Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Top 10 - Preseason Performers of 2016

The 2016 preseason is over and the regular season is just around the corner. It's time to take a look at some of the top performances of this year's exhibition action.

As always, this list is populated by players without NHL affiliations (first or second year players, and undrafted veterans), because they get into more games.

Here were the preseason standings (ignoring divisions):

Eastern Conference
1. Kingston Frontenacs (3-1, .750%)
2. Barrie Colts (3-3, .500%)
3. Hamilton Bulldogs (2-2, .500%)
4. North Bay Battalion (2-2, .500%)
5. Peterborough Petes (2-2, .500%)
6. Oshawa Generals (2-3, .400%)
7. Ottawa 67's (1-2, .333%)
8. Sudbury Wolves (1-4, .200%)
9. Mississauga Steelheads (1-4, .200%)
10. Niagara IceDogs (0-3-1, .125%)

Western Conference
1. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (4-0, 1.00%)
2. Kitchener Rangers (3-0-1, .875%)
3. Owen Sound Attack (4-1, .800%)
4. Flint Firebirds (3-1, .750%)
5. Guelph Storm (3-2, .600%)
6. Erie Otters (2-2, .500%)
7. Windsor Spitfires (2-2, .500%)
8. London Knights (2-2, .500%)
9. Sarnia Sting (2-2, .500%)
10. Saginaw Spirit (0-4, 0.00%)

Here are your top 10 OHL preseason performers, with several HM's and a team by team breakdown of some other standouts. 

10. Michael McNiven - Owen Sound Attack
The Montreal Canadiens signee was nearly unbeatable this preseason, allowing only 2 goals spread over 3 games (although he split ice time). I think that this is only a sign of things to come. Owen Sound should contend for home ice in the first round and McNiven is most definitely a candidate for the OHL goaltender of the year. A very underrated player and prospect.

9. Ivan Lodnia - Erie Otters
Fresh off a standout performance for the U.S. at the Ivan Hlinka, Lodnia led Erie in scoring this preseason with 4 goals in 4 games. The talented center should form quite the partnership with Alex Debrincat this season, in what is sure to be a breakout year for him in his NHL draft year.

8. Jack Kopacka - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
While Boris Katchouk led the perfect Hounds in preseason scoring, Kopacka's 4 goals and 2 assists serve as evidence of his ability to carry the play this preseason. The Anaheim Ducks 4th rounder appears to be in for a big year playing for a very deep and talented Sault Ste. Marie team.

7. Dylan Di Perna - Kitchener Rangers
While he most certainly did take steps forward last year, Di Perna looks like a totally different player yet again this preseason, showcasing even more improvements made to his game. Appears to be oozing with offensive confidence right now (scored a goal for the NY Rangers Traverse City team recently too).  With 2 goals and 2 assists, could Di Perna be an early favourite for Overager of the Year?

6. Nathan Dunkley - Kingston Frontenacs
There's almost always one 16 year old on this list. The Fronts 17th overall pick in 2016, Dunkley actually led the preseason with 6 goals. While the regular season will, no doubt, prove to be more challenging for him, it's always encouraging to see early returns on your high draft picks (even if it is only the preseason).

5. Christian Propp - Barrie Colts
The front runner for the Barrie starting netminder job? Propp, not even a sure bet to make Barrie's roster this year, came into camp and dazzled. The '99 allowed only 4 goals on 65 shots and helped the rebuilding Colts to a winning record in the preseason. Definitely deserves props (see what I did there) for that.

4. Liam Herbst - Guelph Storm
Loved the acquisition when it happened, and I think Storm fans are also loving the early returns thus far. Guelph needed to go out and get themselves a veteran goaltender to help improve their team and Herbst was that man. While I'm not convinced Guelph can replicate their preseason success in the regular season, Herbst was most definitely sensational during the exhibition schedule, making 104 saves and earning a couple wins. 

3. Mitchell Vande Sompel - Oshawa Generals
Man among boys this preseason. Vande Sompel finished tied for 2nd in preseason scoring with 7 points. The OHL veteran will look to improve upon an injury plagued season that saw him recovering from shoulder surgery. If Oshawa wants to get a top 4 spot in the East, Vande Sompel will need to be a Max Kaminsky candidate.

2. Cedric Schiemenz - Kitchener Rangers
Couldn't have been more impressed with the first year player from Germany (although played in Austria last year). He was an absolute force for the Rangers this preseason (with 7 points). Was the best player on the ice in the game I saw. He's going to be a really good one I think.

1. Linus Nyman - Kingston Frontenacs
The top two players on this list are imports. Certainly interesting. Nyman's 10 preseason points in 4 games was definitely a bit surprising, even if he looked good at the Ivan Hlinka for Finland. The diminutive forward could potentially work very well with Lawson Crouse this year (assuming he returns for his 19 year old season).

Honorable Mentions

Adam Mascherin - Kitchener Rangers
Probably should have been on this list somewhere after putting up 3 goals and 4 assists in the preseason. Mascherin is most definitely a dark horse to lead the league in scoring this year on what should be a very good Kitchener team.

Brent Moran - North Bay Battalion
While his OHL career hasn't exactly gone according to plan thus far, the overager looks refreshed by a new start in North Bay under Stan Butler. He had an excellent preseason (stopping 72 of 75 shots) and will need to be an absolute workhorse this year for the Battalion. He's another guy that probably should have made the top 10 of this list.

Austen Keating - Ottawa 67's
5 goals in 3 games. That's some impressive production for the sophomore forward. I'm most certainly not worried about Ottawa's ability to score goals this year (I am worried about preventing them).

Givani Smith - Guelph Storm
The human wrecking ball was a force in the preseason with 4 goals in 4 games. This young Guelph team will be exciting to watch this year, even if they don't win a ton of games. 

Travis Konecny - Sarnia Sting
I still don't think he's back in the OHL this year (unless Philadelphia is worried about his injury woes), but he most certainly was impressive in the preseason scoring 4 goals and adding 2 assists in only 2 games. 

Boris Katchouk - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Katchouk's 6 assists this preseason helped the Greyhounds to a perfect record. He does so many things well and is the perfect complimentary offensive player. He should be in for a big year on a great team.

Ben Fanjoy - Ottawa 67's
Interesting to see how well Fanjoy performed this preseason after (rumour has it) he had asked for a trade this offseason. But 7 points in 3 games is most certainly good production. Maybe he's turned the corner offensively heading into his 3rd OHL season?

Alex Formenton - London Knights
Great start to his OHL career with 4 goals in 4 games. Saw London play once this preseason and Formenton was excellent. Seems like a great fit for this lineup as an opportunistic scorer who can play a variety of different roles.

Team by Team Breakdowns (other standouts not already listed) 

Barrie Colts
Lucas Chiodo - 1 goal, 4 assists
Kyle Heitzner - 4 goals
Tom Hedberg - 1 goal, 3 assists 

Erie Otters
Shaun Bily - 1 goal, 4 assists
Gera Poddubnyi - 3 goals, 1 assist

Flint Firebirds
Ty Dellandrea - 5 assists
Luke Kirwan - 2 goals, 1 assist

Guelph Storm
James McEwan - 1 goal, 5 assists
Issac Ratcliffe - 1 goal, 5 assists
Nate Schnarr - 3 goals, 2 assists

Hamilton Bulldogs
Cole Candella - 1 goal, 3 assists
Michael Cramarossa - 3 goals 
Connor Hicks (.917 SV%)

Kingston Frontenacs
Jason Robertson - 2 goals, 3 assists
Ryan Cranford - 3 goals, 1 assist 
Jeremy Helvig (.923 SV%)

Kitchener Rangers
Riley Damiani - 2 goals, 3 assists
Eric Guest - 2 goals, 3 assists
Elijah Roberts - 4 assists

London Knights
Kole Sherwood - 3 goals, 2 assists
Janne Kuokkanen - 3 goals, 2 assists
Evan Bouchard - 5 assists

Mississauga Steelheads
Ryan McLeod - 3 goals, 2 assists
Nathan Bastian - 1 goal, 3 assists

Niagara IceDogs
Oliver Castleman - 2 goals, 1 assist 
Pavel Demin - 1 goal, 2 assists

North Bay Battatlion
Adam McMaster - 3 goals, 2 assists
Brady Lyle - 1 goal, 1 assist

Oshawa Generals
Anthony Cirelli - 1 goal, 4 assists
Eric Henderson - 3 goals, 1 assist
Jack Studnicka - 2 goals, 2 assists

Ottawa 67's
Hudson Wilson - 1 goal, 3 assists

Owen Sound Attack
Matt Schmalz - 1 goal, 4 assists
Petrus Palmu - 4 goals

Peterborough Petes
Steve Lorentz - 1 goal, 4 assists
Matthew Timms - 2 goals, 2 assists 
Scott Smith (.963 SV%)

Saginaw Spirit
Mitchell Stephens - 3 goals, 2 assists

Sarnia Sting
Jordan Kyrou - 1 goal, 3 assists
Jakob Chychrun - 1 goal, 3 assists

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Tim Gettinger - 3 goals, 3 assists
Bobby MacIntyre - 3 goals, 2 assists

Sudbury Wolves
Owen Lalonde - 1 goal, 3 assists
Liam Dunda - 1 goal, 3 assists

Windsor Spitfires
Luka Boka - 2 goals, 3 assists
Logan Brown - 1 goal, 4 assists

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