Chatham-Kent’s Top Men’s Hockey Prospects: Preseason

Blair Derynck

Blair Derynck skating with the Chatham Maroons in preseason action – Photo by Kelsey Vermeersch/

The season has started for most Junior hockey teams and ‘AAA’ programs across North America. With that in mind, it’s time to start looking at the up and coming hockey talent from Chatham-Kent.

As always, we’re running down, and following the top young hockey prospects from Chatham-Kent. This initial list for the 2015-2016 season wasn’t easy to compile, with several prospects

15. Blair Derynck (GOJHL, Chatham Maroons) – Chatham, 1998 – If Derynck stays with Chatham through the entire season, he’ll see great development. Part of a very strong group of Chatham-Kent Cyclones group two seasons ago, Derynck acclimatized to Junior last year with the Blenheim Blades. A big body, continued improvement to his footwork will open more doors.

14. Kier Cumming (GLJCHL, Blenheim Blades) – Chatham, 1999 – Many thought Cumming would be the Chatham Maroons underage player after he suited up for the team in a handful of games last season. A Sudbury Wolves draft pick, Cumming will skate with the Blenheim Blades, and hope he can repeat the success of Nolan Gardiner.

13. Brady Hogg – (GLJCHL, Dresden Kings) – Ridgetown, 1999 – Nobody impressed more than Hogg in the Great Lakes preseason. He scored, and scored often, which is an accomplishment for a 16-year-old defenseman. The big bodied Dman played for the Chatham-Kent Cyclones ‘AAA’ team last year, and was overlooked in the OHL draft, likely because of how bad his team was. Dresden has had success with underagers recently, and Hogg will be another one season stop through on his way to Junior B.

12. Lucas Vanroboys (USHS, South Kent) – Thamesville, 1999 – Small and skilled, Vanroboys last past a round of cuts at Hamilton Bulldogs camp, the same team that took him in this springs OHL draft. He’ll play a bigger role at his prep school, and start to gain interest from bigger US Junior leagues.

11. Jake Reed (GOJHL, St. Thomas Stars) – Chatham, 1997 – Reed had a strong showing at Peterborough Petes camp, but made sure to protect his NCAA rights. Reed is headed for St. Thomas this year, where he’ll have an opportunity to play against strong competition in the GOJHL.

10. Brady Campbell (NCAA, University of Maine) – Blenheim, 1992 – Campbell needs a break out year. He was a proven Junior scorer, and it’s time for that to translate to the NCAA.

9. Ross Krieger (GOJHL Chatham Maroons) – Pain Court, 1998 – Krieger could have been in the OJHL or another Junior A loop, but chose to stay home with Chatham. His choice will give him an opportunity to play, and play a lot. If his production from Junior C continues in B, he’ll have immediate NCAA offers.

8. Nolan Gardiner (OHL, Ottawa 67s) – Tilbury, 1998 – With big time producers, and kids that outperformed him last season below Gardiner on this list, some might ask, how does he keep doing it? Well, it isn’t luck. It’s hard work. Known for his off ice work ethic, Gardiner has been proving people wrong left and right, and now, he has the chance to stick in the OHL. If he doesn’t, he’s committed to the LaSalle Vipers.

7. James McEwan (OHL, Guelph Storm) – Chatham, 1997 – Numbers are all he needs this year. He’s got the opportunity to play with Guelph, now he has to use it. A healthy campaign will mean McEwan is back on track.

6. Brendan Johnston (OHL, Windsor Spitfires) – Port Lambton, 1997 – The starting job in Windsor is Johnston’s to lose. Consistency is what he seeks as his hot and cold tendencies last season won’t be tolerated as a veteran.

5. Brendan Harrogate (Mississauga Steealheads, OHL) – Chatham, 1998 – Committed to the OHL’s Steelheads, Harrogate put up spectacular numbers as a Junior B rookie in LaSalle last season. If he can manage to even remotely duplicate his production in Mississauga, he could be an NHL pick.

4. Levi Tetrault (OHL, Guelph Storm) – Pain Court, 1998 – Smart and poised, Tetrault played major minutes for the Chatham Maroons last year. He has the tools, but will need to gain a physical edge this season to fend off the big boys of the OHL. Eyes will be on him as a potential late round NHL pick.

3. Trent Fox (OHL, Hamilton Bulldogs) – Thamesville, 1997 – Undrafted, Fox will be counted on to put up big numbers for the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs. He’ll likely be a free agent invite to NHL camps again next offseason.

2. Brady Pataki (OHL, Sudbury Wolves) – Wallaceburg, 1998 – Almost nobody impressed more at Sudbury’s camp than Pataki. He instantly gelled with multiple line combinations, and showed more skill than fans might remember from the big bodied rookie. A veteran now, and still a year away from NHL eligibility, eyes will be on him all season.

1. Joseph Raaymakers (OHL, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) – Chatham, 1998 – Not immediately identified by NHL central scouting, Raaymakers is still a solid prospect, and has a legitimate chance to hear his name called by an NHL team this year. Athletic, and calm, the Soo will need to give him more games this season.

Watch List: Evan Debrouwer, Ben Nicholls, Nick Delyzer, Ty Jackson, Blayne Oliver, Kyle Dawson, Brendan Ritchie, Ian Faubert, Steven Beenackers, Kadin Ritchie, Brayden Pegg, Philip Clarke.

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