Quality OHL Priority Selection prospects from North Bay, Ont. have been few and far between in recent years. Owen Sound Attack forward Brett Hargrave had been tabbed as a phenom by many after appearing in the Great North Midget League as a 13-year-old back in 2009, and despite going in the first round of the 2012 OHL Priority Selection, the now 18-year-old forward has largely been a disappointment in the OHL thus far.
There is some hope this year, however, in the form of Shattuck St. Mary's forward Brady Lyle and North York Rangers' centre Ben Garagan, both North Bay natives who have taken their talents elsewhere on their pathway to bigger things in hockey.
This will be Garagan's second year playing away from home in the GTHL on a team where he'll get no shortage of showcasing. If the Rangers are to emerge as a legitimate playoff team in the GTHL this year there's no doubt that Garagan will need to be one of the driving forces behind it. The 5-foot-10 left centre is a dynamic pivot who has gamebreaking ability. His quick strike speed is top notch and he shows a strong ability to finish around the net, both skills that will be quickly identified by OHL scouts this season.
On talent alone, it's safe to peg Garagan as a top 40 pick next April, but that's not to say there isn't room for improvement. Garagan's compete level can be questioned at times and as the physicality of the league ramps up in minor midget, he's going to need to show he's capable of elevating his game despite being a marked man against top-end teams.
With Garagan not playing on one of the GTHL's 'marquee' teams, he's going to be a player to closely monitor in 2014-15 as his creative intuition and offensive poise make him an interesting OHL prospect moving forward.
|1. C Sam Reinhart||Kootenay Ice|
|2. D Aaron Ekblad||Barrie Colts|
|3. C Michael Dal Colle||Oshawa Generals|
|4. C Leon Draisaitl||Prince Albert Raiders|
|5. C William Nylander||Rogle|
|6. LW Nick Ritchie||Peterborough Petes|
|7. D Haydn Fleury||Red Deer Rebels|
|8. D Roland McKeown||Kingston Frontenacs|
|9. LW Sam Bennett||Kingston Frontenacs|
|10. C Jared McCann||Soo Greyhounds|