OHL draft eligibles excite through season
The 2012 NHL Entry Draft crop has been full of surprises and disappointments from an Ontario Hockey League perspective.
Players have thrived and rose to the occasion in front of scouts, while others – be it a lack of development, injuries, or uninspired play – have fallen.
One of the biggest unknowns for the NHL Draft this season has been Daniel Altshuller. It’s not that he has struggled with poor play or an ability to stop the puck, but he simply never saw the ice.
Through early January until the start of the playoffs, Altshuller played a grand total of three games, and was strapped to the bench behind veteran Kevin Bailie. After losing to the Niagara IceDogs by scored of 8-2 and 6-1, coach Gary Agnew spiced things up a bit and inserted Altshuller into the lineup.
He thrived with the opportunity and showed why he is considered one of the elite goaltenders for the draft. In a situation where many would struggle, Altushller showed his customary focus and positioning. He was excellent throughout the playoffs, and was the prime reason as to why the Generals pushed the IceDogs to six games.
From the start of the season, Trevor Carrick has been a player worth keeping a close eye on.
A graduate of the Stouffville Spirit, Carrick has always shown potential and has been a consistent riser. His size, strength and intelligence have never been in doubt, but where there were some concerns about the defenseman was in his offensive upside. That said, in the last few months, but more specifically this year’s playoffs, Carrick has really stepped up his game, and is showing himself to be more of a two-way player then strictly a defensive blueliner. His growth as a puck mover and power play triggerman has been impressive, and he was a key reason for the Majors push in the second half of the season.
Last year at this time, Jesse Graham was a player that everyone was talking about.
His offensive instincts and his ability to skate the puck into safe areas of the ice impressed, as well as his overall offensive instincts. This year, he still shows those same skills, but what hasn’t shown has been overall growth to his game. Graham has not shown a lot of improvements in his offensive ability, and has not improved on his weaknesses. He still struggles with his defensive zone positional skills, and is not nearly strong enough to win battles down low. He can win battles with his intelligence, but one would have hoped he would be stronger and more physical this season. He still is a player to watch for the draft, but he’s somewhat stalled in his development.
Heading into the season Mathew Campagna was one of the top OHL draft eligible players to watch this season. His intelligence and offensive skills made him an interesting prospect, and one that could sneak into the second half of the first round.
A mixture of injuries, a lack of opportunities and a lack of growth have really hindered him this year and have really cast a doubt on his long term projections. To some, he looks like the same player that he was years ago and has not developed to the point where a team will spend a high pick on him. His seems to be going through the motions at times, and although he does show offensive flashes, he just has not grown as a hockey player. A lot of these issues could be due to injuries, but even before his health struggles he had not shown enough progression to really be a high draft pick for many.
This season had high expectations of Marcus McIvor.
Many hoped that he would have grown from his strong first year, and would start to show that strong potential shown in Minor Midget. He played a solid defense first game, and was very solid in the top 4 for the Battalion.
As the season has progressed the offensive side of his game has not been seen and some real concerns about if he will be anything more then a bottom pairing defenceman at the next level have crept in. He has not shown much growth with his offensive game, and seems content to make the easy off the board’s play, instead of skating the puck up the ice and making a crisp tape to tape pass. He has recently been taken off of the power play for the Battalion, and one has to wonder if he simply is who he is at this point.
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