OHL 2011 draft review

By Andrew Sykes
Photo: Taken second overall, Gabriel Landeskog was the highest drafted OHLer in 2011. (Photo courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)

Once again the OHL proved that it is one of, if not the best developmental league for aspiring professional hockey players. With 46 players selected at the 2011 NHL Draft, the league enjoyed it’s best draft performance since 1999 when a record 52 players were taken from OHL clubs. Of the 101 CHL players selected, the OHL chipped in 46 percent of that total demonstrating the overwhleming talent that resides in Canada’s most populated region.

The league’s excellence was no more apparent than in the first round when 11 OHL prospects were taken within the draft’s first 30 selections. The Oshawa Generals spearheaded the Ontario assault with five dratees, while Plymouth, Saginaw, and Sault Ste. Marie each saw four of their players on the draft board. Coincedentally it was the province’s Capital that proved to be the most eager team at grabbing Ontario born players as the Toronto Maple Leafs went on to take four OHLers, including St. Michael’s defenseman Stuart Percy whom they took with their first-round, 25th overall pick.

The first OHL player to hear his name called on draft day was Kitchener Rangers captain Gabriel Landeskog who became the highest Swedish-born player to be taken in the NHL draft since Daniel Sedin was also drafted as the 2nd overall pick in 1999. Landeskog now joins another former top draft pick Matt Duchene as the newest member of the rebuilding Colorado Avalanche.

With the fifth-overall pick in the draft, the New York Islanders added to their rapidly increasing group of young talent by selecting Ryan Strome, a slick center who had a phenomenal season with the Niagara IceDogs. Two picks later the excitement was high as the newly formed Winnipeg Jets took to the podium for their first draft selection, marking the new Jets era and they didn’t dissapoint. The NHL’s newest franchise made the first real surprise pick of the draft by tabbing Barrie Colts center Mark Scheifele as their first round, seventh overall selection.

The rest of the first round featured two highly-touted defensemen; Doug Hamilton from the Niagara IceDogs and Ryan Murphy from the Kitchener Rangers. The stanley cup champion Boston Bruins took the 6’4 Hamilton while the Carolina Hurricanes were estatic when the diminutive but incredibly gifted Murphy fell to them at 12th overall. OHLers were then taken with six of the final 10 picks in the first round, highlighted by the Ottawa Senators who selected Plymouth Whaler Stefan Noesen and Peterborough Petes sniper Matt Puempel at 21st and 24th overall respectively.

The second-round saw eight more OHL prospects go a round later then they may have originally expected. Boone Jenner, Alexander Khokhlachev and Brandon Saad were thought to have a good chance at going in the first-round but were forced to wait a little longer; largely due to the depth of talent in this year’s draft, particularly up front at the forward positions.

Remarkably, the third-round equalled the first with another 11 players having their NHL draft dreams come true. A few years ago the Buffalo Sabers were rewarded for taking a chance on 5’5 Nathan Gerbe and they will now hope that sault Ste. Marie speedster Daniel Catenacci can continue to prove that good things can come in small packages. The third-round also saw the first OHL goaltender get taken when the St. Louis Blues selected Jordan Binnington from the OHL champion Owen Sound Attack. Binnington would later be joined by teammates Andrew Shaw (Chicago 5th round, 139rd overall) and Andrew Fritsch (Phoenix 6th round, 155th overall) giving the Attack a trio of 2011 draftees.

Other notables include Oshawa left-winger Nicklas Jensen going to the Vancouver Canucks as their first-round choice following their lengthy cup run, Jensen’s linemate Lucas Lessio in the second-round to Phoenix, skilled German center Tobias Rieder to Edmonton in the fouth-round, and imposing winger David Broll went to Toronto in the 6th round.

The OHL at the NHL Draft (by the numbers):

OHL Players Drafted (with HF Top 10 rankings)

2. Gabriel Landeskog (Kitchener Rangers) – Colorado Avalanche (HF Mock Draft#3)
5. Ryan Strome (Niagara IceDogs) – New York Islanders (HF Mock Draft#7)
7. Mark Scheifele (Barrie Colts) – Winnipeg Jets (HF MockDraft #14)
9. Doug Hamilton (Niagara IceDogs) – Boston Bruins (HF Mock Draft#8)
12. Ryan Murphy (Kitchener Rangers) – Carolina Hurricanes (HF Mock Draft#9)
21. Stefan Noesen (Plymouth Whalers) – Ottawa Senators
24. Matt Puempel (Peterborough Petes) – Ottawa Senators (HF Mock Draft#25)
25. Stuart Percy (Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors) – Toronto Maple Leafs (HF Mock Draft#29)
27. Vladislav Namestnikov (London Knights) – Tampa Bay Lightning
29. Nicklas Jensen (Oshawa Generals) – Vancouver Canucks (HF Mock Draft#21)
30. Rikard Rakell (Plymouth Whalers) – Anaheim Ducks

Second Round (8 OHL players):

37. Boone Jenner (Oshawa Generals) – Columbus Blue Jackets (HF Mock Draft#18)
40. Alexander Khokhlachev (Windsor Spitfires) – Boston Bruins (HF Mock Draft#26)
43. Brandon Saad (Saginaw Spirit) – Chicago Blackhawks (HF Mock Draft #23)
44. Brett Ritchie (Sarnia Sting) – Dallas Stars
54. Scott Harrington (London Knights) – Pittsburgh Penguins
55. Ryan Sproul (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) – Detroit Red Wings
56. Lucas Lessio (Oshawa Generals) – Phoenix Coyotes
61. Shane Prince (Ottawa 67’s) – Ottawa Senators

Third Round (11 CHL players):

63. Andrei Pedan (Guelph Storm) – New York Islanders
64. Vincent Trocheck (Saginaw Spirit) – Florida Panthers
65. Joseph Cramarossa (Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors) – Anaheim Ducks
68. Nick Cousins (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) – Philadelphia Flyers
77. Daniel Catenacci (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) – Buffalo Sabres
80. Andy Andreoff (Oshawa Generals) – Los Angeles Kings
81. Anthony Camara (Saginaw Spirit) – Boston Bruins
85. Alan Quine (Peterborough Petes) – Detroit Red Wings
86. Josh Leivo (Sudbury Wolves) – Toronto Maple Leafs
88. Jordan Binnington (Owen Sound Attack) – St. Louis Blues
89. Justin Sefton (Sudbury Wolves) – San Jose Sharks

Fourth Round (3 OHL players):

94. Josh Shalla (Saginaw Spirit) – Nashville Predators
114. Tobias Rieder (Kitchener Rangers) – Edmonton Oilers
116. Colin Suellentrop (Oshawa Generals) – Philadelphia Flyers

Fifth Round (5 OHL players):

123. Garrett Meurs (Plymouth Whalers) – Colorado Avalanche
137. Alex Lepkowski (Barrie Colts) – Buffalo Sabres
139. Andrew Shaw (Owen Sound Attack) – Chicago Blackhawks
149. Austen Brassard (Belleville Bulls) – Winnipeg Jets
150. Frank Corrado (Sudbury Wolves) – Vancouver Canucks

Sixth Round (4 OHL players):

152. David Broll (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) – Toronto Maple Leafs
155. Andrew Fritsch (Owen Sound Attack) – Phoenix Coyotes
163. Matt Mahalak (Plymouth Whalers) – Carolina Hurricanes
179. Dylan DeMelo (Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors) – San Jose Sharks

Seventh Round (4 OHL players):

185. Mitchell Theoret (Niagara IceDogs) – New York Islanders
190. Garret Sparks (Guelph Storm) – Toronto Maple Leafs
191. Tyler Graovac (Ottawa 67’s) – Minnesota Wild
206. Derek Mathers (Peterborough Petes) – Philadelphia Flyers

Players selected (OHL Team)

5 – Oshawa
4 – Plymouth, Saginaw, Sault Ste. Marie
3 – Kitchener, Mississauga, Niagara, Owen Sound, Peterborough, Sudbury
2 – Barrie, Guelph, London, Ottawa
1 – Belleville, Sarnia, Windsor
0 – Brampton, Erie, Kingston

Players selected (NHL Team)

4 – Toronto
3 – Boston, Carolina, NY Islanders, Ottawa, Philadelphia
2 – Anaheim, Buffalo, Colorado, Detroit, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver, Winnipeg
1 – Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Nashville, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Tampa Bay
0 – Calgary, Montreal, New Jersey, NY Rangers, Washington

Players selected (Position)

Center – 17
Defensemen- 11
Left Wing – 8
Right Wing – 7
Goalie – 3