Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ryan Yessie's Sarnia Sting Mid-season Report

Ryan took the time to give his mid-season report on Sarnia. He generally doesn't report on them as he focuses on the other team, so for the significant players on the Sting, here is his take on them.

Greg Sutch - YOB: 1992 - 6’2” - 190 lbs.
NHL: Eligible in 2010
Report: Sutch started out slow this year, he looked snake bitten but after about 15 games his skill started to show, and he was able to reach his top speed which is extremely impressive. He looks a lot bigger than his 6’2 - 190 lb. Frame and has a great deal of speed. He looks a lot like a poor man’s Bobby Ryan because he skates like few teenagers his size can, he has very good hands around the net, and drives to the net very well. He has great size and strength and imposes it whenever possible. He doesn’t have the natural scoring instincts Bobby Ryan had, but he does look a lot like him during his rookie season. Sutch will need to work on his defensive play alittle, as well he will need to grow into his body alittle more as the coordination seems slightly off almost like the skill and the size is there, but like some players that grow too fast he almost has to grow into his body. Sutch will also have to overcome a significant hearing impairment but is able to play at the level he does because of his incredible hockey sense. Sutch has a shot at being a 1st round pick between 10-25 next year if a team is willing to overlook his disability. (Sutch has 2G, 8A, 10PTS, +0, 36 PIM in 41 GP)

Nathan Chiarlitti - YOB: 1992 - 6’0” - 185 lbs.
NHL: Eligible in 2010
Report: Chiarlitti is not too noticeable on the ice, he showed at the U-17 tournament that he certainly has some skill to become a two-way defenceman, but for now while he’s behind the top 4 this year, there’s the potential he will become a top 4 defenceman next year regardless of who comes back, so this is a good learning process for him, as he is beginning to earn shifts with #1 defenceman Mark Katic. Chiarlitti shows poise unbecoming of a rookie, and something you’d expect to see out of a 19 year old defenceman in the OHL and not a 16 year old. He always seems very calm and makes the right decisions when moving the puck. He’s steady defensively and wasn’t expected to make the team this year. He shows solid positioning and quietly could become a very decent player going into the 2009 draft. (Chiarlitti has 1G, 0A, 1PT, +2, 6 PIM in 31 GP)

Justin DiBenedetto - YOB: 1988 - 6’0” - 195 lbs.
NHL: 6th Round - 175th Overall by NY Islanders in 2008
Report: DiBenedetto leads the OHL in goals mid-way through the season. He has great scoring instincts and generally seems to know the right time when to pass and when to shoot. He looks very good cycling the puck out there, and as far as the offensive zone he’s as good as they come. He drives to the net more frequently and plays with an edge he never had before. His skating is decent and he has a quick release on his shot. What will hurt DiBenedetto is his tendency for not taking enough responsibility in the defensive zone, I’ve seen him a few times coasting back instead of skating hard, he isn’t very effective on his own side of the red line and that will definitely need to improve if he’s going to reach his potential. (DiBenedetto has 29G, 31A, 60PTS, +5, 64 PIM in 40 GP)

Jamie Arniel - YOB: 1989 - 6’0” - 190 lbs.
NHL: 4th Round - 97th Overall by Boston in 2008
Report: The start of the 08-09 season was tough for Arniel. He was one of the first players sent back from Bruins camp, and couldn’t get his game together in Sarnia after an unfortunate drinking and driving incident raised questions about his commitment to the Sarnia Sting, the OHL and his hockey career. With everything going on around him it took him about 6 games to get it going, but once he got it going he started to put points up. Unfortunately he was still tagged as a very soft player after a few incidences where he skated away with his head down instead of defending his teammates and not being willing to hit. Arniel now looks like he’s playing the best hockey possibly of his career. He has some solid speed and can move up and down the ice fairly well. He’s not great defensively but not horrible either. He has one of the quickest releases and most accurate shots in the league, he’s a natural goal scorer. Recently he has been throwing the body around a lot more, and he’s been very willing to engage physically. Also Arniel is a very disciplined player. The only real knock on Arniel at this point is that he shoots from ridiculous angles instead of passing to the open man, same with 2 on 1’s goaltenders seem to be cheating alittle playing the shot and Arniel will shoot right into the goaltender cutting off the angle rather than attempting a pass which; if successful would result in the other player having an open net to shoot into. Remarkably Arniel is on a 7 game goal scoring streak at the moment and is only 5 goals behind DiBenedetto for the league lead in goals. (Arniel has 24G, 21A, 45PTS, +2, 22PIM in 40GP)

Matt Martin - YOB: 1989 - 6’3” - 200 lbs.
NHL: 5th Round - 148th Overall by NY Islanders in 2008
Report: Matt Martin was a walk on Jr. C hockey player who was brought in to fight. No one would have thought that within 36 months he would be an NHL draft pick, the Captain of the team, and challenging for the OHL scoring lead. Martin is only 6 goals behind DiBenedetto, and is much more than a goal scorer. He has great leadership skills and has really been the voice of the Sting in the dressing room and on the ice. He has always played with a huge edge, and has thrown some massive hits on guys bigger than him. He’s shown a willingness to fight whenever called upon but has kept it to a minimum lately since he is one of the top players for Sarnia. Martin is decent defensively, and drives to the net well. He doesn’t have that natural talent and has worked extremely hard for everything he’s accomplished. He will likely have a future in the NHL, if not as a power forward then as a role player that could chip in the odd goal. Martin’s biggest obstacle will be his skating, as it is really the only thing that could stop him entering pro hockey, and may be what keeps him in the OHL for a final year. (Martin has 23G, 19A, 42PTS, +4, 78 PIM in 40GP)

Michael Neal - YOB: 1989 - 6’3” - 205 lbs.
NHL: 5th Round - 149th Overall by Dallas in 2007
Report: Michael Neal is the younger brother of James Neal. He has the size, and the willingness to hit, and the same decent defensive presence, and ability to cycle. Unfortunately Michael Neal doesn’t have his older brother’s fighting ability, or his hands. Neal should be an intriguing prospect, as he can hit, and hit very hard, he can help create turnovers he is difficult to move when doing the cycle game. However Neal seems to either get nervous or just doesn’t have very much goal scoring instincts. He scored a very nice goal his second game in Sarnia, but since then has had a very difficult time just hitting the net, let alone putting it in the net. Also Neal could add another strong element to his game if he showed a willingness to fight more often, and was an effective fighter, however his scraps are few and far between. (Neal has 5G, 10A, 15PTS, -1, 30 PIM in 43GP)

Ben O’Quinn - YOB: 1991 - 6’1” - 185 lbs.
NHL: Eligible in 2009
Report: I’ve been interested with him all year, at the start of the year he walked off the team and it just seemed like a 4th liner was quitting the team. The team was able to bring him back after a few days, and he received good ice time for a few games then went back to 5 mins per game. Over time he earned a little more time over every game untill he eventually got a place on the DiBenedetto line about two weeks ago. O’Quinn displays some very impressive speed, and has some decent hands but likely will never be a big goal scorer even at the junior level let alone pro. His future lies in his effort that he puts in every shift, as well as his ability to win face offs when called upon. He is also a very good penalty killer and could end up being a 6th or 7th round pick in this year’s draft as a defensive specialist with some speed and a bit of raw talent. (O’Quinn has 6G, 10A, 16PTS, +5, 18 PIM in 42 GP)

Jesse Stoughton - YOB: 1991 - 5’9” - 160 lbs.
NHL: Eligible in 2009
Report: Stoughton is another guy who could go in the final two rounds and surprise some people. Stoughton is just starting to show his goal scoring ability, as he’s put in 3 goals and 5 points in his last 3 games. But ontop of that is the great defensive skill Stoughton posesses. Despite being a rookie Stoughton has mainly been one of Sarnia’s top penalty killers and has continued to get better throughout the year. Stoughton has produced fairly well this year considering the majority of games he was receiving 4th line minutes. Stoughton is fairly undersized which might affect his attempts to go pro, but he’s a strong skater and very fast so it should be very interesting to see how this player develops over the next 24 months. (Stoughton has 5G, 8A, 13PTS, +1, 18 PIM in 42 GP)

Mark Katic - YOB: 1989 - 5’11” - 185 lbs.
NHL: 3rd Round - 62nd Overall in 2007
Report: Katic has continued to improve from last year, he remains arguably the fastest skater under 20 in the world, and still distributes the puck well, his defensive play is still very strong highlighted by his ability to play defenders effectively in one on one situations. He has clearly improved his point shot, as he already has 7 goals this year, 2 more than his personal record. He is also hitting more, but has been a lot better at avoiding contact himself which has prevented him from sustaining any injuries this year. Katic has been playing great and is finally starting to somewhat live up to the expectations that he would be a key offensive contributor. Katic is 50/50 on whether or not he’ll return next year, as the Islanders would not be smart to rush him too fast giving his history with injuries and his size. (Katic has 7G, 23A, 30PTS, +4, 26 PIM in 40 GP)

Joe Rogalski - YOB: 1991 - 6’2” - 185 lbs.
NHL: Eligible in 2010
Report: Rogalski has quietly been one of the most dependable players on the Sting. Rogalski displays great acceleration and very impressive speed, Rogalski has actually rushed the puck up a few times more recently which is unusual for him as he’s been staying back his first year and a half in Sarnia, but he rushed the puck with great skating ability. He handles the puck well, makes the right first pass, and has always been very reliable defensively. If he can add 20 lbs. Within the next 2 years he could slowly become a dominant defenceman in the OHL. He needs to play more physical and that is really the only flaw in his game. He doesn’t put up big numbers, but he contributes more offensively than his numbers would suggest. Rogalski is a steady defenceman and should challenge to go late in the 1st round at next years draft. (Rogalski has 1G, 8A, 9PTS, -7, 28 PIM in 45 GP)

Dan Spence - YOB: 1988 - 6’0” - 185 lbs.
NHL: Free Agent
Report: Spence has been a saviour in net for the Sting this year, and has single handedly won a few games for the team, and has always kept them in every game. Spence has great reflexes and has an incredibly fast glove hand. He plays with an unorthodox style somewhat like Mike Murphy’s style, but like Murphy it has been working very effectively for him. Spence could easily challenge for the GAA lead if the Sting had a stronger defense core. His GAA is 4th in the league behind only Murphy, McCollum and Spitfire net minder Engelade. His save percentage is 3rd behind only Murphy and McCollum. Spence will likely see a pro contract the free agent route when his season completes in Sarnia. (Spence is 17-11-2, 2 SO, 2.53 GAA, .920 SV%)

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