After a two-year hiatus, it's back.
If you're not familiar with the OHL Cup it's a true staple of the minor hockey season. It's also many people's first major exposure to the next crop of top prospects before they make the step to the next level, whether it be to the OHL, Jr. A or by committing to NCAA teams.
To name just a few players that have made their mark on the OHL Cup: Tyler Seguin, Corey Perry, Cole Perfetti, Derek Roy, Tyler Toffoli, Aaron Ekblad, John Tavares, Sean Monahan, Jeff Skinner, Taylor Hall, Matt Duchene, P.K. Subban, Shane Wright and, oh, yeah, Connor McDavid. Wright and his dominant Don Mills Flyers team won the last tournament, beating 2023 top prospect Adam Fantilli in a thrilling overtime game. From that 2019 tournament, 21 players have already been drafted, including five of the top six scorers. The top scorer? Wright, and he's projected to go No. 1 in 2022.
This year, the Toronto Jr. Canadiens enter as the current favorite, with the Toronto Marlboros, Mississauga Senators, Markham Majors and Brantford 99ers rounding out the top five. The Senators' tough playoff result moved them out of the top spot and into the wild-card round, which they won, but you can't ignore them at any costs after demonstrating its strength as one of the most dominant teams in the 2006 age group.
And while this tournament is focused on the 2006-born players, the 2007 age group is perhaps the most interesting. Three players -- Mississauga Senators forwards Michael Misa and William Moore and London Jr. Knights forward Ryan Roobroeck -- have applied for Hockey Canada's exceptional status to play in the OHL as underaged players next year. While it's unclear whether or not any, or all of them, will be granted the status, it'll make for an interesting discussion with both teams looking like contenders at Scotiabank Arena over the next week.
With that, here are 15 players to watch during the annual spring fling:
Malcolm Spence, F (Mississauga Senators)
Many view Spence as the true No. 1 pick for 2022, regardless of whether the players that asked for exceptional status are granted it or not. The first thing you'll notice is just how dangerous his shot is: his release is quick, he's accurate, and is a confident shooter that can find room just about anywhere. Spence is a smooth skater that can hold his balance against bigger defenders and always seems to be moving. Spence is a hard forechecker that wants possession like his life depends on it, and you can't have enough guys like that around. Truly, he's an all-around great player and one with a bright future ahead of him.
Michael Hage, F (Toronto Jr. Canadiens)
Hage has been hyped in minor hockey circles for a few years now due to his all-around ability and he looks like he'll be a true top-line player in the OHL before long. Mix in his great speed, playmaking abilities, defensive reliability and a great shot to boot, Hage has made a name for himself as one of the toughest players to stop in the GTHL.
Sam Dickinson, D (Toronto Marlboros)
One of the best defenders in the GTHL, Dickinson is as close to a complete defenseman as it gets in the draft. He's a strong skater, smart puck-mover, can shoot the disk accurately and his defensive game is consistent and reliable. Dickinson doesn't give you much room to work with, and it's what makes him so effective.
Henry Mews, D (Toronto Jr. Canadiens)
Mews rushes the puck up in a similar vein to Jamie Drysdale at the same age. Knows when to push on the attack without being too aggressive. Like any offensive defenseman, he can get back quick enough with good awareness. Smart passer, but can shoot the disk from the point with little difficulty. He'll be a minute-muncher at the next level.
Michael Misa, F (Mississauga Senators)
Oh baby, what a talent. Misa's hype has no bounds, and his ability to play with just about anyone in the Senators lineup has made him so effective. Misa is strong positionally, his speed is among the best in the tournament and his ability to adapt to just nearly situation makes him very versatile. Misa has made his case known to the OHL that he believes he's worthy of exceptional status; now let's see just how far he can take his talents.
William Moore, F (Mississauga Senators)
With two goals and an assist in the wild-card game, Moore showed just how good he can be when the pressure is placed on him. Some think Misa is the better 2007-born player; others believe Moore is the more well-rounded prospect primed for a big future. Moore plays the game with strength and stout decision-making that makes him play well above his age bracket –which, of course, has made his ability to play effectively against older competition so easy.
Ryan Roobroeck, F (London Jr. Knights)
Only one player from the Alliance has been granted exceptional status in OHL history: Aaron Ekblad. Could Roobroeck be next? The 2026 NHL draft prospect had 63 points in 27 regular-season games and was generally a dominant threat for a London program that doesn't typically rush younger prospects. Roobroeck has the physical traits, speed and offensive toolkit to become a star at the next level and he's only just getting started.
Beckett Sennecke, F (Toronto Marlboros)
The Marlboros always factor into events like this and Sennecke will be relied upon to be a difference-maker. A skilled forward, Sennecke is tough to slow down thanks to his quick feet and can adapt to the play, no matter the overall pace. Sennecke likes to keep the puck on his stick, electing to hold possession instead of just moving it for the sake of creating a play. He'll be one of the better point producers in the OHL from this class.
Luca Testa, F (Niagara North Stars)
The one term scouts love referring to him as is "bulldog". He can do just about anything his coaches ask of him – defensively, offensively, early in the game, late in a tight contest, etc. Testa has good speed and moves the puck well and has a nice wrister to boot. He's an everyday, everyman player and every team can use a guy like that.
Liam Greentree, F (Markham Majors)
Some of the best defenders in the GTHL cite Greentree as one of the toughest players to stop. It's partly because he can handle any physical challenge, but he also keeps defenders guessing more often than not. When Greentree's at speed, he's at his best. Greentree can hold his own defensively but if he's on your team, you want him to have the puck.
Justin Huynh, D (Mississauga Senators)
One of the backbones of the Senators' lineup, Huynh is a talented two-way defender that rarely makes a poor decision when dishing the puck and is generally viewed as one of the smartest defenders in the draft. He's positionally sound, can quarterback a power play and he's got good speed to work with. His future looks bright as a minute-muncher on a contender, but for now, he's ready to show why he's so valued.
Jack Van Volsen, F (Toronto Jr. Canadiens)
With one of the best shots in the GTHL, there's no wonder why teams love Van Volsen. The hard-working winger is a high-volume shooter and has one of the best one-timers in minor hockey. His skating is superb, with his powerful stride allowing him to win foot races fairly regularly, and it just feels like every play he makes with the puck is calculated. The brain is definitely there, and the pedigree – his dad, Mike, played for three OHL teams in the 1990s – definitely helps.
Kieron Walton, F (North York Rangers)
It's hard not to be noticed when you're 6-foot-5. One of the biggest power forwards in the draft, Walton is tough to play against, not just because of his size, but because of his quick footwork that you'd see more from a 5-foot-11 winger. Walton is still working on using his full frame to his advantage, but his game continues to improve with every month and there's going to be no shortage of NHL teams vying for his services one day.
Lucas Karmiris, F (Brantford 99ers)
Karmiris first burst onto the scene after scoring a highlight-reel goal at the age of 12. Since then, Karmiris' creative genes are evident, and his quick release can be deceptive at points, too. Karmiris is all offense all the time, and he'll be relied upon to lead the 99ers deep into the tournament.
Braedyn Rogers, D (Quinte Red Devils)
Rogers' mobile game makes him an enticing prospect to watch. As his skating continues to improve, so has his ability to evade attackers and create his own scoring opportunities. Rogers is versatile, reads the play well and doesn't overstep his boundaries if he doesn't think it's worth it. He's a real sleeper for the draft.
Other Notables: Zayne Parekh, D (Markham Majors), Porter Martone, F (Toronto Jr. Canadiens), Kevin He, F (North York Rangers 99ers), Gabriel Frasca, F (Mississauga Senators), Marek Vanacker, F (Brantford).