Chatham-Kent’s Top 15 Hockey Prospects: New Year Update
No professionals are included in the list, which aims to highlight players capable of moving up to a higher level of hockey.
Here are CKSN’s Top Chatham-Kent Hockey Prospects, New Year 2015 edition.
15. Nolan Gardiner (GLJCHL, Wheatley Sharks) – Tilbury, 1998 – Gardiner hit double digits in points as the holiday break hit, but the young forward was still developing his offence. The good news is, Gardiner makes an impact whenever he’s on the ice. Tenacious, Gardiner even registered his first Junior fight in December. With a strong offseason ahead, Gardiner could surprise people and grab a depth role with the Ottawa 67s, but more likely, he’ll play a contributing role in Junior B.
14. Steven Beenackers (GOJHL, Chatham Maroons) – Muirkirk, 1996 – Named to the GOJHL’s Top Prospects Game for the second straight year, Beenackers looks like a player who could and should have been in the OHL. If he dedicates himself in the offseason to fill out his 6’3″ frame, Beenackers will begin to draw much attention from University programs. Beenackers is a straight line player who uses his size effectively. He’s hard not to notice when he’s on the ice with the Maroons.
13. Jake Reed (CCHL, Carleton Place Canadians) – Chatham, 1997 – Healthy and skating well, Reed has found himself in and out of the Carleton Place Canadians lineup. He has however, set himself up nicely for a full time roster spot next season, keeping him on pace to reach his NCAA goals. Reed is still struggling to put up offensive numbers, but that will come next season.
12. Drew Marlatt (GOJHL, Lambton Shores Predators) – Chatham, 1997 – After nearly falling off our list, Marlatt started to score, and then scored more…and more. He was red hot in Junior B throughout the second half of November and all of December. With his scoring touch returned, Marlatt will get a serious look from Windsor. If back in Junior B next season, he’s poised for a breakout campaign. Marlatt is a player who should consider the OJHL, or USHL as an option for next year to expose himself to NCAA options.
11. Ross Krieger (GLJCHL, Dresden Kings) – Pain Court, 1998 – We’ve said it over and over, he is a one and done player in Junior C. For Krieger that means, he’ll have many decisions to make in the coming months. What Junior B team will he commit to? We’ll he play for his hometown Maroons, or follow other CK products to the young, up and coming Lambton Shores Predators? Will he leave CK following an OHL tryout for a team in the GTA? His choice will have huge implications for his long term trajectory.
10. Blayne Oliver (OJHL, Trenton Black Hawks) – Blenheim, 1995 – From last year with the Chatham Maroons, to this year in the OJHL, Oliver has elevated his game, mostly due to ceasing an opportunity, and being given an increased role. He’s scoring, he remains tough, he’s coachable. Will an NCAA team come calling? We’re soon to find out. The answer to that question will either leave Oliver on this list, or down a few notches.
9. Brendan Johnston (OHL, Windsor Spitfires) – Port Lambton, 1997 – Johnston has started to earn time with the Spitfires, as much due to starter Alex Fotinos faltering as his own play. When in net however, Johnston has played as well as Fotinos, and in some cases better. He needs to be more consistent, eliminating blowout losses, but Johnston should stick in the OHL next year and compete for more time. Much of his inconsistency has been a result of a thin roster in front of him. Although he hasn’t climbed our list, his stock has risen since our last report.
8. James McEwan (OHL, Guelph Storm) – Chatham, 1997 – Back from an injury, it has been a tough first OHL campaign for McEwan with the OHL’s Storm. He has however, remained in one of the league’s top lineups, and got his first OHL points. A strong second half now that McEwan is healthy, is just what the doctor ordered.
7. Brady Campbell (NCAA, University of Maine Blackbears) – Blenheim, 1992 – Campbell continues to slide down our list. It’s hard to peg his longterm prospects as he’s only suited up for five games with the NCAA’s Main Blackbears this season. The NCAA is designed for longterm development, but he should be playing more by this point than he is, particularly as Campbell is designed for a scoring role.
6. Brendan Harrogate (GOJHL, LaSalle Vipers) – Chatham, 1998 – Almost nobody in Junior B has been scoring as much as Harrogate in the last month, and that’s a positive for a 16-year-old. Surrounded by strong veterans in LaSalle, a spot in the OHL is Harrogate’s to lose next season. He still needs to refine his defensive game and train hard in the offseason, to guarantee his gains during the season are not lost. His performance warranted a bump up our list, now he needs to prove he can score consistently in the seasons second half.
5. Levi Tetrault (GOJHL, Chatham Maroons) – Pain Court, 1998 – Since a coaching change in Chatham, Tetrault has received even more ice time, which is significant considering he was already playing in Chatham’s top four. Not many defenseman are able to step into a Junior B top four as a 16-year-old and almost never have a defensive lapse. Tetrault is extremely consistent, and jumpstarts Chatham’s offense with a good first pass. He relies on stick positioning to control opponents, and could still benefit from engaging more physically. Tetrault made his OHL debut with the Guelph Storm his month, a good sign of things to come for the defenseman.
4. Brady Pataki (OHL, Sudbury Wolves) – Wallaceburg, 1998 – Pataki has made leaps and bounds since the first month of the season. Just ask his coaches, and his playing time. He is starting to become physically comfortable playing amongst older competition, which is good for a six-foot-two 16-year-old. His skating has also improved. Next season, Pataki will be counted on to take on a power forward role and score, much like he did in the second half of his ‘AAA’ season last year.
3. Trent Fox (OHL, Erie Otters) Thamesville, 1997 – He’s scoring, and he’s scoring consistently. With the NHL scouting combine that is the Erie Otters, Fox is undoubtedly peaking the interest of NHL scouts and GMs. He’s on pace for a solid rookie season, sitting near the top 10 in OHL rookie scoring. At six-foot-two, he has the size, and he’s also proving he has an offensive upside at the next level. It was hard not to slide Fox up this list with his performance over the last month.
2. Joseph Raaymakers (OHL, Sault Ste. Marie Gryhounds) – Chatham, 1998 – Through the last month, Raaymakers has been the man. That in itself, with an NHL second rounder as the other netminder on the Greyhounds roster, is saying a lot. With Halverson off to the World Juniors, Raaymakers will get even more time between the pipes. He’s the real deal, and scouts and fans are taking notice. With character to burn, Raaymakers now must develop that game to game consistency it takes to be a professional.
1. Travis Konecny (OHL, Ottawa 67s) – Clachan, 1997 – It remains difficult to keep Konecny atop this list. He was a minus-13 and third on the Ottawa 67s in scoring, when many expected him to be third in the OHL. His struggles continue in his NHL draft year. Undoubtedly, Konecny will slide down the draft ladder, but remains a top NHL prospect.