2012 OHL Priority Draft Preview
BY David Dickenson
With the 2012 OHL Priority Selection fast approaching in early April and the OHL Cup set to start this week it’s the perfect time to get an early look at how we think things are going to play out.
1. Erie Otters C-Connor McDavid (ON) Toronto Marlboros *** 5’11” 170 lbs
This is only the second time in the past seven years (last year Aaron Ekblad achieved that status and was chosen first overall by the Barrie Colts) that an under aged player has achieved exceptional player status. When breaking it down McDavid clearly is the epitome of the term exceptional, so much so that some are even comparing him with a similar skill set to that of Sidney Crosby. While it’s unlikely he will be able to live up to such lofty praise, an extra year of action in the OHL will not only help him cement his own legacy, but also manage to help revitalize an Erie Otters franchise that appeared close to packing its bags and moving to Hamilton, Ontario.
2. Kingston Frontenacs D - Roland McKeown (ON) Toronto Marlboros 6’2” 180 lbs.
McKeown wouldn’t be the Fronts first choice, but a good one for the team none the less. Logic would dictate McDavid’s linemate and stud forward Joshua Ho-Sang be the choice here, but rumors around the province having him indicating there are a number of teams he would not report to, and that is a situation the Fronts can’t afford to put themselves in again, after making the calculated move last year to pick up Max Domi. With a dearth of first round talent in the defensive position, Kingston will gladly pick up McKeown and his Drew Doughty-esque do-everything skill set and still be able to pick up a forward at their compensatory pick at #9 overall.
3. Peterborough Petes C - Robby Fabbri (ON) Mississauga Rebels 5’11” 160 lbs.
Fabbri is going to be a very good hockey player and might be the best total mix of everything in the draft. He was a leader for the Rebels all season, has some sand paper to his game, can score and seems to make the players around him better. He’ll be a guy, who you were glad you chose in the draft. While he may not be the fanciest of players or the best future NHL prospect he may be one of the best players to build your team around in the draft.
4. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds C - Michael Dal Colle (ON) Vaughan Kings 6’2” 178 lbs.
Dal Colle may have gained a little ground here since there’s rumoured to be a group of kids not enamoured with heading to one of the OHL’s farthest outposts of the Soo. Either way this ends up being a nice fit for both Dal Colle and the club. The big pivot has some nice skills and should be a key player on offense and will contribute right away at both ends of the ice. His size and play should benefit him well in his NHL draft year and has already received some comparisons to former Greyhound and current LA King Jeff Carter.
5. Guelph Storm RW/C - Jared McCann (ON) London Jr. Knights 6’0” 165 lbs.
McCann is another good pickup. A strong winger, who always finds ways to score and make his team better. He’ll be a nice addition to team with the likes of Hunter Garlent and a solid young Guelph squad as they make their way back to the league’s elite. He’s known for rushing the puck and can make or break plays that way. He’ll be a really good pick for the Storm.
6. Windsor Spitfires W/C - Joshua Ho-Sang (ON) Toronto Marlboros 6’1” 165 lbs.
With the exception of McDavid, Ho-Sang is hands down the most talented player in the draft and likely would have gone at every spot from #2 to here if there weren’t rumours he would not report to certain clubs.
He’s a standout talent, who has a little Pavel Datsyuk to his game and literally control play out there by himself. Windsor will be ecstatic with the addition of Ho-Sang as they retool for next year’s big run. The only real knock on his game is he tends to be considered more of an individual player with exceptional skills instead of an exceptional player who makes the players around him better.
7. Belleville Bulls C/LW - Eric Cornel (ON) Upper Canada Cyclones 6’2” 165 lbs.
Cornel isn’t the flashiest kid on the ice, but he usually ends up being one of the best. He’s tall and lanky and needs to fill out his frame, but he’s been a key player and scorer at every level of hockey he ever played. He’s taken that note even farther this season after his team was eliminated from the playoffs, he stepped up to a weak Kemptville Jr. A club and was putting up a point a game and was the best player on the ice for them as a 15 year old. He’ll be a solid, no headache top line guy for the Bulls, who has speed to burn.
8. Oshawa Generals LW - Brett Hargrave (ON) Mississauga Rebels 6’4” 204 lbs.
This guy has size, speed and skill. From day one, his 6’4” frame and matching skills will make him an impact player in the OHL and have NHL teams down the line salivating. His best attribute may not be his size but his breakaway speed, which allows him to burn defenders similar to that of much smaller players. Hargrave looks like a man amongst boys out there and will be an immediate help to the Generals.
9. Kingston Frontenacs RW - Sam Bennett (ON) Toronto Marlboros 6’0” 165 lbs.
A linemate of Ho-Sang and McDavid, Bennett not only fits in with those two, but at times was the more consistent performer. He’s not as flashy as his Marlboros linemates, but he’s a strong right winger, who will fit in on the Fronts first line and contribute in every facet of the game. He’s good at getting his nose dirty to help his linemates, or crowd the crease if needed, while also managing to have lots of skill.
10. Saginaw Spirit D - Jacob Middleton (ON) Huron Perth Lakers 6’3” 185lbs.
Middleton is the number 2 defender on the board after McKeown, but also marks a quite large drop off in the position as well. He’s large, mobile, and plays well both on offense with a good point shot and shutting down the oppositions top line, but just doesn’t have that top end skill McKeown has. He’ll make an impact as a good defender in the OHL and may fit in the top pairing, but he won’t be a top end guy in the NHL.
11. St. Michael’s Majors LW - Jeremiah Addison (ON) Toronto Marlboros 6’0” 183 lbs.
Addison is a guy, who really found his game at the midway point of the season and really excelled from there. He’s shown flashes of brilliance in the second half of the season and is very athletic and skilled. He doesn’t mind a little hard work to get a scoring opportunity for his team, and plays the physical aspect of the game quite well. If he continues his hot play at the OHL Cup, he could jump even higher into the draft mix.
12. Owen Sound Attack C - Spencer Watson (ON) London Jr. Knights 5’10” 150 lbs.
Watson is a pure offensive beast. He’s shifty, quick and manages to create opportunities for his linemates. As long as he has the wingers to compliment his game he can be a top scorer at the OHL level and a great asset for any team. He has a few elements of his game that remind some of Joey Hishon and should have a similar impact.
13. Sarnia Sting LW - Brook Hiddink (ON) Elgin Middlesex Chiefs 5’11” 175 lbs.
Hiddink is a solid, but not spectacular winger, who has plenty of experience playing against larger and older players throughout his junior career. He manages to put points on the board and work hard to make those around him better, but often doesn’t get the credit he deserves because he’s not as fancy as other kids in the class.
14. Sudbury Wolves D - Jonathan Duchesne (ON) Vaughan Kings 6’2” 190 lbs.
Duchesne has a similar type of game to current Wolves blue liner Justin Sefton, where he can knock guys around with some big hitting, but also manages to play well where he makes a good first pass out of his own end. He’s not a high end offensive talent, but he can chip in from time to time while being his teams top shutdown guy.
15. Brampton Battalion C - Damian Bourne (ON) Mississauga Rebels 6’5” 200 lbs.
Bourne is quite frankly a Stan Butler type of player, he works hard, he’s big, he can be physical, but he still has some skill. His size is a tremendous asset to his game and will be able to step in and contribute right away, but he may lack the high end upside of other players in his class. He’s no slouch in his own end of the rink either as he plays a nice all-round game.
16. Barrie Colts G - Liam Herbst (ON) Mississauga Rebels 6’4” 188 lbs.
He’s a big keeper who’s managed to excel in some big games throughout minor hockey. He’s played a key role in helping the Rebels to past provincial championships, though as of late shown a couple chinks in the armour with a few shaky games in the GTHL playoffs. He’ll be a strong OHL goaltender and should have a good upside to possibly have a bright professional future beyond that.
17. Kitchener Rangers C - Michael Cramarossa (ON) Toronto Marlboros 6’0” 180 lbs.
He does everything pretty well, and would have gotten more ice time and press if he wasn’t over shadowed by some stellar teammates who have scouts drooling. Like his older brother a current OHLer, Cramarossa will be able to chip in offensively, provide some energy to the game and still manage to be responsible in his own end of the rink.
18. Ottawa 67’s LW/C - Jaden Lindo (ON) Toronto Marlboros 6’1” 190 lbs.
Lindo will be a bit of a sleeper pick that could end up being a home run, for whichever team picks him. He’s a very athletic talent, who’s fast, physical and seems to be everywhere on the ice at times. While he may still need to learn a few of the games finer points of positioning, he has all the makings of another Devante Smith-Pelly who was a heck of an OHL player in his own right.
19. Niagara Ice Dogs LW - Matt Schmalz (ON) Southern Tier Admirals 6’5” 190 lbs.
Schmalz is an area kid, who will help the Ice Dogs fill their new arena when it opens, but in addition he’s also a really good player who will help out. He may not be a dynamic player, but at 6’5” he definitely fit’s a power forward role for the club and should be counted on to be physical on the ice and keep up the team’s aggressive style of play.
20. Niagara Ice Dogs C - Niki Petti (ON) Southern Tier Admirals 6’1” 170 lbs.
Niagara follows up it’s previous pick with Schmalz’ linemate Niki Petti, who is a big centre/winger with soft hands. The Ice Dogs has also learned in recent years that they have a strong crop of local kids to harvest and help replenish the lineup, and this year is no different with two Golden Horseshoe area kids sticking home.
21. Plymouth Whalers D - Dylan DiPerna (ON) Mississauga Rebels 6’1” 170 lbs.
DiPerna is a solid pickup for the Whalers who are trying to rebuild their back end with solid players who will replace a strong graduating crop of players and try to keep the team at the top of the league. DiPerna is a solid all round defender who has excelled as the top blue liner on one of the provinces’ top teams in the Mississauga Rebels.
22. London Knights C - Dante Salituro (ON) Don Mills Flyers 5’9” 165 lbs.
London does what London does best, (while still going against the grain of grabbing a talented American kid who is likely to join the US National Team Development Program) and manages to just grab the best player available. Salituro is a pure scorer, who is a perfect pick to fill in for some scoring lost from projected graduations of Jared Knight amongst others. While slight in size, Salituro can play with the big boys and always manages to find a way to contribute offensively.