LW Daniel Milne | 03/24/94 | 5.11 | 175lbs
Newmarket Hurricanes - 13GP 2G 2A 4P 8PIM
There’s been a lot of expectations for Daniel Milne this year, and the 16 year old rookie has been struggling a bit to live up to the hype. After being selected in the third round of the 2010 OHL Priority Selection by the Owen Sound Attack, Milne has elected to bypass the OHL route and will instead be attending the University of Michigan beginning in 2012 as he looks to embark on a promising NCAA career. Milne’s skating really stuck out to me for his awkward stride. He lacked high end agility and seemed to be without that explosive first few steps as he doesn’t really pick his feet up when he skates.
When the puck was on his stick, however, he showed a lot more promise. I liked that he was willing to go to the dirty areas on the ice and really asserted himself in front of the net despite being a smaller player. He also has a “heavy stick” which is something I like to see in players. Milne has a real quick release on his shot and created a couple of real nice plays both from the set-up as well as from the rush. I think the numbers will come in time, but he needs to really emphasize his skating technique as a point of improvement as well as adding on some strength which will come in time.
Projection: It’s tough to gauge what type of NHL potential Milne might have at this point, as it’s still very early for him and he’s definitely quite raw at this point. He’s already committed to Michigan which looks like a good route for him to pursue his game at one of the NCAA’s most illustrious hockey programs.
RC Evan Rodrigues | 07/28/93 | 5.10 | 170lbs
Georgetown Raiders - 10GP 8G 11A 19P 18PIM
Rodrigues was a 10th round pick of the Ottawa 67′s in the 2009 OHL Priority Selection after being a quality offensive forward for the Toronto Marlies MM squad that won the OHL Cup. The Etobicoke native oozes offensive skill and has the ability to pull off nifty dangles at high speed. He’s been able to parlay this talent into an invite to the Canada East World Jr. A Challenge Camp. However, there are some pretty evident concerns to his game. He is very turnover prone and often makes poor decisions by trying to beat one or two players instead of distributing the puck. Some major issues with his game are his lack of defensive awareness. He was very lazy in his own end and was often looking up ice before his team even had possession of the puck. Another concern in his game is that he really lacks the size and strength you’d like out of a Top 6 guy, and he was neutralized by physical play, mostly reserving his game to the perimeter.
Projection: He’ll put up very good numbers for the Raiders this year, but I can’t see him having much of a shot to be drafted in the NHL. He does have the skills to be a productive college player but I think he’ll need some time to adjust to a higher level of competition. We’ll see where he ends up taking his career, however.
G Michael Nishi | 11/01/93 | 6.01 | 165lbs
Georgetown Raiders - 5GP 4-1-1 2.21GAA .908SV%
It’s been a pretty interesting career for the young goaltender already as he has bounced around a bit, seeing some limited action with the Windsor Spitfires as well. He was originally drafted in the 10th Round in 2009 by the Windsor Spitfires and was with the team temporarily last season before returning to the OJHL where he saw action in 17 games with Georgetown, posting a 2.53GAA and .915SV%. Expectations were higher for Nishi this season, but he was beat out in Windsor’s camp by fellow 17 year old goalie Josh Maleckie for the third string slot in a crowded Windsor crease that features Jack Campbell and Troy Passingham.
I was disappointed to see Nishi this year as he was really fighting the puck and his technique looked like it could really use some refinement. He was backing down in his crease often instead of challenging shooters which made a lot of his saves a lot tougher on him. I also thought he was fighting the puck a lot and wasn’t moving very well laterally. He was also dropping to the butterfly frequently and left a lot of open net up top for the Hurricanes’ shooters to have at. It was a pretty disappointing showing for a guy that should be on the upswing at this point.
Projection: Nishi is a late 93′ birthday, which means he won’t be eligible until the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. At this point his game needs a ton of work to be on the draft radar, but goalies can take a while to come around and he does have a decent framework of skill to work with. Next year will be a make or break season for Nishi as he’ll need to not only crack an OHL lineup, but also prove he’s a capable starter at the next level.
RD Mitch Eden | 11/09/94 | 5.11 | 187lbs
Huntsville Otters - 12GP 1G 8A 9P 4PIM
This is a guy who really caught my attention last season playing for the North Central Predators where he was a real horse. After going in the third round of the OHL Priority Selection, Eden wasn’t able to crack the Generals roster which featured a number of returning defenders, thus placing him in the OJHL for a year. The decision won’t be a bad one, as Eden is getting plenty of opportunity with the Otters and has really been excelling as a 16 year old in Jr. Hockey. He saw action on the first powerplay unit and had great puck poise on the point. His head is always up and looking for potential outlets and he made a couple of great seam passes across the ice to break down the Newmarket PK box. I also found that Eden was very opportunistic and picked some nice spots to rush teh puck.
His skating isn’t bad, but I think he could stand to improve his high end speed a bit so he can rush the puck a bit more as well as improving his catch-up speed. Defensively his positioning will also need to get better as he was guilty of chasing the Newmarket forwards a bit and he mis-handled his gap control a couple of times as well. Either way, these aren’t huge concerns, and he definitely has the tools to jump into the OHL next year and play a regular shift.
Projection: Eden is a late 94′ which means that he won’t be eligible until the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. He has the offensive tools to play the powerplay at the OHL level, and he should be capable of putting up some quality numbers as well. His draft day is still a ways away, but he should develop into one of the top guys on the Oshawa blue line over the next couple of seasons and does have the skills to be considered a potential NHL pick at this point.