Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Sunday Top 10 - Jumping Ship to the OHL

First off, sorry for the lack of updates recently. My computer access has been limited lately due to some computer/virus related problems again. I should be back up and running soon enough which will mean more updates.

As for the Sunday Top 10, this week we look at 10 player who look like they will be jumping ship to the OHL next season. That is to say, 10 players from outside leagues who look to or have already committed to playing in the OHL next season. This list does not include "natural" OHL rookies, or 93 born players who were just recently drafted in the Priority draft. This is a list of "overage" rookies, if you will. There is a lot of talent on this list, some of whom have already stated they will be playing in the OHL next season. Others is merely speculation on my part based on a little background research. Quite frankly, I'd be surprised if every player on this list isn't in the OHL next year, but you never know.

Here is the Top 10...

10. Chase Balisy - U.S. National Under 17 Team
Balisy is a very interesting case. He actually played last season in Toronto with the Montreal Jr. Canadiens alongside OHL first overall pick John McFarland. Originally from California, Balisy returned to the U.S., accepting an offer to play for the Under 17 Development Program this season, where he had 39 points in 67 games. Balisy also shifted back and forth between forward and defense this year, generating offense from both spots. He's an excellent playmaker with speed to burn, although he is undersized at 5'10. Balisy does not currently have an NCAA committment, and with his previous time spent playing in Canada, it is expected he will make the jump to the OHL next season.
Destination team - London Knights

9. Adam Clendening - U.S. National Under 17/18 Team
Clendening is an averaged sized (5'11), but very skilled blueliner who has long been rumoured to be jumping ship to the OHL. He spent the majority of his season with the U.S. Under 17 team where he had 14 points in 39 games. He did also see some time on the Under 18 team, in particular playing at the recently concluded World Under 18 Championships, where he helped Team U.S.A. capture the gold. This feat is especially impressive considering that Clendening is a late 1992 birthdate, making him one of the youngest players in the program, and not eligible for the NHL draft until 2011. Don't expect him to become an impact player right away, but he should be able to jump right into the top 4 of a team's defense.
Destination team - London Knights

8. Brandon Pirri - Georgetown Raiders (OPJHL)
This is purely speculation on my part, but I have a hard time seeing this talented forward at R.P.I. next season. Pirri is an exceptionally talented offensive forward who had 94 points in 44 games this season, and is expected to go in the top 3 rounds of the NHL draft this year. He was spurned by the Canadian Under 18 team, which had to hurt his stock a bit since scouts were unable to make a comparison against his equally talented peers. However, R.P.I. was one of the worst teams in the NCAA this season. If an NHL team takes Pirri high, which is very likely, I'd say it's also likely they convince him to go to the OHL where he'll be surrounded by a few more talented players. Pirri was originally drafted by Sudbury, but don't be surprised to see his rights traded.
Destination team - Sudbury Wolves?

7. Jerry D'Amigo - U.S. National Under 18 Team
D'Amigo is a 5'11, 200lbs hard working forward who finished second in scoring on the Under 18 team this season, with 56 points in 53 games. He was especially outstanding for Team U.S.A. at the Under 18's, where he finished with 13 points in 7 games in helping Team U.S.A. to gold. He was also named to the tournament all star team. Interesting enough, D'Amigo is another R.P.I. recruit who's slated to go in the first three rounds of this years NHL draft. However, unlike Pirri, his intent to play in the OHL appears to be much more forward. While he hasn't signed a contract yet with Kitchener, like Morin and Maxwell, he has apparently been seen in the Kitchener area, leading you to believe it's just a matter of time. On the other hand, as recently as a few months ago, his family has stated he's still dedicated to RPI. So who really knows, and a lot depends on whoever drafts him in the NHL Should he report to Kitchener he'll be an impact player for them next season.
Destination team - Kitchener Rangers

6. Brandon Maxwell - U.S. National Under 17/18 Team
Maxwell had quite the incident filled year. Maxwell started the season as potentially the best goaltender available for 2009 NHL entry draft. However, as the season went along, things started to happen. First, Maxwell tried to get out of the development program so that he could go play for Windsor. His push was denied by USA Hockey and he was forced to stay with the Under 18 team. From there, things spiraled from bad to worse. His play slipped, and he was eventually booted from the Under 18 team for an altercation with another teammate. He was demoted to the Under 17 team, where he was not incredibly great, finishing the season with a Sv% under .900. However, his rights were traded to Kitchener and he has already signed the contract to play with the Rangers next season. It remains to be seen how talented Maxwell is, simply because of all the drama that surrounded him this year. I guess we'll see how he responds next year in Kitchener where he's going to be responsible for backstopping an up and coming team who expects to challenge for a Division title.
Destination team - Kitchener Rangers

5. Richard Panik - HC Trinec (Czech League)
Panik has long be considered a first round selection for the 2009 draft, at one point last year, even as high as the top 10. However this season has not been kind to him. His stats have greatly slipped with HC Trinec in the Czech junior league and he was completely overshadowed on the Slovakian World Junior team by fellow 2009 eligible teammate Tomas Tatar. Panik was taken last year in the Import Draft by Windsor, but decided to not come over. However, he has since committed to coming over next season and will be a Spitfire in 2009-10. Panik is a big body with a lot of skill and should be an impact player, especially with the talent he'll be surrounded with.
Destination team - Windsor Spitfires

4. Brandon Saad - Mahoning Valley Phantoms (NAHL)
Saad, a talented winger from Pittsburgh, as the 10th overall selection in the 2008 OHL Priority draft by the Saginaw Spirit. However, he did not play in Saginaw this season because he wanted to play one last season with his brother George in the NAHL, even turning down the USDP for that chance as well. Saad is a big time offensive forward who is an especially dangerous goal scorer. He was named the NAHL's Rookie of the Year and he also lead Team USA in scoring with 9 points at the Under 17 World Hockey Challenge. While he hasn't yet signed to play in Saginaw, it's all but expected he will, with no NCAA committment, and quotes saying that he would head to Saginaw after one more season in the NAHL. He should jump right into the Saginaw line up and become an impact forward.
Destination team - Saginaw Spirit

3. Jeremy Morin - U.S. National Under 18 Team
Jeremy Morin is a winger who lead the Under 18 in scoring this season with 33 goals and 59 points. He also finished second in penalty minutes with 107. He's been considered a first round selection for the 2009 NHL draft pretty much all season, even increasing his stock with a very solid Under 18 championship performance with 10 points in 7 games. He just recently signed his contract to play for Kitchener next season, where he'll likely jump right into the line up and become an immediate team leader and leading scorer.
Destination team - Kitchener Rangers

2. John Moore - Chicago Steel (USHL)
Somewhat surprisingly, Moore was drafted yesterday by Kitchener in the second round of the OHL Priority draft. Even more surprising is the fact that Moore is apparently heading to Kitchener, ditching his committment to Colorado College. This incredibly talented blueliner is slated to be a top 20 selection in the 2009 NHL entry draft after putting up 37 points in 49 games and being named the USHL defenseman of the year. He should enter Kitchener's line up and have a very similar impact to John Carlson's in London this year. In other words, he should be one of the best defenseman in the league next year.
Destination - Kitchener Rangers

1. Cam Fowler - U.S. National Under 18 Team
It should not be surprising to most that Fowler tops this list. This 6'2, 190lbs defenseman is an absolutely elite player. He is the complete package. Outstanding skater and offensive producer, but also a developing dominant two way defenseman. He was absolutely fantastic at the Under 18's, leading U.S.A. to gold and being named the tournament's top defenseman. He could very well go first overall in 2010, likely battling with future teammate Taylor Hall in Windsor. This kid could very well be the OHL defenseman of the year next year, his first in the league. He's that good.
Destination - Windsor Spitfires

Other Notables

I don't usually include any honorable mentions in the Sunday Top 10, however this list is a little different because of the nature of the topic. Here are a few more situations to keep an eye on...

Kenny Ryan, Stephan Johns, Jack Campbell to Windsor. Ryan is a great goal scorer who was a big part of the Under 18 team this year. Johns is a talented and big, imposing defenseman from the Under 17 team. And Jack Campbell was the goaltender who lead Team USA to Gold at the recent Under 18's. All three are potential impact players. All three are potential recruits to Windsor. However, they remain longshots at best at this point, however with Kitchener spending so much money this offseason to bring in talent, don't be surprised to see Windsor make a big pitch to get these guys. Especially Jack Campbell, who could be their goaltender of the future.

USHL star Stanislav Galiev, of the Indiana Ice, is looking to join the CHL next year and will go wherever he is selected in the Import Draft. He's someone to look for if he joins an OHL team as he's an incredibly talented offensive player who could make a big impact. He's also 2010 NHL Draft Eligible.

When Kyle Palmieri was booted from the US Development Program this year, many expected him to announce his decision to join Guelph next year shortly after. However, he has remained adamant about his intent to play for Notre Dame next season. We do now how quickly things can change though, so keep an eye on this situation and don't be surprised to see him commit to Guelph after the NHL draft.

Which brings me to my next point. There are a lot of guys who could have made this list, too many to even mention. A lot can be said about their intentions now, but even more can be said after the NHL Draft, when a team can influence their new draft pick to select the route they decide is best for said players development.

Stay tuned next Sunday for a yet decided Top 10!


Anonymous said...

you are retarted and dont have proper facts. you should really do a better job

Brock Otten said...

Interesting spelling of the word "retarded."

Care to elaborate on my improper facts?

Anonymous said...

john moore is not leaving he will be in a tigers jersey this fall, dont start rumours about kids

Brock Otten said...

It's a pretty substantiated rumour. The fact that Moore (a 1990 born player) was drafted 23rd in the OHL draft by Kitchener pretty much is all the evidence you need. No way Kitchener wastes that high of a draft selection on an overage player (who'll likely only play one year for them), if they aren't certain he'll report.

This is backed up by reports on "Coming Down the Pipe."

Dean and Guy have interviewed John before, so they seem to know what he's about, and even they are stating he's likely headed to the OHL.

I'd be very surprised if Moore isn't the leader of the Rangers blueline next season.

Anonymous said...

If this is true, the Rangers will look good next year. No holes in the roster.

Anonymous said...

How recently was D'amigo seen in Kitchener?

Anonymous said...

should get all your facts strait about maxwell before you start putting kids down!

Anonymous said...

you talk about numbers you seem to forget or maybe you don't no that the u-18 team plays mostly against college teams (4-6) years older so
thier numbers are not all that bad.
research before you write.

Anonymous said...

D'Amigo was never in Kitchener, he is going to RPI and thats that, don't make things up

Brock Otten said...

You guys are hilarious. First off, learn some basic spelling and grammar. I've taught sixth graders with a better grasp on the English language.

Secondly, these rumours have been ramped for months now, especially about a guy like D'Amigo who has apparently been on the fence for a little while now, especially considering teammates Morin and Maxwell have already signed on to play with Kitchener. Last I read about D'Amigo, he was saying yes still to RPI, however his "adviser" was being more open suggesting he would make a decision after the NHL draft. The draft can change a lot, especially when a team drafts you and tells you where they'd prefer you play. Especially when it comes to guys like Pirri and D'Amigo going to a school like RPI who hasn't produced an NHL player since Brian Pothier, and only two quality players in its history (Joe Juneau and Adam Oates).

As for numbers. The only player I criticized was Brandon Maxwell. And I'm not the only one doing so. NHL scouts have dropped him on their lists and the whole USDP demotion appears to have raised a lot of questions about him. And for the record, the USDP plays in the NAHL, with some games against College teams. Maxwell's Sv% in 11 NAHL starts was .868. He struggled this year, there is no doubting that.

Thanks for the good laugh today folks. This list is all hear say anyway. Maybe 10/10 of these kids head to the OHL, maybe only 5/10. Who knows what happens 3 months from now. This list simply served as a way to inform some OHL fans (whom don't follow US Hockey as closely) of possible incoming and incredibly talented players.

Anonymous said...

I really hate to do this...but, the past tense of lead is led...While the folks commenting may not have the best grammar, I wouldn't attack them without giving yourself a quick edit.

Secondly, D'Amigo recently told the Kitchener Record that he is firmly committed to RPI. He's from Binghamton, so he is looking to stay close to home and get a good education. Based on his worlds performance, he could have success anywhere.

Maxwell actually went UP in the Central Scouting ranking, from 20th to 8th. This coming despite bad numbers and reported issues.

Balisy never played a game on defense either. Too small for that anyway. He'll certainly be a Knight though, but I doubt its before he's done with the US team next season. Based on the Maxwell to Windsor situation earlier this year, it sounds like its going to be tough for any of those kids to head north.

I wouldn't attack the commenters without first doing a little research. Some of them might not be as dumb as you think...

Brock Otten said...

Well I hate to do this too, but when you said "but I doubt its before he's done with the US team next season," it should actually be it's. Wrong use of the homophone. "Its" is used in instances declaring possession.

Perhaps you should check your grammar before commenting on mine as well.

Basically, everyone makes the odd grammar or spelling mistake. I'm not going to proof read my response like a University essay. It's when you make comments using words like "strait," "retarted," or create comments without using any sentence structure or punctuation, that you catch my attention in a negative manner. If they want me to believe they are intelligent, they should at least take the time to write a proper sentence.

But enough about grammar and spelling.

As for what you say. with D'Amigo, again its all hear say anyway. This list wasn't to tell the world that I knew for a fact these players had committed or that I am Mr. Cleo and I've read the tarot cards. It was to alert my readers (of whom, many don't follow hockey in the United States), of the potential impact players enterting the OHL next season. Maybe they report, maybe they don't. But it's good to let the OHL fans know about them.

As for Central Scouting, that's only one ranking. There are several different scouting agencies out there. Yes he went up in their ranking, however, he's dropped in others. THN's Mark Seidel dropped him from the mid second to the late 2nd, and that was in his latest in early March. You'd have to expec he'll be even lower in the next release on his THN blog. Not being a customer of ISS or Mckeen's, I can't tell you about their rankings.

As for Balisy, I read that he had indeed been playing a bit of defense from reading a few London Knights message boards. Not knowing a whole lot about him myself, I figured it to be the truth, considering I figured someone wouldn't make something like that up.

Anonymous said...

for your info they play only 18 games in nahl and 30 or so against college teams, the truth of issues that have occured in the us program will gome out and so will the latest one that just happened. for 50,000 i think some of those players will be staying good thing they have coach john hynes!

Anonymous said...

lets see how many rounds 7? 30 picks per round? thats 210 how many kids play hockey? I'd say just getting drafted is good enough!

ajt6954 said...

Two quality players in RPI's history? Do you live in a cave? How about John Carter? How about Darren Puppa? How about the rest of the `85 Championship team that lost only twice that season?

You should really work on your research skills before you pick up the bong and start typing your ill-informed opinions for all to see. Your blindness to such easily found data only decays the quality of your writings and credibility of your blog.

Open your eyes pal, there's a ton of hockey being played outside of your beloved "O".

Brock Otten said...

Honestly, you guys are ridiculous.

And yes, R.P.I. has produced two solid NHL players. John Carter? Come on, he bounced up and down between the minors and the bigs, failing to ever make a lasting impact. Darren Puppa was an alright goaltender for a few years, but even he had little staying power in the NHL.

R.P.I. hasn't even produced a solid NHL prospect since the early 2000's when the likes of Brian Pothier, Matt Murley, Marc Cavosie, etc were playing there. And outside of Pothier, none of them have been able to hold down an NHL spot, and even Pothier is an average defender.

Perhaps it is you who should do the research first. Sure, R.P.I. has produced some solid NCAA hockey players, but I'm talking about legit NHL players, the kind that NHL teams spend draft picks on.

You R.P.I. fans appear to be quite defensive over your hockey team. I like the spunk.

As for your other comments. I said it once, I'll say it again. This list was meant to inform the casual OHL fan of some of the talent that could POSSIBLY be entering the league from sources outside of the OHL Priority draft. It's all hear say. It's not any different than an NCAA blog posting a list of the Top 10 incoming freshman for the 2009-10 season.

Get your heads out of your ***** and stop taking this for more than it is. Do you really have that much of an inferiority complex that the possibility of some recruits jumping ship should cause you to enter slanderous rage.

Anonymous said...

It's funny reading back on this. Brock was exactly right about Maxwell. 3 years later, Brandon Maxwell is pretty much the most hated player in the OHL by the fans and players of every team he's been on, including his current team. Mom follows everywhere and crucifies anyone who speaks bad of Brandon, yet he just keeps getting worse. I would bet the anonymous poster was her.

You know, they say 90% of issues kids have are from their parents.