The Maple Leafs invite lots of players to development camp, both their own draft picks and some free agents from the junior leagues. One invitee was Kyle Maksimovich, the point per game winger who flew under the radar last season with the Otters. It wasn’t hard to miss him, as most eyes were on Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome, free agent defender Darryl Raddysh and his brother Taylor.

The Erie Otters game me the opportunity to ask Maksimovich a few questions after the Otters game against the Niagara IceDogs.

Q: How was the experience being at development camp?

A: It was really good. I got the invite when I got back from the Memorial Cup, it was a good experience, we stayed downtown Toronto for a week, it was great. We worked on our skills, had a couple skirmishes.

Q: Did the Leafs treat you well? Just the same as the drafted players?

A: There was a little difference between the picks and free agents. There were two teams of free agents, and then two of us (free agents) played with the draft picks.

Q: Did you have any free time, get into the city and cause trouble?

A: No, no, no, we kept it pretty mellow. They gave us some tourist passes, like for the CN Tower, but I’m from just on the other side of Toronto (Hamilton), so I didn’t really do that stuff. I just rested during downtime.

Q: Over the summer the Otters saw quite a few players graduate to the pro level, how has that worked out for you? More ice time? More opportunities?

A: Definitely, whenever you make it that far you know you’re going to lose some guys. It’s been different this year, I’m wearing a letter (Alternate Captain) now so some responsibility does fall on my shoulders, other guys look to you to be a leader. It’s great, I’ve taken the bull by the horns with that.

Q: It’s early in the season, but points wise you’re on your way to a career year. Did you focus on any specific area to improve on over the summer?

A: In the summer I was told I needed to work on my speed, my quickness, so I had some private skates to work on that, I really focused on it.

Q: Every team in the Memorial Cup last May saw their head coach leave over the summer. How has this transition gone for the Otters?

A: It’s been good. It’s always tough when you lose a huge part of your team, like your head coach. (Craig) Hartsburg came in, and he’s pushing us more to be an energy type of team. We don’t have as much skill as we did last year, but the energy we have and Hartsy’s done a great job pushing us for that.

Q: Have you had any contact with the Leafs, or any other teams since development camp?

A: No, I haven’t talked to anyone. I went to Chicago for their main camp, but we’re just focusing on this season now.

Last spring Darren Raddysh of the Oilers was the talk of the OHL as the big unsigned free agent. Will Maksimovich become that this year?

Ontario Hockey League

#77 - Eemeli Räsänen (D) - 0G, 3A, +5
Kingston Frontenacs 15-7-3-3

Nov. 29th: vs Ottawa 67’s
W 4-1 - 0G, 0A, +2
Dec. 1st: vs Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
L 3-2 OT - No Points
Dec. 3rd: vs Barrie Colts
W 6-2 - 0G, 3A, +3

Eemeli Räsänen was invited to Finnish world juniors camp, which will begin next week.

#55 - Keaton Middleton (D) - 0G, 1A, +3
Saginaw Spirit 14-10-3-0

Nov. 30th: vs Hamilton Bulldogs
W 4-3 - 0G, 0A, +1
Dec. 2nd: vs Sarnia Sting
W 7-6 OT - 0G, 1A, +1
Dec. 3rd: vs Niagara IceDogs
W 3-1 - 0G, 0A, +1

Saginaw had am amazing weekend, winning all three games and making a comeback from a 6-0 deficit versus Sarnia to win the game 7-6 in overtime.

Fedor Gordeev (D) / #52 - Nicolas Mattinen (D)
0G, 2A / 2G, 2A, +1
Flint Firebirds - 9-17-2-0

Dec. 1st: vs Hamilton Bulldogs
W 4-3 OT - 0G, 1A, +2 / 0G, 1A, -1
Dec. 2nd: vs Niagara IceDogs
L 6-4 - 0G, 0A, -2 / 2G, 1A

Dec. 3rd: @ Windsor Spitfires
W 4-3 OT - 0G, 1A / 0G, 0A, +2

Flint had two important wins this weekend, but still sit eight points out of a playoff spot. Mattinen was the big scorer, getting four points over the weekend.

Ryan McGregor (F) - 1G, 1A,
Sarnia Sting - 22-5-2-0

Dec. 1st: vs North Bay Battalion
L 3-2  - 1G, 1A, +1

Dec. 2nd: @ Saginaw Spirit
L 7-6 OT - 0G, 0A, -1
Dec. 3rd: vs Oshawa Generals
W 4-1 - No Points

Sarnia had two losses, including blowing a 6-0 lead over Flint. They’ve now fallen to second overall as the Soo Greyhounds won three games to take the lead.

Western Hockey League

#33 - Ian Scott (G) - 62sv, 71sh, .873sv%
Prince Albert Raiders -11-11-4-1

Nov. 29th: @ Kootenay Ice
L 4-3 OT - 17sv, 20sh, .850sv% (played 36:41)
Dec. 1st: @ Calgary Hitmen
W 5-3 - 26sv, 29sh, .897sv%
Dec. 2nd: @ Edmonton Oil Kings
L 4-1 - 19sv, 22sh, .864sv% (Played 54:53)

Scott was pulled twice last week, both times after allowing three goals. He played his best in the Raiders lone win last week versus Calgary.

Junior A

#24 - Ryan O'Connell (D)
Penticton Vees, BCHL - 20-5-1-2

Nov. 29th: vs West Kelowna Warriors
W 3-0 - No Points
Dec. 1st: @ Nanaimo Clippers
W 2-1 - No Points
Dec. 2nd: @ Alberni Valley Bulldogs
W 5-2 - Did Not Play

No points for O’Connell but the Vees were victorious with three wins and only allowing three goals.


#13 - Nolan Vesey (F) - 2G, 1A, +1
Maine Black Bears
Overall: 6-7-1 / Conference: 4-4-1

Dec. 1st: vs Vermont
T 4-4 - No Points
Dec. 2nd: vs Vermont
W 6-2 - 2G, 1A, +1

Vesey had one of his best games of the season against Vermont, doubling his points total for the season.

#14 - JD Greenway (D)
Wisconsin Badgers
Overall: 10-7-2 / Conference: 4-3-1

Dec. 1st: @ Minnesota
L 5-4 - Did Not Play
Dec. 2nd: @ Minnesota
W 3-2 - Did Not Play

Greenway is still working to get back in the line up.

#31 - Joseph Woll (G) - 57sv, 62sh, .919sv%
Boston College Eagles
Overall: 9-6-2 / Conference: 19-2-0

Dec. 1st: vs Boston University
L 7-4 - 22sv, 26sh, .846sv%
Dec. 2nd: @ Boston University
W 4-1 - 35sv, 36sh, .972sv%

Woll was back on form against BU in their second game of the home and home, overall he comes away from the weekend looking good on paper, but that first game hurts.

#8 - Dakota Joshua (F) - 1G, 0A, -2
Ohio State Buckeyes
Overall: 8-4-4 / Conference: 3-4-1

Dec. 1st: vs Penn State
T 5-5 - 1G, 0A, -1
Dec. 2nd: vs Penn State
L 4-0 - 0G, 0A, -1

Joshua wasn’t playing up to snuff last weekend, with Penn State taking the back to back 9-5.

Prospects points tracker

PlayerLeaguePointsGames PPGNHLe
Dakota Joshua (F)Big 1024300.8022.96
Nolan Vesey (F)Hockey East25370.6820.50
Ryan McGregor (F)OHL29470.6216.19
Ryan O’Connell (D)BCHL12230.529.84
Eemeli Räsänen (D)OHL30590.5113.34
Nicolas Mattinen (D)OHL29620.4712.27
Keaton Middleton (D)OHL23610.389.89
Fedor Gordeev (D)OHL23640.369.43
JD Greenway (F)Big 103120.257.18