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OHL musings on a winter's day

This week's Saxon on the Storm looks at Daws the playmaker, less penalty minutes and why do we have goal judges?
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Owen Sound Attack goaltender Mack Guzda . Tony Saxon/GuelphToday file photo

Emptying out the OHL thought closet on a blustery February day …

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It didn’t seem like a big deal a the time, but the acquisition of Josh Wainman at the start of the season has turned into a very good deal for the Guelph Storm. Wainman, acquired for a 10th round pick, might not have been the team’s best defenceman this season, but he has been its most consistent. Wainman has a career high in points (19) and is a plus 15 on the season. He has also logged a tonne of ice time when Chayka and and Gordeev have been absent.

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Daniil Chayka just needs a little dose of Samorukov/Pedan nastiness to his game to take him to that next level. He is a deceptively top-notch skater. I might put my money on him as the fastest guy on the team.

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Interesting to see that the only two bidders to host next year’s Memorial Cup were Sault Ste. Marie and Oshawa. The perception has always been that the chosen host was always about ‘show me the money’ with the guaranteed return to the CHL, but with both rinks holding around 5,000 people and in communities unlikely to see a lot of municipal cash thrown their way, that perception might be changing. Here’s hoping more smaller centres with smaller rinks get to host in the future.

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Is there anything he doesn’t lead in? Nico Daws currently tops OHL goaltenders with four assists. Hot on his heels are Anthony Popovich (Flint) and Kai Edmonds (Mississauga) with three.

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Akil Thomas has been excellent for the Peterborough Petes, but with a dozen 19 year olds and three overagers, this is an old team that should have been more all-in than they were at the deadline.

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Why do we still have goal judges?

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A couple of contenders in the West will head into the playoffs likely putting their hopes with 17-year-old goaltenders — Tristan Lennox in Saginaw and Brett Brochu in London. Both fine goaltenders, but youth in net and a long playoff run usually don’t go hand in hand. Saginaw may go with Marshall Frappier, who’s on his third team in the league.

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Most important player transaction of the year: The New York Islanders returning Body Wilde to Saginaw.

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Any Ryan Merkley talk this season has been about his outstanding play. Which was rarely the case in his previous three years in the league, where his play was often the last thing discussed. Sometimes it just takes a while.

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Looks like only two players are shoe-ins to score 50 goals this year: Nick Robertson in Peterborough and Jack Quinn in Ottawa. Arthur Kaliyev in Hamilton and Brett Neumann in Oshawa have outside shots.

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What a story Quinn is. Had 12 goals last season.

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Only two players have more than 100 penalty minutes this season. Two or three more might hit the mark. Ten years ago there were 49 players with at least 100.

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Bobby Ryan doesn’t know me from squat. But I will always remember how accommodating, polite and articulate he was as a visiting player during his time in the OHL. Nice to see good things happening to good people.



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Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 20 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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