If you haven’t heard about Windsor Spitfires forward Josh Ho-Sang, you’ll get to hear about him plenty during the 2014 NHL Draft.
Ho-Sang is ranked 22nd by NHL Central Scouting. While that slates him to potentially be a first-round pick this year, he believes he’s got the ability to make him No. 1 overall as Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun shared.
“The Leafs have said they want to move up to pick first,” Ho-Sang said. “Well, they can stay at eight and still get the No. 1 pick.”
Yes, Ho-Sang was referring to himself and for the kid who said he looks up to Patrick Kane and P.K. Subban as his favorite NHL players, he’s got some of the skills to make a case for himself.
He had 32 goals and 85 points for the Spitfires this past season to lead the team in scoring in just his second season in the OHL. He’s got speed and plays a tenacious game.
While he’s not likely going to be first overall, the question will be where he gets picked. He could go anywhere from in the Top 10 to early in the second-round. At the very least, he’s a guy worth keeping an eye on to see if he can back up his confident claims.
In one of the stiffest punishments in league history, the OHL has come down heavy on the Windsor Spitfires.
The Spits have been fined $400,000 and stripped of five draft picks — three first-rounders and two second-rounders — for recruitment and player benefit violations.
The fine is the biggest ever levied by the OHL, according to the CBC.
Here’s the official statement from league commissioner David Branch:
In 2009 the Board of Governors of the Ontario Hockey League developed the OHL ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM which is designed to address and attempt to eliminate violations of the RULES and impose appropriate penalties if violations occur. The enforcement process is an integral part of the process to ensure integrity and fair play among the MEMBER TEAMS. One of the fundamental principles of the enforcement process is to ensure that those MEMBER TEAMS that are abiding by the rules are not disadvantaged by their commitment to compliance.
The League conducted two separate investigations led by our Director of Security and Enforcement, and in considering all the facts, I was persuaded that the Windsor Spitfires Hockey Club violated the League’s Player Benefit and Recruitment Rules and Policies. While the penalties may appear to be severe, the League and its Member Teams recognize for any such violations of our Recruitment / Benefit Rules and Policies, we must send a strong message to preserve the integrity of our League.
According to the Windsor Star, the OHL did not specify what the Spitfires did to violate said policies and that club officials haven’t responded to the punishment.
Since the OHL Enforcement Program was instituted in 2009, Windsor has churned out a number of high-profile NHL draftees including Taylor Hall, Adam Henrique, Cam Fowler, Ryan Ellis, Zack Kassian and Austin Watson.
At one point in his playing career, Michael Peca was a hero to those in Buffalo as he was captain of the Sabres. During his five seasons with the Sabres, Peca was a 20-25 goal per season player and matched up well against most of the big centers at that time. After stints in Edmonton, Long Island, and Columbus, Peca called it a career and joined TSN as a studio analyst.
Now, Peca is leaving the TV studio and making a run at a hockey front office job in Buffalo… Just not in the NHL. Peca has signed on to become the general manager for the Buffalo Junior Sabres and give himself a chance at seeing what he can do putting together a team of youngsters. There, Peca will be helping put together a team for coach and fellow Sabres alum Grant Ledyard to help become winners.
Seeing former NHLers take roles in junior hockey leadership is nothing new. In fact, it’s the road you see many ex-players take. Guys like Doug Gilmour and Dale Hunter have taken roles in coaching junior teams in Canada. Meanwhile, former Sabres defenseman in his own right, Bob Boughner made a name for himself coaching in the OHL as well. Boughner just recently returned to the OHL after a year assisting Scott Arniel in Columbus, signing on to be the head coach of the Windsor Spitfires.
The kind of junior hockey those guys are handling compared to what Peca is doing with the Junior Sabres is at a much higher level. That said, for Peca this is a start down a path towards a different kind of career in hockey and the kind of thing one has to do if they want to become a GM or team executive at another level. If he can have success again in Buffalo, he’ll be on the road to bigger and better things.
The Columbus Blue Jackets announced that Bob Boughner stepped down from his assistant coaching position after just one season today.
It seems like Boughner was trying to juggle too many things at once between his NHL job and other commitments. Tom Reed of the Columbus Post-Dispatch described Boughner’s “double life” that consisted of his assistant job and his other big hockey role as co-owner and president of the wildly successful Windsor Spitfires junior team. Aaron Portzline points out that it’s likely that Boughner resigned to spend more time dealing with various business situations in Windsor, so one can assume that focusing more on the Spitfires might be one of the points of emphasis.
Mike MacLean of The Cannon backs up this thought process, but also wonders if he would have spent more time in Columbus if the team had better prospects for success and points out that Dale Hawerchuk might be a potential replacement option for Boughner.
Bougher and Arniel discussed the assistant coach’s departure in the Blue Jackets’ press release on the matter.
“I want to thank Scott Howson, Scott Arniel and the McConnell family for the opportunity to work with the Blue Jackets last season,” said Boughner. “I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Columbus and regret that I am not going to be there to see this team continue to develop and accomplish the goals we’ve set for it. This was a very difficult decision, but with my family and business commitments in Windsor it was in our best interest as a family.”
“While I am disappointed that Bob is leaving our staff, I completely understand and support his decision to put his family first,” said Blue Jackets Head Coach Scott Arniel. “He worked extremely hard last season and was a great asset to myself, the coaching staff and our players. For that, I am very thankful and I wish him all the best moving forward.”
The Dallas Stars goalie of the future is now officially a member of the organization. 2010 first round pick and 2010 Team USA WJC gold medalist Jack Campbell signed his three-year entry-level contract with the Dallas Stars. Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk is obviously excited about Campbell and his potential.
“Jack is a very promising player for the future of our organization,” said Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk. “He has a strong work ethic and we are looking forward to watching him develop as his career progresses.”
Campbell was rated as the top goaltender in the 2010 draft and the Stars were able to nab him 11th overall out of the Team USA development program. Campbell is currently playing for the Windsor Spitfires in the OHL. He was originally slated to be a member of the Michigan Wolverines in the NCAA, but decided to jump across the lake to Canada to play in the OHL instead.
With Campbell having three years on his entry-level deal to develop into the Stars starter for the future, it works out rather nice coincidentally that current starting goalie Kari Lehtonen’s contract runs out in three years. The timing should work out great and provided Lehtonen stays healthy while he’s in Dallas, it’ll give Campbell all the time he needs to develop into an NHL starting goalie.
It also depends on when Campbell winds up in the AHL or the NHL for when his ELC kicks into effect as well. Still though, if Campbell’s hot start in the OHL translates into winding up battling for a starting job in the AHL next year, things could time out perfectly for the future franchise goalie to arrive sooner than later.