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OHL Media Poll: #OHLOpeningWeek Predictions

 

Pre-Season is the best time for prognosticating.

As we get set for #OHLOpeningWeek puck drop, a poll of various media who cover the league in broadcast booths and press boxes weighed in with opinions and comments on some of the players and teams primed to shine in 2017-18.

Below is a compilation of the most popular answers with select media comments to support their decisions.

Who will win the Midwest Division?

Owen Sound Attack (95%)

“Dale DeGray is masterful at running this small market program.  His teams are perennial contenders in a traditionally strong division.”

Who will win the West Division?

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (90%)

“Loaded with returning talent, the Greyhounds have seamlessly transitioned from the Kyle Dubas/Sheldon Keefe era into the Kyle Raftis/Drew Bannister era.”

Who will win the East Division?

Peterborough Petes (45%)

“A good nucleus back from last year with a solid group of forwards, and Dylan Wells returns to the Petes’ goal looking to become one of the top goaltenders in the OHL.”

Honourable mention: Oshawa Generals (35%)

Who will win the Central Division?

Mississauga Steelheads (100%)

“Assuming everyone eligible returns, doubt they stumble out of the gate like last year.”

Which team will be the most surprising?

Barrie Colts (30%)

“Svechnikov and Lipanov will be exciting to watch.”

Honourable mentions: Flint Firebirds (25%) and Niagara IceDogs (20%)

Which player will be the league’s Top Scorer?

Nick Suzuki, Owen Sound Attack (60%)

“Poised for a monster year, Suzuki is a great talent on a great team.”

Who will be the league’s Best Goaltender?

Michael DiPietro, Windsor Spitfires (55%)

“DiPietro is a proven winner who battles relentlessly and will build off his stellar play in the Mastercard Memorial Cup.”

Honourable mention: Jacob Ingham, Mississauga Steelheads (25%)

Who will be the league’s Best Defenceman?

Conor Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (45%)

“The best two-way defenceman coming back was fifth in scoring from the blue line last year and was a remarkable +53.  What can he do for an encore?”

Honourable mentions: Nic Hague, Mississauga Steelheads (20%), Victor Mete, London Knights (20%)

Who will be the league’s Top Rookie?

Andrei Svechnikov, Barrie Colts (55%)

“He’ll go around you, through you, and can score from anywhere inside the blue line. The hype is real with this dynamic Russian forward.”

Honourable mention: Ryan Suzuki, Barrie Colts (25%)

Who will win Coach of the Year honours?

Drew Bannister, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (30%)

“Bannister’s Greyhounds look like they’ll be a dangerous offensive team once again, and if the former defenceman can get the blue line playing shutdown hockey he could be a great candidate for this award.”

Honourable mention: James Richmond, Mississauga Steelheads (25%)

Who will be the league’s Top Prospect for the 2018 NHL Draft?

Andrei Svechnikov, Barrie Colts (55%)

“Tabbed for the last two seasons to be a top five pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, playing for Dale Hawerchuk can only strengthen that belief.”

Honourable mention: Ryan Merkley, Guelph Storm (25%)

Who will be the league’s Most Outstanding Player of the Year?

Nick Suzuki, Owen Sound Attack (60%)

“Just gets better and better. Great vision, strong two-way game, and the driving force behind a very good Owen Sound team.”

Who will win the Wayne Gretzky Trophy as Western Conference Champions?

Owen Sound Attack (85%)

“Top to bottom they are a deep team looking to build on what they started last season.  Even without Michael McNiven the Attack can beat teams in so many ways.”

Who will win the Bobby Orr Trophy as Eastern Conference Champions?

Mississauga Steelheads (70%)

“Another year of maturity for the McLeod brothers and a deep defensive group make this team very dangerous in the Eastern Conference.”

Who will win the J. Ross Robertson Cup as OHL Champions?

Owen Sound Attack (45%)

“All eyes are on the Attack this year. No surprises. No underdog. They’re expected to win.”

Mississauga Steelheads (45%)

”Mississauga in my mind is the most complete team in the OHL top to bottom. Their experience last season getting to the OHL Finals will only help them capture the championship this season.” 

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