Northern exposure


Randy Russon
By
February 13, 2019

No less than six players from the Great North Midget Hockey League — who are all members of Team NOHA (Northern Ontario Hockey Association) — are poised to be selected within the top three rounds of this year’s Ontario Hockey League priority selections draft, multiple sources have determined.

The 2019 OHL priority selections draft, which is geared towards minor midget aged players with 2003 birth dates, is slated for Saturday, April 6 and will be conducted via the Internet.

Via a cross section of a half dozen OHL general managers and scouts as well as files from Hockey North Scouting — which is an independent service — Sault This Week and Hockey News North  have been advised that the following performers from the Great North will be among the top 60 players taken at the upcoming priority selections draft.

They are goalie Ben Gaudreau of the North Bay Major Trappers, defensemen Jack Matier and Tyler Dunbar of the Soo Minor Thunderbirds and forwards Chase Stillman, Max McCue and Devon Savignac of the Sudbury Minor Wolves.

In all, more than a dozen players from the Great North who were born in 2003 are being projected as possible draft picks ahead of the looming, April 6, priority selections process.

Besides the aforementioned six of Gaudreau, Matier, Dunbar, Stillman, McCue and Savignac, there are several others from the Great North who project as mid to late round picks ahead of the upcoming OHL priority selections draft.

They are forwards Chris Innes (who can also play defense), Mitchell Martin and Zacharie Giroux and defensemen Joshua Kavanagh, Brandon Hass and Teegan Dumont of the Sudbury Minor Wolves, defenseman Jimmy Blanchard of the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves and forward Stephen Pszeniczny of the Soo Minor Thunderbirds.

All of the above have been selected to play for Team NOHA at the upcoming OHL Cup and OHL Gold Cup tournaments.

As a sidebar, the independent Hockey North Scouting service has determined that a multitude of players who were not picked for Team NOHA are seen as being worthy candidates as later round picks for the April 6 OHL draft.

They are defenseman Thomas Irwin and forwards Jake Kovacs and Dylan Szabo of the Soo Minor Thunderbirds as well as forward Landon Deforge and defenseman Mason Berthiaume of the Timmins Majors.

Meanwhile, aside from the powerful Sudbury minor midget class, the oft-maligned Sault Ste. Marie program could have its best showing in years at the upcoming OHL draft.

To be sure, there are many with a link to this year’s draft who have the aforementioned Jack Matier rated as a first or second round pick, Tyler Dunbar as a likely second or third round pick and Stephen Pszeniczny as a sixth, seventh, or eighth round pick.

Matier, a 6-foot-2, 185-pounder, finished tied for second on the Great North regular season scoring chart for the Minor Thunderbirds with 10 goals, 12 assists, 22 points in 21 games.

Dunbar, a 6-foot, 175-pounder, was fourth among Minor Thunderbird scorers during the regular season with four goals, 12 assists, 16 points in 23 games. What is intriguing about Dunbar is his December 18 birth date, which makes him one of the youngest players eligible for this year’s draft.

And the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Pszeniczny finished tied with Matier with the same totals of 10 goals, 12 assists, 22 points in 24 games.


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