Along with watching minor midgets, McKeen’s correspondent Saeed Atcha has been taking in some drafted players throughout the OHL. Chiming in on drafted players from various NHL clubs, he takes a drafted prospects tour across the Ontario Hockey League.
6’3, 187 lbs,
DOB: March 15, 1993
Mark Scheifele continues to be one of the OHL’s most dynamic and effective forwards. The engine behind Barrie’s offence, but a sold two-way player at the same time, Scheifele is off to a hot start this season. Engaged in all aspects of play, the crafty centre clearly makes those around him better. Scheifele has honed his skills to the point of exacting precision with every touch of the puck. Scheifele sees plays before they unfold and combines speed with execution. Despite being ready to play at the next level, Scheifele brings a high compete level and consistency to every shift, using his vision and playmaking to leadBarrie’s offence.
6’3, 198 lbs,
DOB: January 22, 1994
In his second full season with the Battalion, Blujus is starting to play a greater role with his junior club. With many of his earlier skating woes behind him, mobility and range is no longer a critical issue. Aware of his deficiency in foot speed, Blujus compensates by anticipating plays and gaining puck possession. The conservative Battalion style is well suited for Blujus who will safely clear the puck from the defensive zone rather than rush the puck. Blujus is still lacking a physical dimension to his game giving preference to stick checks over a punishing style. His greatest contribution to the Battalion is likely his shot from the point which, more times than not, ends up on net
6’2, 204 lbs,
DOB: June 15, 1993
Not only is Boone Jenner a work-horse for the Oshawa Generals, he is also their offensive engine. His skating, once an area that required work, now makes him a threat on the ice as he creates scoring chances by pairing his mobility with his puck distribution skills in the offensive zone. Jenner has shown the ability to dominate the boards in the offensive zone, using his size and strength to protect the puck givingOshawaa very dangerous puck cycling operation. Jenner’s speed provides the Generals with successful offensive zone entries, often times drawing in a defender in the process. Strong stick handling skills allows Jenner to create time and space in order to architect the Generals puck possession game.
6’3, 224 lbs,
DOB: April 30, 1993
Tyler Biggs has added the dimension of size to the Generals top line this year. Whether cycling the puck from down low or providing net front presence, Biggs is a difficult to player to separate from the puck. On the other hand, Biggs will deliver punishing hits while forechecking, jarring the puck loose to create scoring chances. A speedy north-south skater who will gain zone entries for the Generals, Biggs needs to be more efficient with his shot selection as he tends to shoot the puck as soon as possible from low percentage areas. On the powerplay, Biggs is most useful battling for loose pucks at the goal line, using his strength and body positioning to pounce on the rebound or at the very least to provide a formidable screen for the opposing goaltender.
6’0, 190 lbs, DOB: January 24, 1993
An opportunistic forward, Matt Puempel constantly provides the Rangers with a strong finishing touch. While Puempel thrives in the offensive zone, he tends to blend into the background in the neutral zone, and even more so in his own. Stealthy in his approach, Puempel excels at finding open ice. Puempel is a pure sniper armed with a quick release and an accurate shot.
5’11, 176 lbs, DOB: March 31, 1993
The Kitchener Rangers’ speed of attack can be at least partly attributed to the skating ability of Ryan Murphy. Murphy combines fluid multi-directional skating and vision to rush the puck rapidly from the defensive zone to the attacking zone. The Rangers are able to maximize offensive pressure on their power plays due to the quickness with which Murphy can re-enter the attacking zone after a clearing. Sometimes guilty of trying to do too much on his own - a function of teammates unable to keep up with his tempo – Murphy often skates into trouble, leading to turnovers. Decision making when passing is a work in progress as is his ability to cover a larger forward with the puck in one-on-one situations.
6’2, 198 lbs, DOB: August 22, 1994
Olli Maatta is a mobile defender whose range allows the London Knights defensive zone recoveries and more offensive intrusions. Maatta threatens with an ever-present shot from the point increasing the array of scoring chances available to the Knights. His puck distribution from the offensive blueline is an asset as is good decision making between shooting and passing. Not one to panic at the point, Maatta will seek best option and executes it with efficiency. Maatta augments the Knights’ defense by having the ability to stand up even the most talented OHL forwards by managing gap control and strong one-on-one coverage. Providing a composed game from the back end, Maatta provides reliability and makes smart plays under pressure to clear the zone while being aware of his options. His durability has been proven on numerous occasions by the large amounts of logged ice-time, adding to his value.