Monday Night Major – a look around the league

Welcome to another week of Monday Night Major with yours truly.  Unfortunately, this week will be a bit of an abbreviated column as it’s been a very hectic two weeks for me.

We’ll do this one in a quick form and hopefully be back to normal the following week.

Don’t look now but the Niagara IceDogs are 6-3-1-0 in their last ten games after a horrendous slide.  What’s more impressive about this ten-game run you ask?  Well simply put they have won the majority of the games while being away from the friendly confines of the Meridian Centre.

Tucker Tynan continues to be brilliant for Niagara and has firmly planted his skate in the blue paint at the number one man in Niagara.

Akil Thomas is back to being Akil Thomas and now sits seventh in OHL scoring with 42 points in 24 games after a slow start.  What led to the resurgence?  Likely a combination of things but Thomas being reunited with Ivan Lodnia has certainly not hurt at all.  The pair could be the most dominant duo in the league; however, the Bulldogs pair of Jenik and Kaliyev just 40 minutes away would argue that theory.

The Eastern Conference continues to be fun to watch with Peterborough and Ottawa sitting at the top of the conference.  The Petes are undefeated in regular in their last six while Ottawa has won seven in a row as well.  Something tells me that this trend will continue the rest of the way.

At the other end of the standings, the Frontenacs have a winning record in their last ten and the arrival of Christian Propp seems to have helped the team despite numbers that don’t appear to be outstanding.

Christian Propp’s arrival in Kingston has sparked a turnaround for the franchise. (Credit Marcus Boutilier / OHL Network) 

With Kingston on fire, the North Bay Battalion has now slid into last place overall in the Ontario Hockey League by six points.  I don’t actually remember a time in Stan Butler’s history where one of his teams has been this bad.  While I respect the tenure of Butler, it might be time for a change in North Bay with the level of fan frustration at an all-time high.

In the Western Conference, Owen Sound has really struggled in their last ten games only collecting six of a possible 20 points in that span.  A few weeks ago I really believed that Owen Sound could be in line to add at the trade deadline but this slide has really made me question if it would be the right thing to do.  With it being December the management of the Attack has a big decision to make.  Do they believe that they can contend or do they perhaps become a seller?

London and Windsor continue to sit at the top of the Western Conference standings, with the surprising Guelph Storm right in the mix as well.

When Guelph dealt Anthony Popovich to Flint at the start of the year, I think one would have been hard-pressed to find a human that believed Guelph was doing anything but rebuilding.  Nico Daws did not get that message and has been perhaps the most valuable player in the league up until this point with his .936 save percentage.

This week also saw Danil Antropov move from Oshawa to Saginaw for a second and third-round pick.

After being selected sixth overall in 2016 the son of the former Maple Leaf just never really seemed to live up to expectations in Oshawa.  Was that a result of the pressure of playing in the Toronto area given his father’s long-time tenure with the Leafs?  It’s hard to say but it was definitely time for a change for Antropov.  Thus far it appears to be working in Saginaw as Antropov is averaging a point per game in a small sample.  The talent has always been there but Antropov may finally live up to the potential he had on draft day in his new hockey home.

We are just about to hit one of the wildest times in the Ontario Hockey League.  With the dawn of December, teams begin to realize that they are going to be playing without some of their players with World Junior camps kicking off in a few weeks.

It is just 18 days until the league’s Christmas break as well and with the trade deadline shortly after that, this is the month where everyone determines if they are truly a contender or not.  With so much parity in the Western Conference, it will be interesting to see what team surprises the OHL marketplace and becomes a surprising seller.

Well, that’s all for this week.  I look forward to getting back to the normal format next week.  Thank you for reading and enjoy the action this week!