Mid Season Prediction Time

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Mid Season Prediction Time

Post by Macker88 on Sun Jan 12, 2014 1:23 am

So with the trade deadline come and gone, Rosters are for the most part set going forward. Sure the odd call up could come in, but no players of real significance will be joining OHL clubs. So with that being said, here are my predictions going forward in the East.

1st - Oshawa Generals
Call me a homer if you want, but I honestly feel the Generals are still the team to beat in the East. As I look over all the other serious contenders, I find glaring weaknesses, that I don't find with the Generals. You look at Sudbury, sure they added two high profile players. But, goal tending is a real issue, that I'm surprised they didn't address. Franky Palezesse is as hot as they come right now, but those who follow the OHL Palezesse is arguably the most streaky goaltender in the league. Prior to his recent streak Wolves fans where calling for his head. Barrie has a rookie in net going forward as well, and Kingston may have loads of offense but Matt Mahalak's G.AA is 15th out of 20 of the leagues starting goalies and his save percentage isn't much better. The Generals have arguably the best overall player in the league, and arguably the best goaltender in the league, to go along with one of the best D-Cores in the league. Their offense is an offense is led by Dal Colle, Sterk and Laughton, but all their depth players produce on a nightly bases. Adding Dylan Smoskowitz and Alex Lepkowski for just a single 2nd round pick was huge for the Generals. Smoskowitz helps in all facets of the game from PP to PK to 5 on 5 and his versatility being able to play the Wing and Center only adds his value. Every team hits a cold streak and that's all this Generals recent streak is. After Sudbury tomorrow the Generals have a relatively easy schedule, minus London and Erie. While the Wolves til have numerous games against Western powerhouses.

2nd - Sudbury Wolves
The Wolves where good, and they got better at the deadline, adding Radek Faksa & Trevor Carrick. Their D-Core is 6 deep, and their forward group is arguably the deepest in the league. But as I mentioned there are questions marks in goal. Will Palezesse hold up for the remaining regular season schedule or will he go back to his old self. Will the Wolves depth off set sub par goal tending is the better question. In my opinion the Wolves will get by the Mississauga's and Niagara's of the league with sub par tending, but when it comes to the London's, Kingston's and teams of that nature it won't happen. They gave up a lot to go for it this year and I full expect them to reach the Eastern Final, but they will only go as far as goaltending takes them.

3rd - Kingston Frontenacs
While I do think Barrie will make a significant push for the 3rd position, I think Kingston can hold them off. They'll need to shore up their mediocre goal tending though as allowing 4+ goals a game is not gonna get them any where, even with their potent offense. I was surprised to see the Fronts sit back at the deadline, as they desperately could of used at least a reliable backup goalie. The Fronts boast 3 solid lines of offense, lead by draft eligible forwards Spencer Watson & Spencer Bennett. Kingston is young an you can see that it hinders them at times, none the less I feel this team will be a legitimate threat come playoff time and whoever finishes 2nd will have a much tougher 2nd round matchup then they would if they where able to secure 1st place.

4th - Barrie Colts
The Colts added Joseph Blandisi at the trade deadline, and Garrett Hooey and Nick Pastorious just before. With those 3 additions I feel the Colts really improved. Each player improves each of the Colts 1st 3 lines. Pastorious is young, but a big bodied strong kid. He provides physicality and a tremendous for check to their 3rd line. Blandisi adds a dual threat to their 1st line as a scorer and playmaker, and Hooey is just one of those solid all around guys who can score and check and is willing to do whatever it takes to win.. something you need come playoff time. The Colts are 4 deep up front, and 8 deep on the back end, where they will face issues, is in goal. They have a rookie and an import who's a bit of a headcase. There not going to be an easy out for any team, and they'll more then likely come out victorious in round 1. But as far as the regular season goes, I find it hard to see them catching any of Oshawa, Sudbury or Kingston.

5th - Peterborough Petes
This might surprise some people as they're 7 points back of the current 5th play North Bay Battalion. However, adding Hunter Garlent to the roster and the teams top line, give the top line of Cornell and Ritchie a true playmaking Center to go along with the Scoring and size and toughness the 1st line already had. The have a have decent 2nd line, and a pretty solid checking line. But after line 2 the skill definitely has a pretty significant drop off. With that being said they have a solid defense core, so solid that very promising 2nd round pick Cameron Lizotte has found it hard to crack the lineup on a regular bases. Peterborough has been playing well of late, North Bay really hasn't and they have traded arguably their best 2 offensive players and struggle in goal. With Peterborough's solid play of late, coupled with North Bay's sub par play, I see Peterborough making a push up the standings. They'll likely take Barrie to 6 games, but don't expect them to upset them as they just don't have the depth up front.

6th - North Bay Battalion
They'll drop, but only one position, as after North Bay the talent in the East is really not that good. Mississauga is the closest team to catching them, but they sit 9 points back and have played 2 more games the North Bay. Plus they just traded their best all around forward in Dylan Smoskowitz and best D-Man in Trevor Carrick. I was surprised to see leading goal scorer Barclay Goodrow stick around passed the deadline but he's still in North Bay and look for him to continue putting up the bulk of the points for North Bay. After Goodrow their offense drops off. Vincent Praplan, Mike Amadio & Nick Paul are all decent forwards but even still North Bay just doesn't have the offense to compete with the top teams in the East. Now North Bay (Brampton) has always been a more defensive team, but this year, their defense really isn't that good, nor is their goal tending.. see the issue. North Bay usually puts up a decent fight in the playoffs, but a matchup with Kingston probably won't be to favorable. However if all things click together and Kingston's goaltending blows up there is a small chance for an upset.

7th - Niagara IceDogs
Well they're the best of the worst. Goaltender Brent Moran has really put forth a good effort this season, and will likely see himself get drafted in the later rounds of the NHL draft because of it. Don't expect anything from the Icedogs come playoff time, but with guys like Brendan Perlini, Carter Verhaeghe, Eric Ming, Anthony DiFruscia and rookie Hayden McCool their offense isn't half bad. I can see the Icedogs hitting a nice winning streak at some point this season, but not enough to vault them up the standings. I can see them maybe winning a game in round 1 of the playoffs, but nothing more. They should keep things respectable in round 1, but I think next year is more so their year as they'll have a very strong returning core, and a fairly high draft pick coming in.

8th - Ottawa 67's
It comes down to Mississauga and Ottawa. I gave it to Ottawa more or less based on their more favorable schedule and do to the fact they didn't really lose anything at the deadline. Sure they lost Blandisi, but they replaced him with Eric Bradford who had similar numbers, just plays a different style of game. Ottawa's veteran goaltending, coupled with their stronger offense I think gives them an advantage over Mississauga. Spencer Martin is good but he gets little to know offensive help, an with Smoskowitz gone that offense will dwindle down even more. Ottawa won't win a game in the playoffs, but the experience will help going forward.

9th - Mississauga Steelheads
They'll barely miss out on the playoffs. They moved to big pieces in Smoskowitz & Carrick and that's gonna be the difference between playoffs and now playoffs. LeBlanc who was obtained in the Carrick deal will help the Steelheads Power Play and Defense as a whole going forward, Sean Day is developing rapidly and is going to be very good. Jared Walsh, a former Michigan Wolverine NCAA commit is a great skating defenseman and will only get better, Zottl, DiTomaso and Graves all have upside. The Steelheads have a good looking backend going forward. Up front Bryson Ciafrone is their big gun, an he looks to be getting better as the season goes on, I expect big things from him next season. Jesse Barwell, Damien Bourne, Josh Burnside, Austin Gerhart, Everett Clark and Nathan Bastian will all be big parts of the Steelheads moving forward. Look for this team to be really good 2 years from now. Especially if Spencer Martin returns as an OA.

10th - Belleville Bulls
Last in the East and likely last in the OHL. Some what shocking to me, I knew they wouldn't be contenders, but at the start of the season they looked like they would at least be a middle of the pack team. I love the deal to acquire Remi Elie, he's really paid off in his time with Belleville an will be solid going forward. Do not get the Cameron Brace deal, at all. Getting nothing for him at the deadline hurts. As does acquiring Alex Yuill in the Hooey deal and not a forward. Charlie Graham has looked really good this season, his numbers might suck, but playing on a last place team that usually happens. Jordan Subban continues to get better and his 30 points in 41 games suggest his offense will only become more potent has he gets older. His defensive game is really coming along as well. Jake Marchment has been a nice surprise for them, really like his game. Look for them to add big Jacob Chychrun with the 1st overall pick next year. He's a defenseman with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens of the GTHL. 35 points in 27 regular season games to date. He's a sure fire can't miss prospect. Was the first Minor Midget player to suite up for Ontario at the Under 17's, suggesting he's already better then numerous 16 year old OHL an tier 2 jr.a defensemen. He'll be a guy that plays at the World Juniors down the line and will likely be a top 3 NHL pick.

If you guys are interested I can do a western preview.

Macker88

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Re: Mid Season Prediction Time

Post by StingRay5 on Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:06 am

Macker, again thank you very much for posting this. I really enjoy reading these kinds of posts.

Very interesting where you slotted the Pete's and NB. The Pete's have been playing better of late.

I'm not so sure the Gens will be able to hold onto 1st place. Don't get me wrong I am hoping and cheering for 1st all the way. My thoughts though is that anywhere in the top 4 should bring a favorable matchup for the 1st round. Holding 1st will definitely help for the much tougher 2nd round. Sudbury is on a roll. Hoping the Gens put a stop to that tonight!

I would like to see your thoughts on the West. Pretty sure Erie will hold Guelph back for 1st overall and the current top 8 should all make the playoffs.

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Re: Mid Season Prediction Time

Post by Macker88 on Sun Jan 12, 2014 5:16 pm

No problem, I enjoy doing them and I'm glad you and other fourm members enjoy reading them. I'll be heading out to the game tonight, when I get in I'll start on a Western Conference Mid Season Prediction.

As far as a retort, I think the Generals will be in tough to hang on to that 1st seed. Tonight will be a big determining factor in my opinion. I just feel our goal tending is far more consistent and well better then Sudbury's, an I think that play's a huge factor. In Faksa, Sudbury added a big name, yes. But he's not that huge point producing name. He brings a lot to the table, but in my opinion at the OHL level, he's not much of an upgrade over Dylan Smoskowitz. As for the Carrick addition, I feel Lepkowski is a better Defensemen, he might not add as much offense, but all around he's better. So even though Sudbury added the big ticket names, we added just as much skill. An we where even before the deadline in my opinion, so this is how I summed it up with goal tending being the deciding factor.

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Re: Mid Season Prediction Time

Post by Macker88 on Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:54 am

Here's the Western Conference Prediction,

1st - Erie Otters
This team is just absolutely stacked. What more can you say really. The Otters are lead by Captain & Maple Leafs draft pick Connor Brown. Brown has an astonishing 88 points in just 43 games. Trailing Brown by just 7 points is 51 goal scorer and recent Vancouver Canuck signing Dane Fox. Throw in super 16 year old Connor McDavid, Swedish Washington Capitals 1st round pick Andre Burakovsky, and OA Michael Curtis and you have some excellent depth. But that's not all they acquired Vancouver Canuck 1st round pick Brendan Gaunce from the Belleville Bulls in an pre deadline deal. Gaunce is the possess an unique skill, he's extremely good offensively, but he's arguably better defensively. The thing about here is I could go on an on about their offensive depth, but they are arguably just as good defensively. The Otters have no weakness, Goaltending is solid with Oscar Dansk and draft eligible Devin Williams, an with a favorable schedule that see's them with just 1 head to head matchup with Guelph and London left, I highly doubt anyone will be able to catch them in the West.

2nd - Soo Sault Marie Greyhounds
By virtue of leading(winning) the West Division they will get the 2nd seed in the West. Now the Soo is no joke despite currently having a point total that would actually place them behind both Guelph and London. The Soo are young, but talented. They're basically the Oshawa Generals of the west in my opinion. They are led by Russian Import and Carolina Hurricanes prospect Sergey Tolchinsky, who currently has racked up 65 points in 44 games. The Soo has some solid depth up front, Tyler Gaudet, Jared McCann, Andrew Fritsch, Michael Bunting and rookie Blake Speers have all been constant contributors to the Soo offense this season. Recent deadline pick up Bryan Moore will only boost this teams offense. The backed is lead by Edmonton Oilers 1st round pick Darnell Nurse. The Soo are likely to match up with the Saginaw Spirit in Round one, and that should be a spirited matchup. Look for the Soo to take care of business in a closely contested 6 game series. I definitely think they could give Guelph a run for their money in round 2 but they'll be in real real tough.

3rd - Guelph Storm
The Storm blew people away when they traded 9 picks and Brody Milne to Windsor for Kerby Rychel and Nick Ebert, but they then blew people away when they where able to get Stephen Pierog & 4 picks for Hunter Garlent. The Storm's depth is unrivaled in the Western Conference, they have more depth then even the Otters both up front and on the backend. Their issue is goal tending. They have 18 year old Justin Nicholas as their starter right now and he actually has pretty decent numbers, but that's mainly due to him playing for a powerhouse team. He's lost the starters role on 3 occasions already this season to back up Matt Mancina. Nichols seemingly does just enough to get by, and that's not enough come playoffs. I fully expect the Storm to get by Owen Sound in the 1st round, although I can see them dropping a game, maybe even two, as they Attack are a pesky bunch, with some talent players. They'll be lucky to avoid London and Erie in round two, but the Soo won't be an easy out. Look for them to sneak by the Soo in a 6 game series. I see Erie and Guelph in the West Final and Erie's goal tending is far better then Guelph's and with such high octane offenses going at it, goal tending is going to be a deciding factor.

4th - London Knights
The Knights have really done everything possible to upgrade their team this season and at times its looked like they've turned the corner, and others they've really looked like a middle of the pack team. London acquired Gemel Smith at the trade deadline, and while he will definitely help, they again thinned out their depth by trading Edmonton Oilers prospect Kyle Platzer and 17 year old rookie Santino Centorame. This isn't the 1st time they've thinned out their depth this season. The sent Jacob Jammes to Mississauga for picks. Sent Remi Elie to Belleville for Brady Austin and sent Miles Liberati to North Bay for Zach Bell. Sure they upgraded their D slightly, but they mortgaged their future in every deal, and only slightly upgraded their team. The one move they desperately needed to make, they did not. They need a goalie ! Bad ! Anthony Stolarz and Jake Patterson are just not getting the job done. They where fine up front and did not need to acquire Smith, they needed to acquire Spencer Martin from Mississauga or possibly Jake Paterson from Saginaw (the WJC backup). This team is going to the Mem Cup no matter what, but they're not going in the front door. They should take care of the Spitfires in round 1, but not without a fight. I'm thinking its in 5, but all close games. Round 2 they match up against Erie and I see no way they get by them. Erie is to explosive and London is to thin on the back end and not good enough in goal. Sorry London but your reign has ended.

5th - Windsor Spitfires
Surprisingly the Spits did not deal Brady Vail or Slater Koekkoek at the trade deadline and for that, they remain a pretty strong team. If they played in the East I truly believe they would have been buyers, and strong contenders for the East title. They're going to lose games to the Erie's, Guelph's, London's, and top Eastern teams, but they're also gonna win a lot of games against bottom feeders. An that will keep them above water and keep them in 5th place. Owen Sound is 6 points back with a game in hand, but I don't see them catching Windsor. Windsor has some highly gifted offensive players and a pretty sturdy D. They lack a goalie that can steal a game though, an I really don't see them upsetting London. They'll keep it close, but likely lose in 5 games.. maybe 6.

6th - Owen Sound Attack
I believe Owen Sound was the winner of the trade deadline. Moving two guys that won't be back next season for an NHL drafted player who will be back for 1 possibly 2 more full seasons in Kyle Platzer, a 17 year old defensemen in Santino Centorame who will get drafted this season, and 4 early draft picks. They still have a strong core with Detroit draft pick Zach Nastasiuk, Kurtis Gabriel, Holden Cook, Daniel Milne, Jared Lindo and recently acquired Kyle Platzer. The Attack will give Guelph some trouble in the 1st round, but I can't see them upsetting the Storm, nor can I see them catching Windsor or letting Saginaw catch them.

7th - Saginaw Spirit
I heard numerous rumors at the trade deadline of the Spirit selling off as they had fallen to 7th in the conference, but they ended up keeping everyone. An for good reason, they do have a squad with upset potential. However in the West its going to be real real tough, just to get out of the 1st round. With Jake Paterson in net they definitely have a kid that can steal them a game, but can he steal them a series... probably not. Offensively they're led by OA Kristoff Kontos who has 54 points in 42 games and Winnipeg Jets 3rd round pick Jimmy Lodge who is currently a PPG player.They do have some depth up front, and a long the blue line, but for some reason this team just cannot put things together. I don't see them suddenly catching fire, but they are a team I wouldn't wanna match up against in round 1 just because if they did catch fire, they could be lethal.

8th - Plymouth Whalers
Again, another team I expected to sell who didn't. The Whalers kept Ryan Hartman and D-Man Gianluca Curcuruto which was surprising, they don't have the depth to compete with Erie, nor will they. They're a pretty good team an will keep things close with most teams, including Erie in round one. But don't expect anything more then a 4 game sweep by the Otters. The Whalers are firmly set in 8th.

9th -Sarnia Sting
I expected more of them this season, but things just don't seem to be getting better in Sarnia. They have a few real studs in Nikolay Goldobin and Anthony DeAngelo but that's no where near enough to catch the Whalers, and even if they do... its gonna be a 4 and out at the hands of the Otters. There getting better but a playoff appearance this season just is not in the cards.

10th - Kitchener Rangers
I really cannot remember the last time Kitchener was this bad, maybe I'm forgetting something, but they're usually a perennial playoff team. They have some real nice pieces in Nick Maygar, Justin Bailey, Ryan MacInnis, Darby Llewellyn, Frank Hora, Mason Kohn, Brandon Robinson & Mike Davies. If they're able to get Hayden Lavigen to uncommit to Michigan this team will be a serious contender next year, but this year.. they'd be better off losing out to add a top 2 pick.

I don't get to see the West as much, so if there is something I missed please forgive me.

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