They may have lost the OHL championship to Owen Sound, but the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors could pull off a Vancouver Giants type of power play from 2007 and win the biggest prize in junior hockey.
Milan Lucic and the Giants lost the Chynoweth Cup to the Medicine Hat Tigers, but as host city, got a rematch and beat them to take the trophy.
Dave Cameron and his team have the veteran experience and skill to do it and it will be interesting to see how the St. Mikes respond to the crushing Game 7 overtime loss.
Captain Casey Cizikas is a ball of energy and a top two-way player. The Islanders' 4th-round pick had 29 goals and 64 points in 52 games for Missy this season, and was on Team Canada for the WJC. He had a good postseason run with five goals and 19 points in 16 games.
Two members of the 2010 Memorial Cup-winning Windsor Spitfires, Justin Shugg and Marc Cantin, Hurricanes and Bruins prospects respectively, were a key part of the team's 53-13-0-2 run for OHL supremacy during the regular season.
They also brought in Russian Maxim Kitsyn, a Kings draft pick last summer, after he won gold in Buffalo a the WJC in January.
Undrafted goalie J.P.Anderson won 38 games in the regular season and seemed to be on the verge of closing Owen Sound out, but couldn't get it done. It will be interesting to see how he plays this tournament.
Perhaps losing the Robertson Cup was the best thing for Mississauga. They had their way with the OHL all year, but learned an important lesson about their club and will be hungry and looking for a chance for redemption.
2007 was not that long ago, and Vancouver will be their rallying cry. Don't bet against them.
Mississauga 2011 Draft Eligibles
Stuart Percy, D
Born May 189, 1993 in Oakville, Ontario
6-1, 175 Shoots: Right
Solid, dependable defenseman who doesn't do much of anything flashy, but plays an intelligent and capable game on the back end. Efficient, quick puck mover who sees the ice well and makes the right decision. Crisp passer who can hit the outlet and get the transition kickstarted fast. Doesn't have a booming shot, but can get it through to the net where teammates can get sticks on it for deflections or get second and third chances on rebound opportunities. Isn't going to excite anyone in terms of being a defender with a lot of upside, but his maturity, calm and composure is a bonus. Teams win with a guy like Percy and if he can improve his skating and footwork, he has the makings of a good middle-pairing defender at the highest level. In 20 playoff games, Percey has 2 goals and 12 points.
Upside: Solid No. 3 if he can get a little quicker/better with the footwork
Joseph Cramarossa, C
Born October 26, 1992 in Markham, Ontario
6-0, 185 Shoots: Left
Missed six games with the Majors but rounding into form despite not seeing action on the top two lines. Scored a nice shorthanded goal against the Niagara Ice Dogs and has impressed scouts with his hockey IQ and opportunistic play despite not getting a lot of looks on a loaded veteran team. Plays with a tough edge despite not having a lot of size. Only had 2 goals and 4 points in 14 games (a reflection of his role and lack of ice time), but has been a useful contributor on special teams. Bigger things could be in store for Cramarossa next season and beyond, as he gains seniority and will pick up more ice time and the chance to produce. This could be a classic case of a kid who is unappreciated because he plays on such a good teams, and the scouts who saw a lot of Missy this season and are projecting that kind of a rise for him from ages 18-20 could be the ones pounding the table for him come draft day. It will be interesting to see where he ends up.
Upside: 3rd-line grinder and special teamer with offensive element and toughness
Mika Partanen, LW
Born October 18, 1992 in Helsinki, Finland
6-2, 201 Shoots: Left
Mississauga picked up the 6-2 winger in last summer's import draft. Despite having decent wheels and skill level, the Oct '92 birthdate didn't have a big impact in scoring, with just 10 goals and 19 points in 54 games. He's had more of a role in the playoffs, tallying a pair of goals and 5 points in 11 of his team's 13 contests. Powerful strider who doesn't have an explosive burst, but can get from A to B pretty well and protects the puck when in the offensive zone. Scouts would like to see him shoot more, and his vision/instincts are a bit dodgy at this point. Tough to get a read on a guy who didn't play all that much, so more of Partanen is projection as opposed to production at this point. Could be a nice late-round sleeper for an NHL club with a strong presence in Ontario whose scouts saw him enough this season. Injured.
Upside: 3rd-liner with a chance for more if he gets his offensive game back on track
Other draft eligibles:
Jordan Mayer, C (1991), Riley Brace, LW, Derek Schoenmakers, RW (1992), Dylan DeMelo, D (1993)