHL teams. This generally means overagers (who aren't at a camp on a tryout), draft eligible players looking to break out, and rookies looking to establish themselves. Last year, some of the league's top preseason performers were Nail Yakupov, Ryan Strome, and Alex Khokhlachev. So it does give us some idea of who's going to "explode" if you will.

10. Brock McGinn - Guelph Storm
The Storm had a very solid preseason thanks in part to the strong play of the team's core group of 1994's. Brock McGinn was one of those who played very well, leading Guelph with 5 goals. With Beck, Holland, and Latta gone, Guelph is going to need balanced scoring from all their offensive players if they want to avoid the basement in the West. This performance from McGinn (and the other younger forwards in Guelph) would suggest that maybe, just maybe, things won't be as bad in Guelph as they appeared prior to the preseason.

9. Josh Anderson - London Knights
A terrific story, Anderson spent the majority of last season playing midget in Burlington and was a free agent acquisition of London this offseason. A '94 forward, Anderson showed a terrific scoring touch with 5 goals in the preseason to earn himself a serious look on a scoring line. You have to wonder where London always finds these talented, overlooked gems.

8. Scott Laughton - Oshawa Generals
In only four games thus far, (the Gennies play their final game today), Laughton has been fantastic with 2 goals and 5 assists. The Generals have been missing nearly all of their big offensive weapons this preseason, which has allowed Laughton to show off the improvements he's made this offseason. Going into his draft season, Laughton appears to be primed for a breakout season, possibly centering one of the team's top lines.

7. Tanner Richard - Guelph Storm
The son of former OHL star Mike Richard, Tanner was the Storm's Import selection this year and took no time making himself known as an offensive weapon in Ontario. Passed over in last year's draft, Richard will be looking to make a name for himself in order to get called this time around. With a 2 goal and 7 assist preseason, Richard appears well on his way to doing that. And just like McGinn, he'll be one of several players counted on to score by committee in Guelph.

6. Ryan Hanes - Sudbury Wolves
Sudbury did not have a good preseason, thanks in part to their core players being away at NHL camps, and because they got suspect goaltending. But the one bright spot was the emergence of defenseman Ryan Hanes. With Josh McFadden away at Montreal Canadiens camp, Hanes was able to be the team's premier offensive defenseman and powerplay quarterback. He finished the preseason with 4 goals and 4 assists. The 19 year old defenseman will definitely push for more playing time if he can keep up this level of play.

5. Garrett Hooey - Belleville Bulls
When the Bulls picked up the scrappy Hooey from Sarnia this offseason, I'm not sure they expected him to be one of the team's premier offensive players. But that's exactly what he was this preseason. With 5 goals and 5 assists, Hooey (and some of his Belleville teammates) was dominate. In his NHL draft year, Hooey will be looking to prove that he's a legit prospect and appears to have really improved prior to his second OHL season.

4. Sean Monahan - Ottawa 67's
Something tells me that NHL teams are going to be salivating over Monahan this year. Unfortunately for them, his late birth date makes him ineligible until 2013. The 67's aren't complaining as the strong two way center will be with them for at least another two seasons. One of the leaders of Canada's Ivan Hlinka team, Monahan had a sensational preseason with 3 goals and 6 assists. One has to wonder if he could end up centering Tyler Toffoli, regardless of whether Ryan Martindale returns or not.

3. Brett Findlay - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Even if the Hounds spent most of their preseason beating up on the Wolves, they deserve some credit for persevering in the face of losing several players to NHL camps themselves. One of the few players who was passed over last year and failed to get an invite to an NHL camp, Findlay was the offensive leader for the Hounds this preseason. He had 2 goals and 6 assists. Findlay is going to be counted on to be the team's second line center behind Nick Cousins, so hopefully he can continue his strong play.

2. Luke Judson - Belleville Bulls
The second Bull to make the list (and there probably could...and should have been more), the Bulls overage captain is going to need a bounce back season. After a disappointing season on a personal and team level, Judson is being counted on to have a big year. The strong all around winger had a simply dominate preseason with 5 goals and 6 assists. Originally considered to be an NHL prospect, Judson is going to need a big year to try and earn an NHL contract in 2012.

1. Nail Yakupov - Sarnia Sting
Even if you discount his dominating 4 goal, 1 assist performance against Windsor to close out the preseason, Yakupov was just as effective throughout the entire preseason, helping Sarnia to a very strong 4-1-1 record. With 6 goals and 9 assists, Yakupov looks poised to make a run for the Eddie Powers trophy yet again this year. The Sting sure are going to be exciting to watch this season!

Honorable Mentions (broken down by team)

Barrie Colts
Barrie had a fantastic preseason, finishing undefeated. It would appear they may be a tad better than some were giving them credit for. Before leaving for Winnipeg camp, Mark Scheifele looked like a man among boys with 1 goal and 2 assists in his lone game. Import goaltender Mathias Niederberger was excellent in net, posting several wins and a shutout.

Belleville Bulls
I could have included several players from Belleville on the list, but decided to spread around the wealth a little bit. Rookie Jordan Subban was terrific in the preseason with 3 goals and 3 assists. He looks poised to take over from where P.K. left off. Draft eligible center Brendan Gaunce had 3 goals and 6 assists and looks poised to have a big season offensively

Brampton Battalion
Big winger Matt MacLeod will be looking to finally cement himself in an OHL line up and had a good enough preseason (3 goals) to earn a look on a scoring line. Import forward Patrik Machac was as good as advertised too, with 2 goals and 2 assists.

Erie Otters
The Otters did not have a good preseason, with most of their star players away at NHL camps. One of the lone bright spots was the play of former first rounder Chris Marchese, who had 3 goals and 3 assists.

Guelph Storm
Another of the team's solid 1994's had a good preseason, and that was forward Scott Kosmachuk. He had 3 goals and 3 assists and looks poised for a breakout with Brock McGinn.

Kingston Frontenacs
Things are probably going to be pretty rough in Kingston this year, but there were a few bright spots in the preseason. Picked up in the offseason, Darcy Greenaway appears to be a possible diamond in the rough. The smaller offensive forward had 4 goals and an assist during preseason play. Another offseason pick up, Import Petr Beranek, was also effective with 2 goals and 2 assists.

Kitchener Rangers
Everyone in Kitchener is talking about the return of defenseman Ben Fanelli, who was solid in the preseason with 1 goal and 2 assists. Young forwards Matia Marcantuoni (1 goal, 3 assists), Ben Thomson (2 goals, 1 assist), and Radek Faksa (2 goals, 1 assist) were all effective.

London Knights
Max Domi was excellent in the preseason and looks poised to have a big offensive season (dare I say the Emms Family Award front runner?) after putting up 1 goal and 4 assists. Overager Colin Martin was also solid with 2 goals and 2 assists.

Mississauga Majors
Import selection Sergei Kuptsov made an immediate impact in a depleted Majors line up, putting up 1 goal and 5 assists. Scrappy wingers Riley Brace (2 goals, 2 assists) and Derek Schoenmakers (3 goals, 1 assist) also had solid preseasons.

Niagara IceDogs
The Dogs really didn't play much in the preseason and when they did, they were missing their big guns. When they played, Ryan Strome (2 assists), Freddie Hamilton (2 assists), and Mark Visentin (a shutout) all looked strong.

Oshawa Generals
Tough guy Emerson Clark had a great preseason with 4 goals and 2 assists. Any offense they get from him on the bottom two lines will be a great bonus.

Ottawa 67's
After a great year with Smith Falls last year, and a terrific preseason, winger Ryan Van Stralen appears to have earned a spot on the 67's. With 4 goals and an assist in the preseason, Van Stralen could be a classic late bloomer.

Owen Sound Attack
Rookie Holden Cook had a solid preseason with 2 goals and looks to be able to be one of those guys Owen Sound needs to step up to fill some voids offensively.

Peterborough Petes
The little Swiss magician Lino Martschini had a good preseason with 1 goal, and 3 assists. He could have a big year offensively.

Plymouth Whalers
Import defenseman Dario Trutmann appears ready to take on a larger offensive role this season after scoring 2 goals and 2 assists in the preseason.

Saginaw Spirit
Overager Michael Fine was the strongest performer on an undermanned Saginaw team this preseason, scoring 3 goals and adding one assist. Could he finally be poised for that breakout season we've always been expecting from him?

Sarnia Sting
Defenseman Jack Kuzmyk was picked up from Owen Sound last year with little fan fare, but he looked terrific in the preseason with 4 goals and 2 assists. Sarnia is going to need a few defenseman to step up and he could be one of them. New acquisition Charles Sarault looks to make a name for himself now that he's out of Kingston, and he's got Sarnia fans excited with a 6 point preseason (1 goal, 5 assists). And former first overall pick Alex Galchenyuk was solid with 2 goals and 4 assists.

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
As mentioned before, the Hounds had a very solid preseason thanks to some strong performances from returning players. David Quesnele paced the team in the goal scoring department with 4. Gianluca Curcuruto had 1 goal and 4 assists from the blueline. And veteran (at least in age) Rudy Sulmonte had 3 goals and 3 assists.

Sudbury Wolves
Second year forwards Brody Silk (3 goals) and Matthew Campagna (1 goal, 3 assists) had solid preseasons. The Wolves are going to need a strong sophomore effort from them on a second scoring line.

Windsor Spitfires
Rookie center Michael Clarke looks poised to break into the OHL full time with a 3 goal preseason. And second year forward Kerby Rychel is perhaps showing he has more offense to his game than people give him credit for, with 3 goals and an assist.

That's it folks. Stay tuned for an "experts make their picks" article that will be appearing in a few days. Otherwise, get ready for the regular season!

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