OHL season preview: Pre-season power rankings & NHL prospects to watch

With the Erie Otters losing a lot of top-end talent, there’s going to be a new king of the West this season. Find out all you need to know about the OHL this year

The Ontario League generally features the strongest competition of the three CHL circuits and does particularly well with high-end prospects (Connor McDavid, John Tavares, Patrick Kane, etc.). This year may be a little muted in that regard, though Andrei Svechnikov will likely be a top-three NHL draft pick out of Barrie. Which goalies return will also be a factor, with Owen Sound (Montreal’s Michael McNiven) and London (Calgary’s Tyler Parsons) hoping to get their vets back from NHL training camps.

Below, you will find a power ranking of every team in the OHL, based off a survey I conducted of local experts. And for those of you who follow the NHL closer than major junior, I have included at least one player per team that has been drafted by an NHL franchise, or will be drafted in the future. Enjoy!

1. Owen Sound Attack – Super-deep squad is led by Nick Suzuki (VGK) and Jonah Gadjovich (VAN). Could be a big year for the team.

2. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – The Hounds are loaded, with first-rounder Morgan Frost (PHI) and mobile D-man Conor Timmins (COL) just the tip of the iceberg.

3. Mississauga Steelheads – The ‘Sauga boys may lose some talent to the NHL, but they’ll still have Nic Hague (VGK) and Ryan McLeod (2018) as part of a deep cast.

4. London Knights – Always loaded, the Knights have tons of skill headlined by Cliff Pu (BUF) and Robert Thomas (STL).

5. Kitchener Rangers – Logan Stanley (WPG) joins a veteran squad that also includes the deadly Adam Mascherin (FLA).

6. Oshawa Generals – Tenacious Jack Studnicka (BOS) and the steady Riley Stillman (FLA) return for the solid squad.

7. Peterborough Petes – The speed of Jonathan Ang (FLA) and fearlessness of Zach Gallant (DET) will propel the Petes.

8. Hamilton Bulldogs – Veteran team poised for a good run. Will Bitten (MTL) and Cole Candella (VAN) are just two of the weapons.

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9. Guelph Storm – From Isaac Ratcliffe (PHI) up front to Ryan Merkley (2018) on the back end, the Storm is ready to surge.

10. Windsor Spitfires – The Spits are reveling in a Memorial Cup title, but they still have quality players such as Logan Brown (OTT) and Michael DiPietro (VAN).

11. Ottawa 67’s – Noel Hoefenmayer (ARI) will get some more help on the blueline from splendid import Nikita Okhotyuk (2019).

12. Erie Otters – The reigning OHL champs lost a lot of talent, but sniper Taylor Raddysh (TB) and toolsy Ivan Lodnia (MIN) are still in town.

13. Sarnia Sting – Jordan Kyrou (STL) has the wheels and skills, while Adam Ruzicka (CGY) has the size and smoothness up front.

14. Kingston Frontenacs – Jason Robertson (DAL) and Eemeli Rasanen (TOR) both bring size and skill to the Fronts’ lineup.

15. Niagara IceDogs – Kirill Maksimov (EDM) has already shown off some dazzling skill, while Akil Thomas is a potential first-rounder in 2018.

16. Saginaw Spirit – Towering Keaton Middleton (TOR) returns to the blueline, while Brady Gilmour (DET) has some two-way skills up front.

17. Barrie Colts – The dynamic duo of Svechnikov (2018) and Alexei Lipanov (TB) will be worth the price of admission – even if the Colts lose a lot.

18. Flint Firebirds – The Birds may take a step back, but look for big, mobile defenseman Fedor Gordeev (TOR) to stand out.

19. Sudbury Wolves – Dmitri Sokolov (MIN) and David Levin (2018) will head up the offense, but it’s looking like another long winter up there.

20. North Bay Battalion – Offensive defenseman Cam Dineen (ARI) will help out a rebuilding squad.