When the Colorado Avalanche went into the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, everyone knew they’d be looking to come away with a blue chip defensive prospect. Now, thanks to Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds defenseman Conor Timmins, it looks like they might have left the draft with two.
Before the season started, I wrote that Conor Timmins would be the best defenseman in the OHL this season, and over the past month, that’s exactly what he’s been.
Selected with the first pick in the second round of last year’s draft, Timmins instantly jumped to the top of the Avs’ CHL prospect list. He was a player that was somewhat underrated going into the draft because he wasn’t flashy and looked a little rough to the eye test.
This year he has been the leader on one of the best teams in the Canadian Hockey Association. Putting up another great season and sitting among the OHL leaders in most statistical categories, he was doing it rather quietly - that was until the Canada/Russia Series last month. Timmins was the best player on the ice when Team OHL beat the Russian Juniors on November 13th. Since then, he has been on an absolute tear when returning to The Soo.
Timmins is currently in the middle of a six-game point streak, in that time he has five goals and 11 points, including a couple of beautiful highlight-reel plays and a couple of overtime winners.
GOOOOAL!— Soo Greyhounds (@OHLHoundPower) December 2, 2017
CONOR TIMMINS, overtiiiiiiiime WINNER! pic.twitter.com/fwxxBbp240
Timmins currently sits second in the OHL for 5v5 points per game among defensemen and is putting up a 62.75 GF% - top-10 for anyone with more than 5 games played.
He is gaining confidence as the season goes on and will only get a bigger spotlight on him as his Soo Greyhounds march towards a birth in the Memorial Cup.
Though he’s started putting together an impressive point total, Timmins is so much more than an offensive defenseman. He plays in all situations for the Greyhounds and is a guy that provides a calm confidence that is key to the team's success.
When he was hanging around late into Avalanche training camp, I had two different Greyhounds employees express worry that the might make the team. They spoke about needing to rebuild if Timmins stayed with the Avs - it was a joke, but there was a hint of truth behind it. The return of Timmins to the OHL was the difference between a Sault Ste Marie team that is a contender for a championship and one that would likely be trying to wade through the middle of the OHL’s Western Conference.
On Tuesday, Hockey Canada is going to announce the invitees to their World Junior Selection Camp - Timmins will be on that list. At the moment, he is seen as a long shot to make the team by most onlookers, but if he goes into camp and performs the way he has this past month, I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the team.
He’s going to have a lot of competition on the right side of Canada’s blueline - including Avalanche first rounder Cale Makar - but if I were a betting man, I’d think the final spot on the blueline comes down to Timmins and Lightning prospect Cal Foote.
Whether Timmins makes the team or not, this isn’t the last we will see of his this year. The Greyhounds are set to make a deep run in the playoffs and Timmins is going to be front and center.
This will be his last year in junior and it’s not hard to picture Timmins making the Avalanche as early as next season. It’s fun to daydream about just how good Colorado’s blueline could be in a few seasons with Samuel Girard, Cale Makar and Conor Timmins. For now, all we can do is watch from a distance as he lights up the OHL and develops into yet another young defender for Avs fans to get excited about.
Ontario Hockey League
#21 - Conor Timmins (D) - 3G, 3A, +1
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds - 23-3-2-0
Nov. 30th: @ Peterborough Petes
W 7-5 - 2G, 0A
Dec. 1st: @ Kingston Frontenacs
W 3-2 OT - 1G, 1A
Dec. 3rd: @ Ottawa 67’s
W 4-0 - 0G, 2A, +1
#19 - Travis Barron (F) - 0G, 1A, -2
Ottawa 67’s - 14-3-1-1
Nov. 29th: @ Kingston Frontenacs
L 4-1 - 0G, 1A
Dec. 2nd: @ Barrie Colts
W 4-3 - No Points
Dec. 3rd: vs Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
L 4-0 - 0G, 0A, -2
Barron lost the battle of the prospects last night, and the 67’s didn’t do too well over the weekend. They did beat the Colts, who are one of the best in the league right now.
Western Hockey League
#21 - Nick Henry (D) - 0G, 2A, +1
Regina Pats - 15-12-2-0
Dec. 1st: @ Red Deer Rebels
W 4-2 - 0G, 2A, +1
Dec. 3rd: @ Calgary Hitmen
W 4-1 - No Points
Henry and the Pats did alright over the weekend, two points, two wins.
#28 - Josh Anderson (D) - 1G, 1A, -2
Prince George Cougars - 10-14-2-2
Nov. 29th: @ Kelowna Rockets
L 5-3 - No Points
Dec. 1st: vs Vancouver Giants
L 5-3 - 1G, 0A, -2
Dec. 2nd: vs Vancouver Giants
W 6-2 - 0G, 1A
Anderson’s Cougars weren’t big winners over the weekend, but kept from going 0-3 on the week with a big win over Vancouver.
#14 - Ty Lewis (F) - 1G, 7A, +3
Brandon Wheat Kings - 19-7-0-1
Nov. 28th: @ Red Deer Rebels
W 6-5 - 0G, 3A
Nov. 29th: @ Edmonton Oil Kings
W 3-1 - 0G, 2A, +2
Dec. 1st: @ Lethbridge Hurricanes
W 5-1 - 1G, 1A, +2
Dec. 2nd: @ Medicine Hat Tigers
W 5-4 OT - 0G, 1A, -1
Ty Lewis had eight points in four games last weekend, using his talents to set up his team mates for seven goals.
#4 - Nick Leivermann (D) - 0G, 1A
Penticton Vees, BCHL - 20-5-1-2
Nov. 29th: vs West Kelowna Warriors
W 3-0 - 0G, 1A
Dec. 1st: @ Nanaimo Clippers
W 2-1 - No Points
Dec. 2nd: @ Alberni Valley Bulldogs
W 5-2 - No Points
The Vees won all three games last week as they inch their way to the top of the BCHL standings.
#5 - Nathan Clurman (D) - 0G, 0A, +3
Dec. 1st: vs Madison Capitols
W 5-2 - 0G, 0A, +1
Dec. 2nd: vs Madison Capitols
W 3-0 - 0G, 0A, +2
The Storm took back to back wins over Madison in a weekend home stand.
#16 - Cale Makar (D) - 0G, 1A, +2
Overall: 8-6 / Conference: 3-3
Dec. 1st: vs Connecticut
W 4-2 - 0G, 1A, +2
Only one game for the Minutemen, but Makar was able to set up one of his team mates.
#25 - Denis Smirnov (F) - 1G, 0A
Penn State Lions
Overall: 9-7-2 / Conference: 4-4-2
Dec. 1st: @ Ohio State
T 5-5 - No Points
Dec. 2nd: @ Ohio State
W 4-0 - 1G, 0A
Smirnov returned to the ice after missing time due to illness. He scored his first goal back against the Buckeyes in a 4-0 shutout.
#26 - Cameron Morrison (F) - No Points
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Overall: 14-3-1 / Conference: 8-0-0
Dec. 1st: @ Michigan State
W 3-1 - No Points
Dec. 2nd: @ Michigan State
W 2-0 - No Points
Notre Dame advanced their standings to a perfect 8-0 against Big10 teams this weekend.
#15 - Shane Bowers - 2G, 2A, +1
Boston University Terriers
Overall: 7-9-1 / Conference: 5-5-1
Dec. 1st: @ Boston College
W 7-4 - 1G, 2A, +2
Dec. 2nd: vs Boston College
L 4-1 - 1G, 0A, -1
Bowers scored the only goal as the Terriers lost at home, and had three points as they won in their rivals barn.
Prospect PPG tracker
|Denis Smirnov||Big 10||27||29||0.93||26.72|
|Shane Bowers||Hockey East||30||36||0.83||25.28|
|Cale Makar||Hockey East||21||34||0.62||18.74|
|Cameron Morrison||Big 10||20||34||0.59||16.88|