The next wave of Ontario Minor Hockey Association players to start on the path to hockey stardom will see their names posted during the Ontario Hockey League priority selection this Saturday, April 5 which is conducted online at www.ontariohockeyleague.com.
The OMHA has a long and recent history of developing top-rated talent for the Ontario Hockey League including ninety-six players selected last season.
Every Ontario Minor Hockey Association Minor Midget AAA Team was represented in last years’ OHL Priority Selection as each team had at least one player drafted, a testament to the development programs throughout the OMHA.
As we look towards Saturdays draft, we profile ten top OMHA players that will have their names called early in the Draft.
The best player on one of the best teams in the OMHA, Saigeon has all the tools to be an elite level OHL player, he has size (6.01 185 lbs.) high-end skill, a great shoot and understands the game well. More importantly he makes the players around him better and looks to make a difference whenever he is on the ice.
Ang very skilled offensive player that has the ability to change a game in a single shift. One of the best skaters in the draft with perhaps the best three-steps and acceleration, he can beat a defender with his speed and puck skills. Competes well every shift and is a very smart hockey player.
In a game that has had a shift from big and brawn to speed and skill (where size takes a backseat), finding players with both size and skill can be difficult. Having a high size-to-skill ratio is sought after commodity for OHL Teams. Hotchkiss has one of the higher size-to-skill ratios. At 6.02 and 195 lbs. he is a man and give him the puck on his stick and he will dazzle with his elite level hands and a lethal shot that he gets away quickly. When he is on his game he dominates and has a propensity to score highlight reel goals.
Scouts always look for players that are maturing and increasing in their ability and performance, rather than regressing. He matured as much as any player this season. At 6.00 and 165 lbs., he projects to only get better as he gets older and packs more muscle on his frame. Extremely intelligent, he creates offence consistently and battles hard to win pucks. He plays a 200-foot game and competes every shift.
He is another player with a very good size-to-skill ratio. At 6.02 and 190 lbs. he has the size to win battles and gain space and has the skill level to put up a lot of numbers. Good hockey sense and sees the ice very well. When he competes hard he can be dominate.
The Smooth skating Power Forward has high-end skill and competes every shift. Rangy with the puck he understands the game well and as a result he is usually in the right place on the ice and ends up with the puck on his stick. Combined with his teammate Colin Tonge, they were the best one-two combination in the OMHA this year.
Timms is a great example of the “new-age defenceman”. At 5.09 and 175 lbs. he is considered undersized by OHL standards but as previously mentioned, in the new-way the game is played size takes a backseat to other attributes. He is a very good skater, has great skills, understands the game well, and sees the ice well. One of the most important assets a defenceman can add to the game these days is the transition game. A great example of this is the recent Canadian Men’s Olympic Team with the likes of Drew Doughty and Duncan Keith. Similar to them, once he gains possession of the puck he can transition it from defense to offence in a hurry and as a result creating offence for his team.
He was a leader of his team in every aspect. Plays effectively in every situation and logs a lot of quality minutes. Has very good puck skills and sees the ice very well. Can shutdown the opposition and contribute offensively.
Connor is a big strong player that has an elite level work ethic and uses his size and strength to his advantage by driving the net and protecting the puck. His battle and compete level in all three zones of the ice is very high and as a result he is effective in all situations. He is the type of player that every coach wants on his team.
Perhaps the strongest player in the draft, he is a very hard to play against with his high compete level and physical game. He wins puck battles on a consistent basis and has the skill level and hockey smarts to be effect with the puck after he gains possession. His commitment to details, especially on the defensive side of the puck makes him a effective in all areas of the ice and as a result and sought after commodity.