The NHL playoffs aren’t the only teams vying for postseason supremacy. The OHL playoffs are finishing up the second round, with two teams close to moving on. Here’s a look at some of the prospects who may be on the NHL ice sooner rather than later.
The Kingston Frontenacs were busy at the OHL trade deadline and added fire power in the way of Gabe Vilardi (Los Angeles), and Cliff Pu (Buffalo), who certainly delivered as expected through two rounds of the playoffs. Not only has Kingston secured a spot in the next round after dispatching Barrie in six games, Vilardi and Pu are first and fourth in points respectively, with teammate Linus Nyman tied at 16 points. Pu was impressive with London, so much so that Kingston went out and snagged him to guarantee scoring depth and a chance at its first Robertson Cup. Back in January, the Global News’ Doug Jeffries wrote about how Pu brought experience from the Knights’ Memorial Cup win in 2016. It surely has paid off for both the Frontenacs and Pu, who was a third round pick for the Sabres and whose value continues to rise.
Vilardi nursed an injury for the first half of the OHL season, but the former Windsor Spitfire played as strong as expected when on the ice, notching 58 points (22-36) in 32 games. Vilardi has been just as dominant in the playoffs, leading the league in points (20) and goals (11). After signing an entry level deal back in March, barring injury there might be a strong case to be made for Vilardi suiting up in Los Angeles next season. The 11th overall pick of the 2017 NHL draft also won a Memorial Cup that same year.
One non-Frontenac making some noise is Kitchener’s Logan Brown (Ottawa), who was the 11th overall pick for the Sens back in 2016. Like Vilardi, Brown was also traded by Windsor in January and picked up where he left off, averaging over a point-per-game with his new club. The playoffs have seen Brown notch 19 points in 11 games as the Rangers currently hold a 3-2 advantage in the second round. Though only two of those 19 points have been goals, the Senators have to be pleased that Brown continues to produce. The Sens skated him in four games this past fall before sending him back to the Spitfires. Add in an impressive performance during the the World Juniors as well, Brown may find himself with the big club for a longer stay, especially since the team will most likely be retooling with youth in the 2018-19 season.