There are, without much question, a good number of minor-midget aged youngsters who are high performance players within the Great North Midget Hockey League this 2017-2018 season.
In an effort to identify some of the top talent in the north, Hockey News North asked three head coaches from the Great North loop as well as a player personnel director from an Ontario Hockey League team and the head of an independent scouting service to provide individual lists of who they peg as the top 2002 birth-year players from the GNMHL.
Following is a priority list featuring nine forwards, four defensemen and two goalies from the Great North league as well as an honourable mention group. All are minor midget aged players with 2002 birth dates and range from probable to possible picks for the 2018 OHL priority selections draft.
Of note, players are not listed in any order of ranking and are a tally of sorts from the names provided to Hockey News North by the aforementioned group of three coaches and two scouts.
FORWARDS: David Campbell (North Bay Trappers), Jesse Kirkby (North Bay Trappers), Jack Stockfish (North Bay Trappers), Joe Jordan (North Bay Trappers), Dario Beljo (Sudbury Wolves), Hunter Brazier (Sudbury Wolves), Gavin Brown (Sudbury Wolves), Kobe Barrette (Timmins Majors), Justin Mauro (Soo Thunderbirds).
DEFENSEMEN: Pacey Schleuting (North Bay Trappers), Ben Brunette (North Bay Trappers), Ryan Maynard (Kapuskasing Flyers), Nathan Headrick (Soo Thunderbirds.)
GOALIES: Reece Proulx (North Bay Trappers), Noah Zeppa (Soo Thunderbirds.)
Schleuting, the big defenseman from North Bay, is widely regarded as the best player from the Great North ahead of the 2018 OHL draft.
It should also be noted that Headrick, the rugged defenseman from the Soo minor midgets, made the list despite the fact that he has missed much of this season due to injury.
Meanwhile, the honourable mention list is as follows.
GOALIE: Carson Boutin (Sudbury Wolves.)
DEFENSEMEN: Mateo Perri (Soo Thunderbirds), Colton Smithers (Soo Thunderbirds), Cole Goode (North Bay Trappers), Gavin Martel (Timmins Majors.)
FORWARDS: Alexandre Blais (Kapuskasing Flyers), Giordano Biondi (Sudbury Wolves), Ethan Masson (Sudbury Wolves), Michael Chaffay (Soo Thunderbirds), Nick Jameus (Soo Major Greyhounds), Nick Niro (Soo Major Greyhounds.)
PHOTO: Defenseman Pacey Schleuting of the minor midget North Bay Trappers. (Photo by North Bay Nugget.)