FC’s Scout Series: Scott Palmer (OHL)

Special To FC2015 Draft Center, OHL, Scouts Series

Future Considerations’ Ontario-based scout Scott Palmer gives his thoughts on who from the 2015 NHL Draft class left him impressed, who disappointed and who his sleeper is on draft day.


Who Impressed?

With the plethora of highly regarded and highly skilled players coming out of Ontario this year, it has been difficult to narrow down my choice of who has impressed the most, to just one player, but for me their was one player, a bit under the radar, that impressed me the most in Travis Dermott of the Erie Otters.

Dermott is an exceptionally skilled defenseman, with the ability to lead the rush, and contribute on the score sheet, as well as limit the oppositions scoring opportunities with his exceptional positioning and instincts. He took a back seat to Connor McDavid, and Dylan Strome, but I think that benefited him in a way. He could play his game without the prying eyes of scouts and management from around the NHL. His ability on the ice was maximized by his comfort level, and it showed every time he touched the puck. One of my favorite players in the Ontario Hockey League this season, Dermott has all the talent in the world, and could very well be a steal for a team looking for a dependable, two way defender. The NHL is a very realistic possibility, and although Dermott may be small of stature for an NHL blue liner, he makes up for it with his incredible determination and game breaking ability.

Who Disappointed?

Another tough decision. With the emergence and development of so many quality players, there were few who disappointed. The only player for me that had an abundance of hype, and never really preformed or lived up to that hype at any of my viewings, was Hayden McCool of the Windsor Spitfires.

That’s not to say that McCool had an awful season by any means. McCool had a respectable first campaign with the Spitfires, after his trade from the Niagara IceDogs, but the hype surrounding the former first round OHL pick has yet to be warranted. McCool is a big strong power forward prototype, with the ability to see the ice. He moves his feet well for a big kid, and drives hard to the net to create scoring opportunities. He’s fearless in that aspect, and works his tail off in the offensive zone. His play in his own end has been suspect. On occasion he looks lost in his own end, and is very limited when challenged one-on-one. Still a player that has a ton of potential, who will really benefit from playing on a much stronger team next season, I wouldn’t doubt McCool emerges as a quality player down the line, and with his impressive size and skill set, he could be an NHLer if his next couple of seasons go well.

Who Surprised?

I don’t think many people would have guessed that Zach Senyshyn would have put up the kind of numbers he did this season, his first in the OHL. Senyshyn dazzled fans and NHL scouts alike with his quick first step, and blinding speed. He drove defenders crazy with his ability to beat them wide on the breakout, and confused goalies by driving to the net, and using his wicked release to beat goaltenders on a regular basis.

After the trade deadline, Senyshyn saw his ice time diminish, but continued to provide the Greyhounds with an exceptional secondary scoring option, and someone who could fill in on the top lines whenever injury occurred. This fall, Senyshyn is primed for a repeat performance of his 2014-15 season, and with his strong work ethic, I could see Senyshyn easily surpassing his point total.

The only glaring weakness to Senyshyn’s game is his lack of responsibility and poor play in his own end. If he could put together a defensive game that could match his offensive instincts, he would be a first rounder this season, no question. He’s often on the bad end of plays in his own zone, and just doesn’t look 100% comfortable. I assume a lot of teaching will have to be done for Senyshyn to really emerge as a player that coaches will feel comfortable having on the ice in all key situations, and if this development to his game occurs, watch out.