It seems like scouts in the OHL only get up to Northern Ontario when it is convenient. I am not saying scouts do not enjoy coming to Northern Ontario and I’m not criticizing the ones that attend lots of Northern Ontario games. However, teams that are in the Southern Ontario, also known as the GTA, do not get to rinks in Northern Ontario as often as teams based in the Great White North.
In recent OHL Drafts for example, the North Bay Trappers AAA hockey Association has only seen a few prospects move on up to the Battalion. This year’s prospects are left-winger Brett Richardson as well as defensemen Callum Craft. If you go back to the 2019 Draft, only two goalie prospects were taken in Benjamin Gaudreau and Owen Wray.
I’m not saying these players were deserving of getting drafted by one of the most respected development leagues in the draft, however, I believe OHL teams missed out on some great players that I will showcase in this article.
Will Rivet, the nephew of former NHL and Buffalo Sabres captain Craig Rivet, is a great prospect that teams missed out on in the OHL Priority Selection and 2020 Under 18 Priority Selection. Rivet finished third in scoring on his North Bay Trappers under 18 AAA squad this past season. He finished with 55 points, however, the two players that finished ahead of him were born a year earlier and were 2002 birthdates. While Rivet was a 2003 birthdate, the winger has very good hockey sense and would be a great pick up for any OHL team.
Lemcke was a teammate of Rivet’s during his under 16 season with the North Bay Trappers. However, this season, Cameron joined the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves and put up an impressive 43 points. He also scored two junior A goals with the Powassan Voodoos of the NOJHL as an affiliate player at the next level Cameron Lemcke could put the puck in the net given the right development and he could be a penalty killing specialist if given the opportunity.
There is no picture of Jake Fullerton before this paragraph and this shows that Fullerton hasn’t had the right amount of exposure he deserves. I believe Jacob at least deserves to be a draft pick in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection. However, he was passed up because he was on a struggling team and only produced three goals and 12 assists for 15 points.
While this represents his season, it does not exemplify how good of a player Jake actually is. Jake showed leadership when his team was down and worked really hard on his defence of game this past season. I saw this when I was scouting Jake for the Powassan Voodoos of the NOJHL.
You’re probably saying to yourself, “why are you writing about Alex Little?” He got selected in the under 18 draft by the North Bay Battalion of OHL. Alex Little, in my opinion, is still undervalued and should’ve went in the first round of this draft. Alex, 17-years-old, will compete for a spot on the North Bay Battalion. If he doesn’t make the team this year, watch out for the defensemen in 21-22.
Caleb Saunders faced lots of rubber this past season. His team plays in a league that allows 15-year-old’s to play against 18-year-olds as all players do who play under 16 to under 18 in Northern Ontario. These levels were formally known as minor midget to major midget.
Saunders appeared to struggle throughout the season, but gained his confidence as the year went on and did ended up posting a subpar goals against average. I look forward to seeing what Caleb can do playing under 18 this season and the improvements he makes in his game.
I could go on for days about prospects that deserve the shot at the OHL. Honourable mentions go to Nat Lalonde Ethan Mason, Cameron Shanks and Jackson Buffam. I wish these players nothing but success as they continue to work in both hockey and life. Stay tuned for my next article coming on Wednesday to ThePuckAuthority.com.