July 19, 2010
The Ontario Hockey League head office will love this, no doubt.
NHL.com recently ran a feature on the the big league's 10 best players age 21 and under which included no less than seven OHL products. The Buffalo Sabres' Calder Trophy-winning defenceman Tyler Myers, who played in the Western league for the Kelowna Rockets, made it an elite eight from the Canadian Hockey League.
You can probably guess the names. Tampa Bay Lightning 50-goal man Steven Stamkos (Sarnia Sting), the Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane (London Knights), the Colorado Avalanche's Matt Duchene (Brampton Battalion) and the New York Islanders' John Tavares (Oshawa Generals, London) and Josh Bailey (Owen Sound Attack, Windsor Spitfires) swept the forward spots.
The Los Angeles Kings' Drew Doughty (Guelph Storm) and New York Rangers' Michael Del Zotto (Oshawa, London) were among the top five defenceman, along with Myers and a pair of Swedes, Stamkos' Tampa Bay teammate Victor Hedman and the Ottawa Senators' Erik Karlsson.
Three were No. 1 overall picks. Bailey, Duchene, Del Zotto and Doughty all left early for the NHL. Individual teams might despair when a 19-year-old makes the leap to the big league, but the OHL probably doesn't mind the publicity.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Sports Canada. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.