Scott Laughton (Philadelphia Flyers), C, Oshawa Generals
6’1, 190 lbs, DOB: May 30, 1994
If it becomes difficult to define Scott Laughton’s role with the Oshawa Generals, there is good reason for it. Laughton has done just about everything for his team this season. The Flyers prospect excels as a number two centre providing secondary offence yet one might take him for a third line checking forward with the physical play and defensive acumen that Laughton provides. Laughton’s tenacity on the forecheck and his appetite for throwing hits at every turn allows the Generals to pressure their opponents in the offensive zone for the length of his shifts. Laughton’s defensive efforts are rewarded with ample penalty killing minutes which he further justifies by taking away time and space from his opponents. Laughton is a 200 ft player and not surprisingly is very effective through transitions and zone entries. Laughton’s puck skills are often overlooked but his stick handling and speed allows him to bring the puck up the middle of the ice while his vision allows him to find linemates to create scoring opportunities. Earlier in the season, Laughton filled in as the number one centre for the Generals and executed the task admirably, displaying his ability to quarterback the team’s first powerplay unit as well as showcasing his skills in finishing scoring chances.
Scott Kosmachuk (Winnipeg Jets), RW, Guelph Storm
5’11, 187 lbs, DOB: January 24, 1994
As the Guelph Storm’s leading scorer and engine behind the team’s top line, Scott Kosmachuk provides a dynamic offensive presence, particularly in the attacking zone. Kosmachuk’s offensive talent is driven by strong puck skills and the ability to execute with very little time and space. Kosmachuk thrives in corners and crowded ice and is able to maintain the Storm’s offensive zone presence by either stickhandling his way out or by firing a pass to a linemate. While playmaking is a strength, finishing plays comes naturally as well – two traits evident when observing Kosmachuk perform during powerplays. Kosmachuk can be effective when the game becomes gritty and he is able to offer a strong presence in the slot. While not a two-way forward in the traditional sense, Kosmachuk’s quickness with his stick allows him to be effective without the puck as well. Developing a larger identity in the defensive zone would provide the Storm with a more potent transition game.
Josh Leivo (Toronto Maple Leafs), LW, Kitchener Rangers
6’1, 191 lbs, DOB: May 26, 1993
The leading scorer for the Kitchener Rangers, Josh Leivo is often the architect behind their top line offence. An exceptional playmaker, Leivo is methodical and calculating with his execution – allowing him to see the ice very well. Leivo can create offence off the rush but his vision allows the Rangers to establish a presence in the offensive zone and manage the pace of the flow with the opposition drawn to him. Leivo is comfortable setting up at virtually any location within the offensive zone, adding creativity to the Rangers attack, all the while keeping opponents on their toes. Naturally, Leivo excels on the powerplay. His vision and dynamic puck movement allows him to direct the Rangers powerplay from various vantage points from which he can surgically deliver passes to the goal line creating scoring chances. Leivo has developed better consistency in the defensive zone and this has progressed to being able to initiate plays from the back end, rounding him into a more responsible player.
Cody Ceci (Ottawa Senators), D, Owen Sound Attack
6’3, 215 lbs, DOB: December 21, 1993
In their trade with Ottawa, Owen Sound received one of the league’s top producers from the blueline. In particular, Ceci’s play on the powerplay has been exceptional. With limited skating involved with the man advantage, Ceci’s hockey sense and shot boosts Owen Sound’s chances of netting a goal. The Senators prospect uses his massive frame to protect the puck and uses north-south movement on the powerplay to give the Attack dynamic properties. Ceci plays the point with his head up and moves methodically seeking shooting lanes giving teammates an opportunity to move into high percentage scoring areas. Ceci is quite comfortable acting as quarterback for an umbrella powerplay which allows him to use a heavy one-time shot. Ceci is deceptive in his ability to join the rush constantly providing Owen Sound with odd man rushes. As a defender, Ceci is difficult to beat on rushes without lateral movement as he allows very little maneuvering space along the boards. Physical when needed, Ceci provides his goaltenders with breathing room, using his mass to box out attacking forwards. Developing his footwork would further advance Owen Sound’s attack.
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