Keep Your Head Up: Here Are Some Local Players Passed Over In The OHL Draft

Let’s be honest. It’s wonderful to be drafted by an OHL team. Let’s be more honest. Being drafted by an OHL team means little in terms of your hockey career.

Sure, the guys lucky enough to go in the first few rounds will play in the league. Most will go on to University hockey careers, some will play pro, fewer will play in the NHL.

A hockey journey is just that, a journey. One without a direct road map.

There are countless examples of undrafted OHL players, and undrafted NHL players who have gone on to incredible careers.

To boost the spirits of those local players who weren’t drafted, here are a few examples of local players who didn’t hear their names called by an OHL team, but went on to be just fine.

Ryan Jones – Maybe the best local example. Jones’ Chatham-Kent Cyclones ‘AAA’ team folded in his draft season, so he headed to the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs with some other local players. Despite the move, he wasn’t drafted, and went on to play Junior C, and later Junior B with the Chatham Maroons. Here, believe it or not, as a Junior B player, Jones was chosen in the 4th round of the NHL Draft by the Minnesota Wild. He’d play 4 NCAA seasons, being named a First Team All-American, and later play 334 NHL games, scoring 100 points. He’d total over 600 professional hockey games. Not bad for a guy never selected in the OHL Draft.

Dylan Schives – Let’s jump to a recent example. In Schives’ draft year, teammate Grayson Ladd went 13th overall to the Kitchener Rangers. No other Cyclone was drafted, including Schives. The next season, he made the Chatham Maroons as a 16-year-old, followed by cracking the Quebec Remparts roster as a 17-year-old. Schives recently finished his second season of Major Junior hockey in the QMJHL. Undrafted, but playing at the same level as thousands of draftees.

Ross Krieger – In Krieger’s draft year, 6 of his teammates were selected in the OHL Draft. 5 went on to Major Junior careers. Interesting fact, Krieger led the Chatham-Kent Cyclones in scoring that year. He was then a Junior C Rookie of the Year, a Junior B Rookie All-Star, and a multi-year OJHL star. Now, he’s outscoring all of those OHL draft picks playing OUA hockey for the University of Toronto. Flat out, he’s smarter, and more skilled than many in his draft class. And he’s every bit of the hockey player any OHL pick in his group was.

Jamie Schaafsma – Nope. Not an OHL pick. Played Junior C, then Junior B, then many years of professional hockey in the CHL, ECHL, AHL, and IHL, along with stops in Europe. In total, he played over 600 professional games, winning 2 CHL championships, an ECHL championship, and Italian championship, and served as the captain of his ECHL team for five seasons. Not bad for a kid from Blenheim.

Evan DeBrouwer – DeBrouwer actually put up spectacular numbers in his draft year on an Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs team that featured Travis Konecny and Lawson Crouse. He then took a winding road through Ridley College, then the Junior A in the CCHL and BCHL. In his final Junior season, he grabbed an NCAA scholarship to Arizona State. This season, he was one of the best in the country in GAA and save percentage. Not bad for a kid who was never drafted.

We could continue this. There are so many players locally who never played in the OHL. Players like Chris Bergeron and Ken Houston. Brian Wiseman was a late pick before starring in the NCAA. It’s all what you make of it.

Need more?

How about this list of players who were never drafted to an NHL team: Artemi Panerin, Sergei Bobrovsky, Curtis Joseph, Mark Giordano, Joe Mullen, Adam Oates, Tim Kerr, Dave Poulin, Borje Salming, Martin St. Louis, Peter Stastny, and hundreds more.

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