Tagged: NHL Draft

Friday Five: 5 OHL Winners from the 2017 NHL Draft

By: Bryan Thiel

Last weekend, countless dreams were realized after years of hard work.

The Steelheads’ Owen Tippett will forever be known as a top ten pick, Attack forward Nick Suzuki has the opportunity to be the face of a brand new franchise in Las Vegas, and Morgan Frost will be tied to Brayden Schenn once his time with the Greyhounds is up. The three of them joined Gabriel Vilardi (11th overall to Los Angeles) and Robert Thomas (20th overall to St. Louis) as first round picks and obvious winners in last weekend’s draft. Ultimately every player who heard their name called last weekend is a winner, but the most attention will be paid to those five names going forward.

With that in mind, here are five more names that are winners following the 2017 NHL Draft. Continue reading


Making a Mockery: Where OHLers Fall in 2014 NHL Mock Drafts

Let’s face it: Everyone has a mock draft.

Put the words ‘2014 NHL Mock Draft’ into Google, and you get endless results. There’s the informed opinion, the semi-informed opinion, and the team-first fan who slants the board and has players with a seventh-round rating going in the top-10, just so that prized prospect falls to his favourite squad.

The great thing about it, is that none of them ultimately matter. Trades and releases, behind the scenes info on prospects, and publicly perceived needs that aren’t viewed the same internally as externally are all reasons why mocks can fall flat on their face.

But there are those who are informed when it comes to the world of draft eligibles, and they’re the ones who have the mocks that may just fall as close as possible to the real thing. So with OHL interest in mind, we’ve taken a look at a handful of mock drafts to see where this year’s crop of OHLers may end up. Here’s who made the cut:

Sam Cosentino, Sportsnet: One of the voices of Sportsnet’s CHL coverage, Cosentino has just nine OHLers going in his first round mock. That ties for the fewest in any first round mock up.

Patrick King, Sportsnet: King has one more OHLer coming off the board in the first round than Cosentino, but that’s not the only difference they have. King has five players going one spot before or after where Cosentino has them coming off the board.

From NHL.com Adam Kimelman, Mike Morreale, and Steven Hoffner: Kimelman sees the OHL having a strong influence on the first round with a mock-high 12 players going in the first round. Both Kimelman and Hoffner have an identical order for the first three OHLers off the board to Cosentino, while Hoffner’s first four is in sync with Cosentino. Kimelman sees the OHL having a late impact, with 6 players going after pick number 18.

Craig Button, Director of Scouting for TSN: Button sees 11 OHLers going in the first round of the draft, but is the only mocker to have the OHL represented with the first two selections (Florida and Buffalo). He also has a pretty even dispersal of Ontario talent through the draft. Like Hoffner, Button has four in the top 10, four from 11-20, and three from 21-30.

Hockey’s Future Staff Mock: The staff over at HF don’t see the draft as being as OHL-centered as some of the others. Like Cosentino, they only have nine players from the OHL going in the first 30 picks, with just two coming off the board after the 20th pick.

HockeyProspect.com: An influencial voice in the hockey community, the important thing to note here, is that this is not a mock draft, but a ranking of the top 30 overall players available in the draft. Of the 30 they deem the best, nine from the OHL make the grade.

Now that we’ve introduced those eight, let’s take a look at some trends that have started to emerge from these mock drafts.

Ekblad the Consensus Number One: Only one player found himself in a consensus across the mocks, and that was Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts. Ekblad’s three seasons of OHL dominance have certainly earned him that top spot on draft boards, and despite all the trade rumours surrounding that pick, it seems that whoever walks to the podium at number one will be taking the 6’4″, 217 lbs blueliner. The only place Ekblad wasn’t rated number one was on HockeyProspect.com’s rankings, where he came in third and Kingston Frontenacs forward Sam Bennett was number one.

Bennett Bouncing Amongst Top Four: Speaking of Bennett, the Fronts forward is all over the top four. One mock has him going second overall to Buffalo (Button), three mocks have him at number three to the Edmonton Oilers (Morreale, HF, King), and the final three have him going at number four. Bennett had 91 points in 57 games this year, but it’s his style of play that’s really turned heads. As we move towards the draft it’s almost a guarantee that he’ll go somewhere in the top four.

Big Dreams on Long Island for MDC? Michael Dal Colle of the Oshawa Generals was a near-consensus pick at number five, as King was the only one who had him going elsewhere (number four to Calgary). Rated 7th overall by HockeyProspect.com, Dal Colle is a big forward who made it impossible to keep him off Oshawa’s top line in his rookie year and has only gotten better. Dal Colle could join Ryan Strome (2011), as well as John Tavares and Calvin de Haan (2009) as recent first round picks out of the OHL by the Isles.

Getting Ritch at Seven (or Eight): Peterborough’s Nick Ritchie, ranked fifth by HockeyProspect.com, has been a popular player when it comes to this draft, as not many players can offer his blend of size and skill. There are some that have reservations about him however. Both the Carolina Hurricanes (7th) and Toronto Maple Leafs (8th) had three mocks angling Ritchie into their laps, while one had him landing in Anaheim with the 10th overall pick.

Apples, Meet Tree: There are two players with the NHL in their blood that could end up as first round picks this weekend. Both Ryan MacInnis (Kitchener Rangers) and Brendan Lemieux (Barrie Colts) have famous fathers, and both of them are mocked to their former stomping grounds. MacInnis’ dad Al had one of the hardest shots ever and made many of his headlines with the St. Louis Blues. No surprise then that the only two mock drafts that have MacInnis going in the first round have him going to his hometown of St. Louis (It’s also worth noting that dear old dad is now V.P. of Hockey Operations with the Blues). For Lemieux, he plays an awful lot like his dad Claude, and if he goes to Colorado (two mocks), Montreal (two mocks), or New Jersey (three mocks), there’s going to be an awful lot of deja vu amongst fans.

Questions Abound: When it comes to Josh Ho-Sang and Anthony DeAngelo there’s no question about the talents that they possess. Unfortunately there are character and maturity concerns that have come to the surface for both of them, with DeAngelo’s being the most troublesome. So with both of those factors in mind, it then becomes a balancing act for teams: Do they go for potential, or do they shy away from potential headlines? Ho-Sang may be the smoothest player on the ice when it comes to this draft, and it earned him first round grades in two mocks (22 to Pittsburgh and 30 to New Jersey). Six of seven mockers had DeAngelo going in the first round (HF left him out and he didn’t crack HockeyProspect.com’s rankings), but then it comes down to character. Both mocks that mention character issues put DeAngelo at the back of the first round (27th to Chicago and 28th to Tampa Bay), while the ones that concentrate purely on skill have him at 13, 17, 19, and 23.

Odds and Ends: On many mocks, Brendan Perlini was the fifth OHLer off the board. He was coming off the board as high as 8th or as low as 13th… Two forwards who could be wild cards in terms of where they end up are Jared McCann and Robby Fabbri. McCann cracked the top ten on two mocks (seventh to Carolina and tenth to the Ducks), but then settled into the middle of the first round. No one had Fabbri going in the top half of round one, but then he went 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th, along with 22nd, 27th and 28th…One other OHL defenceman who could sneak into the first round is Kingston’s Roland McKeown. He missed the cut on two mocks but settled in as a nice second-half option…If you’re looking for a late-round wild card, Nikolay Goldobin may be that guy. The Knight-killer crept into the back of the first round at 26 (Montreal) and 29 (Los Angeles).


Bryan Thiel is a freelance broadcaster who’s covered the OHL from rink side and the broadcast booth. He’s also filed feature reports on the OHL for the past three seasons. You can follow him on Twitter at BryanThiel_88.

OHL Spin Cycle: Ekblad is Stylin’, USA Hockey’s Eyes on the O, and the Front Office Shuffles

Welcome to Across the OHL, where we’ll work to offer you news, notes, previews, and week in reviews from all over the Ontario Hockey League. Whether it’s pre, post, regular or off-season we’ll stretch to the corners of all media to try to get you something on your favourite team.

This week of course is a little slower. The summer months don’t offer a whole lot in terms breaking hockey news, but fortunately we’re days away from one of biggest events of the summer in the 2014 NHL Draft. It’s an exciting time for all of this year’s eligible players, and provides that important next step for the handful of players who will make hockey their full-time job.

With that in mind, we’ll move on to the week (In the future it’ll be just the week but we took some liberties this time) that was in the OHL.

**UPDATE: On Monday, June 23rd Hockey Canada announced the 41 players who will be Canada’s national junior team summer development camp. You can see the full roster here but instead of breaking it down team-by-team, here’s the list of OHL’ers: Chris Bigras (OS), Aaron Ekblad (BAR), Ben Harpur (GUE), Roland McKeown (KGN), Darnell Nurse (SSM), Nick Baptiste (SUD), Sam Bennett (KGN), Tyler Bertuzzi (GUE), Michael Dal Colle (OSH), Jason Dickinson (GUE), Max Domi (LDN), Robby Fabbri (GUE), Bo Horvat (LDN), Connor McDavid (ERI), Zach Nastasiuk (OS), Nick Paul (NB), Brendan Perlini (NIA), Nick Ritchie (PBO).

Barrie Colts: With the NHL Draft around the corner, Colts’ Captain Aaron Ekblad continues to receive plenty of attention. TSN.ca and the Canadian Press ran a feature on the defenceman and if you want to get a sneak peak at what Ekblad will be wearing to the Draft on Friday, the Windsor Star provides you with the Aaron Ekblad Style Guide.

Erie Otters: While it’ll still be a year before his name is called on stage, Connor McDavid has his sights set firmly on his NHL Draft (2015). He sat down with Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek to talk about life in the OHL so far and what may be in store for him this year.

Kingston Frontenacs: For you number-crunchers out there, the Edmonton Journal put out an interesting look at high-profile draft picks and their production during their draft years. Sam Bennett comes in ahead of OHL alumni Bobby Ryan, Matt Duchene and Sean Monahan, but falls behind Nail Yakupov, Ryan Strome and others when it comes to the PPG production of OHL grads during draft eligible seasons. The article also goes on to examine production late in the season, line mates, and other factors that could contribute to a prospect’s production.

Kitchener Rangers: The Rangers are hoping that Ryan MacInnis hears his name called early this weekend, but the forward got another piece of good news last week when it was revealed he’d be attending USA’s National Junior Evaluation camp. Josh Brown has more thoughts on the camp roster and it’s Ranger ramifications here. The Rangers also announced on Monday that 2014 selection Connor Bunnaman (2/31) has officially signed with the team.

London Knights: The Knights will also see one of their own head to team USA’s camp as towering forward Michael McCarron has earned an invite as well. McCarron is a first round pick (25th in 2013) of the Montreal Canadiens and had 34 points in 66 games during his first OHL campaign. The Knights also added to their pipeline last week as forward Jacob Buch (5/95 in 2014) and defenceman Chris Martenet (free agent) both agreed to terms with the team.

Niagara IceDogs: The IceDogs have an opening in their front office now, as earlier in June it was announced that goaltending coach Ben Vanderklok would be moving to the NHL full-time with the Nashville Predators. One IceDog hoping to hear his name called fairly early on Friday is Brendan Perlini. FanSided’s Frozen Futures offers a brief look at the 30-goal, 70-point man from this past season. We’ll also have a bit more on ‘Dogs first rounder Logan Brown coming up.

Oshawa Generals: Cole Cassels was among the five OHL’ers named to the USA’s National Junior Evaluation camp. Cassels is coming off of a 30-point improvement from his sophomore OHL campaign with 73 points (24G/49A) this past season.

Ottawa 67’s: Plenty of recent news surrounding the Ottawa 67’s lately. After Chris Byrne moved on to the NHL, the 67’s promoted assistant GM Pat Higgins to the lead role. That still left an opening behind the bench in Ottawa, which was then filled by the hiring of Jeff Brown. The most interesting thing to come from that hiring, was the idea of Ottawa making a move to acquire Jeff’s son Logan from the Niagara IceDogs. A potential move that was quickly shot down when the 67’s introduced their new coach.

Peterborough Petes: The Petes added their name to the list of teams to get a formal commitment out of their first rounder. Jonathan Ang, the 9th overall pick in April. Ang picked up 51 points in 40 regular season games with Markham during his draft season. In other news, Petes coach Jody Hull is off to the Ivan Hlinka in August as an assistant coach with Team Canada.

Plymouth Whalers: Good news will likely keep rolling in for goalie Alex Nedeljkovic this month. The OHL goalie of the year will not only hear his name called at some point this weekend in Philadelphia, but he’s also one of four goalies headed to the USA evaluation camp, three of which are undrafted, with two of those coming from the OHL. Meanwhile Norm Sanders takes a look at Connor Chatham, and how the Whaler hopes a strong finish can lead to draft-day success.

Sarnia Sting: The Sting have also been busy lately in their hockey operations department. Nick Sinclair, who began his tenure with the club as a regional scout six seasons ago, was named General Manager of the team, while Bill Abercrombie was named President of the club. According to Loosepucks.com, the city of Sarnia is expected to approve a host agreement for this year’s U-17s on Monday.

Soo Greyhounds: The fifth and final OHL’er heading to the USA’s evaluation camp is goalie Brandon Halverson. Halverson is the second of three 2014 eligible goalies to make his way onto the roster (Thatcher Demko is the one we have yet to mention). He went 12-6-1 behind Matt Murray this year, and is ranked 6th amongst North American goalies by NHL Central Scouting.

Windsor Spitfires: Josh Ho-Sang may be the biggest wild card come Friday. His talents are undeniable, but there have been questions surrounding the electrifying speedster that aren’t about his on-ice game. Ho-Sang sat down with Sportsnet and Damien Cox to talk about his personality and how hockey has become a more multicultural sport.

Other News: For the full USA Hockey evaluation camp roster, you can find it here. Meanwhile Hockey Canada’s Scott Salmond was promoted to Vice-President of Hockey Operations and national teams. Salmond most recently was Senior Director of Hockey Ops and the men’s national teams for Hockey Canada, and has been with the Red and White since 2001.

Bryan Thiel is a freelance broadcaster who’s covered the OHL from rink side and the broadcast booth. He’s also filed feature reports on the OHL for the past three seasons. You can follow him on Twitter at BryanThiel_88.