Anyone who knows my philosophies as far as goaltenders and drafts know that I am extremely shy about first round goaltenders. Despite the fact that It is one of the most important positions in the game, the history of first round goaltenders
is one that is a bit hit and miss in the OHL. Its hard for me to justify selecting a goaltender in the first round, knowing that I could get a goaltender who could be just as good in two years a little later in the draft. That said, there was one goaltender this year displayed enough potential for me to consider him a 1st round talent, and a goaltender who I could see making a quick impact in the league, it’s Liam Herbst.
Andreas Athanasiou has been one of the more interesting prospects for the 2012 NHL Draft in Ontario. Drafted out of the Toronto Titans of the Greater Toronto Hockey League, Athanasiou surprised many by making the Knights out of Training Camp. Since then, he has shown some good upside. In December of 2010 he was invited to participate in the Ontario U17 program, and was named a tournament All Star. In August of 2011, he represented Canada at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka tournament, and had a really strong showing. Off of that success, he was invited out to the National Hockey League’s Research And Development Camp in Toronto, and wowed NHL GMs and scouts with his top end skill. Since that point, he has been hit and miss. At times he has looked like a potential top 20 selection, however most of the season he has struggled with his intelligence and vision, and has left some real questions to his long term upside.
Maatta came into the Ontario Hockey League with a high pedigree. Drafted 1st overall in the 2011 CHL Import Draft out of Jyvaskyla, He came into London and quickly become a top 4 defenceman for the Knights. All season long he has played a strong two way game for the Knights. He is solid positionally, and showed some good intelligence. He has a strong international resume, playing as an underage player for Finland at both the U18 World Championships in 2010, and has twice skated at the U20 World Championships, both as a 16 year old and this past year, where he was limited to a single game after suffering a concussion.
Welychka is a hard working depth forward who shows good complete levels and work ethic. He fights for his ice time, but shows good overall skill level for the OHL level. He has limited long term upside, and is probably not on the NHL Daft radar at this time.
Matt Rupert / Left Wing / 5’9″ / 178 / Jun. 2, 1994
Rupert is a high complete level forward who plays the game on edge. He is a good skater with a nice overall skating stride, and accelerates well. He shows good overall puck skills and a good shot, but has not progressed offensively as much as I would have hoped. Also his lack of discipline and poor decisions on the ice do not help him. Im not sure if his offensive game will translate to the next level. Could be a late round draft selection if a team sees potential.
Ryan Rupert / Centre / 5’9″ / 186 / Jun. 2, 1994
Rupert is a hard working offensive minded forward who shows good mobility. He reads the play well and is strong at making crisp passes in the offensive zone. He is one of the more competititve forwards in the age group, and willing to do what it takes to win. He struggles with his composure and decision making. A lack of long term upside/potential are concerns. He could be a late round draft selection if a team sees potential.
Chris Tierney / Centre / 6’0″ / 181 / Jul. 1, 1994
Tierney is another forward who is a little underrated in my books. He is an intelligent forward who shows good three zone positional play, and is one of the Knights better faceoff men. He has some underrated skill, and shows good overall footwork and mobility. He may not have a lot of room to grow as far as his skill set goes, but his intelligence makes up for that. He projects out as smart two way centre at the next level, and should be a mid round draft selection for the NHL Draft.
Josh Anderson / Right Wing / 6’1″ / 183 / May. 7, 1994
Anderson has had a very strong season for the Knights. In his first year out of Midget, he has shown some interesting flashes of potential, and despite not getting a lot of ice time, shows some very good long-term potential. His growth offensively, as well as his good overall mobility are the two aspects of his game that impresses.
Andreas Athanasiou / Left Wing / 6’1″ / 174 / Aug. 6, 1994
Athanasiou is a bit of a polarizing player in the 2012 NHL Draft. Some scouts love his long term potential, while others struggle to see him reaching his potential. He is a skilled forward who’s best assets are his mobility and agility. He skates extremely well, but the issues are what he does with those tools, and how he uses them. He projects out as a top 6 forward at the next level, and should be a 2nd or 3rd round draft selection in the OHL Draft.
Olli Maatta / Defence / 6’2″ / 198 / Aug. 22, 1994
Maatta has played well this season. He is a smart defensive defenceman who shows good positional play in his own zone. He is strong at controlling gaps, stepping up at the line and forcing turnovers. He is a smooth skater who shows good vision with the puck in the offensive zone. Biggest concern for me moving forward is his long term projectable upside. Projects out as a top 30 selection at the NHL Draft, and should be a 3-4 defenceman at the next level.
Jake Patterson / Goaltender / 6’1″ / 160 / Jun. 18, 1994
Incomplete. Patterson played sparingly all season, and is probably not on the draft radar at this time.