Photo: OHL Commissioner David Branch presents London Knights forward Austin Watson (NAS) with the Wayne Gretzky 99 Award, given to the player most valuable to his team in the OHL playoffs. Watson managed 10 goals and seven assists in 19 playoff games, helping London to their second OHL championship. The Knights will need Watson to keep up his scoring if they hope to win their second Memorial Cup. (Photo courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
A defending champ, a host unceremoniously bounced from the playoffs earlier than expected, a former champ crashing the party one year early, and the new kid on the block — out of 59 teams from nine Canadian provinces and four U.S. states, the 2012 CHL championship will be contested by a quartet of squads that couldn't be more different — save for the common goal of raising the Memorial Cup.
Photo: Mark Scheifele has been one of the top players in OHL all season long. Scheifele will be expected to compete for a spot in Winnipeg next season. (Photo courtesy of CHL Images)
The Ontario Hockey League has been one of the premier pipelines for NHL development over the past couple of decades, particularly down the middle of the ice. From Eric Lindros to Joe Thornton, and more recently, Mike Richards, Ryan Getzlaf, and surging second-year center Tyler Seguin, the league has produced countless blue chip NHL centermen.
Photo: Freddie Hamilton is one of several players to have been selected in the mid-to-late rounds of the NHL Draft who now look like they could down the road be solid NHLers. (Photo courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
The list of Top 10 OHL wingers features a few players who were taken in the first-round of the NHL Draft, but there are also several players who went in later rounds yet have exceeded expectations and become quality NHL prospects.
The following 10 players are all property of NHL teams and all figure to make an impact for their respective organizations in the near future.
Photo: Windsor Spitfires' forward Kerby Rychel turned in a strong performance for Canada at the 2012 Under-18 WJC (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)
The 2012 Under-18 World Junior Championship didn't necessarily turn out the way Canada had hoped, although the team did take home the bronze medal. Still, while the team fell short of their gold medal goal, individual players turned in strong performances at the "other" WJC.
One of those players, forward Kerby Rychel, was one of two Canadian forwards to pick up eight points in the tournament. Rychel, who plays for the Windsor Spitfires in the OHL, scored five goals and added three assists in seven games. And while many of the players participating in this tournament were 2012 prospects looking to impress NHL scouts in attendance, Rychel is a potential first round selection for the 2013 NHL Draft.
Rychel spoke with Hockey's Future at the WJC for this HF video.