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- Created: Monday, 11 March 2019 18:00
TheScout.ca breaks down the 2019 OHL Cup with players to watch and a tournament outlook for each team
*With uncertainty surrounding theTPH rosters, their preview will be added later*
Wild Card Teams:
North Central Predators
Top Prospects To Watch: Connor Punnett, Cole Patey, Ethan Larmand, Nicholas Dowling
Don’t Sleep On: Jacob Ventrella, Meguire Naughton, Chas Sharpe, Aaron Zurawski, Riley Pitt, Cole Quevillon, Wade Monague
Outlook: The Preds should be considered favourites in their wild-card match-up with the Mississauga Sens. A win puts them into the Nash division which is probably the toughest group in the tournament. Depth is the name of the game for this team but they will need to come up with timely goals if they hope to be playing on Saturday.
Top Prospects To Watch: Braeden Kressler, Jacob Frasca, Ethan Esposito, Eric Bonisteel
Don’t Sleep On: Everett Shimwell, Chris Bertucci, James Norton, Jake Hugessen
Outlook: The Sens are the opposite of their wild-card opponents North Central as overall depth is a weakness for them. They do however have difference-makers in the likes of Braeden Kressler, Jacob Frasca and Ethan Esposito along with a solid goaltending duo. If they are able to beat the Preds, expect those three aforementioned players to have a big hand in it.
North York Rangers
Top Prospects To Watch: Vlad Dvurechenskii, Patrick Saini, Christian Campanelli, Bryce Richardson, Luca Rea, Brandon Kremer
Don’t Sleep On: Logan Dittenhafer, Kevin Liu, Isa Parekh, Braedon Donnelly, Ryan Medelssohn, Tony Theodropoulos
Outlook: A win over Niagara in an evenly-matched contest would put the Rangers into the Subban division which should be a fairly wide open group. North York has had some good tournament showings this season and with low expectations and an underdog mentality they could surprise some opponents.
Niagara North Stars
Top Prospects To Watch: Parker Hendsbee, Matteo Giampa, Connor Federkow
Don’t Sleep On: Liam Shewdyk, Nathan Zadorozny, Jacob Cielen-Gough, MacGregor Armstrong, Owen Faris
Outlook: An interesting team who has been tough to figure out this season, the North Stars will hope to play their best hockey when it matters most. A hard-working team with a sense of feistiness to them, they could make things interesting in group play should they win their wild-card game with North York.
Guelph Jr. Gryphons
Top Prospects To Watch: Ty Anselmini, Dylan Richardson, Mark McIntosh, Ryan Cook,
Don’t Sleep On: Ethan Broderick, Jackson Phillips, Dylan Hudon, Henry Turner
Outlook: Guelph will take on the London Jr. Knights and a win over the Knights puts them into the Shanahandivision along with the Toronto Marlboros and Detroit Compuware. With questions surrounding Compuware’s roster however, a spot in the quarterfinals is not out of the question. Ty Anselmini has been the Gryphons’s leader all season and we expect him to play that role again here.
London Jr. Knights
Top Prospects To Watch: Brett Harrison, Michael Simpson
Don’t Sleep On: Jordan D'Intino, Cole Watson, Tyler Hotson, Riley Wood, William German, Alex Laszlo
Outlook: London back-doored their way into the field more than any other team and that should give them an “us against the world mentality.” The low expectations could be the perfect remedy in their game against Guelph and then into group play. Star forward Brett Harrison has come up big in major tournaments and will of course need to again, but he will need more help if the Knights hope to pick up a win or two.
Top Prospects To Watch: Christian Catalano, Jesse Fishman, Jake Barkley, Brandon Cohen, Maxwell Donohoe, Jack Guvenal, Tye Scott, Basil Papageorgiou, Justin Wu
Don’t Sleep On: Josh Cini, Brady Cerkownyk, Owain Johnston
Outlook: The Rebels face off against Waterloo in what should be an entertaining game to wrap up Wild-Card Tuesday. They hold the edge depth wise but it should still come down to who can grind out it more and get the edge in possession and scoring chances. A win puts them into the Lindros division, which along with the Nash division, can make a claim to be the toughest group in the tournament.
Top Prospects To Watch: Owen Parsons, Kyle Maloney, Cooper Way, Brayden Hislop
Don’t Sleep On: Jaxon Murray, Lucas Gaiger, David Gruber
Outlook: The Wolves may be a little tired but should also be feeling good about themselves coming off a series win over London. They found the back of the net eight times in the series clincher on Sunday and will hope to see that scoring touch continue against a solid Rebels team who can be tough to generate against.
Quinte Red Devils
Top Prospects To Watch: Daniel Michaud, Lucas LaPalm, Zach Brooks, Connor Brooks, Ethan Fraser
Don’t Sleep On: Ben White, Nathaniel Burelle, Alexander Lucas
Outlook: The Red Devils have been a pleasant surprise in the post-season. They beat the favoured North Central Predators in the ETA semifinals and advanced to the Bronze Medal game of the OMHA Championships where they fell to York-Simcoe. Led by Daniel Michaud who has played like a first-rounder down the stretch, expect Quinte to put up a fight and be a tough out in each of their round-robin games.
Thunder Bay Kings
Top Prospects To Watch: Alex Atwill, Jeremy Dunmore, Jack Michaelis
Don’t Sleep On: Noah Broughton, Alex Pineau, Jacob Sargeant, Julien Lefebvre
Outlook: The Kings as usual are the team most unfamiliar to everyone else. They will be in tough in all of their games but from what we’ve seen they have enough to pull an upset. Alex Atwill has been a noticeable player in all our viewings, playing a smart east-west style with good vision.
Top Prospects To Watch: Danil Zhilkin, Wyatt Johnston, Marc Boudreau, Jack Beck, Tucker Robertson, Nolan Forster, Artem Guryev, Ethan Del Mastro, Logan Mailloux, Aidan Shepard, Thomas Lonsdale
Don’t Sleep On: Matthew DiCosola, Ben West
Outlook: The Marlboros are on the short list of teams who should be considered favourites to reach Monday’s Final. They come in on a roll having lit up the Toronto Nationals in the final few games of their GTHL semifinal series. Although probably the second most talented team in Ontario, their scoring has dried up at times in major tournaments and they’ll have to avoid that if they hope to advance in the playoff round.
Detroit Little Caesars
Top Prospects To Watch: Griffin Jurecki, Niklas Miller, Nickita Moiseev, Mikita Tarasevich, Luke Hughes, Max Smolinski, Sam Volturo
Don’t Sleep On: William Noll, James Stefan, William Renfrew, Ryan Goodfellow
Outlook: Little Caesars are certainly a very dangerous team here and will be a threat to shake things up and advance out of this division. Team speed and pace of play is what catches your eye most with this team, but putting the puck in the net is an area they’ve struggled with in the major Ontario tournaments. Look for the world-class skating Luke Hughes to inject himself offensively to add another layer to the attack.
Don Mills Flyers
Top Prospects To Watch: Shane Wright, Brennan Othmann, Liam Arnsby, Francesco Arcuri, Cole Eichler, Alex Christopoulos, Brandt Clarke, Roman Schmidt, Paul Christopoulos, Ethan Mistry, Payton Robinson
Don’t Sleep On: Ryan Forberg, Edward Moskowitz, Steve Li, Anson Thornton, Sergei Livitnov
Outlook: As has been the case since the first drop of the puck this season, all eyes will be on the Flyers’ every move. Not sure if the fact that their goal totals in recent games has been down is a good thing or a bad thing for their opponents here as the beast could have very well been saving it’s ferocity for this week. There could be a close game or two in this tough division, but nonetheless, expect them to roll the table to Saturday.
Windsor Jr. Spitfires
Top Prospects To Watch: Cayden Faust, Ray Hamlin, Nicholas Beneteau, Jake Eaton
Don’t Sleep On: Gabe Piccolo, Alex Cunningham, Lee Knight, Max Donoso, Ethan Handley
Outlook: An unfortunate draw for the Jr. Spits sees them face Little Caesars and Don Mills in their first two games on Wednesday. In a lesser division we would have considered Windsor to be a dangerous team given their grit and physicality which makes them very hard to play against. The draw however was not kind to them and the road to Saturday’s playoff round will be a difficult one.
Top Prospects To Watch: Kaleb Nelson, Ryan Cutler, Cole Turcotte, Jacob Holmes, Braden Hache, Matthew Roy, Andrew McGarrity
Don’t Sleep On: Mason Wright, Declan Ghosh, Evan Fraccaro, Liam Stevenson
Outlook: York-Simcoe comes in as one of the hottest teams in Ontario with a stellar post-season that saw them upset Whitby in their ETA semifinal series. Bronze medalists at the OMHA Championships, the Express are clicking at the right time and it gives them a real chance to advance out of this challenging group.
Kitchener Jr. Rangers
Top Prospects To Watch: Marko Sikic, Matthew Sop, Braeden Bowman, Patrick Brown
Don’t Sleep On: Logan Crans, Aidan Lazenby, Luc Brzustowski, Dawson Rowe, Brandon Abbott
Outlook: Tough draw for the Jr. Rangers who have arguably been the top Alliance team down the stretch. Any win for them here would have to be considered an upset so it will definitely be a tall order for them to get out of the group. Captain Marko Sikic should be near the top of the conversation when it comes to Alliance Player of the Year honours and has seen his stock continue to rise with an MVP performance in the post-season.
Top Prospects To Watch: Chase Stillman, Devon Savignac, Max McCue, Zacharie Giroux, Mitchell Martin, Cameron Walker, Jack Matier, Josh Kavagnah, Tyler Dunbar, Ben Gaudreau
Don’t Sleep On: Skyler St. Pierre, Bradley Brunet, Stephen Pszeniezny, Teegan Dumont, Brandon Haas, Christopher Innes, Jake Marois
Outlook: The Sudbury Wolves have been a top team in Ontario this season, and with the large majority of players on this NOHA squad being from the Wolves, that sets up their prospects well for this tournament. Sudbury would have been a contender on their own and add in the likes of defenseman Jack Matier and goaltender Ben Gaudreau and the talent is certainly enough to get them out of the division.
Toronto Red Wings
Top Prospects To Watch: Francesco Pinelli, Adam Fantilli (2004), Nolan Dann, Justin Ertel, Ryan Gillespie, Luca Del-Bel-Belluz, Nicholas Athanasakos, Reed Allen, Chandler Romeo, Andre Anania, Owen Simpson, Evan Roccatani, Josh Rosenzweig
Don’t Sleep On: Josh Orrico, Noah Van Vilet (2004), Noah Filice, Julian Molinaro
Outlook: Despite dropping their GTHL semifinal series to Don Mills, the Red Wings will come in feeling very good about themselves and have the confidence that they are playing their best hockey of the season. Having disappointed for the most part in the major tournaments, they have all the potential to flip that script and make a serious run here. Look for the outstanding Adam Fantilli to further cement himself as a strong first overall candidate in 2020.
Top Prospects To Watch: Brenden Sirizzotti, Thomas Johnston, Ryan Winterton, William Gourgouvelis, Sebastian Resar
Don’t Sleep On: Jaden Smith, Nicolas Carvalho, Noah Theodor, Braeden DaSilva, Mikael Simon-Serroul, James Ingram, Doug Carr, Josh Simpson, Ryan Welsh, Justin DiLauro
Outlook: It has been a topsy-turvy post-season for the Wildcats. After blitzing the ETA in the regular-season, the Wildcats were upset in the semifinals by York-Simcoe. Their status as tournament hosts however got them into the OMHA Championship weekend where they returned to their dominance en route to a convincing Gold Medal win. In a tough division, they will have to keep that high level of play going, and will look to their top line of Brenden Sirizzotti, Thomas Johnston and Ryan Winterton to carry them as they have all year.
Top Prospects To Watch: Maddox Callens, Steven LaForme, Landon McCallum, Cole Hipkin
Don’t Sleep On: Brenden Anderson, Keegan DaMota, Owen Rainey, Noah DeDominicis, Callahan Reesor, Zachary Betts, Jonah Cochrane, Ben DiGiallonardo
Outlook: The top team in the Alliance in the regular-season, the 99ers will have a winner-take-all game against Kitchener for the league championship following the OHL Cup. The team has played in a lot of intense games over the past couple weeks and will be well prepared for the grind of divisional play here. Brantford has been able to come up with big goals when they need it and that is something that will surely need to continue in what should be three tightly-contested round-robin games for them.
Top Prospects To Watch: Ethan Burroughs, Lawson Sherk, Brennan Kennedy, Jordan Adams
Don’t Sleep On: Josh Vagenas, Thomas Viveiros, Calum Chau, Braedyn McIntosh, Matteo Drobac
Outlook: The Hurricanes have been on a serious roll in the second half of the season and into the post-season. Coming off a silver medal at the OMHA Championships, the team has the confidence that could result in a sneaky and lengthy run this week. Ethan Burroughs has been the team’s scoring sensation, but like any good team, he has been getting plenty of help from a solid, well-rounded group from top to bottom.
Top Prospects To Watch: Josh Bloom, Ryan Del Monte, Zach Dean (not OHL eligible) Declan Ride, Landon Cato, Devan Nagra,
Don’t Sleep On: Connor Driscoll, Adam Zuckerman, Kevin Henstock, Kobe Tallman, Ikky Kogawa, Tarabn Nolan, Owen Forester, Samuel Moncada
Outlook: The Nationals are coming off a sluggish finish to their GTHL semifinal series against the Toronto Marlboros and will try to get back to the level of play that saw them advance to the Final of the Marlboros Holiday Classic in late December. The absence of star forward Ryan Del Monte finally seemed to catch up to them in the series against the Marlies so it will be interesting to see how the team will fare here should they continue to be without him. The talent of course remains for them to advance out of this division.