Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday Top 10 - Jumping Ship to the OHL - Fifth Edition

This entry has become a tradition at the blog, where we look at some of the U.S. players leaving their current teams or commitments to play in the Ontario Hockey League. Some are certain, others are not.

Just a very quick disclaimer. While some research has been done for this article, some of the players listed here are not DEFINITELY coming to the OHL. And in some cases, some of them haven't even been mentioned in rumours as to be considering the OHL. The purpose of this article is to inform OHL fans of possible players that could be joining their line up in the future. It's all here say, and is in no way (for the most part) substantiated.

Let's look at the list.

(Special Addition) 11. Tyler Hill - Ottawa 67's
It was announced after I released this article that USHL forward Tyler Hill would be joining the 67's. Hill is a '95 that was passed over in the 2013 NHL draft. At one point, he was highly ranked (inside Redline's top 10) and was thought to be one of the top prospects available from U.S. high school hockey. He had a disappointing season, including a stop with Chicago of the USHL. He's a hulking forward at 6'6, 225lbs and does obviously bring scoring potential to Ottawa's lineup. He's apparently got to work on his skating and overall game but should jump right into Ottawa's top 6. A very intriguing add by them.

10. Jeremy Brodeur - Oshawa Generals
An excellent and calculated risk by the Generals to draft Jeremy Brodeur, son of Martin. Jeremy is a '96, but because of his late birthday, he's not eligible for the NHL draft until 2015. He's been playing at Shattuck St. Mary's and will continue to do so this season. He has no college commitment as of yet, which bodes well for him eventually ending up in Oshawa. Anthony, his older brother (and fellow goaltender), is playing in the QMJHL next year after graduating from Shattuck this past year. Another connection is that Brodeur's head coach in New Jersey is Peter DeBoer, who is part owner of the Generals. The only real interesting kink is that Jeremy has a twin named William, who also plays for Shattuck, but is a forward. Would he leave his twin to play in the OHL? I'd say all signs point to Jeremy eventually ending up there, but we won't know for another year.

9. Dakota Joshua - Plymouth Whalers
Without a college commitment, the Whalers took a chance by drafting Joshua this year in the 8th round after he wasn't selected in 2012. The '96 forward is eligible for the NHL draft this year and could bring some much needed offensive punch to the team down the middle (where they took a big hit this offseason). He played for several teams last year, including a few call ups with the U.S. Under 17 team, and for Sioux Falls of the USHL (who also hold his rights). It remains to be seen what direction he plans on taking, but if he does go to the OHL, he could be a nice sleeper for the Whalers' and a possible top 9 forward.

8. Matt Greenfield - Kitchener Rangers
The OHL free agent signing has played midget hockey for Team Illinois the past couple of years and has been brought in to compete for the starting job in Kitchener. The '95 born goaltender doesn't have much experience at the higher levels, but maybe Kitchener has found a diamond in the rough. With only Tyson Teichmann (an OA) and Jack Moylan fighting him for a spot, the competition is wide open. Besides, when was the last time the Rangers didn't have a starting goaltender from the U.S.?

7. Conor McGlynn - Kingston Frontenacs
A 2011 draft pick of the Fronts, McGlynn is leaving Sioux City of the USHL for Kingston this year. Greater things were expected of him offensively in the USHL, so it'll be interesting to see if he can find his scoring touch in the OHL. The '95 forward can slot in at any forward spot and is a solid all around player with a high compete level. So even if he doesn't make a big impact on the score sheet, he should at least be a physical presence who can kill penalties for Todd Gill.

6. Nick Magyar - Kitchener Rangers
Magyar de-committed from Ohio State to sign with Kitchener after playing last year in the USHL with Sioux City, as well as a few call up games with the U.S. Under 17 squad. He's a big playmaking center who is eligible for this year's draft. Kitchener has a lot of depth at the forward position heading into next year, so there's no question he's going to have to battle for ice time. It'll be interesting to follow his progression.

5. Connor Chatham - Plymouth Whalers
Chatham could quietly be a terrific find for the Whalers. Two years ago he was a member of the U.S. Under 17 team, but left the program to play for Omaha of the USHL last year where he was the team's leading goal scorer. He's a late '95, which makes him eligible for this year's NHL draft. He's a big bodied winger who plays hard and can put the puck in the net. With some of Plymouth's losses this year, I wouldn't be surprised if he slots into their top 6 this upcoming season.

4. Josh Wesley - Plymouth Whalers
A terrific add by the Whalers, Wesley is the son of former terrific NHL defenseman Glen Wesley. The 6'2 defender played for the U.S. Under 17 team last year and should make an immediate impact in the Whalers' line-up. He's eligible for this year's NHL draft. While Plymouth may be losing a lot on offense, their defense and goaltending situation should still allow them to be up near the top of the Western Conference standings.

3. Kevin Labanc - Barrie Colts
A 6th round pick of Barrie in 2011, Labanc was set to go to Notre Dame when he apparently ran into some academic issues. This was ultimately Barrie's gain as he'll now suit up in the OHL next year. The hard nosed winger played the last two years in the U.S. Development program, winning a Silver medal with the U.S. at last year's Under 18's. He's not the biggest or the most skilled offensively, but the 2014 NHL draft prospect (late '95) works hard away from the puck and brings a solid two-way game to Barrie.

2. Ryan MacInnis - Kitchener Rangers
While it has yet to be made official, all signs point to MacInnis ending up in Kitchener next year, just like his father Al. A member of the U.S. Under 17 team last year, MacInnis was recently left off the Under 18 team for this season, suggesting it's all but certain he'll be in the OHL in 2013/2014. The big offensive winger was recently ranked 6th by McKeen's on their preliminary list for 2014, so he'll be a terrific addition to the Rangers' line up. Could be a good compliment to a guy like Josh Sterk on the team's 2nd line.

1. Michael McCarron - London Knights
A huge coup for the Knights (no pun intended), as they've added the Montreal Canadiens first rounder to the fold for next year. The hulking winger played the last two years with the U.S. Development program and was one of the U.S' leading goal scorers at the Under 18's. McCarron is expected to pay immediate dividends with London, where it's rumoured that Dale Hunter intends to use him on a first line with Max Domi and Bo Horvat. Talk about scary.

Honorable Mentions

Jordan Greenway (Plymouth), Zach Werenski (London), Luke Kirwan (Guelph), Jeremy Bracco (Kitchener)
All four were highly touted prospects for the 2013 OHL priority draft and will be suiting up for the U.S. Under 17 team this coming season. Outside of Bracco, none of them have college commitments as of yet, which suggests that at SOME point, they could be OHL bound. All four have the potential to be impact players in the league should they decide to come.

Connor Clifton - Peterborough Petes
A 5th rounder of Phoenix, Clifton is committed to Quinnipiac for 2013/2014. The former U.S. development program defender is a solid and physical two way player who could be a terrific add for Peterborough, should they convince him to de-commit. They did draft him in the 4th round this year, which suggests that they do feel they have a chance to add him into the fold.

Evan Allen - Windsor Spitfires
Over the course of the last year, there had been a lot of talk of the U.S. Under 18 program forward joining Windsor. But he seems steadfast on joining the U. of Michigan next year after being passed over in the 2013 NHL draft.

Nick Schmaltz - Windsor Spitfires
One of the leading scorers at the current U-18 Ivan Hlinka tournament, Schmaltz has also been a long rumoured target of the Spits. The talented offensive forward has played the last two years with Green Bay of the USHL and is committed to North Dakota for 2014/2015. While he'll be in the USHL this year again, perhaps a high selection at the 2014 NHL Draft could steer him towards Windsor.

Cody Milan - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
A teammate of Schmaltz's at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka tournament, Milan is also a USHL player with a 2014/2015 college commitment (Michigan State). Like Schmaltz, he plans to play his NHL draft season in the USHL with Sioux Falls. If he reported, he could jump right into SSM's top 6.

Dylan Larkin - Erie Otters
One of the top '96's in the U.S., Larkin is a skilled offensive forward who currently plays for the U.S. Development program and will suit up with the U-18 team this coming season. He's slated to attend the U. of Michigan in 2014/2015. Maybe just maybe, he could be convinced to join Connor McDavid next year by the NHL team that drafts him in 2014.

Alex Tuch - Guelph Storm
Like Larkin, Tuch is one of the top performers of the U-18 team. He's a hulking forward who bares resemblance to Mike McCarron, but who has committed to Boston College for 2014/2015. He's currently ranked inside the top 30 by McKeen's for the 2014 draft, so he'd be a great add to the Storm line-up in the future.

Sonny Milano - Plymouth Whalers
Milano is also a top player for the U.S. development team and a critical scoring threat for the U-18 team this coming season. Like Tuch, he's ranked inside Mckeen's top 30 for the 2014 draft. He's set to attend Notre Dame in the future, but Plymouth has had some pretty good luck recruiting American players of late, so you never know.


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