2006-07 OHL Preview

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:36 AM ET

(LISTED IN ORDER OF PREDICTED FINISH)

EASTERN CONFERENCE

EAST DIVISION

BELLEVILLE BULLS

Coach: George Burnett

Last season: 32-28-5-3, seventh in conference

Playoffs: Lost in first round

Skinny: Favourite to win conference title ... Overage forward Tyler Donati and defenceman Matt Pelech, acquired in the off-season, bring more depth ... John Hughes should be in contention for league scoring crown ... Scored fewest goals in division last year but there won't be a repeat.

KINGSTON FRONTENACS

Coach: Bruce Cassidy

Last season: 37-24-4-3, fourth in conference

Playoffs: Lost in first round

Skinny: Hiring of Cassidy made up for the strange firing of Jim Hulton ... Chris Stewart and Cory Emmerton spearhead forwards, complimented by addition of Matthew Kang from Owen Sound ... Majority of defence corps, led by Ben Shutron, returns.

OSHAWA GENERALS

Coach: Brad Selwood

Last season: 18-45-4-1, 10th in conference

Playoffs: Finished out of playoffs

Skinny: Defenceman Michael Del Zotto, the team's first-rounder, already has brass excited ... The Gens play their final game in the Civic Auditorium Oct. 29 against Kingston and open their new rink Nov. 3 versus Owen Sound ... Impressive rookies include forwards Corey Cowick and Kory Nagy.

PETERBOROUGH PETES

Coach: Vince Malette

Last season: 47-16-2-3, First in conference

Playoffs: Won OHL title

Skinny: Success hinges on whether talented forwards Steve Downie and Jordan Staal are returned from the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins, respectively ... There are holes on the blue line, but club is high on first-rounder Zach Bogosian ... Trevor Cann, 17, had 16 wins in 20 games last year and will carry the bulk in goal.

OTTAWA 67'S

Coach: Brian Kilrea

Last season: 29-31-5-3, eighth in conference

Playoffs: Lost in first round

Skinny: Sophomore centre Logan Couture opens the season as the favourite to go No. 1 in the 2007 NHL entry draft ... Gone are top two scorers of last season, Chris Hulit and Julian Talbot ... First-rounder Tyler Cuma adds to deep defence ... Keep an eye on Swiss goalie Lukas Flueler.

CENTRAL DIVISION

BARRIE COLTS

Coach: Marty Williamson

Last season: 43-21-1-3, third in conference

Playoffs: Lost in conference final

Skinny: Acquisition of power forward Richard Clune from Sarnia last week was smart ... Andrew Perugini likely will start in goal, but Jake Fischer is a nice fall-back plan ... Centre Bryan Little will be on a mission to make Canada's junior team and is a candidate for OHL MVP.

SUDBURY WOLVES

Coach: Mike Foligno

Last season: 34-28-1-5, fifth in conference

Playoffs: Lost in second round

Skinny: The youngest of the Staal brothers, Jared, makes his OHL debut, but will his brother Marc be returned from the New York Rangers? ... Defence will be formidable but Wolves need more output from forwards ... Scouts curious to see what Akim Aliu will do in his draft year.

BRAMPTON BATTALION

Coach: Stan Butler

Last season: 44-21-1-2, second in conference

Playoffs: Lost in second round

Skinny: Big challenge will be replacing the combined 200 points left by Wojtek Wolski and Luch Aquino ... Aaron Snow and Luke Lynes have to go a level higher, and first-rounder Cody Hodgson had a solid camp ... Butler is second-longest serving coach in OHL after Ottawa's Brian Kilrea.

MISSISSAUGA ICEDOGS

Coach: Mike Kelly

Last season: 21-40-5-2, ninth in conference

Playoffs: Finished out of playoffs

Skinny: Nearly every player of consequence is back for what likely is team's last year in Mississauga ... Off-season pick-up of Travis Fuller from Barrie will help ... Only major concern could be goaltending ... Could surprise a few teams in the conference.

TORONTO ST. MICHAEL'S MAJORS

Coach: Bud Stefanski

Last season: 32-26-6-4, sixth in conference

Playoffs: Lost in first round

Skinny: Youth movement means St. Michael's Arena has probably seen its last OHL playoff game ... Five of top six scorers last season are gone. C Matt Caria was among leading rookie scorers last season ... Third-year forward Justin DiBenedetto wants out ... Club is high on Latvians Kaspars Daugavins and Kriss Grundmanis.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

MIDWEST DIVISION

OWEN SOUND ATTACK

Coach: Mike Stothers

Last season: 32-29-4-3, sixth in conference

Playoffs: Lost in second round

Skinny: Many expect the Attack to make a strong run for what would its first division crown ... Bobby Ryan should be returned from Anaheim and has potential to lead OHL in scoring ... Goaltending could be a weak spot ... Kings first-rounder Trevor Lewis was USHL's MVP last season.

LONDON KNIGHTS

Coach: Dale Hunter

Last season: 49-15-1-3, first in conference

Playoffs: Lost in final

Skinny: Two years removed from their massive season, few remnants remain ... A host of strong rookies, led by forwards Patrick Kane and Sam Gagner, should keep the Knights respectable ... Steve Mason will get the bulk of the work in goal ... Still ooze confidence, so don't count them out.

KITCHENER RANGERS

Coach: Peter DeBoer

Last season: 47-19-1-1, second in conference

Playoffs: Lost in first round

Skinny: Some think third-year forward Justin Azevedo could record 100 points, but replacing Evan McGrath will not be easy ... Got a bit tougher with the recent acquisition of Brian Soso from Windsor ... Would not be surprising to see a trade made for an experienced goalie.

GUELPH STORM

Coach: Dave Barr

Last season: 40-24-1-3, third in conference

Playoffs: Lost in conference final

Skinny: Biggest hole to fill is in goal with departure of Ryan MacDonald ... Ryan Parent and Drew Doughty are two defencemen any team would love ... Austrian forward Rafael Rotter looking to build on strong rookie season.

ERIE OTTERS

Coach: Peter Sidorkiewicz

Last season: 26-35-4-3, ninth in conference

Playoffs: Finished out of playoffs

Skinny: A winless pre-season may be a sign of things to come ... Team will sorely miss Ryan O'Marra, who is recovering from a broken leg but could be back on the ice next week. Nursing a knee injury is 2005 first-rounder Anthony Peluso ... Ryan Ludzik expected to be go-to guy in net.

WEST DIVISION

SAGINAW SPIRIT

Coach: Bob Mancini

Last season: 36-30-2-0, fifth in conference

Playoffs: Lost in first round

Skinny: Climbed to respectability last season and now has potential to win championship ... Patrick McNeill, last year's top scoring OHL defenceman, Tom Pyatt and Ryan McDonough lead the way ... Getting Tyler Haskins from St. Mike's will help.

PLYMOUTH WHALERS

Coach: Mike Vellucci

Last season: 35-28-1-4, fourth in conference

Playoffs: Lost in second round

Skinny: Expect Whalers to give Spirit a challenge for first in the division ... Czech goalie Michal Neuvirth was a second-round pick of Washington ... Many of the main cogs from last season are returning ... Jared Boll has the talent for a breakout season.

SAULT STE. MARIE GREYHOUNDS

Coach: Craig Hartsburg

Last season: 29-31-3-5, eighth in conference

Playoffs: Lost in first round

Skinny: Will play eight road games in a row before opening new arena Oct. 11 versus Sudbury ... Scoring could be a problem -- no returning Hound had more than 48 points last season ... Team will miss Hartsburg when he heads to Sweden in December to coach Canada's junior team.

SARNIA STING

Coach: Dave MacQueen

Last season: 17-46-2-3, 10th in conference

Playoffs: Finished out of playoffs

Skinny: General manager Alan Millar has been building for a while. Will the Sting arrive this season? ... Defenceman Mark Katic is not big, but he excites scouts for the 2007 NHL entry draft ... First overall pick Steve Stamkos will be fun to watch ... Solid acquisition in Ryan Wilson from St. Mike's.

WINDSOR SPITFIRES

Coach: Bob Boughner

Last season: 32-29-3-4, seventh in conference

Playoffs: Lost in first round

Skinny: There's bound to be improvement simply with new ownership, but is owner/coach Bob Boughner stretching himself thin? ... Second-rounder Adam Henrique led the team in pre-season scoring ... Goalie Anthony Guadagnolo will keep his team in the game every night.


Videos

Photos