2014 OHL Mock Draft

 

Marlboros Mikey McLeod destined for Top 5 selection (Photo: Brendan Ross/TSB)

Marlboros Mikey McLeod destined for Top 5 selection (Photo: Brendan Ross/TSB)

The process of projecting and predicting drafts, at any level of competition, is relatively inconsequential. As soon as ink touches paper, the predictions are destined for failure with so many unpredictable factors contributing to the ultimate outcome of the draft. At the major junior level, it’s well documented that top end talents attempt to use methods to assure they arrive in their cities of choice. It is common procedure for players, parents and/or agents to play the NCAA card hoping to fall to their desired city and these games effect the final outcome of the draft substantially often forcing teams to pass on players they would normally draft based on pure talent. OHL teams have their lists sorted by talent, potential and organizational needs but when it’s time to step up and make their selection there are outside factors that, for better or worse, will dictate the player they choose and ultimately, the future of the franchise.

 

As a whole, the mock drafting practice is merely for entertainment purposes for hockey’s most loyal fans looking to gain perspective. Simple logical reasoning states that this entire activity should be taken with a grain of salt. The fact is, in one week from now when the OHL Cup Championships has passed us by as the season’s final scouting opportunity on the draft’s top prospects, this mock draft could look entirely different based on the tournament showings.

The OHL Cup provides a chance for scouts to double check their year-long notes to reassure themselves that they are on the right page with each respective prospect. It shouldn’t mark a time for prospects to jump to the front of the pack based on one weekend of performance. History itself would recommend treading carefully at the OHL cup ensuring that previous viewings are factored in as well. It’s a delicate process.

 

With that said, enjoy the 2014 OHL Mock Draft and feel free to debate away.

 

Notes:

Order of Mock Draft based on standings as of Thursday, March 6, 2014

Order of players does not dictate actual player rankings

 

1st sarniaSarnia Sting – Jakob Chychrun, D (Toronto Jr. Canadiens, GTHL)

Tensions run high in the City of Sarnia with the uncertainty surrounding the future of the Sting and adding a stabilizing player with a winning pedigree would certainly help a franchise looking to right the ship. Off the ice, Sting management is hopeful the franchise remains in Sarnia (and it looks like that’s priority number one) but on the ice, they’re trying to decide on which piece to add to their young lineup come draft day. Defenseman Jakob Chychrun is the unanimous number one prospect heading into the 2014 OHL Priority Selection Draft. However, Sarnia is all too familiar with drafting high-end prospects and watching them leave for the professional ranks after just a few seasons of action. As crazy as the idea may be, Sarnia may be more tempted to add Adam Mascherin and utilize his services for the next four years. It’s a notable temptation but for now, Chychrun should be their target.

 

2nd BellevilleBelleville Bulls – Adam Mascherin, LC (Vaughan Kings, GTHL)

Belleville represents another franchise with an uncertain future complicating their draft approach as the team will need to investigate and ensure that whomever they select will report to play for them. Assuming that Sarnia selects franchise defender Jakob Chychrun, look for Belleville to select one of the draft’s purest snipers in Vaughan forward Adam Mascherin, who led the GTHL in scoring by a wide margin. Mascherin may not be refined defensively but he’s a player who can step into an OHL lineup immediately and contribute.

 

3rd kitchener Kitchener Rangers – Michael McLeod, RC (Toronto Marlboros, GTHL)

The Rangers are a team in the midst of an on-the-go rebuild and Mikey McLeod’s speed and dynamic offensive game would add another element to a maturing young roster.  McLeod has battled all season long with Adam Mascherin to be the top forward selected from the GTHL and a case could be made for either player. The Kitchener Rangers sit in a good spot with the chance to add an impact forward capable of breaking a game wide open and McLeod offers exactly that.

 

4th niagaraNiagara IceDogs – Brandon Saigeon, LC (Hamilton Jr Bulldogs, OMHA-SCTA)

Scouts’ opinions vary on Brandon Saigeon but he fits the style of player that the Niagara IceDogs typically covet – big, strong skating forwards with a promising offensive upside. Saigeon has been ranked as one of the top ’98 players for several years now and the IceDogs could be attracted to his top end puck skills, laser-like shot and versatility to play several positions.

 

5th mississaugaMississauga Steelheads – Max Jones, LW (Detroit Honeybaked U18, HPHL)

The Steelheads would love to add skilled winger Max Jones to their lineup as he would join former Compuware U16 teammate Sean Day in Mississauga’s lineup. Brother to Plymouth (another potential destination) Whalers’ Mitch Jones, Max is a player with the total package including admirable size, tricky puck skills, toughness and a deceivingly dangerous shooting arsenal. With that repertoire of attributes, Max Jones won’t last long on the draft boards.

 

6thottawa Ottawa 67’s – Logan Brown, LC (Indiana Jr Ice U16, IND)

The son of former NHL defenceman Jeff Brown, Logan is a centerman with promising raw tools including a booming shot, rangy reach and good mobility. He possesses elite hockey sense and it’s scary that he’s just beginning to tap his potential making him a player the Ottawa 67’s could certainly build around. The connection to Ottawa makes sense for Logan Brown as his father was born in the nation’s capital.

 

plymouth7th Plymouth Whalers – Nick Pastujov, LC (Detroit Honeybaked U16, HPHL)

Playing out of arguably the best Honeybaked team to ever be assembled, Nick Pastujov is a dynamic playmaking forward who would certainly give strong consideration playing close to Detroit. Pastujov is a particularly smart competitor who flashes puck handling brilliance with timely dangles, creative passes and has the ability to remain patient and poised under pressure. If Plymouth could lock up Nick Pastujov then they’ll certainly press hard for his younger brother Michael who is eligible for the 2015 OHL Draft and is equally as impressive.

 

peterborough8th Peterborough Petes – Travis Barron, LW (Toronto Jr. Canadiens, GTHL)

The Petes traditionally draft players with high character and compete levels but also like aggressive and responsible players throughout the 200-foot rink. Travis Barron exemplifies that player and would slide nicely into Peterborough’s top six. With his tool box full of commendable attributes, Travis Barron will definitely be plucked off the draft boards early. Peterborough would be thrilled to get Barron wearing maroon for the next few years.

 

owen9th Owen Sound Attack – Tye Felhaber, LC (Ottawa Valley Titans, OEMHL)

Attack GM Dale DeGray has been known to be drawn to skilled players and Ottawa’s Tye Felhaber fits the billing perfectly. Few players have played as consistent as Felhaber in their draft year, starting with an impressive showing at the opening tournament (Toronto Titans) and continuing to the OEMHL Championship, which his team captured. His intelligent hockey sense is elite calibre and it plays a prominent role in his innate ability to play a near flawless game finding soft spots in the offensive zone and perfectly positioning himself in the defensive zone. He’s capable of game-breaking rushes but he’s more prone to wearing down oppositions through shear dominance in puck possession.

 

saginaw10th Saginaw Spirit – Logan Stanley, LD (Waterloo Wolves, ALLIANCE)

The Spirit will have several options with the 10th pick (currently) in their possession and could go a number of different directions. Logan Stanley of the Waterloo Wolves is an intriguing player that would strengthen the future of their blue line. He is a big, mobile defenceman who hunts down offensive opportunities. His size and skating ability are imposing features and although he needs work in the defensive zone and decision making areas, his upside is among the highest in this draft class.

 

barrie11th Barrie Colts – Victor Mete, LD (Toronto Jr. Canadiens, GTHL)

Arguably the draft’s best skater, defenceman Victor Mete will be one player to watch come draft day as his talent warrants a top 10 selection but there have been rumblings that he may be considering a collegiate commitment. The Colts are a franchise who would gladly welcome a player of Mete’s ability and he’d look good leading the rushes from the blue line in Barrie.

 

brampton12th North Bay Battalion – Matt Hotchkiss, LC (Whitby Wildcats, OMHA-ETA)

Whether they’re stationed in Brampton or North Bay, the Battalion scouting staff has adopted a trend of drafting players of similar style. Resembling previous first round selections in Brandon Robinson (2011), Blake Clarke (2012) and Brett McKenzie (2013), Matt Hotchkiss owns the size, skill and strong skating stride featured in the aforementioned OHLers. Hotchkiss has room to improve, specifically in the physicality department, but based on his projectable offensive package which features a great shot, North Bay may want to cash in on his potential.

 

kingston13th Kingston Frontenacs – Cole Candella, LD (Vaughan Kings, GTHL)

Coming off a fantastic playoff run, Cole Candella could be the perfect target for the Kingston Frontenacs as his poised two-way presence would transition into their OHL lineup well.  Candella is an intense competitor with no glaring weakness in his game. Defensively, he possesses a strong stick, good body containment skills and the patience to initiate an effective breakout. The Vaughan Kings’ defensive leader has been ranked as a Top 10 talent by some scouting agencies and Kingston would be getting great value if he were to slide to this draft slot.

 

sudbury14th Sudbury Wolves – Cliff Pu, RC (Toronto Marlboros, GTHL)

Over the course of his season, Cliff Pu has experienced criticisms both good and bad. Scouts had this smooth skating pivot ranked higher than teammate Mikey McLeod earlier in the season but he’s since fell due to a wavering compete level. Pu is a player with tremendous offensive abilities starting with his exceptional vision and deceptive puck skills. His polarizing showings from game to game might scare some teams away but getting him at 14th overall would be more than great value for the Wolves.

 

windsor15th Windsor Spitfires – Anthony Salinitri, LC (Windsor Jr. Spitfires, ALLIANCE)

Hidden in the southwest corner of Ontario, Windsor’s Anthony Salinitri will certainly be on GM Warren Rychel’s radar. He doesn’t get the recognition that the GTHL players receive but Salinitri made a point to get noticed at several prime showcase events. Salinitri was the offensive leader on his squad often displaying tremendous hockey sense knowing when and where to attack. He rarely makes a bad decision and reads the ice at ease which translates perfectly to his astute defensive game – an area that few can match in his draft class. The Spitfires like their local players but Salinitri is more than just a geographical convenience, his skills are first round worthy.

 

soo16th Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – William Bitten, RC (Ottawa Jr. 67’s, OEMHL)

Kyle Dubas and his scouting team have made a name for themselves at the draft table and it’s paying off on the ice. Their knack for correctly identifying high-end skilled players has resulted in a deep talented roster featured around a group of highly competitive possession style players. William Bitten has impressed playing out of the Jr. 67’s program in Ottawa and after several scouts have compared his style to current OHL rookie Mitch Marner, he will be a desirable first round target. A dynamic skater featuring high levels of speed and elusiveness, Bitten utilizes his mobility and crafty patient puck skills to force opposing defences into uncomfortable positions.  Come draft day, Bitten could possibly find himself donning the Greyhounds’ red and white threads.

 

oshawa17th Oshawa Generals – Sam Dunn, RD (Central Ontario Wolves, OMHA-ETA)

When one thinks of a typical Oshawa Generals’ breed of player, you draw up a player with strong possession skills, a willingness to get his nose dirty and a strong sense of how hockey should be played. GM Jeff Twohey isn’t necessarily known for drafting the flashy player but rather a competitor that will leave it all on the ice and buy into team systems. Sam Dunn is a defenceman who exemplifies the Generals’ style of hockey. Blessed with exceptional mobility and an impressive work ethic, Sam Dunn is equally strong at both ends of the rink. His defensive positioning, timely stick checks and suffocating containment abilities place him among the draft’s best and his hard accurate shot and first pass are noteworthy offensive attributes as well.

 

london18th London Knights – Clayton Keller, LC (Shattuck St. Mary’s, US Prep)

A consensus Top 10 prospect for the 2014 OHL Priority Selection Draft, Clayton Keller is expected to slide in the draft because of his commitment to Boston University but that will not prevent a team like the London Knights from selecting him. London has a good track record of getting players to report and that would be the hope if Keller was their target. Keller is simply a pleasure to watch in puck possession with elite level instincts and wizardry puck handling skills. He disguises his intentions well and his shot features both deceptiveness and quickness leaving goaltenders looking foolish. The Knights will be graduating plenty of forwards following the upcoming Memorial Cup and Keller could be the perfect player to step in and contribute in their absence.

 

erie19th Erie Otters – Jonathan Ang, RC (Markham Waxers, OMHA-ETA)

Competing on an underwhelming Markham Waxers squad, Jonathan Ang showed scouts that his potential is quite high and that he may have been among the top scorers in the ’98 draft class had he played on a more competitive team. With all due respect to the Waxers, Ang was easily their best player and on some nights he was shifting between centre, wing and even defense in order to free him from opposing teams’ top defensive matchups. An effortless skater with slippery elusiveness, Jonathan Ang showed in his second year of minor midget that he can be an offensive catalyst and dominant on most nights. He will need to continue to develop his net drive game and his overall ability to handle himself in the gritty areas could stand to improve but Ang is a player who’s just beginning to realize his own potential.

 

guelph20th Guelph Storm – Michael Pezzetta, LC (Mississauga Senators, GTHL)

Storm Head Coach Scott Walker prefers his players big and tough and Michael Pezzetta epitomizes those qualities. Pezzetta is an emerging power forward who came on strong through the second half of the season leading his Mississauga Senators into the OHL Cup. His game features physicality, strong board work and an ultra-competitive work ethic and he is a player that will hunt down pucks with an unrelenting approach. Around the crease, Pezzetta displays soft hands and a quick stick showing that he can strike at the blink of an eye. Pezzetta isn’t the most refined prospect and whether he can develop into a true number one pivot remains uncertain but his physicality, tenacious work ethic and proven results will garner first round consideration.

 

 

2014 OHL Mock Draft compiled by @RossyYoungblood

 

 

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