Entries in OHL Priority Draft (35)

Tuesday
Sep102013

Minor Midget Players to Watch: Brandon Saigeon

by Brandon Sudeyko (@intheoradio)

Brandon Saigeon, All Canadiens Mentorship CupThis 1998 born forward is use to winning, and winning big. His Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs teams have won two gold medals, a silver medal and an OHF Championship. Personally, Brandon’s trophy case also contains an OMHA MVP award, scoring titles and an OHF MVP award. Last season Saigeon played up with the 97 Hamilton Jr Bulldogs and winning wasn’t an easy task for the team. Despite the Wins-Loss record, Brandon was a stand out on the team; his drive and desire to win was contagious and the Jr Bulldogs adopted a saying relative to the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, ‘the never say die dogs’. Saigeon may not have been a dominant force in the SCTA last season but he got enough seasoning to be considered a top 10 player heading into his Minor Midget season. Like many players playing up a year, there was a lot of discussion about the 1998 born forward,

         ‘I heard some of the talk. It hasn’t changed anything really. It’s great to hear such positive things being said about you but there is still so much I have to learn that I cannot be satisfied with where I am now. I want to be consistent so I can play a strong game, every game.’

Family is big to the Brandon and all of his hockey decisions have involved what is best for him and his family. That was one of the factors in deciding to play up with the Minor Midget’s,

‘My family and I talked a lot about it and it came down to the experience. We thought it would be a good experience to play a year up. The guys were bigger, stronger and faster which pushed me to play my best. I really enjoyed the experience and it was worth it. This season will be different than last.’

Knowing what it takes to play at your best in this age group is definitely an advantage to Brandon. There is practically no learning curve or adjustments that he needs to make. And that knowledge comes in handy with the big year looming.

‘This year, my second year, it will definitely be better than my first go around. I have really been training hard. I played in a Summer Pro League with some NHL and OHL players and that was big for me. I am always looking to improve my game. I now know what to expect in a Minor Midget year and will be better prepared for it. So there won’t be any distractions and I can concentrate on my game.’

Even thought he was a year younger than his peers, Brandon never strayed away from his game. And this year he will be able to put it on display at will. Off the ice, there isn’t much difference to Saigeon as what you see off the ice,

‘Off the ice I am pretty quiet and hardworking, whether it is the gym, practices or school. I make sure I maintain my 85% average in school. I enjoy the training for hockey on and off the ice. Being physically fit is a big part of my game. The game gets faster at every level and I want to keep improving my skills and my conditioning. Playing up last year helped me see what it takes to be successful. I think it is important that a team leader leads by example on the ice and supports his teammates off the ice.

Being considered one of the best 42 players in his age group nationwide, and one of the top 10 players in the Ontario region puts Saigeon in a different category of player. Even though there are many forwards who may be slightly faster, or stronger, or who is better at scoring, it is hard pressed to find the complete package that Brandon possesses,

‘I am very competitive and want to do whatever it takes to win every time. I’m never satisfied with my game and always want to get better. I can adapt to whatever style of game is being played in front of me. I’m versatile and can play a rough, physical game or I can just use my skill in a fast pace game. I like to consider myself a big game player and I enjoy the challenge of having the puck on my stick in the last minute of a close game.’

When asked to take a look at his game, Brandon came up with three areas where he feels he is strong at, but is quick to point out that there is still work to do and focusing on any weakened areas is a must through the season.

‘There are three strong areas to my game: skating ability, offensive mind and a fast shot. My skating coach Kelly Reed has really improved my stride and quickness. I shoot a lot of pucks every day so my shot is always improving. I don’t mind the physical aspect of the game but my real strength is putting the puck in the net. One of my hidden assets is my leadership qualities. This season is very important to the team as a whole, and I want to be one of those guys who can bring the team together and help the team get better every single game. I really want to improve my game all over especially having an explosive start. I played up in the summer pro league and noticed how they have such fast starts and really quick acceleration. That is what I want to improve this season.’

When playing up a year you have to heavily weigh the pros and cons. You don’t want to hurt yourself developmentally or defeat yourself mentally because you are unable to be the player you could be at the level with your peers. Consulting with his family helped Brandon determine the pros and cons of hisfirst year at the Minor Midget level,

‘I think the biggest advantage of playing up is that it prepared me for my Minor Midget year. Our team had a chance to play in many of the big tournaments. I think it prepared me mentally playing against the older players and it helped developed my game. I enjoyed playing against Oakville. They had a great team. I realized that you have to go all out on every shift to be able to compete. I can’t really think of any disadvantages about playing up. It really helped me improved as a hockey player.’

Of course Brandon was one of 42 selected to take part in the All State All Canadians Mentorship camp and he got his own moment in the spotlight, scoring on a penalty shot. The experience is said to be like none other and it is something that the young forward will never forget.

‘The camp was amazing. It was great to be picked as one of the top 42 players in Canada. There are a lot of good players especially in Ontario and I was really honoured to be selected. They did everything for us at the camp. They provided equipment, sticks, hotel rooms and meals. We took part in trips to the hockey hall of fame and a Blue Jay game and had different seminars from motivational speakers to Sports psychologists. Referee Kerry Fraser and Brian Williams from CBC also spoke to us. Gary Roberts and his staff did the nutrition and off-ice training and the NHLPA ran the one ice practices with NHL players and Coaches. We had about 4-5 hours of training everyday which was great for our conditioning to prepare for the game. The game itself was the best part; I don't think I've ever played in front of so many fans. The game was close and pretty fast paced. I had a penalty shot in the third to tie up the game. I was shooting on a great goalie so I did my best to make the shot count and luckily that gave our team a boost. Jason Spezza was really fun to play for as a main coach and we had Skinner and Del Zotto as assistants. Training and playing with the best players in Canada was an overall great experience for all of us.’

Friday
Aug302013

Minor Midget Players to Watch: Victor Mete

by Brandon Sudeyko (@intheoradio)

Mete at All Canadians CampVictor Mete is a player to watch. Period. He is fast, exciting, creative, and brings a sense of spirit and energy to the ice that very few players can. This season the defenceman will be lacing up for the Toronto Junior Canadiens (TJC) after playing his bantam year with the organization. Mete would get called up to the ‘big club’ every now and again and would show flashes of why he is one of the best in his age group. I got a chance to pick the brain of this young blueliner. As mentioned before, Victor stood out on not only the bantam blueline, but never lost a beat in Minor Midget, looking back Mete is happy with his year,

‘Looking back, I am confident in saying I achieved my goal to step up to the next level and kept my game consistent. It was my first year with the TJC and the team had so much talent, I had no choice but to step it up and be consistent. I like being challenged, it makes me want it more and the switch from Mississauga Reps to TJC is what I needed.’

Mete of course was called up to Minor Midget due to injury and suspension and even though he didn’t always take a regular shift, he relished the opportunity and the challenge,

‘It challenged me, I enjoyed playing minor midget because it gave me the opportunity to play a fast tempo game which I found to be more exciting and better suit my style of play.’

After seeing him take the ice with Noah Jordan, Nikita Korostelev, Zach Wilkie and other OHL drafted talent, you had to think that Victor had to have an opportunity to join the TJC minor midget team or another GTHL team.

‘I had many offers and opportunities to play up a year during my entire minor hockey career but my parents felt that it was better to stay at my own age group. An opportunity to focus on perfecting my skills and abilities and having the opportunity from time to time to play up and have a feel of playing with boys a year older.  This gave me the chance to see where I can improve my game. It was a way to always stay ahead of the game, but quietly.  My parents always said “there’s no rush, slow and steady is better”. I followed their advice and it seems to be working for me.’

Working for him indeed, the proof of course is in his invite to the All Canadian’s National Mentorship Camp where 40 of the top 1998 born players are brought to Toronto for a week to be shown what it takes to be a leader not only on the ice, but in everyday life. The camp is for the best of the best, and Victor put his skills on display. After seeing him on the ice, it makes complete sense on how he describes his game and his strengths out on the ice.

 ‘If I had to define my game, I would say that I am definitely an offensive defenceman. I always have been. Being an offensive defenceman plays to my biggest strength out on the ice. The ability to see the ice and the play in front of me, and take control of a game. I am fortunate to have a great supporting cast who are respectful to all players. They trust me and follow my lead, it makes my game look easy. The biggest area of concern to me as a defenceman, specifically an offensive defenceman would be gap control.  This is an area that I can never practice too much of.’

Victor with Toronto Jr Canadiens

following up on his strengths and weaknesses that he sees in his game, are his individual goals for his upcoming minor midget season with the Jr. Canadiens,

‘My individual goal for the season is to tweak my game.  One thing that I have learned over the years is that there is always room for improvement, something my parents always taught me.  I believe that if I can improve my game year after year that the stats will come as a result of striving for my personal best.’

A pretty modest goal for the 15 year old but it follows his parent’s ‘no rush, slow and steady’ approach. It is an approach that most kids may find difficult to grasp because they may believe that if they pass up on an opportunity another one may not come up. For Victor, he never seemed to worry, and just believed in his support system around him. That support system helped him get to that next step in his short hockey career and allowed him the fortune of being a part of the All Canadian’s National Mentorship camp, an opportunity that he is truly honoured for.

‘I am very fortunate to have been selected to participate in the All State All Canadians Mentorship Camp.  In my nine years of playing hockey I have never experienced something so surreal.  I feel rewarded for all the time and effort that not only I have put into my hockey but also the countless hours that my parents and sister put into my hockey over the years.  Part of who I am is because of the endless support that I get from my family…..so it means the world to me.’

Victor will be lacing up again for the Toronto Jr. Canadiens and he will surely put on a show starting with the puck on his stick, and possibly ending up with pucks in the back of the net.

The 1998 Minor Midget season begins next weekend with the Toronto Titan’s tournament where 58 teams will be on display, including the Toronto Jr Canadiens. 

Wednesday
Apr102013

OHL Draft Pick Sleepers: East Division

by Brandon Sudeyko (@intheoradio)

Day 2 of OHL Draft review where ITO takes a look at the winners and the ‘super’ winners. Yesterday ITO took a look at the Central Division and today we look at the Eastern Conference Cousin, the East Division.
ITO Will take a look at the draft picks by each team from the 5th round to the 15th round and weigh in on how good of a pick it was for the team, especially at that draft position.
Today we take a look at the Central division consisting of the Belleville Bulls, Kingston Frontenacs, Oshawa Generals, Ottawa 67s and Peterborough Petes.

Belleville Bulls
Maurizio Colella
(York Simcoe Express, F) 5thth round – Colella got better as the year progressed and had several big moments this year. Maurizio arguably saved the best for last as he scored a couple clutch goals in the OHL cup where he really stood out. Maurizio is full of compete and if he doesn’t make the Bulls as a 16 year old, you will bet he has a successful season wherever he plays before ‘breaking into’ the lineup where he will make an impact.
Connor Hicks (Ottawa Senators, G) 7th Round – A big goalie who plays a big game. Connor finished the year with 9-2-4 record in the regular season but what stood out was his 1.64GAA. From his play down low to how he covers the top of the net, his strong post play and his compete level, You can expect to see Connor in the future as a year in the CCHL will be his most likely destination.
Christian DeDonato (York Simcoe Express, D) 12th round – Heart and soul leader who protects the back end with pride. Don’t let his size fool you, Christian is tough defensively with a good pair of skate beneath him and does anything he can to gain position and protect the goaltender.

Kingston Frontenacs
Aaron St. Pierre
(Hamilton Jr Bulldogs, D) 9th round – Aaron is a solid defenceman who is difficult to move. A strong lower base and powerful strides helps him remove the opposition from the net and the puck almost at will. Has some offensive talent and a good shot from the point. The way Kingston is built, look for Aaron in the 2014/15 season after a year in the GOJHL.
Brendan McGlynn (Oakville Rangers, G) 11th round – Brendan was predominantly the starter with Oakville until the end of the season. He has a strong core and really good down low. He can sweep with ease, push off the posts and is able to stand his ground when the opposition crashes the net. Good stick, good glove and very stable in the pipes whether he is up or down. McGlynn has a strong connection to NCAA despite not having a commitment. His brother Conor is committed to Boston College and is also a draft pick of the Frontenacs.

Oshawa Generals
Stephen Templeton
(Hamilton Jr Bulldogs, D) 6th round – Templeton is another Bulldogs defenceman who is tough on his skates. A strong lower body and his strong hockey IQ gives him an advantage against most opposition forwards. He is a physical defender who protects his territory and has no problem letting forwards know you have to go through him. He doesn’t have a great shot but he is able to move the puck quickly and spreading out the ice.
Matt McConnach (Don Mills Flyers, D) 15th round – Matt is a defenceman who stands at 5’11” and 160 pounds. But he plays like he is 6’3” 200+ pounds. A good skater, strong positionally, good behind the net and is able to protect the puck. Not a lot of offence to his game, but able to relieve pressure by being a solid defender and allowing his goaltender every chance to start the puck.

Ottawa 67’s
Matt Mercer
(Halton Hurricanes, D) 6th round – Mercer is a big defenceman who loves to skate with the puck. He always seems to get better as the game progresses. He may cough the puck up early in the game while he is carrying it but by the third period you can’t get the puck off him. A great low shot that can give goalies trouble and his big frame makes him tough to play against in front of the net.
Ben Blacker (Brampton 45s, G) 7th round – Blacker is arguably the 3rd best goaltender in the age group. The reason that he fell this low is because he has a commit to Western Michigan. He loves to play above the crease and can really stymie the top offences in the age group. Quick feet and a strong glove earned him quite a bit of praise throughout the season. If for whatever reason he decides to not pursue the NCAA route, this is a good pick for Ottawa.
Brandon Zullo (Ottawa Senators, F) 7th round – Brandon can skate, shoot, pass and hit. Very versatile and effective forward who knows how to play on the top line and on the grind line. He isn’t the most offensive forward but he will get his fare share of goals and can generate offence from his physical game and his compete along the boards. Not one to shy away from any situation, the 6’2” 180+ pound winger will only get better with a year of CCHL under his belt

Peterborough Petes
Jack Webb
(Toronto Marlboros, F) 5th round – The reason this pick is so good, is because Peterborough was able to snag his brother Mitchell in the 2nd round. The brothers are most effective together but different enough that it isn’t just replacing one with the other. They are mean and physical and have that edge the opposition doesn’t want to play against. An offensive touch near the net with an average shot, but it is his crash the net style that is where he is the most effective. Playing down low, and gaining possession of the puck is what make him valuable. The brothers may not start together next season in Peterborough, but if they don’t choose the NCAA route, you can see them paired in 2014 and have a ‘Ruperts v2.0’ type of feel.
David Lobsinger (Kitchener Jr. Rangers, G) 5th round – Lobsinger made his presence known through his tournament performances this year. His team wasn’t the best in the Alliance but with him playing large in the net, he was able to get his team noticed. His playoff performance was outstanding as he and the Jr Rangers were able to bounce favourites , the London Jr Knights-Gold in the second round. Strong post play and quick movements make him a strong candidate to be between the posts for the 2014/15 season.
Sam Hunter (Mississauga Senators, D) 10th round – Sam is an underrated defenceman who is a ‘throwback’ to defenceman of the past era. He has some good skates underneath him but he is better known for his hitting and his slap shot. Just a classic D in every sense. Strong on the boards and in open ice. If you want to go around Hunter you will have to do it the hard way as there is no easy pass on his side of the ice. Another future pick for the 2014/15 season, but should make a good impression at rookie camp.

Friday
Apr052013

ITO OHL Draft Show

by Brandon Sudeyko (@intheoradio)

TORONTO – In The O… The Radio Show (ITO) has been providing independent coverage on the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) for the past 4 seasons. In that time, ITO has gone from a side project to a credentialed member of the OHL Media, and the alternate voice for OHL Fans.

                President of ITO Brandon Sudeyko has spent a lot of hours in those OHL rinks self promoting the show and website as well as recruiting talented writers who fit the ‘ITO Mould’ to be a part of the ITO Crew. The Crew is known for their honest and objective opinions on all matters that pertain to the OHL. Whether it be a beat reporter praising a 3rd line forward for standing up for his teammates, to bringing to light the ridiculousness of a team’s decision on player movement. ITO’s innovative and creative methods have garnered respect throughout the OHL Community from fans, media colleagues, and even OHL Players.

               This year, ITO has expanded their coverage to the Minor Midget age group and has brought all OHL fans, unprecedented and quality coverage from the age group, since the first puck drop to the day their names will be called, during the OHL Priority Selection Draft. This weekend, In The O… continues to redefine fan expectations when it comes to media coverage on major junior hockey as ITO will host their second annual LIVE OHL Priority Draft Show, brought to you by Original Pond Gear, on Saturday April 6th. The OHL Priority Draft begins at 9am, but ITO’s coverage will begin at 12 Eastern and run until 3pm, exclusively on the ITO website. 

               After spending the entire season in Minor Midget rinks across Ontario, Brandon Sudeyko will be hosting the day’s events but will be joined by a pair of names familiar to the ITO fan base. Former ITO lead analyst Thayne Hallyburton will be on the show to provide some of the best insight and analysis about these future OHL Stars and an ITO favourite Sean Lafortune, director of scouting for TheScout.ca. For those unfamiliar with the name, Sean is the most knowledgeable, independent scout when it comes to the Minor Midget draft class. His voice and knowledge on the age group is almost unrivaled and has valuable insight that is usually missed by others.

Joining the outstanding team who will not only breakdown the draft, the picks, the players and give their honest opinion will be many of the top Draft picks of the 2013 OHL Priority Draft. Already confirmed to appear on the program is the OHF Exceptional Player Sean Day, both Toronto Marlboro’s Captain’s Dylan Strome and Mitchell Stephens, Oakville Rangers Captain Matthew Spencer and a whole lot more.

To listen to the LIVE ITO OHL Draft Show just come back to the website starting at noon on Saturday, April 6th. Want to join the conversation. The ITO Panel will be entertaining callers throughout the program as well as interacting with fans through twitter. The phone number will be thrown out during the show and also posted through the official ITO Twitter account @intheoradio.

In The O… has always looked to provide the OHL fan with all the information they want in one place, and with the LIVE OHL Draft Show. In The O… has done it again.  

Thursday
Apr042013

ITO Final OHL Mock Draft: 10-1

by Brandon Sudeyko (@intheoradio)

It is the final day in the ITO Final OHL Mock Draft and we are now just 2 days away until the real thing, the OHL Priority Selection Draft. ITO has blasted through the second round and the back half of the first round and it is now the final 10, the top 10 picks to be exact.

Below is the compilation of a whole years worth of watching and scouting and it is the final top 10 mock draft until Saturday. 

Don't forget that ITO will be hosting an OHL Draft show from 12-3pm on Saturday and you can find the link here on our website.

As with every mock draft, there are certain rules in place and here are the rules given out by ITO for this final version of the two round OHL Mock Draft. You can also click on the player’s name or team for more information.

  1. No Americans – Not every participant in ITO’s OHL Mock Draft have had the same amount or an adequate amount of viewings to properly evaluate where they would be in the draft.
  2. Definition of ‘Canadians’ – Any player who is currently playing for an Ontario based team, or an American team in a Canadian loop (ie: Buffalo Regals, SCTA)
  3. Consensus Rankings – The rankings of each player has been weighted  based on a few criteria to determine their placing.
  4. Votes – A player must be on 3 of the 5 submitted lists to be eligible, if all 39 selections have not been filled, we will revisit players with 2 votes, and do a revote to round out the top 39.
  5. Draft Order – The order will be based on the final standings.

 

Some participants have changed as we have added another anonymous OHL Scout:
Thayne Hallyburton – Family Advisor, Millen Group: Thayne is a former member of the ITO team and has since moved on to greener pastures. Thayne has had his eye on Minor Midget talent for several years now, as well as having focus on NHL draft prospects across the CHL.
Sean Lafortune – Director of Scouting for TheScout.ca, OHL Regional Scout for McKeen’s Hockey: Sean has been watching and observing the Minor Midget age level since the 2009 OHL Priority Selection Draft (’93 birth year) and since that time become a trusted source for all things Minor Midget.
Anonymous OHL Scout – OHL Team: To give you any information on this individual may tip off who he or she happens to be.
Anonymous OHL Scout – OHL Team: If they tipped their hand in the slightest, they could be out of a job. So they remain anonymous.
Brandon Sudeyko, President of ITO: Representing ITO, who has expanded their focus to the incoming draft class so OHL fans can become as familiar as possible with the next group of young stars.

Here is the first release for the Final Mock Draft, picks 29-20...

Pick   Team Name
Position
  Team Previous
Rank
10 Brampton Blake Speers
Forward
Soo Thunder 12
9 Sarnia Kyle Capobianco
Defenceman
Oakville Rangers 6
8 Saginaw Nikita Korostelev
Forward
Toronto Jr Canadiens 7
7 Sudbury Mitchell Stephens
Forward
Toronto Marlboros 3
6 Niagara Brett McKenzie
Forward
Oakville Rangers 5
5 Kingston Lawson Crouse
Forward
Elgin Middlesex Chiefs 8
4 Mississauga Matthew Spencer
Defenceman
Oakville Rangers 4
3 Peterborough Travis Konecny
Forward
Elgin Middlesex Chiefs 1
2 Erie Dylan Strome
Forward
Toronto Marlboros 2
1 Ottawa Sean Day
Defenceman
Detroit Compuware -