The day that so many players and families have been waiting for has finally arrived. The OHL Draft has arrived and with plenty of anticipation.
For the live blog today, we will go through with you every single round and discuss every Alliance player selected in the draft. Historically, the Alliance has produced approximately 42 players into the OHL Draft on a yearly basis. Not a lot considering that there are over 200 players combined in the league.
Just remember, if your name gets called to savour the moment. Do not dwell if it is lower than you were expecting as your draft position is just a number and your future play will determine everything. Those players who will not be as fortunate to hear their name, hard work can still present that opportunity to you. Mike Hoffman of the Ottawa Senators knows that first hand and he is a story that should give motivation for any undrafted players still looking to make that jump to major junior hockey.
With everything said, sit back and relax if that’s possible. The draft begins at 9am and we will be here with you for its entirety.
Round 1 – Pick 2 – Sudbury Wolves select Owen Lalonde (Windsor Jr. Spitfires)
Lalonde had a strong season as he was projected as a mid 2nd round pick during the preseason by many. Pegged as the best defensive defenseman in the 2000 class, Lalonde will bring stability to the Wolves blue line and be the quarterback on the powerplay.
Round 2 – Pick 14 – Sudbury Wolves select Owen Gilhula (Huron-Perth Lakers)
Gilhula missed some significant time with injuries this past season, but when he was in the lineup he was as dangerous as they come. Gilhula is a threat whenever he’s on the ice but also has the vision to find others on the ice and set them up for success.
Round 3 – Pick 6 – Kitchener Rangers select Eric Guest (London Jr. Knights)
Guest was one of the best performers at the OHL Combine and he was a projected top 10 pick to begin this season. Guest has some smooth skating skills, a lethal shot and great stick handling. Question going forward is whether he will remain a forward or move back to defense. Guest could be a steal for Kitchener at this point in the draft.
Round 3 – Pick 9 – Soo Greyhounds select Alex Gritz (Waterloo Wolves)
Gritz was a personal favourite of mine and was a huge addition to the Waterloo Wolves this season. Gritz began the year by scoring most of his goals on top corner shots, but as the season progressed he fell in love with his hands and began scoring goals for the highlight reel. Gritz has a knack for the puck and always finds a way to the front of the net.
Round 3 – Pick 11 – Sarnia Sting select Brady Hinz (Huron-Perth Lakers)
Hinz, along with Gilhula, were the straws that stirred the drink in Huron-Perth. Hinz was the big target in their series against Kitchener and despite double coverage he was incredibly effective. A bit small, but Hinz has a good vision for his line mates and a shot that can find any open corner of the net.
Round 3 – Pick 15 – Ottawa 67’s select Mitch Hoelscher (Waterloo Wolves)
Hoelscher heads to Ottawa as a hard nosed winger who continually takes the puck to the net, but can also beat you from the top of the circle or with some masterful stick handling. Hoelscher’s line with Gritz and Spencer Kersten was the top line in the Alliance this past season. Hoelscher has a high ceiling if we can get to a junior hockey size.
Round 4 – Pick 5 – Oshawa Generals select Nathan Torchia (Waterloo Wolves)
Torchia was far and away the best goaltender in the Alliance this season and one of the best in Ontario. He has the bloodline to play goalie, but his anticipation and quick reflexes made it difficult for teams to put many past him. Torchia has solid positioning and his glove was unbeatable at the Minor Midget level. Could be the goalie of the future for Oshawa.
Round 4 – Pick 6 – Soo Greyhounds select Holden Wale (Brantford 99ers)
A big jump for Wale, who was one of the big bright spots for Brantford this season. A smooth defenseman, Wale excels at joining the rush and becoming an extra forward in the offensive zone. Even with his offensive upside, Wale doesn’t sacrifice his defense for a chance at a goal.
Round 4 – Pick 14 – Windsor Spitfires select Chris Playfair (Waterloo Wolves)
Playfair saw his game begin the season at a high level and just continue to improve throughout the season. Playfair has some size to his game already but it is his quick thinking when he comes down the wing that gave him a lot of his success. Playfair is also a true leader having been the captain for the Alliance champion Wolves.
Round 4 – Pick 20 – Hamilton Bulldogs select Jake Murray (Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs)
Health issues probably had Jake drop to this point, but all the talk has been about his recovery and his excitement to get back onto the ice. Murray was the Alliance scoring champion during the regular season despite suffering from these issues throughout the season. A small forward who has success getting around defenders, Murray is an offensive threat in the OHL if he can grow into a junior hockey frame.
Round 5 – Pick 2 – Sudbury Wolves select Blake McConville (Windsor Jr. Spitfires)
Blake McConville will join friend Owen Lalonde and fellow Alliance player Owen Gilhula in Sudbury. McConville is a big forward who defenders would prefer to avoid along the boards and in the open ice. In addition to his physical play, McConville has a quick release shot that is hard to catch up to. He had a strong showing at the OHL Cup as he jumps up big being taken in the 5th round.
Round 5 – Pick 4 – Barrie Colts select Luke Bignell (Kitchener Jr. Rangers)
The captain of the Kitchener Jr. Rangers, Bignell is a very physical centre who has a knack for putting the puck in the net. Bignell threw some of the biggest hits I saw this season and he always seemed to be the one in the middle of any scrums in front of the opposing net. With his father and brother both playing long junior careers, Bignell has the lineage to make an impact at the junior level.
Round 6 – Pick 4 – Hamilton Bulldogs select Derek Seguin (Hamilton Huskies)
The best pure goal scorer in the Alliance this season, Derek Seguin will stay at home in Hamilton and join the Bulldogs squad. Leading the league in goals for almost the entire season, there was no denying his offensive prowess. Late in the season is when Seguin really started to show some serious defensive play and became more of a two way forward, although defensive play still needs some work.
Round 7 – Pick 7 – Mississauga Steelheads select Mason Hardy (Waterloo Wolves)
A big, physical defenseman with a bullet from the point, Hardy has the size and physical play to be able to make the transition to the junior game. His length keeps many forwards to the outside and his strength eliminates those who take it to the middle. Hardy had a plethora of penalty minutes this season and will need to eliminate those in crucial moments of the game.
Round 7 – Pick 12 – Niagara Ice Dogs select Joel Mazzilli (London Jr. Knights)
The top goal scorer for the London Jr. Knights, Mazzilli just always happened to have the puck on his stick whenever he was in a scoring area. Separated from his brother Noah, Mazzilli flourished when he played with Eric Guest and controlled the play down low on the powerplay. With his scoring ability, Mazzilli should be able to find a spot on a future Niagara team.
Round 8 – Pick 5 – Saginaw Spirit select Tyler McBay (Waterloo Wolves)
McBay is a very smooth skating defenseman who uses his body very well on the defensive end to muscle forwards off the puck. McBay is very offensive and appears very light on his skates. Strong skater who can turn on a dime, he led the Waterloo powerplay and facilitated it well.
Round 8 – Pick 6 – Oshawa Generals select Grant Spence (Chatham-Kent Cyclones)
Spence was a late bloomer in the Alliance this year. He really began opening eyes when he was scoring at will during the Alliance All Star weekend. Spence is very calm in the offensive zone and that helps him make the quick decisions that lead to good chances. Being bigger in size also keeps him on the puck even with defenders around him.
Round 8 – Pick 10 – Owen Sound Attack select Spencer Kersten (Waterloo Wolves)
The fastest skating forward in the Alliance, speed is the name of Kersten’s game. Kersten needs very little ice to get going but when he does, it is difficult to catch up. Add in some smooth stick handling and that is why he was so successful playing with Gritz and Hoelscher. Despite small stature, Kersten was still a player who got into the corners. A very solid pick in the 8th round.
Round 9 – Pick 3 – Flint Firebirds select Eric Uba (Kitchener Jr. Rangers)
Uba was consistently the best forward for Kitchener this season. His size suggests that he would be a power forward, but he plays a skilled forwards game. Uba possesses a laser beam for a shot and he has picked corners that shouldn’t be picked. Not incredibly solid on the defensive side, which can be worked on. Favourite move is to come around the top of the circle and go top shelf.
Round 9 – Pick 6 – Oshawa Generals select Isaac Taylor (Hamilton Huskies)
Taylor is a big kid who plays a physical power forward style. In addition to that style, Taylor has a soft touch with the puck down low and in close to the net. He will need to try and increase his speed to transition to the next level, but the size definitely puts him in a position to make that move to the next level.
Round 9 – Pick 7 – Mississauga Steelheads select Isaac Walker (London Jr. Knights)
Walker was one of the top performing defense at the OHL Combine during the on ice drills. Walker was the quarterback on defense for London and also controlled things on the second PP unit. Has some resemblance to Ryan Martin of the 1999 London squad.
Round 9 – Pick 8 – Peterborough Petes select Brady MacDonald (Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs)
MacDonald stands at six feet four inches tall and that alone makes him a promising prospect. Add in his smooth skating and point shot and it gets even better. Adding weight will increase his chances at making an impact in the OHL. At 15, he could still add a few inches which would make him a potential steal of the draft.
Round 10 – Pick 7 – Mississauga Steelheads select Jordan Hurtubise (Lambton Jr. Sting)
Hurtubise is another one of these very tall defenders who, with some added weight, could become a very good junior player. Right now, Hurtubise likes to play a little more of an offensive game, but his length is his key to success in his own end. Listed at just 158 pounds, Hurtubise will know exactly what to work on in the coming season.
Round 10 – Pick 19 – Barrie Colts select Tristan De Jong (Waterloo Wolves)
De Jong is very similar to teammate Mason Hardy in the fact that they are both big in stature and posses a booming slap shot from the point. Biggest difference between the two is that De Jong plays a cleaner physical game and does often join the rush. A player we had ranked in the top 15 in the Alliance, Barrie may have found a gem in the latter rounds.
Round 13 – Pick 1 – Guelph Storm select Rewdy Scott (Cambridge Hawks)
Round 13 – Pick 4 – Hamilton Bulldogs select Kyle Fisher (London Jr. Knights)
Round 13 – Pick 6 – Oshawa Generals select Eric Gibb (Huron-Perth Lakers)
Round 13 – Pick 8 – Peterborough Petes select Parker Casey (Waterloo Wolves)
Round 14 – Pick 8 – Peterborough Petes select Jake Nimmo (Sun County Panthers)
Round 15 – Pick 3 – Flint Firebirds select Ty Glover (Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs)
Round 15 – Pick 9 – Windsor Spitfires select Jack Bowler (Sun County Panthers)
Round 15 – Pick 14 – Windsor Spitfires select Kory Silverio (Windsor Jr. Spitfires)
Round 15 – Pick 16 – Sarnia Sting select Jakob Knowles (Lambton Jr. Sting)
Round 15 – Pick 17 – Barrie Colts select Addison Macey (Kitchener Jr. Rangers)
Round 15 – Pick 18 – Kingston Frontenacs select Colt Corpse (Brantford 99ers)
Round 15 – Pick 20 – Erie Otters select Dan Murphy (Brantford 99ers)