The London Knights are winding down the 2016/17 OHL regular season. The Knights are healthy for the first time in a long while this season and it comes at the right time. Missing Max Jones and Tyler Parsons for long stretches this season exposed weaknesses in the Knights roster. More specifically the lack of goaltending depth and the lack of a skilled power forward beyond Jones. Although Adam Carbonara has done an admirable job of creating space for his linemates. He lacks the offensive gifts that Jones possesses. With Jones missing around half the season due to injury and suspension it was a lucky thing for the Knights that there was a wide gap between the teams that were good and the teams that were awful. There was no middle ground this season with the disparity in talent from top to bottom. Two teams in the East are contenders, Mississauga and Oshawa until the Generals became sellers at the deadline. In the West Erie, London, Sault Ste. Marie and Windsor were the contenders all season long.
This is a very different team than the Memorial Cup winning team from last season. They don’t have the luxury of having the most dominant line arguably in CHL history. This is a team that relies on the goaltending of Tyler Parsons and the speed game from all 4 lines. These Knights need a complete team effort and it starts with their veteran defence corps. These Knights have struggled against the “big heavy” teams in the OHL and the defence couldn’t handle the size and strength of the opposing forwards. London struggled moving the puck inside against these teams in the attacking zone. What Knights needed to do was utilize their speed and dump and chase negating the size factor.
All season long it has been evident that Tyler Parsons will carry this team as far as they can go. No game was more evident of this than the last game against league leaders the Erie Otters. The Knights won in a thriller 3-2, but the story of the game was Parsons who stopped 41 shots on the night. London was outshot 43-22 by the far superior Otters but Parsons is back from his concussion suffered in practice and appears to be back at the top of his game.
As of this article it isn’t known who the Knights will face in the opening round of the playoffs, but expect the Knights to breeze through the opening round. The second round and beyond we will see how determined and focused this group of London Knights is.