Coming off of a 43-win season, and the best regular-season record in franchise history, the North Bay Battalion are on the outside looking into the Memorial Cup picture. However, this was an honorable exit for the squad: Sweeping the Ottawa 67’s in round one, brushing off a Kingston Frontenacs team led by top 2022 prospect Shane Wright in five games, before falling to a strong Hamilton Bulldogs group in a four-game sweep.
So what does this mean for the offseason? General Manager Adam Dennis has some work to do, seeing teams as stacked as the aforementioned Bulldogs, Edmonton Oil Kings, Saint John Sea Dogs, and Shawinigan Cataractes duke things out in the Memorial Cup tournament.
The Big Guns
Three key players for the Battalion this season include San Jose Sharks prospects Brandon Coe and Mitchell Russell, as well as Edmonton Oilers draft pick Matvey Petrov. This trio led the team in points, combining for 115 of the team’s 267 goals, with a 26-point drop-off between Russell and the fourth-highest scorer, Kyle Jackson. While two are off to the Bay Area and will not be returning for the 2022-23 campaign, Russell having completed his final season of CHL eligibility, Petrov likely stays back one more season to get more accustomed to North American hockey. While this isn’t to say the scoring core of this team has been completely gutted, others will have to step up in their place next season to reach a similar position in the playoffs.
At the time of writing, it hasn’t been a particularly productive offseason for North Bay. That being said, there has been one move that fans can be intrigued over; So far, the lone piece being forward Justin Ertel from Cornell University. The 19-year-old Kitchener native, a third-round pick of the Dallas Stars in 2021, looks to bring some veteran presence from the NCAA into this Battalion squad. Looking to build off of the success of this season’s run, there’s reason to believe that this summer will be an active one for North Bay; but while trades and signings are an important part of building a strong hockey club, it’s not the only way to success.
Stocking the Cupboards
Jacob Therrien, selected 44th overall in the 2022 OHL draft from the Clarington Toros U16 AAA program, posted 24 goals and 38 points in 27 games this past season. Therrien looks to make an immediate impact, along with fellow draftees Brayden Turley (61st, 2022) and Ethan Procyszyn (20th, 2022). Looking back at last season, forward Owen Outwater (11th overall) starts on improving upon his debut campaign of four goals and 12 points in 64 games.
While the Battalion have a multitude of decisions ahead of them for the 2022 offseason, things are looking up and the team has a very real chance to contend for the 2023 OHL championship.