OHL Spin Cycle: Ekblad is Stylin’, USA Hockey’s Eyes on the O, and the Front Office Shuffles

Welcome to Across the OHL, where we’ll work to offer you news, notes, previews, and week in reviews from all over the Ontario Hockey League. Whether it’s pre, post, regular or off-season we’ll stretch to the corners of all media to try to get you something on your favourite team.

This week of course is a little slower. The summer months don’t offer a whole lot in terms breaking hockey news, but fortunately we’re days away from one of biggest events of the summer in the 2014 NHL Draft. It’s an exciting time for all of this year’s eligible players, and provides that important next step for the handful of players who will make hockey their full-time job.

With that in mind, we’ll move on to the week (In the future it’ll be just the week but we took some liberties this time) that was in the OHL.

**UPDATE: On Monday, June 23rd Hockey Canada announced the 41 players who will be Canada’s national junior team summer development camp. You can see the full roster here but instead of breaking it down team-by-team, here’s the list of OHL’ers: Chris Bigras (OS), Aaron Ekblad (BAR), Ben Harpur (GUE), Roland McKeown (KGN), Darnell Nurse (SSM), Nick Baptiste (SUD), Sam Bennett (KGN), Tyler Bertuzzi (GUE), Michael Dal Colle (OSH), Jason Dickinson (GUE), Max Domi (LDN), Robby Fabbri (GUE), Bo Horvat (LDN), Connor McDavid (ERI), Zach Nastasiuk (OS), Nick Paul (NB), Brendan Perlini (NIA), Nick Ritchie (PBO).

Barrie Colts: With the NHL Draft around the corner, Colts’ Captain Aaron Ekblad continues to receive plenty of attention. TSN.ca and the Canadian Press ran a feature on the defenceman and if you want to get a sneak peak at what Ekblad will be wearing to the Draft on Friday, the Windsor Star provides you with the Aaron Ekblad Style Guide.

Erie Otters: While it’ll still be a year before his name is called on stage, Connor McDavid has his sights set firmly on his NHL Draft (2015). He sat down with Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek to talk about life in the OHL so far and what may be in store for him this year.

Kingston Frontenacs: For you number-crunchers out there, the Edmonton Journal put out an interesting look at high-profile draft picks and their production during their draft years. Sam Bennett comes in ahead of OHL alumni Bobby Ryan, Matt Duchene and Sean Monahan, but falls behind Nail Yakupov, Ryan Strome and others when it comes to the PPG production of OHL grads during draft eligible seasons. The article also goes on to examine production late in the season, line mates, and other factors that could contribute to a prospect’s production.

Kitchener Rangers: The Rangers are hoping that Ryan MacInnis hears his name called early this weekend, but the forward got another piece of good news last week when it was revealed he’d be attending USA’s National Junior Evaluation camp. Josh Brown has more thoughts on the camp roster and it’s Ranger ramifications here. The Rangers also announced on Monday that 2014 selection Connor Bunnaman (2/31) has officially signed with the team.

London Knights: The Knights will also see one of their own head to team USA’s camp as towering forward Michael McCarron has earned an invite as well. McCarron is a first round pick (25th in 2013) of the Montreal Canadiens and had 34 points in 66 games during his first OHL campaign. The Knights also added to their pipeline last week as forward Jacob Buch (5/95 in 2014) and defenceman Chris Martenet (free agent) both agreed to terms with the team.

Niagara IceDogs: The IceDogs have an opening in their front office now, as earlier in June it was announced that goaltending coach Ben Vanderklok would be moving to the NHL full-time with the Nashville Predators. One IceDog hoping to hear his name called fairly early on Friday is Brendan Perlini. FanSided’s Frozen Futures offers a brief look at the 30-goal, 70-point man from this past season. We’ll also have a bit more on ‘Dogs first rounder Logan Brown coming up.

Oshawa Generals: Cole Cassels was among the five OHL’ers named to the USA’s National Junior Evaluation camp. Cassels is coming off of a 30-point improvement from his sophomore OHL campaign with 73 points (24G/49A) this past season.

Ottawa 67’s: Plenty of recent news surrounding the Ottawa 67’s lately. After Chris Byrne moved on to the NHL, the 67’s promoted assistant GM Pat Higgins to the lead role. That still left an opening behind the bench in Ottawa, which was then filled by the hiring of Jeff Brown. The most interesting thing to come from that hiring, was the idea of Ottawa making a move to acquire Jeff’s son Logan from the Niagara IceDogs. A potential move that was quickly shot down when the 67’s introduced their new coach.

Peterborough Petes: The Petes added their name to the list of teams to get a formal commitment out of their first rounder. Jonathan Ang, the 9th overall pick in April. Ang picked up 51 points in 40 regular season games with Markham during his draft season. In other news, Petes coach Jody Hull is off to the Ivan Hlinka in August as an assistant coach with Team Canada.

Plymouth Whalers: Good news will likely keep rolling in for goalie Alex Nedeljkovic this month. The OHL goalie of the year will not only hear his name called at some point this weekend in Philadelphia, but he’s also one of four goalies headed to the USA evaluation camp, three of which are undrafted, with two of those coming from the OHL. Meanwhile Norm Sanders takes a look at Connor Chatham, and how the Whaler hopes a strong finish can lead to draft-day success.

Sarnia Sting: The Sting have also been busy lately in their hockey operations department. Nick Sinclair, who began his tenure with the club as a regional scout six seasons ago, was named General Manager of the team, while Bill Abercrombie was named President of the club. According to Loosepucks.com, the city of Sarnia is expected to approve a host agreement for this year’s U-17s on Monday.

Soo Greyhounds: The fifth and final OHL’er heading to the USA’s evaluation camp is goalie Brandon Halverson. Halverson is the second of three 2014 eligible goalies to make his way onto the roster (Thatcher Demko is the one we have yet to mention). He went 12-6-1 behind Matt Murray this year, and is ranked 6th amongst North American goalies by NHL Central Scouting.

Windsor Spitfires: Josh Ho-Sang may be the biggest wild card come Friday. His talents are undeniable, but there have been questions surrounding the electrifying speedster that aren’t about his on-ice game. Ho-Sang sat down with Sportsnet and Damien Cox to talk about his personality and how hockey has become a more multicultural sport.

Other News: For the full USA Hockey evaluation camp roster, you can find it here. Meanwhile Hockey Canada’s Scott Salmond was promoted to Vice-President of Hockey Operations and national teams. Salmond most recently was Senior Director of Hockey Ops and the men’s national teams for Hockey Canada, and has been with the Red and White since 2001.

Bryan Thiel is a freelance broadcaster who’s covered the OHL from rink side and the broadcast booth. He’s also filed feature reports on the OHL for the past three seasons. You can follow him on Twitter at BryanThiel_88.

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One comment

  1. Pingback: OHL Spin Cycle: Bergman Locked Up By London; Laughton Looking to Philly; Bennett and McCann Sign ELCs | Across the OHL

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