Navigating through the upcoming season injury-free will have a significant bearing on how high Mitchell Vande Sompel goes in the 2015 NHL Draft next summer.
The Oshawa Generals blueliner began the campaign winning gold with Team Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial - and then drew an initial 'B' rating from NHL Central Scouting - as a potential second or third-round pick.
However, being undersized by NHL standards at 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, the London, Ontario native will have to prove to NHL scouts that his diminutive frame can withstand the abuse.
Mitchell Vande Sompel (2015), D, Oshawa Generals (OHL)
Missed 13 games last year in his rookie season due to a concussion sustained on a hit from Mississauga's Damien Bourne .. won a gold medal at the Ivan Hlinka yet was unable to participate in the final two games due to a lower body injury .. selected in the first round - 14th overall - of the 2013 OHL Priority Selection .. the second-year defender already logs key minutes in all situations while being deployed in their first defence pairing .. a calculated puckrusher whose entries are clean and effective .. actively joins in the attack and spearheads the rush due to his deft footwork and ability to explode out of the zone .. his skating is elite as he possesses great lateral quickness and is extremely crisp on his edges .. also an outstanding backwards skater who uses his stick almost like an anchor to give him even more power and leverage .. his speed is generated through a series of rapid-fire crossovers .. very agile and quick off the mark in spite of a shorter stride .. powered by a well-balanced and strong lower body however he is not very built up top .. consequently, he can struggle at times along the boards defensively .. his lack of upper-body strength hurts his game, however due to his skating he is able to close gaps quickly which allows him to get on a puckcarrier swiftly .. understands his play inside his own zone .. can quickly side-step an opposing forward and make a quick outlet pass .. an efficient puckmover who doesn't over-handle the puck .. locates options and has a good sense for when to jump into the rush .. boasts strong offensive capabilities including a clever and sneaky snap shot .. patrols the line effectively and makes quality plays .. Vande Sompel brings a solid set of all-around tools, but needs to stay healthy this season while also gaining strength and proving his durability.