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NHL Prospect Report

OHL Stock Watch: London Knights' top players getting hot in the second half

The trade deadline has come and gone, and the race is on to the postseason.

The London Knights rattled off 14 straight wins, the loaded Saginaw Spirit went on a seven-game win streak, and the Soo Greyhounds kept pace in a Western Conference arm’s race thanks to a come-from-behind defeat of Saginaw.

Meanwhile out east, just seven points separate the first-place Sudbury Wolves from the sixth-place Mississauga Steelheads. There’s no clear-cut favourite yet, and the Eastern Conference is anyone’s to win.

It’s going to be a fun second half of the season.

Stock Rising 📈

Everyone on the London Knights

It was near-impossible to single out just one Knight whose stock soared more than any of his other teammates. After all, they won fourteen games in a row, and their streak only ended because a rookie Peterborough Petes netminder stood on his head, made nearly 50 saves in regulation, and beat them in a shootout.

Let’s start with Oliver Bonk. The Philadelphia Flyers first-rounder had 27 points in the 14 OHL games he played in Dec. and Jan., not to mention the fact that he often looked like Canada’s strongest defender at the World Juniors. In the seven games since returning from Sweden, Bonk has a whopping 24 points and five multi-point games.

It was a similar story for Cowan. The Toronto Maple Leafs prospect is still riding an OHL point streak dating all the way back to Nov. 25. Cowan has 21 points in the month of January and 36 points during those 18 games. An impressive number of those points have come on the penalty kill, as the Knights remain the most dangerous shorthanded team in the league.

As for World Juniors cut Denver Barkey, he returned to London and amid Bonk and Cowan’s absences, put up 30 points in his last 17 games.

And that’s just the Big Three. 2024 NHL Draft top prospect Sam Dickinson was over a point-per-game player in the last two months, and Winnipeg Jets prospect Jacob Julien stepped up with 30 points since the win streak began.

And it might be over now, but London has still picked up at least one point in their last six games. The Knights haven’t lost in regulation since December 10th and show no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Calum Ritchie, C, Oshawa Generals (Colorado Avalanche)

A later start to the season meant that Calum Ritchie flew under the radar for the first couple of months. He was still the same intelligent creator he was in his draft year, but it took some time for the offence to come consistently.

Nobody in the league has produced more than Ritchie since Dec. 1, with 40 points in 23 games. He was named the OHL’s Player of the Month for January, and his 1.74 points-per-game rate on the campaign puts him right up there with leader Easton Cowan (1.78).

The surge in offence has been a big reason why Oshawa has climbed to second in the conference. With the East playoff race wide-open, the Generals now have as good a shot as anyone else to finish first. If Ritchie’s torrid scoring pace continues, they could very well surprise more than a couple of the teams above them in the standings.

Zayne Parekh, D, Saginaw Spirit (2024 NHL Draft)

No 2024 NHL Draft prospect scored more in the OHL over the last two months than Zayne Parekh. He set a new franchise record for most goals in a single season by a defenceman. He overtook Luke Misa for the draft-eligible scoring lead, and he continues to fend off a heavy push from Liam Greentree as he looks to become the first NHL draft-eligible defenceman to lead the OHL in scoring since Evan Bouchard in 2017-18.

Here’s what is truly wild, though. Bouchard finished that campaign with 87 points in 67 games, as a late birthday. The 2006-born Parekh is on pace for 102 points in 66 games this season. If he can eclipse the 100-point mark, that would be the most offensively prolific season by a draft-eligible defender in several decades.

What’s more impressive, though, is that Parekh has not neglected the defensive side of his game. If anything, he’s shown tremendous growth in that area since the beginning of the season. He’s more engaged, he’s upped his physicality and is better at mitigating risk now. He won’t bite too hard on coverage, focusing on reading the puck carrier and anticipating their movements.

And what was once a relatively large gap between him and Dickinson has closed significantly. Dickinson may still hold the slight overall edge, with Parekh’s overall package likely to still scare some teams off at the draft, but there’s no denying that his stock is soaring right now. As the games increase in importance, Saginaw will need Parekh on his A-game if they hope to win an OHL championship.

Honourable Mentions: Jake O’Brien (2025 NHL Draft), Marek Vanacker (2024 NHL Draft), Dalibor Dvorský (St. Louis Blues), David Goyette (Seattle Kraken), Quentin Musty (San Jose Sharks), Anthony Romani (2024 NHL Draft), Jett Luchanko (2024 NHL Draft), Liam Greentree (2024 NHL Draft)

Stock Steady ↔️

Colby Barlow, LW, Owen Sound Attack (Winnipeg Jets)

Like Ritchie, Colby Barlow’s draft-plus-one season has been mired by injury. He missed almost the entire month of November and didn’t return to the Attack lineup until the end of 2023.

As a result, it’s been difficult for one of the OHL’s best goal scorers to find offensive consistency this year. But since he’s returned to full health, the Barlow of last season continues to emerge with each passing game.

In the latter half of January, Barlow’s production began to take off. The turning point in his season felt like his two-goal, four-point outing against Ottawa, where he set up Cédrick Guindon as the overtime winner. He had goals in all of Owen Sound’s games for the remainder of the month, finishing with twelve points in those five games.

Barlow likely won’t reach last year’s production, where he scored nearly 50 goals and 80 points, but he’s still projected to finish above a point-per-game and record 40 goals. That counts for a lot.

Stock Falling 📉

Ethan Miedema, LW, Kingston Frontenacs (Buffalo Sabres)

Consistent production has been difficult to come by for Ethan Miedema, especially over the last couple of months. Since Dec. 1, he only has three two-point games, which is a bit surprising given his offensive skillset, and he went seven games in Jan. without a single point.

Granted, he doesn’t have much help in Kingston. Gabriel Frasca only just recently entered the Frontenacs lineup, and both Matthew Soto and Paul Ludwinski have struggled at times too. The result is that Kingston hasn’t made much ground in a competitive Eastern Conference, sitting in seventh place.

Heading into this season, many expected that it should have been Miedema, given his raw talent, shooting and passing skills. That’s far from the case, as he sits just sixth in team scoring. In fact, it’s two 2024 NHL Draft eligibles consistently driving the offensive bus for Kingston in Christopher Thibodeau and Jacob Battaglia.

The lack of a physical game for a player who is 6-foot-4 and isn’t the best skater is what continues to hold Miedema back. He still struggles to protect pucks, play through checks and fight his way through the offensive zone while maintaining possession. Far too often, he’s kept to the outsides, and unable to read and adapt to plays quickly.

As a result, Miedema is only on pace for 43 points this season, which would be a drop-off from the 52 points he produced in his draft year. But he did have a strong, productive finish to last season, so hopefully he’s able to do something similar to close out this campaign. 

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This article is about:
NHL Prospect Report 2024 NHL Draft CHL Buffalo Sabres Colorado Avalanche Kingston Frontenacs London Knights Oshawa Generals Owen Sound Attack Philadelphia Flyers Saginaw Spirit Winnipeg Jets OHL Denver Barkey Colby Barlow Oliver Bonk Sam Dickinson Jacob Julien Ethan Miedema Zayne Parekh Calum Ritchie
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