Five OHL Thoughts: Wild deals in the Midwest, Nick Suzuki scorching, and Brady Hinz’ hot start

Nick Suzuki

The OHL season is in full swing and that means one thing: trades.

In the month of October there have been ten trades, some with overage management in mind.

Five OHL Thoughts: Wild deals in the Midwest, Nick Suzuki scorching, and Roope Hinz’ hot start

After getting Nikita Korostelev back, the Peterborough Petes dealt OA Tyler Rollo to the London Knights. Four days later, they were able to add ’98-born Austin Osmanski, bolstering their blueline.

Following those deals, Conor Ali, Shane Collins, Andrew Somerville, and Daniil Vertiy were all traded for picks. After the Rangers swung a pair of deals and the Knights made an acquisition of their own, Guelph then traded Cole Ceci to Oshawa.

It’s the three other deals in the Midwest Division though, where we pick up this week’s five thoughts.

Knights find their solution in net; can they rebound?

It’s an uncharacteristic start to the season for London. Even in their rare rebuilding years, they’re never hit with this much tough luck. The Knights are off to a 1-8-1-0 start, as they join the Steelheads as the only two teams with one win. For context, the Knights haven’t been this bad to start a year since they won a whole three games in 1995/96. Things should be getting better for them soon, as they’ve gotten key players back from the NHL, and can now add Alex Formenton‘s name to that list. It was announced by the Senators that Ottawa would be returning Formenton to the OHL on Sunday.

Then, on Tuesday, the Knights swung a deal to shore up their problems between the pipes. They shipped goalie Tyler Johnson and three picks (one conditional) to Sault Ste. Marie for Joseph Raaymakers. Unhappy with the prospect of sitting behind Matt Villalta, Raaymakers was a holdout from Greyhounds camp. Now that he’s found his new opportunity, Raaymakers will be hoping to help the Knights defensively. They currently sit fifth-worst in goals-against.

Rangers get a jump on adding offence

Not to be outdone, the Kitchener Rangers swung a pair of trades on Tuesday. The first one saw OA defence man Doug Blaisdell traded to Sudbury for a conditional pick. Soon after that, Kitchener scooped up Kole Sherwood from Flint for four picks. While moving on from Blaisdell was difficult, the Rangers jumped at the chance to add offence. Sherwood, who fills Blaisdell’s OA spot, scored 33 goals in 60 games last year for the Firebirds. He also added 52 assists to give him 85 points. Originally signed by London as a free agent, Sherwood signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets after going undrafted. Sherwood adds another scoring threat alongside Adam Mascherin and Connor Bunnaman, and some valuable depth. For Blaisdell, he moves on to his second OHL team after spending 202 games with the Rangers franchise.

Hinz keying Sarnia’s hot start

The Sarnia Sting are the best team in the Western Conference with a 9-1-0-0 record. They join the Greyhounds, Attack and Bulldogs as teams with just one regulation loss. They’re not only tied for the fewest goals-allowed in the league (25), but they also have the most potent attack. They’ve scored 51 goals in just 10 games. A big reason for that is Brady Hinz, who was named the On the Run Player of the Week.

While Hinz’ week was impressive (six goals and three assists in four games), his year has been just as good. Hinz is fourth on the Sting in scoring (12 points), but first in goals with nine. He’s also added three power play goals on just 20 shots this season. While Adam Ruzicka, Jordan Kyrou and Anthony Salinitri will carry the bulk of the offensive load, Hinz’ breakout has been a welcome addition to that trio. Add in the fact he’s the first draft eligible to win the award this season, and it’s been a great start for the Sting.

A potent Attack

Last year Patrus Palmu, Nick Suzuki and Kevin Hancock were dominant for the Owen Sound Attack. The trio placed fourth, fifth and tenth in the league scoring race respectively, and combined for 105 goals and over 200 points. Hard to top, right? Well it is, but Nick Suzuki and Sean Durzi are doing their best. Suzuki is tops in points with 18 across nine games, and the Golden Knights’ prospect is two off the league leader in assists.

Who is leading the league you might ask? Well it’s Durzi, whose 13 helpers leave him at 17 points. Durzi not only leads all defensemen in scoring, but sits one point behind Suzuki for the team lead. Durzi went to camp with the New York Islanders, but you have to figure plenty of eyes are on the undrafted ’98 now. He’s already surpassed his rookie season total (16 points) and with just 38 points last year, odds pretty good he’ll match his career total (54) in this season alone. And if you’re wondering about Hancock? Don’t worry. He’s sitting ninth in league scoring with 14 points.

OHL well represented at U-17s

The 66-player roster Hockey Canada will send to the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge was announced on Tuesday, and 23 from the OHL will be taking part. Flint Firebirds netminder Luke Cavallin will be the only goalie going from Ontario. Meanwhile, Evan Brand (Kingston), Mitch Brewer* (Oshawa), Thomas Harley* (Mississauga), Colton Kammerer (Sarnia), and Nathan Staios* (Windsor) were among the defencemen named.

Forwards include Tag Bertuzzi* (Guelph), Joe Carroll (SSM), Graeme Clarke* (Ottawa), Brandon Coe* (North Bay), Hayden Fowler* (SSM), Ethan Keppen (Flint), Connor McMichael* (Hamilton), Cody Morgan* (Kingston), Blake Murray* (Sudbury), Nicholas Porco* and Aidan Prueter (Saginaw), Jamieson Rees (Sarnia), Mitchell Russell* (Owen Sound), Ryan Suzuki* (Barrie), Philip Tomasino* (Niagara), Keenan Washkurak (Mississauga), and Nick Wong (Oshawa). As they have for the past few tournaments, Canada will submit three teams: Black, Red, and White.

*-denotes 2017 first round pick