OHL players seize opportunity at NHL Rookie Camps


A total of 156 OHL players eligible to return for the 2017-18 season attended NHL Rookie Camps this past week, with several teams competing in organized tournaments.

Here’s a look at top performers from the Traverse City Prospects Tournament, the Penticton Young Stars Classic, Toronto Rookie Tournament, Buffalo Prospects Challenge, San Jose Prospects Showcase and rookie game action from Los Angeles and Nashville over the past several days.


Traverse City Prospects Tournament – Traverse City, MI
Erie Otters graduate Alex DeBrincat tied the score at two with 31 seconds remaining in the third period before netting the game winner 1:32 into overtime as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 in the Traverse City Prospects Tournament championship game.

The Hawks finished with an overall record of 3-1 as DeBrincat led all players in goal-scoring and all OHL products in points with six points (5-1–6) over four games. Another Chicago bright spot included Hamilton Bulldogs graduate Michael Cramarossa who recorded five points (3-2–5) in as many games.

The second place Columbus Blue Jackets wrapped up their showcase with a record of 2-1-1 as Saginaw Spirit graduate Hayden Hodgson finished tied for the team lead in goals with three. Flint Firebirds product Kole Sherwood recorded three assists in four games.

Other offensive tournament leaders included London Knights centreman Robert Thomas of the St. Louis Blues who finished with five points (1-4–5) over four games, Knights teammate Janne Kuokkanen of the Carolina Hurricanes who registered four points (2-2–4) as well as Dallas Stars prospects Nick Caamano (Flint Firebirds, 2-2–4) and Jason Robertson (Kingston Frontenacs, 0-4–4) who each tallied four points.

In goal, Kingston Frontenacs netminder Jeremy Helvig pitched a 19-save shutout for the Carolina Hurricanes in a 4-0 win over the New York Rangers. Niagara IceDogs goaltender Stephen Dhillon of the St. Louis Blues was also sharp, turning aside 31 saves in a 3-2 win over Columbus.


Penticton Young Stars Classic – Penticton, BC
The Young Stars Classic descended on Penticton, BC for the seventh year as the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets got a look at the youth in their respective systems.

The Oilers came away with a perfect 3-0 record in the showcase, improving to 10-0-2 in their last 12 appearances in the event. Niagara IceDogs winger Kirill Maksimov was a bright spot for Edmonton, finding the back of the net in a tournament-opening 4-2 win over the Calgary Flames while also netting the overtime winner in Sunday’s 5-4 defeat of the Vancouver Canucks.

Another notable performance came from Peterborough Petes netminder Dylan Wells, who was Edmonton’s fifth round pick in 2016. Wells turned aside 26 of the 28 shots he faced in the 4-2 win over Calgary.

The Vancouver Canucks featured eight OHL eligible players in the showcase including Owen Sound Attack winger Jonah Gadjovich who scored in two different games. He joined Windsor Spitfires graduate Jalen Chatfield in finding the back of the net in a 4-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Friday. Gadjovich added a goal and an assist to his tournament totals in Sunday’s 5-4 overtime loss to Edmonton, a game that also saw Oshawa Generals blueliner Matt Brassard light the lamp. The Canucks finished with a record of 1-1-1.

The Winnipeg Jets featured a pair of OHL eligible players in camp in Kitchener Rangers Logan Stanley and Rickard Hugg. The Jets finished the showcase with a 1-2 record, guided to their lone victory with a goal from Windsor Spitfires graduate Cristiano DiGiacinto who helped them defeat the Calgary Flames 4-1 on Sunday.

The Flames, who featured three OHL eligible players on their tournament roster, finished 1-2 as well with Sarnia Sting forward Adam Ruzicka getting onto the scoresheet in a 6-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.

For full tournament statistics, visit


Toronto Rookie Tournament – Toronto, ON
The Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators put their rookies to the test at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto this past weekend.

The Sens came away as tournament victors thanks to an 8-2 win over Montreal that saw Logan Brown (Windsor Spitfires) light the lamp twice before the big centreman scored again in a 4-3 shootout triumph over Toronto. Alex Formenton (London Knights) collected an assist in the shootout victory while London Knights graduate Kevin Bailie played part of the game in goal. Sarnia Sting forward Ryan McGregor scored for the Leafs.

In other action, the Canadiens defeated the Maple Leafs 5-2 behind a goal from Will Bitten (Hamilton Bulldogs). Windsor Spitfires product Jeremy Bracco scored for Toronto in the loss.


Buffalo Prospects Challenge – Buffalo, NY
The Pittsburgh Penguins finished atop the standings with a 2-0-1 record in a four team showcase at HarborCenter that also featured the host Buffalo Sabres, Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils.

The Bruins trailed in second place with a record of 2-1-0. They benefitted from the strong performances of Oshawa Generals Jack Studnicka, who had a pair of goals and three assists over three contests, as well as goaltender Kyle Keyser who earned a pair of victories.

The Sabres finished at 1-1-1, receiving offensive contributions from Cliff Pu (London Knights) who had a goal and two assists in three games. Soo Greyhounds graduate Justin Bailey scored twice and Erie Otters alumnus Nick Baptiste recorded a goal and an assist.

The Devils rounded out the four teams, finishing at 1-2-0. North Bay Battalion grad Ryan Kujawinski opened the tournament with a hat-trick while Soo Greyhounds product Blake Speers scored twice. Michael McLeod (Mississauga Steelheads), Marian Studenic (Hamilton Bulldogs) and Jesper Bratt (London Knights) also got in on the offence.

For full statistics, visit


San Jose Prospect Showcase – San Jose, CA
The host San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche had rookie squads on display in San Jose this past week.

Anaheim played to a perfect 3-0 record, getting solid performances from OHL talent in Jack Kopacka (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) and Brady Lyle (North Bay Battalion). Kopacka recorded two goals and an assist in Anaheim’s 4-1 tournament-opening victory over Arizona.

The San Jose Sharks followed at a record of 2-1-0, getting a goal from Sasha Chmelevski (Ottawa 67’s) in a 5-3 victory over Arizona.

The Coyotes finished at 1-2-0 as Windsor Spitfires graduate Christian Fischer found the back of the net frequently while Erie Otters grad Dylan Strome also got in on the action.

The Colorado Avalanche finished with a record of 0-2-1 and featured OHL talent in Travis Barron (Ottawa 67’s) and Conor Timmins (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds).


Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Nashville Predators – Three-game rookie showcase in Nashville, TN
The Nashville Predators took two of three from the Tampa Bay Lightning on home ice, wrapping up the weekend as Kitchener Rangers grad Jake Paterson backstopped them to a 5-4 victory on Sunday.

Erie Otters product Anthony Cirelli scored in the loss for Tampa, a day after the Bolts had defeated the Preds 6-1 behind goals from Kevin Hancock (Owen Sound Attack), Taylor Raddysh (Erie Otters), Alexey Lipanov (Barrie Colts) and Boris Katchouk (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds).

The Predators won game one of the three game set by a score of 4-2. Bolts prospects Mikhail Sergachev (Windsor Spitfires) and Alexey Lipanov (Barrie Colts) provided goals in the loss.


Los Angeles Kings vs. Vegas Golden Knights – Two games in Los Angeles, CA
A pair of rookie camp back-to-back matchups in Los Angeles saw the Kings down the Vegas Golden Knights 6-2 in the opener before Vegas responded with a 4-0 victory.

In Game 1, Hamilton Bulldogs product Matt Luff had a goal and two assists while Sarnia Sting centreman Drake Rymsha also found the back of the net. Luff’s goal was the first ever scored against the Vegas Golden Knights franchise.

In Game 2, the Golden Knights won their first game in franchise history by a score of 4-0.

The two-game set featured a number of OHL players including Jacob Moverare (Mississauga Steelheads), Jacob Friend (Owen Sound Attack), former Ottawa 67’s blueliner Stepan Falkovsky, graduates Spencer Watson (Mississauga Steelheads) and Matt Schmalz (Owen Sound Attack) in the lineup for the Kings.

Nick Suzuki (Owen Sound Attack), Ben Jones (Niagara IceDogs) and Nicolas Hague (Mississauga Steelheads) suited up for Vegas.


New York Islanders 4, Philadelphia Flyers 3, OT – Philadelphia, PA
London Knights graduate Mitchell Vande Sompel capped off a late New York Islanders rally on Wednesday in Philadelphia as the Isles defeated the Flyers 4-3 in overtime.

Kingston Frontenacs grad Michael Dal Colle pitched in with a pair of assists for New York.

Connor Bunnaman (Kitchener Rangers) was unable to convert on an overtime penalty shot for Philadelphia while Isaac Ratcliffe (Guelph Storm) also registered quality scoring chances.

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