London Knights: 5 Storylines to Follow in 2019-20

To no one’s surprise, the London Knights will be a deadly force within the OHL’s Western Conference in 2019-20. However, they are not perfect by any means. Now, can the team’s young prospects take the team to the next level?

To say that the London Knights are a perennial powerhouse in the Ontario Hockey League would be a vast understatement. In fact, the Knights have clinched a postseason berth in each of their last 19 seasons of play — winning four OHL Championships and two Memorial Cups in the process.

And, ahead of the 2019-20 season, it appears as though the Knights are once again destined for an overwhelming amount of success.

Although a number of the team’s top players have departed the OHL in order to embark upon their respective professional careers, a new crop of wildly talented youngsters stand poised to take their places in 2019-20 — a perennial reality which has allowed London to remain not only competitive but downright deadly for the better part of two decades. Sure, question marks do remain within the team’s roster ahead of the upcoming season, however, London’s immeasurable depth will undoubtedly ensure that the team once again pushes deep into the postseason.

Five Storylines to Follow in 2019-20

If you are a die-hard fan of the Knights or just a follower of the Ontario Hockey League in general, here are five crucial storylines to follow which will surely revolve around London this upcoming season. If able to receive optimal outcomes from these storylines, expect the Knights to once again dominate their opposition on a nightly basis.

However, if the Knights fail to receive positive outcomes in a number of the areas of interest detailed below, they could stare down an early exit in the 2020 OHL postseason.

1. Is Kooy Ready for the Spotlight?

Over the past two OHL seasons, the Knights came to rely heavily upon the abilities of Joseph Raaymakers — an incredibly competitive goaltender who appeared in a whopping 93 regular season games for London. However, given his 1998-birth, Raaymakers will now move onto the next stage of his playing career — a reality which will afford Jordan Kooy with the opportunity to prove himself as a legitimate starting goaltender at the major-junior level.

Jordan Kooy of the London Knights. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images
The Knights will need consistency and ability from Kooy if they wish to succeed in 2019-20. (Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images)

Fortunately for the Knights, Kooy should enjoy a relatively seamless transition into the starter’s role in 2019-20, as the youngster has already appeared in 50 regular season contests for London on top of 11 postseason appearances as well. As a seventh-round selection of the Vegas Golden Knights dating back to the 2018 NHL Draft, Kooy has the size, confidence, and raw ability to take the OHL by storm this coming campaign. Standing 6-foot-2 in stature, Kooy is an intimidating presence in-goal who has the ability to make highlight-reel saves with ease. If able to play with consistency, Kooy could very well lead a young London squad to considerable playoff success in 2019-20.

2. Will Luke Evangelista Explode?

An injury riddled rookie season limited Luke Evangelista to a mere 27 regular season games played for the Knights in 2018-19, during which he was able to put forth just two assists. However, the former first round choice of the Knights in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection has been widely regarded as a lethal young prospect for quite some time — once healthy and afforded with consistent playing time, the youngster could very well explode offensively for London in his first year of NHL Draft eligibility.

Luke Evangelista of the London Knights. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images
Luke Evangelista is a prospect beaming with untapped potential. (Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images)

Although he tips the scale at just 165-pounds and stands 5-foot-11 in height, Evangelista’s game carries significant heft on the ice owing to his raw skill set and innate abilities. Blessed with lightning quick hands, Evangelista makes confident plays without hesitation and has the ability to score goals in addition to creating opportunities for his teammates. What’s more is that Evangelista features tremendous on-ice intelligence as well, as the youngster has a natural feel for the game and can navigate the ice surface with both purpose and efficiency. If able to emerge offensively in 2019-20, Evangelista would add another layer of depth to the Knights’ attack.

3. Is Stranges Set for Stardom?

Antonio Stranges has long been known for his absolutely outrageous puck-handling abilities, as the youngster has scored highlight-reel goals, dished out jaw-dropping passes, and sent fans crazy on social media owing to his advanced abilities on the ice. All of this has come through just his first season of play in the OHL — a fact which has fans and scouts alike buzzing with anticipation as Stranges enters into his first season of NHL Draft eligibility.


The main question facing Stranges as he embarks upon his sophomore campaign with the Knights will be just how good can the native of Plymouth, Michigan, become? Owing to his raw skill set, Stranges has drawn considerable comparisons to former London superstar Mitch Marner, and for good reason. Like Marner, Stranges owns devastating on-ice intelligence and the confidence necessary to execute high-percentage scoring plays with apparent ease. However, in his sophomore season with the Knights, Marner scored 44 goals and 126 points — so, only time will tell as to whether or not the Stranges-Marner comparison is accurate.

4. Will the Knights’ 2003-born Rookies Excel?

The Knights drafted a whopping 19 prospects in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection, all of which ranging in skill, ability, and position. And, while some will surely take longer to develop than others, it appears as though London’s initial three selections will play a significant role with the team this coming season. Drafted in the first and second rounds, respectively, it appears as though Stuart Rolofs, Logan Mailloux, and Max McCue will all be afforded with considerable opportunities in their rookie OHL campaigns.

With his size, skill, and speed, 2019 first round pick Stuart Rolofs should have little issue adjusting to the pace of the OHL game. (Photo Credit: CHL Images)

In Rolofs, London boasts a young prospect who should have little issue adjusting to the major-junior level. Standing 6-foot-2 and weighing in at 190-pounds, Rolofs has the size necessary to compete with the league’s seasoned veterans and the skating abilities required to become an instant impact player regardless of the playing time which he will receive as a freshman. Further, in Mailloux and McCue, the Knights boast a dynamic defender and a tantalizing playmaker — two prospects who should also adjust relatively easily given their respective sizes and ability to process the pace of play at a high-level.

5. Could London’s Young Blue Line Buckle?

London’s blue line throughout the 2018-19 season was absolutely blistering, as the likes of Adam Boqvist, Evan Bouchard, Matt Timms, Will Lochead, and Joey Keane stood as lethal offensive threats in addition to their incredible defensive abilities within their own zone. However, with all of which surely moving on to the next stages in their respective hockey careers in 2019-20, the Knights will now need to rely on a steadily developing core of blueliners who are not only young but relatively inexperienced as well.

Alec Regula of the London Knights. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images
Standing 6-foot-4 and 205-pounds, Alec Regula must have a big season in order to lead the Knights’ young blue line. (Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images)

While Alec Regula will return for his third season of play with the Knights, London must come to rely upon the likes of Mailloux, Hunter Skinner, Bryce Montgomery, and others such as Benjamin Roger and Liam Whittaker to afford them with quality minutes at both ends of the ice throughout the upcoming campaign. Although ensuring such will certainly be a major ask of the Knights, the team could falter quite significantly if unable to attain consistent defending this upcoming season. Loaded offensively and in possession of a solid starting goaltender, London will need sturdy defending if it wishes to reach its potential with the Western Conference in 2019-20.


NHL Prospect Profile: Connor McMichael

Connor McMichael of the OHL’s London Knights has risen dramatically over the course of the 2018-19 season. Once perceived as a mid-round prospect, McMichael has exploded into a potential top-10 choice.

– Connor McMichael –

London Knights (OHL) | Centre| 2019 NHL Draft Eligible

Ajax, Ontario| Jan. 15th, 2001 | 6-feet, 170-pounds

Although he began the 2018-19 season as a prospect widely projected to be selected outside of the first round, Connor McMichael has progressed by leaps and bounds throughout the campaign proceeding the 2019 NHL Draft, and now stands as a sure-fire top-31 choice as a result.

A fixture within an increasingly dynamic London Knights offence, McMichael has quickly becoming a driving force for the Knights and one capable of leading his team to success with an impressive level of consistency. Defined by his skating, McMichael is an electrifying presence who can burn his opponents with speed and pick apart their defences owing to his versatile skill-set.

What’s more is that McMichael boasts a level of drive and determination which stands high above the vast majority of his competition. As an extremely passionate player who strives to succeed on a game-by-game basis, McMichael and his lethal skill-set could push him into the top-10 overall if not higher come the 2019 NHL Draft in June.


  • Skating Speed and Agility
  • Offensive Instincts and Creativity
  • Work-Ethic and Determination

As alluded to above, McMichael is a player who is driven and defined by his skating abilities. In fact, not only does McMichael feature eye-watering acceleration and breakaway speed but the youngster displays a level of edge-work and agility typically reserved for players at the professional-level.

Related: 2019 NHL Draft Rankings

It is McMichael’s wheels which stand as the foundation of his game, as the native of Ajax, Ontario’s natural offensive instincts and creativity derive directly from his speed throughout the ice. Able to create a great deal of time and space for himself owing to his skating, McMichael can craft deadly plays in the opposing zone and is consistent in his ability to execute at even-strength as well as on the man-advantage.

Related: 2019 NHL Draft — Prospect Profiles

Perhaps the two most important facets of McMichael’s game, however, are his unwavering drive and determination. A tireless skater and one fuelled by his personal production and the success of his team, McMichael exudes an overwhelming amount of passion and emotion on the ice and is controlled in doing so.

Areas of Improvement:

  • Personal Strength
  • Puck Protection

To be quite honest, there isn’t a ton of room for improvement within McMichael’s game — he is simply that good and as well-rounded as they come.

Connor McMichael of the London Knights. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images
McMichael is one of the best skaters eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft, combining jaw-dropping acceleration and high-end speed. (Photo Credit: Luke Durda/OHL Images)

In the years ahead, McMichael will do well to add greater muscle to his frame. Now, this is not to say that McMichael is under-sized or weak by any means, but rather that he will be able to better maximize his skill-set once he becomes a stronger player physically — especially down low. A direct outcome of adding greater strength will be McMichael’s increased ability to protect the puck — greater lower-body strength will allow the youngster to become a more potent puck-hound than he has already become.

Future Potential:

Ultimately, McMichael could be one of the most under-appreciated players eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft.

Although many have projected McMichael to be chosen in the middle of the first round if not later, we could very well be looking at a top-10 choice come draft day given McMichael’s torrent production and continued improvement on the ice. With all of the skills which NHL franchises covet at the young age of just 18-years, McMichael could prove to be a steal if selected much earlier than anticipated.

To provide some similarity, recall the selections of Ty Dellandrea and Liam Foudy in the 2018 NHL Draft. Although projected as second-round talents, both prospects rose significantly into the first round owing to their exceptional skating abilities, consistency, and unquestionable work-ethic.

In 2019, expect McMichael to do the same.

OHL Prospect Profile: Stuart Rolofs

Stuart Rolofs of the HEO’s Kanata Lasers is a lethal sniper who boasts not only dynamic offensive abilities but consistency as well. In short, he’s one of the top snipers eligible for the 2019 OHL Priority Selection.

– Stuart Rolofs –

Kanata Lasers (HEO) | Left-Wing | 2019 OHL Draft Eligible

Ottawa, Ontario | 6-foot-2, 185-pounds | March 28th, 2003

Stuart Rolofs is a highly-skilled sniper who has consistently been close to a goal-per-game player in the Ottawa area. A teammate of the highly-touted Connor Lockhart, Rolofs is a big, strong winger who dictates the pace of the game with an elite combination of skating and puck skills. Further, Rolofs displays several gears of speed which he uses to keep defenders on their heels.

A reliable sniper, Rolofs tallied 59 goals in 67 games played in the two seasons preceding his OHL Draft year, and is once again on fire for the Kanata Lasers within the HEO in 2018-19. If able to develop a stronger playmaking game, it is safe to say that Rolofs could prove to be one of the steals of the 2019 OHL Priority Selection.


  • Shot
  • Skating
  • Offensive Instincts

The greatest asset of Rolofs’ game is undoubtedly his wicked shot. With an electric release and an ability to switch up shooting angles on the fly, he consistently keeps goaltenders moving and guessing. Strong on his feet, Rolofs utilizes a wide stride and long reach to protect the puck and drives the net with remarkable success. To boot, he displays good speed on the fly and can make jaw-dropping moves at top speed.

Related: Prospect Pipeline’s 2019 OHL Prospect Profiles

In the offensive zone, Rolofs shows great instincts below the dots, with intelligent positioning and shots through screens as he curls off of the half wall. He often forces turnovers and uses his vision to pick off passes regularly. Further, he has tremendous net-front talent, deflecting pucks and finding rebounds with apparent ease.

Area of Improvement:

  • Playmaking

Stuart Rolofs is an offensive-minded player who can change the momentum of a game in an instant. He’s always looking for a way to put the puck in the net, however, he could become a more dangerous winger by improving the dynamic element of playmaking. A likely result of his natural goal-scoring talent, he sometimes misses out on excellent passing opportunities.

Yet, with this being said, by no means is Rolofs a selfish player — he simply knows his best asset and looks to use it whenever possible. Over time and as he ascends to higher levels of competition, Rolofs’ playmaking tendencies will surely grow as defenders focus on negating his lethal shot and its ability to cause significant damage. Once this occurs, Rolofs will become a more dynamic and versatile offensive threat.

Future Potential:

Given his stellar size and electrifying shot, it goes without saying that Rolofs will be made a late first to mid-second round selection in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection — if not higher.

Related: 2019 OHL Draft and OHL Cup Rankings

As a natural goal-scorer who features a wicked shot, Rolofs boasts all of the tools necessary to enjoy a long and productive career at the OHL-level. What’s more is that given his size and skating abilities, Rolofs could transition to the major-junior level in a seamless fashion. At the end of the day, not may prospects break into the OHL with the size, release, and determination which Rolofs displays on a nightly basis.