Chatham-Kent’s Top Hockey Prospects: Preseason Update

Brendan Harrogate - LaSalle Vipers

Brendan Harrogate (left) celebrates his first Junior B goal with the LaSalle Vipers – Photo by Chelsea Lefler

CKSN’s Chatham-Kent top hockey prospects, is taking another turn. From being an annual list featuring the top 15 non-pro players in the area, our new prospectus style updates will happen preseason, midseason, and postseason each year.

The list is compiled tapping into a variety of sources, including local coaches, scouts, and media.

We also changed the list, making it more Chatham-Kent focused, knocking out players who had most of their real developmental years happen elsewhere, such as Brandon Montour and Brock Philips, who both were on our original lists.

While our postseason review will remain the most in depth, our preseason and midseason looks at Chatham-Kent’s hockey prospects aims to keep our readers informed on CK up and comers.

Here are CKSN’s Top Chatham-Kent Hockey Prospects, 2014 preseason edition.

15. Blair Derynck – Surprising some as the eventual victor in the battle for the Blenheim Blades’ underage card, Derynck will develop on a strong Junior C club, and with so many graduating from the Chatham Maroons this season, will step into a contributing roster spot in a years time. A strong player for the Chatham-Kent Cyclones Minor Midget team last year, Derynck has good size, is in a quality off ice training program, and was an Alliance All-Star last year.

14. Ross Krieger – As the leading scorer of the Chatham-Kent Cyclones Minor Midget ‘AAA’ team last season, a team that saw six players drafted to the OHL and graduated half their roster to the Junior ranks this season, Krieger likely went undrafted on one aspect alone, his size. The five-foot-eight prospect however, packed muscle to his frame this offseason, and ripped up the Great Lakes preseason, signing with the Dresden Kings. Big numbers this season will make his frame look equally big in the eyes of scouts.

13. Dede Cato – After signing with the Toronto Patriots of the OJHL, Cato flashed his offence in the preseason, and reportedly had a good showing at Kitchener Rangers main camp. His skating is unparalleled on this list and has had OHL teams interested. Cato however, returned home from Etobicoke early in the season, leaving the Patriots on his own accord. He will land with a Junior B team, but would have been higher on this list had he remained in the OJHL. Cato could still make an OHL team as a walk on next year with a strong showing in Junior B.

12. Nolan Gardiner – For the first time, Gardiner, a Tilbury resident, jumps onto our list. Tough, with the ability to provide scoring, Gardiner made the Wheatley Sharks as a 16-year-old, and was a 10th round selection of the Ottawa 67s last year. Flying under the radar on a strong Chatham-Kent Cyclones team the year before, Gardiner is a tenacious worker on the ice, who could continue to surprise many with a strong season, combined with dedication to off ice training.

11. Drew Marlatt – The reigning Great Lakes Junior C rookie of the year, Marlatt was traded to the Lambton Shores Predators from Chatham prior to the season. Seen by some as a knock to Marlatt’s calibre of play, a statement which couldn’t be farther from the truth, Marlatt will be “the man” in Lambton Shores. He’ll play in all situations, and have every opportunity to develop. Although he’ll likely take his lumps on what will undoubtedly be a sub .500 team again, Marlatt and his unflashy, yet effective game, will be a player to watch in Junior B, and a contender for an OHL roster spot next year.

10. Jake Reed – After signing with the Carleton Place Canadians of the CCHL, a Junior A team near Ottawa, Reed has found himself in a log jam with veteran players ahead of him. Fortunately for Reed, this will give him the time to adapt to Junior A life. With a goal of college hockey ahead, Reed has the time, and Carleton Place is an excellent place to learn. While he’s developing, Reed will also spend time with the Perth Blue Wings Junior B team to assure he’s getting quality minutes.

9. Brendan Harrogate – A skilled forward, Harrogate landed with the GOJHL’s LaSalle Vipers. Harrogate will be counted on in a depth scoring role, but will be given every opportunity to shine. Without the burden of being counted on to score night in and night out, Harrogate will have time to develop and next season will have a legitimate shot to make the Mississauga Steelheads, who drafted him last spring.

8. Brendan Johnston – Starting the season as the Windsor Spitfires backup, Johnston is playing behind one of the OHL’s least established starters, which means he’ll likely have a chance to make his mark.

7. Levi Tetrault – Tetrault will get the opportunity to learn the Junior hockey game this year without pressure, signing to bolster a deep Chatham Maroons (Junior B) roster. The Guelph Storm fourth round pick, known for a stay-at-home style, will be counted on to move into the OHL next season, and may receive a call up this season, after signing in September. Earning playing time in Chatham will be vital to his continued development.

6. Trent Fox – Erie Otters fans will have another Fox to cheer for this season. With holes in their forward corps, Fox will be given every opportunity to use his skill to wow scouts and Otters fans. With his brothers’ reputation as a late bloomer who could pile in the goals, NHL scouts will definitely be flocking to see what the younger Fox can do.

5. James McEwan – He made the Guelph Storm. What he does there will determine his spot on this list. McEwan is in his NHL draft year, so landing in the OHL is step one. Step two is getting off to a solid offensive start. He’ll have the opportunity. His shot is draft worthy, how often he gets to use it will be up to the rest of his game.

4. Brady Campbell – Entering season two with the University of Maine. Look for Campbell to start hitting the scoresheet this season. It’s time for him to recapture his scoring touch, and set himself up as a future pro prospect.

3. Brady Pataki – Making the OHL as a 15-year-old with the Sudbury Wolves is one feather in the Wallaceburg products cap. The fact he’s already a physically mature, six-foot-three specimen, and his late birthday gives him an extra year (2017) before he’s NHL eligible, makes Pataki’s upside huge. Sudbury brass expect him to develop, and bring scouts to the building.

2. Joseph Raaymakers – After landing the backup role with the OHL’s Soo Greyhounds, and likely a spot on one of Canada’s U17 teams, Raaymakers has no where to go but up. Even a mediocre rookie OHL season will set him up for a starters job, and a spot on NHL draft lists next year.

1. Travis Konecny – Captained Canada’s U18 team to a gold in the off season, reigning OHL rookie of the year, will be an NHL first round pick this year. What more do you need? He holds the top spot on our list.

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