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ITO Hot-stove: Can Tanner Pearson continue scoring points at his current pace?

This is my first blog post here at InTheORadio and I must say I'm thrilled to be a part of what Brandon Sudeyko has built here so far. I'm really thankful for the opportunity and I'm excited to get started.

I will have a weekly column posted here at IOT and for the time being it will be a hot-stove type blog. Myself and some of the other great writers here will debate and discuss interesting topics throughout the OHL.

Without further ado I'd like to introduce you all to the very first hot-stove blog here at ITO. Joining me in this piece is Thayne Hallyburton, Shawn O'Reilly, Brandon Sudeyko and Anthony Nicholson.

Question: Can Tanner Pearson continue scoring points at his current pace (over two points per game)?


Todd Cordell

Yes.

Though Pearson is scoring at a much higher rate than many expected, myself included, I think he can, and will, keep scoring at the pace he is scoring at right now. Some may say he's in over his head right now, and while I could see where you would get that from, anything is possible when you are playing with a lot of confidence and believe you can achieve anything; and that's where Pearson is at right now. All his life he's heard he's too small or can't do this, while right now he's proving everyone wrong and enjoying every bit of it. You can see it in his game, he's playing with all the confidence in the world. The fact that he has a lot of talented players around him only helps his cause. As you all know he was invited to Team Canada's World JR camp. If he makes that team and plays well throughout the tournament, who knows how much more confidence he'll have when he returns?

Shawn O'Reilly

Yes.

With 56 points in 25 games, he is currently pacing at 2.24 points a night. This will be a tough pace to keep up, as last year’s point leader Tyler Toffoli averaged 1.59 a game, but one thing working in his favour is playing with both Mark Scheifele and Colin Behenna. Tanner has already eclipsed his last year’s total of 42 points, but had a far less talented team to play with. The promotion to Barrie’s top line was the perfect fit for Pearson as the chemistry between these three has been incredible. Combine that with increased playing time and being on the power play and there is no reason he shouldn’t continue scoring at a very high rate. I do not think he will finish with a PPG total quite as high as it is now, but I do like him to finish with an average around 2.

Brandon Sudeyko

Yes.

Well this seems like a no brainer of a question. And despite the fact that Thayne believes I have a hate for Pearson I in fact just dislike the fact he was listed on NHL CSS…. But the question is not about that. the question is whether or not Pearson can continue to tear up the league. Considering who his liney’s are I have to say that is an absolute yes. How does he not continue if he has Behenna and Scheifele with him? Or even Hall and Locke? Or a combination of those 4 with him. Now most will say that he is getting a plethora of PP time and that is why he is racking up the points. Well only 9 of his 56 points have been either with the man advantage or short handed. The kid didn’t just come from no where to become a scoring threat, he was doing this down in Jr. B. This year the Colt’s changed their style and are now more offensive minded than just Defence first. They have a good back end which allows the forwards to press more and create chances. Thus giving all these goals and apples for Pearson. Like I said he plays with finishers on his line and he can do it to. I guess the question really is will he hit 110 points with over half a season to go… oops, you are supposed to ask the questions.

Anthony Nicholson

Yes.

Through 25 games, Tanner has scored 19 goals and 56 points, and has a comfortable lead in the OHL Scoring race. While averaged over an entire season, that would put Tanner on pace to score 52 goals and 100 assists, for 152 points. While those numbers aren't out of the question, Tanner has been playing consistent hockey all season, and will likely suit up for Team Canada at the World Juniors, and can miss about 12 games while with the team. If you adjust his averages to account for those missed games, Tanner is on pace for 43 goals and 82 assists for 125 points, and isn't out of the realm of possibility. Even with the missed time, these totals should be enough for Tanner to take the scoring crown in the OHL.

Thayne Hallyburton

Yes.

It is my opinion that this question entirely hinged on Monday’s announcement regarding the Canadian World Junior team selection camp. If Tanner were to not be selected I could see a letdown in his play due to some disappointment as we often-times see in players, especially around Christmas when they are watching, ‘what could have been’ on the television.

Tanner was named to the selection camp roster on Monday and because of that I feel like he can keep up his pace now and when he gets back whether he makes the team or not. He will go there, give it his all and if he makes it, that is huge; but if he doesn’t I don’t feel like it will hurt his production because he feels like he is ‘just happy to be there’ as the saying goes.

Tanner has the skill, he has the line mates and he has a coach that will turn him loose. It’s the perfect situation for offensive players and I don’t see his production slowing down one bit. A 125 point season would be huge, but the way I see it. It is entirely possible in this case. If he makes the team he will only pay 54 or so games and I think 108 points is realistic. If you look at his stats in Junior and last year on a terrible Colts team getting third and fourth line ice time he still put up good numbers. This is no fluke; he just needed that growth spurt to accompany the physical game he likes to play.

Trevor Miller

Yes.


Tanner Pearson should have no problem maintaining his torrid scoring pace throughout the remainder of the year. You can argue that a major plateau could be his status with respect to the World Junior team. If he makes the cut, Pearson’s confidence will no doubt be sky-high. Consider that he would be an undrafted and unsigned player making that team which is comprised mainly of draftees or draft eligible players. On the other hand, should he not make the cut, Pearson would go back to Barrie to rejoin the likes of Colin Behenna and Zach Hall amidst the absence of some of the league’s elite players for three weeks. Pearson is also aiming to get himself an NHL contract. My feeling is that he keeps up the hard work and that it will pay off at season’s end either with a contract, or at the very least, a pro tryout.

Vote count - Yes (6). No (0).

Follow me on twitter @ToddCordell.

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