2019-20 Very Barrie Colts Season Preview. #OHL

2018-19 Season Notes:
  • Finished 5th in Central Division and 9th in Eastern Conference.
  • The team ended last season with a 26-38-3-1 record. 
  • Ryan Suzuki led the team with 75 points. (25 goals/50 assists)
  • Tyson Foerster led rookies with 23 points. (10 goals/13 assists)
  • Barrie scored 221 goals. (17th in OHL)
  • Barrie allowed 245 goals against. (12th most in OHL)
  • 20.8% on Power Play. (12th in OHL)
  • 72.2% on Penalty Kill. (13th in OHL)
Moving On:
Ben Hawerchuk (OA).

Notable Additions:
Brandt Clarke, Ryan Del Monte, Arturs Silovs, Jacob Frasca and Vinny Prospal.

Unlike our preview from last season, the Barrie Colts are not losing as much forward depth by comparison. Having traded top-players like Lucas Chiodo during the season, the team is only losing Ben Hawerchuk. While Ben will be missed and did an excellent job producing last season, he didn't put up numbers like Aaron Luchuk or Dmitry Sokolov. This years team will look for continued development from rookies like Tyson Foerster and Riley Piercey to move into a more prominent role on this team.

One area that hasn't changed is that Ryan Suzuki is the biggest offensive threat returning to the Colts for 2019-20. As a sophomore, Suzuki led the team with 75 points last campaign. Suzuki is currently participating at the Carolina Hurricanes camp where he was drafted 28th overall at the 2019 NHL Draft.

Buffalo Sabres prospect Matej Pekar will return to the Colts after missing a good portion of last season. Pekar suffered a season-ending injury sustained following a hit by Liam Ross (Sudbury Wolves) on January, 10th 2018. While Pekar only played 33 games, he still finished the year with 14 goals and 22 assists. His 36 points were the 5th most on the team despite missing more than half of the season. Pekar, who is currently at Buffalo Sabres prospect camp will be a significant boost to the teams top-six as the forward looks to continue what was an excellent start to last season.  And don't expect him to lose the physical part of his game as he showed at Sabres camp. 
While the team still has a decision as to which three OA players will lock a spot on the roster, captain Jason Willms is a lock for a place. Willms saw a slight dip in point production last season 20 goals and 25 assists. When you look at the roster, that was not an uncommon theme from player-to-player. With a stronger supporting cast, it is safe to expect Jason to end this campaign with a better result. Willms will be an enormous influence on the team, notably rookie players starting their OHL careers. The captain looks to continue his iron-man streak having not missed a single regular-season game since his rookie season in 2016-17. 

(Jason Willms: Image by Jeff Bothwright)

Jacob Tortora, like Matej Pekar, missed some time late last season due to injury. Tortora posted 16 goals and att assists through 33 games. The speedy forward will be an excellent addition for the Colts, and it will be good to see what he can do through a full season in Barrie. Other forwards that will be good to watch are OA Aidan Brown and Dalton DuHart. From interactions with Tyler Tucker before games to ALL OF THE PICTURES of him fishing with teammates on Instagram, you can tell players love Brown. Expect him to have a similar jump in production to what Ben Hawerchuk did last year.  DuHart will be interesting to watch as well this year. After being acquired by London, he showed blazing speed, strength battling for pucks and an ability to score timely goals. 

You can't preview the forward group without looking at Tyson Foerster and Riley Piercey. Both produced incredible rookie campaigns and will look to build on that as sophomores. Foerster, who led the team amongst rookies in points with ten goals and 13 assists could find himself in a top-six role on the team. Late in the season, he showed to have chemistry with Suzuki and came into his game. While Piercey, who sometimes had to fight for a roster spot has demonstrated growth in his game this off-season. 

This season you can expect the Colts to be solid defensively. Tyler Tucker will be a massive part of that core. The St. Louis Blues prospect was coming off a tremendous season last year. Tucker had the 2nd most points on the Colts with 14 goals and 45 assists. A substantial increase in production from the previous season, where he put up three goals and 20 assists. Tucker, who will skate in his 4th OHL season will be not only a leader on the back end but also looked up to by rookies joining the squad. 

Brandt Clarke is a name we have mentioned a lot since the draft, and I wouldn't expect the talk to slow down. Clarke has lived up to his hype this pre-season and will only get better. He leads the team in points and already oozes confidence. Dominant in both ends of the ice, Clarke looks comfortable with his skillset and teammates. Skill aside, Brandt has already shown that he has a willingness to converse on the ice with linemates. There have been moments where you could observe the rookie breaking down plays and positioning with teammates. As the season goes on, look for him to become a top player on the teams back end. Also, expect rookie and defence records to be broken this year. 

Jack York joined the Colts last season and was a great addition to the team. Through 33 games in Barrie, he scored six goals and 11 assists. York showed strong defensive skills with an ability to score with a deceptive wrist shot. He will return to Barrie following a sound performance at Montreal Canadiens camp which he attended as a free agent. 

(Nathan Allensen: Image by Jeff Bothwright)

Nathan Allensen might not have displayed the growth some had anticipated last season but still had a decent year. He set a career-high with four goals and 16 assists. Allensen showed the ability to read plays defensively last year. One area he needs to improve is his consistency. Allensen played his best games when playing with Jack York. The two were able to play to their strengths when paired together. Look for Allensen to start the season looking more confident, and with the right partner, he could improve his overall game this season. 

Mathew Hill has grown into one of the teams most reliable defenders. The Anaheim Ducks prospect showed tremendous improvement last season, and I wouldn't expect that to slow down. Hill is a big body with great hands. He can break up plays and is decent at clearing the zone. With improved speed and reasonable gap control, he is challenging to play. Hill will play big minutes for the Colts this season and will be one of the teams better defencemen. 

(Jet Greaves: Image by Jeff Bothwright)
Jet Greaves will be the starting goalie for the Colts this season. Greaves was incredible for the Colts last year and put up great numbers. Greaves is athletic and has "jet-like" speed. He tracks pucks well and rarely is out of position. One area he excels is his confidence in high-pressure situations. Expect Jet to continue to develop into one of the best goalies in the OHL. 

The Colts brought in Matteo Lalama as backup late in the pre-season. Look for Vancouver Canucks prospect Arturs Silovs will still be joining the team at the end of camp. While there is no confirmation of this, many close to the team sound confident he will be here for the start of the year. Silovs moves well for a big-bodied goaltender. While we think Greaves will get more starts, we expect Silovs to handle his fair share of starts.

The team kicks off the season on Friday, September 20th VS North Bay. The team will play their first home game of the season the following night against the London Knights. How do you think the Colts will do this season? Who are you most excited to see? Let us know in the comments.


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