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2016-17 OHL Season Preview

By Tom Hunter (@PuckDontLie)

While the focus of most hockey fans is on the World Cup this week, it is not the only game in town. On Wednesday night, the OHL regular season kicks off with London and Sarnia squaring off in what could very well end up being a preview of the Western Conference Final.

Many of the league’s top players will still be at their NHL training camps, but when the dust settles, this season promises to be a great one. With the way the OHL has dominated the past few NHL drafts, the talent level id going to be one that is unrivaled in junior hockey, even with the likely loss of last year’s top players.

The Memorial Cup is back in Ontario – where it belongs – this season. Windsor will be looking to build a team with the ability to win on home ice, and the rest of the league will be hoping to keep up.

Along with my preview, I have gathered the opinion of four people who all have a great knowledge of the OHL and a passion for junior hockey. Below is our OHL season preview, but first I want to sincerely thank Jon (@YakovMironov), Kathryn (@msconduct), Adam (@adam_laskaris) and the one and only @ElSeldo for helping out.

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A 2017 Calder Trophy Candidate from Every Team: Eastern Conference

By Tom Hunter (@PuckDontLie)

Yesterday I took a look at who I believe will be the most likely Calder Trophy candidate for each team in the Western Conference. This year, the West will see a couple contenders like Patrik Laine, Mikko Rantanen, as well as some under the radar dark horses like Esa Lindell and Nikolay Goldobin.

While there are a few worth candidates in the West, it looks as though this year will have a far more impressive rookie crop in the Eastern Conference. Just ask Maple Leafs fans – if all goes according to plan, all three Calder nominees will be playing in Toronto this season.

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Florida Panthers' Aaron Ekblad poses with the Calder Memorial Trophy after winning the award at the NHL Awards show Wednesday, June 24, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

A 2017 Calder Trophy Candidate from Every Team: Western Conference

By Tom Hunter (@PuckDontLie)

When the NHL season began last October, Connor McDavid was the odds-on favourite to win the 2016 Calder Trophy – and had he not missed significant time due to injury, he would have won in a landslide.

This season, the Rookie of the Year race is much more wide open. Unlike last year’s first overall pick, Auston Matthews likely isn’t the favourite to win the Calder – heck he might not even be the most likely Maple Leaf to win the award.

With that in mind, I’ve taken a look at one player from each team that has a possibility of contending for the Calder this season.

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2017 NHL Draft Top-30 – September List

By Tom Hunter (@PuckDontLie)

It’s September, so you know what that mean – NHL draft talk.

I know, I know, NHL fans aren’t worried about next year’s draft – unless you’ve already decided to jump ship to become a Las Vegas fan – but the start of OHL preseason has me in prospect mode.

We may hear talk as the season goes on that Timothy Liljegren is Erik Karlsson 2.0, and while he is a very good prospect that any team would like to have on their blue line, Nolan Patrick is the best player in the draft and will be the first overall pick next June regardless of who holds the picks.

As elite as Auston Matthews is, had Patrick been born a week earlier, Matthews would be a Winnipeg Jet today and Nolan Patrick would be the one on the cover of every hockey pre-season preview magazine wearing a Leafs jersey.

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6-5: Why the ’87 Canada Cup Is the Greatest Hockey Tournament of All-Time

By @yakovmironov

Yo Tom, I’m really happy for your Summit Series posts, and I’ma let you finish, but the ’87 Canada Cup was the Greatest Hockey Tournament of all-time.

It’s probably worth noting right off the hop that I was born in 1980 and this tournament coincides with my earliest memories of enjoying hockey and that’s likely to bias me. That being said, I am completely right, and this is the greatest tournament of all-time, despite having it final games inexplicably being played in Hamilton. Continue reading