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CHL round 1 primer

by Tyson Giuriato / Vancouver Canucks

A total of nine Vancouver Canucks prospects will enter the race for the 2015 Memorial Cup as the CHL Playoffs begin on Thursday.

OHL Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

Oshawa Generals (51-11-6) vs. Peterborough Petes (26-36-6)

Prospect: Cole Cassels, Oshawa

Notes: Cassels posted two goals and four assists in six games against the Petes during the regular season. The Generals swept the Petes in the second round last season, which saw the Canucks 2013 third-rounder net four goals in four games.

OHL Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

North Bay Battalion (37-20-11) vs. Kingston Frontenacs (32-28-8)

Prospects: Miles Liberati, North Bay and Evan McEneny, Kingston

Notes: Liberati had two assists in three games against Kingston this season, while McEneny had three assists in four games against North Bay. Liberati has played in the OHL Championship Series in each of his first two seasons in the league, while McEneny and the Frontenacs look to redeem themselves after blowing a 3-0 series lead against Peterborough in Round 1 last year.

OHL Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

Barrie Colts (41-24-3) vs. Belleville Bulls (27-33-8)

Prospect: Jordan Subban, Belleville

Notes: The Bulls have a tough task in trying to upset the Colts, which beat them by a combined score of 15-4 in their two games during the regular season. Subban will be counted on to shut down the Colts’ three 100-plus scorers, while also being looked upon to lead offensively. Expect him to play big minutes.

OHL Western Conference Quarterfinals

Soo Greyhounds (54-12-2) vs. Saginaw Spirit (29-36-3)

Prospect: Jared McCann, Sault Ste. Marie

Notes: A whopping 49 points separate these two teams in the standings as McCann and the Greyhounds enter the playoffs with the number one overall seed. McCann netted four goals and eight assists in seven games against the Spirit during the regular season.

OHL Western Conference Quarterfinals

Erie Otters (50-14-4) vs. Sarnia Sting (29-32-7)

Prospect: Kyle Pettit, Erie

Notes: Pettit’s status for the first round is still up in the air as he continues to recover from a broken knuckle that he suffered on March 14.

WHL Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

Calgary Hitmen (45-22-5) vs. Kootenay Ice (37-31-4)

Prospect: Jake Virtanen, Calgary

Notes: Virtanen enters the post-season on a three-game point drought, which includes a pair of games against the Ice. In four games total against Kootenay this season, Virtanen scored once and set up another. The Ice got the best of Calgary in the first round last spring, which saw Virtanen net four points (1-3-4) in six games.

WHL Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

Brandon Wheat Kings (53-11-8) vs. Edmonton Oil Kings (34-31-7)

Prospect: Ashton Sautner, Edmonton

Notes: The Wheat Kings are the favourites in this series, however the Oil Kings have one thing going for them having played in the WHL Championship Series the last three seasons: experience. Sautner has 53 playoff games under his belt and two WHL Championships. He had three assists in four games against Brandon during the regular season.

WHL Western Conference Quarterfinals

Portland Winterhawks (43-23-6) vs. Seattle Thunderbirds (38-25-9)

Prospect: Anton Cederholm, Portland

Notes: With the new WHL Playoff format (same as the NHL), the third and fourth ranked teams in the Western Conference find themselves pitted against one another in the first round. Much like the Oil Kings, the Winterhawks have experience on their side having advanced to the WHL Championship Series the past four seasons. Cederholm, who has a goal and assist in his last two games against the Thunderbirds, posted five points (2-3-5) in 21 post-season games last year.

TY-BITS

-The OHL recently conducted their Coaches Poll, which recognizes the top three players in 20 different categories. The Canucks were well represented on the list, as Cole Cassels finished second in five different categories: Smartest Player, Best Playmaker, Best on Face-Offs, Best Defensive Forward, and Hardest Worker in the Eastern Conference.

-Jordan Subban was named Best Shootout Shooter, Best Offensive Defenceman and finished third in the Hardest Shot category in the Eastern Conference.

-In the Western Conference, Kyle Pettit was named the Best on Face-Offs, voted second Most Underrated Player, and third in the Best Defensive Forward category.

-The Saskatoon Star Phoenix ran a similar poll for Eastern Conference players in the WHL. Jake Virtanen was voted to have the Best Shot, the third Best Pro Prospect, the seventh Best Player, and the 10th Most Irritating Player.

-Mackenze Stewart (above) was voted as the 11th Best Pro Prospect.

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