The Mississauga Steelheads ended their season on Tuesday after a heartbreaking 5-1 loss in game 7 against the Barrie Colts. Though many didn’t think the Steelheads could win the series against the Colts, I always thought they were the more skilled team with so much firepower on the squad, but the lack of experience with such a young team won’t bode well with a matured team such as Barrie.
Though it may hurt now, the Steel will be even better next season and here’s why:
Mississauga may lose overagers such as Josh Burnside, Jack Flinn, and Mason Marchment, but the Steelheads will be just as good with the sophomore seasons of Ryan McLeod and Owen Tippett coming up.
Though both players didn’t get as much time as expected, like every rookie in the OHL, the first season is where you just get your feet wet and get comfortable with the league, then once the second season comes by, that’s when you take off, and play like a superstar.
Look at Mikey McLeod, Ryan’s brother and fellow teammate. His first season, he plays 62 games he only picks up 29 points, but when this season rolls around he plays in 6 fewer games but amassses 61 points, 32 more than the previous year. With the potential of both McLeod and Tippett, I can see them tearing up the OHL next season.
Not to mention that Tippett is eligible for the draft until next year, and Ryan until 2018, the Steelheads could have this dynamic duo for the next 2- 3 years if Owen doesn’t go pro early.
As for next year though, the four draft eligible players on the team, Sean Day, Mikey McLeod, Nathan Bastian, and Alex Nylander should be back. The only player I think I’d worry is Nylander but I believe he’ll be back.
With that being said, you’ll have the likes of Sean Day manning the back end, the dynamic line of Bastian, McLeod, and Nylander, and behind a stronger, more mature duo of Tippett and Ryan McLeod, makes the Steelheads a Memorial Cup contender.
On another note, after next season when Day, Bastian, Mikey, and Nylander all go pro, the Trout will still have Tippett and Ryan, who will play even better with all those players gone.
The future is bright in Mississauga, Coach and GM James Boyd has done a fantastic job. Don’t doubt the trout!