1 KINGSTON FRONTENACS (46-17-5) vs
8 OSHAWA GENERALS (27-33-8)
Kingston: LW Michael Dal Colle (NYI), LW Lawson Crouse (FLA), D Ronald McKeown (CAR), RW Spencer Watson (LA), Lucas Peressini
Oshawa: C Anthony Cirelli (TBL)
2 BARRIE COLTS (43-22-3) vs
7 MISSISSAUGA STEELHEADS (33-30-5)
Barrie: RW Kevin Labanc (SJ), LW Andrew Mangiapane (CGY), G Mackenzie Blackwood (NJD)
Mississauga: Alex Nylander, Michael McLeod
3 NORTH BAY BATTALION (35-23-10) vs
6 PETERBOROUGH PETES (33-28-7)
North Bay: Mike Amadio (LA), Matthew Santos, Brett McKenzie
Peterborough: C Hunter Garlent, C Eric Cornel (BUF),
4 NIAGARA ICE DOGS (35-26-7) vs
5 OTTAWA 67’s (36-29-3)
Niagara: D Blake Siebenaler (CBJ), RWJosh Ho-Sang (NYI), LW Brendan Perlini (ARI), C Jordan Maletta (CBJ), D Vince Dunn (STL), G Alex Nedeljkovic (CAR),
Ottawa: C Dante Salituro, RW Jeremiah Addison, D Stepan Falkovsky, D Evan de Haan, D Jacob Middleton
1 ERIE OTTERS (52-15-1) vs
8 SAGINAW SPIRIT (24-36-8)
Erie: C Dylan Strome (ARI), C Alex Debricant, D Travis Dermott (TOR),
Saginaw: C Mitchell Stephens (TBL), D Markus Niemelainen, D Keaton Middleton
2 SARNIA STING (42-19-7) vs
7 SAULT STE MARIE GREYHOUNDS (33-27-8)
Sarina: LW Pavel Zacha (NJD), C Travis Konecy (PHI), LW Mark Mistele (LA), D Jakob Chychrun
Sault St. Marie: RW Zachary Senyshyn (BOS), C Blake Speers (NJD), LW Tim Gettinger, RW Boris Katchouk, LW Jack Kopacka
3 LONDON KNIGHTS (51-14-3) vs
6 OWEN SOUND ATTACK (32-25-11)
London: C Mitch Marner (TOR), LW Matthew Tkachuk, LW Christian Dvorak (ARI), LW Kole Sherwood (CBJ)
Owen Sound: RW Bryson Cianfrone, LW Petrus Palmu
4 KITCHENER RANGERS (44-17-7) vs
5 WINDSOR SPITFIRES (40-21-7)
Kitchener: Ryan MacInnis (ARI), Jeremy Bracco (TOR),
Windsor: Brendan Lemieux (WPG), C Logan Brown, D Mikhail Sergachev, D Logan Stanley, G Michael DiPietro, C Gabe Vilardi
Let's start with the East with my predictions.
Kingston is a stacked team, but Oshawa pulled an upset against Erie last year to go to the Memorial Cup. This year, I do not think the Generals will be going far at all, especially with the loss of Cole Cassels (VAN), son of Andrew Cassels (former Captial, Canuck, Whaler, and Blue Jacket).
I am going with a sweep by Kingston. (4-0)
The Barrie/Mississauga matchup is an intriguing one as Barrie looks to be a weaker team on offense and defense; however, they have MacKenzie Blackwood in net, who was the starter for Team Canada in the WJC in December. The Steelheads have two talented forwards that will probably be going in the top 10 of this year's draft in Alex Nylander and Michael McLeod. Nylander is the son of former NHL, Michael Nylander (played with New York Rangers and Washington Capitals). McLeod is a young center that teams will pursue in the first round.
My guess is Blackwood carries this team to a 6 game series decision. (4-2)
Next is North Bay/Peterborough. Both teams don't have elite prospects, but have mediocre prospects. Cornel is a good prospect the Sabres picked up a couple seasons ago.
My guess is the Petes pull an upset in 7 (3-4)
To finish off the East is Niagara/Ottawa. The Ice Dogs are stacked with first round picks in Perlini and Ho-Sang. They also have Alex Nedeljkovic, the starting goalie for team USA at the WJC. The 67's had Travis Konecy from the Philadelphia Flyers, but traded him to the Sarina Sting at the deadline.
My prediction is Niagara wins in 5. (4-1).
Now, it is time for the Western Conference.
The Erie Otters are the best team in the OHL, and have star players including Dylan Strome and Alex Debricant. Debricant should go in the first round, and Strome was taken third overall in the 2015 NHL Draft. The Spirit have two 6' 6" defensemen the Otters will have to go through, but that might not be a problem with the speed they have.
My prediction is the Otters sweep the Spirit (4-0)
The Sting are just as talented as Erie, and have plenty of first rounders. They have Pavel Zacha, taken 6th overall in the 2015 draft; and Travis Konecy, taken 24th overall in the 2015 draft. Sarina also has Chychrun, who will probably go in the Top 5 in the upcoming draft. Sault St. Marie has guys that will probably go late in the first round/early second round.
My prediction is Sarina in 5. (4-1)
Another stacked team in London takes on the Owen Sound Attack. The Knights are loaded with guys that will be future NHLers, including Mitch Marner, Christian Dvorak, and Matthew Tkachuk. Marner was taken 4th overall in the 2015 draft, and Tkachuk may go 4th in the 2016 NHL Draft.
My guess is the Knights sweep the Sound Attack (4-0).
The most interesting matchup looks like the 4 v. 5 matchup in the West. The Rangers and Spitfires have quality prospects. Kitchener has Ryan MacInis, son of former NHL Al MacInis; and Jeremy Bracco, a 2nd round pick of the Maple Leafs in 2015. The Spitfires have top prospects in the 2016 and 2017 NHL Drafts, making them a potential force to reckon with the next two or three years. First, they have center Logan Brown and a pair of defensemen in Mikhail Sergachev and Logan Stanley, who will all probably go in the first round. In 2017, they have a 16 year old starting goaltender in Michael DiPietro, and a young center in Gabe Vilardi, who was tied 2nd in points for 2017 NHL eligible players in the OHL with 39. They also have Brendan Lemieux, a current Winnipeg Jet after the Evander Kane blockbuster.
My prediction is the Spitfires upset the Rangers in 7. (3-4)
What are your thoughts on the OHL playoffs? Who will go far? Who will far short? Comment below and also read my Columbus Blue Jackets blogs. More to come…