Over the course of the week, Tyler Brenton will be sharing his Top 30 prospects eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft from the OHL. He will be counting down from 30 all the way to Connor McDavid.
Similarly to the prospects found in the 30 to 26 range, the next five prospects in the OHL Countdown have the potential to be drafted in the latter stages of the 2015 NHL Draft.
25. Matt Luff – Belleville Bulls
Born: May 5th, 1997 From: Oakville, ON
Height: 6’2” Weight: 179 lbs
The big winger for the Belleville Bulls played in his first OHL season, scoring 9 goals with 22 assists in 64 games. He also appeared in 4 playoff games, scoring a goal and an assist. In a positive note, 31 points is a pretty good rookie year on a low scoring Belleville club.
Luff is a project winger, his skating needs work but he’s able to hold onto the puck and use his size to an advantage. A lot of scouts appreciate his hands around the net and believe he could have chipped in more goals. If his skating develops more in the offseason, he could be poised for a breakout season next year as the Belleville Bulls move to Hamilton.
“Fine rookie campaign. Coming into the League from Oakville Midget program, Luff was known as a smart, attentive winger with quality offensive tools. While that was displayed at times this year, he struggled with inconsistency (not uncommon among rookies) and injuries. Despite that, we saw enough of him to appreciate the potential that he holds. Tough and honest, he’s at his best within 4/5 feet of the net, finding ways to finish plays and positioning himself in prime areas around the net. Not overly skilled but offers makes up for it with his ability to win battles. Went through a bit of a growth spurt pre-OHL which effected his skating and coordination, stride should elongate and fill out as he matures. Projects more as a depth forward at this point, but he’s done enough to prove himself an NHL pick at this point, he’s worth the gamble”
24. Chris Martenet – London Knights
Born: September 25th, 1996 From: Waukesha, WI
Height: 6’7” Weight: 196 lbs
One of the tallest players in the draft, Martenet signed with the London Knights prior to the 2014-15 season. He appeared in 64 regular season games, scoring 7 goals with 9 assists. Martenet also played in 10 playoff games where he went scoreless.
In Martenet’s rookie year, he wasn’t relied upon heavily to play top minutes. That will likely change as he progresses. Martenet likely develops into a physical bruiser, with decent wheels for a big guy. It’s no secret that he has the size that NHL teams are looking for and when he fills out in his frame, he could be turn into a reliable shutdown defender. I believe an NHL team gambles on Martenet and takes him in the late third or early fourth round.
“Skating at 6-foot-7 and it’s not surprising that first-year OHL defenseman Chris Martenet is drawing attention from scouts. On a young and inexperienced London blue line, Martenet has been a welcome addition and he’s improving with each passing game. His lanky long stride allows him to cover ice quickly and with his wide-wingspan Martenet has shown to be very difficult to beat on the outside. For a big man, Martenet owns good mobility and he hasn’t been shy to carry the puck up ice either. Gathering points will never be Martenet’s go-to skill set but he’s proving to be very valuable, replacing the tough minutes left behind after Nikita Zadorov’s departure last season. He’s very raw as a prospect but it’s hard not to love his size (obviously) and his overall demeanour/confidence on the ice is very attractive as well.”
23. Anthony Cirelli – Oshawa Generals
Born: July 15th, 1997 From: Woodbridge, ON
Height: 6’0” Weight: 165 lbs
The overtime hero for the Oshawa Generals in the Memorial Cup final, Cirelli has risen in popularity ever since, scoring what will likely be the biggest goal of his career. In his first OHL season Cirelli scored 13 goals with 23 goals in 68 games. In 16 playoff games he put up a goal and 5 assists to help the Generals become OHL champions.
Cirelli is a lanky center that can also play the wing. He plays a strong two-way game and can be relied upon in many situations. He works hard and plays a smart overall game. If Cirelli can get stronger, he could translate into an effective two-way player. After leading the Generals to a Memorial Cup championship, he likely won’t be a sleeper pick at the draft.
“Cirelli is an excellent two-way player, who see’s the ice very well. His hockey IQ is off the charts as he continuously shows his effectiveness at both ends of the ice. While Cirelli could stand to add strength to his core, he is just 17 years of age and that will come with time and development. Cirelli boasts a number of skills you just can’t teach. His work ethic and compete level is off the charts, he competes on every puck, goes to the dirty areas of the ice, and is willing to take a hit to make a play. While Cirelli is defensively responsible he also has some noticeable offensive upside. He has deceptively good hands and playmaking ability, strong vision, and has an ability to find the soft spots in defensive zone coverage’s. Cirelli is very cerebral in his approach, takes direct routes to the puck, is effective on the forecheck, and shows an ability to find the back of the net.”
22. Thomas Schemitsch – Owen Sound Attack
Born: October 26th, 1996 From: Thornhill, ON
Height: 6’3” Weight: 201 lbs
The big, right-handed defenseman returned to Owen Sound for his second OHL season and put up 14 goals and 35 assists in 68 games. He played a vital defensive role with the Attack and was fourth in team scoring. He led all 17 year old OHL defenseman in estimated time-on-ice with 27.03.
Schemitsch needs to work on his skating if he wants to become anything more than a stay at home defenseman at a higher level. Possesses a hard shot and can use his stick efficiently to maintain a gap on offenders. Schemitsch plays both the powerplay and on the penalty kill. If he can become quicker, he could turn into a solid two-way defender.
21. Graham Knott – Niagara IceDogs
Born: January 13th, 1997 From: Etobicoke, ON
Height: 6’3” Weight: 192 lbs
Knott had a solid season with the IceDogs where he played in 59 regular season games and scored 25 goals with 18 assists. In the playoffs, he played in all 11 games and scored 2 goals with 2 assists. After the OHL season concluded, he traveled to Switzerland for the U-18 World Championships where he recorded 4 points in 5 games en route to a bronze medal.
Knott has the size to translate into a power forward. He could be more physical but plays a relatively smart game and kills penalties for the IceDogs. Could use work on his hands, especially in close but he possesses a nice release. Knott has the qualities of a potential grinder at the NHL level that can finish.
“A big, aggressive, physical winger…has impressive first step acceleration and a good top speed…dangerous on the forecheck due to his speed and reach…quickly transitions from defense to offense…exudes confidence with the puck and has the innate ability to be a difference maker…controls the puck and protects it well…has a good shot…successful in forcing attackers to make mistakes and played a strong positional defensive game…needs to maintain consistency of effort level…has many interesting tools.”
Check back on Wednesday for part three of the countdown, where we examine #20 to #16.
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