by David Dickenson
OTTAWA – The 2013 Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Priority Selection is fast approaching and chaos seems to be the factor this season.
With a number of skilled players at the top of the class, a number of skilled Americans questionable to go the major junior route or stay in junior to keep their NCAA eligibility in tact and the recent announcement 15-year old stud defencemen Sean Day has received “exceptional player status” by Hockey Canada to enter the draft, everybody’s idea of how things will shake out has been thrown out the window.
From the start of the season, this season’s draft while expected to be full of talent, was going to be a crap-shoot at best with as many as 15 players expected to be in the mix for the first five draft selections at any point throughout the season.
Reports out of Ottawa, leading up to the draft indicate history will happen when the 67’s make their first overall selection, as for the first time, since the rule was implemented, the player (Sean Day), who received “exceptional status” will not be the first overall player selected in the draft.
That honour is expected to go to Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs forward Travis Konecny, who had a stellar season, including finishing second in scoring at the 2013 OHL Cup.
Konecny is a speedy, gritty forward, whose skating ability separates him from the crowd, as well as the fact that despite his 5’10” 170 lbs. frame, he’s also one of the biggest hitters on the ice.
Ottawa fell in love with Konecny over the season, and the fact Day received “exceptional status” didn’t seem to faze them, as they continue to state the speedy scoring forward and Taylor Hall-lite clone is their choice first overall.
After first overall is where the drama should begin, as any number of prospects could fall in line afterwards.
Among those expected to be chosen in the first sets of picks include Konecny, Day, defenceman Zach Werenski of the Detroit Little Caesars Under-18 team, defenceman Matt Spencer of the Oakville Rangers, winger Lawson Crouse of the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs and Dylan Strome of the Toronto Marlboros.
This year's crop of talent will certainly be deep, where everyone in the future can look forward to picking these players when they sign up for pools at www.ohlfantasyhockey.com.
Fantasyhockeycoach.com has been following the draft all season and has made it’s end of season projections for the first three rounds of the draft.
1. Ottawa 67’s
C/W – Travis Konecny (ON) Elgin Middlesex Chiefs, 5’10” 167 lbs.
(Player comparison Taylor Hall)
Ottawa makes a good pick, but one which could possibly haunt them, as they take buzz saw forward Travis Konecny over “exceptional player” Sean Day. Konecny fits into what GM/HC Chris Byrne is trying to do for next season and should make a formidable duo alongside fellow scoring machine Dante Salituro.
2. Erie Otters
D – Zach Werenski (MI) Detroit Little Caesars Under-18, 6’2” 175 lbs.
(Player comparison Cam Fowler)
The Otters pull the shocker and not only pass on Sean Day, but then announce they’ve drafted and signed Zach Werenski, who jumps at the chance to be the power play quarterback with Connor McDavid. Werenski and McDavid would be a formidable duo and the only reason they go with Werenski here instead of Day is the fact he played with 18 year olds last year and the team think’s he’ll be more ready to be a key player next season.
3. Peterborough Petes
D – Sean Day (ON) Detroit Compuware Under-16, 6’2” 197 lbs.
(Player comparison Paul Coffey)
In what’s a bit of an embarrassing situation for the OHL, Sean Day becomes the first “exceptional status player” not to be selected first overall. That being said the Petes are on cloud nine and quickly work on getting the future superstar blue liner in the line up to compliment the likes of Nick Ritchie up front. Day is not only a game changer on the ice, but a franchise direction changer for the Petes organization.
4. Windsor Spitfires
forfeits draft choice
Windsor is forced to forfeit this choice as well as other future choices as part of the findings of an inquiry involving the Spitfires being in non-compliance with league rules when it came to signing players. This ends up being a pretty harsh penalty as the Spits could have grabbed one heck of a player at fourth overall.
5. Mississauga Steelheads
D – Matt Spencer (ON) Oakville Rangers, 6’2” 190 lbs.
(Player comparison Cody Ceci)
Mississauga has the luxury here of choosing between Dylan Strome and Matt Spencer, but since their need right away is more on the blue line, the Steelheads make Spencer their selection and are all smiles. Spencer is rumoured to not want to leave the Toronto-area and things work out perfectly for him here.
6. Kingston Frontenacs
C/W – Dylan Strome (ON) Toronto Marlboros, 6’2” 165 lbs.
(Player comparison John Tavares/Ryan Strome hybrid)
Kingston reaps some benefits from the addition of Day into the draft. They were all set to pick Lawson Crouse, but instead now draft another Marlie in Dylan Strome to join last year’s picks Sam Bennett and Roland McKeown on the roster. Strome will bring a great offensive upside and be a good mix of size and skill to sit next to their smaller skilled forwards.
7. Niagara Ice Dogs
W – Lawson Crouse (ON) Elgin Middlesex Chiefs, 6’3” 188 lbs.
(Player comparison Brett Ritchie)
Niagara is really upset at Kingston for ruining their dream to replace one Strome with another. That being said, that was a long-shot to happen anyway and the team selects a big skilled power forward in Lawson Crouse, who should be able to step up and fill the shoes of Brett Ritchie next season. Crouse is a heck of a forward and already has pro size to add to his great skill-set.
8. Sudbury Wolves
W/C – Mitchell Stephens (ON) Toronto Marlboros, 5’11” 170 lbs.
(Player comparison Phil Kessel)
Sudbury is torn here, whether to choose Mitchell Stephens or Soo standout Blake Speers. Either way the Wolves are getting a highly-skilled forward so they go for the all-around game and pick Stephens. Had he been more consistent throughout the season, Stephens would likely have been a surefire top-5 selection, but he seems to only show the speed and skill in his repertoire in bunches, though he has added a defensive part to his game, which should help him in the future.
9. Saginaw Spirit
W – Nikita Korostelev (ON/RUS) Toronto Jr. Canadiens, 6’1” 185 lbs.
There’s many questions out there still about the Russian-born forward, whose played for the Toronto Jr. Canadiens the past two seasons. That being said, he has an elite shot and excellent physical game, which make him an intriguing pickup. Had it not been for an injury plagued season, Korostelev could have been in the consideration for a top-3 pick. He can be a little one dimensional at times, but his offensive skills are something Saginaw can’t pass up on to replace scoring.
10. Sarnia Sting
C/W – Denis Yan (MI) Detroit Little Caesars Under-18, 6’1” 170 lbs.
Saginaw mines their good relationship with Russian affiliated kids, through their Igor Larionov network and the surprise selection of Denis Yan continues the tradition. Yan, is Alaskan-born, Russian raised and lives in Michigan and supposedly has committed to the US National Team Development Program, but the same opportunities and set-up as Alex Galchenyuk and Nail Yakupov change his mind and the Sting get their next future scoring leader. Yan is probably one of the most offensively dynamic players in the draft with his sniper’s mentality.
11. North Bay/Brampton
C – Brett McKenzie (ON) Oakville Rangers, 6’2” 175 lbs.
(Player comparison Jordan Staal)
With the Battalion’s impending move to North Bay and many uncertainties as the team finds its legs in a new city, magic strikes. The team concerned players may not be familiar with North Bay, wants to go it safe, but ends up in the best possible situation as Ottawa-area kid, Brett McKenzie, who played on the Oakville Rangers super team this season is still available. North Bay isn’t far from Ottawa and McKenzie brings a good two-way game to the table as the team forges it’s new identity in a new city.
12. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
C/W – Blake Speers (ON) Soo Thunder, 5’10” 160 lbs.
The Greyhounds had a collective sigh of relief when Sudbury went with Stephens over Speers and the Soo keeps their local skilled forward at home. A wizard with the puck, his ability to make teammates around him better, has coach Sheldon Keefe smiling and will work with the kid as he needs to get stronger and bigger for the next level. Speers always looks like the hardest working kid on the ice at all times.
13. Guelph Storm
D – Kyle Capobianco (ON) Oakville Rangers, 6’1” 160 lbs.
The tall-rangy defender fits nicely into the Storm’s blueline corps behind the veterans, so he can get stronger and fill out more to make a bigger impact. Capobianco brings a good offensive skill set and makes great first passes out of the zone to set up scoring plays. Once he adds some strength and weight to his frame the physical part of the game should come.
14. Kitchener Rangers
C/RW – Jordan Greenway (NY) Shattuck St. Mary Sabres prep, 6’5” 195 lbs.
Kitchener swings for the fences and picks up a Potsdam, NY native (near Cornwall, ON), who played this past season for the prestigious Shattuck St. Mary prep school team. At a whopping 6’5”, the potential is unreal for Greenway, who is good at protecting the puck and finishing, despite a bit of an occasionally awkward looking skating stride due to his large size. Many feel he’s a US National Team development program kid, but growing up in Potsdam, should be just as familiar with the OHL game as that of local NCAA programs such as St. Lawrence U. and Clarkson.
15. Oshawa Generals
D – Troy Henley (NJ) Oakville Rangers, 6’1” 200 lbs.
(Player comparison Dustin Byfuglien)
Henley is the real mystery of this draft. The big New Jersey native, has played all over the US and Canada growing up and brings a great attitude to the mix as well as a physically mature body which should allow him to step right into the mix next season. He’s so well thought of, he’s been bandied about as top-3 pick material, but is likely to fall a little in the chaos of draft day and Oshawa is ecstatic. He had shown the mentality to be a shutdown defender, but also brings a boomer from the point, similar to that of Dustin Byfuglien.
16. Barrie Colts
D – Tyler MacArthur (ON) Barrie Jr. Colts, 6’3” 175 lbs.
The big physical blueliner was the heart and soul of the Barrie Jr. Colts team which was ranked the top minor midget team in the province at times this season. He is quick and mobile for a big defender and still has a good offensive up-side, which should fit in nice as an understudy to Aaron Ekblad next season. The fact he’s a hometown boy is just icing on the cake for this situation.
17. Plymouth Whalers
D – Cameron Lizotte (ON) Copper Cliff Redmen, 6’1” 185 lbs.
(Player comparison Justin Sefton)
If not for a pretty deep draft, Lizotte would likely have gone much higher. The physically menacing defender is a leader on and off the ice and gets after opposing forwards making their lives a living hell. Anything they get against him, they have to earn as he makes sure they know where he is at all times. His upside offensively is a little limited, but nobody goes harder in their own end than this guy. He looks like he wants to be the next coming of Scott Stevens out there.
18. Owen Sound Attack
D – Garrett McFadden (ON) Grey-Bruce Highlanders, 5’10” 165 lbs.
(Player comparison Ryan Murphy)
Owen Sound needs a young blueliner after dealing Jacob Middleton away for Cody Ceci last season. While McFadden and Middleton are different types of defencemen, the local boy should join Owen Sound and fit in nicely as he brings his great skating and skills off the rush to help be the future QB of the Attack powerplay for years to come. Again it’s icing on the cake that the Attack get a local boy here.
19. Belleville Bulls
F/D – Mitch VandeSompel (ON) London Jr. Knights Gold, 5’11” 170 lbs.
Belleville is a little heart-broken they can’t get Garrett McFadden to utilize his skating and rush on the big ice at the Yardman Arena, but they stick with another good skater and more diverse selection in Mitch VandeSompel. VandeSompel plays both forward and defence and is great at protecting the puck to go along with his excellent skating ability. He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but is a bit stocky and has a low centre of gravity to help him hold his ground.
20. London Knights
C/W – Luke Kirwan (NY) Middlesex Islanders (EJHL) 6’3” 210 lbs.
(Player comparison Zack Kassian)
Kirwan is pretty much considered a lock for the US National Team Development program, but his family also has ties to the Knights, which is why they take a flyer on him here. The big physical winger, is good skater and has a nice accurate shot, which would allow him to be an elite power forward in the OHL. London has a history of these picks, where players would normally be much higher picks, but fear they won’t report has them passed over and the Knights are there to scoop them up and reap all the rewards. London hits another home run here.
21. Ottawa 67’s – D – Cole Mayo (ON) Elgin Middlesex Chiefs
22. Erie Otters – W – Adam Craievich (ON) Oakville Rangers
23. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – C – Hayden McCool (ON) Whitby Wildcats
24. Saginaw Spirit – D – Connor Walters (ON) Southern Tier Admirals
25. London Knights – C/W – Ethan Szypula (ON) London Jr. Knights Gold
26. Peterborough Petes – C/W – Mitch Marner (ON) Don Mills Flyers
27. Mississauga Steelheads – C – Matthew Kreis (ON) Halton Hurricanes
28. Sudbury Wolves – D – Josh DeFarias (ON) Toronto Marlboros
29. Saginaw Spirit – D – Zach Wilkie (IL) Toronto Jr. Canadiens
30. Niagara Ice Dogs – W – Michael Davies (ON) Southern Tier Admirals
31. North Bay/Bramption – D – Andrew Peski (ON) Ottawa Jr. 67’s
32. Oshawa Generals – D – Colton White (ON) London Jr. Knights Gold
33. Guelph Storm – C – Graham Knott (ON) York Simcoe Express
34. Kitchener Rangers – C/W – Tyler Boston (ON) York Simcoe Express
35. Kingston Frontenacs – G – Troy Timpano (ON) Toronto Titans
36. Saginaw Spirit – C – Noah Jordon (ON) Toronto Jr. Canadiens
37. Mississauga Steelheads – D – Austin Clapham (ON) Mississauga Rebels
38. Owen Sound Attack – C/W – Brett Primeau (ON) Sun County Panthers
39. Belleville Bulls – W – Brandon Robinson (ON) Toronto Marlboros
40. Peterborough Petes – D – Kris Myllari (ON) Ottawa Jr. Senators
41. Barrie Colts – C/W – Noah Bushnell (ON) Sun County Panthers
42. Sarnia Sting – D – Noah Carroll (ON) Elgin Middlesex Chiefs
43. Peterborough Petes – C/W – Sam Harding (ON) York Simcoe Express
44. Windsor Spitfires – C/W – Jesse Barwell (ON) Oakville Rangers
45. Saginaw Spirit – C – David Zeppieri (ON) Mississauga Rebels
46. London Knights – W/C – Jeremy Bracco (NY) New Jersey Rockets Jr. B
47. Owen Sound Attack – C/W – Josh Coyle (ON) Elgin Middlesex Chiefs
48. Sudbury Wolves – C/W – Mike Baird (ON) Southern Tier Admirals
49. Belleville Bulls – D – Jesse Saban (ON) Toronto Red Wings
50. Kingston Frontenacs – W – Aaron Luchuk (ON) Kingston Jr. Frontenacs
51. North Bay/Brampton – G – Jeremy Helvig (ON) Toronto Red Wings
52. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – D – Justin Lemcke (ON) Whitby Wildcats
53. Guelph Storm – C/W – Sean Kohler (ON) Oakville Rangers
54. Barrie Colts – C – Austin Gerhart (ON) Barrie Jr. Colts
55. Owen Sound Attack – W – Chris Klack (ON) Halton Hurricanes
56. Owen Sound Attack – D – Michael Holmes (ON) Barrie Jr. Colts
57. Barrie Colts – D – Ryan Sarris (ON) Whitby Wildcats
58. Plymouth Whalers – C/W – Josh Wilkins (NC) Carolina Jr. Hurricanes
59. Sarnia Sting – W – Hayden Broomhead (ON) Elgin Middlesex Chiefs
60. Sudbury Wolves – C/W – Johnny Corniel (ON) Central Ontario Wolves