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Ontario Player Notes: Observations at all levels from Sean LaFortune

Evan Cormier of the Saginaw Spirit. Photo by Terry Wilson/OHL Images.
Photo by Terry Wilson/OHL Images

While I mentioned it on twitter the day of the trade, Saginaw Spirit fans have reason to be excited by the acquisition of new starting goaltender Evan Cormier. The former North Bay Battalion backup goaltender was arguably the top 97 born goaltender in the league, and could be among the top rated Ontario based goaltenders in Ontario next year. While it’s still fairly early in his Saginaw Spirit career, the early returns are promising, as he is sporting a .920 save percentage in his first three games with the team. So what's to like? He's a big, cool, comfortable goaltender who mixes positioning and economical play. He is smooth and confident, limits his movements and plays an economical style. Remember his name for next year, he should be at the top of the draft eligible goaltenders....Speaking of next year, Goaltender Jack Lafontaine has become one of the most sought after players in the OJHL. The 98 born goaltender leads the league in both GAA and SV, which is fairly amazing considering his young age. The Kitchener Rangers drafted him in the 3rd round of last year’s OHL Draft and are in need of a goaltender next year with newly acquired Jake Paterson graduating to the Red Wings system, so it would seem a perfect fit. Not so fast, as Lafontaine has yet to commit to the Rangers and is expected to keep his options open, especially considering that some top NCAA programs are hot on his trail... While it’s extremely early, remember the name Bode Wilde. The 2000 born defenceman plays for Detroit HoneyBaked U14, and I had the opportunity to see him play a few weeks ago in the Port Huron SilverStick, where he took away tournament MVP Honours. It’s hard not to love what he brings to the table, an agile, 6'3" defender with excellent feet and offensive tools. His game screams ‘upside’. I wouldn’t put him in the Jakob Chychrun category, but he’s knocking on that door. Not sure what route he will take, but the Montreal-born skater who plays in Detroit will be at the top of either the QMJHL or OHL draft charts next year....Don Mills Flyers winger David Levin has been deemed eligible for the 2015 OHL Draft. Doesn't sound like big news, but when you consider the path that he took to become an elite prospect, it’s fairly important. Born in Israel, Levin didn't grow up playing on ice, his love for the game was born from roller hockey, and he didn't even start skating until he moved to Ontario at the age of 12. Now 16, there are a lot of teams suggesting that he would be their top pick if they were picking first in April. While it’s early for that, the fact that his name is even attached to that level of hockey is pretty incredible given his background and history with the game….I’m not sure if there is a more undervalued NHL Draft prospect that Sault Ste. Marie Greyhound forward Zachary Senyshyn. The big, mobile winger has impressive hands, good offensive instincts and a powerful skating stride. Add in the fact that he's playing a top role on the best offensive team in the OHL, it’s hard not to like what he brings to the table. If he falls past the third round, it'll be surprising, he could be this year’s Remi Elie...Liam Herbst play during the CHL Top Prospects game was rewarding to see.  Anyone who knows me knows my affinity for the goaltender, who is the best I've ever seen at the Minor Midget level. He has all the tools, big, mobile focused and controlled, but has struggled to stay healthy over the past few years. While he's still got a long way to go (he has yet to complete his first full season in the OHL) but if he has his injuries behind him, look out, he has the ability to be a steal in the second half of the draft, especially considering that Ontario has a relatively thin goaltending group this year.