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Buzzing The Net

Memorial Cup host London Knights may be looking for a top scorer

Neate Sager
Buzzing The Net

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Chris Tierney, London's top point-getter, is 22nd in OHL scoring (Claus Andersen, Getty Images)

Chances are, by January the London Knights' attack will have its lodestar, depending on what game-breaking 19-year-old forward becomes available once the reality of non-contention sets in.

Until such time that Knights GM Mark Hunter lands just such an animal, and the normal flow of events is that it won't happen until after the world junior championship, it's open season to plant some seeds of doubt concerning London's invincibility. The Knights, while still waiting on Olli Määttä and Nikita Zadorov's situations with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres to play out, are out of the gate at 7-1-1-0. However, their comp isn't 19 other OHL teams, but the other London iterations that harboured Memorial Cup hopes.

In that realm, the pertinent stat is London is only fourth in the 20-team OHL in goal scoring. Its shooting percentage, by my calculation, is in the meaty part of the curve at 10.9 per cent, which buoys the case the two-time OHL champions might have a void.

From Ryan Pyette:

There are a bushel full of potential 20-30 goal scorers on this team. There isn’t that 40-50 goal trigger man (Max Domi might be, but he hasn’t shown it yet) that every opponent has to worry about every night.

The 2004-05 Knights had Corey Perry. The next year, they went to the OHL final with Rob Schremp and David Bolland.

The two London teams that went to the conference finals in 2006-07 and 2008-09 had Pat Kane and John Tavares.

... There are too many dead zones in this offence right now.

The two games they lost at Guelph and Kitchener, they failed to score more than one goal in any of the three periods.

They started slowly against Sarnia and Belleville before waking up in the second half. They only have 10 first-period goals in nine games this season (the 2004-05 champs had 20 through their first 10 games).

They have been shut out in five periods so far this season (the ‘04-05 team suffered that indignity just twice in their first 10 games). (London Free Press)

Oct. 16 is about two months too soon to start talking about which 19-year-old scoring ace will be available to join London for its championship run.

But what the hell. The Windsor Spitfires, with their "limited draft picks" situation, will bear monitoring. Captain Kerby Rychel is a two-time 40-goal scorer, who also began his OHL run with a half-season on a Memorial Cup host team in Mississauga in 2011. The Oshawa Generals have burst out at 7-2-1-0 after getting centre Scott Laughton back from the Philadelphia Flyers. There's also the prospect of what the retooling Ottawa 67's would do if the Calgary Flames listen to Ryan Lambert and send Sean Monahan back to junior.

If this leads to #LondonProblems trending, so much the better.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at neatesager@yahoo.ca and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

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