|6’2”||200||3-26-04||G||L||89th 2020||9th NA||USA|
I don’t hesitate in saying this isn’t a particularly strong goaltending class for the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. If you are a believer in NHL Central Scouting, Andrew Oke of the Saginaw Spirit is at the top of the class from the OHL. The Native of Shelby Township, Michigan has led the OHL netminders from start to finish on their list and dropped one spot from eighth to ninth among North American Goaltenders.
Don’t let the numbers fool you. Saginaw was the League’s second worst team and had the second most porous defence. The Spirit have some good young talent to move forward with and Oke is a part of that group so one must ask themselves if you take the gamble this year or wait a season to see where he is at?
After a great season with Honeybaked Under-15 where he led them to the HPHL U-15 Championship, the Spirit selected Oke with their fifth-round pick – 89th overall – at the 2020 OHL Priority Selection. A year later, the Omaha Lancers selected him in the USHL Phase II draft in the seventh-round – 101st overall.
Self admittedly, Oke models his game after Carey Price. At 6’2” and 200 pounds, Oke’s frame is filled in and is almost on par with Price’s 6’3” and 217 pounds. The most similar trait he has to Price is his ability to remain calm and focused while under siege. Also, his ability to move forward with his “on to the next shot” mentality.
While Oke has some good mobility in his net – post to post movement and an ability to dart to the top of the paint are noticeable, he’s also athletic. He has the ability to make jaw dropping saves. Oke also has a superb glove hand. His reaction and reflexes are lightning quick. He gets down in the butterfly and back on his skates in the blink of an eye. He shows plenty of confidence when coming out of his net to handle the puck.
With any goaltender at this level, there are things to work on. Fighting through traffic to better track the play and the puck in front of him is just one area that needs some work. He can sometimes lose his short side post leaving openings there. He could play bigger when in the Reverse VH position as too many times he leaves an opening up top those elite shooters can exploit. His rebound control is not bad, but could use some work as well. His pads are lightning quick when down in the butterfly, but it’s about where he directs the puck that could use some improvement.
The good news is those “issues” are easily fixable with coaching. The basics are there and it’s all about fine tuning and putting in the hard work. And Oke isn’t shy about putting work in.