A Big Season For Grayson Ladd
The Kent Bridge, Ontario product is entering his second Ontario Hockey League (OHL) campaign, which just happens to be his NHL Draft year.
Mentioned as a player to watch in the NHL Central Scouting Services initial release, but left off the group’s most recent watch list, Ladd knows what it takes to perform in a draft year, but he’s not focusing on the talk off the ice or in the stands. Instead, he’s focusing on what he can control on the ice.
“It is a big year with the NHL draft but I think it’s along the same lines with the OHL draft,” the Spitfires defenseman explained. “I know personally I try not to read anything about the draft and what people are saying because you usually have a pretty good idea on where you stand with talking to your agent and the Spitfires. I’m working on my offensive game and also working on the defensive part of the game as well. The biggest thing is to have confidence in yourself and trust your abilities on the ice and don’t back down to anyone.”
One benefit Ladd has heading into this year is stability. After starting last season with the Kitchener Rangers, who selected him in the first round, 13th overall in the 2017 OHL Draft, Ladd was traded midseason to Windsor. Now, he’s got a team and coaching staff that he feels comfortable with, and that is placing confidence in the defender.
“It was difficult last year just with moving away from home and then getting traded and going to different schools and living with new billet families. I think being with the Spitfires now and the coaches that we have in Windsor that help us, and really want the best for us, is a good feeling and that’s how good relationships start with your coaches,” Ladd said.
The six-foot-one right shot defender has used the adversity he faced in his first OHL campaign to his benefit, and now, as a veteran, is ready to step out of the shadows and become a prime time player.
“I think being a rookie you’re kind of just getting your feet wet and getting to know what it’s like to play in the OHL,” explained Ladd. “After I got traded to Windsor I settled down more and started to play better and more. I expect more from myself both offensively and defensively along with my coaches who will expect more from me because it is my second year.”
With the season well underway, and scouts and fans eying the talented young defender, those expectations will only continue to grow with each shift and game for Grayson Ladd.