Projected Top Scorers for the 2011 OHL Season

 

By Jeff Blay

 

 
 
Here are some of my picks for top scores (or potential 50 goal scorers) for the 2011 season. Keep in mind these are picks of players who are guaranteed to play a full season with their respected OHL clubs. Players like Jeff Skinner, who could potentially stick with their NHL clubs are not included in this projection. These are either up and comers, guys who are ready to take on a more offensive role then they have in previous years, or guys who will earn more ice time allowing them to up their point totals. This is simply a list of guys I think will have impact seasons for their teams; some guys may be left out that you may think will have great season's, but this list is mainly for goal scorers who could potentially reach 50 or guys who will have 80 or more total points. Email your picks or suggestions to jeff.blay@intheoradio.com

Taylor Beck
Current Team: Guelph Storm
Draft Status: Selected by the Nashville Predators in the third round, 70th overall in 2009.

Taylor Beck was not talked about enough last season as he found himself living under the shadows of the Hall/Seguin battle for the scoring title. Beck, the 19-year-old Niagara native scored 39 goals and 54 assists to come third in the OHL scoring race last season. After going through the main camp with the Nashville Preds, Beck was returned to Guelph in what I suspect will be his last OHL season. Beck could easily win the scoring title and has the ability to score 50 this year. 
 
Justin Shugg 

 

Current Team: Mississauga St. Mike’s Majors
Draft Status: Selected by the Carolina Hurricanes fourth round, 105 overall in 2010.
 
After winning back to back Memorial Cups with the Windsor Spitfires, the Niagara Falls native is looking for the three-peat as he joins the top-ranked St. Michael’s Majors and is expected to be one of the top-offensive producers. Shugg has the potential to be a Dany Heatley type player, getting an even ratio of goals to assists, this guy can pass and shoot like no other. With 39 goals and 40 assists last season with Windsor, his potential to score 50 this season is even more reasonable as he is now on a team where his role will be similar to Taylor Hall’s with the Spits last season. Majors’ playmakers such as Devante Smith-Pelly and Casey Cizikas will look for Shugg to be their number one target.
 
Jared Knight

 

Current Team: London Knights
Draft Status: Selected by the Boston Bruins second round, 32nd overall in 2010.
 
Much like many of my other choices, Jared Knight is a player who was waiting for the exit of other superstars such as Nazim Kadri to get more ice time and pressure to be the leader of his team. Knight notched 36 goals last year for the London, and with the team losing their captain Justin Taylor as well as the aforementioned Kadri, Knight will be looked upon this year to be their top offensive player. Just 14 goals away from 50 last season, Knight has that scoring touch that will only improve now that he has entered into the spot light.
 
Andrew Agozzino

 

Current Team: Niagara IceDogs
Draft Status: Free Agent (was invited to the Tampa Bay Lightning rookie camp this past summer)
 
Although undrafted, Andrew Agozzino could very well be one of the hardest working players and natural leaders in the OHL today. He led the IceDogs in scoring last season with 37 goals and 29 assists; Agozzino is within reach of 50 this year. Why? He was just 13 shy last season with a much more shallow depth of scoring. The additions to the IceDogs this season will provide secondary scoring to take the pressure off the top contributors in Agozzino, Alex Friesen, and Freddie Hamilton. With a redefined blue-line and a greatly enhanced depth chart of playmakers, Agozzino will have a much better chance of being set up this year no matter who he is on the ice with. Agozzino seems to have the ability to score at will; his shot is extremely accurate and his hockey sense always puts him in the right place at the right time, Agozzino will be in the scoring leader’s race this season.
 
 
Brett Thompson  
Current Team: Sault St. Marie Greyhounds
Draft Status: Free Agent
 
Size is not an issue for Brett Thompson. Standing at 5 foot 9, and weighing in at 163 Lbs, Thompson managed to score 42 goals and chip in with 23 assists last season for the Greyhounds. Thompson is a pure goal scorer, and being just 8 shy of 50 last season, Thompson could very well reach the marker this season. The Greyhounds team lost big gun and over-ager Jordan Nolan this season, but with a plethora for returning players, scoring should be no issue in Sault St. Marie. With Brock Beukeboom quarterbacking the power play, Thompson will be the number one target on the Greyhounds offense.
 
Gabriel Landeskog
Current Team: Kitchener Rangers
Draft Status: Free Agent
 
This Swedish sensation had a solid rookie season for the Rangers in 2009-10. Although his point total was just 46 last season, Landeskog is shaping up to have a breakout season this year. After an impressive pre-season campaign, Landeskog has proven he has the ability to put pucks in the net and be counted upon as a top offensive player for the Rangers. Landeskog was an early pick for me during the pre-season, and I was re-assured when he kicked off the regular season with a hat-trick against the Saginaw Spirit. Watch out for Landeskog this season.
 
Matt Puempel

 

Current Team: Peterborough Petes
Draft Status: Eligible 2011
 
He was named OHL Rookie of the Year last season after scoring 33 goals and 31 assists with the Peterborough Petes. Puempel is back again and after gaining experience last season, could be ready to up his totals and lead the Petes in scoring. Puempel could end up being one of the top OHL prospects for the 2011 NHL Draft. Another natural scorer Puempel is, and will be in the races for the scoring title this season should he avoid a sophomore slump.
 
Tyler Toffoli
Current Team: Ottawa 67’s
Draft Status: Selected by the Los Angeles Kings second round, 47th overall in 2010.
 
Tyler Toffoli is a superb all around player. His ability to both set up plays and find the back of the net is evident in his play. 37 goals, 42 assists, and a clutch playoff performer for the 67’s last season, Toffoli will have another great season and could reach 50 while playing on this explosive 67’s team, but his passing ability is so strong that he could very well pull a Joe Thornton and notch more assists than goals. Although he has the ability to score, Toffoli is one of those players who looks to make the perfect pass as often or more often than he looks for the perfect shot.
 
Michael Latta

 

Current Team: Guelph Storm
Draft Status: Selected by the Nashville Predators third round, 72nd overall in 2009.
 
Like teammate Taylor Beck, Latta was selected by the Preds in the 2009 NHL entry draft. Latta is a huge offensive juggernaut for the Guelph Storm, with 33 goals and 40 assists last season, Latta could be the top scorer for the Storm should Beck stick with the Predators this season.
 
Greg McKegg

 

Current Team: Erie Otters
Draft Status: Selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs third round, 62nd overall in 2010.
 
After an impressive training camp with the Leafs this pre-season, Greg McKegg will be one of the strongest players on the Erie Otters team. With last season’s totals of 37 goals and 48 assists for 85 points, McKegg has only improved his game over the summer, and could very well up his total by 13 goals this season to reach the 50 point mark. Although the Otters offense is questionable for this season, McKegg will surely be the go-to guy for Erie’s play makers. He and Anthony Luciani could make for a dangerous power play, and both players could potential close in on the 50 goal marker.
 
Anthony Luciani

 

Current Team: Erie Otters
Draft Status: Free Agent
 
This over-ager is surely the heart and soul off the Otters team. After coming off of a 38 goal season, Luciani will work hand in hand with McKegg to boost this Otters offense. He and McKegg could both potentially reach 50, and both will be counted on to produce offensively for this young Otters team.

Most Improved Pick:

Alex Aleardi
Current Team: Plymouth Whalers
Draft Status: Free Agent

After scoring just 15 goals and 17 assists last season with the Belleville Bulls, Michigan native Alex Aleardi comes into the new season with a change of scenery, playing with Michigan's own Plymouth Whalers. With a 1992 birthday, Aleardi has been the hottest player in the OHL to start the 2010-11 season as he has notched back to back hat-tricks and 7 goals in the last three games played. If Aleardi can keep up the hot start, he could very well make his case at being one of the OHL's elite.