September 24, 2015

67's kickoff their 49th season tonight

The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting cooler, which means hockey season is right around the corner. After a long training camp that started in late August, the Ottawa 67’s finally kick off their 49th regular season tonight in Peterborough.


The 67’s finished their preseason with an underwhelming record of 1-1-0-1. While the record was less than stellar, it was a great learning experience for their prospects. With 7 players in NHL camps, the 67’s brass was able to evaluate the depth of the team.

“I’m really proud of the 7 of our guys that represented the Ottawa 67’s. That’s what we preach all the time, respect and not just on the ice, but off the ice,” said head coach Jeff Brown. “All the GMs called me and reported back they said nothing but good things about the character of our players.”

Six of the seven players represented have since been returned to the 67’s including Connor Graham (NYI), Liam Herbst (STL), Jake Middleton (LAK), Jeremiah Addison (MTL), Sam Studnicka (MTL), & most recently announced – 67’s captain Travis Konecny (PHI).

“(Konecny) went to Philadelphia wanting to make that team this year. I know he’s disappointed but he’s going to have a great year here. It will be a good spot for him to develop,” said Brown.

The lone player left at NHL camp is Dante Salituro with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets invited Salituro to their development camp as a free agent following the NHL Draft this past June. They were so impressed with him that they invited him to their rookie camp a couple months later. Now Salituro has survived the first cuts of Blue Jackets main camp. However, he has yet to see any preseason action.

Who’s gone?

A couple familiar faces you won’t see this season are the two OA graduates – Brendan Bell, Curtis Meighan (now playing for Carleton U). The 67’s also lose Alex Lintuniemi who will continue in the LA Kings prospects system. The blue line takes a hit with the loss of Lintuniemi, but it takes an even bigger hit in experience with the loss of veterans Mike Vlajkov, Taylor Davis and Zach Pittman.

Who’s new?

The 67’s have not announced their official starting roster yet, but you can be sure to see first round pick Austen Keating staying up with the team. Joining the forwards are Nolan Gardiner, Connor Warnholtz, and Artur Tyanulin. Warnholtz, who has not been drafted in the OHL, signed on as a free agent earlier this month. Tyanulin who was sent home last season, returns to the 67’s and takes up one of the two European spots.

Taking the second and last European spot is the towering defenseman Stephan Falkovsky who the 67’s selected in the first round of the Import draft this season. Four more fresh faces added to the blue line are Noel Hoefenmayer, William Brown, Hudson Wilson, and Ryan Barbosa. The 67’s will be in tough and these rookies will lean heavily on returning veterans Jake Middleton and Evan de Haan.

How they stack up?


Despite still being at NHL camp, the 67’s expect to see 2014-15 team leading scorer, Dante Salituro back with the team. Salituro combined with the return of elite prospect, Travis Konecny, gives the 67’s some immediate offense on two different lines.

“We really like the way our forwards shape up, we’re only losing two guys up front and replacing them with basically a first rounder and a couple other ‘98s that we feel are ready to make the step,” said Jeff Brown.

The depth of the forward group is pretty strong with the return of Jeremiah Addison and Sam Studnicka who are both fresh off Montreal Canadiens camp and Nathan Todd who took it up three notches down the stretch last season.

Expect to see a good year from Travis Barron who enters his draft year and Trent Mallette who really became comfortable as the season wore on. The depth of the 67’s forwards, should give rookies like Austen Keating a good first year experience.


The blue line is the main concern with the loss of a couple key defensemen. The 67’s will look to Jake Middleton, Evan de Haan and Nevin Guy for leadership and to log a lot of ice time.

Middleton returns from LA Kings camp with a whole new perspective and his coach has nothing but positives to say about him.

“He can do it all back there and we expect him to take another step. He was solid for us last year but we need him to be a 30-minute guy this year that’s going to play in all situations,” Brown told Josh Sweetland of the OHL.


It is believed that the starting goalie position is Liam Herbst’s to lose but Jeff Brown may not feel that way.

“We’re very fortunate; we have two # 1 goalies. I’m comfortable with either one of them,” he said. “Last year when Herbst was out, for about 6 weeks, (Leo Lazarev) took the ball and ran with it. His numbers during that stretch were exceptional.”

Lazarev went 6-2 during that stretch and a goals against average of 2.33 and a save percentage of 0.926.

After a long history of injuries, Herbst will hope to stay healthy this season to be able to fight for that #1 role.

The 67’s have the chance to contend for the East for the first time in three or four years. They will have some tough competition with teams like Niagara, Barrie and Mississauga stacking up strong teams of their own.

“We need the guys to continue to buy in and play for one another as a team and hopefully we’ll be in that discussion (of a contending team),” said Brown.

The 67’s open the regular season with a quick road trip in Peterborough tonight and in Mississauga tomorrow night before the home opener on Sunday afternoon against Barrie.

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