Chatham-Kent’s Top 20 Hockey Prospects: 1-5

Brandon Montour - NHL - Waterloo Black Hawks

Brandon Montour, who played for the Waterloo Black Hawks last season, is our #2 prospect – Photo by Amber Schmidt

After looking at the first two-thirds of Chatham-Kent’s Top 15 Hockey Prospects, we’ll now countdown our top five prospects. Every athlete in this section of the list is either playing at a very high level, notably, one step below the professional level, or will soon be there.

Here are CKSN’s 6-10 Chatham-Kent Hockey Prospects:

5. James McEwan – Buried deep on a stacked Chatham Maroons forward corps, McEwan still managed to contribute offensively as a 16-year-old in Junior B. McEwan collected 14 goals and 15 assists in 48 games with Chatham. Possessing a blazing shot, and a willingness to go into the corners, McEwan will need to fill out this summer, but has a legitimate shot at a full time job with the OHL’s Guelph Storm next season. McEwan got a taste of the OHL this year playing 4 games over the holiday break while Guelph was missing players at the World Juniors. McEwan can be a game changer, and will see his stock rise even further up this list if he cracks the Storm lineup full time. Similar to the #6 prospect, Brendan Johnston, if he returns to Chatham, he’ll move backward on our list.

4. Joseph Raaymakers - Signed by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Raaymakers isn’t simply one of the best prospects in Chatham-Kent or Ontario, he’s one of the best goaltending prospects for his age in Canada. This fact was recognized as Raaymakers attended the All-State All Canadian NHLPA camp last summer, and this summer was one of 16 goalies in his age group in Canada invited to the Hockey Canada Program of Excellence goaltending camp. An agile goalie with exceptional athleticism, Raaymakers will battle for OHL playing time as a 16-year-old. A 2nd round pick, 37th overall in the OHL draft, Raaymakers is looked upon as a can’t miss OHL goalie. If he lands as a backup this season however, the struggle will be to get the young netminder enough game action so his development does not stall.

3. Brady Campbell – Statistically, Campbell had an off year with the NCAA’s University of Maine Black Bears, after setting the GOJHL on fire the year prior with the Elmira Sugar Kings, earning himself a coveted honour as one of the provinces Top Prospects. Erase the stats (1 assist in 21 games) though, and look at what else Campbell achieved, a full time roster spot as a true freshman, and being named Maine’s Most Improved Player, and it’s easy to see Campbell is still well on his way to becoming a pro. The NCAA will allow him the development time to get bigger and stronger, and his scoring touch, which was divine in Junior B, will return as he gains experience.

2.Brandon Montour – Slick skating offensive defenseman, Montour went from virtual unknown in the GOJHL last year, to the USHL’s Defenseman and Player of the Year, then to a second round draft pick, 55th overall by the Anaheim Ducks in this years NHL Draft. Leading the USHL playoffs in scoring, and finishing among the USHL’s top regular season scorers, Montour rapidly climbed the NHL Draft charts. He will play NCAA Division I hockey next year with UMass, but at 20-years-old, may not stay for his full term, especially climbing as high as he did in the NHL draft. Montour will have to add grit and defensive consistency to his offensive flash to succeed at the pro level, but the NCAA is the perfect place to hone his already overstuffed toolkit of skills.

1. Travis Konecny – Superstar. Sublime skills. Sure fire NHL first round pick. Any of the above definitions fits the Clachan products outlook. The OHL Rookie of the Year with the Ottawa 67s after being the first overall pick in the OHL draft, Konecny scored 26 goals and 70 points as a 16-year-old. He also topped all Canadian scorers at the IIHF World Under-18 Championships this season, including two points in Canada’s bronze medal winning game. Expect Konecny to hit the 100-point mark soon in the OHL, and move from a slick skilled player, to an overwhelming offensive force, who dominates each game. Why did Konecny climb abot Montour, already an NHL second round pick? Simple, Konecny will be an NHL first round pick.

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