Sunday, May 08, 2011

Whalers, Spirit draft for talent Saturday

Both the Plymouth Whalers and Saginaw Spirit took part in the annual Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection on Saturday.

Each team's selections are detailed below taken from the Plymouth and Saginaw websites.


The 2011 OHL Priority Selection presented by State Farm is this Saturday morning, May 7th starting at 9am, where the Plymouth Whalers selected Cambridge Hawks power forward Mitchell Dempsey with the eleventh overall pick.

The 6'2, 205-pound left winger is described as by Central Scouting as "a big bodied winger who has a very good collection of physical tools. He possesses a very good stick, displaying the ability to handle the puck and makes plays, which is impressive when you consider his large physical stature. He moves around the ice effectively, and he does show some flashes of speed when he is moving north and south. He just has the look of a player that hasnt really come to terms with his size, and as he matures, gets stronger and gets on the ice more his skating should improve. He plays a pretty well rounded offensive game."

Dempsey had 38 goals and 34 assists for 72 points with 76 penalty minutes in 55 games. He is the nephew of Don Sweeney, who played for the Boston Bruins.

Phoenix Coyotes Scout Jeff Twohey said: “He’s tailor-made for a Mike Vellucci-type team. Mitchell’s a big winger who plays hard. Not only is there some size and competitiveness, but he also has the ability to score goals. He’s a big body who fits in very well with the style of play that Mike Vellucci likes to play – hard-working, physical and competitive. Mitchell should be a good fit for the Whalers.”

With their second round pick (33rd overall) the Whalers selected left wing Matthew Mistele, who scored 43 goals with 34 assists for 77 points and 50 PIM’s in 60 games last season for the Whitby Wildcats.

“The Whitby Wildcats have a long history of developing players,” Twohey said. “Typically, Whitby’s players come into the league ready to play. Matthew’s another good fit for the Whalers. Mike Vellucci likes competitive players.”

Plymouth assistant general manager Brian Sommariva gave his assessment of the early rounds of the Whalers draft.

“We think with Mitchell Dempsey, we’ve got a real good player with size and skill," Sommariva said. "We think he’ll project real well. He’s a prototypical Plymouth Whaler – he can skate, he’s got a nasty side and he can score, too, so we’re excited about him.

“Matthew Mistele is a real good goal scorer. People around the league are already texting Mike (Vellucci) saying what a great pick that was in the second round. Without putting any pressure on him, we’re real excited to see how he does.”

Plymouth had to wait until the fifth round (88th overall) to select right wing Connor Chatham, who scored two goals in 12 games in a season cut short by surgery in the Tier I Elite Hockey League.

Central Scouting has this assessment of Chatham:

“Chatham is a big bodied right winger who has missed a majority of this season with a shoulder injury, surgery and subsequent rehabilitation. Chatham possesses a very good and attractive collection of physical tools. He has legitimate size, he is an above average skater and he possesses a real good stick, especially his ability to finish. He has a very smooth and effective stride, and when he is moving his feet he shows some real high end speed and quickness. He uses his speed to skate up and down his wing, working himself into the open ice while supporting the play.”

Chatham has reportedly committed to play for the National Team Development Program in 2011-12.

Chatham says he's completely healthy.

"The plan is to keep my options open," Chatham said in a phone interview. "I haven't decided where I'm going to play next year. I play a lot like David Backes (of the St. Louis Blues). I'm big and strong, a power forward-type."

“We got a chance to see Connor at the US Top-40 camp – he scored a great goal in the first game we saw him," said Sommariva "He’s an American kid we hope to convince to play in the Ontario Hockey League. We really like his skill and think he can become a great player.”

Five picks later, Plymouth continued to draft forwards as left wing Dylan Mascarin was selected from the Thunder Bay Kings. Mascarin scored 21 goals and 53 assists for 74 points and 120 PIM’s in 56 games for the Kings last season.

The Whalers took their first defenseman in the draft in the seventh round (133rd) overall, going to North Carolina to select 6-foot-3, 180-pound defenseman Charlie Pelnik from the Carolina Hurricanes U-16 team.

Although several Plymouth alums are playing in the Carolina Hurricanes system, Pelnik is the first member of the Hurricanes' youth program to be selected by the Whalers.

Central Scouting gave this assessment of Pelnik:

“Pelnik is a physical, stay-at-home defenseman who plays the game with a real edge and a nasty streak. He possesses good physical size and he uses all of it to his advantage. He never turns down an opportunity to get his body on an opponent and isn’t shy about using his stick to punish a puck carrier along the walls or in the corner. He always clears the crease and protects his goalie. He skates quite well for a player of his physical stature and has made considerable improvement since the start of the season. His overall range is enhanced by his huge reach.”

Early in the eighth round (144th overall), the Whalers went back to offense with the selection of left wing Danny Vanderwiel, who scored 10 goals with 11 assists for 21 points and 87 PIM’s in 33 games for the Team Illinois U-16’s last season.

With their own eighth round pick (153rd overall), Plymouth selected defenseman Chris Lindner from the London Knights Gold team. Lindner scored three goals with 17 assists for 20 points and 16 PIM in 50 games last season.

Plymouth historically has found value in the late rounds of the draft.

“A lot of teams say after the eighth round or so, the draft’s done," Sommariva said. "We don’t feel that way. We’ll keep working late into the draft. The picks in the late rounds aren’t wasted. The slots late in the draft could get us players that are just as valuable as the higher selections.

“We’ll continue to work our lists and have discussions about players who can help.”

With that in mind, the Whalers took the following players later in the draft:

Ninth Round (173rd overall) - Connor Sills, a 6-foot, 165 pound right wing from the Thunder Bay Kings. Sills scored 22 goals and 15 assists for 37 points and 48 PIM's in 57 games last season.

Eleventh round (207th overall) - Spencer Lee, a 5-foot-9, 170-pound right wing from the Brantford 99'ers. Lee scored 17 goals with 19 assists for 36 points at 20 PIM's in 30 games last season.

Eleventh round (213th overall) - Mitch Jones, a 5-foot-10, 160 pound defenseman from the Detroit Honeybaked U-16's. Jones scored four goals with 12 assists for 16 points and 61 PIM's in 79 games last season.

Thirteenth round (253th overall) - Christian Wolanin, a 6-foot, 160 pound left wing from the Detroit Little Caesars U-16's. Wolanin scored 13 goals with 13 assists for 26 points and 30 PIM's in 34 games last season.

Fourteenth round (273rd overall) - Greg Christmas, a 6-foot, 165 pound defenseman from the Welland Tigers. Christmas scored three goals with 20 assists or 23 points and 10 PIM's in 33 games last season.

Fifteenth round (295th overall) - Matt Miller, 5-foot-11, 180 pound defenseman from the Pittsburgh Hornets U-16. Miller scored a goal with 18 assists for 19 points and 33 PIM's in 34 games last season.

The Whalers will be holding their annual Rookie Orientation on May 21-22 at Compuware Arena.


The West Division Champion Saginaw Spirit have wrapped up their participation in the 2011 State Farm OHL Priority Selection, adding 13 new prospects to the team’s depth chart in the annual draft. The Spirit focused on building the offensive corps in the early rounds of the draft, selecting winger Nick Moutrey in the first round with the 15th overall pick then following with the selection of center Sam Povorozniuk 36th overall and center Jimmy Lodge 62nd overall. The Spirit selected five Americans in the draft, including Detroit Honeybaked defenseman Alexander Smith, and seven Canadians.

“We are thrilled with the way our draft went and we ended up getting a great number of the players we wanted early in the selection,” stated Spirit Assistant General Manager and Director of Scouting Jim Paliafito, “This draft class features a lot of skill and speed, and we are excited to get them on the ice at the upcoming May rookie camp.”

A full breakdown of the Spirit draftees are listed below.

15th Overall: Nick Moutrey

The Spirit selected winger Nick Moutrey with the 15th overall pick in the 2011 OHL Priority Selection. The 95-born forward tallied 43 goals and 46 assists for 89 points last season with the York Simcoe Express. The 6’1”, 185 pound forward hails from Shelburne, Ontario.

OHL Scouting Report: Moutrey is a forward that played all three positions this season. He has been blessed with an abundance of physical tools. He has size, a very good stick and he can get up and down the ice effectively. He makes a lot of smart touches with the puck and makes pretty solid decisions. He is at his best in the offensive zone, especially below the top of the face off circles. He plays in all of the tough areas and he uses his size quite effectively. He protects the puck quite well, and works hard to get it to a teammate in a good support position.

36th Overall: Sam Povorozniuk

The Spirit selected Sam Povorozniuk with the 36th overall pick, a center that played with the Chicago Steel Jr. A team last season with 11 goals and 15 assists for 26 points. The 5'8", 165 pound winger hails from Northbrook, Illinois.

OHL Scouting Report: Povorozniuk (Povo-Rose-Nook) is a highly skilled and smart offensive minded forward who has had a great start to the season and produced offensively on a very consistent basis. He possesses a ton of natural ability, has high end stick skills, displays the ability to make plays and carry the puck while at top speed. He also has great feet, speed and quickness. His acceleration is excellent and he has the special ability to find that extra gear that can create time, space and most importantly separation from defenders. He has shown that he can play the game at a very quick pace.

62nd Overall: Jimmy Lodge

The Spirit selected Jimmy Lodge, a center from Downing, Pennsylvania, with the 62nd overall pick. He posted 18 goals and 25 assists for 43 points last season with the Toronto Titans. Lodge comes in at 5'11", 150 pounds.

77th Overall: Alexander Smith

The Spirit selected defenseman Alexander Smith of the Detroit Honeybaked program with the 77th overall pick. The 6'0", 175 pound blueliner tallied 8 goals and 23 assists for 31 points last season.

OHL Scouting Report: Smith is an aggressive puck moving defender who plays an active and involved game. He likes to force the issue and competes a very high level. He is the type of defender that will fight you for every inch of ice and do whatever he has to do to make a play. He possesses a good mix of size and skating ability. He has quick feet, showing the ability to take away time and space quickly and effectively. He doesn’t turn up an opportunity to finish a check and uses his mobility and quickness effectively in one-on-one situations. He works real hard to recover, never giving up on a play.

96th Overall: Ramon Lopez

The Spirit selected winger Ramon Lopez with the 96th overall pick. The 6'1", 175 pound forward posted 14 goals and 15 assists for 30 points last season with the Toronto Titans.

112th Overall: Ian McCoshan

The Spirit drafted defenseman Ian McCoshan with the 112nd overall pick. McCoshan, a 6'2" 190 pounds Wisconsin native, posted six assists for six goals last season in the Waterloo Jr. A program.

OHL Scouting Report: McCoshan is a two way defenseman who keeps his game pretty simple, playing mainly between the dots while showing a little bit of grit. He uses his long reach and an active stick to take away shooting and passing lanes. He tries to keep the play in front of him at all times and mainly looks to move the puck up ice to the open man. He also isn’t afraid to carry the puck out of the zone when he has an opening. McCoshan has a good collection of physical tools, including legitimate size and good feet. He moves around the ice quite well.

157th Overall: Nickolas Hirst

The Spirit selected defenseman Nickolas Hirst with the 157th overall pick. The 6'0", 175 pound blueliner tallied three goals and 16 assists for 19 points with the Waterloo Wolves last season.

177th Overall: Josh Miller

The Spirit tabbed defenseman Josh Miller with the 177th overall pick, a 6'02", 175 pound skater who tallied 7 goals and 5 assists for 12 points in the Peterborough Petes junior system.

197th Overall: Josh Pace

The Spirit selected winger Josh Pace 197th overall. Pace posted 40 goals and 42 assists for 82 points with the Hamilton Jr. Hamilton Bulldogs last season.

217th Overall: J.T. Comper

The Spirit selected center J.T. Comper 217th overall. The Northbrook, Illinois native tallied 16 goals and 21 assists for 37 points last season in the Team Illinois U16's program. Comper is 5'10", 165 pounds.

OHL Scouting Report: Comper is a very effective and productive two way forward that has played both down the middle and on the wall this season. He is the type of player that just goes out and plays a very subtle, almost business like game, but by doing so he contributes immensely to his teams success. He is a very intelligent forward who also possesses a solid collection of physical tools. He has increased his size and strength and has added a more prominent physical element to his offensive and defensive game. He displays some real top end north and south speed.

237th Overall: Lucas Pressini

The Spirit picked goalie Lucas Pressini 237th overall in the selection. He posted 6'1", 160 pound netminder posted a 1.65 goals against average in 900 minutes of action last season with the Mississauga Senators.

257th Overall: Rylee McKinnon

The Spirit tabbed defenseman Rylee McKinnon with the 257th overall pick. The 6'0", 150 pound forward tallied 3 goals and 12 assists for 68 points last season with the Whitby Wildcats.

297th Overall: Troy Crema

The Spirit picked Troy Crema with the 297th overall pick. The winger tallied 13 goals and 21 assists for 34 points last season with the Mississauga Senators.

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