Five OHL Thoughts: Logan Stanley all smiles with Spits, who’s sticking in the show?

Logan Stanley
WINDSOR, ON - SEPTEMBER 28: Defenceman Logan Stanley #20 of the Kitchener Rangers skates against his former team the Windsor Spitfires on September 28, 2017 at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)

The OHL just wrapped up it’s first full week, and trends are already starting to develop.

Luke Burghardt’s fast start seems to be for real and the Steelheads are starting slow again. In the midst of this, the Attack and Greyhounds were able to crack the CHL Top 10. That’s a few of the things bubbling to the surface in the OHL as we get set to start October.

In the East it seems like Allan McShane may never score a goal, while that’s all Nick Wong can do. Those two and their offensive prowess have Oshawa two points shy of a way-too-early first place. They, and the rest of the Generals’ offence, also got their due last week. Which means it’s time for new storylines in…

Five OHL Thoughts

Logan Stanley’s triumphant return to Windsor

Tributes to departed players are common in the NHL. A player that spends the majority of his career with one franchise can typically expect a video tribute upon his return, as a reminder of his impact on the franchise. These are rare in the OHL. For players that spend their careers with one team, tributes are saved for the end of their final season, or the end of their pro career. It’s almost odd to see one given to a returning player mid-junior career.

That wasn’t the case in Windsor however, as last Thursday the Spitfires honoured defenceman Logan Stanley. Stanley played three years with the Spitfires, and didn’t participate in their first round series with London last year because of a knee injury. However, knowing that his team had a guaranteed spot in the Memorial Cup, Stanley re–habbed and came back to help lead them to the championship. Stanley posted a goal and an assist in four games, and was rightfully honoured before the Spitfires’ game with the Rangers. Stanley came away with a goal and an assist in his Rangers debut, a 4-2 win.

Some stars are NHL bound

This is the time of year when we find out who is good enough to stick in the NHL; At least for nine games that is. The Ottawa Senators are keeping two OHL players in their lineup for the time being: Alex Formenton and Logan Brown. The Steelheads will be missing Michael McLeod (Devils) and Owen Tippett (Panthers) for the time being, while Victor Mete (Canadiens) will leave a hole on the Knights’ blueline. There are other names starting the year in the NHL with OHL eligibility, while Canucks’  prospect Olli Juolevi is off to Finland instead of heading back to London. All of those names stand out, but Mete and Formenton catch the eye as two that weren’t first round NHL picks. It just goes to show that it doesn’t matter where you’re picked, but how you perform that matters.

You’ve got to watch these guys

While many people are drawn towards numerical rankings and predictions, in my opinion one of the most interesting lists was released earlier this week. NHL Central Scouting released their ‘Players to Watch’ list, and it includes 48 players from the OHL. Players aren’t listed numerically, but divided into tiers: A, B, or C. Players given ‘A’ designations are potential first rounders. Andrei Svechnikov, Ryan Merkley, Evan Bouchard, Ryan McLeod, Akil Thomas and Barrett Hayton were all given ‘A’ ratings. 11 players followed up with ‘B’ ratings (nine skaters and two goalies), and 31 players (two goalies) were given ‘C’ ratings. Anyone looking for a cheat-sheet of draft eligibles to follow throughout the year should start with this list. Here’s the full list, which also includes European players.

Fast-starting Firebirds

Since moving from Plymouth to Flint, things haven’t exactly been easy for the Firebirds. After an inaugural season where just about everything went wrong, the Firebirds snuck into the playoffs last year, only to meet an untimely end thanks to the Greyhounds. While it’s early, the Firebirds’ fast start is surrounded by positivity. As of Tuesday, Flint is one of three teams yet to lose in regulation. They’ve also deployed a balanced attack, as nine players have at least two points through those three games. It’ll be interesting to see what this team does over a full season, but the fast start is nice to see.

Can’t keep Korostelev away

While the Petes are smiling, the rest of the Eastern Conference, and OHL, is shuddering. Although it seemed unlikely at times throughout the off-season, it was announced that Nikita Korostelev was reassigned by the Toronto Marlies to Peterborough. Eligible for an overage season, it was thought that Korostelev was long gone and would be playing pro somewhere. Instead, the Petes added a huge piece, similar to the impact Spencer Watson had with the Steelheads last year. The reason why it’s a case of ‘the rich getting richer’? Jonathan Ang was just named the OHL’s On the Run Player of the Week. After a scoreless first game, Ang rebounded with three goals and four assists in three games. With Korostelev back and a deep supporting cast, this team will be tough to stop offensively.

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