With the 2013-14 regular season a little over a week away, we take a look at the 10 players to watch for the upcoming campaign.
1. Max Domi, C, London Knights-This offensize wizard is one of the most exciting players in not just the OHL, but in the entire CHL. With London hosting the Memorial Cup this season, all eyes will be on not just the Knights, but on Domi as well. Expect Phoenix Coyotes' first round pick to be a contender for the league scoring championship.
2. Bo Horvat, LW, London Knights-Horvat was the hero for the Knights as he scored the game-winning goal with less than a second left, winning the OHL Championship in the process. This bull of a power forward plays well in all three zones and will be looked at as one of the leaders. There is another level in Horvat's game.
3. Connor McDavid, C, Erie Otters-The wunderkind finished the season with 66 points in 63 games. Not bad for a 16-year old, but he'll be getting a supporting cast this season with the arrivals of Andre Burakovsky, Dylan Strome and Cory Genovese. Expect McDavid to take the next step as one of the league's top scorers.
4. Aaron Ekblad, D, Barrie Colts-All eyes will be on Ekblad this season, especially with this being his draft year. He started his OHL career as a 15 year-old and will be entering his third season in the 'O'. Playing in all situations, Ekblad finished second on the Colts with a +29 rating. He still has room to grow, which is scary.
5. Spencer Watson, RW, Kingston Frontenacs-Part of the "Kingston Trio", Bennett's stock went through the roof after his performance in last summer's Ivan Hlinka Tournament. After finishing his rookie year with decent numbers (23 goals & 20 assists in 43 games), Watson will be one of the players to lead the Frontenacs to the next level.
6. Darnell Nurse, D, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds-Expect the Edmonton Oilers' latest first round pick to return to the Soo and patrol the blueline. Nurse not only provides some offense, but he's a meat and potatoes type of defenseman. He'll be one of the best player on the ice on most nights.
7. Alex Nedeljkovic, G, Plymouth Whalers-After starting last season third on the goaltending depth chart, Nedelkovic finished 2012-13 as one of the league's top netminders. With the trade of Matt Mahalak to Kingston, the Parma, Ohio native is the undisputed number one netminder in Plymouth. Expect him to steal some games for the Whalers.
8. Andreas Athanasiou, LW, Barrie Colts-After being acquired from London last summer, Athanasiou showed why the Colts traded for him. He has soft hands and is offensively gifted. with Mark Scheifele and Anthony Camara departing for the pros, Athanasiou will take center stage in Barrie as he'll be looked at to be the go-to guy.
9. Nick Ritchie, LW, Peterborough Petes-Ritchie, the younger brother of former Niagara IceDog Brett Ritchie, fared well in his first season in Peterborough, despite playing 41 games. Some say that when his junior career is over, he'll be better than big brother. That says a lot, especially how good of a player Brett was in junior.
10. Jared McCann, C, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds-The fourth overall pick in the 2012 OHL Draft, McCann showed flashes of what he can do on a nightly basis and finished his rookie year with 44 points in 64 games. With the departures of Nick Cousins and Brandon Alderson, McCann will be looked at to be one of the offensive leaders for the Greyhounds.
Honorable Mentions: Roland McKeown, D, Kingston Frontenacs; Sam Bennett, C, Kingston Frontenacs; Matt Mistele, LW, Plymouth Whalers; Ryan Hartman, LW, Plymouth Whalers; Nick Baptiste, RW, Sudbury Wolves; Michael Dal Colle, C, Oshawa Generals; Nikolay Goldobin, RW, Sarnia Sting; Blake Clarke, LW, North Bay Battalion; Justin Bailey, RW, Kitchener Rangers; Robby Fabbri, C, Guelph Storm