Photo: Peterborough Petes defenseman and 2015 prospect Matt Spencer finished the 2014 OHL playoffs with four assists in 11 games for the Petes (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
As the oldest continually operating franchise in the Ontario Hockey League, the Peterborough Petes knew they had to do right by their fans and not miss the playoffs for a fourth year in a row. The Petes and general manager Mike Oke had the third overall pick in the 2013 OHL Priority Selection and the opportunity to select a franchise defenseman they could build their team around for the next few years.
Photo: Erie Otters forward and Washington Capitals prospect Andre Burakovsky has had a smooth transition to the North American game, notching 87 points in 57 games in 2013-14 (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
The top 10 NHL-drafted wingers currently playing in the OHL aren’t overly large (a couple of notable exceptions, of course), but this year’s crop represents a collection of players who generally are solid defensively (or at least have shown that capability when they put their minds to it), and have the hands to chip in once in a while.
Photo: Windsor Spitfires forward and 2014 prospect Ryan Foss is in his first OHL campaign where he tallied 13 goals and 32 points during the 2013-14 regular season (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
When it came to his OHL draft year, Ryan Foss was apparently an unlisted number. But after working his way onto the Windsor Spitfires’ roster, in less than a year he’s worked himself into the top 100 North American players for the 2014 NHL Draft.
Photo: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds forward and Phoenix Coyotes prospect Tyler Gaudet played in 99 regular season games over two seasons for the Soo, totaling 69 points over those two seasons (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
He wasn't drafted by the OHL. He was passed over by every NHL team in two entry drafts. But by signing a three-year, entry-level contract earlier this year with the Phoenix Coyotes, Tyler Gaudet is a wonderful example of how hard work, dedication, and persistence can pay off.
Photo: Peterborough Petes forward and 2014 prospect Nick Ritchie led the Petes in scoring for the 2013-14 regular season, producing 74 points in 61 games for the playoff-bound Petes (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
Peterborough Petes forward Nick Ritchie has played a key role in leading the Petes back into the OHL playoffs. But when it comes to finding a way to the podium at the 2014 NHL Draft, the 18-year-old has someone much closer to home to help show him the way.