Chatham-Kent’s Top 15 Hockey Prospects: 6-10

Brendan Johnston - Chatham Maroons

Brendan Johnston, who spent last season with the Chatham Junior B Maroons, comes in at #6 on our list – Photo by Helen Heath

After looking at the first third of Chatham-Kent’s Top 15 Hockey Prospects, we’ll now countdown numbers 6-10. Every athlete in this section of the list is expected to move up a level, or several, next season.

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

10. Dede Cato – One of the best skaters in Southwestern Ontario, period. If you watched Cato with the Dresden Jr. Kings last season as a 16-year-old, he played beyond his years, and controlled the pace of the game, scoring 10 goals and 19 assists in 40 games as a rookie. Cato is the type of dynamic, puck moving defenseman all tams covet. His skating is already at an OHL level. Cato attended the mini camps of the North Bay Battalion and Kitchener Rangers this offseason, and was invited back to the main camp for each. If he’s not in the OHL, Cato will be suiting up for the OJHL’s Toronto Lakeshore Patriots. What he does there will determine how far this pure athlete can go, as the OJHL, a Junior A league, is one of the top suppliers of the OHL and NCAA DI programs. Toronto is the reigning OJHL champion, and Dudley Hewitt Cup champion. Cato has more upside than many players above him on this list, but has yet to be given an equal opportunity, something he’ll get next year.

9. Jake Reed – A rough and tumble, versatile player, Reed was passed over in the 2013 OHL draft, but caught on with the Major Midget Windsor Jr. Spitfires ‘AAA’ team and made the most of his season, improving throughout the year. Reed then signed with the Carleton Place Canadiens, a Junior A club in the Central Canada Hockey League, who were the Junior A National Championship, RBC Cup runner up last year. With a history of sending players to quality NCAA schools, Reed looks to be on a path to advance to the next level in the near future. Located outside Ottawa, other opportunities will also exist if Reed gets off to a good start in Carelton Place, but the college route is most fitting, and with this step, Reed could finish higher than many above him on this list.

8. Trent Fox – A wild card in this countdown because he played at Ridley College, a private school in the GTA last year, Fox, a 5th round pick of the Erie Otters in 2013, has gotten bigger and stronger, adding to his already dazzling skill set. He’ll definitely be playing for a Junior team this season, however where is the question. With the success of his older brother, Dane Fox, who was the OHL overage player of the year and earned a contract with the Vancouver Canucks, bloodlines will be in his favour. The Otters could keep the dynamic forward, and from the sounds of it, Fox will be given every opportunity to start in the OHL with Erie. If he does return to Junior B, with Chatham welcoming a large crop of local forwards, Fox would be better suited, and will probably land on a team like Strathroy or St. Thomas.

7. Brady Pataki – A big bodied, power forward type player. Pataki is a man among boys, and will undoubtedly get a shot to play games with the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves immediately, who drafted him in the 4th round this year. A star for the Chatham-Kent Cyclones Minor Midget team, and one of the OHL Cup’s top scorers, Pataki has huge potential, and already has a lot of muscle on his six-foot-one, 210 lbs frame. He was recognized as one of the top players in the Alliance last year being named to the Alliance’s OHL Gold Cup roster. He could benefit from spending time in Junior B or Junior A outside the OHL, but if he finds himself on the Wolves’ roster, he could be a dark horse for scouts based on his size and strength alone. Sudbury is not deep, which could give Pataki ample ice time to improve and impress.

6. Brendan Johnston – The OHL seems to be the only place Johnston will be this season, but stranger things have happened. After getting his chance as a 16-year-old to play for the Windsor Spitfires as a call up last season, and saving the Chatham Maroons Junior B team during many games as they struggled to find a veteran number one, Johnston has proven he can be a difference maker. Positionally strong, Johnston battles for pucks during games and practices. With Windsor experiencing goaltending turmoil last year, Johnston appears to be poised for a roster spot, which is his to lose this year. With a full season in the OHL, Johnston’s stock will continue to rise. If he’s back in Junior B with Chatham, Johnston will definitely be the starter, but will slide down this list.

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