Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Sunday Top 10 - OHL Import Players

I had a really nasty computer virus attack me recently and as such, updates to the blog have been few in number over the past week or so. But everything appears to be stabilized for now, just in time for the weekly Sunday Top 10.

This week, we look at the Top 10 impact import players (awesome alliteration). Some really solid Imports took to the ice this season in the OHL, and had a significant impact on their team's success. While the Import process is often a bit of a crap shoot, every year OHL General Managers do manage to turn a few selections into gold.

Here is the list...

10. Adam Sedlak - Peterborough Petes
Sedlak had an up and down season. He possesses outstanding skating ability from the back end, and has good offensive instincts, showcasing an ability to jump into the rush effectively. However, he is very raw. He could stand to improve his decision making with and without the puck, and he needs to improve his one on one defensive coverage. However, he ended up finishing 2nd on the team in defenseman points and did make progress as the season went along. As a late 1991, Sedlak isn't eligible for the NHL draft until 2010. Hopefully, he sticks around Peterborough next season where he'll have a chance to be a part of a young and up and coming defense along with the likes of Jeff Braithwaite, Jamie Doornbosch, among others.

9. Marco Insam - Niagara IceDogs
Insam was a pleasant surprise for the Dogs this season. After failing to make the WHL last year, not a whole lot was expected of Insam this season. However, he was an impact player, finishing 3rd on the team in goals. He has an absolute cannon of a shot and really improved his skating as the season went along. He could stand to use his big body more, especially in establishing a physical presence on the ice, however the Italian sniper showcased a lot a grit by playing through the playoffs with a shoulder injury. Should return as an overager next year where he'll likely be among the team leader in goals again.

8. Milan Doczy - Owen Sound Attack
Doczy was a tower of power this year for Owen Sound. At 6'5, 200lbs, Doczy is an intimidating physical presence on the ice, who ended up finishing the year at a + rating, an accomplishment on a mediocre Owen Sound team. He skates alright for a big man too, improving on that in his second OHL season. If he only used his size more physically in order to become a more dominant physical blueliner, he'd likely receive attention from NHL scouts. As a 1990, Doczy will likely return for another year in Owen Sound and help to solidify the blueline.

7. William Wallen - Mississauga St. Michael's Majors
Wallen has quite the year. He nearly lost his life due to an aneurysm but recovered in time to finish out the season in Mississauga. At 5'8, 170lbs, he is not the biggest player on the ice, but he is rather fearless out there. Almost like a little waterbug, bouncing around. He has a ton of skill too, especially in the puckhandling department. Considering how much development and conditioning time he lost this season, I thought he faired pretty well in his first OHL year. I expect he'll return next season, where I also think he'll lead Mississauga in scoring.

6. Sergey Korostin - Peterborough Petes
Korostin has been plagued very badly by inconsistencies in his short time in the OHL. The London Knights got tired of his lackadaisical effort and shipped him to Peterborough after 13 games. He can be an impact player one shift, and invisible the next. He has a ton of skill, and is an exceptional skater. He has the ability to go end to end and at times isn't even afraid to take the puck to the net. However, whether it be a conditioning issue or effort issue, he disappears for large stretches. He'll be moving on to the professional ranking next year in Dallas' organization, in the AHL or ECHL. I'm not sure how much Peterborough is going to miss him.

5. Kaspars Daugavins - Mississauga St. Michael's Majors
Daugavins had the absolute definition of an up and down season. He started the year with Binghampton in the AHL, but due to some conflicts with the coaching staff over his conditioning and ice time, he was returned to St. Mike's for his overage season. He played pretty well for St. Mike's and had a good playoff, but you have to consider this a disappointing season for the diminutive winger. He's had an excellent OHL career and I hope he's able to return to the Sens organization next year, focused and motivated to make an impact, because he's going to have to turn some heads to get back in their good books.

4. Jaroslav Janus - Erie Otters
Janus had quite the outstanding season on all fronts. He lead Erie to the playoffs and lead Slovakia to a solid performance at the World Juniors. All this after being passed over in the NHL draft last season. I think a lot of people expect Janus to get drafted this season as a re-entry, and it would be well deserved. He's got some things he has to work on, but he an incredibly athletic goaltender with natural talent. Should he get drafted, I actually wouldn't be surprised if he was returned to the OHL for his overage season in Erie, where he'll have a chance to lead them further into the playoffs. Should he not get drafted, I wouldn't be surprised if he returns back home.

3. Michal Jordan - Plymouth Whalers
Jordan emerged as a top flight OHL defenseman this season in Plymouth. He nearly doubled his offensive totals this season, and finished the year at an outstanding +28. He made great strides at the defensive end, which subsequently increased his ice time and confidence offensively. He'll be back in Plymouth next season and should continue to increase his totals and become one of the better all around defenseman in the OHL. Seems like a great late round pick by Carolina.

2. Andrei Loktionov - Windsor Spitfires
This guy just kept getting better and better every month. He's an absolutely dynamic offensive player who hustles and battles to make plays. He is absolutely one of the most skilled players in the OHL. He's been an absolute beast with Windsor in the playoffs thus far too, nearly leading the entire playoffs in scoring. It remains to be seen what LA's plans for him are next season. He could return to play in the OHL where he'd likely be among the scoring leaders, or he could head to the AHL for a new challenge in Manchester.

1. Evgeny Grachev - Brampton Battalion
Not many players have the combination of size and skill that Grachev possesses. He is such an outstanding and explosive skater, yet his skill level is also so high. Throughout the second half of the OHL season and through the playoffs, he has been one of the best players in the OHL. The New York Rangers got a good one here. I highly doubt he's back in Brampton next season, as I expect he'll make the Rangers or they'll move him to the AHL for a new challenge.

Next season should be interesting. We already know that 2008 Import pick Richard Panik will be playing for Windsor, where he'll likely be a solid scoring threat for them. Who knows who else will make the jump, but we're bound to see some impact players emerge.

Stay tuned for Next Sunday's Top 10, which will feature the Top 10 American players playing in the OHL.

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