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Toronto Maple Leafs prospect report: CHL playoffs start this week

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The junior leagues begin play as the NCAA playoffs are hitting their stride.

GORDEEV FOREVER
Terry Wilson / OHL Images

It’s finally playoff season for everyone!* The CHL leagues kick off their playoffs this week and every prospect the Maple Leafs have in the WHL and OHL will be playing in at least a round one. Sorry, Zachary Bouthillier, enjoy the early summer.

Some of these games will be on Sportsnet - most likely the ones closest to Toronto; as of publishing time, there is a slot blocked off on Sportsnet 360 for CHL Hockey Friday at 7:30 eastern, but no teams have been announced. The good news is that it’s one of three games in the OHL and 2/3 feature a Leafs prospect.

Let’s check out who is playing whom and when.

*Except the USHL, but who cares.

Ontario Hockey League

The OHL playoffs are the 1-8 seed conference style.

#11 - Mac Hollowell (D)
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds

Round one: vs #6 Owen Sound Attack
Game 1 - Home: Thurs. March 21st @ 7:07PM
Game 2 - Home: Sat. March 23rd @ 7:07PM
Game 3 - Away: Mon. March 25th @ 7:00PM
Game 4 - Away: Wed. March 27th @ 7:00PM
Game 5 - Home: Fri. March 29th @ 7:07PM
Game 6 - Away: Sun March 31st @ 7:00PM
Game 7 - Home: Tues. April 2nd @ 7:07PM

All games can be streamed via potato-cam at OHL Live, and can be seen on local public access TV.

The Greyhounds made a tribute video for all their overage players who won’t be returning next season, you can watch Hollowell’s here.

The Greyhounds host the Owen Sound Attack in round one of the playoffs, The Greyhounds are running a team based on last year’s OHL runners-up, not making a lot of moves during the season. The Owen Sound Attack were the Greyhounds opponents in the second round last year, and it was a close series, with one overtime game and no team taking more than a one-game lead during the series until the Greyhounds won in seven games.

The Attack spent the season trading away players who were going to graduate out of junior next season in an attempt to rebuild for another championship run in a couple seasons.

The Greyhounds weren’t as dominant as they were last season, but they spent the year fighting for first in the Western Conference, eventually dropping the conference and division titles and settling in at third - they tied Saginaw in points for the West Division, but the Spirit had one more win.

The Greyhounds should take care of Owen Sound with ease, a short four or five game series should end the first round. The real challenge is round two, where they should face second seed division rival Saginaw Spirit.

You can check out a proper series preview at the OHL Collective.

#29 - Fedor Gordeev (D)
Guelph Storm

Round 1: vs #5 Kitchener Rangers
Game 1 - Home: Fri. March 22nd @ 7:30PM
Game 2 - Home: Sun. March 24th @ 2:00PM
Game 3 - Away: Tues. March 26th @ 7:00PM
Game 4 - Away: Thurs. March 28th @ 7:00PM
Game 5 - Home: Fri. March 29th @ 7:30PM
Game 6 - Away: Sun. March 31st @ 6:00PM
Game 7 - Home: Tues. April 2nd @ 7:00PM

All games can be streamed via potato-cam at OHL Live, and can be seen on local public access TV.

The Guelph Storm got busy midway through the season making several trades for high profile players including our own Fedor Gordeev, former Leafs prospect Sean Durzi, and Canadiens prospect Nick Suzuki. They’ve been playing well, but haven’t completely hit it off chemistry wise. They’re the dark horse favourite in the west, as they were too far back to climb high after the trade deadline, so they have the hardest road to go of all the top teams.

The Kitchener Rangers are the best of the bottom half of the west, finishing in fifth place, but 18 points behind the Storm. This is going to be a good series as there’s a long time rivalry between these two teams and just 25 kilometers between the two teams arena.

This will be Gordeev’s second playoff run in his junior career; he played five playoff games with the Flint Firebirds in his rookie season.

#19 - Semyon Der-Arguchintsev (C)
Peterborough Petes

Round 1: vs #3 Oshawa Generals
Game 1 - Away: Fri. March 22nd @ 7:35PM
Game 2 - Away: Sun. March 24th @ 6:05PM
Game 3 - Home: Tues. March 26th @ 7:05PM
Game 4 - Home: Thurs. March 28th @ 7:05PM
Game 5 - Away: Sat. March 30th @ 7:05PM
Game 6 - Home: Sun March 31st @ 7:05PM
Game 7 - Away: Tues. April 2nd @ 7:05PM

All games can be streamed via potato-cam at OHL Live, and can be seen on local public access TV.

The Peterborough Petes chugged along at the bottom of the Eastern Conference as they do, never really giving anyone much hope for a brighter tomorrow up in cottage country. They were battling with the Mississauga Steelheads for fifth place in the conference, but fell one point short. Which is all well and good as Mississauga now has to play the Sudbury Wolves and super goalie, Sabres prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.

If you’re in Peterborough or can make it out to Oshawa, this is your chance to see SDA in the playoffs. He may join the Marlies on an ATO at the end of the Petes playoff run. He was held to the NHL roster at training camp much longer than anticipated, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him at the CCC.

#19 - Ryan McGregor (F)
Sarnia Sting

Round one: vs #1 Saginaw Spirit
Game 1 - Away: Fri. March 22nd @ 7:30PM
Game 2 - Away: Sat. March 23rd @ 7:05PM
Game 3 - Home: Tues. March 26th @ 7:05PM
Game 4 - Home: Thurs. March 28th @ 7:05PM
Game 5 - Away: Sat. March 30th @ 7:05PM
Game 6 - Home: Sun March 31st @ 4:05PM
Game 7 - Away: Tues April 2nd @ 7:05PM

All games can be streamed via potato-cam at OHL Live, and can be seen on local public access TV.

Ryan McGregor has a fantastic season, his first as captain of the Sting, putting up 25 goals, 51 assists for 76 points in 60 games, more than doubling his 32 points in 50 games last season. Next season is his overage year but the captain may not be returning if the Marlies are in need of centre depth, especially after the show he gave this year.

The Marlies may get a better look at him as soon as next week, as I don’t think the 63 point Sting will put up much of a fight against the 96 point Saginaw Spirit.


Western Hockey League

The WHL playoffs follow the NHL and are division + wild card.

#18 - Riley Stotts (C)
Calgary Hitmen

Round one: vs #2 Lethbridge Hurricanes

All games can be streamed via potato-cam at WHL Live.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes and Edmonton Oil Kings ran away with the Central Division, leaving the Calgary Hitmen to decide of they wanted a wild card spot or to go through their division rivals. They stayed just above the wild card at the end of the season, and will now play the Lethbridge Hurricanes in round one.

The Hitmen may not have a tough row to hoe here, as the Hurricanes finished with four more wins and 12 more points than Calgary. Looking at their goals, the two teams are close in goals for (CGY: 255 / LTH: 268) and against (CGY: 240 / LTH: 234).

Of all the Leafs prospects in the playoffs, Stotts and the Hitmen are the best bet for an upset.

#18 - Filip Kral (D)
Spokane Chiefs

Round one: vs #3 Portland Winterhawks

All games can be streamed via potato-cam at WHL Live.

The Chiefs and Winterhawks have had a close fight for home ice in the playoffs for a while. Neither team could catch the Everett Silvertips, nor could the Tri-City Americans catch one of these teams and knock them down into a wild card spot.

This is going to be a close series as both teams are similar on the stats sheet, but the Chiefs are coming in hot with an 8-2 record in their past ten games, with three straight wins to end the season. In round one you always want to favour the winning team.

#33 - Ian Scott (G)
Prince Albert Raiders

Round one: vs WC#2 Red Deer Rebels

All games can be streamed via potato-cam at WHL Live.

The Raiders have out scored the Rebels by 84 goals, and have a +151 goal differential to Red Deers -2. Ian Scott led the WHL in shutouts at eight, goals by a goalie with one, and had a 1.83 goals against average. The Raiders were no slouches with offense either, with eight players above fifty points, and two players in the top ten in scoring - Brett Leason (36G, 53A) and Noah Gregor (43G, 45A).

This should be a quick series, with the Raider moving on to another team, with a long break to rest up.


Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

#33 - Zachary Bouthillier (G)
Saint John Sea Dogs

Did not qualify for QMJHL playoffs.

The Saint John Sea Dogs were the second worst team in the QMJHL with a 13-49-2-4 record. Five wins more than last place - the 2018 Memorial Cup champion Acadie-Bathurst Titan who had an 8-54-5-1 record, and only one win on home ice.

Bouthillier now has the chance to join the Marlies to work out with the team, or return home and forget this awful, awful season.


USHL

#14 - JD Greenway (D)
Dubuque Fighting Saints

The Fighting Saints won’t begin their playoffs until April, and they have fallen down to sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Only the top six teams in each conference make the playoffs, and the Fighting Saints are just five points ahead of seventh place Central Illinois Flying Aces.


NCAA

#31 - Joseph Woll (G)
Boston College Eagles

Hockey East Quarter-finals vs Providence
Game 1: 5-4 Loss
Game 2: 4-3 Win
Game 3: 2-1 Win

Boston College is moving on to the Hockey East Semi-finals against the University of Massachusetts on Friday March 22nd, at 7:30PM.

Joe Woll posted a .897 save percentage and a 3.00 goals against average in the three game series against Providence.

If the Eagles are successful on Friday night, they will play either the #3 seed Northeastern or the #7 seed Boston College on Saturday night.

#8 - Dakota Joshua (F) / Ryan O’Connell (D)
Ohio State Buckeyes

BIg10 Semi-finals vs Penn State
Sunday March 17th - 5-1 Loss

The Buckeyes won’t go back to back in the Big10 finals, after the lost to Penn State last night. Both Leafs prospects were held off the score sheet in the game.

The Buckeyes now have some time off before the NCAA tournament begins. As the regular season champions of Big10 they’ll be seeded into the schedule, regardless of their semi-final loss. They’ll be at the regional tournament in Allentown, PA the weekend of March 29-31.


It’s finally playoff time, and that’s the best time of the year. Hopefully it takes a few rounds before more prospects’ seasons are ended.