A pair of former Great North Midget Hockey League opponents and a scoring star from the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League are on the radar of the National Hockey League’s central scouting department.
They are among a few hundred prospects who are on the ‘preliminary players to watch list’ ahead of the 2021 NHL draft.
The list is a compilation of top prospects from all the major development leagues throughout North America and Europe. It will be updated throughout the season as scouts further evaluate the players.
Hailing from northern Ontario, goalie Ben Gaudreau and forward Nick DeGrazia both have ‘B’ rankings as players who are currently seen as second or third round candidates for the 2021 NHL draft.
Gaudreau tended twine for the AAA midget North Bay Trappers in 2018-2019 before being selected in the first round of the 2019 Ontario Hockey League priority selections draft by the Sarnia Sting.
A good sized goalie, Gaudreau has a 2003 birth date.
Despite being a 16-year old rookie, Gaudreau took over as Sarnia’s no. 1 goalie during the course of the 2019-2020 season.
Hailing from Thunder Bay, DeGrazia is a late developer with a late birth date, having been born in December of 2002.
He lit it up for the Rayside Balfour Canadians of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League in 2019-2020, scoring 32 goals in 46 games.
DeGrazia also got into four games with the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL in 2019-2020 and had a goal and an assist.
Also of note relative to the NOJHL, goalie Joe Vrbetic has a ‘B’ rating.
Vrebtic, who has an October, 2002 birth date, minded the net for the Powassan Voodoos of the NOJHL in 2018-2019 before graduating to the North Bay Battalion of the OHL in 2019-2020.
Meanwhile, big defenseman Jack Matier has a ‘C’ rating as a player who is currently being viewed as a fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh round pick ahead of the 2021 NHL draft.
Matier, who has a 2003 birth date, was a first round pick of the Ottawa 67’s at the 2019 OHL priority selections draft as a product of the AAA Sault Ste. Marie midgets.