OHL Rookie Report

By Jes Golbez
The 1999-2000 OHL season has been blessed with many pleasant surprises.
Teams have been playing better than expected and some have played worse.
Looking back at the first half of the OHL season I think that one of those
pleasant surprises has been the play of the rookie players around the OHL.

Teams like the Windsor Spitfires have benefited greatly from the play
of their rookies. The Spitfires for example have a rookie line made up of
Steve Ott, Craig Kennedy and Shawn Mather. All three of them have been
playing great for the Spitfires.

Here is a look at some of the top rookies from around the OHL.

Stephen Weiss of Plymouth–Weiss was the Whalers first round pick in the
1999 OHL draft. He sits in second among OHL rookies in scoring. He has
helped the Whalers plant themselves in third spot in the OHL’s West
Division.

Derek Roy of Kitchener–Roy is the OHL’s leading rookie scorer and has also
been playing great hockey. Once he gets some more help around him the
Rangers will be a good hockey club and drafting Roy was a step in the right
direction.

Steve Ott, Craig Kennedy & Shawn Mather of Windsor–All three have been
scoring and playing really well. Kennedy and Ott are both among the top
scoring rookies. Windsor is lucky to have these three. If these three stick
with Windsor for a couple more seasons the Spitfires could be a team to beat
in the OHL.

Trevor Daley and Jeff Richards of Sault Ste Marie–Both Daley and Richards
are among the top scorers on the Greyhounds this season. Daley has been
on of the best first round picks in last summers draft. Richards has been
considered a steal after getting drafted in the eighth round of the 1999 OHL
draft.

Konrad McKay of North Bay–McKay is a gritty player. He has scored his
share of goals and a lot are of the garbage variety (not that there’s anything
wrong with that). McKay goes to the net hard and although he isn’t big he is
not afraid to throw the body.

Mike Van Ryn of Sarnia–After spending 2 seasons with the University of
Michigan Van Ryn decided to try his hand at the junior level. Van Ryn was
originally drafted by the Sting in 1995 but he opted for University. So far,
after the first half of the season he has not looked out of place. He was also
named captain of the Sting which tells you a lot about what kind of leader he
really is.

Jay McClement of Brampton–McClement has taken some of the offensive
load off of Raffi Torres. McClement has been playing well but it is possible
that he could play better hockey.

Chris Thorburn of North Bay–Thorburn was the Centennials 1st round pick
in the 1999 draft and he has played decent hockey for them. As Thorburn is
playing very well for the Centennials and he will be the team’s franchise
player in the year’s to come.

Blaine Down of Barrie–Down is a bit of a surprise as not too much was
known about him before he came into the league. Now Down is tied for third
in the league’s rookie scoring race.

Here is a look at the OHL rookie scoring race (All totals are as of
December 18, 1999):


Player, Team GP G A PTS +/- PIM
Roy, Derek, KIT 32 17 26 43 5 14
Weiss, Stephen, PLY 34 11 22 33 10 12
Down, Blaine, BAR 32 12 19 31 24 35
Andersson, Jonas, NB 32 12 19 31 -5 11
Ott, Steve, WSR 30 10 21 31 5 53
Skvaridlo, Tomas, KGN 31 9 21 30 15 6
Daley, Trevor, SSM 33 12 17 29 18 48
McKay, Konrad, NB 31 11 18 29 -5 91
Kurka, Tomas, PLY 32 17 11 28 2 31
Himelfarb, Eric, SAR 34 11 15 26 0 10

There are a lot of other rookies around the OHL that are playing well.
Some of those rookies include Malcolm MacMillan of the Sault Ste. Marie
Greyhounds and Tim Gleason of Windsor.

Once the season comes to a close the people who chose the OHL’s
rookie of the year are going to have a very tough decision to make because
of the outstanding play of so many rookies.