Buzzers eligibles attracting attention

Jedd Jones2013 Draft Center, Features0 Comments

The 2013 NHL Draft is littered with tremendous talent available for NHL teams to grasp up.

Most of the big names associated with the upcoming draft in June in New Jersey can be found playing the CHL, USHL, and in Europe, all of which have produced very talented players in previous years.

One league, which although has produced quality NHLers over the past years, does not get nearly the attention of others is the Ontario Junior Hockey League. Two members of the St. Michaels Buzzers are changing that.

Both Matt Buckles and Troy Josephs are hoping to pave the same path as Buzzers alumnus Andrew Cogliano, now a member of the Anaheim Ducks of the NHL.

Buckles has been having a terrific season thus far with the Buzzers, collecting 32 goals and 59 points in 39 games – seventh overall in OJHL scoring. The impressive scoring clip, combined with the draft attention he’s attracting, has Buckles driving the opposition nuts.

“I love the attention I get from opposing players,” Buckles said. “The chirps, the extra shots; it really fires me up and makes me play even harder.”

Scouts have taken notice of the six-foot-one, 204-pound forward, who isn’t shy to bully opponents either.

“I’m a big, physical forward, who competes hard, hates to lose, who has a strong shot,” he described.

If Buckles play is any indication, he is right on point. His size and skill set are quite evident, and at times he completely dominates opposing players. His knack for scoring is undeniable.

It isn’t just National Hockey League scouts noticing, either. The 17-year-old landed a full scholarship with Cornell and will head to the NCAA next season.

“Me and my family were invited to visit the Campus last year,” Buckles said. “I immediately fell in love with the campus, coaching staff, and the entire program, and it was an easy decision for me. Education was a big part of my decision to attend Cornell as well.”

It is clear that Buckles, not only wants to keep devolving his skills as a hockey player, but also as a student and by the looks of his numbers so far this season, has been doing a great job balancing his hockey and his schooling.

It’s a similar act that Josephs is juggling.

Committed to Clarkson University, Josephs has maintained his college eligibility while finding success offensively with the Buzzards.

But unlike Buckles, Josephs has gone through the draft process before, passed over in the 2012 NHL Draft. He’s dedicated himself to improving in the hopes that doesn’t happen again in 2013.

“I worked hard over the off season to improve my skating, my strength, and my overall game,” Josephs said.

He’s building that on an already impressive game at the Junior A level, one that has seen him record 29 points – including 14 goals – in 31 games this season.

“I’m a strong two-way forward, who skates well, competes hard, and sees the ice well,” he described.

Watching him play there is little to argue with. The sky is seemingly the limit for Josephs – and Buckles – who has gone from ambiguity to garnering draft buzz.

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