Breathe in that mile high air!
1. Conor Timmins - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Good pick by the Avs in the 2nd round this year. Timmins is a player who actually closely resembles current Avs prospect and former OHL'er Chris Bigras. Has good two-way tendencies and a solid head for the game. Not overly big, but he moves pretty well and for the most part, plays with a high intensity level in the defensive end. Really like the way he quarterbacks the powerplay. Has very good vision on the point. He's a late birthday, but he's coming off only his second year in the league. Still has some learning to do. Sometimes I feel like Timmins can try to force things offensively and can make a few questionable decisions on his breakouts (something that was very evident at the World Junior Summer Showcase IMO). And he'll need to continue to improve his reads defensively, as well as his first few strides skating forward. Also would love to see him work on his point shot. But this is a quality defense prospect who's going to get better under a great coaching staff in the Soo. He'll return there for his 19 year old season and will be the leader of their blueline. The Greyhounds have aspirations of being the best in the West and Timmins' development will be crucial. I see him putting up pretty similar offensive numbers, but increasing his goal totals. Could be a candidate for the Max Kaminsky (OHL Defender of the Year).
2. Travis Barron - Ottawa 67's
On one hand, you want to be critical of Barron's season based on the fact that his offensive production decreased. But on the other hand, it's important to note that Barron's contributions aren't all measured on the score sheet. Firstly, he was named captain of the 67's as an 18 old. That's an impressive feat and speaks volumes to his dedication and effort level. Secondly, his physical game really upped itself this year. He was consistently engaged and was a very effective player in the defensive end and on the PK. That said, we do have to talk about the fact that his offensive game still hasn't found itself at the OHL level. Doesn't seem to be able to find those scoring lanes because the effort is there. And his ability to carry the puck in transition and create space for himself still lacks polish. Next year he'll return as captain of the 67's, a young team which will continue to look to improve. At this point, I'm not sure it's realistic to expect a massive breakout offensively. But if he could get to the 25 goal/55 point mark, that would give him a serious shot at earning a contract from the Avs because of the other great things he does.