HomeUSA'One-week-to-go' London Nights season preview - LondonOUS News

‘One-week-to-go’ London Nights season preview – LondonOUS News

If you need one word to describe the London Knights roster in the 2022-23 season, it is “dark”.

The Knights have to make some tough decisions to shape their final roster. As London prepares to end its pre-season schedule with back-to-back games against the Erie Otters in London, Ont., on Friday at 7 p.m. and in Clinton, Ont., Saturday at 4 p.m., support proceeds. with. Huron’s residential hospice, they find themselves with more OHL-caliber players than they can squeeze into their opening night lineup on September 30 against Owen Sound Attack.

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The biggest question surrounding the Knights going into the season involved 2021–22 OHL Goaltender of the Year Brett Brochu. Will he land a contract and start his professional career or will he return for another season in the Ontario Hockey League? North came earlier than expected when Brochu returned to London, Ont., after attending rookie camp with the Vancouver Canucks. Brochu will be the number one player for the Knights but will have two excellent goals behind him.

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Owen Wilmore was an emergency call-up for London last season, when Brochu suffered an injury in the second half of the season and his play pushed him up the depth charts. Wilmore is from St. Thomas, Ont., and brings size and competition to the crease.

Zack Bowen used the motivation of not being groomed as a 16-year-old by the OHL team to put together a stellar season last year in the Ottawa region and the Knights selected him in the fourth round in 2022. Bowen shone in the shootout win before stopping all three Sting shooters in the shootout with a big save in the final seconds in his first pre-season appearance against Sarnia Sting.

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London has a great mix of experienced leadership and exciting young talent amongst its pioneering group.

Twenty-year-old Sean McGurn is the most experienced player, having played in 104 OHL games. He has just returned from the Maple Leafs camp and acquired San Jose Sharks potential Max McCue and Liam Gilmartin and Ryan Del Monte as the only forward on the roster over the age of 18.

Landon Sim, Brody Crane, Ben Bujold and Ruslan Gazizov were technically rookies last year as they lost 2020-21 due to COVID-19 and are set to take on bigger roles. Sim Travers was the St. Louis Blue’s leading scorer in the City Rookie Tournament and Crane has returned from rookie camp with the New Jersey Devils. Gazizov has made some electric plays for the Knights in training camp and in the pre-season and Bujold continues to show his versatility. He is developing into one of the penalty killers of the OHL.

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Abkar Kazbekov also returned after missing all but nine games last year with a shoulder problem. He has a pretty accurate shot and a great offensive IQ. Nicholas Yearwood will also be looking for a full-time role.

Nevertheless, this season there is a lot of room for young talent to shine. That list would start with the 17-year-old Denver Barkie. In 2021 the Knights’ first-round pick won gold in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup with Canada and was named Player of the Game in the championship final.

Easton Cowan played magic tricks with the GOJHL’s Comoka Kings last year and will now bring that talent to the Knights full-time.

Matthew Paris, Kayden Johnson and Mike Levine also played outside the OHL last year and showed they had the talent to earn spots.

And then London has three ahead of the 2022 OHL priority selection. Luca Testa was his first round and helped St Catharines win the Sutherland Cup championship. Sam O’Reilly is physical with offensive ability and William Nicholl is an incredibly smart player who always makes the right game.

Knights aide GM Rob Simpson described the sheer number of players as “a tough thing to deal with… but a good problem.”

The rest of the pre-season games will be crucial for anyone who can be in the bubble.

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Stars are shining all over London’s Defense Corps. There are four NHL draft picks and all kinds of overall talent.

Gerard Keane and Bryce Montgomery are both entering their older seasons, but there is still a chance Montgomery could find himself in the professional ranks. He is the draft pick of the Carolina Hurricanes and has received an invitation to their main training camp. Keane is back from Arizona and the Coyotes rookie camp.

New York Islanders draft pick Isaiah George was named Knights Rookie of the Year in 2021–22 and co-educational player of the year last season alongside Jackson Edwards, who was selected by the Boston Bruins in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.

They will be joined by another NHL pick in Logan Miloux who was Montreal’s first choice in 2021. Mielox is coming off a shoulder injury that ended his season last March.

Ethan McKinnon keeps getting better and better as of last year and Connor Federko may be the hardest hitter in the league.

Oliver Bonk helped Canada win gold in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup over the summer and will remain on the NHL draft radar throughout the year.

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Carson Lloyd played six games for London last season and is looking to become a full-time player in 2022–23 and Sam Dickinson was acquired from Niagara on 31 August to be placed fourth overall in the 2022 OHL priority selection. But he was chosen and he is considered one of them. Best defender of his age in the country.

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