This week, I’ll break down all 20 OHL clubs division by division and unveil my predictions for the 2012-13 season. Today, let’s look at the Eastern Conference’s East Division (listed in alphabetical order):
Coach/GM: George Burnett
2011-12 finish: 35-32-1-0, 2nd division, 7th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Ottawa 4-2 in conference quarterfinals
Key players: G Malcolm Subban (25-14-0-0 record, 2.50 goals-against average, .923 save percentage, 3 shutouts; signed with Boston), C Brendan Gaunce (28 goals, 40 assists, 68 points; signed with Vancouver), RW Austen Brassard (27-24-51; Winnipeg prospect); D Stephen Silas (6-26-32), D Brady Austin (6-20-26; former Erie Otter)
Key losses: C Adam Payerl (22-25-47), RW Luke Judson (18-21-39)
Outlook: Burnett has the rebuilding Bulls headed in the right direction, as they have improved by 15 wins in the past three seasons. And with Subban in net, Silas on defense and Gaunce up front, the Bulls could make a big move this season.
Coach/GM: Todd Gill/Doug Gilmour
2011-12 finish: 19-41-3-5, 5th division, 10th conference
Playoff finish: Did not qualify
Key players: C Darcy Greenaway (27-25-52), LW Cody Alcock (24-23-47), C Ryan Kujawinski (16-20-36), D Roland McKeown (No. 2 pick in 2012 OHL Priority Selection), G Mike Morrison (10-19-2-3, 3.87, .890, 1 SO)
Key losses: G Igor Bobkov (17-32-2-4, 3.64, .902, 1 SO; signed with Anaheim)
Outlook: The Frontenacs had the league’s second-worst record a season ago. Morrison, an overager signed earlier this summer, will need to lead a young team headlined by the offensive trio of Greenaway, Alcock and Kujawinski, through a rebuild.
Coach/GM: D.J. Smith/Jeff Twohey
2011-12 finish: 31-30-4-3, 3rd division, 8th conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Niagara 4-2 in conference quarterfinals
Key players: LW Lucas Lessio (34-28-62; signed with Phoenix), C Scott Laughton (21-32-53; signed with Philadelphia), C Boone Jenner (22-27-49; signed with Columbus), D Matt Petgrave (10-35-45, plus-11), G Daniel Altshuller (11-16-2-1, 3.55, ,900)
Key losses: RW Christian Thomas (34-33-67; signed with N.Y. Rangers), RW Nicklas Jensen (25-33-58), LW Andy Andreoff (22-36-58), D Julian Melchiori (2-34-36, +10)
Outlook: The Generals had talent galore last season, but lost in the first round after barely making the playoffs. They still have plenty of talent this season. Smith and Twohey, the former GM in Peterborough, are in charge of turning that talent into wins.
Coach/GM: Chris Byrne
2011-12 finish: 40-20-5-3, 1st division, 2nd conference
Playoff finish: Lost to Barrie 4-3 in conference semifinals
Key players: D Cody Ceci (17-43-60, +34; signed with Ottawa), C Sean Monahan (33-45-78), G Jake Cardwell (8-28-36), LW Steven Janes (16-20-36), G Keegan Wilson (12-9-3-3, 2.82, .892, 1 SO with Kingston)
Key losses: RW Tyler Toffoli (52-48-100; signed with Los Angeles), LW Shane Prince (43-47-90; signed with Ottawa), G Petr Mrazek (30-13-4-2, 2.84, .917, 3 shutouts; signed with Detroit), C Mike Cazzola (11-34-45; former Otter); D Marc Zanetti (7-21-28, +27)
Outlook: Toffoli’s 109 goals and 208 points the past two years will be difficult to replace, especially since the 67′s also lost 40-goal scorer Prince. But the key to success will be Wilson in net, where he replaces the highly skilled and consistent Mrazek.
Coach/GM: Mike Pelino/David Reid
2011-12 finish: 27-34-3-4, 4th division, 9th conference
Playoff finish: Did not qualify
Key players: C Alan Quine (30-40-70; Detroit prospect), D Slater Koekkoek (5-13-18 in 26 games; Tampa Bay prospect), G Andrew Agostini (17-15-1-1, 3.90, .890, 1 SO), LW Nick Ritchie (16-23-39), D Steven Trojanovic (7-15-22)
Key losses: LW Matt Puempel (34-35-69; traded to Kitchener, signed with Ottawa), C Andrew Yogan (41-37-78; former Otter, signed with N.Y. Rangers), RW Lino Martschini (20-38-58, playing pro in Switzerland)
Outlook: The Petes lost Yogan to the pros, and then traded Puempel earlier this summer. But they still have a good chance to for their first winning record and playoff appearance in three years. A healthy Koekkoek would improve those odds.