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- Created: Monday, 13 March 2017 16:44
The OHL Cup is the most coveted showcase tournament of the season for AAA minor midget programs across Ontario. With twenty of the best teams converging on North Toronto for the week-long event, the OHL Cup provides a platform for aspiring OHL players to showcase their talents to scouts packing the Scotiabank Pond facility.
Champions and runner ups from Ontario’s respective regions – OMHA, GTHL and ALLIANCE – are joined from all-star squads from Total Package Hockey (TPH Thunder), Elite Hockey Group (EHG), Team NOHA (Northern Ontario), Thunder Bay Kings (HNO representative) and Team HEO (represented by Eastern Ontario Wild ’01 Bantam squad). Additionally, ten top teams from across the remaining regions have solidified spots in the Wildcard play-in games Tuesday in hopes of advancing into the main tournament Tuesday through Monday.
Here at TheScout.ca we are taking a break from compiling our final 2017 OHL Draft Rankings (to be released to subscribers prior to the 2017 Priority Selection) to preview the teams and players to watch at the OHL Cup.
Part 1 – Nash Division Preview
Part 2 – Subban Division Preview
Part 3 – Shanahan Division Preview
Part 4 - Lindros Division Preview
Our focus for the third installment features the Shanahan Division.
Whitby Wildcats (OMHA Gold)
Waterloo Wolves (ALLIANCE Finalist)
Vaughan Kings (GTHL Semi-Finalist)
Team NOHA (NOHA Rep)
Wildcard 4 (Winner of Toronto Titans vs. Kitchener Jr. Rangers)
Coming off their second straight OMHA Championship, Whitby Wildcats enter the OHL Cup as one of the top seeds and legitimate contenders to march to the finals on Monday evening. As a team that can ice tremendous depth at every position, Whitby will force teams to show up each and every shift to have a chance at knocking off the OMHA Champions.
Players to Watch:
#92 Blake Murray, C – A player who is generating a lot of pre-draft buzz, Blake Murray has surged up the draft rankings and looks to be a Top 10 lock. The former Central Ontario Wolves forward, Murray exhibits high hockey sense and a great feel for the game. He manages the ice smartly with a strong powerful skating stride that he uses to arrive in prime offensive spots ready to pounce. He’s a player who threatens as a shooter and playmaker, and projects to be a top line stalwart at the OHL level.
#19 Cameron Warren, RW – Warren is a smaller winger who can play all three forward positions and sets up as a prime puck carrier thanks to his skilled, confident hands and heads up handling approach. He’s great at letting plays develop and then hitting his targets at optimum time. He sets the pace high and shows that he can elevate the play of his teammates through smart puck movement and skilled reads.
#15 Ethan Doyle, LW – The pint-sized Doyle has developed outstanding chemistry with top pivot Blake Murray and their timing and execution together has made teams pay all season long. He’s got a sense of where his line mates are at all times and can execute highly skilled plays with ease, sending no-look passes onto the tape of line mates’ sticks that quickly end up in the back of the net.
#11 Jacob DiDanieli, C – DiDanieli is a player who has climbed our rankings throughout the season due to his competitiveness, hunger to make a difference and deceptive playmaking vision. In flight, DiDanieli shows good north-south attacking ability and while his agility and coordination remains a work in progress, he finds ways to elude checks and plough his way to scoring areas. He’s a player with a good touch deep in the offensive zone and has a knack for finishing off plays around the blue paint. As a bonus, Whitby uses him smartly on the penalty kill where he’s shown good value thanks to his work ethic.
#9 Mason Dreger, RW – The son of TSN’s “Hockey Insider” Darren Dreger, Mason is an intuitive and versatile forward who can be trusted in all situations. His hockey sense shines through and is backed by an excellent work ethic, showing that he will get his nose dirty to win 50/50 battles. Occasionally, he shows us that there is some underlying skill to be tapped into as he handles with control before unleashing a rather impressive high-velocity snap shot.
#4 Nathan Porter, LD – A strong two-way defender who plays in all situations, Nathan Porter is among the top blue liners from the OMHA’s Eastern loop. He’s competitive, manages pucks well in transition and shows offensive instincts when working the blueline. He may lack an elite standout trait to push him into the draft’s top echelon of defenders but the sum of his parts makes up an impressive and reliable defenseman.
#98 Colton Kammerer, RD – One of our staff’s most favourite defensemen, Kammerer has pushed his way into 1st round consideration and given his competitiveness, plus skating ability and coachability, he’s a very attractive option inside the first 30 picks. He makes smart offensive reads yet maintains a tough-to-play-against defending style. Kammerer has shown steady improvement all season long and owns the tools to make a difference in all three zones. Look for him to really solidify his draft value at the OHL Cup. We love his game.
#8 Ryan O’Rourke, RD 2002 – An underage defenseman with Top 10 skills despite playing ahead of his peers, O’Rourke is establishing himself as one of the top defenders for the 2018 OHL Priority Selection. He’s efficient, mobile, smart with the puck and shows some nastiness in his defending style from time to time.
#3 Brandon Benham, LD – The closer you watch Benham’s game, the more you learn to appreciate his smarts and efficiency. Blessed with good skating skills and the ability to manage the game with his head on a swivel, Benham understands how to impact the game by making quick, safe passes to keep momentum flowing. He can escape pressure with his feet and slick puck skills and is a good teammate, always knowing when to provide support and pull back to defend the zone.
#30 Luke Pearson & #33 Ethan Langevin, G – The ‘Cats are fortunate to have two of the top puck stoppers in the ETA and the coaching staff can throw either one out in big games, knowing that they’ll give them the best chance at a win. Neither are big goaltenders but both are very controlled and confident in their abilities – rarely looking rattled. With depth at one of the most important positions, look for Pearson and Langevin to be among the top statistical goaltenders in the OHL Cup.
A well-coached squad who does a great job at shutting down opposing team’s offence, Waterloo will be in a lot of close games throughout the tournament. In the Alliance Championship, they were unable to beat the London Jr Knights but they did show resiliency and kept the majority of the games close thanks to their ability to play to their team’s system.
Players to Watch:
#9 Keean Washkurak, C – The Captain of the Wolves, Washkurak will surely turn heads of people unfamiliar with his game. He’s a player who leaves it all on the ice each and every shift. Blessed with an outstanding motor that never stops, he will most certainly be in the thick of the action 99% of the time and constantly slashes his way into the scoring areas. He’s great at attacking on the rush with speed and while he could improve his handling control at times, he always seems to end up with a quality scoring chance.
#88 Brayden Krieger ....