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OHL Priority Selection Preview

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 04/04/18, 2:15PM EDT


Players to Watch heading into Saturday's Draft

The Ontario Minor Hockey Association is proud to continue its rich tradition of developing homegrown talent for selection in the Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection draft on April 7, 2018.
Players from across the Minor Midget age group are eligible to be chosen in the OHL Draft. Last year, six players from the OMHA were selected in the first round of the OHL Draft and 83 were taken overall.
The OHL consists of 20 teams located across Ontario, Pennsylvania and Michigan. They are a member of the Canadian Hockey League and one of the main suppliers of players to the NHL.

Make sure to be following the OMHA on Twitter and Instagram on Saturday morning for live draft updates and recaps.

We wish the best of luck to all of our players!

Players to Watch

Photo Credit: Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Quinton Byfield - York-Simcoe Express (F)

Size, skating, hands... Byfield possess all the attributes that project him to be one of the first names off the board in the OHL Draft. Byfield uses his size to his advantage by using his body and reach to protect the puck. This buys him time and space where his hands and vision take over. He knows where his teammates are and finds them consistently. His hockey IQ is high, especially in the offensive zone, as he puts himself in high percentage areas allowing him to show off his finishing ability.

Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography

Owen Bennett - Halton Hurricanes (G)

A goalie that covers the net well. This is partly because of his size, and mostly because of solid positioning. Bennett remains calm in the pipes and can keep any game close by making a big save. His movements are fluid as he follows the puck and doesn't slide out of position. Keeping his rebounds under control benefit him and his team as there are not many second chance opportunities laying around.

Photo Credit: Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Nolan Burke - Peterborough Minor Petes (F)

Has good hands and doesn't seem to lose a step when carrying the puck. Burke can change directions quickly and keeps defenders on their toes. Without the puck he has a sneaky stick, creating turnovers and quick strike opportunities the other way. When Burke has the puck on his stick, he can skate around the perimeter looking for a pass that will slice through defenders. When he finds himself in alone on a goalie, he can finish, making him a priority for other teams to defend.

Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography

Ethan Cardwell - Clarington Toros (F)

Cardwell plays with a consistent effort and is rewarded by getting a lot of turnovers. He has a low centre of gravity and a quick powerful stride. This allows him to be strong on his feet and get on top of defencemen quickly. Cardwell transitions very well into offence. With the puck, his head is up and looks to attack. Quick feet and good edges make room in the offensive zone where he likes to use his release or find teammates.

Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography

Luke Evangelista - Oakville Rangers (F)

An extremely reliable player when he has the puck. His decision making and ability to see the ice is top notch. Evangelista knows how to open up passing lanes, when to be patient, and when to be explosive. This make him one of the most dynamic players in his age group. He times his skating so that he gets the puck in full stride. With his confidence, his head is up reading defenders and more importantly seeing where his teammates are. Evangelista then lets his offensive instincts take over and he will creates prime scoring chances, which consistently get him on a score sheet.

Photo Credit: Aaron Bell/OHL Images

James Hardie - Barrie Jr. Colts (F)

Hardie possesses an elite shot that he gets off quickly and accurately. Combine this with great positional awareness and an ability to create space, and that made him one of the best scorers this year. He knows how to read situations and teammates in offensive zone well, allowing him find the soft areas that make him dangerous. Hardie also has the ability to gain the offensive zone off the rush where he can rely on his stick-handling ability to open up a shooting lane.

Isaac Langdon - Quinte Red Devils (F)

Langdon can take over a game with his skill and skating. He likes to beat defencemen off the rush and can usually get a step around them. What makes him dangerous is that he can get his shot off without much separation and in full stride. Without the puck, he has a good hockey IQ allowing him to find loose pucks and he has great hands in tight where he can score. Langdon is also an underrated passer as he can find open seams and make skilled passes to his teammates.

Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography

Ryan Mansfield - Burlington Eagles (F)

Mansfield was the catalyst for Burlington's offence through hard-work and having a nose for the net. There is no place on the ice that Mansfield is scared to go. He has shown a willingness to battle in corners and in front of the net, and for this he gets rewarded as he often comes up with the puck. From here he has the play-making ability and vision to create a scoring chance. He knows how to get pucks to the net and has a sneaky release when given the space.

Photo Credit: Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Logan Morrison - Guelph Jr. Gryphons (F)

A forward strong on his skates and whose speed can close in on defencemen quickly. His tenacity allows him to create a lot of turnovers. Morrison's hockey sense can then take over when he has the puck on his stick. He can make a skilled play to generate space for a shot or to create a passing lane for one of his linemates. His energy and work ethic are great attributes which rubs off on his team.

Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography

Jake Murray - Oakville Rangers (D)

A composed defender who can play in any situation. His skating is an asset as he is able to carry the puck out of trouble or jump into a rush to be an option for his forwards. When he is in the offensive zone, other teams will have to keep an eye on where he is as he likes to move into areas to become a passing outlet or to unleash his shot. Defensively his positional play is very good, being hard to beat out of the corner or off the rush.

Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography

Owen Shier - Central Ontario Wolves (D)

A solid two-way defenceman. Possessing size and mobility, he’s a smart player and makes few mistakes. He is strong on the puck and employs a sound physical game. The backbone of his team, Shier was called on to log a lot quality minutes down the stretch.

Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography

Spencer Smith - Niagara North Stars) (F)

Smith is a very responsible player who doesn't cheat on the ice and will give you everything he has. Smith loves having the puck on his stick and when he doesn't he will do everything to get it back. With the puck he is lethal, as his shot is very quick and accurate. He possess strong offensive instincts that allow him to be creative to find teammates or a shooting lane.

Photo Credit: Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Cameron Snow - Barrie Jr. Colts (F)

Having the puck on Snow's stick is where he likes it and this causes a lot of trouble for opposing teams. The puck seems to follow him and that made him a catalyst for Barrie's offence. His vision, coupled with his agility, allows him to be a smart play-maker where he can gain the space needed to find his teammates. Although Snow is a smaller player, his game is big. He plays feisty and he welcomes battles for loose pucks, often coming out with the puck on his stick.

Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography

Jack Thompson - Clarington Toros (D)

A good-sized defenceman with a smooth skating stride and a booming shot from the point. He does not blaze around the ice with speed, but plays a smart positional game that is effective. Really strives in finding open shooting lanes and getting his shot through, especially while on a powerplay. Defensively, Thompson does not get overwhelmed, but is able to read his pressure and make a safe play. He plays with poise and can be trusted in a variety of situations on the ice.

Photo Credit: Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Cameron Tolnai - Oakville Rangers (F)

Tolnai is one of the most sought-after players available in the OHL Priority Selection and has all the tools to be a star at the next level. The good-sized winger has elite level skill and hockey sense, sees the ice and distributes the puck well, and has big play ability. Tolnai has fantastic hands and opposing players need to be aware when he is on the ice – give him too much time and space and the puck is going to end up in the back of their net.

Photo Credit: Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Evan Vierling - York-Simcoe Express (F)

Vierling is one of the best two-way forwards in his age group. Blessed with elite-level hockey sense and skill, when the puck is on his stick in the offensive zone a scoring chance usually ensues. His attention to detail is outstanding; defensively he takes away time and space from the opposition and creates turnovers. He has a high compete level and wants to make a difference every time he is on the ice.

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