Chatham-Kent Men’s Hockey Prospects: Return To Play Edition
With a new season upon us, it’s time again to take a look at our top Men’s hockey prospects. After an almost entirely lost season for Chatham-Kent athletes, this list is a work in progress, but here’s a look at how our local prospects are stacking up.
Watch List: Braden Twigg, Brenden McKay, Tre Altiman, Lucas Fancy, Jack Martin, Aiden Edwards, Beau Depencier
11-15. – These prospects are a little older, and are either Junior experienced or NCAA experienced. Evan DeBrouwer has a new lease on his NCAA career with a transfer campaign at Bentley, where he’ll join Lucas Vanroboys. Dylan Schives has moved to the BCHL, while Ross Krieger will look to build on a spectacular OUA rookie season. Krieger is still one of the most talented and overlooked players from the area. Ryan Burke and Brendan Mairs will continue to chase college hockey dreams at the Junior A level.
10. David Brown – Chatham Maroons, GOJHL – The only other Chatham-Kent Cyclones player to be drafted this season, David Brown will start his Junior hockey career with the Junior B Chatham Maroons. Brown will have the opportunity here to play a scoring role, and potentially earn call ups throughout the season to the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit.
9. Alex Park – Ottawa Jr. Senators, CCHL – A growth spurt has the now 6’4″ smooth skating defender ready for a big season playing Junior A for the CCHL’s Ottawa Jr. Senators. A former U18 pick of the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, Park loves to join the rush, and can provide offense from the blueline. His season and development at this level will put him in discussion of college scouts.
8. Anthony Lucarelli – Powell River Kings, BCHL – The 6’2″ forward will get the chance to play in Canada’s top Junior A league this season, after he signed with the BCHL’s Powell River. A former U18 pick of the London Knights, Lucarelli is on a path to vie for a spot with an NCAA team. The BCHL is filled with NHL prospects and NCAA commits, so earning ice time will be Lucarelli’s first hurdle to pass.
7. Brayden Degelas – Sarnia Legionnaires, GOJHL – Degelas slipped in the OHL Draft this year. Projected to go in the top 3 rounds, he didn’t hear his name called until the 6th round. Blame it on the lack of scouting available to Chatham-Kent players during the pandemic, which resulted in the Sarnia Sting stealing the talented forward. Degelas has good size, and while he isn’t as flashy as some prospects, his game is far more complete than the average player his age. He may start in Junior B, but he’s OHL bound.
6. Ryan Gagner – Peterborough Petes, OHL – When Gagner finds a seam, he’s capable of explosive acceleration and can create offense. Committed last year to play Junior B in Chatham, Gagner signed with the Petes and will get the opportunity to showcase his high level skill set when the season starts.
5. Zander Veccia – Mississauga Steelheads, OHL – One of the first players to commit to his OHL team, the Mississauga Steelheads, Veccia will be expected to jump right in this season and contribute. He is an adept scorer, but translating that to the OHL level will be his challenge. With roster openings available from the pandemic, Veccia could slide into a scoring role immediately.
4. Brady Stonehouse – Ottawa 67s, OHL – Last season would have been Stonehouse’s rookie campaign, which makes this year, with NHL scouts watching, paramount for the Ottawa 67s forward. Fast and ferocious, Stonehouse should slide right into a contributing role with the 67s, who have become a perennial powerhouse in the OHL. His only roadblock will be the depth Ottawa annually features.
3. Declan Waddick – Niagara IceDogs, OHL – A dynamic talent, Waddick has a quick release and seems to naturally slide into openings where the puck can find him. A high pick of the Niagara IceDogs, Waddick will be in the OHL this season. He still has to fill out his frame, but his elite vision and capabilities with the puck will make him an immediate scoring threat at the OHL level.
2. Deni Goure – Owen Sound Attack, OHL – He was the 83rd ranked North American skater heading into this years NHL Draft, but went unselected. Goure undoubtedly fell victim to a year without playing due to the pandemic. He has dynamic offensive talents, and should be a top producer in the OHL this year. There will be many overlooked prospects selected at next years NHL Draft, and Goure could be one.
1. Brett Brochu – London Knights, OHL – A year without regular game action is tough for any player, but even more challenging for a goaltender, which is why Brochu’s placement with the AHL’s Wilkes/Barre-Scranton Penguins was crucial. He was facing shooters superior to his OHL competition, and by seasons end, earned his first professional start. Brochu was again called upon by Hockey Canada to attend their World Junior tryouts this summer. The only thing keeping Brochu from being a top NHL prospect is his height, which is also the only thing he can’t control. Like always, Brochu will need to prove them wrong.