In the third installment of the OHL’s first-round, scouting reports highlight the players drafted with picks 11 through 15.
The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds didn’t look far for their first pick, taking local product and Soo Thunder forward Blake Speers with the 11th pick in the draft. Speers brings elite playmaking skills and vision to a team that may need an injection of offence after losing top scorer Nick Cousins to graduation.
The Guelph Storm addressed a weakness by drafting smooth-skating defenceman Garrett McFadden in the first-round. The Storm stand to lose three veterans on their back line, which should give McFadden an opportunity to hone his craft while playing big minutes.
Michael Davies followed to the Kitchener Rangers with the 13th pick overall. Davies is a pure scorer with a wide range of shooting techniques that should keep goalies guessing.
The Oshawa Generals went with the assertive and versatile Mitchell Vande Sompel with the next pick. Vande Sompel is a poised defender with character and a high offensive ceiling.
With some key graduations to forwards Mark Scheifele and Anthony Camara anticipated this summer, the Barrie Colts tapped centre Matthew Kreis with the 15th pick. Kreis earns top marks for his poise and willingness to make an impact, but may need to pick his spots better as he moves to the next level.
Blake Speers (C, 2015), Soo Thunder – 5’9″ – 150 pounds – January 2, 1997
Drafted 11th overall by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Speers is a highly-intelligent forward who was named to the Allstate All Canadians camp in July, designated as one of the top 42 players in the country in the ’97-born age group .. playing with the Soo Thunder, a travel team that will participate in key tournaments throughout the season, a first for the area .. an undersized, finesse forward with tremendous poise and playmaking vision .. remains an elite puck-distributor with a keen sense of his surroundings .. plays with a high tempo level in possession, will force defenders to back off with his high speed and willingness to travel into the dirty areas of the ice to either distribute the puck or unleash a tricky wrist-shot .. smooth, efficient skater with dynamic pickup speed and exceptional lateral mobility .. exhibits boundless amounts of energy and impressive stamina for a smaller-bodied player, however does wear down when matched up against bigger, stronger defenders .. needs to improve his play away from the puck in his own zone .. doesn’t do enough defensively at times due to a lack of size, reach and physical jam .. can over-skate the puck at times .. bulking up his thin frame will be a key, allowing him to better handle physical battles .. is expected to be top-9 forward with the Greyhounds, playing in a role that will allow him to adjust to the speed of the OHL while working on his strength and aggression levels.
Garrett McFadden (D, 2015), Grey-Bruce Highlanders – 5’10″ – 171 pounds – August 21, 1997
Drafted 12th overall by the Guelph Storm
Smooth and strong on his edges .. reaches an elite top speed with just a few powerful strides .. quick in recovery, especially closing gaps and defending on the rush .. excels in the transitional game, displaying good skill with an ability to make some crisp outlet passes .. a slippery player in open ice, as he flies by defenders with uncommon ease .. shows sharp instincts as to when and how to join the attack .. makes smart outlets and distributes the puck sensibly .. walks the line well and opens up shooting lanes .. has a knack for getting his shots through on the power-play, however he needs to trust his shot more and use it to generate offence .. not afraid to initiate or receive body contact .. stays engaged physically by proactively taking the body, exploiting his good upper-body strength .. needs to add structure to his defensive game and not play a run-and-gun style every shift .. over-pursues in the defensive zone and can be guilty of following the puck in the defensive zone .. he lacks poise in his own zone and can take poor angles when defending .. needs to mature and learn to pick his spots better .. with the loss of Andrey Pedan, Brock Beukeboom and Saverio Posa, McFadden should be expected to play a key role on a maturing Guelph Storm team .. could be an impact player on the power-play immediately.
Michael Davies (LW, 2015), Southern Tier Admirals – 6’1″ – 195 pounds – February 5, 1997
Drafted 13th overall by the Kitchener Rangers
Davies is a high skill forward who was one of the most talented players from the SCTA this season .. smart and slippery in one-on-one situations, as he can disguise his intentions and protect the puck well .. he possesses soft hands in-tight which power his excellent puck skills, as he has a knack for creating space and finding open passing lanes .. pure scorer has the ability to naturally finish off plays .. utilizes his deceptive, powerful snap-shot to fool goaltenders in the offensive zone .. shot release is tricky .. a clever puck-distributor with strong vision .. does play with an edge, however it’s inconsistent .. will bravely engage at times, while other times look passive .. a conscientious worker, however he does have room to grow with his defensive zone coverage .. can struggle at times with keeping his feet active in defensive situations .. has suffered from a case of mono in the first half, which led to issues with his production and conditioning .. will have to continue to develop his footwork while adding depth and length to his skating stride .. will fill a top-9 role within a rebuilding Rangers forward core, working his way into a more prime offensive role as the season moves forward .. could see initial power-play time, if he adjusts to the league quickly.
Mitchell Vande Sompel (D, 2015), London Jr. Knights – 5’10″ – 171 pounds – February 11, 1997
Drafted 14th overall by the Oshawa Generals
Undersized defender who is competitive and tough .. stride is compact and explosive, edges slash into the ice, generating a quick startup burst and terrific turning speed .. he times open-ice hits well .. willing to engage to separate the man from the puck .. assertive offensively .. willing to take charge and get the puck into the offensive zone .. gains the line effectively, utilizing his excellent one-on-one elusiveness and soft in-tight hands to move through the neutral one .. good passer and flashy puck-carrier .. packs a sizzling slap-shot and one-timer .. proficient at walking the line to alter shooting lanes .. poised and creative running the power-play .. gradually building better structure and one-on-one technique .. tends to over-pursue and loses focus .. a risk-taker who continues to learn to be more selective and adapt better strategies both with and without the puck .. upgrades in his body mass and core strength will aid him in puck battles .. the captain of the London Jr. Knights Gold, a player who brings a high complete level .. can play both forward and defence, however is best suited as a defender at the OHL level .. may struggle initially in five-on-five situations, however has the ability to be an impact defender on the power-play initially .. at maturity, Vande Sompel has the ability to be an offensive, puck-moving defender who can generate offense every time he steps on the ice.
Matthew Kreis (C, 2015), Halton Hurricanes – 5’10″ – 155 pounds – August 1, 1997
Drafted 15th overall by the Barrie Colts
Kreis is a high-compete forward who played the season with Halton after representing the Vaughan Kings at the 2012 All Ontario Bantam Championship .. light and smooth on his feet with exceptional lateral quickness and dexterity .. takes aggressive edges and is effective at driving off and propelling himself forward .. quick and agile, makes tight cuts and can spin on a dime .. plays a speedy, up-tempo style with a good determination level .. anticipates the game well, guided by astute hockey sense .. poised and skilled in possession, can finish with a tricky wrist-shot or snap-shot that features a tricky release .. can get caught in possession and can be guilty of trying to do too much .. gets neutralized in traffic by stronger defenders, which forces him to take less direct routes to the net .. doesn’t lack courage, however still gets manhandled by opponents, specifically in puck battles .. possesses inconsistent aggression and intensity in the defensive zone .. he must dedicate himself to bulking up a lean body and getting stronger on the puck .. will slot into the Colts’ top-9 forward core initially, possibly playing a penalty kill role while adjusting to the speed and pace of the game .. projects as a top-6 forward with leadership abilities.