2016-17 Finish (OT losses and Shoot Out losses grouped together with losses)
1. Erie 50W - 18L - 103 points
2. Owen Sound - 49W - 19L - 102 points
3. London - 46W - 22L - 99 points
4. Kitchener - 36W - 32L - 77 points
5. Guelph - 21W - 47L - 49 points
Things are cyclical in the OHL. It would appear that Erie is due for a bit of a dip next season. They still have some strong vets coming back like Taylor Raddysh, Ivan Lodnia and Kyle Maksimovich. Currently they have 12 players born in 1997. It's unlikely Strome, DeBrincat, Cernak or Cirelli will be back. Again with no 2nd round picks from 2017 to 2024 and just one 3rd round pick from 2017 to 2022 (in 2019) They'll now start to pay for the amazing success they've had, but what a run.
Owen Sound surprised a lot of people, then turned them into believers this season. That 15 win run wasn't a fluke. They've done very well drafting, trading and developing. They got a lot of draft picks from London when Victor Mete didn't report and a second 1st round pick where they took Nick Suzuki. They also got Centorame from London in the deal for Gemel Smith. Still a young team. Suzuki, Gadjovich, Hancock, Phillips. Could have Szypula, Friend, Palmu and possibly McNiven back, they'll be very good. I could see Ryan McGill getting a pro job after this season.
London has the formula perfected for trading to get maximum return for their players and having enough draft picks to pay for the players they acquire. Possible OAs are Miletic, Crawley, Stephens, Vande Sompel, Carbonara and maybe but not likely Parsons. Vets coming back like Pu, Mete, Thomas, Bouchard, Formenton, Foudy. They'll draft well, trade some assets and be competitive as usual.
Guelph got a great one last draft in Merkley. They will get another high draft pick in the first round this year. They played their youth this season. OA candidates are Carroll, Rhodes, McEwan and Bricknell. Have some good vets coming back like Merkley, Ratcliffe, Schnarr, Tetrault, Samarukov, Hotchkiss, Burghardt and Smith. They have lots of 2nd round picks in 2018 and 19 to use for trades to strengthen their team.
We have OA choices from Burns, Henderson, Blaisdell and Opilka. Vets like Mascherin, Bunnaman, Garreffa, McHugh, Roberts, Carter and hopefully Hall stays healthy for the year. Rookies this year like Meireles, Damiani, Vallati, Guest, Gentles, Seitz, Yantsis. Luke Richardson had a nice run in goal and could be a starter next year if Opilka is traded. McGonigle also looked good before his injury. Our coaches will have a year of stability and familiarity too.
My early Midwest prediction next season:
Owen Sound (with McNiven #1)