There have been a lot of dry years for the Great North Midget League (GNML) lately, as the league has struggled to produce OHL talent, especially high end players. After an especially weak showing in the 2009 OHL Priority Selection last season, there has been some renewed hope for the 1994 crop this year. Unfortunately, that notion may be premature, as the 1994 talent in the league is pretty thin once again this year, and the league is lacking high end OHL calibre prospects. The league does have a few players who will get some consideration, however, and we’ll take a look at who the top 1994’s are in the GNML this season.
LC Brody Silk #9 | New Liskeard Cubs | 6’0” | 160lbs | November 30th, 1994
15GP - 17G - 18A - 35P - 22PIM
The star of the New Liskeard Cubs has been the most hyped OHL prospect in the North this season, after jumping out of the gates with a very impressive start. Silk currently sits in fourth place in league scoring this season on a fairly weak New Liskeard team, and has been the main reason behind the team’s fourth place standing in the GNML this season.
Silk has a solid frame to work with, but he’ll need to work on adding strength and muscle in the future. He’s willing to compete in the corners, but he isn’t a great battler for the puck. Silk is a very good skater with great high end speed, but his first few steps will need some work moving forward. He needs to do a better job of utilizing his speed, as he frequently plays down to the speed of the players on the ice. Silk finds a niche offensively as being a very good player off the rush. He does a good job of creating odd man rushes, and sees the ice fairly well and also has the ability to be a goal scorer with his quick release. He’s not afraid to drive the puck to the net either, and looks to create a lot of offense on jam plays.
While there are a lot of pros to Silk’s game, he also has a lot of things he’s going to need to address in order to play at the next level. His defensive positioning needs a lot of improvement, and he’s often cheating high, looking for odd man rushes before the puck has left the zone. Silk has fairly average hockey sense, and he doesn’t have the type of on-ice vision you would expect. His creativity needs some work and he doesn’t have great hands for being an offensive player.
While Silk does have some good upside, and he’s still very young being a late 1994, he still has a lot of aspects of his game that will need to be addressed before he can make the jump to the next level. At this point, he’s probably more of a 3-5 round type player, but it will be interesting to see how he progresses throughout the rest of the season.
LC Davis Boyer #4 | Sault Ste. Marie North Stars | 5’7” | 140lbs | May 19th, 1994
17GP - 18G - 17A - 35P - 34PIM
Some might be quick to consider Boyer a product of his team, as the North Stars are nothing short of an offensive juggernaut this season, but Boyer is a very good player in his own right. His size will obviously be a concern for OHL teams, and could be a deciding factor with his draft stock, but at this point, he’s probably the most talented 1994 player in the GNML this season.
Boyer skates well on the ice and has good agility. His first few steps could use some work, and is a bit of a concern given his size. However, Boyer does a very good job of playing the game at a quick pace. He always keeps his feet moving, and does a great job of getting in on the forecheck, and being the first man back on the backcheck.
He’s a very smart player offensively and has great on ice awareness of where his teammates are. Boyer does a good job of creating time and space down low, and does a pretty good job of controlling the puck. He always keeps his head up and has a variety of shifty one on one moves which he uses in traffic, or off the rush. Boyer has a pretty quick release on his shot, but his power needs some improvement.
Overall, he’s a very talented offensive player, that also is very responsible defensively. He’s pretty strong on faceoffs and does a good job of using his stick in the defensive zone to make up for his lack of size and strength. At this point it’s hard to project where Boyer might end up going in the draft, because I’ve had limited viewings of the rest of the crop, but he should be getting some mid-round consideration despite his lack of size. If he can add a couple of inches to his frame and add some much needed muscle, he could be a player that develops into a pretty effective player at the next level, but he is a bit of a risky pick at this point.
Beyond Silk and Boyer, the next big prospect is likely the Sault’s 1994 Goalie, Jake Patterson. I haven’t had the opportunity to see Patterson yet this season, as Greyhounds’ draft pick Paul Orlando has started both times I’ve seen the Sault, but most indications show that Patterson will be on the OHL radar. The Kapuskasing Flyers have a pair of 1994 forwards that will garner some draft interest. Center Maxim Lamontagne is a decent offensive player who should get some draft consideration, while winger Jordan Delaurier is a bit raw, but could be a late round pick. Sudbury defenseman Michael Rouleau also is pretty raw at this point, but he does have some potential, and should get some draft consideration.