OHL Prospect Report: Niagara IceDogs vs. Barrie Colts

Photo courtesy of TheBarrieExaminer.com

By Todd Cordell (@ToddCordell)


Colts – 8 / IceDogs – 6

Spotted scouts

Scouts from the Winnipeg Jets, Buffalo Sabres, Chicago Blackhawks, and Washington Capitals were at the Colts/IceDogs game. There were more scouts across the rink from me, but I could not see which team they were representing.

Barrie Colts

Notable scratches:  Mark Scheifele – WPG (still with Jets), Alex Lepkowski – BUF (undisclosed injury), Steven Byers – BUF (Upper-body injury), Ivan Telegin – WPG (upper-body injury).

LW/C – Eric Locke, 2012 eligible – Despite the fact Locke somehow did not tally a point, he was one of the better players on the ice for the Colts. He had a quiet first period, and didn’t create much but he really turned it on in the second and third. Locke showed great speed and was a key player on the penalty kill. He was strong on the puck, and was engaged physically – which is a bit of surprise considering the fact he’s only 5’9″.

Stat line – even, 2 PIMs

D – Aaron Ekblad, 2014 eligible – The 15-year old phenom played his best OHL game by far against the IceDogs. Ekblad was smart with the puck, he didn’t turn it over and he really simplified his game. In previous games he’d occasionally try and force plays, but he did no such thing in this game. Ekblad played the most physical game I’ve seen from him yet, and he played very well in all three zones. After seeing this game, I could really see why the OHL granted him exceptional status.

Stat line – first career goal, even

D – Brandon Devlin, 2012 eligible – This was perhaps the strangest thing I’ve ever seen in the OHL. Devlin played a solid first period and a half, and he was generating solid reviews from me and from some other scouts, I’m sure. He had no turnovers, was on for zero goals against and he was making solid plays and decisions at both ends of  the rink. Despite all this, he didn’t see a shift from when there was approximately 8:30 remaining in the second until about 10:00 left in the third. I’m not sure if he was hurt, was cramping or if something happened that I didn’t see, but it was a very odd situation.

Stat line – +1

C – Zach Hall, 2012 eligible – Though last year was Hall’s draft year, I would not be the least bit surprised to see him drafted in this year’s draft. Hall has absolutely dominated the OHL so far this season, and tonight was no different. Hall was creating chances left, right, and center, and he had no problem putting the puck in the net. He and his line-mates dominated almost every shift throughout the game, and were an absolute force in the third period when the game was on the line. Hall now has 18 points in seven games, and is well on his way to earning an entry-level contract from an NHL team if he’s not drafted – as I expect he will be.

Stat line – 2 goals, 1 assist, + 4

Niagara IceDogs

Notable scratches:  Mark Visentin – PHX (groin injury), Brock Beukeboom – TBL (back injury), Ryan Strome – NYI (still with Islanders).

D – Dougie Hamilton, Bruins – Dougie Hamilton was the best IceDog on the ice and one of the best players on the ice, no doubt. He was shutting down plays like nobodies business, and he was extremely effective on the offensive side of the puck. His hockey IQ is through the roof, and he reads plays like a book. It was a fantastic showing from the Bruins 2011 first-round draft pick, and he definitely showed me that he went that high in the draft for a reason.

Stat line – 4 assists (all on powerplay), – 2

D – Jesse Graham, 2012 eligible – This was the first time I’ve seen Graham play, and he impressed me. He’s solid in his own zone, and he uses his speed and stick effectively to shut down opposing teams offensive players. Graham is not the biggest, bulkiest or most physical guy, so in order to play solid defense he has to use his stick and position himself appropriately; sort of like Nicklas Lidstrom. Graham didn’t make my jaw drop, but he impressed me tonight and I can see why scouts have him projected as a third or fourth round pick in the upcoming draft.

Stat line – - 2, 4 PIMs

LW – Freddie Hamilton, Sharks – Besides his brother Dougie Hamilton, Freddie was the best IceDog on the ice. Hamilton showed off his great speed on various occasions. He also demonstrated his great vision and playmaking abilities; especially on the powerplay. Hamilton has tallied 14 points in seven games so far thus season, and appears to be a steal of a pick for the Sharks in the fifth round of the 2010 draft.

Stat line – 1 goal, 4 assists, -1

Follow me on twitter @ToddCordell for the latest news & notes surrounding the New Jersey Devils, and NHL in general.


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