Ontario Hockey League: Five Undrafted Players To Watch This Season
Photo credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images
By Todd Cordell (@ToddCordell)
This past June at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, 210 players made the first step towards realizing their dream of one day playing in the NHL.
While it was an exciting day for those players and their families, many players, including some very good one’s, did not hear their name called at the draft.
Whether they were passed over for the first time or second time, it was obviously disappointing for them. That said, hard work pays off and there are several quality players who could very well be drafted or signed to a pro contract next summer.
Here are five recently passed up Ontario Hockey League players who could make some noise this season.
Note: I did not include overage players or goaltenders on this list.
C – Erik Bradford (Barrie)
2012-13 regular season stats: 18G, 15A, 33P, 46PIMs, +8
Bradford is a solid two-way forward who showed steady improvement in all aspects of his game last season. He was more physical as the season went on, his offensive game improved and he was very good defensively. Barrie Colts head coach Dale Hawerchuk relied on Bradford heavily in defensive situations all season and did even more so in the playoffs, especially in the OHL Finals against London. With Bradford continually improving and the likes of Mark Scheifele, Anthony Camara, and Steven Beyers, among others, moving on from the OHL this year, Bradford will be given every opportunity to succeed. Look for him to take advantage of them.
LW – Josh Burnside (Mississauga)
2012-13 regular season stats: 12G, 16A, 28P, 22PIMs, -13
While Burnside’s numbers from this past season won’t jump out at you, I thought he did a lot of good things last season. He’s a smart player who understands the game and where he needs to be on the ice. He can skate, has good hands and can score some goals, too. He needs to be more consistent if he really wants to take the next step, but he should be provided ample opportunity to develop in Mississauga this season. I expect his numbers will improve quite a bit this year and I wouldn’t be surprised to if he was drafted next June as a re-entry.
D – Brandon Devlin (Peterborough)
2012-13 regular season stats: 4G, 21A, 25P, 69PIMs, -2
Brandon Devlin is a guy I’m expecting big things from this season. After being traded to Peterborough last year, his game really took off and he played the best hockey of his OHL career. Devlin’s game seems to fit in really well with head coach Jody Hull’s system and there’s no reason Devlin shouldn’t continue to enjoy success under Hull in a full season. Devlin will be relied upon heavily and is expected to play a ton of 5 vs. 5 minutes as well as big minutes on both the power play and penalty kill.
Devlin will have every opportunity to succeed this year and with the Petes having some quality draft eligible players, lead by Nick Ritchie, who could potentially go top-10, there should be plenty of scouts to take notice.
C – Mathew Campagna (Sudbury)
2012-13 regular season stats: 24G, 44A, 68P, 46PIMs, +2
After a very slow start to the season, where Campagna recorded just 14 points in 23 games, he really took off. Campagna played big minutes, was used in every offensive situation possible and really benefited from that, evidently, as he picked up 54 points in the final 43 games of the season. Campagna should see huge minutes again this season and there’s no reason to believe he can’t continue to put up points as he did during the 2nd half of last season. If he does that, he could be drafted or find himself signing a pro contract next summer.
W – Sergei Tolchinsky (Sault Ste. Marie)
2012-13 regular season stats: 26G, 25A, 51P, 12PIMs, +8
Last but certainly not least we have Sergei Tolchinsky. He may be small in stature, but he can flat out play. He’s a very good skater who sees the ice extremely well and can put up points in bunches. The big knock on him is size and had he been an inch or two taller, he likely would’ve been selected in the top two or three rounds of the draft in June.
Tolchinsky attended a couple NHL rookie camps (New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes) and may end up signing with Carolina, but if he doesn’t he’s most definitely a player to watch this season.
When you combine Tolchinsky’s talent with the fact he will likely be playing on a line with potential top-10 pick in centre Jared McCann, he should be in line for a huge season.
If he doesn’t sign with Carolina, somebody’s going to use a draft pick on him next June and everyone will regret passing him up this past draft. I guarantee it.
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