OHL well represented at 2009 NHL Draft

By Jason Menard

After a banner year last year in 2008, where 11 picks in the first round came from the OHL, it was going to be hard to match that output this season. By the conclusion of the 2009 draft though, the league saw a similar number of players selected (45 this year; 46 last year), but while the quantity was similar, the quality was not the same.

For the third consecutive season, the OHL supplied the first-overall draft pick. John Tavares was claimed by the New York Islanders with the top selection, much to the delight of the crowd both in Montreal and in Long Island, where 10,000 fans attended an in-arena draft party.

Last year 11 players were taken from the league, but this year failed to match that output — in no small part due to the Swedish influx of first-rounders.

Seven players were selected from the OHL in the first round. In addition to Tavares, Brampton’s Matt Duchene was called to the podium by the Avalanche with their third-overall selection. London’s Nazem Kadri, whose draft stock took a roller-coaster ride this season, was picked up by the Leafs with the seventh pick, and Ryan Ellis just missed the top 10 when Nashville called his name at No. 11. Zack Kassian and Peter Holland — two beefy, power-forward types — were expected to go in the first round, but blueliner Calvin de Haan provided the biggest OHL surprise of the first round. The Islanders maneuvered up to the 12th overall selection to take the Oshawa Generals product. He was expected to be available late in the first round.

The second day started with six players taken from the OHL. Colorado and Anaheim got potential first-round value in selecting Ryan O’Reilly and Matt Clark. And the Rangers picked up great value in obtaining Ethan Werek with the 47th overall selection in the draft. Taylor Doherty and Jesse Blacker came off the board towards the end of the round, marking a run on the top blueline prospects in the league.

The first goaltender was taken in the fourth round, when the Wild took Matthew Hackett with the 77th overall selection. Nashville also used this round to mine the OHL for a pair of picks — both from the Guelph Storm — in Taylor Beck and Michael Latta, while Toronto went off the board a bit and selected Plymouth Whaler Jamie Devane with the 68th overall selection.

New York started off the fourth round with a bit of a shocker, taking a flyer on Casey Cizikas with the first pick of the fourth round. Cizikas is facing significant legal challenges, but could prove — in time — to be a steal this late in the draft if he ever sees the ice again. He represented the first of eight OHL players taken in the round, including the league’s second goalie — Edward Pasquale — who was obtained by the Thrashers. The Sabres delved into their past for hope for the future when they picked up Mike Foligno’s son Marcus with their fourth-round selection. With players like Jordan Szwarz, Alex Hutchings, Garrett Wilson, and Ben Chiarot coming off the board, teams managed to pick up solid, but unspectacular picks at the mid-point of the draft.

The Lightning picked up their first of two average OHL netminders in the fifth round when the reached for Oshawa Generals prospect Michael Zador. He was the fourth netminder off the board, after the Rangers obtained Scott Stajcer with the 140th overall selection. The San Jose Sharks picked up an intriguing prospect in Phil Varone from the London Knights — a player who was lightly regarded during the regular season, but came on strong with a stellar playoff run for the London Knights. With the final pick the Penguins picked up Andy Bathgate — unfortunately they’re about two generations too late.

Jaroslav Janus, the Slovakian goaltender who turned a number of heads at the World Junior Championship, was finally selected in his second go-around at the draft when the Lightning picked him up with their 162nd overall selection. On its own, it’s not a bad selection, but appears odd when combined with the earlier pick of Zador. In total, nine players came off the board during this round.

As teams used the seventh round for more long-term projection-based picks, few OHLers came out in the seventh round. Of note, former NHL defenseman Steve Smith’s son Barron was selected with the Leafs’ final pick. In total, only three OHL players came out of that round.

FIRST ROUND

1. (1st overall)  John Tavares, C, New York Islanders (London Knights — HF OHL Rank #1, HF Mock Draft Rank #2)
2. (3rd overall) Matt Duchene, C, Colorado Avalanche (Brampton Battalion (HF OHL Rank #2, HF Mock Draft Rank #3)
3. (7th overall) Nazem Kadri, C, Toronto Maple Leafs (London Knights — HF OHL Rank #5, HF Mock Draft Rank #13)
4. (11th overall) Ryan Ellis, D, Nashville Predators (Windsor Spitfires — HF OHL Rank #3, HF Mock Draft Rank #16)
5. (12th overall) Calvin de Haan, D, New York Islanders (Oshawa Generals — HF OHL Rank #9, HF Mock Draft #23)
6. (13th overall) Zack Kassian, RW, Buffalo Sabres (Peterborough Petes — HF OHL Rank #4, HF Mock Draft #17)
7. (15th overall) Peter Holland, C, Anaheim Ducks (Guelph Storm — HF OHL Rank #6, HF Mock Draft #27)

SECOND ROUND

8. (32nd overall) Ryan O’Reilly, C, Colorado Avalanche (Erie Otters — HF OHL Rank #10)
9. (35th overall) Kyle Clifford, LW, L.A. Kings (Barrie Colts)
10. (37th overall) Matt Clark, D, Anaheim Ducks (Brampton Battalion — HF OHL Rank #7)
11. (47th overall) Ethan Werek, C, New York Rangers (Kingston Frontenacs — HF OHL Rank #8, HF Mock Draft #26)
12. (57th overall) Taylor Doherty, D, San Jose Sharks (Kingston Frontenacs — HF OHL Rank #15)
13. (58th overall) Jesse Blacker, D, Toronto Maple Leafs (Windsor Spitfires — HF OHL Rank #12)

THIRD ROUND

14. (68th overall) Jamie Devane, LW, Toronto Maple Leafs (Plymouth Whalers)
15. (70th overall) Taylor Beck, LW, Nashville Predators (Guelph Storm — HF OHL Rank #17)
16. (72nd overall) Michael Latta, C, Nashville Predators (Guelph Storm — HF OHL Rank #14)
17. (77th overall) Matt Hackett, G, Minnesota Wild (Plymouth Whalers — HF OHL Rank #13)

FOURTH ROUND

18. (92nd overall) Casey Cizikas, C, New York Islanders (Mississauga St. Mike’s)
19. (93rd overall) Alex Hutchings, LW, Tampa Bay Lightning (Barrie Colts — HF OHL Rank #11)
20. (97th overall) Jordan Szwarz, RW, Phoenix Coyotes (Saginaw Spirit — HF OHL Rank #19)
21. (104th overall) Marcus Foligno, LW, Buffalo Sabres (Sudbury Wolves — HF OHL Rank #23)
22. (107th overall) Garrett Wilson, LW, Florida Panthers (Owen Sound Attack — HF OHL Rank #18)
23. (112th overall) Lane MacDermid, LW, Boston Bruins (Windsor Spitfires)
24. (117th overall) Edward Pasquale, G, Atlanta Thrashers (Saginaw Spirit — HF OHL Rank #20)
25. (120th overall) Ben Chiarot, D, Atlanta Thrashers (Guelph Storm — HF OHL Rank #21)

FIFTH ROUND

26. (125th overall) Cody Sol, D, Atlanta Thrashers (Saginaw Spirit)
27. (126th overall) David Kolomatis, D, Los Angeles Kings (Owen Sound Attack)
28. (131st overall) Matt Kennedy, RW, Carolina Hurricanes (Guelph Storm)
29. (140th overall) Scott Stajcer, G, New York Rangers (Owen Sound — HF OHL Rank #16)
30. (145th overall) Brett Flemming, D, Washington Capitals (Mississauga St. Mikes)
31. (147th overall) Phil Varone, C, San Jose Sharks (London Knights)
32. (148th overall) Michael Zador, G, Tampa Bay Lightning (Oshawa Generals — HF OHL Rank #24)
33. (151st overall) Andy Bathgate, C, Pittsburgh Penguins (Belleville Bulls)

SIXTH ROUND

34. (156th overall) Michael Pelech, C, Los Angeles Kings (Mississauga St. Mikes)
35. (160th overall) Corey Cowick, LW, Ottawa Senators (Ottawa 67s)
36. (162nd overall) Jaroslav Janus, G, Tampa Bay Lightning (Erie Otters)
37. (165th overall) Scott Timmins, C, Florida Panthers (Windsor Spitfires)
38. (166th overall) Scott Valentine, D, Anaheim Ducks (Oshawa Generals)
39. (168th overall) David Shields, D, St. Louis Blues (Erie Otters)
40. (170th overall) Daniel Maggio, D, New York Rangers (Sudbury Wolves)
41. (172nd overall) Eric Wellwood, LW, Philadelphia Flyers (Windsor Spitfires)
42. (176th overall) Tyler Randell, RW, Boston Bruins (Kitchener Rangers)

SEVENTH ROUND

43. (186th overall) Jordan Nolan, C, Los Angeles Kings (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds)
44. (188th overall) Barron Smith, D, Toronto Maple Leafs (Peterborough Petes) 
45. (197th ovearll) Kyle Neuber, RW, Columbus Blue Jackets (Mississauga St. Mike’s)