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ITO Hot-Stove: Which OHL player will have the best tournament at the World Juniors?

This is the fourth edition of ITO Hot-Stove since I've joined. I can't believe it's already been a month. Time fly's, I guess. Anyways, joining me today in this piece is Susan Tromanhauser, Trevor Miller, Brandon Sudeyko and Thayne Hallyburton.

Without further ado I'd like to introduce you all to today's debate question: which OHL player will have the best tournament at the World Juniors?
Todd Cordell

Mark Scheifele.

I'm going to go way out on a limb (not really) and suggest that Mark Scheifele will have the best World Junior tournament of any OHLer who's going to play in the World Junior.

Scheifele is penciled in as the first line center for Canada, and appears to be in line to center Devante Smith-Pelly, who is playing with the Anaheim Ducks this season, on one side and Jonathan Hubderdeau, who is one of the best prospects not in the NHL, on his other side. Those are some pretty elite linemates if you ask me. Factor in the fact that he's a two-way player and will be used in all situations, and you have yourself a player with every opportunity to succeed.

Oh, and if for some reason he fails to produce with those linemates, he'll likely end up on a line with his teammate in Barrie, Tanner Pearson, who he seems to be very comfortable with.

Susan Tromanhauser

Mark Visentin.

At the risk of sounding like the biased Ice Dog fan I am, I believe the World Juniors will be a showcase for goaltender Mark Visentin. While some believe Visentin’s selection to Team Canada was iffy, at no time did Coach Don Hay ever doubt Visentin’s place on the roster. Hay is relying on the experience Visentin brings in net.

There is talk about this year’s World Juniors being a chance for redemption for last year’s debacle in Buffalo. In reality Visentin started the tournament as a backup goalie, fought his way into the starting position and had one lousy period, albeit at the worst time possible – the third period of a gold medal game.

Visentin has not had a stellar season so far. His first game after returning from the Phoenix Coyote training camp he suffered a groin injury and has been careful with his recovery. He has a SV% of 0.899, the worst in the OHL. However in his defence, (pun intended) there have been many games when the Ice Dog defence was inconsistent (to put it kindly) and Visentin was left alone to defend the net. In spite of this adversity Visentin leads the OHL with 4 shutouts.

The World Juniors out west will be just the stage for Visentin to showcase his true abilities and meet the challenge of the high calibre performances of the tournament. The Visentin doubters will be jumping back on the band wagon they fell off last year in Buffalo.

Trevor Miller

I have no doubt that Barrie Colt forward and Team Canada center Mark Scheifele COULD be the OHL’s stand-out for the tournament. With that being said, the winner’s of this tournament ride a hot goalie to glory. It is more realistic that we look at goaltending to pinpoint the player that will best represent the OHL. Mark Visentin is looking for redemption after the Gold Medal collapse last year. Scott Wedgewood on the other hand is ready and waiting for his chance to backstop Canada to it’s first Gold Medal since 2009. Wedgewood came out on top against the favoured Tyler Bunz for his spot on this year’s team.

With all that being said, Canada is only one team in this tournament. There are other OHL players suiting up for their respective Countries. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kitchener Ranger John Gibson makes a case for himself this year for Team USA. As the “backup” to returnee Jack Campbell, Gibson finds himself in a similar position to Wedgewood. I joked with Gibson before the USA camp and wished him luck, but not too much because I’m Canadian. He could steal the starting job from Campbell.

Let’s also not forget the likes of Nail Yakupov for the Russians or even Brandon Saad for the Americans. I still feel like the MVP for the OHL this year will be a goalie, and with all four goalies from North America coming from the Ontario Hockey League, that certainly bodes well for their respective chances.

Thayne Hallyburton

Boone Jenner
I think Boone will have the best tournament this year. The Oshawa Generals stud forward is a machine along the wall and gives second and third efforts on every play. some scouts say his skating is not up to par, but that won't matter in this tournament playing with the players he will be playing with. He will go to the net hard and with the hands of gold that he possesses he will have no issue finding the back of the net time and time again. It will be interesting to see what Jenner can do! I'd expect him to make his way towards the top of the Team Canada lineup as the tournament progresses.

Brandon Sudeyko

Devante Smith-Pelly.

Toddy, Toddy, Toddy... you love to send out open ended questions don't you? Is this the best tournament based on points? play? accomplishment? so many angles and I think the best answer is the Notorious one, Mr. D.S.P! Devante Smith-Pelly is my choice as the OHL who will have the Best Tournament. He has come a long way since being a sub due to injury in the Top Prospects game almost 2 full years ago. He hasn't changed his game once but his reputation has grown leaps and bounds. Like Scott 'money' Wedgewood, DSP was always an after thought up until last year when the Majors (under heavy CHL Promotion) took Canada by storm and really made it known that we have 'stars' on the team. At 6'0" 210 (has to be heavier) pounds, DSP is just a wrecking ball of a man with the softest set of mits on the team. Whether he is a 3rd or 4th liner sent out to swing momentum the other way. Whether he is used on the PP to be a nuisance in front of the net. Or whether he is used on the top line to head down the wing and crash the net and opponents hard. Many people will walk away from this tournament going 'WOW! The Ducks picked him up in the 3rd round? What did my team do that year?' Many players have coming out parties during this tournament but the Notorious DSP will have the best Tournament.

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