Several Local Players Considered Prospects For OHL Draft
After having only one player drafted last season, first rounder Grayson Ladd, who now plays for the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, there looks to be more hope for multiple picks in this years crop.
Many scouts would argue, as many as 4-5 local prospects could hear their names called, although few, if any are sure things.
The top name is Brendan Mairs. Mairs was born and raised in Chatham, playing ‘AAA’ hockey and minor hockey in Chatham until his family moved up the 401. Mairs had 44 points in 33 games this season for the London Jr. Knights Minor Midget ‘AAA’ team, and added 15 points in 12 playoff games.
Moving locally to the Chatham-Kent Cyclones, several players including Craig Spence, Spencer Lecot, Tate Bowden, Darby Lemieux, Brett Brochu, and Adrian Stubberfield could all hear their names called. Of that group, Spence and Lecot, both defenders, are likely the most sure-fire picks, along with Bowden up front.
According the Andrew Sykes, the Director of Scouting for TheScout.ca, this group has a number of things going for them.
“Impressive raw ability. Rangy and skates very well,” Sykes said of Craig Spence, whose older brother Grant Spence was an OHL draft pick of the Oshawa Generals two years ago.
“Plays a heady and solid game in all zones. Poised with the puck and poised as a defender,” said Sykes of Chatham-Kent Cyclones captain Spencer Lecot.
“Big bodied centre with a good puck-carrying ability. Strong and protects the puck well. Threatens off the rush,” described Sykes of Tate Bowden.
The trio of Bowden, Lecot, and Spence also saw more lengthy auditions with the Junior B Chatham Maroons this season, with each playing a handful of games, and Bowden even appearing in a playoff game.
Sykes also described a few hidden gems on the Cyclones roster, who launched themselves into discussion of teams including goaltender Brett Brochu, who carried the work load for the Cyclones. Although undersized by modern standards, Brochu was the backbone of the Chatham-Kent team. He also noted that Darby Lemieux came on as the team’s best player by the end of the season, while Stubberfield was a consistent offensive threat for Chatham-Kent.
While none other than Mairs are pegged to go in the top 5 rounds, the Chatham-Kent Cyclones are likely to have their first multi-pick season since a very strong 2014 OHL draft year.
Another prospect from the London Jr. Knights with local ties is Joey Studnicka, who still has many family members in Chatham, and trains in Chatham with Athletes Fuel Strength & Conditioning.
Although there is much debate surrounding the first overall pick in this year’s draft, it is expected to be one of Quinton Byfield (York-Simcoe Express), Cole Perfetti (Vaughan Kings), or Jamie Dyrsdale (Toronto Marlboros). Perfetti is also committed to the University of Michigan.
The OHL Draft is held the first Saturday of April each year.