Wednesday was a very busy news day in the world of prospects. Both the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and ECHL announced their preliminary plans to get their 2020-21 seasons going. Also, a European import is heading over to North America to play junior hockey this upcoming season.
OHL Sets Return Date
As we covered on Wednesday, the OHL announced that they plan on getting back to game action and starting their 2020-21 season on Dec. 1, 2020. The league will continue to work with health and government officials to ensure this target date can safely be met.
The regular season will consist of 64 games for each team and is scheduled to end on April 29, 2021. The league will crown its champion with a 16-team playoff before heading to the Memorial Cup, which is scheduled to take place June 17-27, 2021, in either Oshawa or Sault Ste. Marie.
There are still some details to iron out, like whether or not the league’s three American-based teams will play their seasons in a different city within Ontario to help limit travel. The two other leagues of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and Western Hockey League (WHL), are expected to announce their return to play plans in the very near future.
ECHL Delays 2020-21 Start
The ECHL also revealed their preliminary plan to getting back to play. The 2020-21 season was originally slated to begin on October 16, 2020, but now they are looking to kicking things off on December 4, 2020. The league is expecting to play a full 72-game schedule.
“We are eager to return to hockey, but at this time we believe this decision is prudent for the safety of our Players, Employees and Fans,” ECHL Commissioner Ryan Crelin said in an official statement. “The ECHL and our Board of Governors are focused on the 2020-21 Season and remain optimistic for the safe reopening of our venues across the continent. We appreciate our partners and fans continued support and patience, as we work together with our venues, local health officials and the members of the PHPA’s Executive Committee towards the safe return of ECHL hockey.”
The ECHL has affiliations with 25 of the NHL’s 31 teams and has groomed 676 players who have gone on to play in the game’s top professional league.
Swift Current Signs Import
The Swift Current Broncos of the WHL announced that they signed forward Vladislav Demidovich to a standard player contract. Demidovich was selected 63rd overall at the CHL Import Draft in June.
“He’s a player that brings size up front and a willingness to go to the net,” Broncos head coach and Director of Hockey Ops Dean Brockman said of Demidovich. “He’s a fluent skater and we think once he gets comfortable, he’s a player that can score some goals for us.”
Prospect of the Day – Ridly Greig
We are staying in the WHL for the Prospect of the Day. Greig is ranked 14th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. THW’s Larry Fisher has the young center 51st overall in his final ranking.
Related: THW 2020 Draft Guide
Greig, 5-foot-11 and 159 pounds, plays a well-rounded game. He has very good speed and plays responsibly in all three zones of the ice. He also takes great pleasure in trying to get under the skin of his opponents. He plays much bigger than his size and is never afraid to mix it up in front of the net or along the boards.
In his second season with the Brandon Wheat Kings, he scored 26 goals and 60 points, in 56 points, before the 2019-20 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He doubled his offensive output from his rookie season and quickly became the team’s top-line center.
His size may cause him to go later in the draft than his talent warrants. He is likely to go somewhere between the middle of the second and third rounds. If he was over six feet tall, Greig would likely be a first-round pick.
Our own Matthew Zator compares him to another well-known, undersized player who likes to push buttons on the ice.
Greig has the potential to be a top-nine producer in the NHL. His ability to get under the skin of opponents will come in very handy during the grind of a playoff run. He may not be as skilled as Brad Marchand, but he will have the same effectiveness in the pest department while putting up 50-60 points a season.
Patience will be the key to whatever team drafts Greig. He has the two-way game, compete level and toughness to be pro one day. However, he is going to need time to add some size and strength to be able to use his skill set at the highest level.
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.