The London Knights are gearing up to begin the 2018-2019 season with a deep roster ready to make another strong run towards the Wayne Gretzky Trophy and the J. Ross Robertson Cup.
The Knights are gaining a boost after a successful NHL draft that saw four members of last year’s team being selected. Evan Bouchard (Edmonton Oilers), Liam Foudy (Columbus Blue Jackets), Alec Regula (Detroit Red Wings), Jordan Kooy (Vegas Golden Knights) were all selected in the summer’s NHL Entry Draft.
The Knights will be looking to improve on the 82 points they finished the regular season with last year. The blue-line will be anchored by Captain Evan Bouchard, who finished the season with 87 points while being the only defenseman in the top 10 in points and top five in assists (62). Joining Bouchard on the backend is recently signed Swedish defender and recent Chicago Blackhawks draft pick (8th overall) Adam Boqvist. The right-handed defenseman recorded 24 points in 25 games (14 goals and 10 assists) with Brynäs IF J20. Boqvist adds an extra layer to an already potent attack from the backend.
Meanwhile, the already strong defensive group will include NHL returning prospects Alec Regula (Detroit Red Wings) and Jacob Golden (Minnesota Wild). Add to that the continued development from players like Andrew Perrott, Riley Coome, and Tim Fallowfield, and Knights opponents will be challenged to record shots on net.
On offense, the leading point trio of Nathan Dunkley, Alex Formenton, and Liam Foudy will look to increase their totals while leading the Knights to a successful season. Foudy finished tied for second in the OHL in shorthanded goals last year, with five, while Formenton was not far behind with three tallies on the penalty kill. Both players, along with Bouchard, recently participated for Team Canada in the World Junior Summer Showcase.
The upcoming season will also see the addition of Russian native Matvey Guskov, who was drafted 36th overall in the import draft and is a possible future first round selection in the upcoming NHL entry draft. Guskov, a highly-skilled centre, registered 32 points in 25 games (14 goals and 18 assists) playing for CSKA Moskva in the Russian U17 League last season.
The Knights will welcome back the goalie tandem of Joseph Raaymakers and Jordan Kooy. Both netminders produced strong numbers and are expected to continue to improve on last year’s results. Raaymakers ended last season in the top five in goals against average (2.84) and save percentage (.910) while recording three shutouts. Kooy returns as a recipient of the F.W. “Dinty” Moore Trophy, which is given annually to a first-year goaltender who posts the best goals against average during the regular season (3.11).
This iteration of the London Knights looks to continue to build and add to its prestigious history with the season beginning at home against the rival Windsor Spitfires on Friday, September 21.
By Luis Grella