The marathon has begun for Ontario Hockey League players looking to make a splash in the 2013 NHL Draft pool.
A fresh season presents an opportunity for eligibles to showcase their skills in front of NHL Scouts, as well as the opportunity for players passed over in previous drafts to prove to scouts why that was a mistake. Now a month into the season, many have already made the desired splash.
Sean Monahan is one such player.
If the Ottawa 67’s needed a player which they knew they could depend on to put up big offensive numbers this season, Monahan has given them exactly that.
Monahan is a delightful blend of skill and physicality that plays a smart two-way game. After already accumulating 10 points through his first six games (including four goals), Monahan is picking up exactly where he left last year. His biggest assets are his smooth dynamic skating abilities and his ability to slide into open seams rippling the mesh more often than not.
With a late 1994 birthday, Monahan has had an extra year to mature as a player in the OHL, a luxury that many players don’t get. In the end it will only benefit Monahan in his draft year. If he continues to put up blazing numbers this season, talk of him being on top next June might not be that far away.
Jason Dickinson of the Guelph Storm doesn’t have quite those expectation but has raised his after incredible strides early this year.
Dickinson has shown great offensive and defensive instincts and a knack for protecting the puck well down low, not to mention his smooth skating ability. His puck skills are impressive and he possesses an uncanny ability to find the back of the net on a consistent basis. If his four goals and six points through the first seven games is any indication, Dickinson is set for a big year with the Storm, which really comes as no surprise, considering his impressive rookie season last year.
If Dickinson continues to play at the level he has been playing at thought the first month of the season, it would come as no surprise if his name was mentioned in the same circle with the likes of Ryan Kujawinski and Bo Horvat when the season comes to an end.
Dickinson isn’t the only Storm player making waves early on, either. Flying under the radar is hard for six-foot-five defenseman Ben Harpur, but that is exactly what he is doing.
Physicality, puck skills, consistency, and above average skating for a player of his size are just a few of the strengths which Harpur possesses. Though he posted just four points as a rookie, Harpur showed that there was a lot to be excited about as last season came to an end and he has started this season much like he ended last season.
Offensively, he’s is not going to put up a lot of points but defensively he is a shutdown, positionally sounds physical player. His strengths lie in his defensive game so much so that he’s evolving into a cornerstone on the back end for Guelph.
A cornerstone up front is what Max Domi has already evolved into for the London Knights.
As a rookie last year Domi put up some impressive numbers, netting 21 goals and 49 points in 63 games while showing he was capable of changing the dynamic of game on his own.
If 11 point in six games this season is an indication, the five-foot-10, 194-pounder is back to playing the offensively dynamic game he played last season. With his elite speed and skating abilities, Domi can beat defenders wide. When you throw in his soft and quick hands, beating defenders one-on-one is just another part of his game. Vision and great passing abilities added to all of that make him the complete package.
His stock will only continue to rise this season if he plays the way he is capable of, and has shown, all season long. If his size makes scouts worry, he dismisses all concern with his play.
Much like Domi, Josh MacDonald of the Barrie Colts is trying to use speed, soft hands and an edgy attitude to dismiss size concerns.
But MacDonald has more work cut out for him after being passed over in the 2012 NHL Draft after a season where he had just seven points in 55 games. Starting this season with four points though seven games, MacDonald should get notice from scouts this season as they will not be able to miss his skating abilities. He’ll be forced to continue to stand out if he wants to hear his name called this June.
MacDonald has made his splash. Now he – like many others in the pool – will have to keep his head above water after an eye-opening couple of weeks.