The Journey: OHL Playoffs: Hot and Cold Prospects
This week, The Journey looks at the sizzlers and fizzlers in the OHL Playoffs …
The OHL Playoffs have gone mostly as planned into the second round. The Journey digs into which prospects have led their teams thus far and a couple who need to step their play up if their teams are going to make a run.
HOT – Spencer Watson – Kingston Frontenacs – 209th Overall (2014) – Los Angeles Kings
Any number of Fronts players could be listed here, as they dominated their opening round series with Oshawa in five games ending a playoff series-winning drought that dated back to 1998. Both Watson and teammate Michael Dal Colle have 15 points, and are currently tied for the playoff lead in scoring. Watson has three goals and 12 assists in just six games. After capping off his best season in a Kingston uniform with 89 points in 64 games, Watson has taken his play to another level in the playoffs.
HOT – Alex Nedeljkovic – Niagara Ice Dogs – 37th Overall (2014) – Carolina Hurricanes
If the Ice Dogs are going to make any noise it will be on the shoulders of their elite goaltender and the offensive leadership of Josh Ho Sang (12 points in six games). Niagara has been a low scoring team all season, finishing seventh out of ten teams in their conference during the regular season. Thus far, Nedeljkovic has improved on his regular season with a 5-1 record and a 2.50 goals against average, allowing just 15 goals in six games.
HOT – Justin Scott – Barrie Colts – Undrafted
Scott will likely be the most unheralded prospect on this list (at least by draft standards) but the fourth-year center has been a solid player for the Colts throughout his career. The Burlington, Ontario native currently leads the playoffs with 11 goals in eight games. Even more impressive is the fact that ten of those 11 goals have come at even strength. Barrie had a long, competitive series against Mississauga in the first round, and Scott was a big reason the Colts were able to get through.
HOT – Kyle Wood – North Bay Battalion – 84th Overall (2014) – Colorado Avalanche (Traded to ARI at 2016 NHL Trade Deadline)
Currently leading the OHL Playoffs in scoring by a defenseman with 12 points in eight games, Wood has played an integral role in North Bay’s postseason success. After finishing off Peterborough in seven games, the Battalion have moved on to face high-scoring Barrie in the second round. Wood will be relied upon from both a defensive and offensive perspective if his team is to move on deeper into the playoffs.
HOT – Matthew Tkachuk – London Knights – 2016 Draft Eligible
Both Tkachuk and Mitch Marner put up 12 points in their six game first round series against Owen Sound, but the younger prospect gets the nod here. Tkachuk’s peripheral stats have been every fantasy owners dream as in addition to his scoring he has added 14 penalty minutes, four power-play points and 30 shots. The London-Kitchener second round series should be intriguing given the amount of top-end talent on the ice for both teams.
COLD – Brendan Perlini – Niagara Ice Dogs – 12th Overall (2014) – Arizona Coyotes
Perlini impacts the game in multiple ways with his size and puck possession style, but if the Ice Dogs are going to make a run in the playoffs, they will need more scoring from the former first round pick. The winger has the ability to score at a high rate, but thus far has not played up to his talent with only three points in six playoff games.
COLD – Brandon Halverson – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – 59th Overall (2014) – New York Rangers
Halverson and his teammates played well enough in their opening round series to upset the second-seeded Sarnia Sting, however the Rangers prospect will need to get hot and steal a few games if they are to knock off top-seeded Erie. Halverson is carrying a 3.36 GAA, giving up 25 goals in their seven game series with the Sting, and has the highest GAA among goaltender still in the playoffs. Luckily they were able to win a one-goal game in game seven, scoring twice in the third period to finish off the series.
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