This past Sunday, I took in what was billed as a potential preview of the OHL final this season. The Mississauga St.Michael’s Majors hosted the Saginaw Spirit, and the result of this game was certainly surprising. It was a solid effort by Spirit goaltender Mavric Parks, who has certainly showed well over the past two seasons, and a terrific defensive display by his teammates that led them to a 4-0 victory over the Majors. It is a Majors squad that has now last 4 games in its past 10, after having only lost 2 games up until then. Here are some reviews of a few prospects that have a great chance of hearing their name called at the upcoming NHL draft.
Brandon Saad #22 – LW, 6’2″, 211
The American-born winger for the Saginaw Spirit possesses tremendous size and is expected to be a top 10 pick, with a good shot of getting selected a fair bit earlier depending on the needs of the teams picking. Saad can easily get himself into scoring positions around the net by using his great speed, which is above average for any skater and not just for a kid of his size. What was evident during this game, however, is that he is not using his size nearly enough. With his speed and skating abilities, he has the potential to be a truly dominating player at the next level if he begins to assert himself more in the physical department. At the OHL level, he has proven capable of skating past defenders with his speed. This will not happen at the pro level for this player, unless he starts using his body more to gain control of loose pucks. With his size, he should rarely lose a puck battle along the boards, but this occurred on at least 2 occasions in the Majors zone tonight.
Obviously, the positive aspects of his game more than make up for this single deficiency that many have noticed. He has a hard and accurate shot and is capable of playing in all situations, including on the penalty kill. He projects to be more of a goal scorer than playmaker, and he certainly has a nose for the net.
Vincent Trocheck – #89 – Centre, 5’11″, 180
Some project this player as an early round draft pick in the 2011 draft, but there are some who feel his size will keep many teams away. He did show very well tonight, and has found decent chemistry with Saad and John McFarland, who was the best player on the ice for the Spirit tonight. He is a solid, if unspectacular, two-way forward, who can win faceoffs and is good in transition due to above average speed. Trocheck is solid in his own end, and does a lot of the little things that NHL General Managers should notice. He will block shots and is always anticipating the opposing teams passes by getting in the right place at the right time. He is a shifty stickhandler and his speed makes him a threat.
Stuart Percy – #5 – Defense – 6’01, 186
Without question, Percy was the best player on the ice for the Majors tonight. He showed great two-capabilities, and was excellent in leading many rushes up the ice. His first pass is always on the tape, and he has a natural ability in the transition game. He positions himself very well in the defensive zone, and uses his average size extremely well. Percy has an extremely accurate point shot, getting it through screens on most of his shot attempts and creating scoring opportunities for his teammates. He likely projects as a power play QB and minute eater, as he never seemed to tire. He should see his name called in the first couple of rounds without question.
Dylan DeMelo – #2 – Defense – 6’1″, 193
This player appears to have a solid offensive skill set and awareness. He gets a lot of powerplay time and has a very good point shot, one that is both hard and accurate. Dylan is often caught trying to force the pass to a teammate, and this resulted in a handful of turnovers tonight. His average size does not lend itself to winning puck battles, which was something that was illustrated often against a big and strong Saginaw squad. He, nevertheless, is an aggressive player and does not shy away from physical play. He should see his name called at some point in the upcoming draft, especially with the opportunity for added exposure in the Memorial Cup.