BY: Thayne Hallyburton
1) Barrie Colts- Aaron Eklblad D
The colts need a lot of help on the back end. Last season they proved they could score and with 2 of the top 15 probable scorers next season in Scheifele and Behenna this pick makes sense, even though, I personally would prefer the dynamic Ritchie here. This kid could put butts in the seats.
2) Peterborough Petes- Nicholas Ritchie F
Peterborough does need depth on the blue line, but the best player in the draft and a kid that has this kind of upside cannot be passed up. Peterborough will look to find a stud in the next few rounds on the back end, but they take Ritchie here.
3) Sault St. Marie- Darnell Nurse D
Huge, fast, offensive upside, athlete... these adjectives describe Don Mills’ Darnell Nurse. The big defenseman looks like a man amongst boys in the minor Midget AAA ranks. His skating ability alone would make teams look twice. There are some rumours of him not wanting to go to SSM, and although this may be the case, maybe new GM Kyle Dubas has a few tricks up his sleeve.
4) Sarnia Sting- Nicolas Baptiste F
Baptiste is too good not to take at this spot. Sarnia was hoping for a Nicholas Ritchie to fall to 4 so he could come play with his brother Brett but they are happy to be getting a highly skilled forward here. The unanimous #1 in September, Baptiste has taken a minor slide but still may be the best player of his draft year, in a few years. He has that kind of potential. Sarnia can’t let him pass.
5) Belleville Bulls- Jordan Subban D
Jordan Maletta is probably the BPA at this point but Subban is a top 10 pick and the bloodlines make this an obvious and expected selection. He will pull over the same jersey that his two older brothers, PK and Malcolm have. He has some of the best hands I this draft, but he takes far too many risks. He will need a lot of polishing to be affective at the next level. But I think he will figure it out. The one thing that scares me is that he doesn’t seem to have those explosive first few steps his brother had at the same age.
6) Sudbury Wolves- Jordan Maletta F
Maletta has size and a fantastic shot and may be the best 2 way player to be taken so far. He has a hockey IQ that is above average and when he is on the ice he always gets a touch of the puck. If there’s one hang up it’s that even at minor midget Maletta seems hesitant to go into the dirty spots and make things happen. Something an OHL player has to do to be successful, especially one as big as him. Sudbury is happy with this pick.
7) Brampton Battalion- Scott Teskey F
Teskey played in the GTHL for the Jr. Canadiens and was one of the top players in the league. He has average size, but his skating and offensive vision are exceptional. He needs help with his shot and a more coached offensive system would benefit him in helping him find a little more space, he is always the first man in on the fore check and this hurts his production. This may be a shocking selection but Brampton needs offense and besides Cianfrone and Max Domi (USHL bound supposedly), there isn’t a whole lot left at this spot.
8) Kingston Frontenacs – Max Domi F
Domi is the most complete player in this draft and, after having a spectacular OHL cup, he would be the odds on favourite to go first overall, but his dad, former NHLer Tie Domi, has said he will be USHL bound with his sights set on a NCAA scholarship. The only caveat being two of his buddies are now involved in Kingston in, Todd gill (HC) and Doug Gilmore (GM). They may feel like they can lure Max while offering Tie an Assistant coaches role.
9) London Knights- Bryson Cianfrone F
London is stacked up on the blue line and are almost forced into taking a forward with lots of interesting D prospects left on the board, but don’t let that fool you. Marlies captain, Bryson Cianfrone is no slouch and deserves this spot. The crafty, average sized centre had a fantastic year and has skyrocketed up the rankings. When he is on the ice, he is fun to watch, always making something happen. London fans will love watching him develop.
10) Guelph Storm- Adam Bateman D
Bateman, played second fiddle on that Don Mills D to Darnell Nurse but he has a very unique skill set. He sees the ice very well and jumps passing routes like I haven’t seen from a kid that age since Drew Doughty. He is an offensive defenseman, who needs a responsible stay at home partner. The Don Mills team was deep but he was often paired with the 4th D on that team, thus a few more of his risky plays ended up in the back of his net than would have happened had he played with nurse. This is a player to watch.
11) Plymouth Whalers- Michael Vlajkov D
Vlajkov is an interesting player. He is a big kid and the argument can be made that he has outgrown his coordination. One his body catches up to him his defensive play should improve. He has a huge shot and is the quintessential PP QB that you look for in this draft. He is a bit of a project but Plymouth can take the time to develop him.
12) Erie Otters- Steven Varga D
Varga was the captain this year of the York since express and played like it. He has a very calm and cool demeanor, has OHL speed and hands and thinks the game 1 step ahead, seemingly, of everyone else. He will be a great pickup for an Erie team that is looking to get some new blood on the back end.
13) Windsor Spitfires- Bo Horvat F
Horvat impressed with the U16’s and was often left on his own to support the Elgin-Middlesex offensive game along with Mitchell Fitzmorris. The big-bodied forward has average speed, but is very strong on his skates. The only downside to his game is consistency. If he stops taking shifts off and works on his first 3 steps, he will be a deadly power forward in the O.
14) Kitchener Rangers- Anthony De Angelo D
The first American import on the list is a very intriguing Defenseman. He made the USHL at 14, the youngest ever. The sky is the limit to his upside offensively. This kid can wheel and deal with the best of them. He is a strong skater and is able to burn forwards through the neutral zone. He is also likely to come north, making him a very intriguing prospect.
15) Saginaw Spirit- Mitchell Dempsey F
Dempsey has the raw talent you want to see in a big winger, but he lacks the compete level that is needed for the next level. Luckily you can teach a kid to compete…it’s much harder to give him the skill set Dempsey possesses. He would fit in nicely in Saginaw.
16) Oshawa Generals- Braxton Andrews D
Andrews was a steady Defenseman for the Marlies this season. He is a physical, puck moving defender who has good vision and hockey sense. He lacks in the shot department, but that is something a lot of young Defenseman struggle with during their growth spurts. He will look very good in white and red next season.
17) Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors- David Perklin F
Perklin is a hardworking, crease crashing machine. This kid has one gear...and its wide open! He should be a fun player to watch. His ceiling is just a little lower than the other kids on this list. He will be a very serviceable player. Missy fans will fall in love with him…..all 10
18) Ottawa 67’s- Hunter Garlent F
This may be a surprise pick here, but Garlent had a good OHL Cup and a great season. He is quick and has hands of gold, but don’t be fooled, he will go where he has to make a play. Ottawa would be wise to take him here.
19) Niagara Ice Dogs- Stephen Nosad F
When someone says Steven Nosad, the first thing that comes to mind is OHL skating. This kid can flat out fly and is brilliant to watch, he has footwork a lot of players in the O would love to have. Where he lacks is in the hockey IQ department, sometimes things seem to develop too fast for him and leads to turnovers. He will mature and may be a steal this late in the draft.
20) Owen Sound Attack- Mitchell Fitzmorris F
Fitzmorris is a nice player for #20 overall. He has above average hockey IQ, an above average shot and what’s most intriguing is his prowess in the faceoff dot. I project him to be a very solid second liner, who can score 60 points and be the top man on you PK.
21) Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors- Steven Bigras D
This is an interesting pick here for the Majors, after taking a Forward at 17, they will look to go with a D here, logic would say. They have gigantic holes everywhere after this memorial cup run. I like them taking Steven Bigras in this spot. The captain of the Barrie colts’ minor midgets this year shows poise on the back end and has calm to his game that is very nice to see in a young kid. He never panics. He is a good choice here…a safe choice.
22) Barrie Colts- Brandon Robinson F
Robinson is a project in every sense of the word. The skills are there for the Young Nat’s forwards. He has size at 6 foot 3 and has a shot to go with it. He is an elusive player, especially for a skater who is not fast or strong. The intangibles are there once he fills out his frame. He needs to keep going to the tough areas. That’s where he will leave his mark.