The first time around, he failed to make a blip. But after a half season of physical play, combined with some solid goal scoring, the Saginaw Spirit’s Dylan Sadowy has caught the eyes of NHL bird dogs.
“I was obviously on the radar, I just wasn’t… on the radar,” Sadowy said. After not appearing on the initial NHL Central Scouting rankings, he finds himself listed 89th in the most-recent, midterm edition.
“I was really happy coming onto the rankings,” he said. “Last year, I didn’t have a stellar rookie year, but this should be a big year for me and just getting on that list is an awesome feat.
“It’s just giving 110 per cent, finishing all my checks, and trying to do the hard work.”
Sadowy’s not alone watching the draft boards this year in Saginaw. A full half-dozen of his teammates are draft-eligible this campaign. And it has been a point of discussion amongst his teammates.
“It obviously goes around the room,” Sadowy said. “We’ll talk to the older guys who have been drafted. We have six 96's who are draft-eligible this year.
“It’s obviously there — everybody’s competing for, well, a job. You know the competition’s there; you’ve just got to give it all you’ve got every game.”
One of Sadowy’s teammates, Brandon Prophet, clocked in at 76 on Central Scouting’s list. And don’t think Sadowy doesn’t know it.
“There’s obviously competition, even within a team,” he said. “Me and Brandon, we’re competing to see who goes higher. It’s just a friendly competition.”
When it comes to recognizing what he needs to do to improve his status in the second half of this OHL campaign, Sadowy channels his inner Candyman — as if by saying the term three times it will come to fruition.
“Just consistency. Consistency. Consistency… It’s one of the biggest things that I’ve been told by a lot of people. Just be consistent, drive hard to the net, finish my checks. And just give 110 per cent every game.”
The Woodbridge, ON native grew up a fan of the blue and white, and counts one of its current stars as the influence for his game.
“I grew up in the Toronto area and being from Toronto you have to be a Leafs’ fan,” Sadowy explained. “I went to a lot of Leafs’ games growing up.
“I’d like to play like Phil Kessel — hard shot, drives the net, plays gritty. Just a hard-working player.”
But while Kessel — known for his goal-scoring ability — has been able to balance that as a playmaker, Sadowy hasn’t yet achieved that equilibrium. He smiled and laughed when questioned about why he’s been able to rack up 17 goals so far this campaign, yet has a paucity of assists — only four to date in 44 games.
“I don’t know… a lot of my goals are just those dirty, grimy goals in front of the net,” he said. “That just happens in that area. I want to keep scoring goals, but I’ve got to try to get those assists up, too.”
And while his assist total has yet to rise, Sadowy said he’s pleased to see that his plus/minus numbers have improved dramatically.
“It’s something I pay attention to. I don’t want to be a [defensive liability] out there,” he said. “I was a -13 last year and now I’m a +6. I definitely pay attention to it and want to be a plus player out there.”
At 6’1”, 180 pounds, Sadowy is not an overwhelming physical specimen, but enjoys the physical game. It’s something he’s committed to developing further for the remainder of the season.
“I just want to be more physical,” he said. “Not just finish my checks, but separate people from the play — that way I can create turnovers and the team can take the puck the other way. That’s what I’ve heard from a lot of people about the next level — just being more physical.”
And if his hometown Leafs draft him this year? “That would obviously be a dream come true,” he said. “But to be honest, I’ll be happy just getting taken anywhere.”
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