Monthly Archives: May 2016

NHL Draft: OHL Forwards

Player PPG DOB H
Matthew Tkachuk (LW) 1.88 12/11/1997 6’1
Alex DeBrincat (C) 1.68 12/18/1997 5’7
Adam Mascherin (C/LW) 1.25 6/6/1998 5’10
Alexander Nylander (RW/LW) 1.32 3/2/1998 6′
Logan Brown (C) 1.25 3/5/1998 6’6
Taylor Raddysh (RW) 1.09 3/5/1998 6’2
William Bitten (C) 0.97 7/10/1998 5’10
Michael McLeod (C) 1.07 2/3/1998 6’2
Nathan Bastian (RW/C) 0.92 12/6/1997 6’4
Dmitri Sokolov (C/W) 0.76 4/14/1998 6’1
Max Jones (LW) 0.83 2/17/1998 6’3
Boris Katchouk (LW) 0.81 6/18/1998 6’1
Jordan Kyrou (RW/C) 0.78 5/8/1998 6′
Jack Kopacka (LW) 0.64 3/5/1998 6’2
Tim Gettinger (LW/RW) 0.65 4/14/1998 6’6
Cliff Pu (C/RW) 0.49 6/3/1998 6’1
Kyle Maksimovich (LW) 1.04 3/10/1998 5’9
Alan Lyszczarczyk (C) 0.75 2/17/1998 6′
Jonathan Ang (C) 0.72 1/31/1998 5’11
Givani Smith (LW) 0.65 2/27/1998 6’1
Domenic Commisso (C) 0.64 2/19/1998 5’9
Tye Felhaber (C) 0.59 8/5/1998 5’11
Connor Bunnaman (C) 0.56 4/16/1998 6′
Nicholas Caamano (RW) 0.58 9/7/1998 6’1
Travis Barron (LW) 0.62 8/17/1998 6’1
Hayden Verbeek (C) 0.54 10/17/1997 5’10
Anthony Salinitri (C) 0.48 3/5/1998 5’11
Michael Pezzetta (C) 0.44 3/13/1998 6’1
Eric Henderson (LW) 0.6 4/23/1998 6’1
Brandon Saigeon (C) 0.33 6/14/1998 6’1
Justin Brazeau (RW) 0.2 2/2/1998 6’4

Matthew Tkachuk (Top 10)

  • Elite Prospects:  A multi-dimensional energy winger that plays a pro-style, adaptive game. Well-versed as a guy who can consistently put up points, but also as an agitator who plays with a little bit of bite and nastiness. Skates with excellent balance and speed, outclassing many in his age range. No lack of offensive instincts and knows how to score in many different ways. Confidence in his abilities and playing to the extent of his capabilities strengthens his work ethic and creativity. All-in-all, a unique and effective forward who defines his own limits and seeks to exceed them, along with all on-ice expectations. (Curtis Joe, EP 2016)
  • Yahoo Sports:  He plays a pro-style of game that combines strength, skill and smarts. Tkachuk plays a pro-style game and he should remain a top five candidate throughout his draft season.”
  • OHL Prospect’s Brock Otten:  He’s going to be the perfect compliment on an NHL 1st/2nd line, to a pair of quicker, higher skilled guys (thus the recipe for success with Marner and Dvorak). He’ll do the dirty work on the line in terms of winning battles in the corners, or fighting in front of the net, but he’s also a massively underrated playmaker who seems to have eyes in the back of his head.  Size, smarts, and hands will take you a long way at the NHL level and Tkachuk has that. If I’m picking inside the top 5, I want to make sure I get an impact NHL player and Tkachuk is the guy that I think is the most guaranteed to be that.
  • Tkachuck is likely the first OHL player selected in this seasons draft.  Overall, I think he will, barring injury, be an NHL player.  The concern I have is whether he is close to being a finished product.  He’s a guy that can play with skill and although not your typical power forward is not afraid to go to the dangerous spots to make a play.

Alex Debrincat (20 – 50)

  • Elite Prospects: DeBrincat is a small player with a dynamic skill set. He is a pure sniper, scoring over 50 goals in two straight years in the OHL. He is very undersized, but can be very nasty to play against and shies away from no one. He had to deal with injuries at the 2016 World Junior Championship, but that did not hamper his production when he returned to the OHL. He skates well and is very effective around the net. He is hard to contain for such a small player, and has great chemistry with anyone he plays with. A decade player in the OHL.
  • Last Word On Sports: Alex DeBrincat is a pure sniper with an excellent wrist shot and release as well as a decent playmaker with good vision and passing skills. He is also a pest out on the ice, not afraid to throw hits, go to the net, fight in the corners, or get in the middle of scrums despite his lack of size. DeBrincat has a non-stop motor, always working to create opportunities. He can score goals in a number of different ways. DeBrincat also has the speed and stickhandling ability to beat defenders one-on-one and create offence off the rush.
  • DeBrincat finished first in EV Goals, EV Primary Pts/G & second (to Tkachuk) in EV Pts/G.  He is an elite goal scorer and is the only 50 Goal CHL first year draft eligible player.  DeBrincat has had the luxury of playing with McDavid (last season when he scored 51 goals) and Dylan Strome this past season.  He’s likely a first round pick but may drop due to size concerns.

Adam Mascherin (C/LW) (20 – 50)

  • Elite Prospects: Prolific scoring winger that combines an exceedingly high work ethic with speed, skill, and a mature approach to the game to overcome size differentials. An intense competitor with a booming shot, Masherin finds ways to score by outworking the opposition. He may not be the tallest player on the ice, but he isn’t a lightweight either. He plays a fast, heavy game and isn’t afraid to battle against tougher opponents. All-in-all, a lightning rod kind of player that will exceed expectations and bring energy to the game with each shift.
  • Mascherin plays with energy, has an superb shot which was voted tops in the Western Conference.  He is short (5’9 – 5’10) but stocky.  He’s projected as a late first or early second round pick.  Mascherin needs to improve in the defensive zone.  As a player he could be similar to Mike Cammalleri.

Alexander Nylander (RW/LW) (10 – 20)

  • The Draft Analyst:  He’s an excellent skater with a deadly shot, but he can score goals from in close thanks to a ridiculous set of hands. Nylander is able to make smart decisions as he maneuvers through traffic, and his ability to stickhandle in and around a dense field of sticks and skates while knowing exactly where his linemates will be makes him an indefensible threat on the rush. He’s impossible to prepare for, as he can beat you with his playmaking or his heavy shot.
  • Has excellent offensive creativity and tremendous hockey sense. Excellent vision and play-making ability.  Nylander is a terrific skater.  Nylander is a smaller player, he’s not most physical and needs to work on his defensive game.  Nylander reminds me of Ales Hemsky, I think he could be a top line forward or an excellent second line player.

Logan Brown (C) (10 – 20)

  •  The Draft Analyst:  Logan is a physical specimen indeed, using a massive wingspan and strength to win his puck battles and transition quickly to offense. He can be a joy to watch, using above-average speed but a powerful long stride and reach to protect the puck off the rush. He’s an excellent passer, blessed with a sixth sense to anticipate and dissect the defensive scheme presented to him. Brown owns a very heavy shot — one of the draft’s best among forwards — which he can fire with accuracy off the pass via a quick release.
  • Elite Prospects:  Brown is a huge center that excels at both ends of the ice. He can be dominant in the offensive zone but takes care of his own end as well. His 6’6 frame is key to his success as he uses his body to shield his puck and his reach to keep it off other players sticks. He is not overly physical for a player his size, but will finish every check and battle down low very effectively. He has a good shot with a pro like release as well as good creativity and maturity when passing the puck. (Tyler Parchem, EP 2016)
  • Brown is massive, good at protecting the puck and projects as a big playmaking center.  I’ve read some reports having concerns about his skating, he gets the ‘skates well for a big guy’ comments.  As a big center he is naturally compared to Joe Thornton.  Thornton was further along in his development at this stage, Brown number & scouting report-wise is similar to Mark Scheifle.

Taylor Raddysh (RW)

  • OHL Writers:  Raddysh has good size and is an above average skater. He has an elusiveness where he can slip away from coverage unnoticed and putting himself in prime scoring areas. He can play a 200 foot game, come back hard on the back check and rarely misses his defensive responsibilities in his own zone.
  • Taylor Raddysh is a big winger who has good hockey sense and can play in any situation.  You can move him up and down the lineup and is a good complementary player.  He’s an underated passer, finished second  in the OHL (1st among 1st draft eligible forwards) in primary assists.  Nearly, half of his goals were on the PP and there might be concerns about how much of his offense was due to playing with Strome & Debrincat.  He could go at the end of the 1st or mid-second.

William Bitten (C) (20 – 50)

  • McKeens:  Smooth skater who isn’t afraid to hop up into the rush, carry the puck deep into the offensive zone or take it to the net .. works effectively along the boards .. hits extremely hard, can level players with their heads down but needs to avoid leaving his feet .. stops up or twists and turns when gap closes which allows him to hang onto the puck and create with his skill .. extremely quick on his edges, buzzes around the ice .. can be aggressive with his stick and will be prone to taking slashing and hooking penalties if he doesn’t curb it .. needs to work on his faceoffs, gets out-muscled in the circle .. has the skill to be a top 20 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.
  • Elite Prospects:  A smart offensive catalyst that consistently displays outstanding work ethic, elite hockey sense, and an ability to stay ahead of the play in all three zones. Very naturally gifted skater that moves around the ice with ease. Excels in pressure situations and uses his vision to predict where the puck is going to be, and proactively gets his body into a position where he can either take it away or take off up the ice. Offensively, he has a very creative streak, and knows what kinds of plays he can make in all situations; he also has an exceptional release on his shot, which he can get off quickly. Defensively, he is a buzzsaw that will not let up on the opposition, creating problems for them by causing turnovers and playing strong positionally. Will Bitten has all of the tools to become a very dangerous two-way forward that can produce strong numbers at the next level.
  • Bitten is fast, energetic, physical, plays in all situations and has good offensive numbers.  He finished second this year among first year draft eligible players in even strength goals per game.  Reminds me a little of Flyers prospect Travis Konecny who was drafted 24th last year.  I believe Bitten will be drafted in the same range.

Michael McLeod (C) (10 – 20)

  • McKeens:  (Who had him rated third.  Behind Laine & Matthews)  “It’s rare to see a player with his motor,” noted one scout.  “You think of Taylor Hall and Nathan MacKinnon as comparables in terms of his engine, but even they weren’t as consistently revved up as this kid.  He simply never has an average effort or a poor game.  He is always contributing even when he’s not producing.  He will help an NHL team win playoff games..maybe championships.”  One scout compared him to Dylan Larkin in his draft year.  “Scouts were raising issues about Larkin’s offensive upside in his draft year.  I don’t see them doing that now.  I hear the same thing with McLeod..and I’m reminded of Larkin.  McLeod’s size, speed and tremendous competitiveness translate well to the NHL game….he’ll produce at the next level.  He will be a big-time crowd favourite wherever he plays, and his coach will love him.”
  • Brock Otten:  McLeod is your prototypical NHL center for today’s game. Great size/power, great quickness, and a solid two-way game. McLeod might be the most powerful skater in the entire OHL. His first few steps are so explosive and it makes him very hard to contain in the offensive end. I also love his aggressiveness in going hard to the net; a real relentless player. His playmaking has improved a lot, especially when working the boards. In terms of his other tangible assets, McLeod is one of the OHL’s top face-off men, is already a terrific two-way player, and will engage physically to force turnovers. Really, the only thing missing from his game is an elite shot. If he can really work on his release and velocity, he could be an incredible force off the rush. As is, he’s a lock for a top 10 pick IMO.
  • Mike Mackley: Michael McLeod a player who displays excellent vision and elite playmaking abilities, McLeod also boasts elite straight line speed and strong change of pace/direction abilities that when combined with his impressive skill set allow him to be shifty & elusive in possession.  A player with excellent awareness and a high hockey IQ.

Nathan Bastian (RW/C) (20 – 50)

  • Last Word On Sports:   Bastian is able to use his size, leaning on his opponents and taking full advantage of his superior size and strength at the junior level. Once he gets the puck he has good vision and a high hockey IQ to be a play maker for his linemates. Bastian also has the soft hands to execute deflections and bang in rebounds close to the net. Once he establishes position in front of the net, he is very hard to move out of from that area. He also has a heavy wrist shot, with a quick release that can fool goaltenders. Bastian’s strength is an asset at the junior level, but he still looks skinny. He will need to add muscle before he is effective playing this style at the pro level.
  • Bastian is a forward that does well in all aspects of his game.   He has been minuses are skating, could use his size better, and although he’s putting up decent points there might be concern his two line-mates (Nylander & McLeod) are driving the play.  Bastian, if everything goes well, will likely be a complementary player on a top six line.  A player that can do a little bit of everything but isn’t a star.  I think he’s an early second round pick.

Dmitri Sokolov (C/W) (50 – 100)

  • Sokolov played the season over-weight, so you have concerns over his fitness and commitment. But he also had a bad shoulder  played the entire season with a bum shoulder that was continually dislocated. The Wolves trainers were forever popping it back in place until Sokolov learned how to push it up on the boards and do it himself.’  Had 30  goals (20 at Even Strength) which was tied for third among first year draft eligible player in the OHL.  Only DeBrincat (51) & Mascherin (35) scored more.  Sokolov’s team (Sudbury Wolves) were the second lowest scoring team in the OHL and was in on 52 (28%) of his teams 183 goals.
  • Soklov is a risk-reward pick.  On one hand you have the questions about his work ethic, didn’t have high-end points and the Russian factor, if you’re concerned he goes back to the KHL.  On the other hand, he played with a bad shoulder (which kind of counters that work ethic knock), it was his first year in a new country and he was his teams leading scorer while playing on a bad offensive team.
  • Brock Otten: His potential as a goal scorer is quite high. He protects the puck very well in traffic and has a great wrist shot. However, he doesn’t seem to play with consistent intensity, especially without the puck. I also can’t tell if his sluggish appearance on the ice at times is due to conditioning, effort, or skating ability (or all three). But when he’s on, he can be a force with the puck and that has me intrigued

Max Jones (LW) (20 – 50)

  • Jones is a big guy (6’3), he plays physical, can score and plays on the edge.  Next season, with Dvorak, Marner and possibly Tkachuk moving on Jones should be a focal point of the offense.  He is in the same range as Saad (.93), Brett Ritchie (.84), Tom Wilson (.56) &  Henrik Samuelson (.83)
  • Elite Prospects: Max Jones is a diligent and hard-working power forward capable of being an impact player every shift. He’s strong on the puck and routinely looks to create separation. He knows his game inside out and has a wide array of tools at his disposal. Strength and speed allow him to bull his way to the front of the net where he is relentless and creates havoc. Makes smart decisions with the puck and doesn’t give the opposition time and space. Possesses high-end finishing ability and “wills” the puck to the back of the net. All-in-all, a determined forward who puts tremendous pressure on his opponents when he’s on the ice.

Boris Katchouk (LW) (20-50)

  • The Hockey Writers:  Katchouk is a hard-working player with good speed and offensive ability, but the elite offensive ability needed to be a top six forward in the NHL haven’t been flashed on a consistent basis. Katchouk is more likely to slot in as a good middle six forward who can play physical as well as produce good secondary scoring.
  • Katchouk seems like a complementary player.  He’s a well rounded forward that does everything well but his upside might not be a top-line player.  He might be a middle-six forward.

Jordan Kyrou (RW/C) (20 – 50)

  • Kyrou is a hard-working two-way player that can play in any situation.  He is likely a second round selection in this years draft.  Scouting reports detail his; skating, vision and offensive acumen as strengths.  Sarnia was elminated in the first round of the playoffs but Kyrou had 7 points in 7 games then followed that up with 8 points in 7 games at the U18 tournament.  Next year Sarnia could lose offensive stars Zacha, Konecny & Mistele.  Which means that Kyrou will be a focal point of the offense.  Next year he could take a big step in his production, this past year 88% of his projected offense (only 6 points on PP) came at even strength. One major concern with Kyrou is the reminds me of the worst Canadian kids TV show Caillou and now I got that song stuck in my head.  (Don’t click on the link)
  •  Mike MackleyKyrou can become lethal in the offensive zone as he boasts a deceptively strong shot with impressive accuracy, on top of elite playmaking skills, which make him a highly versatile offensive threat.

Jack Kopacka (LW) (100 – 150)

  • Kopacka has good size, hardworker & plays a two-way.  Most reports I’ve read mention that they would like to see him play a more physical game.  He projects as a middle six forward.  Kopacka is likely a mid-round pick, Central Scouting has him rated as a 2nd round pick whereas Button didn’t have him on his top 100.

Tim Gettinger (LW/RW) (50 – 100)

  • Gettinger is a large forward that will likely get drafted high based on potential.  Offensively, Gettinger did not have a strong season and Brock Otten said he was, ‘One of the more disappointing draft eligible players this year for me.‘  Scouting reports mention speed as a strength, his skill-set seems to Shawn Matthias.  One concern is for a player his size he doesn’t bring a physical game.  I could see a team taking a chance on him in the second round or him falling to the 4th round.
  • Dennis Schellenberg from The Hockey Writers, had mentioned Gettinger as a standout in last years Ivan Hlinka Memorial.  “Winger with big size and good strength. He showed a responsible two-way game and supported his defenders well. He used all of his 216 lbs to drive the net and stayed there to screen the goaltender. He was extremely hard to move around and parked himself perfectly in front of the net. Although he is very big in size, listed at 6’5”, he showed good top speed. An area where he can improve is his passing accuracy as well as he needs to use his big frame more effectively in board battles and while hitting.”

Cliff Pu (C/RW) (100 – 150)

  • The Draft Analyst: A speedy two-way pivot slowly filling into his 6’1 frame, Pu has top-six potential and at times has carried the Knights with clutch scoring, do-or-die effort on the penalty kill and an excellent approach to the game.
  • Pu’s offense is a little shy and is a little streaky.  From Jan & Feb he had only 5 points in 23 games.  He finished strong with 9 points in 8 games and is averaging .8 PPG in the playoffs.  He is young (turning June birthday) and both Button & The Draft Analyst have Pu rated in the top 90.  Has been mentioned as a potential power forward and was compared to Wayne Simmonds by the hockey writers.

Kyle Maksimovich (LW)

  • Maksimovich is small (5’8 – 5’9) and doesn’t have high end offense that you would like from a smaller player, but scores enough to be considered a 3rd round pick.  There’s concerns that some of his offense was due to his linemates. Despite his size he plays a physical game, has been described as fearless and can play in all situations.  The Hockey Writers compared him to Cam Atkinson.

Alan Lyszczarczyk (C) (100 – 150)

  • How could you not like a guy named Lyszczarczyk?  His name would apparently be worth 53 points in Scrabble and that’s without a double or a triple word score.  He’s gritty, excellent work ethic and brings enough offense to warrant a late round selection.  After 1 point in 8 games.  He finish with 49 points in 59 games.

Jonathan Ang (C) (100 – 150)

  • The small, speedy Ang has high-end offensive ability.  He finished the season strong with 23 points in his last 22 games (including playoffs).  He is currently being rated as a mid-late round pick.  Button has him just inside the top 100 and NHL Central Scouting has him rated 95th for North American skaters.
  • OHL Writers: He possesses excellent puck handling abilities and vision and an ability to make plays at top speed. He has the ability to finish in close. It’ll be his skating, vision and playmaking abilities that can make Ang a capable offensive threat on a third line at the next level.

Givani Smith (LW) (50 – 100)

  • Blue Seats Blog:  Josh Khalfin, “Smith is a 6’1, 200lbs forward who to is an absolute pain to play against. He is a good skater, gets in on the forecheck, and is an absolute hound on the puck who does whatever he can to steal it from the defense to set up a play. If he continues to develop he will be a nice power forward who has the hands to create plays in tight.”
  • Smith is as Brock Otten said,  bull in a china shop type power forward. Smith played on a young Guelph team, that should be better next year.  Guelph were the lowest scoring team this past year 27 goals behind the second lowest scoring team.  Smith was in on 28% of all his teams goals and all eight of the top scoring forwards should return (2 born in 97, 4 in 98, 2 in 99).  Smith reminds me of players like; Clutterbuck and Clifford.  I’m not sure if he is a top 6 forward but think he has enough talent and skill to play a regular shift though.

Domenic Commisso (C) (150 – 200)

  • Commisso is a smaller player (5’9) and you would like to see more scoring from a smaller forward.  This was his first season in the OHL and he started off slow (3 points in 13 games) before finishing strong 39 points in 53 games (.74 PPG) and averaged a point per game in the playoffs.  Mike Mackley stated Commisso has an explosive first step and high end straight line speed, combines speed, skill and strong puck protection skills.  He shows a willingness to get to the gritty areas.

Tye Felhaber (C) (150 – 200)

  • Felhaber’s season was a little disappointing.  Entering the season, McKeen’s had him rated as an early second round pick.  However, Felhaber’s offensive numbers stayed the same .59 PPG in both 2014-15 & 2015-16.  Had a SLOW start with only 6 points in  28 games.  Then mid-Dec he started scoring recording 32 points in his next 34 games.  He finished the season with 0 points in his last 6 games (4 playoffs).
  • Felhaber is young will turn 18 August, 5th.  Scouting reports list his skating, shot and puck handling as strengths.  Reading between the lines I think teams might question his work-ethic.  Sawginaw likely have two top six forwards that will be moving on, so there’s an opportunity for an expanded role with the team.  He could be a late round steal if the mid-Dec –> end of year player (.89 PPG) is the player that you are drafting.

Connor Bunnaman (C) (150 – 200)

  • Bunnaman is a big forward Brock Otten has him listed as 6’3.  He appears to need some work on his skating and is a little shy offensively.  He is projected by a couple of analysts as going in the 4th or 5th round.

Nicholas Caamano (RW) (100 – 150)

  • OHL Writers: He works extremely hard and likes to take the body at every opportunity.  He doesn’t bring fans to their feet but he is a very smart player. He possesses an uncanny knack for finding open spaces and giving mates an option. He has a quick release on his shot and it’s hard and heavy. He’s also a very good skater who is not afraid to take on defenders one on one.
  • Caamano is one of the youngest players (Sept. 7th) entering the draft.  He’s a little shy offensively but could be worth a mid-round (4th – 5th round) draft choice.  He’s not rated by Craig Button (Top 100) or The Draft Analyst (Top 250), NHL Central Scouting has him rated at 69th (likely 4th round).

Travis Barron (LW) (100 – 150) / (150 – 200)

  • The Hockey Writers:  (Barron) works hard on both ends of the rink and can excel in either a shutdown, grinding-type role or a top-six scoring role. Offensively, he is an above-average skater whose vision and playmaking abilities could use some work. His shot, however, is a weapon at both even strength and on the power play.
  • Barron is one of the younger players in the draft, born Aug. 17th, he had a solid playoffs 6 points in 5 games.  He might be a bottom six player if he makes it to the NHL as there are concerns over his offensive upside.

Logan DeNoble (150-200)

  • DeNoble wasn’t on Central Scoutings list but he is a first year eligible, scored .67 PPG and 93% of his projected offense came at even strength.  He was sixth among forwards on the Petes scoring and 4 of the Pete’s forwards should be either turning pro or too old to play.  So there will be opportunity for an expanded role in 2016-17.  Started the year off with 14 points in 39 games, but finished strong. From Jan 8th to end of the season he scored 28 points in 24 games.  He’s a smaller player 5’9 – 5’10 but he engages physically, works hard and is a smart player.
  • OHL Writers:  DeNoble is an intelligent hockey player. He moves into open spaces while giving his teammates an open lane to get him the puck undetected. Once he gets himself into those opportunities, he capitalizes on his chances more often than not which reflect in his shooting percentage. He also uses that intelligence defensively and has become a solid 200 foot player.

Questionable Draft Picks 
Hayden Verbeek (C) – plays a gritty game, is a hard worker, but doesn’t bring much offense.

Anthony Salinitri (C) – he’s mentioned as an good to excellent skater, that’s responsible defensively and an excellent PK’er.  The issue is he doesn’t bring much offensively.

Michael Pezzetta (C) – the 6’1 forward as described by Mike Mackley,  intriguing hockey sense along with strong skating attributes,a physical edge to his game and deceptively good offensive traits.  That’s a good scouting report but he doesn’t bring much offense.  However, the Sudbury Wolves are among the lowest scoring teams in the OHL.

Eric Henderson (LW) – started out year with London putting up 4 points in 16 games before being traded to Oshawa and finished the season with 18 points in 30 games.  He has good size and likely projects as a bottom six player if he makes the NHL.

Brandon Saigeon (C) (150 – 200) – was originally drafted 4th overall in the OHL draft.  Draws comparisions to Richards but hasn’t brought much offense.  Brock Otten noted that he was largely invisible. Inconsistent in every way imaginable. Needs to get back to playing physical and keeping the game simple in the offensive end.

Justin Brazeau (RW) (150 – 200) is a big (6’4) winger and that’s about the only thing there is on him.  He doesn’t bring much offense, he’s not overly physical (8 PIMs) and there’s no extra details on him outside of being rated by NHL central scouting.

September When It Comes

During my draft review.  There’s always people that catch my eye more than others.  Nicholas Caamano was one of those players.  Besides, the fact that he has a great name – Cammano – I was intrigued by his scouting report.  A physical two-way winger with good size, but I noticed his numbers weren’t necessarily strong.  Caamano is averaging under .6 points per game, so that would put him as either  a long shot or, at best a 3rd line player.

Then I looked at this date of birth and noticed Caamano was a week and a couple of days away from being 2017 draft eligible.

Every year these players compete against each other in hockey, as well as academics and other athletics only to be segmented by a day in the middle of the month.  What type of impact does that day have on men born in the first two weeks of the month versus the boys drafted in the last couple of weeks?

I plan to crawl outside these walls, close my eyes and see
and fall into the heart and arms of those who wait for me
I cannot move a mountain now, I can no longer run
I cannot be who I was then, in a way, I never was.

Every year these players compete against each other in hockey, as well as academics and other athletics only to be segmented by a day in the middle of the month.  What type of impact does that day have on men born in the first two weeks of the month versus the boys drafted in the last couple of weeks?

I took a look at 17 forwards, born in the month of September and looked at their 17 year-old (calendar year) points per game versus their 18 year-old calendar year.

Player 17 18
John Tavares 2 1.86
Daymond Langkow 1.36 1.94
Alexander Khokhlachev 1.13 1.23
Ethan Moreau 1.12 1.66
Derick Brassard 1.1 2
Zach Hamill 1.11 1.34
Nino Niederreiter 0.92 1.27
Anthony Mantha 0.81 1.32
Joffrey Lupul 0.81 1.47
Eric Fehr 0.79 1.18
David Desharnais 0.73 1.43
James Neal 0.66 0.88
Gabriel Bourque 0.43 1.02
Nic Spaling 0.4 0.97
Craig Cunningham 0.37 0.71
Cal O’Reilly 0.34 1.07
Matt Cooke 0.31 1.46

There were three players who were not drafted during their 17 year-old season; David Desharnais (Undrafted), Craig Cunningham (passed over twice) & Matt Cooke.

Here were some observations.

  • Players in their second year scored nearly 90% more than their 17 year old season.
  • Players that scored below 1 PPG (in their 17 year old season) had a 120% increase.
  • Wherease as players that were above .9 PPG had an increase of 33%.
  • This does not take into account players that were drafted and did NOT make the NHL.  This is a best case scenario.

There is likely a reason why players that average near or above a point a game do not have a bigger impact.

  • They are likely already given top line minutes or at the very least top six minutes.  I don’t believe we have TOI totals for Canadian Major junior so we have to go based on projections.
  • They are likely given less power play time.

So what is a realistic projection for a player drafted late in their draft year?  Well, based on the players that have made the NHL players averaging under one point per game will double their point production.  I guess that’s an optimistic projection, but not a realistic one.  It doesn’t take into affect the players that didn’t make the NHL.     There’s likely a longer list of players where the production was stagnate or a modest increase.  In order to project this accurately I would have to look at all players that are in a similar situation and then base it off of the projection.  Because I’m lazy and it looks like a lot of work.  Let’s just say that a player earlier on in the process is starting out his journey and is likely to take a bigger step.

In the 2016 draft class guys to be aware of that are a month or less away from being in the 2017 draft class; Brandon Hagel (8/27 / .65 PPG), Travis Barron (8/17 / .62 PPG) & Cameron Morrison (8/27 / 1.1 PPG – in USHL).

On the other side of the spectrum players that were a month away from being in the 2015 draft class; Julien Gauthier (10/15 / 1.06 PPG), Jordy Stallard (9/18 DOB / .72 PPG) & Ty Ronning (10/20 / .88 PPG)

Which brings me back to Caamano; born Sept. 7th, 6’1, averaging .58 PPG.

  • Is he worth drafting?
  • Where should he be drafted?
  • How much did he play on power play?
  • How much did he play on the top line?

If, you feel that next year he will get added responsibility with power play, if you feel that he will play on the top line, if you feel like he will continue to improve as a hockey player and if you feel he negatively affected by the hot mess that was the Flint Firebirds than perhaps Caamano is worth an early mid-round (3rd round) selection.

If you can wait and be patient for a young kid and see whether his journey is nearly told or whether it has just begun, depending upon when in September he was born.