Rating the 2014 OHL Draft

July 7, 2014

Top score for Kingston?

That’s what a recent, albeit unscientific poll of a smattering of Ontario Hockey League insiders is suggesting.

To be sure, there are varying opinions — respected ones at that — as to which of the 20 teams came out ahead at the 2014 OHL draft.

Picking first and getting franchise-type defenceman Jakob Chychrun, Sarnia Sting snagged the consensus best-player available at the 2014 selections process.

Belleville Bulls scored well by getting elite centre Brandon Saigeon with the fourth pick of the first round and adding pro-style defenceman Cole Candella with the third pick of the second round, 23rd overall.

Then there are those, rival general managers and scouts alike, who are of the notion that picking later, Kingston Frontenacs won the draft lottery by getting defenceman Reagan O’Grady with the 15th selection of the first round and centre Zack Dorval in the second round, 35th overall.

Indeed, while he was the fourth defenceman taken at the draft, O’Grady was rated second behind Chychrun by more than one OHL GM and scout who shared information with HockeyNewsNorth.com.

And getting the 5-foot-11, 167-pound Dorval from the Soo Thunder minor midgets in the second round was “an absolute steal” according to more than one OHL insider.

Dorval, rated as the best 1998 birth-year player in all of northern Ontario, scored 48 goals and had a team-leading 122 penalty minutes in 75 games for the Thunder in 2013-2014 after leaving his remote home town of Hearst to play 340 miles away in the Soo.

As for O’Grady, the Frontenacs first-rounder played the 2013-2014 season on a Toronto Marlboros minor midget team that was coached by Paul Coffey, the Hall of Fame defenceman who played in more than 1,600 games in the National Hockey League and racked up an amazing 2,000-plus points.

Coffey has raved about O’Grady’s abilities as well as his character and can’t say enough about the 6-foot-2, 180-pound defender who had 5 goals, 19 assists, 24 points in 29 games with the Marlie midgets in 2013-2014.

O’Grady has an offensive upside that suggests he will be quarterbacking the Kingston power play in the not-to-distant future, according to Coffey.

Another team who came away from the 2014 OHL Draft as a big winner — at least in the minds of a sampling of OHL GMs and scouts who I talked to — is the Guelph Storm.

Picking last in the first round, the OHL champion Storm got a hold of big centre Matthew Hotchkiss, a smart, hard-working player who has the leadership skills to be a future OHL captain, according to many who have watched him play.

PHOTO: Kingston first-rounder Reagan O’Grady with general manager Doug Gilmour after signing an Ontario Hockey League contract with the Frontenacs.

What you think about “Rating the 2014 OHL Draft”

  1. Great article Randy. I’m a big fan of O’Grady and think about this for a minute:
    If the Fronts win a single playoff round next year it will be their first since BEFORE O’Grady was born. Amazing!

    1. Thanks, Fanman — and that is quite the bit of trivia. Had not realized that it has been that long since Frontenacs won a playoff series. Which makes what happened to them this past spring even tougher to take, up three games to none on Peterborough in the first round only to lose the next four, including Game 7 at home, in overtime.

  2. hey there “fanman” dont remind me LOL.
    Seriusly another great article by Randy Russon on the Fronts. This is a great site & now on my my Favourites List!

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