The London Knights open the 2022-23 OHL regular season on Friday night against the Owen Sound Attack.
The game marks the second year in a row that the two teams have squared off on opening night. Last year, Sean McGurn scored the shootout winner in a 3-2 Knights victory. McGurn is back as one of four overagers currently on the London roster.
Both the Knights and Owen Sound enter the year with high hopes not just for this season but for years to come given the young talent on both clubs.
The Attack named 17-year-old Colby Barlow captain this week. Their lineup will look very similar two seasons from now, when Barlow and his teammates are two years older. Owen Sound could be a very scary team by then. Players like Barlow, Cedrick Guindon, Servac Petrovsky and Gavin Bryant of Ingersoll, Ont., are poised for big years.
London could follow a very similar path. Their young talent will be looked upon for some of the offence that left when Luke Evangelista and Tonio Stranges turned pro and when players like Cody Morgan, Camaryn Baber and Tye McSorley graduated.
The Knights have the returning OHL Goaltender of the Year in Brett Brochu and one of the deepest defence corps in the league.
Here is a look at each player currently on the Knights roster:
30 Brett Brochu – The reigning OHL Goaltender of the Year is back for an overage season. His incredible ability between the pipes and his tremendous work ethic and attitude off the ice will be instrumental in the Knights success and in the development of their young players.
31 Zach Bowen – London’s 4th round selection in 2022 Bowen turned a fantastic season as a 16-year-old playing in eastern Ontario (save percentage of over .930 for two teams) into a great pre-season with the Knights and earned the backup job to Brochu.
READ MORE: Sam O’Reilly officially joins London Knights
07 Easton Cowan – The former Elgin-Middlesex Chief is poised for a breakout year after dazzling with the Komoka Kings last season. Cowan had 34 points in 24 games in the GOJHL and had a goal and an assist in seven games with the Knights.
15 Abakar Kazbekov – Back after missing almost all of last season with a shoulder injury, Kazbekov tied for the Knights pre-season scoring lead. Has a very accurate shot.
16 Sean McGurn – Entering his overage year in the OHL after finishing 3rd in Knights scoring with 73 points. McGurn attended Rookie Camp with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
18 Mike Levin – With the ability to find the back of the net and a ferocious energy on the ice, Levin will make himself noticed on every shift. Born in Israel, Mike’s older brother David was a former first overall pick in the OHL Priority Selection.
29 Brody Crane – Suffered a nasty cut to his face in training camp when he was hit by a puck. The skilled forward who goes hard to the net attended Rookie Camp with the New Jersey Devils.
34 Ryan Del Monte – Makes players around him better. An unselfish player who knows how to create offence. The 19-year-old was acquired from the Barrie Colts during the pre-season.
37 Kaeden Johnston – Another 5th round selection by London in 2021, Johnston is a phenomenal athlete. He was second in scoring on the Komoka Kings last year as a 16-year-old and showed very well in two games with the Knights.
39 Max McCue – The 19-year-old San Jose Sharks prospect has a great edge and swagger to his game. He will be counted on for offence and leadership after the departures of Luke Evangelista and Tonio Stranges.
43 Nicholas Yearwood – Hard work is something Yearwood credits for getting him to where he is. The 299th pick in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection had 32 points in 33 games with the Komoka Kings last year and played six games with the Knights.
57 Mathieu Paris – A 3rd round pick by London in 2021 Paris is considered by some scouting services to be a true steal in that draft. He had 40 points in 39 games last season for the St. Thomas Stars and played four games for the Knights.
67 Luca Testa – The Knights 1st round pick in 2022, Testa helped the St. Catharines Falcons to win the Sutherland Cup as a 15-year-old. Testa is a two-way player who can score and starts the year as the only 16-year-old on the roster.
70 Ruslan Gazizov – Entering his second year in the OHL Gazizov can bring fans out of their seats with plays in the offensive zone. Had two goals and two assists in four pre-season games to tie for the team lead.
71 Ben Bujold – London’s 1st round pick in 2021 Bujold brings a wide range of skills into his second full season with the Knights. Makes plays at full speed.
86 Denver Barkey – One of the most dynamic players in the OHL Barkey helped Team Canada to win Gold at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup and was named Canada’s Player of the Game in the championship final. Had four points in four games tying for most points in the pre-season on the Knights.
90 Landon Sim – Poised for a stellar second season after being selected in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft by the St. Louis Blues, the Glasgow, N.S., native plays with an edge and a never stop attitude that stands out on the ice. Sim led the Blues in rookie tournament points with three goals and two assists.
03 Sam Dickinson – Acquired by the Knights from the Niagara Ice Dogs on August 31, Dickinson is considered one of the top defencemen in his age group. He brings high-end skill, size and poise to the position.
04 Isaiah George – George returned from New York Islanders camp with a lower-body injury. He isn’t expected to miss more than another week. George had an impressive rookie season in London, Ont., that saw him often paired against other teams’ top lines. He will be among the OHL’s best defencemen in 2022-23.
17 Ethan MacKinnon – The Londoner just kept getting better and better and was put in bigger and bigger situations in 2021-22. The 19-year-old will look to pick up right where he left off moving into this season.
24 Logan Mailloux – The Montreal Canadiens first round pick in 2021 Mailloux was limited to 12 games last season due to injury and suspension. He had 3 goals and 9 points in those games and is poised for a big season in London.
28 Connor Federkow – One of the hardest hitters in major junior hockey, Federkow is entering his second full season with the Knights. The St. Catharines native has also played for Komoka and St. Thomas of the GOJHL.
45 Gerard Keane – The longest-serving current Knight Keane is a master of the little things that help teams to win. He attended Rookie Camp with the Arizona Coyotes.
58 Bryce Montgomery – The Carolina Hurricanes prospect is back in the OHL as an overager and brings great size and skill. Montgomery’s grandmother marched with Martin Luther King.
59 Oliver Bonk – Bonk played a handful of games for the Knights last year. He won gold at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup as well and will now be a full-time OHLer who makes a big impact. Bonk is the son of former NHLer Radek Bonk.
92 Jackson Edward – Selected by the Boston Bruins in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft Edward can play the game any way you want to and excel. The Newmarket, Ont., native was actually a Bruins fan growing up.