OHL Roundup: Trade deadline looms
By Mackenzie Liddell, Contributing Editor
Toronto, Canada (Sports Network) - Action in the Ontario Hockey League resumed this past week after an 11-day holiday hiatus and there are plenty of storylines to discuss.
BRIGHT SPOTS IN BARRIE
There hasn't been much to get excited about in Barrie this season, but with a win over Ottawa and an overtime thriller - albeit in a losing effort - against Owen Sound, the Colts looked refreshed and re-energized coming out of the break.
Fourth-year forward Taylor Carnevale led the hasty resurgence, lighting up the Owen Sound Attack with a hat trick and five points before matching his production with a goal and four assists against the 67's two days later.
Carnevale is easily on pace for a career year with 23 goals and 43 points after finishing last season with 28 goals and 59 points.
His breakout hasn't helped the Colts win many games, but it will likely bring management some valuable assets come the Jan. 10 trade deadline.
Carnevale along with teammate and captain Dalton Prout have long been rumored to be on the move and both should bring back significant returns if they are dealt.
Another player that should help ease the pain going forward is 6-foot-3 center Mark Scheifele.
The 17-year-old freshman is currently third in rookie scoring with 39 points (9-30) and is ranked 19th among OHL skaters for the 2011 NHL draft.
Scheifele's development along with fellow rookies Zach Hall, Dylan Smoskowitz and their young goalie duo bodes well for Barrie's future.
Add the Colts' haul - likely including the first overall pick - in the OHL priority selection and it shouldn't take long to right the sinking ship in Barrie.
BRAMPTON HEATING UP
The Bramptom Battalion are quietly one of the hottest teams in the league at the moment, having won five straight and seven of their past 10.
But based on the current standings, it doesn't appear there is much room to maneuver for the fifth-place Battalion (17-14-5), as they sit nine points back of the fourth-place Oshawa Generals and 12 points ahead of Belleville, who are in seventh.
The only team within range is Kingston (one point back) and the Battalion took care of them this week with a 5-3 win on Friday.
What makes Brampton's streak even more impressive is that they are producing results without a glamorous cast of snipers or superstars.
Ian Watters leads The Troops with 18 goals and 30 points, the lowest total for a leading scorer league-wide.
Without having the luxury of relying on a star forward like Matt Duchene, Cody Hodgson or Wojtek Wolski to fill the net, Brampton has remained competitive thanks to a full-squad effort on a nightly basis.
In 36 games played this season, the Battalion have had 15 games decided by one goal, winning seven and losing eight.
Consistent competitiveness is necessary to win, especially with marginal talent, but the Battalion's success really comes as no surprise with accomplished coach Stan Butler cracking the whip.
With world junior hype at its peak there hasn't been much said of the other international tournament currently taking place.
It's no surprise, really, the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge is a second tier event in comparison to the big show in Buffalo, N.Y., but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of talent and skill to be showcased.
Many of the players who suit up in this tournament go on to play in the world junior later in their careers.
This year Team Ontario has 20 players currently playing in the OHL, including captain Matia Marcantuoni of the Kitchener Rangers who has 24 points as a freshman.
But it's another Woodbridge, Ont., native who is pacing Ontario as Erie Otters left winger Chris Marchese is tied with Niagara defenseman Jesse Graham for the team lead with six points. Marchese has three goals and 10 points with the Otters this season.
Team Ontario won silver last year after losing to the U.S. and seems poised to make an appearance in the championship Jan. 4., but first will have to go through Quebec in a semifinal showdown on Monday.
Not making Canada's junior team looks like it had a motivating effect on Ottawa 67's forward Tyler Toffoli. The new OHL scoring king had five goals against Kingston in the 67's first game back after the break and finished the week with 10 points.
The Anaheim Ducks signed Mississauga Majors right winger Devante Smith-Pelly to a three-year entry-level contract last Wednesday. He was the Ducks second- round pick (42nd overall) in 2010.
01/03 14:32:33 ET