Chatham-Kent’s Top 10 Hockey Prospects: 6-10

Drew Marlatt of the Blenheim Blades - Photo by Kelsey Vermeersch

Drew Marlatt of the Blenheim Blades – Photo by Kelsey Vermeersch

Two years ago, we compiled a list of Chatham-Kent’s Top Five Hockey Prospects. Our list included Seth Griffith, Wes Cunningham, Hokey Langan, Dane Fox, and Brady Campbell.

To make this list of the Top 10 Hockey Prospects in Chatham-Kent, the player must currently be an NHL free agent, and this year, we decided not to include professionals, period. For example, because Griffith is now signed by an NHL organization and playing in their system, he is not eligible for the list. The same goes for Dane Fox, who when we originally created this list was our number one prospect, but since he’s been signed by the Vancouver Canucks, he had to be removed. Kyle Hope however, who attended an NHL tryout, but it not signed, was eligible.

We were right with Griffith last time, which didn’t take much thinking, as he’s now playing pro in the AHL after being drafted by Boston, we were also right with Campbell, who we said would likely get interest from the NCAA. He is playing for the University of Maine.

The list this time around, is going to look completely different, especially since we decided to avoid all professional players. To be a prospect on our list, each athlete was evaluated on the likelihood of them advancing to the next level, and eventually turning professional. We’re running down the top 10 prospects, starting with players 6-10.

10. Dede Cato – One of the best skaters in Southwestern Ontario, period. If you watched Cato with the Dresden Jr. Kings this season as a 16-year-old, he played beyond his years, and controlled the pace of the game. Whether at forward or defense, although we think he’s a natural puck moving defenseman, Cato is dynamic. His being passed over last season in the OHL draft was due to injury, not a lack of skill. His skating is already at an OHL level. What he does next season in Junior B will determine how high his ceiling is.

9. Trent Fox – One of the highest Chatham-Kent draft picks last year when he was selected to the OHL’s Erie Otters in the 5th round. Due to numbers restrictions for 16-year-old hockey players on Junior rosters however, Fox was forced to head North and play high school hockey for the private Ridley College. Offered an opportunity to participate in a Junior-like program with training opportunities, Fox landed lower on our list for the mere fact it’s difficult to compare his development this season, to those in Junior programs. He remains a dynamic player with OHL potential, and will undoubtedly play Junior hockey next season.

8. Drew Marlatt – Marlatt is a complete, two-way player, and was named the Great Lakes Junior C Rookie of the Year. He thinks the game well, and uses his size to make plays. A Windsor Spitfires draft pick in 2013, Marlatt is a key component of the Blenheim Blades offense as a 16-year-old rookie, also being named the league’s player of the month in October. He will undoubtedly continue his climb toward the OHL next season with a prominent role on a Junior B team, a position he should have had this season. Marlatt showed well in Spitfires camp this year, and with a strong offseason in the gym, could fight for call ups next season.

7. Joseph Raaymakers – Identified as one of the top 65 players in Canada in his age group by attending the All-State All-Canadian NHLPA Mentorship camp this summer, Raaymakers has a long way to go, but is on a high trajectory path. The Chatham-Kent Cyclones minor midget goalie will undoubtedly hear his name early in this year’s OHL draft and will find himself on a Junior roster next season. Goalies are always hindered by a numbers game, but with Raaymakers reflexes, and ability to stay square to the puck and steal games, he’ll push for playing time immediately. Raaymakers currently is the Alliance’s top netminder in save percentage.

6. Brendan Johnston – One of the Windsor Spitfires heralded draft picks from last season. Not only was he a standout at Spitfires camp, he earned a spot on the Chatham Maroons Junior B team, splitting time with incumbent Darien Ekblad until Jacob Keogh arrived and took over the starting role. Serving as a backup for the Spitfires midseason, and playing his first OHL regular season game in March, Johnston will compete for a roster spot next season. His competitive nature, and ability to always remain square to the puck make him a tough goaltender to beat. If not in the OHL, he’ll start with a Junior B club next season.

Honourable Mention Levi Tetreault and Brady Pataki are key prospect on the Chatham-Kent Cyclones minor midget roster this season, Tetreault and Pataki will almost certainly hear their names this season from an OHL team at the draft. A talented defenseman, Tetreault lacks flash, but projects as a possible mid-pair OHL defender, and will undoubtedly be playing Junior hockey as a 16-year-old next season. Pataki is a big bodied skater who can finish and play a physical game. At the Junior level, Nate Pietens and Brayden Hopkins of the Chatham Maroons received consideration for our list, as they have a chance to move to a higher level, while Buffalo State College’s Brett Hope could eventually climb into the lower semi-pro ranks.

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