Over the past few seasons, Ottawa 67’s forward Jeremiah Addison has been drafted at both ends of the spectrum. But regardless of whether he carries the title of first-round savior or late-round flyer, the Brampton, ON native is going to use the experience to help him learn the way to his eventual goal – reaching an NHL roster.
“I feel like it’s a learning experience – like anything. I was able to go high in the OHL draft; I wasn’t able to go as high in the NHL Draft,” Addison said. “But I was fortunate enough to get drafted in both of them and I’m happy about that.
In 2012, Addison was a first-round selection of the Saginaw Spirit in the OHL Priority Selection. A few years later, now as a member of the Ottawa 67’s, Addison was selected in the seventh round of the 2015 NHL Draft by the Montreal Canadiens. It is a long way between being the 12th overall selection to the 207th, but Addison said he was happy just to get the opportunity to hear his name called.
“It was a great experience. I was able to share it – I was at home with my mom, and my dad and my brother all came over,” he said. “I was able to share it with my friend and family and it was just a good experience to get drafted.”
And 67’s head coach Jeff Brown said Addison should be rightfully proud of being selected.
“Listen any time you’re drafted into the NHL, it doesn’t matter what round it is, it’s pretty special,” Brown explained. “A lot of great players never get drafted. He went to a great organization.”
Addison said he is excited about going to the Canadiens’ organization – one that has shown an ability to mine the lower rounds for key contributors. Current roster players like Brendan Gallagher (fifth round, 147th overall, 2010) and Andrei Markov (sixth round, 1998) and long-time NHL players like Mikhail Grabovski (fifth round, 2004), Mark Streit (ninth round, 2004), Jaroslav Halak (ninth round, 2003), and Michael Ryder (eighth round, 1998) all were found in the later rounds.
“They’re lower-round draft picks and you’ve seen what they’ve been able to do in their careers,” Addison said. “But I feel like, overall, it doesn’t matter where you get drafted, you’re just trying to make the NHL.”
Following the draft, Addison got to participate in the Montreal Canadiens’ development camp this summer. There, he turned to a former OHL opponent for advice and support.
“I talked to [former London Knight/Oshawa General, Mike] McCarron a lot – McCarron was able to, not mold me, but he was a good guy and he was able to show me the way,” Addison explained. “It was good. It was a learning experience and I learned a lot. Now I’m just trying to apply that in the OHL.”
Like many players, Addison said the pace of the game was the most striking difference – but not just on the ice, but between the ears.
“It’s speed and just the way everyone thinks,” he said. “Everyone thinks a step ahead and the game’s a lot faster, as well.”
Brown said he noticed a positive change in Addison upon his return from camp.
“Just confidence,” Brown explained. “He recognized that, ‘Hey, I’m a pretty good player,’ and he had some success at camp. He came back with a lot of confidence, and he’s working hard and playing well.”
Addison has long been known as a solid defensive player, with the potential to develop into an elite, lock-down forward. Last season, his first with the 67’s, he added a bit more offense to his game, finishing the season with 19 goals and 47 points, up from 16 goals and 33 points in his first two OHL campaigns with the Saginaw Spirit. This season, he is on pace to post career bests in all categories, already accounting for 12 goals and 23 points in 30 games.
“I think it’s just opportunity and I’m just trying to make the best of it for sure,” Addison said of his offensive upgrade.
But Brown said he feels that, in addition to having more opportunities to play the offensive game, Addison has made a conscious decision to improve his play in the attacking zone.
“It’s a little bit of both. He can shoot is as good as anybody and he’s really worked hard on both ends of the rink and he’s just a good all-around player for us,” Brown explained, adding that Addison just needs to keep moving forward in his progression. “He just has to keep developing. Obviously, that’s the million-dollar question. If a guy can’t skate, you need to work on your skating.
“He skates well, but he’s got to get better; he shoots well, he’s got to shoot it better; he passes well, he’s got to pass it better. I mean, he’s just got to all around improve, mature, and get better.”
But don’t expect Addison to forsake what got him to where he is.
“I want to continue to develop my defensive game, molding it to where I want it to be,” Addison said. “And hopefully I can use that to get to the NHL.”
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