By Tom Hunter (@PuckDontLie)
Niagara Ice Dogs
Stephen Dhillon – G – Ranked 19th (NA Goalie) by NHL Central Scouting
Technically, Dhillon is a second-time eligible prospect. The Ice Dogs netminder was eligible last year by one day and was overlooked – likely due to the fact that he only had 28 OHL games under his belt.
This year Dhillon has been one of the best goaltenders in the league while playing behind a very young, re-building team. He finished with a .914 sv% after facing more high-danger scoring chances than anyone in the OHL. After attending Boston’s rookie camp last summer, he’ll get drafted this year and should probably be ranked a lot higher than NHL CS currently has him.
Kirill Maximov – LW
Coming into the season, some scouts had Maximov’s name penciled in to the second or third round – that changed as he had a horrible first half of the season in Saginaw. Since being traded to Niagara, the young winger has taken off and is putting his name back in draft considerations. He has 15 goals in 29 games with the Ice Dogs and is showing he has the talent to be a decent NHL prospect.
Ben Jones – C – Ranked 100 by Future Considerations
Third on the team in scoring (13 goals/37 assists), Jones is a playmaking center that has taken a huge step in his draft year. He’ll get selected in the second half of the draft and will be looked upon to take another step as one of the leaders in Niagara next season.
Others: Ondrej Machala (F), Matthew Phillip (C), Daniel Singer (F), Liam Ham (D), Drew Hunter (D), Pavel Demin (C)
Matthew Timms – D
A second time eligible defenseman, Timms took a huge step in his development this season. Leading the Petes in scoring with 63 points, Timms has shown this season that he has the talent to be a distributor from the back end. He lacks the size NHL teams look for from a defender, but he’s got the puck skills that warrant him being drafted this time around.
Zachary Gallant – C – Ranked 90th by Future Considerations
The fifth overall selection in the 2015 OHL Draft, Gallant has started to figure things out in his second junior season. After recording only four points in 41 games as a rookie, the centerman produced 21 goals and 26 assists this year. He’ll get drafted in the middle rounds this year as a long term project for a team looking for a depth center in the organization.
Cole Fraser – D
Fraser is a big, right-handed defender that plays with an edge that can get him into trouble. He has the size and physicality that old-school scouts love – he just has to learn to spend less time going to the penalty box. He’s not a threat to anchor a powerplay but he’s not inept with the puck either. He’ll get drafted in the late rounds.
Others: NIck Isaacson, Matyas Svoboda