OHL 2013 draft review

By Jason Menard
Bo Horvat - Vancouver Canucks

Photo: Vancouver Canucks propsect Bo Horvat, the second OHL player chosen at the 2013 NHL Draft, had his day made more memorable due to his inclusion in the Cory Schneider deal (courtesy of CHL Images)


Since the NHL Draft was instituted in 1969, the Ontario Hockey League has proven to be the richest source of future talent in the world. And with six of the previous seven first-overall selections coming from the middle Canadian Hockey League association, there was no reason to believe that the province of Ontario (and parts of Michigan and Pennsylvania) wouldn’t be fertile soil again for the next generation of professionals.

And while this year the OHL provided over 17 per cent of all players selected in the 2013 NHL Draft, that total represents the league's lowest percentage since 2007. As usual, though, even though the quantity may be less this year, the quality is there again.

This year, it took far longer than usual for the OHL to have one of its own called to the podium in New Jersey. Over the past seven years, an OHL prospect was either selected first overall or, in one case, second (Gabriel Landeskog). This year, the league fell out of the top five, only hearing the league’s name called when the Ottawa 67's Sean Monahan was selected by the Calgary Flames sixth overall.

In total, eight players were selected in the first round out of the OHL including defenseman Darnell Nurse, who followed Monahan to the podium after being selected seventh by the Edmonton Oilers. A trio of London Knights earned first round status with Bo Horvat (ninth overall to Vancouver), Max Domi (12th overall to Phoenix), and Nikita Zadorov (16th overall to Buffalo) having their names called in the first round. Windsor’s Kerby Rychel went 19th to Columbus, and Guelph’s Jason Dickinson and Plymouth’s Ryan Hartman ended the first round going 29th and 30th to Dallas and Chicago, respectively.

Unlike past OHL first-round selections like the aforementioned Landeskog, no OHL prospect looks ready to make the jump to the professional ranks in the 2013-14 season. Each player selected has tremendous upside, but requires some refinement of their overall game before taking that next step.

And one player is facing tremendous pressure and scrutiny without ever having donned an NHL jersey. Vancouver shocked the NHL by trading netminder Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils, After two years of Roberto Luongo rumours and discussions, the shock of Schneider going from netminder of the present and future to discarded piece was a surprise. And the return of only a first-round selection was seen by some as less-than-expected value for the netminder’s potential. Through no fault of his own, the multi-talented Horvat, who shone during the Knights’ OHL Championship run and Memorial Cup appearance, will now have to bear the burden of representing the return on two years of goaltending drama. Canucks fans will love Horvat’s game and his tenacity, but he is not the type of player that’s going to score enough to make people forget Schneider. Horvat’s strong play, two-way game, and bull-in-a-china shop mentality will complement the style of the Sedins nicely in a couple of years — and his attitude, leadership, and mental abilities should help him deal with the added pressure of being the sole return in this trade.

Monahan will become a key part of the Flames’ rebuild, providing two-way play, leadership, and offensive abilities down the road. Nurse is an ideal selection for an Edmonton team that’s loaded up front, but will benefit from an outstanding blueline prospect and physical package. Domi, who was often rumoured to be heading to the Toronto Maple Leafs, is likely better off heading to Phoenix (or wherever they may end up long-term), as the scrutiny from having Tie as a father will not be as strong outside of Leaf Land. But there is some poetry in Max playing for the franchise that employed his father for parts of three seasons when they were the original incarnation of the Jets. And Zadorov will have time to fill out and develop a more rounded, physical game in the Sabres’ organization. Buffalo is in the midst of a rebuild and their ascension should coincide with the time frame that will mark the big Russian’s arrival on the NHL stage.

A total of 17 OHL teams were represented amongst the 37 OHL-drafted players. In addition to the three players selected in the first round, the Knights also had another three players chosen in later rounds, for a draft-high six players selected. The Guelph Storm had five players selected, with the Owen Sound Attack, the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, and Saginaw Spirit each having three selections from their rosters.

Domi and Rychel weren’t the only players making it a family affair this year. Jordan Subban joined his older brothers P.K. (Montreal) and Malcolm (Boston) when he was selected in the fourth round by the Canucks.

Overall the OHL saw 27 forwards drafted, nine defensemen, and only one goaltender (Spencer Martin, who was selected in the third round, 63rd overall, by the Colorado Avalanche).

OHL Draft Picks

First Round
6. Sean Monahan, C (Ottawa 67s) — Calgary Flames
7. Darnell Nurse, D (SSM Greyhounds) — Edmonton Oilers
9. Bo Horvat, C (London Knights) — Vancouver Canucks
12. Max Domi, C (London Knights) — Phoenix Coyotes
16. Nikita Zadorov, D (London Knights) — Buffalo Sabres
19. Kerby Rychel, LW (Windsor Spitfires) — Columbus Blue Jackets
29. Jason Dickenson, C (Guelph Storm) — Dallas Stars
30. Ryan Hartman, RW (Plymouth Whalers) — Chicago Blackhawks

Second Round
32. Chris Bigras, D (Owen Sound Attack) — Colorado Avalanche
40. Remi Elie, LW (London Knights) — Dallas Stars
48. Zach Nastasiuk, RW (Owen Sound Attack) — Detroit Red Wings
52. Justin Bailey, RW (Kitchener Rangers) — Buffalo Sabres
58. Tyler Bertuzzi, LW (Guelph Storm) — Detroit Red Wings

Third Round
63. Spencer Martin, G (Mississauga Steelheads) — Colorado Avalanche
69. Nick Baptiste, RW (Sudbury Wolves) — Buffalo Sabres
71. Connor Crisp, LW (Erie Otters) — Montreal Canadiens
73. Ryan Kujawinski, C (Kingston Frontenacs) — New Jersey Devils
81. Kurtis Gabriel, RW (Owen Sound Attack) — Minnesota Wild
82. Carter Verhaeghe, C (Niagara IceDogs) — Toronto Maple Leafs
84. Jimmy Lodge, C (Saginaw Spirit) — Winnipeg Jets
85. Cole Cassels, C (Oshawa Generals) — Vancouver Canucks

Fourth Round
96. Kyle Platzer, C (London Knights) — Edmonton Oilers
101. Nicholas Paul, LW (Brampton Battalion) — Dallas Stars
103. Justin Auger, RW (Guelph Storm) — L.A. Kings
105. Nick Moutrey, C (Saginaw Spirit) — Columbus Blue Jackets
108. Ben Harpur, D (Guelph Storm) — Ottawa Senators
115. Jordan Subban, D (Belleville Bulls) — Vancouver Canucks

Fifth Round
126. Brent Pedersen, LW (Kitchener Rangers) — Carolina Hurricanes

Sixth Round
152. Joshua Brown, D (Oshawa Generals) — Florida Panthers
154. Henri Ikonen, LW (Kingston Frontenacs) — Tampa Bay Lightning
156. Tyler Ganly, D (SSM Greyhounds) — Carolina Hurricanes
166. Alan Quine, C (Belleville Bulls) — N.Y. Islanders
178. Zachary Leslie, D (Guelph Storm) — L.A. Kings

Seventh Round
189. Eric Locke, C (Saginaw Spirit) — Buffalo Sabres
191. Dominik Kubalik, LW (Sudbury Wolves) — L.A. Kings
205. Miles Liberati, D (London Knights) — Vancouver Canucks
210. Mitchell Dempsey, LW (SSM Greyhounds) — Boston Bruins

Drafted OHL Players By NHL Team

Boston Bruins 1
Buffalo Sabres 4
Calgary Flames 1
Carolina Hurricanes 2
Chicago Blackhawks 1
Colorado Avalanche 2
Columbus Blue Jackets 2
Dallas Stars 3
Detroit Red Wings 2
Edmonton Oilers 2
Florida Panthers 1
L.A. Kings 3
Minnesota Wild 1
Montreal Canadiens 1
New Jersey Devils 1
New York Islanders 1
Ottawa Senators 1
Phoenix Coyotes 1
Tampa Bay Lightning 1
Toronto Maple Leafs 1
Vancouver Canucks 4
Winnipeg Jets 1

Players Drafted From OHL Franchises

Belleville Bulls 2
Brampton (North Bay) Battalion 1
Erie Otters 1
Guelph Storm 5
Kingston Frontenacs 2
Kitchener Rangers 2
London Knights 6
Mississauga Steelheads 1
Niagara IceDogs 1
Oshawa Generals 2
Ottawa 67s 1
Owen Sound Attack 2
Plymouth Whalers 1
Saginaw Spirit 3
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 3
Sudbury Wolves 2
Windsor Spitfires 1