2017-18 Season predictions thread

A forum for all fans of the Owen Sound Attack of the Ontario Hockey League.

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Re: 2017-18 Season predictions thread

Postby attackisback on Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:26 pm

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Re: 2017-18 Season predictions thread

Postby hllywd99 on Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:38 am

I guess we are not flying under anybody's radar anymore. :oops:

Have we ever been predicted to be this good before the season starts?
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......Andrew Shaw @ 11:09 pm 06/24/2013.......

.....TD Gardens in Boston, Mass.....
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Re: 2017-18 Season predictions thread

Postby hockeyhockeyhockey on Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:20 am

Can't wait to get this underway.

Some tough decisions ahead, DeGray saying they'd likely go with 24 man roster, which means 3 have to go..
your Owen Sound Attack...

2011 OHL Champions
2011 Western Conference Champions
2011 Mid-West Division Regular Season Champions
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Re: 2017-18 Season predictions thread

Postby CHL Watcher on Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:53 am

Brock has an interesting take on things.

Interesting, but incorrect. :shock:


As for the CHL Top Ten

Owen Sound #2, Sault #10 to start the year. Close, but no cigar.

#1 Regina couldn't get to the Memorial Cup (to be slaughtered) last year.....and they're far weaker this year. Far...far weaker. The Pats do have a couple of good players that do well enough in the dub....and they have one player who is really good (in the dub). It will take some pretty fancy footwork just to get the opportunity to represent their league and be destroyed by the best league in the CHL (no, not the Q). As host....it doesn't really matter (ask Windsor). I suppose they could spend a month watching Attack/Greyhound/Steelheads etc video and then steal it. ....Nah. There's a reason the Dub has a top returning scorer with 50 points more than the Q. We saw it at the U20 last year and again at the Memorial Cup........goaltending. So, no worries about having McNiven....if the boys can get out of the OHL then they'll be fine. All they have to do is score 10 or 20 goals now and then.

The CHL Top Ten is just following the standard format....Dub, OH, and then Q....until proven wrong.....again. Party like it's 1992.

The Q looks like they're in a real down cycle...generally speaking. The strong won't be very strong this year....at least it's not looking very good at the moment.

:P


^^^^^
Trolling just a tad.

I'm just generally excited to see this season get started. In all seriousness....I figure the Attack have a good shot at the OHL title....and by extension a good shot at the Memorial Cup. Now....let's see who comes back and how things go with trades, chemistry, lines, coaching, discipline, goaltending..... I expect it to be pretty good.
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Re: 2017-18 Season predictions thread

Postby attackisback on Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:53 pm

http://ontariohockeyleague.com/article/ ... son-top-10

CHL Top 10 Rankings – Pre-Season

1. Regina Pats (WHL)

2. Owen Sound Attack (OHL)

3. Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL)

4. Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)

5. Portland Winterhawks (WHL)

6. Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL)

7. London Knights (OHL)

8. Tri-City Americans (WHL)

9. Acadie-Bathurst Titan (QMJHL)

10. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)

Honourable Mention:

Kelowna Rockets (WHL)

Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

Peterborough Petes (OHL)
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Re: 2017-18 Season predictions thread

Postby attackisback on Thu Sep 21, 2017 12:58 pm

http://ontariohockeyleague.com/article/ ... redictions

SEPTEMBER 21, 2017
OHL Media Poll: #OHLOpeningWeek Predictions
#OHLOPENINGWEEK




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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Re: 2017-18 Season predictions thread

Postby attackisback on Thu Sep 21, 2017 1:57 pm

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/juniors/ ... ontenders/


OHL preview: Attack, Greyhounds, Steelheads line up as contenders

AUTOPLAY
0:00
/
2:33





Spitfires hang on against Otters, capture 3rd Mastercard Memorial Cup
Host Windsor Spitfires hold off late-game Erie Otters’ surge to win their third ever Mastercard Memorial Cup 4-3.

Neate Sager
September 20, 2017, 11:59 AM
1
The OHL is resistant to re-alignment, but it might be slightly re-balanced after the Season of Superteams.

Erie, London and Windsor, who each won championships (league or Memorial Cup) in the past two years, are at various stages of rebuilding.

The coast is relatively clear for a possible championship run from two of the Western Conference’s model small-market teams, the Owen Sound Attack and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. There might be more re-trenching in the Eastern Conference, where the Mississauga Steelheads are a favourite.

The one constant this off-season was coaching changes, as 10 teams open the season with a new presence behind the bench. Another five coaches are in their second season.

(All players to watch are eligible for the 2018 draft, unless indicated otherwise.)

EASTERN CONFERENCE

BARRIE COLTS
Player to watch — Andrei Svechnikov, RW: He is a potential NHL lottery pick and possesses an exceptional combination of speed and nimbleness buttressed by size (6-foot-3, 184 pounds) to protect the puck. His points-per-game rate as a 16-year-old in the USHL was just a tick less than Buffalo Sabres first-rounder Casey Mittelstadt.

Team outlook: The Colts reloaded with the Russian Four — Svechnikov, Alexey Lipanov (TB), Kirill Nizhnikov and overage goalie Leo Lazarev — and No. 1 overall pick Ryan Suzuki. That star power might offset depth issues, especially in the shallow Central Division. Barrie, laden with rookie defencemen, had a league-worst minus-101 goal differential last season. How high they climb might hinge on the improvement on the back end, where Tyler McArthur and Justin Murray are the only vets.

HAMILTON BULLDOGS
Player to watch — Arthur Kaliyev, RW (2019 draft): Played on the U.S. team at the Five Nations under-17 tournament last month, comes advertised as a dynamic forward. The 16-year-old checks off the boxes for explosive speed and next-level size at 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds.

Team outlook: The past two ‘Dogs years have been transitional — first season in the Hammer, followed by adapting to John Gruden as head coach. There is potential to split the Oshawa-Peterborough double team in the East Division and continue their climb. They have six NHL-drafted players including Will Bitten (MTL), Matt Strome (PHI) and Marian Studenic (NJ). The entire defence corps returns, with the X-factor being the progress of No. 1 goalie Kaden Fulcher.

KINGSTON FRONTENACS
Player to watch — Nathan Dunkley, C/LW: Showed maturity beyond his years during the playoffs. The 17-year-old has exceptional quickness and tenacity, although he is undersized at 5-foot-11 and 188 pounds. That type of player typically goes off the board early on the second day of the NHL draft.

Team outlook: The majority of the 18 returnees whom new coach Jay Varady has inherited are 17- and 18-year-olds — including 42-goal scorer Jason Robertson (DAL), Eemeli Rasanen (TOR) and Jacob Paquette (NSH). With overage goalie Jeremy Helvig (CAR) back on a team that had a very taut structure for three years under former coach Paul McFarland, Kingston should remain a tough out in the playoffs. Its peak might be a year away.

MISSISSAUGA STEELHEADS
Player to watch — Ryan McLeod: He has never been under the radar, but had his coming-out with 20 points in as many playoff games. His speed, size and playmaking are all of the first rank. One box left to check for McLeod is scoring goals more frequently, especially since his stock is so high. Mississauga has gifted youngsters on defence (Merrick Rippon) and in goal (Jacob Ingham).

Team outlook: The prognosis in Peel Region is provisional, since captain Mike McLeod (NJD), 44-goal scorer Owen Tippett (FLA) and/or winger Nathan Bastian (NJD, eligible for the AHL) are on the pro-or-junior fault line. If coach James Richmond gets his lodestars back, this is a 100-point team that will be all-in on trying to win the championship. The core group boasts three drafted 19-year-old defencemen, including Nicolas Hague (VGK).


0:00
/
4:33





The Next Ones: Nicolas Hague
NIAGARA ICEDOGS
Player to watch — Akil Thomas, RW: Has a tough act to follow after setting the IceDogs’ rookie scoring standard with 48 points, but the 17-year-old already reads the ice well enough to be the focal point of his team’s offence. It is no stretch to say Thomas is worth the price of admission.

Team outlook: Coach Billy Burke and GM Joey Burke have a free hand to coax Niagara toward the middle of the conference. A team with a baker’s dozen of 18-year-olds on the roster, including Ben Jones (VGK) and Kirill Maksimov (EDM), could run hot and cold. Stephen Dhillon is an underrated goalie, but Niagara has a huge hole to fill in front of him since departed Ryan Mantha played 30 minutes a night.

NORTH BAY BATTALION
Player to watch — Brandon Coe, RW (2020 draft): Get ready to hear every colour commentator mention that Coe won’t be 16 years old until Dec. 1. Coe, 6-foot-3 and 182 pounds, is joining a team that has helped some big-bodied forwards (Barclay Goodrow and Nick Paul) get a taste of the NHL. Speedster Adam McMaster will also garner attention for this year’s draft.

Team outlook: At this time of year, everyone makes too much of proven commodities. There’s a paucity of that in North Bay, where Cam Dineen (ARI) is the lone holdover to have had a 50-point season. The Julian Sime-Mat Woroniuk goalie tandem has 30 games combined of OHL experience. That might point toward a rebuild, contingent on breakouts from sleepers such as Justin Brazeau and Luke Burghardt.

OSHAWA GENERALS
Player to watch — Allan McShane, C (2018 draft): A classic, crafty centre whose 44-point rookie year looks more impressive since it came with two high-placed teams (Erie, then Oshawa) that didn’t have a lot of open ice time for any 16-year-old. The mental element of the game is there with McShane. The physical base, including his first-steps acceleration, needs to be there to support it.

Team outlook: The Gens have given themselves a sweet fall-back after an unsuccessful Memorial Cup bid. Leaders such as captain Jack Studnicka (BOS) and No. 1 goalie Kyle Keyser are still only 18. McShane, Serron Noel and Danil Antropov (2019 draft) are one of the OHL’s best trio of 17-year-olds. The East Division is shaping up as very competitive top-to-bottom, and Oshawa will be in the thick of it.

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OTTAWA 67’S
Player to watch — Kevin Bahl, D: Impressed as a shutdown defenceman last season and with Canada’s under-18 team this summer. Like any blue line behemoth in the age of analytics, Bahl (who is 6-foot-5, 225 pounds) will need to show he has a modicum of offensive impact and isn’t confined to clearing the defensive zone.

Team outlook: The new overseers, GM James Boyd and coach André Tourigny, have a back end — Noel Hoefenmayer (ARI), Bahl, Carter Robertson et al. — steeped in on-the-job learning. How much Ottawa will improve hinges mostly on whether the likes of Sasha Chmelevski (SJ) and Austen Keating replace the scoring and zone entries furnished by departed Artur Tyanulin (a factor in 38.6 per cent of 67’s goals last season).

PETERBOROUGH PETES
Player to watch — Pavel Gogolev, RW: Sniped four goals in six exhibition games. There’s only so much stock one can put in that small sample, but it is a positive indicator that the 17-year-old’s strength might be catching up to his skill. Increased ice time won’t be automatic for Gogolev, since the Petes have a half-dozen 19-year-olds and overagers up front.

Team outlook: The Petes, coming off their best season in a decade, likely won’t be as deep. But there’s a lot to admire here; coach Jody Hull has catalytic talents from the goal out with Dylan Wells (EDM) and Matt Timms. Games are won in the middle of the ice, and the Petes boast the centre-ice trio of Jonathan Ang (FLA), Zach Gallant (DET) and Chris Paquette (TB). The million-dollar question is whether they can level up from good to great.

SUDBURY WOLVES
Player to watch — David Levin, LW: True, his size and skating pose issues for NHL scouts. By traditional numbers, though, one can liken Levin to present-day New York Islanders left wing Shane Prince — both late-birthday, sparsely built playmaking wings. Levin had more points in each of his first two OHL seasons than Prince did at the same age, just sayin’.

Team outlook: Step 1: put in an appearance in the playoffs. Step 2: change the messenger by hiring coach Cory Stillman, who wears the braid of 1,000-game NHL player who also spent five years in player development with Carolina. With better discipline and team defence, Sudbury, whose returning contingent features 48-goal scorer Dmitry Sokolov (MIN), will see the playoffs again.

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WESTERN CONFERENCE

ERIE OTTERS
Player to watch — Stéphane Patry, C: A Swiss-French import, he joins a team that has plenty of good shifts available. It’s foolhardy to compare numbers from overseas junior leagues, but Patry’s numbers as a 16-year-old in the Swiss U20 loop are on par with those of one-time Guelph Storm 40-goal man Pius Suter.

Team outlook: Any team that makes the OHL final has a year of little to no playoff hockey in its near future (save one notable exception). It is Erie’s turn for that, as Taylor Raddysh (TB) is the only one back from the top-six playoff scorers. What doesn’t age out, though, is the winning culture and talent development fostered under GM Dave Brown. Ivan Lodnia (MIN) will now become a primary scorer.

FLINT FIREBIRDS
Player to watch — Ty Dellandrea, C: One might as well assume he is on course to play for Team Canada in the 2020 world juniors, two years away. Dellandrea, who was trusted on the penalty-kill as a 16-year-old, grades out well as an all-around centre. This season should be a better gauge of Dellandrea’s offensive upside.

Team outlook: The main reason to follow Flint is that Fedor Gordeev (TOR) and Nicolas Mattinen (TOR) could be the first D pairing. The 6-foot-6 Gordeev is often good for a LeBron-on-skates bit where he joins the rush and goes by smaller players so quickly that it seems unfair. Flint has individual flash with Nicholas Caamano (DAL) in his final OHL go-round and Dellandrea (and Dennis Busby) drawing draft buzz, but they may not have the depth for a playoff run.

GUELPH STORM
Player to watch — Ryan Merkley, D: He could be the first North American defenceman called out at the NHL draft in June. Few of Merkley’s contemporaries can match his flair for slaloming around defenders to create scoring chances. With greater maturity should come a reduction in turnovers and heightened defensive awareness.

Team outlook: A mid-table finish in the Western Conference under coach-GM George Burnett is doable. Guelph should be able to take pucks to the net on a regular basis, as their drafted forwards — Liam Hawel (DAL), Isaac Ratcliffe (PHI), Nate Schnarr (ARI), Givani Smith (DET) and Alexey Toropchenko (STL) — are all 6-foot-2 or taller. The goalie combo, of Anthony Popovich and rookie Nicolas Daws is one of the OHL’s youngest, so we’ll see if that sticks.

KITCHENER RANGERS
Player to watch — Giovanni Vallati, D: Worked his way up from third pairing at the outset to top pairing by the playoffs. The Ottawa native has prototypical size and agility for a NHL defenceman; he was cut from Canada’s under-18 team, but sometimes that becomes the spur for a big draft year.

Team outlook: With Adam Mascherin (FLA) and Logan Stanley (WPG) together, Kitchener has a high-end scorer and defender for this level. The star power is vital since Kitchener is in win-now mode after writing an IOU to its demanding fans when it moved Jeremy Bracco to Windsor last season. How squarely Kitchener plants itself among the contenders might come down to goaltending, since Luke Opilka (hip) will be out for a couple months.

LONDON KNIGHTS
Player to watch — Evan Bouchard, D: The third-year mobile defender had 44 points as a sophomore. NHL teams that are looking for another fleet-footed right-shooting defenceman to add to the pipeline get a 2-for-1 in London viewings, with Bouchard and newcomer Alec Regula.

Team outlook: Like ancient Rome, the next Tyler Parsons in goal won’t be built in a day. But Dale Hunter thrives when his guys are faded by the forecasters, and London just keeps players hungry and moving to the next station. Cliff Pu (BUF) and Victor Mete (MTL) have arrived on schedule as 19-year-old leaders, and the Knights offer promise at each age cohort. It’s hard to see too much of a drop-off.

OWEN SOUND ATTACK
Player to watch: Two of last season’s top four scorers were no taller than 5-foot-7, and into that breach steps Aidan Dudas, whom Hockey Canada listed at 5-foot-7¼ during the Ivan Hlinka Tournament. Dudas plays with an infectious energy that tends to spread to teammates. Centre Matthew Struthers, at 6-foot-2, is a more conventionally proportioned draft prospect.

Team outlook: Nick Suzuki (VGK) and Jonah Gadjovich (VAN) combined for 91 goals, the most of any returning duo in the league. New coach Todd Gill had skating teams in his Kingston tenure, so one presumes the Attack will again be a potent lineup that pushes for a top-two seed. Overage goalie Zack Bowman has the tall task of replacing three-year standout Michael McNiven, but getting a goalie from Sudbury worked out for Erie last year.


SAGINAW SPIRIT
Player to watch — Blade Jenkins, C: For the Spirit franchise, Jenkins choosing the OHL and Saginaw over the Univeristy of Michigan is akin to the Twitter verified checkmark. Jenkins has all the tools to be a two-way centre and has filled out to 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, which might help him revitalize this offence, after some tough sledding against the older competition with the U.S. Under-17 team last season.

Team outlook: Saginaw holds several tickets in the breakout 17-year-old forward lottery — Jenkins, Max Grondin, Aidan Prueter, DJ Busdeker. Overage goalie Evan Cormier (NJD) is back, which will make GM Dave Drinkill a popular fellow near the trade deadline. It’s hard to see more than a seven or eight playoff seed for a team whose lone drafted skaters, Brady Gilmour (DET) and Keaton Middleton (TOR), are projects for their NHL organizations.

SARNIA STING
Player to watch — Hugo Leufvenius, LW: An 18-year-old Swede, he hit the change-of-venue button to come to Sarnia as an import after being passed over in his first year of NHL draft eligibility. With all the older centres in Sarnia, a 6-foot-3 winger with north-south speed and decent hands is in a good place for getting a lot of scoring opportunities.

Team outlook: Having six forwards who were in NHL camps, including potential 100-point scorer Jordan Kyrou (STL) and Drake Rymsha (LA), will help Sarnia win some score-fests. The weakness of the West Division is also a boon. The defence and depth required for a playoff run might not be there, which is a trade-off of playing the long game with some U.S. players in the 2016 priority selection.

SAULT STE. MARIE GREYHOUNDS
Player to watch — Barrett Hayton, C: Shone against same-age competition at the Ivan Hlinka in August, showing off the fast hands and stop-and-start slipperiness we see in bona fide goal scorers. Any contender typically has a 17-year-old who’s relentless on the attack, and Hayton could play that role for the ‘Hounds.

Team outlook: The time is now for the Soo, which has a .697 point percentage over the past four years, to finally win in the playoffs. Five players, including Conor Timmins (COL), scored at least 49 points. Between the almost entirely home-grown roster (24 of 26 players) and a cadre of drafted forwards such as Morgan Frost (PHI) and Boris Katchouk (TB), there’s a passing resemblance to some recent OHL champions. Coach Drew Bannister is in his third year at the helm.

WINDSOR SPITFIRES
Player to watch — Connor Corcoran, D: The 17-year-old is only in his third season as a full-time rear-guard and retains some of the playmaking mojo from his forward days. With Windsor being younger, the restrictor plates will come off and Corcoran should have more opportunity to explore the space in the offensive zone.

Team outlook: The Spitfires are in flux, with franchise goalie Michael DiPietro (VAN) being the only drafted teen back in the fold. Logan Brown (OTT), whom you might remember scoring off giveaways like Martin Marincin’s in the Ottawa-Toronto pre-season NHL game on Tuesday, might get an extended NHL look. Fellow centre Gabriel Vilardi (LAK) has a back ailment. General manager Warren Rychel is beginning a rebuild, but a team with DiPietro could edge enough 2-1 wins to be a playoff qualifier.
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Re: 2017-18 Season predictions thread

Postby CHL Watcher on Thu Sep 21, 2017 5:11 pm

When the prognosticators tell you the Attack have a 95% chance of winning the mid-west....they are also telling you the Attack have the best shot in the CHL of winning the Memorial Cup. They just haven't realized it yet.

What is the CHL's best division? Do you think it will be different this year? Take your time.
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Re: 2017-18 Season predictions thread

Postby attackisback on Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:31 am

http://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/2017/0 ... am-to-beat

Attack the team to beat
By Rob Gowan, Sun Times, Owen Sound
Friday, September 22, 2017 10:12:11 EDT AM

The 2016-17 Owen Sound Attack blazed their way to a franchise record 49 wins and 102 points.

It is hard to believe they could top that, but many felt last season's success was just a precursor to 2017-18, which has been pegged as "the year" for this team.

"Expectations are high and I think the kids are excited to get going," general manager Dale DeGray said Thursday. "I think they all know there might be a little bit of pressure, but more than that, I think the kids that are returning from last year feel they have something to prove."

Owen Sound will start the season with 16 regulars who were part of last year's team that went 49-15-0-4 and made it to the OHL's Western Conference final before eventually losing to the OHL-champion Erie Otters in six games. Because of that experience, Owen Sound is expected to be a major championship contender in the league this season. In fact, in the Canadian Hockey League's pre-season rankings, Owen Sound comes in at No. 2 behind only the Western Hockey League's Regina Pats, who play host to the 2018 Memorial Cup.

DeGray said the predictions are all about expectations, and expectations are high among the players.

"As much as people last year felt we overachieved or what have you, I think the kids felt we could have done better or we could have gone farther," said DeGray. "That is what is special about this group. Nothing is too far out of reach and expectations are generally high."

Owen Sound kicks off their 68-game regular season on Saturday night when they play host to the Flint Firebirds at 7:30 p.m. at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre. Before the game the team will hold its home opener fan fest outside the Lumley-Bayshore beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Owen Sound's offence is expected to be a high-powered one this season after the team put up 297 goals during the 2016-17 season, the second most in the entire league.

The forwards should be led by high-scoring centreman Nick Suzuki (45 goals, 51 assists for 96 points in 65 games last season), who was to be with the club on Friday after the first-round pick was sent back to Owen Sound by the NHL's Las Vegas Golden Knights, who drafted him in the first round this year.

Other notable returning forwards are Kevin Hancock (68 GP, 30-55--85), Jonah Gadjovich (60 GP, 46-28--74), Ethan Szypula (64 GP, 11-36--47), Maksim Sushko, (54 GP, 18-14--32), Zach Roberts (61 GP, 10-12--22), Aidan Dudas (56 GP, 8-13--21) and Matthew Struthers (66 GP, 9-10--19).

"I don't think we will be much different than last year or the last couple of years," said DeGray. "We have got some firepower and we have no reason to change the thought process of how we play and hopefully we have the same sort of success offensively as we did last year."

Owen Sound also has depth on defence with six returnees, led by the likes of Markus Phillips (66 GP, 13-30--43), Sean Durzi (60 GP, 2-36--38), Jacob Friend (43 GP, 2-10--12) and Trenton Bourque (67 GP, 0-11-11).

"If you look at the group coming back we are pretty solid," said DeGray. "We have six returning guys, and if you add Luke Beamish and Igor Chibrikov, that is a couple of pretty good additions in the youth department."

Perhaps the biggest question for the Attack this season is in goal, with the loss of last season's CHL and OHL goalie of the year, Michael McNiven.

Prior to training camp, Owen Sound traded for overage goalie Zack Bowman (26 GP, 8-12-1-0, 3.47 GAA, .907 SV%, 1 SO). And they have signed 2017 draft pick Mack Guzda, after taking a bit of a flyer on the Nashville native, who some thought would take the NCAA route.

DeGray said the team needed to bring in some experience and he has confidence that they addressed that with Bowman. He said the 20-year-old, who has four years of OHL experience under his belt, has always been in a situation where he has faced a lot of shots, something he doesn't expect will happen on a regular basis with the team that will skate in front of him this year.

"If it is a matter of coming in and having to stop 22 or 23 of 25 shots on most nights, that is what we are looking for," said DeGray. "Honestly, I think (Bowman) is more than capable of doing that."

One change off the ice is the addition of new head coach Todd Gill after last year's CHL coach of the year Ryan McGill accepted an assistant coaching job with the NHL's expansion Vegas franchise. Alan Letang will return as an assistant coach, while Jordan Hill is another new face behind the bench.

"It is not going to be a tonne different than what it has been the last couple of years," said DeGray. "There will be some added layers to players' games that will be new and as long as they are open to seeing it and challenging themselves I think it could make for an even more interesting year for some of these kids."

Some key players in last year's success have moved on this year and others will be relied on to fill the voids left by them. Among the graduates are Captain Santino Centorame (68 GP, 7-66-73), Petrus Palmu (62 GP, 40-58--98), Cordell James (28 GP, 21-10--31) and Matt Schmalz (62 GP, 16-15--31).

Among those who will be expected to make up for the losses are some returning players, as well as some key additions to the roster. Owen Sound acquired Alan Lyszczarczyk (61 GP, 10-22--32) from Sudbury before camp opened, while Owen Sound's first-round pick from this year's OHL draft, Mitchell Russell, looked strong in the pre-season.

As of Thursday, the Attack still had 27 players with the club (16 forwards, eight defencemen and three goalies) and DeGray would rather have that number down to a "more manageable" 24 players.

"We have extra bodies and that is the part of it that now we have to get figured out and players are going to have to get figured out in their own heads," said DeGray. "It is a matter of some players are now going to have to give up a little ice time to play on a top team, plain and simple."
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Re: 2017-18 Season predictions thread

Postby CHL Watcher on Sat Sep 23, 2017 5:46 am

CHL Watcher wrote:When the prognosticators tell you the Attack have a 95% chance of winning the mid-west....they are also telling you the Attack have the best shot in the CHL of winning the Memorial Cup. They just haven't realized it yet.

What is the CHL's best division? Do you think it will be different this year? Take your time.


Okay....I'll quote myself in this instance just to show how wrong the first week is turning out.

The Midwest division....not doing so well in the first week. I don't expect it will continue....but...so far it looks a little bad. :shock:

Flint looked great last night. Excellent goaltending - some highlight reel saves, really good puck movement throughout the game.....and great coaching and preparation. All around good showing. It was a game of rope a dope. They did not look like a team about to stumble through the season. They will be pumped up and prepared for the Attack.

It's going to be a long hard race.

Go, Attack, Go!
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Re: 2017-18 Season predictions thread

Postby hockeyhockeyhockey on Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:09 am

With the Attack having their full roster back, hopefully they can take advantage of a few other clubs missing guys and get some early points.
your Owen Sound Attack...

2011 OHL Champions
2011 Western Conference Champions
2011 Mid-West Division Regular Season Champions
2011 OHL Memorial Cup Participant
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Re: 2017-18 Season predictions thread

Postby CHL Watcher on Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:02 pm

I noticed that the #1 Regina Pats (without Sam Steel) got pounded 8-1 by the Brandon Wheat Kings.

:shock:

Let's not go there!....early or not.
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