The ‘one-7 days-to-go’ London Knights time preview – London


If you will need a single term to describe the London Knights roster heading into the 2022-23 time, it is “deep.”

The Knights have some complicated conclusions to make as they shape their final roster. As London prepares to complete their pre-season program with again-to-back online games towards the Erie Otters in London, Ont., on Friday at 7 p.m. and in Clinton, Ont., on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. with proceeds heading to assistance the Huron Household Hospice, they discover them selves with far more OHL-calibre gamers than they can squeeze into their opening night time lineup on Sept. 30 from the Owen Audio Assault.

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The goalies

The greatest question encompassing the Knights heading into the season included 2021-22 OHL Goaltender of the Yr Brett Brochu. Would he land a agreement and start out his skilled vocation or would he be back again for just one additional time in the Ontario Hockey League? The remedy arrived earlier than expected when Brochu was returned to London, Ont., after attending rookie camp with the Vancouver Canucks. Brochu will be the amount one particular person for the Knights but he will have two fantastic goalies driving him.

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Owen Willmore was an crisis call-up for London very last year just after Brochu suffered an harm in the next 50 percent of the year and his perform rocketed him up the depth chart. Willmore is from St. Thomas, Ont., and delivers sizing and competitiveness to the crease.

Zach Bowen utilized the enthusiasm of not currently being drafted by an OHL staff as a 16-calendar year-outdated to put collectively a stellar time very last 12 months in the Ottawa space and the Knights chosen him in the fourth spherical in 2022. Bowen shone in a shootout get in opposition to the Sarnia Sting in his first pre-season look with a big save in the remaining seconds ahead of he stopped all 3 Sting shooters in the shootout.

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The forwards

London has a great mix of veteran leadership and fascinating young talent among its forward team.

20-12 months-outdated Sean McGurn is the most professional player, with 104 OHL game titles underneath his belt. He is just again from Maple Leafs camp and is joined by San Jose Sharks prospective buyers Max McCue and Liam Gilmartin and freshly obtained Ryan Del Monte as the only forwards on the roster over the age of 18.

Landon Sim, Brody Crane, Ben Bujold and Ruslan Gazizov were being technically rookies past yr simply because of the missing time in 2020-21 due to COVID-19 and they return, completely ready to choose on larger sized roles. Sim was the St. Louis Blue top scorer at the Traverse Metropolis Rookie event and Crane is back again from rookie camp with the New Jersey Devils. Gazizov has created some electrical performs for the Knights in education camp and in the pre-season and Bujold proceeds to clearly show his flexibility. He is expanding into just one of the OHL’s penalty killers.

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Abakar Kazbekov also returns soon after lacking all but nine games final year with a shoulder concern. He has a pinpoint correct shot and a good offensive IQ. Nicholas Yearwood will also be on the lookout for a whole-time purpose.

Continue to, there is plenty of house for the more youthful expertise to shine this year. That list will start off with 17-calendar year-old Denver Barkey. The Knights initially-spherical decide in 2021 won gold with Canada at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and was named player of the activity in the championship closing.

Easton Cowan produced wizard-like moves with the Komoka Kings of the GOJHL very last 12 months and will now bring that expertise to the Knights comprehensive-time.

Mathieu Paris, Kaeden Johnston and Mike Levin also performed very last yr outside the OHL and have revealed they have the expertise to make spots.

And then London has three forwards from the 2022 OHL Priority Assortment. Luca Testa was their initially-spherical decide on and aided St. Catharines to acquire a Sutherland Cup championship. Sam O’Reilly is physical with offensive skill and William Nicholl is an extremely smart player who normally seems to make the correct perform.

Knights associate GM Rob Simpson explained the sheer number of players as a “Tough matter to deal with … but a superior dilemma to have.”

The remaining pre-season online games will be key for everyone who may be on the bubble.

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The defence

The stars are shining through London’s defence corps. There are 4 NHL draft picks and all types of general expertise.

Gerard Keane and Bryce Montgomery are both equally coming into their overage seasons but there is even now a possibility Montgomery could come across himself in the qualified ranks. He is a draft select of the Carolina Hurricanes and earned an invitation to their primary coaching camp. Keane is back from Arizona and Coyotes rookie camp.

New York Islanders draft choose Isaiah George was named the Knights Rookie of the 12 months in 2021-22 and co-Scholastic Player of the 12 months last period with Jackson Edward, who was chosen by the Boston Bruins in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.

They will be joined by an additional NHL pick in Logan Mailloux who was Montreal’s initially alternative in 2021. Mailloux is coming off a shoulder damage that ended his season last March.

Ethan MacKinnon just kept obtaining improved and much better as past calendar year went together and Connor Federkow might just be the toughest hitter in the league.

Oliver Bonk aided Canada gain gold at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in the summertime and will be on NHL draft radars all 12 months.

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Carsen Lloyd performed six games for London very last season and is pushing to be a total-time participant in 2022-23 and Sam Dickinson was acquired from Niagara on Aug. 31 right after being selected fourth all round in the 2022 OHL Precedence Selection and is regarded a person of the ideal defencemen at his age in the region.

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