3 Players to Watch this Weekend
Noel Hoefenmayer – Ottawa 67’s
The Ottawa 67’s defenceman is having himself a career year. Averaging nearly a point per game Noel already has career highs in assists and points and is three goals away another career best. The Arizona Coyotes prospect (2017, Round 4, 108) is top five in goals and points for defenceman and is sixth in the league in assists by a defenceman. Hoef has been on a roll lately with 11 points in his last seven games (5G, 6A). Hoef has also proven himself in the defensive end and is a leader on the 67’s blue line. You can expect to see him in the 67’s top d-pairing this weekend.
Ryan Merkley – Peterborough Petes
A recent addition of the Petes, Merkley is the best playmaking defenceman in all of the OHL. The 18 year old leads the league in both assists and points by a defenceman. Merkley was selected in the first round, 21st overall by the San Jose Sharks in the most recent NHL draft. Ryan has five points in his last four games and is one to watch, especially when Peterborough has the man advantage.
Arthur Kaliyev – Hamilton Bulldogs
A projected first round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Kaliyev is definitely a player you should keep an eye on. A Hamilton second round pick, Arthur made the OHL out of his first training camp last year and put together an impressive rookie campaign with 31 goals, 17 assists, and 48 points in 68 games played. A 30+ goal season in your first major junior year is nothing to shake a stick at but this season the 17 year old has vastly improved. Kaliyev is putting up points at a rate of 1.5 a game with 66 points (tied for fourth in the league) in 44 games, equally distributed between goals and assists with 33 each. Now, with the departures of Brandon Saigeon and Mackenzie Entwistle – expect Kaliyev to step up even more for the struggling Bulldogs.