The Ontario Hockey League typically runs the ‘OHL Weekend Notebook’ each Monday. With the delay to our 2020-21 season, we’ll spend time covering the League’s top alumni from across the National Hockey League with the ‘OHL Alumni Notebook.’
FOUR OF TOP FIVE NHL SCORERS ARE OHL ALUMNI
Led by Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (Erie Otters), four of the NHL’s top five scorers as of Feb. 16th are OHL graduates. McDavid’s 30 points include nine goals and 21 assists over just 17 games while fellow OHL grads in Toronto’s Mitch Marner (London Knights, 23 pts.), Chicago’s Patrick Kane (London Knights, 22 pts.) and Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele (Barrie Colts, 21 pts.) trail close behind. Montreal Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli (Ottawa 67’s) currently sits tied for third in NHL goal scoring with 10 markers.
THORNTON NOTCHES TWO POINTS IN RETURN
Soo Greyhounds graduate Joe Thornton slotted back into the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup on Monday and contributed right away. Having missed close to a month to a fractured rib, the durable 41-year-old picked up a goal and an assist in the Leafs’ 6-5 overtime collapse against the Ottawa Senators. Now in his 23rd NHL season and first in Toronto, Thornton has four points (2-2–4) through six games for a total of 1,513 on his career. Thornton skated with the Soo Greyhounds from 1995-97 before being selected by the Boston Bruins with the first overall pick of the 1997 NHL Draft.
FIRST AHL GOALS COME IN BUNCHES
The past week was chalk full of past and present OHL talents scoring their first American Hockey League goal. Nashville Predators prospect Philip Tomasino (Chicago Wolves/Oshawa Generals) scored his first two in a 5-2 victory over the Rockford IceHogs on Feb. 9th, a game that saw Rockford’s D.J. Busdeker (Saginaw Spirit) also get his first in the AHL. Dallas Stars first rounder Thomas Harley scored his first in overtime Feb. 8th as Texas defeated the Iowa Wild 3-2. Other firsts across the league recently have included second overall 2020 NHL Draft pick Quinton Byfield (Ontario Reign/Sudbury Wolves), Declan Chisholm (Manitoba Moose/Peterborough Petes), Damien Giroux (Iowa Wild/Saginaw Spirit), Connor McMichael (Hershey Bears/London Knights), Nikita Okhotyuk (Binghamton Devils/Ottawa 67’s), Cole Perfetti (Manitoba Moose/Saginaw Spirit), Akil Thomas (Ontario Reign/Peterborough Petes), Michael Vukojevic (Binghamton Devils/Kitchener Rangers) and Zayde Wisdom (Lehigh Valley Phantoms/Kingston Frontenacs).
SUTER LEADS NHL ROOKIES
Former Guelph Storm OHL champion Pius Suter leads NHL rookies with six goals and 10 points. The 24-year-old Chicago Blackhawks forward is off to quite a start after spending the past six seasons in Switzerland’s pro ranks. Suter has points in three of his last four games as the Blackhawks own an 8-5-4 record in the NHL’s Central Division. Suter played two seasons in Guelph from 2013-15, hoisting the Robertson Cup with the Storm in 2014.
BUNTING NAMED AHL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Soo Greyhounds graduate Michael Bunting is the AHL’s Player of the Week for the period ending February 14th. Bunting recorded four goals (including two game-winning tallies) and three assists for seven points in three games as the Tucson Roadrunners continued their perfect start to the season. The 25-year-old has totaled 82 goals and 111 assists for 193 points in 311 career AHL games with Tucson and Springfield, and was an AHL All-Star in 2019. Bunting played for the Greyhounds from 2013-15 and was selected by the Coyotes in the fourth round of the 2014 NHL Draft.
GOGOLEV INKS WITH MARLIES
Guelph Storm 45-goal scorer Pavel Gogolev has signed an AHL contract with the Toronto Marlies. The soon-to-be 21-year-old played four OHL seasons between Peterborough and Guelph from 2016-20, being rewarded after a 96-point season with the Storm in 2019-20. He’s played in 12 games with the Swedish Allsvenskan’s Vasby IK squad so far this season, recording three points (2-1–3). He’ll slot into the Marlies lineup following a government-mandated travel quarantine.