Toronto Titans Early Bird Tournament

A Collection of scouting reports from the 2012/2013 Toronto Titans Early Bird Tournament which is the unofficial kickoff of OHL Draft scouting each season.

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Division A:

Brampton 45’s
Bra #30 Benjamin Blacker G – Has good size for a goaltender at this level. Works hard to ensure that he always puts himself in the best positions to make saves. Great rebound control as Blacker rarely let out any rebounds that the opposition can pounce on. Not afraid to come out and play the puck, and when he does generally makes smart decisions on whether to move it up ice or leave it for his defenders. Very vocal on the backend giving instructions to his defenders on where to move the puck or where the oncoming pressure is coming from. Blacker seems to give his team the opportunity to win whenever he is in net.
Bra #72 Christopher Hill D – Standing at 6’1 and 180lbs Hill has great size for this age group. Has good feet and lateral movements allowing him to win races to free pucks in the corners. Kept majority of oncoming attackers to the outside, using his mobility to keep his gaps close. Made good first passes out of his defensive zone and chose the safe play majority of the time instead of taking unnecessary risks. Not afraid to initiate contact and uses his body size well winning battles in the corners and along the boards.
Toronto Marlboros
TML #16 Dylan Strome F – Younger brother of NYI Prospect Ryan Strome which shows pedigree runs in the family. One of the bigger forwards in this age group standing at 6’2 and 165lbs. Strome plays in all situations for the Marlboros including penalty kill and power play. While Strome may not be the fastest or best skater in this year’s draft class, he uses his smarts and vision to get himself into great position in the offensive zone. Pure playmaker setting up line mates for a few highlight reel goals throughout the tournament, Strome could sometimes look to shoot more instead of making the last pass. Whenever he is on the ice he is always around the puck and relentless in pursuit of getting it back if he loses it. Does not look to initiate contact but is not afraid of being hit. Strome is one of the top players at this age group and once he grows into his frame, should continue to develop into an elite player at the OHL level.
TML #27 Mitchell Stephens F – Average size for this age level, although that does not hurt his game. Like Strome, Stephens can be found on the ice in all situations for the Marlboros and is relentless on the penalty kill. High end offensive upside as Stephens displays great play making abilities as well as great vision and poise with the puck. A Defensively aware player, Stephens is constantly helping out down low and moving the puck up ice. A better skater than Strome, Stephens displays good speed in beating defenders to the outside and in driving the net. Should see his name called early on draft day.

TML #13 Mitchell Webb/ #14 Jack Webb F – Twin brothers both Jack and Mitchell have good size standing over 6 feet and 175 lbs. Both brothers bring a physical edge to the Marlboros and are very high intensity players. Both are constantly working whenever they are on the ice and if they are involved in a battle for the puck usually come away as the winner. While not as offensively skilled as Strome or Stephens, these brothers do project some offensive upside. The Webb brothers are relentless on the penalty kill and are constantly forcing opponents to rush decisions with the puck. Project to be OHL 2nd/3rd line high intensity hard working motor players.
TML #66 Austin Cho D – Displays good size for a defender at this level. Cho is tall and lanky which sometimes leads to an awkward skating style although once he grows into his size, this should improve. Cho projects an offensive upside as he is not afraid to jump into the rush and picks his spots well. Not a physical defender, Cho needs to improve on this area to consistently win battles in the defensive end. Cho would excel if he took the smart safe pass more often instead of taking risks that don’t always work.
TML #68 Joshua Gagne D – Average sized defender, Gagne is an excellent skater and displays quick feet and good lateral movements. Like Cho, Gagne projects as more of an offensive defenseman because he is not overly physical as well and likes to jump into the rush and create plays in the offensive end. Would benefit from consistently making the safe first pass out of the defensive zone, although when taking risks he picks his spots well

Nickel City Son’s
NCS #20 Cameron Lizotte D – While on a team that went winless throughout the tournament, Lizotte certainly lived up to the billing. Played in the Bantam All Canadian Tournament the past summer. Lizotte has great size for a defenseman at this level. Very strong along the boards and in the corners and is not afraid to initiate contact with opponents. Displays a good amount of aggression that is needed in the shut down defender role. Good shot from the point and picks his shot opportunities well and finds the open player when necessary. Makes a good first pass out of the zone and does not panic when pressured.

Division B

York Simcoe Express
YSE #6 Connor Schlichting D – Great size standing at 6’2 and 180 lbs. Shows good feet and lateral movements. Keeps opposing forwards to the outside on the rush and forces off angle shots. Not shy of initiating contact and generally uses his body size well in the defensive zone. Good shots from the point on the Power Play. Makes good first passes out of the defensive zone and generally chooses the safe opportunities instead of forcing passes. Reads the game well and is very rarely caught out of position. Should hear his name called early on draft day.
YSE #84 Graham Knott F – Good size and uses body well to control pucks in the offensive zones. Works hard along the boards and in the defensive zone to get pucks out. Good skater and generally puts himself in good positions to get offensive opportunities.
YSE # 86 Jesse Wiemer F – Similar player to #84, although not as good a skater. Good net presence and is constantly working hard in the offensive zone to chase down rebounds and win battles. Uses size well in both zones.
YSE #91 Sam Harding F – Smaller than #84 and #86 although still has good height for this level. Displayed nifty hands scoring a beautiful shootout forehand backhand move to clinch the tournament for the Express. Good feet displaying good speed when given the opportunity to skate in open ice. Crafty in the offensive end, Harding shows good balance in picking his opportunities to shoot or pass.

Southern Tier Admirals
STA #97 Michael Davies F – Michael Davies made an early impression at the 2012 Toronto Titans Early Bird Tournament. Michael is a big thick powerful forward who uses his body well at both the offensive and defensive ends of the ice. Not afraid to initiate physical contact and can crash and bang with the best of them at this age group. While being physical is one thing, Davies also has a high offensive upside. Constantly uses his speed to beat defenders both on the outside and up the middle. Davies is a high energy player who is constantly on the puck and making an impact whenever he is on the ice. Also mixes a laser of a shot with soft hands around the net scoring 6 goals in 6 games throughout the tournament. If Davies continues to compete at this high level he can certainly expect to hear his name called early in the 2013 OHL Draft.
STA #57 Connor Walters D – Great size for a defenseman at this level. Walters makes a good first pass out of the defensive zone and showcases good vision in picking opportunities to generate long stretch passes. Shows offensive upside, quarterbacking the power play although sometimes tries to force shots when a pass would clear more space for himself. Initiates contact with opponents and uses his size well to win battles down low in the defensive zone.
STA #66 Jared Marino and #5 Mike Baird F – Both players showcase great size and strength for this level. Both are a bit raw and need to work on skating to elevate their games to a higher level. Both players are constantly around the puck and Marino displays good vision in making hard crisp passes to teammates.

Grey Bruce Highlanders
GBH #21 Garret McFadden D – Average size for a defender at this level, if he continues to grow could move him into the elite defenseman conversation. McFadden is an excellent skater who is constantly pushing the puck up the ice and looking to get involved offensively. Showcased this skill throughout the tournament by putting up 3 points in 4 games. Does not panic with the puck and always seems to make the right decision when moving the puck. Uses smarts rather than physicality to win puck battles in the defensive end.

Division E:

Mississauga Rebels
MSR # #44 David Zeppieri F – Zeppieri has great size standing at 6’1 and 180 lbs. Plays the center position extremely well, winning majority of draws and constantly helping out down low in the defensive zone when needed. Not the fastest skater, Zeppieri relies on his vision more than anything to get himself in scoring positions. Has a good shot but needs to get if off consistently more in order to capitalize on opportunities. Uses his size to create physical miss matches and win battles for the puck with opponents.

Whitby Wildcats
WW #61 Hayden McCool F – One of the bigger kids in this age group, McCool already looks like a man compared to some of the kids with smaller statures. Very strong on the puck it is clear McCool also has the strength to go with the size. For being such a big kid, McCool also has excellent hands both in setting up teammates and creating scoring opportunities for himself. Displays good skating ability for a player of his size. McCool is also defensively aware and is consistently chipping pucks and making smart passes out of the defensive zone.
WW #66 William Scott F – Average size for a player at this level. Scott has great vision and seems to read the ice very well. Has great playmaking abilities and can usually seem to find the open player. Also has soft hands around the net and good finishing ability. Needs to strive to remain consistent as it sometimes appears as if he disappears for awhile. When he is going though it appears as if he has a 3rd gear that he uses to beat defenders on the outside rush and drive to the net.
WW #97 Justin Lemcke D – Great size for a defenseman at this level. Lemcke is the captain of the Wildcats and shows this leadership on the ice as well as the power play directing players on where they should be or where they should move the puck. Sometimes tries to force passes however when he makes the safe pass he looks great. Good skating ability allows him to make up for any mistakes at this level however if he wants to succeed at the next level he must focus on making the smart read and pick risk opportunities better.

Division F:

Kingston Jr. Frontenacs
KGN #19 Aaron Luchuk F – Average size for a player at this level. Selected to play in the Allstate All Canadian bantam showcase, Luchuk combines quick feet with great hands. Uses his good skating ability to consistently get himself into position in the offensive zone. Uses his good hands to create or finish scoring chances around the net. Smart player with good vision of the ice.

Division I:

Don Mills Flyers
DMF #87 Mitchell Marner F – On the smaller end of the size scale for players at this level. Makes up for the size difference with exceptional skating ability. Constantly winning races for the puck, there is not many players that can match him in stride. Dynamic offensive ability, Marner is constantly around the puck whenever he is on the ice. Great playmaking and vision, he makes players around him better. Showcases nifty hands in all three zones on the ice. Marner is also very defensively aware, consistently helping out down low and moving the puck out of the defensive zone. Size is the only question, if Marner can add a few inches and pounds and maintain the same level of skating and playmaking, he could be one of the biggest steals in the 2013 Draft.

Barrie Colts
BAR #7 Tyler MacArthur D – Good size for a defender at this level. MacArthur is a great skater showing quick feet and good lateral movements. Keeps oncoming rushers to the outside using good angles and a long stick. Showcases leadership abilities on the ice, directing teammates and quarterbacking power play opportunities. Good first pass out of the defensive zone and consistently chooses the safe option in moving the puck to open teammates. Needs to work on positioning in the offensive zone to put himself in better situations to get shots on target.

Division J:

Oakville Rangers
Oak #3 Matt Luff F – Showed a knack for the net throughout the tournament consistently scoring when given the opportunity in the offensive zone. Needs to work on his defensive zone positioning and work harder to get pucks out of the zone along the boards.
Oak #4 Troy Henley D – Good size standing at 6’1 and 200 lbs. Skating is an area that needs improvement as he remains upright all the time. Makes good first passes out of his defensive zone and is not afraid to initiate contact. Throughout the tournament he kept things safe and steady on the backend however in the tournament final game he took some uncharacteristic risks pinching and jumping into the rush although it did not end up costing the team.
Oak #23 Kyle Capobianco D – Average size for a defender at this level. Skates extremely well, quick feet and good lateral movements. A pure offensive defenseman, Kyle constantly is moving the puck up ice and jumping into the rush. High offensive upside, but needs to pick spots a bit better and get himself into better positions to score when he does jump up.
Oak #66 Matt Spencer D – Great size at this level standing 6’2 and 185 lbs. Good skater who keeps opposing forwards to the outside and shows a good burst of speed occasionally rushing the puck up ice. Physical player taking every opportunity to punish opposing forwards whenever he gets the chance. Sometimes is caught standing around in the defensive zone although when he does get the puck makes an excellent first pass. Not as high offensive upside as Capobianco although he picks his spots better and contributed throughout the tournament.
Oak #74 Adam Craievich F – Great size for a forward at this level. Very offensive player, showcasing this throughout the game with some nifty hands in tight, dekeing defenders on a few occasions. Skating is Adams biggest area of improvement as he has not shown a high level of speed. Very good near the net and generally scores if given the opportunity in tight. While he shows great offensive position, Defensive zone positioning is also an area of improvement as he sometimes clears the zone too quickly.
Oak #77 Jesse Barwell F – Not the biggest player although he makes up for it with aggression and good skating ability. Shows good vision on the ice and is a playmaker when given offensive chances. Jesse is constantly assisting the defenseman down low in the defensive zone. Very aggressive on the Penalty Kill forcing opponents to sometimes make wrong plays and turnovers. Showed offensive ability throughout the tournament but was left off the score sheet in the finals.[/sociallocker]