CHL notebook: Flyers prospect Avon leaning on Larmer to fuel OHL season
Future NHL stars are developing in the Canadian Hockey League this season. Each week, NHL.com features some of the top NHL members in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League and Western Hockey League.
Jon-Randall Avon had an advantage growing up that many hockey players his age don’t have — a Stanley Cup champion who lived in his home.
A Philadelphia Flyers center prospect, Avon is the stepson of former NHL forward Steve Larmer, who won the 1994 Stanley Cup with the New York Rangers and has 1,012 points (441 goals, 571 assists) in 1,006 NHL games in 15 seasons. scored Chicago Blackhawks and Rangers.
“He was a great mentor and also just a father figure,” Avon said. “Anytime I need anything, advice on anything, he’s always there and always gives me feedback after games, which is nice to have that NHL presence around. He has always been a great mentor of mine.”
Larmer’s advice paid off for Avon, who was passed over in the 2021 NHL Draft but turned a rookie camp invite into a three-year entry-level contract, which he signed on Sept. 22, 2021.
The 19-year-old had 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 56 games as a rookie with OHL’s Peterborough in 2019–20 and was the No. 200 final ranking of NHL Central Scouting’s North American skaters for the 2021 draft. But he didn’t play in 2020-21 when OHL canceled their season over coronavirus concerns.
When the opportunity presented itself with the Flyers, he came to his first development camp with the goal of letting 31 other teams know they had made a mistake.
“I had a chip on my shoulder,” he said. “My mentality was different. I just wanted to go there and prove everyone wrong for sure.”
Avon has continued his development with Peterborough for the past two seasons. He had 68 points (29 goals, 39 assists) in 64 games last season and 46 points (20 goals, 26 assists) in 39 games this season.
“He’s made good progress over the last calendar year,” said Kjell Samuelsson, who works in player development at the Flyers. “A year ago he was still playing a junior game, trying to beat a lot of players 1-on-1 with his speed. And now he’s developed with the help of his teammates, a little bit more deception in his game and he’s kind of matured as a player.”
Avon is also an alternate captain this season and he said he’s enjoying the leadership role.
“Just bring me a maturity level,” he said. “I’m getting an older guy on this team, which is always nice, and the young guys are following me and learning from me, which is a big thing, especially when I hopefully go pro (hockey). It’s nice to have the young people looking up to you, asking you questions about little things on and off the ice. So, yes, the ‘A’ means a lot.”
The Flyers have certainly been pleased with Avon’s growth and hope the next step before he turns pro next season is a strong showing in the OHL playoffs.
“They have a good team and he plays a big role,” said Samuelsson. “If they have a deep run, that’s perfect for him because that’s when the games are very important… and take on even more responsibility in the team.”
TO SEE OTHERS
Ty Nelson, D, North Bay (Seattle Kraken): Nelson has eight points (five goals, three assists) during a four-game scoring streak, including two back-to-back two-goal games against Sault Ste. Marie on January 12 and Flint on Sunday. His 52 points (15 goals, 37 assists) in 42 games ranks second among OHL defensemen, beating his 51 points (9 goals, 42 assists) total from 66 games last season. The Kraken selected the 18-year-old in the third round (No. 68) of the 2022 NHL Draft.
Frederic Brunet, D, Victoriaville (Boston Bruins): Brunet has amassed 10 points (one goal, nine assists) in six games since he was acquired in a trade with Rimouski on Jan. 4, including nine points (one goal, eight assists ) in his past four games. Selected by the Bruins in the fifth round (No. 132) of the 2022 draft, the 19-year-old has 20 points (three goals, 17 assists) in his last 11 games and his 45 points (seven goals, 38 assists) collected. in 42 games this season, just one short of the 46 (12 goals, 34 assists) he had in 63 games last season.
Alexander Suzdalev, LW, Regina (Washington Capitals): Suzdalev has seven points (two goals, five assists) during a four-game scoring streak, including three straight multipoint games. In his debut season in North America, the 18-year-old leads the WHL rookies in goals (23), assists (31) and points (54) in 41 games. The Capitals selected Suzdalev in the third round (No. 70) of the 2022 draft.
Photos: David Pickering