Future Considerations’ OHL-based scout Scott Palmer gives his thoughts on who from the 2016 NHL Draft class left him impressed, who disappointed and who his sleeper is on draft day.
There was no shortage of impressive performances from the Ontario Hockey League this season.
But over the course of the season, I don’t think there was a more impressive player in the OHL than Matthew Tkachuk of the London Knights.
Tkachuk is the prototypical power forward, and shows a lot of similarities in playing style as his father, Keith Tkachuk, displayed during his 19 years in the NHL.With a combination of grit, a strong work ethic, a wicked shot, and a flair for making highlight reel plays, Tkachuk is an offensive threat with the ability to play an agitating, physical style of game that can frustrate the opposition.
With all the skill the Tkachuk has, his greatest attribute may be the way he thinks the game. Very rarely will you see the kid out of position, or turning the puck over. He is constantly in motion, and provides his linemates with outlets in every possible situation. Tkachuk is pro ready, and will make an immediate impact at the next level.
Whether Dmitry Sokolov of the Sudbury Wolves can have an impact at the next level down the road will be a longer determination.
He came into training camp with the Wolves with a big reputation as a highly skilled, offensive threat that was a sure fire first rounder. Although he managed to record 52 points on a struggling Sudbury team this year, Sokolov seemed to be lost out on the ice, and didn’t give a consistent effort. Although his gifts as an offensive player can’t be denied, Sokolov struggles at the defensive end and at times can look very disinterested, and for me that has directly lead to his stock falling over the course of the year.
The opposite can be said for Logan Brown of the Windsor Spitfires, who was the most pleasant surprise of the OHL season for me.
Although Brown was highly touted, I wasn’t expecting a season like this from him. Brown’s ability to be an offensive threat, and a defensive stalwart make him incredibly appealing to any team looking for a potential franchise pivot. With Brown’s ability to dish the puck, play physical, win faceoffs, and his quick release, his game is very reminiscent of San Jose Sharks forward Joe Thornton.
Brown can do it all, and plays in every key situation. He adapts his play to reflect the opposition. He can beat you with his speed and skill, or grind you down with his physical presence. Brown thinks the game at a very high level, and always seem to be able to find open areas of the ice.
By Scott Palmer