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.