8 OHL players with something to prove after a lost 2020-21 season
The OHL was the only major junior hockey league that failed to drop the puck on the 2020-21 season, another casualty of the ongoing pandemic. As a result, only a handful of the league's players were able to hit the ice in a competitive setting last season, most of them on loan in Europe or in international competition. The rest had to sit the year out.
As many as 17 OHLers made their way to Hockey Canada's World Junior selection camp last December; eight made the final roster. Seven more OHLers found their way onto other World Junior rosters.
12 OHL players won gold with Canada at the U18s this past spring. Lastly, a group of OHLers featured in a showcase of exhibition games ahead of the draft. Those matches might not have been the most competitive of hockey games, but it was one more chance for those players to show what they could do in front of NHL scouts.
These represent half-measures at best, though. There’s no telling how much the lost season will impact some of these player's development.
These circumstances were especially difficult for first-time draft-eligible prospects, and one can see that reflected in the many surprises to come from this region in July's NHL Entry Draft.
Which is why it was such a relief when the OHL announced in May that they were planning to go ahead with a full season this fall.
It could end up being a truly chaotic season -- so many players have a reason to be motivated heading into this year, and not just draft-eligible ones. So with puck drop for the next OHL season set for October 7, here are 10 players who have something to prove after not playing for an entire season.
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