It’s not often that, when I rank Ontario Hockey League players for the National Hockey League draft, that I look at players passed over the previous season. It’s not a regularity that players get chosen the second time around.
But this season, there are three players I am keeping at least one eye on: Logan DeNoble of the Peterborough Petes, Domenic Commisso of the Oshawa Generals, and Drake Rymsha, traded from the Ottawa 67’s to the Sarnia Sting on January 7th.
When I do my final rankings at the end of the season, I rank the top five goaltenders and the top fifty skaters. But at the end of the 2015-2016 season, I did the top 50 plus one. That plus one was DeNoble. I was so impressed by his offensive output during the second half of the season, that I wanted to recognize that even though I was confident he wouldn’t get drafted.
Fast forward to this season. DeNoble is tied with the Soo Greyhounds’ Zachary Senyshyn for sixth spot in goals scored with twenty-four, just two shy from making it into the top five. That surpasses his total of twenty goals last season while playing in sixty-three games versus the thirty-nine to date this season.
Somewhat surprisingly, ten of those twenty-four goals are powerplay goals and six are game winning goals, while firing a 24.2 shooting percentage. The 5’10, 190-pound center/winger is also an astounding 60.3 percent on the face off dot.
But the most surprising statistic when talking about DeNoble is when discussing consistency. Since December 8, 2015 (That’s fifteen not sixteen), he has gone more than one game without a point just four times. You’ll be hard pressed to find more than a handful of players with that kind of consistency. For comparison, League scoring leader Alex DeBrincat of the Erie Otters has gone more than a game without a point two times, while Adam Mascherin of the Kitchener Rangers who trails only DeBrincat in points has gone more than a game without a point four times in the same time frame.
Of course, none of this means DeNoble will get drafted in 2017. But he certainly is going to open some eyes and maybe draw an invite to a team camp in the summer.
Commisso on the other hand, was someone I ranked thirty-seventh among OHL skaters, but he too did not get drafted. He did however, receive an invite to Boston Bruins Development Camp in the summer of 2016.
Commisso leads a surprising Oshawa Generals in scoring through thirty-nine games with thirty-eight points, twelve of them goals. He’s on pace or has exceeded his eighteen, twenty-four, forty-two totals from a year ago.
The 5’11”, 192-pound centreman has five powerplay goals (third on the team) and 12 powerplay assists (tops on the Generals) to go along with one shorthanded goals. He’s clipping along with a 10.1 shooting percentage while winning 351 of 680 faceoffs or 51.6%.
Commisso is a speedster with excellent top end speed and a very explosive first step. He’s strong on his skates with an ability to change direction with relative ease. He is shifty and very good when the opposition keeps him in close. He possesses very good puck skills along with possession skills with excellent vision and an ability to set up teammates. More of a playmaker than goal scorer, he has a good shot and release.
Commisso has a very strong work ethic in all three zones. He gets in on the forecheck and despite his size, doesn’t shy away from physicality. He’s excellent at creating turnovers.
Rymsha was also undrafted and attended Boston Bruins Development camp. The issue with Rymsha was injuries and teams not getting a long enough look at him.
Rymsha was traded on the weekend from the Ottawa 67’s to the Sarnia Sting and automatically becomes the Sting’s third leading scorer with fifteen goals and 14 assists. The 6’, 185-pound center plays in any situation. He’s strong on faceoffs, winning 57.7 percent of the 742 draws he’s taken – usually the first player over the boards for an important faceoff.
Rymsha is a two-way player who works hard at both ends of the ice. His positioning in the defensive zone is very good and he is excellent at causing turnovers. He’s slightly above average in the playmaking department and while he has a decent shot is an average goal scorer. Although he is no Brad Marchand, he does agitate and can throw players off their game.
Rymsha projects to be a solid defensive player who can toss in a little offence if he gets to the NHL.