Sunday, May 04, 2008

OHL Draft

The OHL Draft was held yesterday. I left home about 8:45 yesterday morning with a few picks in the books and everything had gone pretty much as expected. But it looks like as soon as I left, everything went to hell. It's always interesting, to say the least.

It also bears mentioning that during last night's Kitchener-Belleville game, a Kitchener jersey got thrown over the glass after a game-ending fight, and was set on fire. A fight predictably ensued, which involved a 10-year-old getting punched in the face. A proud day for the OHL, indeed.

Anyway, on to the slightly less dirty business of the draft. The biggest news of the first round of the draft was Cam Fowler being drafted 17th overall by Windsor. The pre-draft conspiracy theory was that Kitchener needed a second round pick to complete a trade with another team, so they dropped Fowler to get that compensatory pick, and then possibly draft him later in the draft. I doubt that was ever the plan, I'm not even sure Fowler was on Kitchener's list, but it was an interesting rumor. Windsor stopped that from even being a possibility when they took Fowler in the first round of the draft. The Spits apparently felt they had a better chance of drawing Fowler since Fowler was originally born there, Windsor is much closer to his home in metro Detroit, and they have a pretty good team in a few years, led by OHL rookie of the year Taylor Hall and Ryan Ellis.

Fowler's family said he is definitely going back to the NTDP next year though. Who knows about the following year. There's no question he'd be playing against stronger, older, more developed competition at Notre Dame, but with it being his draft year, and Fowler having the chance to go incredibly high in the NHL draft, his chances might be better if he dominates against weaker competition.

As for the rest of the first round, you can probably assume that most have deals in place. Saginaw was obviously able to work out some sort of deal with Brandon Saad. The same can probably be said for Tyler Toffoli, Jeff Skinner, and Tyler Seguin. The other interesting name in the first round was Christian Thomas, son of NHLer Steve Thomas. I had heard Thomas was definitely playing Jr. A next year, but it looks like London has or will get him to sign a deal.

The second round was also an interesting one with Zac Dalpe being picked by Plymouth. It sounds like London had a deal worked out to sign him as a free agent, so a number of teams added him to their list to keep him away from the Knights. Plymouth took a chance on Dalpe and will try to get him to sign. I don't think he'll sign, but it's impossible to know for sure. UMass recruit John Carlson was also selected in the second round by London.

Three other Americans were taken late in the second round. Austin Watson was selected by Windsor, John Parker by Saginaw, and Matt Krug by Owen Sound. That's probably early enough that all three guys are safe bets to play in the OHL.

Alex Aleardi went to Kitchener in the third round, and will probably sign with them. Michigan recruit Jon Merrill was selected by Plymouth, and the Whalers, being in southeastern Michigan, probably has the best shot at signing him. Pittsburgh's Stephen Johns was selected by Windsor.

Getting into the fourth round, the kids drafted here aren't likely to get signed by the OHL right away. Chase Balisy was selected by London. I think he'll play a year in the USHL or with the NTDP, but I have a feeling that if London really wants him, they'll get him.

Windsor probably had the most interesting draft. If they get even some of the kids they drafted early, they should have a pretty good team, and I doubt they took a gamble on so many picks, so I think they'll ending up signing at least a few.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

If London gets 3 or 4 of those Americans that they drafted (Carlson, Knight, Tinordi, Balisy, Clendening and Gunn) watch out.

Ryan said...

I received an email regarding Austin Watson. He apparently has no desire to play in the OHL and is hoping to make the jump to the USHL next season.

Anonymous said...

The Knights don't rebuild they reload. They will get at leat 3 of these picks (probably Tinordi, Carlson, Balisy). Also, you said Windsor had the most interesting draft, which is not true. They were having the most eventful draft until the Knights grabbed Thomas, Carlson, Knight, Tinordi, Balisy, Clendening, and Gunn. Look out US here we come again!

Anonymous said...

Why did Gunn's stock drop so fast? He was telling everybody he was going in the first or second round and he drops to the tenth......Why? If he signs then there goes his "verbal".

Anonymous said...

how predicable...OHL draft post on a college hockey blog brings out the CHL trolls.

Anonymous said...

Gunn is not that good thats why his stock dropped and his verbal to Michigan State had everyone laughing all year. London will eventually get Balisy, Clenndening and Tinordi after NTDP. No way on Knight he is headed to Michigan after NTDP. If Windsor gets Watson that was the steal of the draft. I can't see him ending up in the USHL when Windsor is on his doorstep and probably wooing him really hard. After McFarland than Watson was the next best player available so if he signs with Windsor than the Spits will be loaded.

Ryan said...

I hope Carlson doesn't jump to London, but they seem to get whatever they want.

I've been hearing a lot about Clendening and his wanting to play close to home and then on to NCAA.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure Austin Watson has NO desire to play in the OHL? After he looks at the draft this year and sees that most of the top 10 picks were from the OHL, it might change his mind. Plus, next year's draft picks will come from the OHL with O'Reilly, Cizikas, Duchene, Ellis, Kadri, Holland & company being near the top. Plus, his old MySpace has a picture of a Plymouth Whalers player! Coincidence!?

And The University of Maine isn't exactly a hockey school with a good reputation of building hockey players, if he were committed to Michigan or Boston College, it'd be different!

The Windsor Spitfires is also getting a new arena for next year (will play in it in Dec) and I heard they may give him extra benefits...

Plus, the USHL competition is WEAK and would stagnate his development if he decided to go there.

Chris, you talked about how Fowler would be playing against "weaker" competition in the OHL. Stop being so ignorant! Watch this year's & next year's draft, and tell me many players come out of the OHL? Especially if you look at the 1st round. There are lot of BIG BOYS in the OHL, and trust me, they are definitely strong and skilled! Perhaps you should look at the rosters and their heights & weights just to verify ;)

Anonymous said...

Funny how you refer to the CHL as having weaker competition than the NCAA. Look how few players are able to jump to the NHL from NCAA at 18, 19 or even 20 compared to the number of CHL'ers who are ready to do it. Numbers are not even close. CHL send many more teenagers to the NHL. Yes NCAA is producing its share of NHL'ers but mostly players who are not ready to come into the league until they are 21,22 and 23. Fowler is so good he will be in the NHL at 18 or 19 so why would he waste his time at Notre Dame for a year or maybe two when its highly unlikely he would ever graduate anyway.

Ryan said...

http://mvn.com/qmjhl-maineiacs/
2008/05/02/ohl-news/

(that is all one link, wanted to make sure it was all visible)

And I asked about some info on Watson and was told...

"All I know is he's offensively gifted and speaking to with someone it sounds like Watson wants to make the jump to the USHL next season. "

Anonymous said...

While Watson is good, he is not the steal of the draft. There were several other players as good if not better than him (on the Compuware team) including Higgins and Aleardi. The steal of the draft was Aleardi in the third round. Everybody knocks his "size" but he finds the open ice and he's a tough kid. Feldman did a good job of promoting Watson but the Whalers didn't buy into it. Let's see where these boys are in a couple years.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Maine hasn't produced any good hockey players. That Paul Kariya guy stinks! And Garth Snow, Mike Dunham, Jim Howard, Dustin Penner, Scott Pellerin those guys are garbage, too. And those 11 Frozen Four appearances and two national titles in 31 years of the program, surely they were lucky.

(And all of this coming from a Badgers and WCHA fan, too)

Nathan said...

I think Maine has done well producing players to the pros.

SimonTemplar said...

CHL, NCAA, USNDTP, USHL, NAHL and on and on. People really need to take the blinders off all these leagues and associations do a good job.

Much like Chris says some players are better fits for teams in College and others are better off playing 80 games of CHL Hockey.

Bashing the Snot out of each other on here is not going to change players minds of where they want to go.

I am a long time OHL fan and it very simple. If a kid lands on your team is was meant to be.

Fowler I doubt every plays a game in Windsor. He has been very adament that going to Notre Dame was his plan all along.

London ( my home town ) may have done very well in this draft. These are not players that will take forever to land and all seem to have a connection to London somehow.

Balisy might be the steal of the draft. No college commit and he lands in London's pocket quite a way down the draft.

The summer recruit is under way.

Anonymous said...

I agree with a couple posts above. Yes Aleardi and Higgins are great players but also Watson was rated the third best player in the draft by Redline and by ISS so to get him in the second round if he reports is surely the steal of the draft.

Anonymous said...

the "saint" summed it up best; every league has its pros and cons in terms of hockey and other development type issues. And let's not forget how old these boys are; they think they know everything and they're getting advice from alot of people that may have their own interests ahead of the players'. The competition, if you want to call it that, between all the leagues is good for the kids in general because it gives them choices. The biggest mistake parents can make in these decisions is assuming their kids WILL play in the nhl. Whether its the chl or ncaa, if you end up injured or at the end of the bench, that's when you'll find out about the ugly side of sports.

Anonymous said...

Feldman's hype machine worked for now...only one problem, next year the kid actually has to produce! Anyone affiliated with Compuware last year clearly saw a different player from what was described by Feldman's internet fairy tales. How can you be the 24th leading goal scorer in the MWEHL and 7th in goal scoring on Compuware and still be the top rated American in the OHL draft. By the way, the family agreed that between Florida and Michigan, someone would man the internet at all times. Does anyone have a job in this family?

Anonymous said...

"Look how few players are able to jump to the NHL from NCAA at 18, 19 or even 20 compared to the number of CHL'ers who are ready to do it."

Well that's because many NCAA players wanted to graduate or spend enough time there to realistically graduate in the future.

Anonymous said...

Didn't all the analyst say the same thing about vanRiemsdyk and New Hampshire?!! Philly has said they are very happy with his development. FWIW Michigan, North Dakota, and Wisconsin are tops in pro development, just look at the numbers.

Anonymous said...

Simontemplar said it best, all the leagues are good at developing the player. Some are suited for the OHL, some are suited for college. Whichever way they go, good luck to all. Just a note to Chris who runs this blog.....WHAT A GREAT BLOG, KEEP IT UP. Not bad for a "Michigan born kid" :)

Anonymous said...

since many players opt to play NCAA,i wouldn't jump the gun and applaud the drafting of non commited players by the London Knights.looks like this year they drafted the best players still on the board & will work out the details later.the best players on paper may not always produce the best team in the ohl or any other league.
i think that the knights have wasted too many picks this time around.

Anonymous said...

LOL!!! So in other words when Erie offered to make Watson the second overall pick in the draft (he turned them down) and ISS and Redline had him top 3 in the draft and Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Maine and others offered him scholarships this was all based on internet website hype? That type of comment reeks of jealousy or stupidity or both.

Anonymous said...

Watson was the 6th leading scorer in the MWEHL not 24th. The biggest hype machine for 92 Compuware Players is really Carter Foguth. What a disappointment getting picked so low after bragging about how he was going to go in the first two rounds. Now he still has no college commitment, he got snubbed by the NTDP final 40 camp, and he is a late round draft pick to the OHL. OUCH that hurts.

Anonymous said...

I assure you that Austin Watson is the real deal. He works hard to better his vast skill set, is strong, and has a laser shot. Also, may I add that a true sleeper in this draft may be sixth round pick Austin Levi, also of compuware's u16 team. Levi is a great skater, who needs to work on transition, who jumps into the rush and picks up a good amount of points. Also, he is 6 feet 3 inches 190 pounds and has a whole blog dedicated to his progress as a hockey player. Another American to look out for is Jon Parker who is a top 10 talent, but fell to the second round because of his alleged commitment to UMASS. However, knowing Parker's father i truly believe that he will go to the OHL and will make an impact in the NHL one day.

Anonymous said...

Is UMASS the school most players pick that have no intention of ever playing college hockey?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mike Watson for your commentary at 9:34pm (LOL). You and Feldman have a great propaganda machine going! "Watts" is a very good hockey player, no doubt about it, but if you go by stats alone, then he isn't what you say he is. Let's just congratulate all these kids and let it go at that because the real proof in the pudding will come out in the next couple years.

Anonymous said...

Dick, Ron, Mike and the rest of you Comp people that spend there days on here posting - and reposting - go out and mow your lawn! You are sickening.

SimonTemplar said...

You hear this argument on players and their respective draft slot all the time. Many many players are picked early on and never pan out.

Drafting any kid at 15 is more of a gamble than Texas Hold-Em. Yes they show potential in Bantam and most top rated players do fine but around 50% never make it too far.

But we do hear countless stories of the " Late Bloomers " and most Championship Teams have two or three on their rosters.

This Watson argument is really senseless since there is now way to project how he will do.

Scouts can stear teams to the high rated talent making recomondations to the GM's. But once that kid is picked the gamble begins and no one knows how they will turn out.

It's a shot in the dark.

Anonymous said...

Hey all you Compuware people bashing each other's kid, it's time to stop! Gee, you play together all year as "teammates" and then once the season is over, you attack each other. Gee, maybe that's why you didn't win anything last year, because you were all worried about yourselves....that's called being SELFISH! And it starts with the parents and grandparents who promote this type of behavior...shame on you! Let it go people because at the next level the parents will have no say with the coaches and the kids will have to prove it on the ice, not on some blog. :)

Anonymous said...

OHL UPDATE.....The Windsor Spitfires announced today that "White, 3 x 5 index cards will not be honored as a viable source for recording indivdual statistics for the 2008/9 Season".

Anonymous said...

Simontemplar, thank God you're a man of reason. I'm assuming you've had a kid in this "arena" and you know what's going on. Can you continue with these common sense blogs so the parents can maybe "get it". Chris from Western College Hockey, you must be laughing at all these posts concerning some of the Compuware kids...believe me, it's been going on all year. Keep up the great work on your Blog, it truly is a valuable resource (outside some of these parent's comments!) :)

SimonTemplar said...

11.10 am, Anonymous

Thanks for the kind words.

What surprises me the most is families, fans and media expect so much from these young guys the pressure is almost crushing at times.

So what he was drafted in round one or two or three. Your future in the OHL begins in September not in May at a draft table.

We watch endless names of kids come from no-where being late picks or walk-ons and turn into real solid players with futures.

The problem with these drafts is yes the hype. The more you flash names in front of prospective teams they become familiar almost with that player. And some teams constantly draft from these lists solely due to poor scouting I believe.

Like the poster who mentioned Watson jumping to the OHL next year. Fearing it may slow his development by going to the USHL for a season.

Sure didn't hurt Sam Gagner playing one year with Sioux City.

Compuware Fans and Family, do get along your kids are only young once and the friendships they make now last forever.

I also think players going to the OHL and are on the cusp of making it. A year of USHL is great for them and it's no different than playing Ontario Jr B.

Both leagues I find very similar in talent. And both are holding good talent heading to the CHL or NCAA in a couple of years.

Great Blog Chris.

Anonymous said...

I also think players going to the OHL and are on the cusp of making it. A year of USHL is great for them and it's no different than playing Ontario Jr B.

Ontario Jr. B is the third tier of Junior in Ontario.

OHL Major Junior - Tier 1
OPJHL Junior A - Tier 2
Junior B - Tier 3

Anonymous said...

THE REAL STEAL was not Watson, Levi (lucky he got picked where he did), or whomever. When you look at the Americans in the ohl draft the best player will mark my words be Brandon Saad. These players made their slight mark in their own age group. Saad was a dominant player in the Midget Major division as an underager. You need to be able to play and produce against older/tougher players in the OHL, and Saad will. Will the others?

Anonymous said...

OHL draft-Let's face it, any pick after the 3rd round is a crap shoot, so for all the Dads that are bragging about their kid getting drafted...let it go. Kids that have played up their past year will probably do better right away. Kids that played at their age level....look out, especially the ones on the dominant teams. They may be on that third or fourth line with little or no ice time...how are they going to handle that?

Anonymous said...

Tier 2 = Jr B in Ontario.its just the Metro Toronto area wants you to believe its a level up but it isn't, they don't want to be known as a Jr B league for talent,which it is.

London Knights went 0-8 vs Stamkos & the Sting last season.they better get better very quickly.

Looks like Carlson is jumping from the Chicago Steel of the USHL to the OHL's London Knights.confirmed on some other hockey sites.

Anonymous said...

"London Knights went 0-8 vs Stamkos & the Sting last season.they better get better very quickly."
Seems to me, they've improved with the draft (potential anyway) along with the recent trades they've made with Kitchener and OwenSound... oh and Stamkos is good but he can't score on London if he's in Tampa Bay.