Consistency has OHLers shining
Time is running out for Ontario Hockey League draft eligibles to make an impression.
And with time at a premium, many member of the 2013 draft class are doing just that in Ontario. Others, like Kerby Rychel of the Windsor Spitfires, have been doing it all year.
Currently 22nd overall in Future Considerations January ranking for the 2013 NHL Draft, the big left winger has been a model of consistency all season with Windsor. His offensive skills are hard to miss, and his knack for going to the net is unparalleled. One of his biggest assets is his already NHL caliber shot, which he loves to use on a regular basis.
Through 55 games this season, Rychel has 32 goals and 67 points, a total that puts him 10th overall in OHL scoring. Not only can he put the puck in the net on a consistent basis, but he also dishes the puck with his good vision. His 11 assists in January to go along with a five assist night against Peterborough in early February showcased his passing abilities.
Although, at this point in the season it seems unlikely for Windsor to make the playoffs, Rychel has shown all season that he is elite power-forward in the making who has talent and the work ethic to be a successful NHL player. A strong end to his season will only help his draft stock come June.
Another player who, like Rychel, has been living up to expectations this season is Max Domi of the London Knights.
Domi is a highly offensively skilled player who already possesses NHL speed which is very evident every time he steps on the ice. His skill set in the offensive zone is off the charts, as his soft hands and great vision are major reasons for his tremendous play.
Domi’s solid and consistent play throughout the season has been a strong point for him. His 70 points through 52 games this season includes 30 goals and puts him eighth overall in OHL scoring. Ranked 14th by Future Considerations, Domi is clearly going to draw a lot of attention for NHL teams looking for a highly skilled centre. The only concern for NHL teams is Domi’s size, but that will be overlooked for obvious reasons.
As close as the NHL draft might be for Domi, his focus right now is on leading the Knights to another OHL Championship and a trip to the 2013 Memorial Cup, where he and the rest of the Knights would like nothing more than to hoist the prize after falling a goal short last year.
While Rychel and Domi have been loud all season, the trajectory of Saginaw Spirit forward Jimmy Lodge has quietly gone about his business.
With the departure of Vincent Trocheck earlier this season, Lodge has taken on more offensive responsibility and has been flourishing. With 55 points in 51 games, Lodge has elevated his game from a year ago and NHL scouts have taken notice.
His deceptive speed, puck skills, and big frame are just a few of the tools which Lodge already has to his game. All the potential is there for him to be a good NHL player. Lodge will have to continue his strong play during the last month of the season as Saginaw looks to get into the playoff picture and he looks for his draft stock to rise even higher.
With time running out on the OHL season, players will be trying to prove that they deserve to have their names called in June at the NHL Draft.
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