Tuesday, April 27, 2010

OHL Priority Selection goes Saturday

Courtesy Michigan Hockey

The Ontario Hockey League draft is slated for Saturday and many Michigan players are being looked at as future stars in the league.

The only glitch is the choice these players will have to make: stay out of major juniors and keep their NCAA eligibility, or play in the OHL.

One such player is forward Brady Vail, a Northville native who just turned 16 years old on March 11 and played Tier I Junior A hockey in the United States Hockey League with the Waterloo Black Hawks this season.

As of now, Vail is on the fence about which route to take to further his career.

“For the most part, I’ve always wanted to play college hockey,” said the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Vail, who moved to Michigan two years ago to play for the Compuware organization. “But as far as the OHL is concerned, never say never.”

Vail was born in North Carolina and then lived in Florida before the move to Michigan. Last summer, he traveled out to Waterloo to get some experience playing with Junior A players at an open tryout, but wound up making the Black Hawks.

Vail wasn’t the only player on the Waterloo roster to start the season as a 15-year-old as he was joined by New Jersey-born defenseman Nick Ebert. Both are considered first-round material for the OHL draft, should they totally commit to the league and both are the only 1994 birthdates in the USHL.

Ebert is a player Red Line Junior, an independent scouting website that identifies players eligible for the OHL draft, says “has all the tools to be a superstar and at worst, he’s safe and smart.”

Playing in the USHL was difficult at first for Vail, but those struggles dissipated as the season went on. He said he’s been improving his assets – hands, shot and vision – and his weakness – footwork.

“I think I fit in pretty well,” Vail said. “I think for my age, I got a lot of ice time. Once I made the team after tryouts, I realized that playing here would be the best option for me. It’s a great situation.”

Vail played for the Compuware ‘93s (a year ‘up’) and ‘94s his two years in Plymouth and said he’s been seeing the past year or so that hockey may eventually be something he can do for as long as he wants.

“I’ve been told for a while now that I can make hockey a career if I want,” Vail said. “But there are a lot of other ‘94s out there that have the same skill level as I do, so we’ll just see what happens from here on out.”

Other 1994 birthdates that will be considered for the OHL draft, with comments from Red Line Junior:

Riley Barber, C, Compuware: At 5-foot-10, he is the most skilled forward in metro-Detroit. Can finish, scores big goals and is good playmaker. Not big now, but has growth potential. His dad played pro.

Brett D’Andrea, C, Belle Tire: Not there yet, but could be a good player in the long haul.

Troy Donnay, D, Belle Tire: Older brother, Cody, was a Peterborough pick (in 2008), but never reported and is in Marquette (NAHL) now. Troy is already 6-foot-6, has a long reach, good mobility and a mean streak.

Josh Henke, C, Belle Tire: Has been a big scorer all along and may have peaked.

Brandon Hope, G, Honeybaked U18: Quick, athletic and a good skater, he
has some longterm upside.

Max Iafrate, D, Belle Tire: Just like his father, Al – go, go, go all the time.
Takes a lot of chances but is tremendous skater with big upside.

Kerby Rychel, LW/LC, Belle Tire: Son of former NHLer Warren Rychel struggled with injuries this season but competes and has goal-scoring touch.

Patrick Sieloff, D, Compuware: Good all-round game. Plays a safe, smart game and could develop into shutdown defender.

Jacob Trouba, D, Compuware: Powerful skater with good size and likes to hit. Has signed with the U.S. NTDP.

Grant Webermin, D, Honeybaked: Not a sexy pick, but a solid defensive defenseman.

Mitch Wedding, D, Honeybaked: Has worked on his conditioning and has good skill. Is willing to get down and dirty.

Connor Wood, C, Honeybaked: Small in size, but a goal scorer with great hands.

Others to watch: Garrett Cockerill, D, Compuware; Sheldon Dries, C, Honeybaked; Alex Kile, RW, Honeybaked; Jordan Masters, RW, Little Caesar’s; Nick Schilkey, C, Honeybaked; Mark Yanis, D, Belle Tire.

The top U.S. forward is Cristoval (Boo) Nieves of the Syracuse Jr. Nationals. Nieves “has tremendous acceleration, makes slick moves at top speed and can turn on a dime,” said Red Line Junior.

The consensus top overall pick in the entire draft at this point is winger Matia Marcantuoni of the Toronto Marlies, a player Red Line Junior said is “a dominating power winger with skill.”

2010 OHL Priority Selection
Saturday, May 1 - 9:00 a.m.
Follow online at: http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/
Eligible birthdates: Jan. 1, 1991 - Dec. 31, 1994
First overall pick: Sarnia Sting
Plymouth/Saginaw: Whalers pick 15th; Spirit 13th

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Brady you have a shot at the show sign with the OHL its the best move for a player like you.