Two Western Hockey League superstars have been loaned to the Alberta Junior Hockey League, a Los Angeles Kings prospect was named the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Player of the Week, and the Ontario Hockey League exodus begins as players seek opportunities to play in Europe.
Neighbours & Weisblatt Loaned to AJHL
Following in the footsteps of Edmonton Oil Kings forward Dylan Guenther, two other WHL superstars have decided to play in the AJHL until Dec. 20. St. Louis Blues prospect Jake Neighbours and San Jose Sharks prospect Ozzy Wiesblatt have been loaned to the Brooks Bandits.
Drafted 26th overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Neighbours plays for the Oil Kings in the WHL. During the 2019-20 season, he amassed 23 goals and 47 assists for 70 points in 64 games played. He finished second in team scoring trailing only Riley Sawchuk. He won a silver medal with Team Canada at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup but was pointless in five games.
Wiesblatt was drafted 31st overall by the Sharks in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft and plays for the Prince Albert Raiders in the WHL. During the 2019-20 season, he amassed 25 goals and 45 assists for 70 points in 64 games played. Wiesblatt also won a Hlinka Gretzky Cup Silver Medal with Canada, posting one assist in five games. Both players will return to their WHL team after Dec. 20.
Kings’ Spence Wins QMJHL Player of the Week
Kings prospect and Moncton Wildcats defenseman Jordan Spence won QMJHL Player of the Week honors and became the sixth Wildcats defenseman in franchise history to score a hat trick. Drafted 95th overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, he amassed nine goals and 43 assists for 52 points in 60 games last season, was awarded the Emile Bouchard Trophy for QMJHL Defenseman of the Year and was named to the QMJHL First All-Star Team.
Spence was named Player of the Week thanks to a hat trick performance against Acadie-Bathurstand and two assists in two games last week. Spence has three goals and six assists for nine points in seven games played this season. The Kings have drafted well lately and it looks like Spence might be a diamond in the rough as a fourth-round pick.
OHL Exodus Begins
With the OHL season delayed until February and the announcement that they will ban body checking for the 2020-21 season, players are seeking loans to Europe. Daniil Chayka was been in Russia for several weeks and marked the first OHL player to be loaned. He has since been joined by London Knights defenseman Logan Mailloux and Sudbury Wolves winger Chase Stillman.
Mailloux will be joining SK Lejon of HockeyEttan in Skellefteå, Sweden. Drafted 33rd overall in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection, he spent most of the 2019-20 season in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, amassing 18 goals and 50 assists for 68 points in 48 games played. He was also featured in four games for the Knights but failed to register a point. He picked up several pieces of hardware including, GOJHL (Western) Most Outstanding First Year Defenseman, Rookie of the Year, Top Scoring Rookie, and an Ontario Hockey Association Top Prospect Award.
Mailloux will return to the Knights for the start of the 2020-21 OHL season, but with so many doubts about how the league will look going forward, the extra playing time will be crucial for his development. The Knights know what they are doing when it comes to developing NHL talent, so it’s no surprise they were one of the first to go this route.
The Wolves have also followed suit by loaning 2021 draft-eligible prospect Chase Stillman to Esbjerg in Denmark. He’ll train with both the men’s and U20 teams to determine who he plays for. Drafted 25th overall in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection, he spent the 2019-20 season in the OHL with the Wolves amassing 13 goals and 21 assists for 34 points in 58 games played.
He also participated in the World U-17 Hockey Challenge for Canada White where he posted one goal and three assists in six games played. Stillman will return to the Wolves for the 2020-21 OHL season and will be expected to have an impact offensively after the loss of several players from last season and potentially Quinton Byfield. Stillman is considered a top prospect out of the OHL heading into the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.