Prospect Ramblings: QMJHL Draft, OHL Commits, Combine wrap up

Peter Harling

2016-06-06

2016 Q draft

The QMJHL Entry Draft was held on Saturday in Charlottetown and it was loaded with trades. The big deal of the many made in the first round involved the Halifax Mooseheads who owned the first overall, trading to acquire the second overall as well. There is a full recap of the first round and the trades in the QMJHL post Wild First Round at the 2016 Draft. Halifax made Benoit-Olivier Groulx and Jared McIsaac the first and second overall selections. Groulx was the consensus top ranked forward and is the son of now former Gatineau head Coach Benoit Groulx who was recently hired to Coach the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL.  Groulx is described as a complete player who is effective in all three zones. At 16 he is already 6-1 and 176 pounds has leadership qualities and scored 20 goals and 51 points in 41 games last season. The big centre will be an important piece of the rebuild in Halifax. Their second pick was the top ranked defenceman in Jared McIsaac who is a local Cole Harbour kid. McIsaac is poised to make an immediate impact standing at 6-2 and 210 pounds. He has offensive ability as he scored 14 goals and 36 points in 33 games last year. Apart from his size, his hockey sense and passing ability are his calling cards. A physical defenceman who can transition to offence is the model franchise defenceman in the NHL these days.

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In the OHL, the troubled Flint Firebirds franchise finally got some good news today as the 22nd overall selection in Hunter Holmes has committed to the team for the following season. In this post on the OHL site,  Firebirds General Manager George Burnett described Holmes as “Hunter brings an effective two-way game. He is a strong skater, with an excellent skill set. He is a key addition to our foundation and I expect him to have an immediate impact in the fall.”

Several other prospects from the 2016 OHL draft have recently committed to their OHL teams. First overall pick Ryan Merkley and Luke Moncada have both committed to play for the Guelph Storm. Connor Corcoran has agreed to play with the Memorial Cup host Windsor Spitfires. Akil Thomas with the Niagara Ice Dogs, Aidan Dudas with Owen Sound and Adam McMaster to North Bay are all committed as well.

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Jonathan AngThe NHL combine concluded this weekend and Hayden Sobolski had some great Fantasy Hockey takeaways in his post here. Hearing Jonathan Ang of the Peterborough Petes as one of the stand outs caught my eye. I have been following Ang closely for his OHL career. I have noticed a significant improvement in his strength and conditioning level since he joined the league. In his rookie season he was often very short of breath after shifts in games. He has explosive speed but was more of a sprinter and lacked stamina. He was a very perimeter player and avoided the heavy traffic areas. This year as his confidence and his Coaches confidence in him has grown, his conditioning is significantly improved. He looks very comfortable after long shifts and in overtime. He also has displayed more of a willingness to engage in board battles and fight s for loose pucks. He still has a long way to go in improving his strength to consider competing at the pro level but his standout performance at the draft combine could just be enough to propel him into the second round.

Another player I was not surprised to hear was dominant was Julien Gauthier. He comes from a family of body builders and is reportedly a gym rat just as much as he is a rink rat. Gauthier is possibly the strongest player in the 2016 draft and at 6-4 225 pounds he is one of the biggest. With his impressive physical attributes he also brings a smooth skating stride and soft hands as evident in his past two seasons with goal totals of 38 and 41.

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In the AHL finals, the Lake Erie Monsters took a commanding 3-0 series lead with a overtime win Monday night over the Hershey Bears. Oliver Bjorkstrand led the Monsters with two goals including the OT winning goal from Zach Werenski. Bjorkstrand now has nine goals and 15 points in 16 games in the post season while Werenski has 13 points in 16 games. Look for both players to be making a fantasy impact in the NHL next season with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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The 10th annual Dobber Prospect Report is available now. I’m very proud to be a contributor to an annual must have guide for fantasy hockey enthusiasts. If you have never purchased the report, here are some of the goodies you can find in it.

  • Top 50 prospects not to have played in the NHL, compare my ranking v Dobber v the consensus
  • 30 teams top prospects report including their top players fantasy upside, NHL comparable and more
  • Aynsley Scott (Sirius XM Hockey Prospect Radio producer) three round mock draft and top 60 NHL draft prospects
  • Over 90 draft eligible player profiles and scouting reports with fantasy upside and NHL comparable
  • Top 25 Entry draft forwards, compare my ranking v Dobber v Scott

 

You can purchase your copy of the report in the shop

 

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Emil Larmi 5.5 5.0
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