The Jr. Canadiens are no strangers to producing top-flight OHL Draft Prospects with numerous alumni lacing the OHL Priority Selection's history of first round picks, many of which going on to hearing their names called at the NHL Entry Draft. This year's Jr. Canadiens team is no exception to that trend with a collection of talent that stands to produce several Top 40 picks in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection. Oh yeah, they also happen to be one of the most dominant Minor Midget teams you'll find in North America.
Leading the way for the Jr. Canadiens is hulking defenseman Jakob Chychrun, the runaway candidate for top honours next April. Chychrun checks in at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, and took little time to establish himself as a dominant force in Minor Midget. After initially planning to play as an underaged player in the USHL this season, Chychrun was dealt a curveball by USA Hockey who declined his application to suit up in the USHL a year early. Chychrun eventually wound up landing with the Jr. Canadiens where the Boca Raton, Fla. native has lived up to the hype - and then some.
Chychrun impacts the game at both ends of the ice in a variety of ways. For a big defenseman he has impressive skating and lateral ability. There is some room for him to improve his stride with a wider skating base that could help take his skating to an elite level as well. Chychrun plays with a high degree of physicality and his size, strength, and skating allow for him to deliver some bone-crushing hits that really keep forwards on their toes. At the next level he may need to do a better job of picking his spots, but the aggressiveness is encouraging to see. Chychrun's offensive game shows every sign of translating to the next level as he has a pro calibre shot and impressive offensive instincts. At this level he is prone to over-doing things, but coaching at the next level should help him play with some more structure in the offensive zone.
Chychrun will have no shortage of options south of the border, but as a surefire top prospect in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection, his future could be in Major Junior. If he does wind up playing in the OHL, it will be very intriguing to track the development of his game against Sean Day's as that promises to be an exciting rivalry for the next couple of years.
Mete is one of the most exciting players you'll find in Minor Midget this season, and likely in recent memory. The 5-foot-9 defenseman is a world-class skater who could likely give most high-end OHL skaters a run for their money at age 15. Mete's game is really built on his skating ability as his acceleration, top-end speed, and lateral ability really influence his on-ice decisions and willingness to jump into the rush.
While his skating is top-notch and he is undoubtedly a top defenseman at this level, there are some concerns over exactly what type of role Mete will bring at the next level. As an undersized defenseman, his offensive game won't blow you away and he doesn't possess a booming shot that most OHL powerplay quarterbacks have. He also can struggle in puck battles with bigger forwards which is something that he'll have to face on a nightly basis from all four lines at the next level. There will be no shortage of intrigue surrounding Mete's game and though he projects to be a top 20 pick, you can imagine that a lot of OHL scouts will have some heated debates trying to figure out what type of player he can be.
The captain of the Jr. Canadiens is a north-south winger who might bring some memories of some gritty Jr. Canadiens' forwards of the past such as Stefan Della Rovere and Devante Smith-Pelly. The 6-foot-1, 180 pound winger has the size and strength to make an impact in the OHL next season and his physical style of play and tenacity will be sure to win him over with an OHL coach. Barron excels when he keeps it simple and focuses on being a menace on the forecheck and sustaining puck possession on the wall - which is something he does display with consistency.
The offensive upside and ceiling are two question marks, but Barron does project to be a player who is capable of producing points at top six forward clip at the next level, something that should have every OHL team slotting him into their top 20. With the intangibles he brings to a team along with his physical play, Barron could be a very valuable forward at the next level as a player who can play top six minutes while providing a unique power forward role that is becoming increasingly hard to come by.
Tags: Jakob Chychrun | ohl | 2014 ohl priority selection | 2014 ohl draft prospects | 2014 ohl draft | Victor Mete | Travis Barron |
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