With the launch of #OHLOpeningWeek, a poll of various media who cover the League in broadcast booths and press boxes provides opinions and analysis on some of the players and teams to watch in 2022-23.
Below is a compilation of the most popular answers with select media comments to support their decisions.
Which team will win the Midwest Division?
Guelph Storm (63%)
“The Midwest is going to be a dog fight, and I think Guelph’s blend of depth and experience will serve them well.”
Honourable mention: Owen Sound Attack (19%)
Which team will win the West Division?
Flint Firebirds (94%)
“By my count, the Firebirds are returning the most goals scored from a year ago, a great sign for success in the OHL. This team is going to score so much that I’m not concerned about whether Will Cranley turns out to be a top-tier goaltender in the league.”
Honourable mention: Windsor Spitfires (7%)
Which team will win the East Division?
Peterborough Petes (63%)
“A deep offensive group got even better with the addition of Connor Lockhart. Petes are in go-mode.”
Honourable mention: Kingston Frontenacs (19%)
Which team will win the Central Division?
Mississauga Steelheads (56%)
“Goaltending is a bit of a question mark out of the gate but the rest of the team checks all the boxes with a dependable captain in Del Mastro, one of the League’s top goal-scorers in Hardie, some dynamic talent up front in Beck and Del Bel Belluz and a coach who has proven he can get the most out of his players in James Richmond.”
Honourable Mention: Barrie Colts (31%)
Which team will be the most surprising?
Sudbury Wolves (44%)
“They were really young last season, but with guys like Goyette, Musty, Delic and Konyen all a year older, you could see multiple players take big steps in their development all at the same time.”
Honourable Mention: Niagara IceDogs and Saginaw Spirit (13%)
Which player will lead the League in scoring?
Brennan Othmann, Flint Firebirds (50%)
“His shot is just incredible. I think he’ll be surrounded by guys who are going to find him, and he’s proven that he isn’t just a one-dimensional scorer either, he can make plays and distribute the puck as well.”
Honourable mentions: Wyatt Johnston, Windsor Spitfires (13%) and Sasha Pastujov, Guelph Storm (13%)
Who will be the League’s best goaltender?
Brett Brochu, London Knights (81%)
“He’s still looking for a pro contract. I’m interested to see what his workload looks like but if he’s able to stay healthy all year then you have to think he’ll be in this conversation.”
Honourable mention: Ben Gaudreau, Sarnia Sting (13%)
Who will be the League’s best defenceman?
Brandt Clarke, Barrie Colts (44%)
“I think that it’s all but guaranteed that he gets a few games with Los Angeles to start the year and that means a delayed start to his OHL season. I do think he will be back at some point and when he does return, he should be a dominating force.”
Honourable mention: Pavel Mintyukov, Saginaw Spirit (19%)
Who will be the League’s top rookie?
Michael Misa, Saginaw Spirit (38%)
“Saginaw’s first overall pick and the OHL’s latest exceptional status player is tremendously gifted and while it’ll be an adjustment playing against older, bigger opponents, the diminutive forward has always found a way to make an impact.”
Honourable mentions: Sam Dickinson, London Knights (31%) and Malcolm Spence, Erie Otters (25%)
Who will win Coach of the Year honours?
Ted Dent, Flint Firebirds (44%)
“Last year’s runner-up for Coach of the Year has a great team to work with, one he was able to maximize last season to help the Firebirds reach the Conference Finals for the first time ever.”
Honourable mention: Chris Dennis, Kitchener Rangers (13%), Scott Walker, Guelph Storm (13%) and Greg Walters, Owen Sound Attack (13%)
Who will be the League’s top prospect for the 2022 NHL Draft?
Cam Allen, Guelph Storm (69%)
“For as outstanding as this year’s NHL Draft is, it lacks high-end defensive talent. Insert Cam Allen, who I believe can be the first defender off the board. He doesn’t really have a weakness in his game and I expect him to challenge for the Max Kaminsky this season.”
Honourable Mention: Calum Ritchie, Oshawa Generals (19%)
Who will be the League’s most outstanding player of the year?
Brennan Othmann, Flint Firebirds (44%)
“The success that Othmann saw at the World Juniors over the summer when taking his physicality to new levels will see him bring some of that back to the OHL. Players play different roles in that tournament, but if Othmann adds that high-end physicality to his elite-level scoring in the OHL, it will be bad news for the rest of the League.”
Honourable mention: Brandt Clarke, Barrie Colts (13%) and Calum Ritchie, Oshawa Generals (13%)
Who will win the Wayne Gretzky Trophy as Western Conference champion?
Guelph Storm (38%)
“This is a tough one, but I give an edge to Guelph on this because of the two mobile young guys they have on the back end – a commodity not many teams in this League possess.”
Honourable mention: Flint Firebirds (25%)
Who will win the Bobby Orr Trophy as Eastern Conference champion?
Barrie Colts (38%)
“Lots would need to go right for them in terms of players returning, but I think it happens and everything comes together for them. Brandt Clarke has a monster year, Ethan Cardwell has a monster year, their younger players take that step forward, and they make a few big deadline deals to push them over the top.”
Honourable mention: Mississauga Steelheads (31%)
Who will win the Robertson Cup as OHL champion?
Guelph Storm (31%)
“It feels like just yesterday that they hoisted the trophy in 2019, but through some great drafting and work by general manager George Burnett and his team, the Storm are ready to challenge for OHL supremacy once again.”
Honourable mention: Flint Firebirds (25%) and Barrie Colts (19%)