Here is a look at a few OHLers who will be eligible for the 2001 draft,
and who should end up being ranked fairly high. Quite frankly this years draft does little
to excite me, but if the WHL, QMJHL, NCAA, and European leagues have players as talented as the OHL for 2001 it will be one heck of a draft.
Jason Spezza-Plays centre for the Mississauga IceDogs and has posted 40 points in 30 games this year. He has just made the National Junior team at the age of 16 (along with Jay Bouwmeester), the only other 16 year olds in Canadian history to do this were Wayne Gretzky and Eric Lindros. He is not just along for the ride. I expect him to be a key component on the team, and to average a point a game, if not lead the team in scoring.
At the last exhibition game in Kitchener vs the OUAA allstars, the only forwards who could have said that maybe they played better than Spezza were, Mike Riberio and Manny Malhotra, both of whom are on loan from the NHL. Spezza had 2 points and could have had 5 with a bit of luck.
I believe that he is the most talented player that Canada has produced since Paul Kariya. He is a lock to go first overall, barring serious injury.
Team leads OHL Midwest Division as halfway point nears
After struggling through their maiden season with only 8 wins in 68 games, the Brampton
Battalion have emerged in their sophomore season as one of the surprise teams, not only in the OHL but also in the entire
Canadian Hockey League.
Stan Butler’s squad currently stands atop the OHL Midwest Division with a 13-8-5-2 record (33 points) through 28 games. Their closest divisional pursuers are the Erie Otters, who have racked up 26 points in 24 games.
The season started on a positive note with home ice wins over the highly-regarded Barrie Colts and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and a 2-1 road victory over their rivals from Mississauga. Brampton and Erie battled to a scoreless draw on October 3, which gave goaltender David Chant the distinction of being the first Battalion netminder to record a shutout. Read more»
A quick scan of the OHL Western conference shows three teams fighting
for the top spot. The Sault Greyhounds were expected to be there. Brampton was not and their amazing second season rolls on without any overagers and only 2 19 year olds in the lineup. The Windsor Spitfires are also there, much to the surprise of many. Their success has been due to a team effort, they do not have the stars that other teams boast. Yet they are ranked in the CHL top ten, sitting 7th.
Over the last few years this team has made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Whether it was star players being charged for off ice incidents, stars breaking curfews and being suspended, or the Jeff Kugel disgrace, a dark cloud has hung over this franchise. The hiring of Tom Webster has brought some class, leadership, stability and hope to the Spits. He has them playing tough, disciplined, hard nosed hockey, rolling 4 lines, pounding teams along the boards, and producing victory after victory. They follow through on their hits (if you are at a game, don’t follow the puck or you might miss a Spitfire run over an opponent who was admiring his pass), they forecheck tenaciously, and unlike the Peter Sarno years the forwards can pick their goalie out of a crowd of strangers.