Alliance Hockey Looking Very Strong For The OHL Draft
With the Ontario Hockey League set to begin their entry draft on April 4th, many of Ontario’s (and American) best Hockey players sit in eager anticipation as to when or if they will be called to a Major Junior team.
Outside the players, many scouting services are also eagerly anticipating the draft. The long and arduous time spent on driving, viewing, researching, and writing about players concludes for this season as the draft encompasses all of this and more.
Alliance Hockey has a very strong selection of forwards in this year’s draft with speed, skill, and some size. While it’s not likely all these players find their way onto OHL teams in the fall, many will have a good shot at making teams in the future.
Without further adieu, here is who I believe are the top ten prospects in this year’s draft:
#1 – Bryce McConnell–Barker (London Jr. Knights): The Alliance Player of the year is the most gifted player in the league who possess excellent vision, goal scoring ability, and puck handling skills. Can back up defenders with his speed and is never out of the play due to good pacing. Very few players in his age group have the offensive skills that he has.
#2 – Hunter Haight (Elgin–Middlesex Chiefs): Very close second to McConnell – Barker. Haight may be a bit flashier with the puck as he has scored a multitude of highlight reel goals this year. Has the ability to takeover a game with an excellent wrist shot that he can release at top speeds. Very good playoff, even blocking shots late to preserve games.
#3 Brady Stonehouse (Elgin–Middlesex Chiefs): The leading post – season scorer was incredibly dominant en route to the Chiefs winning the league championship. Excellent first step acceleration and quick movement on his skates sees him break gaps quite easily. Can wire the puck from a slapshot or release quickly with a wrister from the top of the circle. Plays the point on the powerplay and controls the play well. Good player in his own end.
#4 – Liam Eveleigh (Waterloo Wolves): The best defenseman available in Alliance. Has excellent acceleration and can rush the puck with ease. Smart from the backend who can throw the opposition off with a tape-to-tape first pass and by moving the puck himself with his excellent speed. Really commands the play from the backend. Uses his speed to get himself back into the play when rushing the puck. Has good ability to get pucks through traffic from the point.
#5 – Owen Van Steensel (Elgin–Middlesex Chiefs): A very unassuming league scorer, Van Steensel is a complete player who does everything well on the ice. Van Steensel uses the body to create space for himself and his teammates, is a strong skater with powerful strides and good pacing and can crash the net and cause havoc infront of the net. While he may not be overly dominant in any one aspect of the ice, he’s solid at both ends which makes him an excellent player for any team.
#6 – Justin Dezoete (Hamilton Huskies): Has some of the best hands in his age group and can make the puck scream off his stick with a quick release and can also dish the puck quickly, tape – to – tape on either the forward or the backhand. Has tremendous quick burst speed in tight and can move the puck forehand – to – back and almost impossible speeds. Very smart player who can find streaking teammates.
#7 – Zander Veccia (Elgin–Middlesex Chiefs): An absolute hard hat player with skill, Veccia will grind until there is nothing left and is able to put up numbers doing so. Very physical player who takes the body regularly, causing turnovers in the process. Scores most of his goals in front of the net, either on screens or rebounds. Protects the puck well when skating, using his power and body positioning to keep control. Once he gets his feet moving in stride, very tough to move.
#8 – Patrick Thomas (Hamilton Huskies): One of the straight up, fastest skaters in the league. Thomas is very tough to stop once he gets a step on you. Can control the puck at high speeds and is also an excellent passer who can hit teammates while in full stride. Backs players up quite regularly once he is rushing the puck.
#9 – Andy Reist (Waterloo Wolves): Big body forward who uses his size to gain and hold puck possession. Good on the dot and uses his size to win key faceoffs. Has a good quick release on his shot that is also very accurate. Hounds players when he is not in possession and works until there is nothing left in the tank.
#10 – Austin Harper (Lambton Jr. Sting): A late season surge by Harper helped take his team from the bottom of the league and slide them into a playoff position. A strong opening round by Harper almost saw the Sting upset the Chiefs and had them on the brink of elimination. (Including an overtime Lacrosse style goal) Harper was excellent down the stretch and is a powerful skater with excellent puck protection that can break gaps. Good shooter coming in off the wing and can also handle the puck well at high speeds. When he has any open ice, his Hockey IQ is strong, and he controls the play well.
Notable players: Maddox Amaral (F, Elgin – Middlesex), Jacob Couchie (F, London), Evan Klein (F, Waterloo), Kyle Caron (F, Cambridge), Brendan Gouin (F, Windsor), Tysson Wassink (D, Hamilton), Owen Kindree (D, London), Landon Hookey (F, Lambton), Owen Findlay (D, Windsor), Dylan Roobroeck (F, London), Gavin Grunder (F, Windsor), Cedricson Okitundu (D, Waterloo), Koen Taves (D, Sun County), Beau Jelsma (F, Brantford), Jacob Julien (F, Chatham – Kent), Gavin Bryant (F, Brantford), Carter Coombs (F, Huron – Perth), Ryan Gagner (F, Chatham – Kent), Cory Jewitt (F, Huron – Perth), Steve Leskovar (F, Cambridge), Danny Scott (D, Huron – Perth), Nicholas Grainero (F, Windsor)
See below for video of the top Alliance Prospects: