Monday, April 8th, 2013
Coming with some prospect notes on this fine Monday afternoon…
I spent most of the week and weekend preparing for the OHL Priority Selection Draft. It has been a fun yet exhausting week. As I mentioned in my previous ramblings, Sean Day is a 15-year-old defenseman from Detroit Compuware that was recently the fourth ever player to be granted exceptional status joining the illustrious group of John Tavares (2005), Aaron Ekblad (2011) and last year’s Connor McDavid (2012).
For the first time in the history of exceptional status, the player granted it did not go first overall. Sean Day actually slide to fourth overall and was drafted by the Mississauga Steelheads after the likes of Travis Konecny (1st – Ottawa 67’s), Dylan Strome (yes, Ryan’s brother…2nd – Erie Otters) and Matthew Spencer (3rd – Peterborough Petes). You can read more in my article here:
Rather than selecting Detroit Compuware’s 15-year-old smooth skating defenseman, Sean Day, the Ottawa 67’s opted to stick to their guns with their top-ranked player in Travis Konecny. For those following the OHL Draft, this decision comes as no surprise as the 67’s GM/Head Coach Chris Byrne and his staff have preferred Travis Konecny all along. Ottawa’s decision doesn’t come without some high praise for Sean Day as Senior Advisor and major junior hockey legend, Brian Kilrea, likened Sean Day’s skating ability to Paul Coffey, one of hockey’s all-time best skaters. Similarily, Sherry Bassin of the Erie Otters, who hold the second overall selection has commended the young defenseman as well.
Because of how far Sean Day fell in the 2013 OHL Draft and how high his potential is, this will be one hell of a draft class to watch over the next 4-5 years to see how these players pan out. To fill you in, Konecny, Strome and Spencer are rare talents in their own right.
You can give my mock draft for the OHL Draft a glance too to find out more information on some of the talent entering the OHL.
I was bang on with several picks including the first five selections (Konecny, Strome, Spencer, Day, Crouse) as well as Korostelev (another Russian) to Sarnia at 9th, Speers to Sault Ste. Marie at 11th, and Matthew Kreis to Barrie at 15th. Not too shabby.
Speaking of Exceptional Players, Connor McDavid (2015 eligible) was named OHL Rookie of the Year.
On to some NHL prospects….
Islanders prospect defenseman Scott Mayfield (34th overall, 2011) has left the University of Denver to turn pro, signing with the Islanders. He will report to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. In 37 games this year for the Pioneers, Mayfield recorded four goals and 17 points. It should be noted that he certainly has multicat stud potential as he racked up 117 penalty minutes in those games.
New jersey Devils’ prospect defenseman Jon Merrill has had an awesome start to his pro career after leaving the University of Michigan this past month. Merrill has one goal and six points in the half-dozen games he’s played. The Devils are certainly high on this prospect defenseman with great two-way potential and this is very promising. With Adam Larsson as their only “stud” defenseman, look for Jon Merrill to get a loooong look in the fall. He should crack this lineup. His early professional production is certainly not his norm (he scored 11 points in 21 games for UofM) but the Devils won’t complain.
Sticking with the Devils, how much better of a season could Reid Boucher (4th round, 2011) have this year? After breaking Steven Stamkos’ Sarnia Sting franchise scoring record by four goals (62G), Boucher joined the Albany Devils of the AHL and has been quite productive, something a player of his ilk (undersized, relatively one-dimensional forward) needs to do. Boucher has three goals and five points in as many games for Albany.
Pretty cool page the American Hockey League has created on their website. Here it lists the 76 AHL players who have made their National Hockey League debuts this season. Notable names (bolded ones are some of the players I really like for fantasy hockey) include: Austin Watson (NSH), Max Reinhart (CGY), Alex Chiasson (DAL), Nicklas Jensen (VAN), Nathan Beaulieu (MTL), Taylor Beck (NSH), Mark Pysyk (BUF), Tyler Toffoli (LAK), Jarred Tinordi (MTL), Chris Terry (CAR – finally), Christian Thomas (NYR), Beau Bennett (PIT), Alex Killorn (TBL), Darcy Kuempfer (MIN), Ryan Spooner (BOS), JT Miller (NYR), Charlie Coyle (MIN), Jamie Oleksiak (DAL), Michael Sgarbossa (SJS), Jake Allen (STL), Sami Vatanen (ANA), Quinton Howden (FLA), Jonas Brodin (MIN), Jordan Schroeder (VAN), Drew Shore (FLA), Mikael Granlund (MIN) and Justin Schultz (VAN). Visit the site for more names.
On a few of those recent call-ups…
Alex Chiasson (DAL) – Big winger has three goals through three games since being recalled from Texas, including a two-goal effort Sunday. Chiasson has been playing 33.6% of his shifts with Jamie Benn and Ray Whitney on Dallas’ top line and receiving powerplay minutes. Promising sign.
Jonas Brodin (MIN) – Leads all rookies in time-on-ice per-game with 22:52, which is pretty insane since those are tough minutes.
Tyler Toffoli (LAK) – After leading the OHL in goals in back-to-back season in 2010-11 (57G) and 2011-12 (52), Toffoli led the Manchester Monarchs in goals (28) this season while finishing third in points (48). He’s made the jump to LA and his success has continued with two goals and five points (8 games). On a team that seems to go through spells of scoring drought, look for the Kings to lean on Toffoli as a go-to “scorer” very soon.
Anders Lee (NYI) – The 2009 6th round pick has debuted nicely. Just a few games under his belt but Anders Lee has recorded his first career goal and assist over the past week (2 games). Lee is another collegiate player that has decided to forego the remainder of his schooling to turn pro. He is coming off a 38 point third-year season at the University of Notre Dame where he was voted the team’s most valuable player.
Around the OHL….
Not a surprise but one of the prospects I have been touting all season long continues to remain on fire…Vincent Trocheck (FLA) with 13 points in six games this post-season. The Owen Sound Attack have held him to only one point through the opening two games of the Western Conference Semi-Finals.
Mark Scheifele (Jets) has really elevated his game (and he should) during Barrie’s post season run. He has yet to go pointless in a post-season game and has recorded one goal and five points in three games vs. Oshawa in the Eastern Conference Semi-Final. Scheifele has a 99.9% chance of making the Jets’ roster next season. Actually, make it 99.99999995%.
Detroit Red Wings’ prospect Andreas Athanasiou is tagging along with Scheifele as he sits tied for 2nd in OHL playoff scoring with six goals and 13 points through seven games.
Flyers’ Anthony Stolarz sits atop the OHL goaltending statistics with a sparkling 1.24 GAA and .959 save percentage. It doesn’t hurt playing in front of a stacked Knights team but the 6-foot-6 second round selection is all about upside. At this moment, he is looking like a legit starting goaltender of the future.
Scott Laughton (PHI) – For the second time this season, Laughton has been suspended due to a dangerous hit...this time he knocked out one of Barrie Colts’ top players in Zach Hall. Laughton is suspended indefinitely with a decision to come early this week. He was tied for the OHL Playoff scoring lead after the first round with 12 points through six games (now with 13P).
On the NHL Calder Trophy Race….
We’re seeing one of the better Calder Trophy races in recent years. There are plenty of rookies stepping up huge for their teams and in a number of ways (not necessarily only in offensive production). It will be very interesting to see how the voters choose their top rookies.
Jonas Brodin (MIN) – He has been an absolute rock for Minnesota. From the moment he stepped on the ice this season, he has looked like a 10-year seasoned vet. He’s my Calder pick at the moment.
Jonathan Huberdeau (FLA) – Leads all rookies in goals (13) and points (27). Not hard to see how Huberdeau impacts his team. He’s their most skilled forward and he’s right there with Brodin in this race.
Brandon Saad (CHI) – Saad has been a beast ever since returning to the OHL after his injury last season. He dominated the OHL Playoffs on a below-average Saginaw team and carried his strong play into a NHL call-up last year for the playoffs. He’s found himself along some great linemates in Chicago and has one of the better opportunities to finish as a top rookie. He has 20 points in the last 19 games and has been arguably the most consistent rookie over the past few months.
Alex Galchenyuk (MTL) – He’s heating up with points in three straight games. If the Habs continue to give him quality ice-time, he should have a strong finish and be right there in the end with the Calder voting.
Brendan Gallagher (MTL) – He Is pointless in his last three games but he’s never went longer than three games (once) without a point. Gallagher is just another example how hockey sense and work ethic can trump size. The small “Gally” fourth in first year scoring with 21 points through 34 games. If the season were to end today, that would be a successful rookie season.
Nail Yakupov (EDM) – The first overall pick is starting to play like one as Nail Yakupov has points in four of his past six games totalling three goals and six points. Tied for 4th in freshman scoring.
Thanks for reading,