Macauley Carson – Sudbury Wolves – Player Profile

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 205 pounds

Date of birth: March 12, 1999

Hometown: Midhurst, Ontario

Position: Center/Left Wing

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 2, 41st overall, 2015 Priority Selection

Sudbury Wolves forward Macauley Carson played his Minor Midget AAA hockey for the Barrie Colts during the 2014-2015 season in which he scored 19 goals and 44 points in 31 games. He also represented Team OMHA Navy at the OHL Gold Cup winning a bronze medal and contributing to their success with 3 goals and 2 assists in 5 games.

Macauley Carson of the Sudbury Wolves. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Macauley Carson of the Sudbury Wolves. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

The Wolves would select Carson with their second-round pick, 41st overall at the 2015 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection. A season ago, he would make a Wolves roster that finished in last place in the Eastern Conference playing on his squads bottom six. He would finish the year with 5 goals and 6 assists in 61 games in his rookie season.

Despite being a big body who plays a physical game, Carson does not cross the line. He finished last season with just 35 penalty minutes- 25 minutes of those coming in fighting majors. When he does drop the mitts, he throws no-holds-barred hay-makers.

Carson took a huge leap in his development this year. He finished the regular season with 30 goals and 20 assists playing in all 68 games for the Wolves. His 30 goals came on just 122 shots on goal- good for a 24.6 shooting percentage. He finished second on the Wolves in goals trailing only Dmitry Sokolov (48) and third in points behind Sokolov (72) and David Levin (53).

Carson also played in any situation for the Wolves, becoming a threat on the penalty kill and leading his team with 4 shorthanded goals. Going forward, if Carson is going to play the center position, he’ll need to improve his work on the dots. He was just 47.5% in the circle- an area the Wolves suffered overall as a team as well.

Also, an impressive trait Carson possesses is his willingness to use his size effectively and within the rules. He almost always finishes his checks, gets in physically on the forecheck, battles hard along the walls and gets to the front of the net. Once he gets there he will take the punishment to try and block the goaltenders view and is becoming very adept at deflecting shots.

Those that know him best say he has some very strong leadership qualities. Carson was named an Alternate Captain this season. He’s made some big strides in his skating this year. If he can continue to work on that, along with his puck possession skills and utilize his teammates more, there’s no telling where his offensive game will top off.

Carson was ranked 183rd on NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings in January, a rank that should be higher when their final rankings are released.

MacAuley Carson

This is the profile page of MacAuley Carson at Elite Prospects

 

Christian Propp – Barrie Colts – Player Profile

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 182 pounds

Date of birth: March 27, 1999

Hometown: Milton, Ontario

Position: Goaltender

Catches: Left

OHL Draft: Round 5, 98th overall, 2015 Priority Selection

Barrie Colts netminder Christian Propp played his minor midget AAA hockey for the Halton Hurricanes during the 2014-2015 season in which he posted a very respectable 2.55 goals against average in 36 games. He also represented Team OMHA White at the OHL Gold Cup. The Colts would select Propp in the fifth round of the 2015 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection, 98th overall.

Christian Propp of the Barrie Colts. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Christian Propp of the Barrie Colts. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Last season, Propp would play Junior B hockey for the Guelph Hurricanes of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League and again posted respectable numbers with a 3.22 goals against average and an .897 save percentage. He would appear in two games for the Colts last season.

Propp, for the most part, split duties this season with David Ovsjannikov, but Ruan Badenhorst (also draft eligible) made a dozen appearances. He would finish the season with a 3.89 goals against average and a .884 save percentage on the League’s last place team.

Coming into the season, the starter’s job belonged to Ovsjannikov, with Propp and Badenhorst fighting for the backup role. But a strong camp and preseason, along with a slow start to the season by Ovsjannikov and an impressive start for Propp, and well, they split the duties.

At 6’2” Propp has decent size – he’s not one of those 6’6” netminders scouts are drooling over these days however. We say this about almost all goaltenders at this level: he’s a raw talent who could work on his technique. He’s an athletic goaltender who moves in his crease very well. His post to post movement is very good and he gets out to the top of the paint quickly, while remaining square to the shooter.

There are times he tracks the puck extremely well and on occasion he loses it, but I put some of that on a young and inexperienced defence in front of him. Learning how to anticipate, read and react, or improve on it should alleviate some of that. His rebound control is good, but when he does lose it, he gets back into position quickly to make the second save.

Two things that have impressed me most when I’ve seen Propp are, 1) his ability to make a huge save at least once a game and 2) he rarely seems to get rattled in goal.

Propp was ranked 25th among North American goaltenders on NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings in January, 7th among the nine OHL netminders on the list.

Christian Propp

This is the profile page of Christian Propp at Elite Prospects

 

Matthew Strome – Hamilton Bulldogs – Player Profile

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 203 pounds

Date of birth: January 6, 1999

Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario

Position: Left Wing

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 1, 8th overall, 2015 Priority Selection

Hamilton Bulldogs power forward Matthew Strome is a graduate of the Toronto Marlboros Minor Midget AAA squad that he captained during the 2014-2015 season in which he scored 23 goals and added 37 assists in 64 games. The Bulldogs selected Strome with the eighth overall pick at the 2015 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.

Strome made the Bulldogs’ roster a season ago and as the season progressed, he received top line minutes and top unit powerplay duties. As a rookie, he scored 16 goals and 22 assists in 61 games. He would also represent Canada at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17.

This season began in August for Strome as he once again represented Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial scoring once in four games.

Matthew Strome of the Hamilton Bulldogs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Matthew Strome of the Hamilton Bulldogs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Strome is the younger brother of Ryan Strome of the New York Islanders (fifth overall in 2011 NHL Draft) and Dylan Strome of the Erie Otters (third overall by the Arizona Coyotes in 2015). And while the youngest of the three will get selected at the 2017 NHL Draft, he won’t be drafted as high. The lack of similarities doesn’t end there, but they do have some similar traits.

All three siblings arrived in the OHL with the same concern and issue: skating. Ryan and Dylan have made major strides, although for Matthew, it is still a work in progress. That’s not to say he hasn’t improved, he has, but he will need to continue to put in the work and the effort to get where he needs to be. Balance, speed and directionality are the things he can improve on and we are sure he will continue to put in the effort.

The most fitting one-word description for Strome is consistent. There are few players who are more consistent than Strome, not just from game-to-game but from shift-to-shift. He shows that consistency and effort on display not just in the offensive zone, but in all three zones.

Matthew plays a heavier game than his two older brothers. He moves into the hard areas with no hesitation and is always willing to take the hit to make the play. He moves to the front of the net to pounce on loose pucks, drives into corners on the forecheck with physicality and battles along the walls.

Matthew is also a highly intelligent player. He thinks the game at a high level and sees the ice extremely well and is an excellent playmaker. He will play with a shoot first mentality, but if he doesn’t see the shot, he almost always makes the right play for a better opportunity. When his teammates have possession, he’s very adept at putting himself in position and getting into lanes to receive a pass while eluding defenders.

While defending, Matthew reads and anticipates extremely well. He can react quickly to what is developing in front of him and can create turnovers, especially in the neutral zone. Occasionally, he misses on the back check but the effort is there. Once he improves his skating and speed, and if he maintains the effort, he will become more successful at it.

Once he fully develops, Matthew projects to have all the tools to become a solid two-way player at the next level.

Strome was ranked 19th among North American skaters on NHL central Scouting’s mid term rankings in January. On Bob McKenzie’s mid-term rankings, Strome was ranked 29th overall.

Matthew Strome

This is the profile page of Matthew Strome at Elite Prospects

 

OHL’s Draft Eligible Regular Season Statistical Leaders

The Ontario Hockey League regular season has come to an end. So, who leads the way statistically?

Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds’ defenceman Conor Timmins has been on the rise all season long in draft rankings, as he should be. Whether he can continue to climb during the OHL playoffs will be determined in the next couple of weeks but there is no disputing his regular season.

Conor Timmins of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Conor Timmins of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Timmins led all draft eligible defencemen in the point race rather comfortably. His 61 points were 15 points ahead of Mississauga Steelheads’ rearguard Nicolas Hague and his 46 points. Markus Phillips of the Owen Sound Attack finished third with 43 points. Timmins finished fourth among all OHL defencemen in points.

Timmins also finished in the top 10 in scoring among all draft eligible players-the only defenceman in the top-10. Nick Suzuki of the Attack led the way with 96 points, followed by Jason Robertson of the Kingston Frontenacs with 81 and Owen Tippett of the Steelheads with 75. Suzuki finished fifth among all OHL skaters.

Timmins also led all draft eligible players in plus/minus with a plus-53. Suzuki comes in second with a plus-51 while Phillips comes in third at a plus-41. There are many who don’t put much stock into the plus/minus stats, but there is a telling tale there.

Finally, Timmins led all draft eligible players in assists with 54. Suzuki once again comes in second behind Timmins with 51 followed by Robert Thomas of the London Knights with 50. There is a bit of a drop off to fourth with the Greyhounds Morgan Frost and his 42 assists.

Another player climbing draft charts is Timmins’ teammate, goaltender Matthew Villalta. Yours truly has made no bones about it: Villalta should be the Hounds starter for the playoffs and should be allowed to roll with it.

The walk-on free agent finished second to Windsor Spitfires’ Michael DiPietro in wins – 5 fewer in 18 less games played and goals against average, 2.35 to 2.41 respectively. Villalta topped in save percentage with .918 to DiPietro’s .917.

We take great care in updating stats, but please refer to the OHL website for official stats.

Points Leaders
Player Team GP G A Pts
Nick Suzuki Owen Sound Attack 65 45 51 96
Jason Robertson Kingston Frontenacs 68 42 39 81
Owen Tippett Mississauga Steelheads 60 44 31 75
Jonah Gadjovich Owen Sound Attack 60 46 28 74
Robert Thomas London Knights 66 16 50 66
Austen Keating Ottawa 67’s 67 22 41 63
Matthew Strome Hamilton Bulldogs 66 34 28 62
Morgan Frost Soo Greyhounds 67 20 42 62
Gabriel Vilardi Windsor Spitfires 49 29 32 61
Conor Timmins Soo Greyhounds 67 7 54 61
Goal Scoring Leaders
Player Team GP G GPG
Jonah Gadjovich Owen Sound Attack 60 46 0.77
Nick Suzuki Owen Sound Attack 65 45 0.69
Owen Tippett Mississauga Steelheads 60 44 0.73
Jason Robertson Kingston Frontenacs 68 42 0.62
Matthew Strome Hamilton Bulldogs 66 34 0.52
Macauley Carson Sudbury Wolves 68 30 0.44
Gabriel Vilardi Windsor Spitfires 49 29 0.59
Isaac Ratcliffe Guelph Storm 67 28 0.42
Linus Nyman Kingston Frontenacs 68 26 0.38
Joseph Garreffa Kitchener Rangers 68 25 0.37
Assist Leaders
Player Team GP A APG
Conor Timmins Soo Greyhounds 67 54 0.81
Nick Suzuki Owen Sound Attack 65 51 0.78
Robert Thomas London Knights 66 50 0.76
Morgan Frost Soo Greyhounds 67 42 0.63
Austen Keating Ottawa 67’s 67 41 0.61
Jason Robertson Kingston Frontenacs 68 39 0.57
Ben Jones Niagara Ice Dogs 63 37 0.59
Sean Durzi Owen Sound Attack 60 36 0.60
Joseph Garreffa Kitchener Rangers 68 35 0.51
Jack Studnicka Oshawa Generals 64 34 0.53
Defencemen Point Leaders
Player Team GP G A Pts
Conor Timmins Soo Greyhounds 67 7 54 61
Nicolas Hague Mississauga Steelheads 65 18 28 46
Markus Phillips Owen Sound Attack 66 13 30 43
Noel Hoefenmayer Ottawa 67’s 62 14 26 40
Eemeli Rasanen Kingston Frontenacs 66 6 33 39
Sean Durzi Owen Sound Attack 60 2 36 38
Adam Thilander North Bay Battalion 64 6 29 35
Brady Lyle North Bay Battalion 58 4 21 25
Plus/Minus Leaders
Player Team GP +/-
Conor Timmins Soo Greyhounds 67 +53
Nick Suzuki Owen Sound Attack 65 +51
Markus Phillips Owen Sound Attack 66 +41
Robert Thomas London Knights 66 +39
Jonah Gadjovich Owen Sound Attack 60 +35
Mac Hollowell Soo Greyhounds 63 +28
Sean Durzi Owen Sound Attack 60 +26
Owen Tippett Mississauga Steelheads 60 +24
Nicolas Hague Mississauga Steelheads 65 +22
Alex Formenton London Knights 65 +21
Penalty Minutes Leaders
Player Team GP PIM M/G
Nicolas Hague Mississauga Steelheads 65 107 1.65
Shaw Boomhower Mississauga Steelheads 60 102 1.70
Darian Pilon Sudbury Wolves 67 97 1.45
Drake Pilon Sudbury Wolves 58 87 1.50
Cole Fraser Peterborough Petes 61 82 1.34
Zach Gallant Peterborough Petes 60 74 1.23
Hayden Davis Saginaw Spirit 67 74 1.10
Faceoff Leaders  
Player Team GP FOA FOW %
Zach Gallant Peterborough Petes 60 1087 651 59.9
Robert Thomas London Knights 66 1114 632 56.7
Sasha Chmelevski Ottawa 67’s 58 739 409 55.3
Morgan Frost Soo Greyhounds 67 880 467 53.1
Jack Studnicka Oshawa Generals 64 950 503 52.9
Jason Willms Barrie Colts 68 1025 534 52.1
Dylan Seitz Kitchener Rangers 60 74 38 51.4
Gabriel Vilardi Windsor Spitfires 49 266 136 51.1
Matthew Philip Niagara Ice Dogs 45 563 287 51.0
Nick Suzuki Owen Sound Attack 65 774 394 50.9
Nate Schnarr Guelph Storm 54 1049 528 50.3
Longest Goal Scoring Streak
Player Team From To Gms Goals
Owen Tippett Mississauga Steelheads 10/12 10/23 6 11
Nick Suzuki Owen Sound Attack 11/18 11/26 5 6
Isaac Ratcliffe Guelph Storm 11/27 12/9 5 6
Nick Suzuki Owen Sound Attack 3/2 3/11 4 8
Jonah Gadjovich Owen Sound Attack 2/23 3/9 4 6
Longest Assist Streak
Player Team From To Gms Assts
Austen Keating Ottawa 67’s 2/12 2/26 7 8
Owen Tippett Mississauga Steelheads 1/17 1/29 6 8
Zach Gallant Peterborough Petes 12/3 12/16 5 5
Austen Keating Ottawa 67’s 10/23 11/5 5 5
Austen Keating Ottawa 67’s 9/25 10/6 5 9
Longest Point Streak
Player Team From To Gms Pts
Owen Tippett Mississauga Steelheads 12/16 1/19 12 21
Gabriel Vilardi Windsor Spitfires 2/2 2/23 8 14
Nicolas Hague Mississauga Steelheads 12/4 12/28 8 12
Lucas Chiodo Barrie Colts 1/1 1/19 8 10
Nick Suzuki Owen Sound Attack 2/23 3/11 7 18
Shots On Goal Leaders
Player Team GP SOG
Jason Robertson Kingston Frontenacs 68 301
Owen Tippett Mississauga Steelheads 60 284
Jonah Gadjovich Owen Sound Attack 60 275
Nick Suzuki Owen Sound Attack 65 262
Nicolas Hague Mississauga Steelheads 65 204
Goaltenders Leaders – Goals Against Average
Player Team GP Min GA Avg
Michael DiPietro Windsor Spitfires 51 2935 115 2.35
Matthew Villalta Soo Greyhounds 33 1795 72 2.41
Kaden Fulcher Hamilton Bulldogs 43 2393 128 3.21
Jake McGrath Sudbury Wolves 45 2435 153 3.77
Christian Propp Barrie Colts 32 1741 113 3.89
Goaltending Leaders – Save Percentage
Player Team GP SH SVS SV%
Matthew Villalta Soo Greyhounds 33 873 801 0.918
Michael DiPietro Windsor Spitfires 51 1387 1272 0.917
Luke Richardson Kitchener Rangers 16 516 463 0.897
Jake McGrath Sudbury Wolves 45 1466 1313 0.896
Kaden Fulcher Hamilton Bulldogs 43 1179 1051 0.891
Goaltending Leaders – Wins
Player Team GP W L OL
Michael DiPietro Windsor Spitfires 51 30 12 6
Matthew Villalta Soo Greyhounds 33 25 3 0
Kaden Fulcher Hamilton Bulldogs 43 19 17 6
Jake McGrath Sudbury Wolves 45 17 18 6
Luke Richardson Kitchener Rangers 16 9 6 0
Goaltending Leaders – Shutouts
Player Team GP SO
Michael DiPietro Windsor Spitfires 51 6
Kaden Fulcher Hamilton Bulldogs 43 2
Matthew Villalta Soo Greyhounds 33 1
Christian Propp Barrie Colts 32 1
Jake McGrath Sudbury Wolves 45 1

Marian Studenic – Hamilton Bulldogs – Player Profile

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 165 pounds

Date of birth: October 28, 1998

Hometown: Holic, Slovakia

Position: Right Wing

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 1, 11th overall, CHL Import Draft

The Hamilton Bulldogs selected Marian Studenic with the eleventh overall pick at the 2016 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft. One season ago, Studenic was playing in Slovakia’s top league with HK 36 Skalica. He appeared in 35 games recording 8 goals and 8 assists.

Internationally, Studenic has represented Slovakia at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17, World Junior Championship Under-18, the Ivan Hlinka Memorial, and this year, the World Junior Championship Under-20. In total, he has 19 international games under his belt and registered 1 goal and 4 assists in those contests.

At the time of the Import Draft, Hamilton General manager Steve Staios had this to say about Studenic:

His ability to score against players nearly twice his age showed us that he was on a very good development curve. We feel like with our environment and the style of play we’re looking to implement he’ll fit in just fine.”

And with the 2016-2017 Ontario Hockey League season coming to a close, Studenic has transitioned fine to North America and fit right in with the Bulldogs. He’s scored 18 goals to go along with 12 assists in 57 games. He’s provided some offense on the powerplay – 3 goals, 2 assists – and is third on the Bulldogs with 3 game winning goals. He’s firing at 14.5% shooting percentage, but with just 124 shots on goal, it is an indication he should put more pucks on goal, and more production should follow.

At 6’0”, Studenic is not exactly small, but adding some serious bulk to his 165-pound frame is a must for him to have any type of success at the next level. If he can do that without affecting his skating – which is plenty good for the NHL, it will only help improve the assets he already possesses.

Marian Studenic of the Hamilton Bulldogs. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
Marian Studenic of the Hamilton Bulldogs. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

One area that Studenic could improve on is to utilize his teammates more. His skating is smooth and he has near elite speed and is extremely effective at protecting the puck. But to often he looks to create offense for himself when there are better options out there. Of course, that may lead you to believe he lacks vision or hockey IQ, but that is just not the case. He has all the abilities to be a playmaker from the wing.

Finding consistency from game to game is another area Studenic needs to work on. After starting the season on fire with 3 goals and 5 assists in his first 7 games, he’s gone 4 or more games without registering a point on 5 occasions on the season. But he has such a strong work ethic that if he can use his teammates more often, it shouldn’t be an issue going forward.

Studenic will never wow you with defensive abilities, nor will he ever receive Selke considerations in the NHL, but he’s no slouch either. He can anticipate well in his own zone, he can break up plays, and he can skate the puck up ice effectively. But most importantly, he will not shy away from his defensive responsibilities and puts in the effort to protect his zone.

Play-by-play voice of the Bulldogs and good friend Reed Duthie (@rcduthie) had this to say about Studenic:

Marian Studenic is a highly talented winger with a tremendous motor. Since coming to the Hamilton Bulldogs from HK 36 Skalica in Slovakia, Studenic has made a solid transition from playing on international ice to the smaller North American rinks. Studenic had to learn to operate in much tighter traffic with less time but has made his skill translate with eye-popping skill moves and elite speed. Hockey IQ & Defensive game need refining and more practice but Marian Studenic has shown the willingness to work at his craft which bode well for his future in the game.

Studenic was ranked 86 among North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings in January.

Alex Formenton – London Knights – Player Profile

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 167 pounds

Date of birth: September 13, 1999

Hometown: King City, Ontario

Position: Left Wing

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 11, 216th overall, 2015 Priority Selection

King City Ontario native Alex Formenton of the London Knights played his minor midget hockey during the 2014-2015 season for the Mississauga Rebels. In 65 games he scored 27 goals and 28 assists. The Knights would select him in the 11th round, 216th overall at the 2015 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection. But don’t let that selection cloud your judgement. He was a tiny winger who had a huge growth spirt prior to breaking onto the Knights’ roster. It would not be incorrect to call him a steal in that draft.

One season ago, Formenton played in the Ontario Junior Hockey League for Aurora Tigers. He appeared in 54 games and scored 13 goals while adding 13 assists. He would add 2 more goals in 5 playoff games for the Tigers. The OJHL is Ontario’s Junior A league.

Alex Forementon of the London Knights. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Alex Formenton of the London Knights. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

In 64 games this season, Formenton has 16 goals and 18 assists. He can play in any situation and his skating makes him a threat on the penalty kill as well – he has one goal on the PK. His 16 goals have come on 138 shots, good for a 11.6 shooting percentage. He can also take faceoffs when called upon and is 53.3% on the dot.

Formenton’s 16 goals ranks him 9th among OHL rookies in goals and his 34 points is tied for 9th.

With a September 13, 1999 birth date, Formenton is one of the youngest players in the draft class and makes the 2017 National Hockey League Draft cut off by just two days.

Formenton is an excellent skater with excellent top end speed – could very well be one of the top 10 fastest skaters in the OHL. His acceleration is also top end. He finished atop the list in on-ice testing at the combine at the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.

Formenton will not shy away from the gritty part of the game. He will battle along the walls and is willing to drive to the net both with and without the puck. He possesses soft hands and can beat defenders one-on-one. He’s also learning that he can beat defenders wide with his skating and speed and is becoming more comfortable doing so. He’s also a very good forechecker using his speed to get on top of opponents quickly.

Formenton creates space with his skating and his elusiveness. Once he learns that he can slow the game down at times, use his good playmaking abilities and vision, he will become more of an offensive threat.

As with all Dale Hunter coached teams, being able to play at both ends of the ice is a requirement. Formenton may be ahead of the curve there given his willingness to put the effort in his own zone as he does in the offensive zone.

Formenton was ranked 24th among north American skaters on NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings in January.

Alex Formenton

This is the profile page of Alex Formenton at Elite Prospects

 

Kaden Fulcher – Hamilton Bulldogs – Player Profile

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 182 pounds

Date of birth: September 23, 1998

Hometown: Brigden, Ontario

Position: Goaltender

Catches: Left

OHL Draft: Round 13, 241st overall, 2014 Priority Selection by Sarnia Sting

Hamilton Bulldogs goaltender Kaden Fulcher played his 16 year old year with The Hill Academy Under-16 Prep. The Academy is an independent high school dedicated to student-athletes and is an excellent program. You can read more about the Academy here.

The Sarnia Sting selected Fulcher at the 2014 Ontario Hockey League’s Priority Selection in the 13th round, 241st overall. The Bulldogs would acquire Fulcher on January 7, 2016 with an eye to the future as they traded veteran starter to the Sting in exchange.

Kaden Fulcher of the Hamilton Bulldogs. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
Kaden Fulcher of the Hamilton Bulldogs. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Last season, Fulcher appeared in 3 games for the Sting prior to the trade that brought him to Hamilton. He would appear in 14 contests with Hamilton and finished the season with a 6-10-1-0 record, 3.89 goals against average and .878 save percentage.

Fulcher would come into this season and earn the starter’s job until the Bulldogs brought in veteran Dawson Carty at the trade deadline. In 42 appearances this season, he posted an 18-17-3-3 record with a 3.27 goals against average, an .891 save percentage and 2 shutouts.

Fulcher has the size NHL scouts covet in a goaltender. He is also quick with excellent reflexes. His post-to-post movement is elite level. Like most goaltenders at this level, continued coaching is required to continue to work on his skill set.

Fulcher has been prone to let in the odd soft goal, but he doesn’t appear to let it faze him. He can make spectacular saves and recovers quickly. His rebound control is just good, but at times he sends the puck right back out to scoring areas. He’s also good at absorbing pucks and holding on to force a faceoff. If you could see behind the mask, you’d see a guy who remains focused no matter what happens.

Fulcher is good at recovering and getting set for second chance opportunities. He’s very good at challenging shooters and gets out to the top of the paint quickly. He tracks the puck well through traffic and makes positional saves look easy.

The key for Fulcher is to put all those things together on a consistent basis, which at times has haunted him this season. Fine tuning his technique and continued coaching on areas he needs to be stronger will certainly help him at the next level. The tools are there and he’s willing to put in the effort required of him.

Windsor Spitfires’ goaltender Michael DiPietro is sure to be the first OHL goaltender taken at the 2017 NHL Draft. Fulcher will be in a dog fight for that second selection.

Fulcher was ranked 12th among North American goaltenders on NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings in January.

Fulcher has been a regular on the OHL Janes saves of the week

Week of Oct 16

Week of Oct 23

Week of Jan 1

Week of Feb 5

Kaden Fulcher

This is the profile page of Kaden Fulcher at Elite Prospects

 

Dmitri Samorukov – Guelph Storm – Player Profile

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 180 pounds

Date of birth: June 16, 1999

Hometown: Volgograd, Russia

Position: Defence

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 1, 2nd overall, 2016 CHL Import Draft

The Guelph Storm selected Dmitri Samorukov with the second overall pick at the 2016 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft after appearing in 28 games for CSKA Moskva In the Russian Under-17 league where he scored 4 goals and 16 points. But it was probably an excellent performance at the World Junior Championships Under-18 that caught most people’s attention. There, he scored a goal to go along with 4 assists in 5 games while also being a dominant defensive presence.

Samorukov has also represented his native Russia at the Under-16, Under-17 and the Ivan Hlinka Memorial.

Dmitri Samorukov of the Guelph Storm. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL  Images.
Dmitri Samorukov of the Guelph Storm. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Having watched plenty of video of Samorukov leading up to this Ontario Hockey League season, it was easy to see why he was being considered in the second tier of defenders eligible for the National Hockey League draft.

Defensively, Samorukov was above average. He could read plays extremely well and consistently be in position. He was tough to beat one-on-one with an ability to force the opposition wide and then take them out along the boards. Despite needing to add some bulk and muscle, physicality was a big part of his game. Once he had possession in the d-zone, he could make a very good first pass and showed ability to be able to skate the puck up ice.

Offensively, Samorukov has a bomb for a shot. He showed a knack for being able to get it through and on target. He would never ignore his defensive responsibilities and seemed to always make the right decision on when to pinch or when to go on the defense at the opposition blue line.  He has shown to have good hockey IQ, vision and decision making along with an ability to create time and space in order to make the right play.

With that said, the transition to North America and the OHL has not been a smooth one for Samorukov, nor as expected. He has 4 goals and 16 assists in 65 games on the season, not bad numbers for a rookie defender. Two goals and four assists have come with the man advantage, so he’s shown an ability to lead the powerplay from the back end.

Consistency from game to game is the biggest component that has been lacking from Samorukov’s game this season. He can go stretches where his decision making is questionable and can cost his team. What is most disappointing to these eyes is that he seems to have lost his ability to get his shot through and on target. With just 118 shots on goal in just shy of 200 attempts, the accuracy has taken a major dip. And with his shot, he needs to find the target.

The Guelph Storm will miss the playoffs this season and finish 19th in the 20-team league and with one game remaining, his season is over with no opportunities remaining for him to showcase himself. Now NHL teams will need to figure out whether it was the transition to North American hockey and he’s more than he’s shown this season or is he a what you see is what you get? I’m willing to bet on the former.

Samorukov was ranked 122nd on NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings among North American skaters in January.

Dmitri Samorukov

This is the profile page of Dmitri Samorukov at Elite Prospects

 

Robert Thomas – London Knights – Player Profile

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 188 pounds

Date of birth: July 2, 1999

Hometown: Aurora, Ontario

Position: Center

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 2, 26th overall, 2015 Priority Selection

London Knights’ center Robert Thomas played his minor midget hockey for the York Simcoe Express during the 2014-2015 season where he scored 18 goals to go along with 27 assists in 34 games as an Alternate Captain. He would also score 3 goals and 2 assists for the Express’ 4 games at the OHL Cup. Thomas would also represent Team OMHA White at the OHL Gold Cup. In 5 games, he would score 4 goals and two assists. The Knights would select Thomas in the second round of the 2015 OHL Priority Selection, 26th overall.

Robert Thomas of the London Knights. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Robert Thomas of the London Knights. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Thomas would make the Knights roster a season ago, but on a very deep squad – and usually the case with Coach Dale Hunter – he spent many nights watching from above or playing limited minutes mostly with fourth line duties. Yet, the then rookie still managed to score 3 goals and 15 points in 40 games. Thomas also represented Canada at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17, registering an assist in 6 games.

It was an ill-timed – and deserving – suspension to Max Jones that allowed Thomas to get quality minutes during the 2016 playoffs scoring once along with 4 assists in 15 games. The Knights would advance to the Memorial Cup where he would add another assist in 4 games.

Being on winning teams is nothing new for Thomas. He has a WHC Under-17 gold medal, an OHL Championship and a Memorial Cup under his belt. And his Knights are legitimate contenders for another OHL Championship and Memorial Cup.

Thomas has an intriguing assortment of assets. First and foremost is his hockey smarts. There are few players that think the game better and he can process things at an elite level. When he has possession of the puck, he can dissect the opposition in his offensive zone with his superb passing abilities.

Secondly, Thomas is an exceptional skater with high end acceleration and top end speed, not only going north-south but can swing east-west, maintain possession while surveying the ice and set teammates up for scoring opportunities. He has an ability to slow the game down as well, buying time for his teammates to move into prime scoring position and then feeding them with slick, tape-to-tape passes.

Finally, he is one of the Knights hardest workers – if not the hardest. He puts the effort required to be successful game to game, shift to shift. He puts that same effort in the defensive zone as he does in the o-zone. He has become a key member of the league’s sixth best penalty kill for Coach Hunter and is an offensive threat with a man down with three shorthanded points on the season.

Thomas is known as a playmaker first – and rightfully so. His shot is underrated with a surprisingly quick release that can catch goaltenders off guard. With 16 goals on just 125 shots, he’s scoring at a 12.8% clip. If he could add shooting more to his repertoire, he could set defences back even more with the uncertainty of what he will do. He currently ranks ninth on the Knights in shots on goal, but tops in assists.

In a sentence, this is the best way I can describe Thomas: If you don’t keep him close and in your vision, you’re going to get burned.

Thomas was ranked 28th among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings.

Robert Thomas

This is the profile page of Robert Thomas at Elite Prospects

Adam Ruzicka – Sarnia Sting – Player Profile

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 202 pounds

Date of birth: May 11, 1999

Hometown: Bratislava, Slovakia

Position: Center/Left Wing/Right Wing

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 2, 107th overall, 2016 CHL Import Draft

Versatile Slovakian and Sarnia Sting forward, who can play all three forward positions, Adam Ruzicka played in the Czech Republic a season ago for HC Pardubice in both the Under-18 and Under-20 leagues. Two seasons ago he competed in the Under-16, Under-18 and Under-20. Last season in the Under-20, he was a point-per-game player on 14 goals and 16 assists in 30 games while also putting up 39 penalty minutes.

Adam Ruzicka of the Sarnia Sting. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
Adam Ruzicka of the Sarnia Sting. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Ruzicka also has a wealth of international experience having represented his native Slovakia at the Under-16, the World Hockey Challenge Under-17, World Junior Championship Under-18, World Junior Championship Under-20 and two Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournaments. In total, he has 34 international games under his belt, scoring 18 goals and 16 assists.

It wasn’t a smooth and easy transition into the Ontario Hockey League for Ruzicka with 2 goals and 5 assists (3 of those coming on opening night versus the London Knights) in his first 14 games. But in the 46 games since, he has 23 goals and 15 assists.

The big bodied Ruzicka’s – he already has an NHL frame – number one issue is finding consistency in producing. He scores in bunches, having gone twice without a goal in 7 consecutive games. Scoring in bunches is what most goal scorers do, but prolonged scoring droughts can be a concern for a player known as a goal scorer.

Complimenting his size is the strength he also possesses. Combined, he’s hard to knock off the puck and allows him to keep possession. He needs to become more proficient at using those strengths along the walls. He’s also a very good skater with very good puck handling skills who can take the disc to scoring areas and release a very good shot.

Ruzicka has very good vision and hockey smarts. Earlier in the season he was prone to making some ill-advised decisions but part of that can be attributed to becoming more accustomed to the smaller ice surface. As the season moved along, he has shown some very good improvement in limiting those bad decisions.

Ruzicka was ranked 29th among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings in January.

Adam Ruzicka

This is the profile page of Adam Ruzicka at Elite Prospects