Knights' Night: Another winless week leaves Knights in OHL basement
Credit: ANDREW STEPHENSON OF SHAKE MEDIA AND THE LONDON KNIGHTS
The London Knights are having a tough season so far and with a number of their star players moving on up to the NHL, it's putting more pressure on the team's current young men to perform their absolute best.
After consecutive losses to the Sault. Ste. Marie Greyhounds and Erie Otters last weekend, the Knights have just two points (1-6).
Their 0.143 winning percentage is just behind the Mississauga Steelheads at 0.200.
Both teams are expected to be at the top of their respective conferences at the end of the season.
One of the main problems for the Knights is scoring goals.
They potted just one against the Greyhounds in a 4-1 loss on Oct. 6. That was followed up by a 5-2 beating at the hands of the Otters the next night.
Whether at home or on the road, the Knights just can’t seem to get the job done.
Things won’t get easier moving forward, either. London is gearing up for both home and away games with the Windsor Spitfires on Thursday and Friday.
The Spits are fourth in the Western Conference.
Obviously, the losses are concerning for all who have a vested interest in the Knights. But that’s not the only place where London is losing.
Jesper Bratt, Alex Formenton and Victor Mete are impressing their National Hockey League squads, and there’s a good chance none of them will be back this season.
Jesper Bratt has been arguably the most impressive. After a solid training camp, Bratt has scored three goals and five points for the New Jersey Devils in his first two regular season games.
The 19-year-old winger scored his first NHL goal in his first game. It’s early, but he’s making a strong case that he deserves to stay with the Devils.
Alex Formenton had a great training camp in Ottawa, and Senators management have said that he isn’t going anywhere. At least for now.
He played his first regular season NHL game against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, Oct. 7. He’s the youngest player in modern Ottawa history to don the Sens jersey.
And not to be overshadowed, Victor Mete has immediately stepped into a huge role with the Montreal Canadiens.
Through his first three National Hockey League games, the defenseman is playing on the first pairing with Shea Weber. As well, he’s manning the point on the Canadiens’ second powerplay unit.
He continues to stand tall on the Montreal blue line, and prove that he belongs at the NHL level.
For Bratt, Formenton, and Mete, it’s a dream come true. And no doubt London Knights’ fans will be happy to see the trio succeed.
But without those three key players, the Knights are significantly short-staffed.
It’ll be up to their veteran core to step up, as well as the young players looking to make a name for themselves in the league.
Cliff Pu, Robert Thomas and Max Jones will need to really elevate their games to keep London as competitive as they’ve been in recent years.
One bright spot is defenseman Evan Bouchard, who has been tremendous on the blue line through the early season struggles.
Bouchard leads the Knights in scoring with seven points through seven games. He’s also seventh in defenseman scoring in the entire league.
As well, he ranks third in the NHL Central Scouting’s October ‘Players to Watch’ list for the 2018 NHL Draft.
Bouchard has been pulling his weight.
But in order for London to turn things around, the rest of the team needs to do the same.
And with the potential for no Bratt, Mete, and Formenton, it’s going to be that much harder.