Thursday, March 21st
To start, I wanted to point out a few of my recent articles I have published over the past week…
Sean Day – Skating Is Unmatched
In the Ontario Hockey League, for the third straight season and fourth time ever, the league will feature a player who has been granted “exceptional status”, which allows a 15-year-old underage hockey player to enter the OHL Priority Selection draft one season early. Sean Day, a smooth skating defenseman from Detroit Compuware, received word that he will receive Exceptional Status, the same designation John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad (2014 NHL eligible) and Connor McDavid (2015 NHL eligible) have all received. Without one bit of exaggeration, Sean Day is by far the BEST SKATER I have ever watched play. He’s going to be an absolute beauty. Read more here in my article last night, Sean Day: Exceptional Status Granted – A truly special ‘day’
A sneak peak…
Needless to say, for the first time in the history of the “exceptional status” rule that allows underage players to enter major junior hockey a year early, there is no guarantee that Sean Day is selected first overall…or, even second overall for that matter. Without the opportunity to trade first round draft picks in the Ontario Hockey League, Ottawa 67’s General Manager and Head Coach Chris Byrne is forced to make a tough decision and the daunting task of choosing between three exceptional competitors. Not one person would fault the Ottawa 67’s for choosing Sean Day after receiving exceptional status; although, Konecny has been in their sightlines for most of the season and that may be too hard to pass up.
2013 NHL Entry Draft
2013 NHL Draft – Top 10 OHL Eligible Players
Max Domi, C (London Knights) – Max Domi is ranked third on my list based solely on his utmost potential – which is possibly the highest of any OHL skater in the draft class. Blessed with elite skating skills, advanced puck skills and a creative imagination, Domi owns the offensive weaponry to rip apart the competition. His elusiveness and unpredictability keeps defenders on their heels and as a result it opens up more ice for Domi to operate, which is important for an undersized forward. Domi’s biggest knock has always been his size and individualistic approach but he is a cerebral player who understands the game and those types of players can be taught to defend better and utilize his linemates more often.
2013 NHL Draft – Top 10 WHL Eligible Players
Seth Jones, D (Portland Winterhawks)- Skating in an already pro-size body, Seth Jones oozes the elite hockey sense, astute defensive awareness and confident poise that few defenders currently playing in the National Hockey League even own. Described by Nickolet as the “unquestionable number one ranked WHL player for the draft”, Jones is also considered the top ranked player in the entire draft class by virtually every major scouting agency. The rangy blue liner has revved up his offensive production as he nears a point-per-game pace and really has no glaring weakness in his game. Seth Jones may be the most complete defenseman to come along in modern day draft history and he is a player that projects perfectly to the NHL game and that makes him all that more attractive to scouts as the number overall selection.
Look for the 2013 NHL Draft – Top 10 QMJHL Eligible Players release soon…
2013 OHL Cup
Last week, I spent four long days taking in the OHL Showcase Cup, a tournament featuring the top 20 minor midget teams from Ontario and surrounding areas. The participants of this tournament are eligible for the upcoming OHL Draft and it was heavily attended by scouts.
Big names appeared throughout the week including Don Cherry (CBC Coach’s Corner), Geno Reda (TSN), Bob McKenzie (TSN), Doug Gilmour (Maple Leaf great), Darcy Tucker (Maple Leaf fan favourite), Serge Savard (Montreal Canadiens legend), among many others. Anyways, I am slowly piecing together my thoughts on standout player performances from the week-long tournament and compiling them into a three-part series. Please have a look at Part I – Inside the Scouting Notebook: 2013 OHL Cup.
Former participants of this OHL Cup tournament include Steven Stamkos (Lightning), John Tavares (Islanders), Sean Monahan (2013), and Connor McDavid (2015) making it a great launching pad for NHL careers.
As we pass the mid-way point of the shortened NHL season, many of the teams’ top prospects are preparing themselves to get ready for post-season action in their major junior seasons.
In the next few editions of my ramblings, I would like to highlight key matchups of top prospects occurring across the three Canadian Hockey Leagues as they begin playoff action. First, lets take a gander at the Ontario Hockey League
Ontario Hockey League (Western Conference)
London Knights (1) vs. Saginaw Spirit (8)
Knights’ Seth Griffith (Bruins) returns from an injury that sidelined him for a month and knocked him out of the OHL scoring race to face off against goaltender Jake Paterson (Red Wings), who will need to be outstanding for Saginaw to have any chance against the mighty Knights.
Plymouth Whalers (2) vs Sarnia Sting (7)
Plymouth takes its eleven NHL-drafted players including the OHL’s regular season scorer (109 points), Vincent Trocheck (Panthers) to face off against the Sarnia Sting starring Reid Boucher (Devils/OHL goals leader with 62) and Charlie Sarault (Ducks), who Trocheck passed on the last day to become the leading scorer.
Owen Sound Attack (3) vs. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (6)
The OHL’s two top defensemen scorers meet as the Greyhounds’ Ryan Sproul (Red Wings, 66P) and Attack’s Cody Ceci (Senators, 64P) look to endure a hard-working and physical series against the Western Conference’s two most northern towns.
Kitchener Rangers (4) vs. Guelph Storm (5)
Less than 25 kilometres separate these two cities so the atmosphere will be intense regardless of what team is the home team. In a battle featuring two of the OHL’s top goaltenders in Rangers’ John Gibson (Ducks) and Garret Sparks (Maple Leafs), scoring will not be easy.
Ontario Hockey League (Eastern Conference)
Belleville Bulls (1) vs. Mississauga Steelheads (8)
Last year’s top drafted OHL goaltender, Bulls’ Malcolm Subban (Bruins), will look down the ice at Mississauga’s Spencer Martin (2013), who looks to become the OHL’s top drafted goaltender at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft with the help of defensemen Dylan DeMelo (Sharks) and Stuart Percy (Maple Leafs).
Barrie Colts (2) vs. Kingston Frontenacs (7)
Colts’ Mark Scheifele (Jets) will give Frontenacs’ defenseman Mikko Vainonen (Predators) and a young Kingston team all they can handle after finishing the regular season 8-2-0 in their last ten games.
Oshawa Generals (3) vs. Niagara Ice Dogs (6)
In a series featuring plenty of NHL-drafted talent, Oshawa will look to Boone Jenner (Blue Jackets), Scott Laughton (Flyers), Lucas Lessio (Coyotes), and Tyler Biggs (Maple Leafs) to smother Niagara’s Ryan Strome (Islanders) and Brett Ritchie (Stars), two players who share fantastic chemistry together.
Brampton Battalion (4) vs. Sudbury Wolves (5)
A matchup that is likely to be a defensive showdown, Battalion defender Dylan Blujus (Lightning) must shutdown a Wolves’ lineup that features several 2013 NHL Draft eligibles in Nicholas Baptiste, Dominik Kahun, Dominik Kubalik, Brody Silk and Matthew Campagna, the latter two being players looking to get selected in their second entry into the draft.
For more OHL Playoff reading, have a look at a few preview/prediction articles I put together with @ToddCordell (The Hockey Guys)
2013 OHL Playoffs – Western Conference Previews and Predictions
2013 OHL Playoffs – Eastern Conference Previews and Predictions
Thanks for reading,
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