Which team returns the most intact next season is a big part of debating the host for the 2011 Memorial Cup.
One could only wonder whether the selection committee will look at how much scoring each of the four teams bidding -- the Barrie Colts, Kingston Frontenacs, Mississauga St. Michaels Majors and Windsor Spitfires -- have returning next season.
The disparity is pretty striking when you consider how much of its goal scoring each team has received from 20-year-old overage players and 19-year-olds who are likely moving on to the pro ranks next season. Hey, quality of the team matters when bidding to host the Memorial Cup:
Barrie: 67.3% (251 of 373)
Windsor: 55.5% (203 of 366)
Kingston: 42.7% (106 of 248)
Mississauga: 19.8% (50 of 252)
You would have a hard time arguing Windsor Star columnist Bob Duff was wrong when he noted on Tuesday that Barrie "sold its future to go for a title this season," given that the Colts were paced offensively by two overagers acquired from rebuilding Belleville, OHL goal-scoring leader Bryan Cameron (53 in the regular season, eight so far in the playoffs) and Luke Pither (third in the league with 94 points). That 55.5% figure doesn't fully reflect how much a certain aspiring Memorial Cup host team in Duff's backyard might have to replace next season.
That Windsor stat doesn't reflect whether Taylor Hall is going to be playing in Edmonton or Boston next season.
Add in Hall's 40 regular-season goals and his nine through the first two rounds of the playoffs, and suddenly the Spitfires have just as much offence missing as the future-mortgagin' Colts.
Meantime, does Mississauga ever look good in that comparison. Coach Dave Cameron's tight-checking Majors should at least know where the modicum of offensive firepower is coming from when September arrives, since their top-scoring forwards include 17-year-old Devante Smith-Pelly and two players born in 1991, Casey Cizikas and Jordan Mayer. They only have four 1990-birthdate players, two of whom have been drafted by the NHL, so there's likely some wiggle room to add an overage scorer next season.
Goals is a pretty crude way to measure the value of a team's returning talent, seeing as there two ends to a rink. That Kingston percentage might be misleadingly low; it probably jumps to 48 or 49% when you factor the role their goalie, Tyler Beskorowany (who has signed an entry-level NHL deal with Dallas) and three 19-year-old defenceman had in cutting the team's goals against from 274 to 248. (Shootout winners not counted, unlike in the official standings).
Teams will make trades, players will grow into expanded roles that extend more offensive opportunities, of course. Who knows how much stuck the decison-makers would put in such figures, especially when compared to a host team's willingness to meet certain financial guarantees set forth by the OHL. Still, the differences between the four Memorial Cup bidders are pretty stark.
(All totals include regular-season and playoff games; shootout winners not included, you know why.)