NHL Prospects

OHL Playoff Prospect Preview: Eastern Conference

(Icon Sportswire)

In the previous post, we looked at the top 2016 draft-eligible prospect on each of the OHL’s Western Conference teams still in the playoffs. Now it’s time to look at who your team could be drafting from the East.

Kingston Frontenacs

Coming off of his first OHL season, defenseman Konstantin Chernyuk was ranked No. 104 by Central Scouting at midterm. An alum of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights U16 and U18 teams, Chernyuk ended his season with five points (1 goal, 4 assists). His lone goal was scored on the power play.

Chernyuk has been described as smart, with good positioning—a player who knows how to use his lanky frame to take space away from opposing players. While he needs to add weight to fill out that frame, particularly if he wants to increase his physical presence on the ice, he has a good shot and is typically smart with the puck. As a mid-to-late-round pick, he could be worth it for a team wanting to grow their defensive prospect pool.

Niagara IceDogs

While IceDogs forward Christopher Paquette doesn’t necessarily excel in any one area, he doesn’t struggle in any specific areas either. A center, Paquette is 6-foot-1 and 174 pounds, and was ranked No. 87 by Central Scouting. His offensive efforts this season weren’t impressive, with his scoring totals coming in at 16 points (5 goals, 11 assists) in 57 games, but he was trusted by his coaches to play on the top line with Josh Ho-Sang at times.

He may not be an offensive standout, but Paquette could be a valuable pickup for a team wanting to bolster their prospect pipeline down the middle. Given a few more years of development, he could turn into a useful depth player.

Barrie Colts

Perhaps growing up with a father who’s both an NHL All-Star and his coach instilled a high work ethic in Ben Hawerchuk, because he never takes a shift off. Ranked No. 159 by Central Scouting, Hawerchuk is 5-foot-7 and 157 pounds, but unlike many other undersized prospects in this draft, Hawerchuk doesn’t have the fine-tuned, elite skill to make his size a non-issue.

With only 19 points (9 goals, 10 assists) in 60 games, the left wing hasn’t made the kind of offensive impression he should have in his first draft-eligible year. He does have his positives, however—he is poised with the puck, and has inherited his father’s unique skating style, making it difficult for other teams to predict where he’s going.

Still, it is unlikely he’ll be drafted before one of the later rounds this year, if at all. It’s more likely that teams who are interested will either invite him to development camp this summer or keep an eye on him and reconsider drafting him next year, if he has a stronger season.

North Bay Battalion

Rookie defenseman Cam Dineen has been tremendous for North Bay. Ranked No. 117 by Central Scouting, he finished the regular season with 59 points (13 goals, 46 assists) in 68 games. This was good for second overall in defenseman scoring in the OHL as a first-year player and only one point behind Rasmus Andersson of the Barrie Colts, who led OHL defensemen in scoring.

Dineen defends well, with composure evident on every shift, but he is also able to create scoring opportunities—something valued more and more recently, as teams caught on to the fact that it is important for defensemen to be capable of joining the rush. More than that, he already shows signs of knowing when to jump up and when to stay back.

While it’s still early in his development, the potential Dineen has shown this season is something many scouting staffs will find appealing.

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