Chatham-Kent Men’s Hockey Prospects: End of Season
Our Prospect’s list sees an influx of Canadian University players this time around, as local hockey players are coming off their OHL and Junior careers, and are still competing in USports hockey, which is becoming an ever-improving pro pipeline.
As well, we welcome a new number one, and expect to see a few Minor Midget prospects join this list as players find their teams.
In brackets are players’ previous ranking.
Watch List: Brady Stonehouse, Zander Veccia, Daniel Fraleigh, Anthony Lucarelli, Kayne Gagner, Evan Wells, Tate Bowden, Blayne Oliver, Ben Brooks, Matt Cunningham, Bryar Dittmer, Nail Hetherington, Jake Reed, Nolan DeKoning.
20. (NR) Darby Lemieux – (Chatham Maroons, GOJHL) – 2002 – Tilbury – With as many veteran forwards as Chatham rostered, there wasn’t much time for Lemieux. He’ll look to grab a bigger role and earn the ice time necessary to develop in camp this year. Good frame and good work ethic, earned tryout opportunities at the OHL level.
19. (NR) Adrian Stubberfield – (Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs, MHAO) – 2002 – Chatham – Don’t knock Major Midget ‘AAA’. Stubberfield had a strong season offensively, and saw some time with the Chatham Maroons. His Chiefs won the Alliance championship. He’ll be Junior B ready next season. He took the right path, one with a focus on development, rather than jumping into a poor situation.
18. (5) Ross Krieger – (Toronto Varsity Blues, OUA) – 1998 – Pain Court – He had a wonderful OJHL career. Honestly, this is a bottom half NCAA player, who will play next season in the OUA. His path isn’t complete, as the OUA is now serving as a legitimate path to pro hockey for players. He’s about to take a significant step up and fight for opportunities to play.
17. (NR) Nolan Gardiner (Windsor Lancers, OUA) – 1998 – Tilbury – Was one of the top performers for the Chatham Maroons this season. The step ‘back’ from the OHL/QMJHL to Junior B helped Gardiner’s offensive development. He plays with grit, but has shown he can score. He’ll get the chance to continue rounding out his game at Windsor.
16. (13) Lucas Fancy – (Strathroy Rockets, GOJHL) – 2001 – Chatham – Shipped from the Chatham Maroons, he took a while to get rolling this season, but once Fancy adjusted to life with the Strathroy Rockets, he found his offense. Look for much bigger things from the forward next season. He’s still on track to continue his advancement.
15. (20) Thomas Michaud – (Leamington Flyers, GOJHL) – 2000 – Charing Cross – Has hockey smarts, and was another victim of what seems to be a hometown curse for players in Chatham. A trade to Leamington helped him find more ice, and a bigger role. Was one of the top performers in the GOJHL in the playoffs.
14. (6) Grant Spence – (Georgetown Raiders, OJHL) – 2000 – Chatham – Had an up and down season in the OJHL, which a trade from the powerhouse North York Rangers to Georgetown didn’t help. Expect Spence to put up bigger numbers next season in the OJHL.
13. (10) Cameron Welch (Komoka Kings, GOJHL) – 2001 – Chatham – A trade from Chatham did Welch wonders. Playing in Komoka, he was given a bigger role, and he grabbed it. A late bloomer, Welch plays a well rounded, two-way game. He was a flat out killer for Komoka against Chatham in the playoffs. Plays in all situations, Welch can make another step up.
12. (15) Brendan Harrogate – (Western Mustangs, OUA) – 1998 – Chatham – Found his way out west to play in the BCHL and put up decent numbers. He will now take his game to the next step, challenging himself against men in the OUA. Western has a strong program, known for development.
11. (9) Brendan Mairs – (Strathroy Rockets, GOJHL) – 2002 – Chatham/London – Was Strathroy’s top rookie this season. A London Knights draft pick, Mairs faces the challenge of cracking the OHL’s deepest franchise, which always seems to find upgrades from across the globe. If he can make the Knights, it’s also the top franchise for developing pros.
10. (4) Lucas Vanroboys – (Prince George Spruce Kings, BCHL) – 1999 – Thamesville – Had a strong playoff for the champion Prince George Spruce Kings. Has yet to announce his next steps in hockey, but will have the opportunity to continue playing at a higher level. His game seems to be well rounded, and he’s definitely been a difference maker wherever he lands in a lineup.
9. (3) Brady Pataki – (Windsor Lancers, OUA) – 1998 – Wallaceburg – Put up career highs at the Major Junior level. He’ll play for the University of Windsor next year and continue his development at the OUA level.
8. (7) Trent Fox (Windsor Lancers, OUA) – 1997 – Thamesville – Signed a pro contract at the ECHL level, but never played a game, keeping his eligibility for our list. He’s destined to follow Kyle Hope from the University of Windsor to the ECHL once he’s competed against men, and seasoned a little more. A solid OHL scorer, the OUA is the perfect development route for Fox.
7. (14) James McEwan (University of New Brunswick, AUS) – 1997 – Chatham – Playing on one of the best teams in the country, McEwan is essentially signed on to play minor pro right now with the roster New Brunswick is fielding. He will continue his development after a strong OHL career and multiple NHL camps. AUS championship, and an appearance at the National championships. He’s still getting better. There is a pro hockey player here.
6. (2) Evan DeBrouwer – (Arizona State, NCAA) – 1997 – Blenheim – Didn’t see the ice much this year, but that isn’t unusual for a rookie NCAA netminder. Still, without game time, it’s hard to keep him ranked as high as he was.
5. (18) Craig Spence – (Chatham Maroons, GOJHL) – 2002 – Chatham – Solid. Played key minutes for the Junior B Maroons, which culminated with Spence signing with the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads, who drafted him, at the end of the season. He will still need a strong camp to crack Mississauga’s roster. Anticipated to be a one and done with Chatham, advancement to the OHL is never a sure thing, but Spence has a good shot, if he’s willing to work and compete for it.
4. (17) Brett Brochu – (Dresden Kings, PJHL) – 2002 – Tilbury – We have no idea where he’ll land next season. Still undersized by pro standards, Brochu rocked the Junior C loop this year, being named Rookie of the Year. Without him, the Dresden Jr. Kings likely didn’t have a hope at advancing. For a 16-year-old, the London Knights pick did all he could. Is the OHL calling, or an alternative route.
3. (11) Dylan Schives – (Quebec Remparts, QMJHL) – 2001 – Tilbury – We would not have pegged Schives this high at any point, but he just keeps working and improving. He had a solid QMJHL rookie season, and now, it’s again up to him to see where his game can grow to. Slightly undersized for a defender.
2. (1) Grayson Ladd – (Windsor Spitfires, OHL) – 2001 – Kent Bridge – Was playing well before an injury put his season on the shelf. Next season will be a huge campaign to help decide the ceiling of his trajectory. Bumps in the road just allow him to have the “late bloomer” tag applied at a later date.
1. (7) Deni Goure – (Chatham-Kent Cyclones, MMAAA) – 2003 – Grande Pointe – Absolutely dynamic. He carried his Minor Midget ‘AAA’ team offensively and turned into the 10th overall pick of the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack. As seen with the Chatham Maroons, his play has more levels it can reach when playing with and against tougher competition, a statement which will be tested at the OHL level next season.