A Toronto Maple Leafs recent fifth-round pick earns forward of the week honors in Russia. The University of Michigan has prevented defenseman Owen Power from joining Team Canada, and two junior leagues in Sweden are postponed due to COVID-19.
Ovchinnikov Earns Forward of the Week
It was only a couple of days ago when we talked about Dmitri Ovchinnikov’s hot start to the 2020-21 season in Russia. He’s currently playing for Sibirskie Snaipery Novosibirsk in Russia’s junior league, the MHL. He’s been recognized for his performances as he’s been named MHL forward of the week. It’s no surprise that he was honored after amassing three goals and seven assists for 10 points in four games played. Ovchinnikov was drafted 137th overall by the Maple Leafs in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
His current season totals are nine goals and 13 assists for 22 points in 14 games played. He’s currently ranked third in the MHL in points per game (1.57) among players who have played at least 10 games. He’s trailing only Emil Galiaskarov and Carolina Hurricanes prospect Alexander Pashin. He’s featured in three games for Sibir Novosibirsk in the KHL, failing to register a point.
Power Will Not Join Team Canada
On Tuesday, Hockey Canada announced that University of Michigan defenseman Owen Power will not be released for Canada’s National Junior Team Selection Camp. He was originally one of the 46 players to be invited to take part in Canada’s selection camp. It was scheduled to take place from Nov. 16 to Dec. 13 in Red Deer, Alberta. Power spent the 2019-20 season in the United States Hockey League with the Chicago Steel. He amassed 12 goals and 28 assists for 40 points in 45 games played. He’s is a top prospect for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft and has a good chance to go first overall.
In a statement from Hockey Canada, senior vice president of national teams Scott Salmond had this to say on the matter.
After ongoing discussions with the University of Michigan, Hockey Canada has been informed that Owen Power will not be released to participate in Canada’s National Junior Team Sport Chek Selection Camp on Nov. 16. We understand this year’s World Juniors and selection camp are unique, but we believe the chance to represent Canada is a tremendous opportunity for any young player. Although we are disappointed Owen will not be able to join our team at camp, we understand and respect the decision made by the University of Michigan.
Power is set to begin his rookie season in the NCAA with Michigan. His season is set to begin on Nov. 14, so it’s understandable that program wouldn’t want to lose him for a month. It’s disappointing for Canada’s World Junior Championship squad, but they have several players who can fill in for Power’s absence.
Sweden Suspends Junior Hockey
On Tuesday, the Swedish Ice Hockey Association’s executive committee convened and decided to suspend play for the J20 National and J18 Regional leagues due the the increased spread of COVID-19. This covers both the north and south regions for the J20 and the north, east, west, and south for the J18. The decision is implemented immediately and will be in effect until at least the beginning of 2021.
In a statement from the Swedish Ice Hockey Association, Competition Manager Olof Östblom had this to say regarding the suspension.
Based on the increased spread of infection and the stricter restrictions that have been issued in many regions, we are pausing operations for the time being. The decision applies from 11 November and at least until the turn of the year. We follow the development closely and our ambition is to resume games, but not earlier than the turn of the year
This will affect some of the top young prospects in Sweden, including Detroit Red Wings prospect Theodor Niederbach who is second in the J20 in scoring, as well as 2021 draft-eligible prospects Oskar Olausson and Simon Edvinsson. It’s a worrying development as the European leagues were a popular destination for prospects from the Canadian Hockey League who couldn’t return to play until February.