Dante Salituro was one of my favourite players to watch last season. In November, I had him rated as a late second or high third round selection in the 2012 OHL Draft. All year long he consistently impressed, and eventually forced himself into TheScout.ca’s top 20, eventually hitting the 15th overall spot on our final rankings.
If there is one player who has used this season to progress and elevate himself, its been Cody Ceci. I originally saw Ceci as a prospect with the Peterborough Minor Pets of the OMHA, and liked the upside that I saw. He had good individual skills and nice size, but I wondered if the offensive ability would translate to the next level. His first few years in Ottawa, it looked like my observations where true. He was showing good offensive output, but at the same time was used in more of a defensive role for the 67′s. The big change for me came at the 2012 NHL Research and Development combine. I was lucky enough to attend, and right away Ceci stood out to me ahead of other big name player. He had really improved his mobility and agility in the offseason. What was once a negative and an area for improvement was an asset. He also was more confident with the puck and willing to skate it up the ice aggressively. He took that experience and has really taken himself from a late first or high second round draft selection to a slam-dunk top 10, and the third OHL player off the board.
Van Stralen is a physical forward who is at his best playing a physical, aggressive brand of hockey. He is good down low and along the boards, and effective at winning battles for the puck. He is a good forechecker who can cause turnovers based on his aggressive, physical brand of hockey. He has some room to grow with regards to his footwork and acceleration. He has some good offensive potential, but needs some more time to develop it. He projects as a depth forward at the next level, and could be a late round draft selection if a team sees potential.
Brett Gustavsen / Left Wing / 5’7″ / 170 / Mar. 13, 1994
Gustavsen is a hard working forward who shows some untapped offensive abilities. He is a strong skater who displays above average footwork and acceleration. He works hard and shows a good complete level, but struggles with his ability to generate offense in the opposition zone due to his lack of strength.
Taylor Fielding / Right Wing / 6’1″ / 209 / Jan. 1, 1994
Fielding is a natural defenceman who has been playing out of position this year. He brings a good work ethic and is willing to play an aggressive brand of hockey, but looks like a player who is playing out of position. He needs to work on both his mobility and puck skills, but it may not be fair to judge him based on this is his first year playing as a forward.
Sean Callaghan / Defence / 6’3″/ 210 / Feb. 8, 1994
Callaghan is an interesting defenceman who show some good upside. He is a defenceman who displays some good tools, and one that could one day develop into a depth defenceman at the next level. He is a good skater for a player of his size, and moves well laterally. He is strong down low and along the boards, and is effective in puck battles. He has room to grow with his offensive game, but the potential is there. Could be a late round draft selection if a team sees potential in him.
Ryan Shipley / Defence / 5’10″ / 184 / Mar. 3, 1994
Shipley is a physical defenceman who is at his best in his own zone. He missed significant periods of time this year with injuries, and saw limited ice once he came back. He has some good potential, but will need to stay healthy and continue to develop into the player who he was projected to be years ago. Could be a draft re-entry candidate next season.
Cody Ceci / Defence / 6’3″ / 206 / Dec. 21, 1993
Ceci’s progression this season has been outstanding. All year last year he showed good intelligence and strength, but this year he looked much more confidant offensively. He has really improved his skating and mobility, specifically his acceleration. He is much more willing to skate the puck up the ice this year vs. last year, where he would look to pass the puck off almost immediately. He has some to grow with his positional play in his own zone, but the long term projectable upside is high with him. Should be a top 10 selection at the NHL Draft, and projects out as a number 2 or 3 defenceman at the next level.
Michael Nishi / Goaltender / 6’1″ / 165 / Nov. 1, 1993
Nishi is a goaltender that relies on positional play and confidence. When he is confident and playing tight positionally, he looks like a goaltender with some interesting potential, however he needs to work on the mental aspects of the game. He struggles with confidence, doesn’t look like a goaltender who can forget a bad goal, and often displays negative body language.