Nick O'Hanisain, Kienan Draper, Josh Rule, Sahil Panwar and Dominic Mufarreh (from left to right) are just some of the Michigan names to know in the 2002 birth-year class. (Photos by Michael Caples/MiHockey)

Top 2002 birth-year players to know before this week’s OHL Draft

By @MichaelCaples –

With the 2018 OHL Priority Selection set to take place this Saturday, MiHockey connected with OHL Midwest U.S. scout Kevin Hess to compile a list of some of the top players to know in the 2002 birth-year class.

Here are the players Hess shared – in alphabetical order – along with comments from Hess about their playing styles and abilities.

Ryan Beck (Oakland Jr. Grizzlies 15U) – “Smaller centerman who plays with jam. Has no problem going in and battling bigger and stronger players and coming out with the puck. Plays on the edge at times. Can play with pace or can slow the game down. Has good skill, especially in tight spots on the ice. Has a good shot with a quick release.”

Tanner Dickinson (Oakland Jr. Grizzlies 15U) – “Smaller, skilled forward who can play all three forward positions. Has a good sense for the game, reading and reacting to the play quicker than a majority of his opponents. Solid playmaking center who sees the ice well – getting the puck to the guys who can score.  Plays an honest 200-foot game. Supports the puck well in all three zones. Does a lot of the little things that help his team win.”

Kienan Draper (Little Caesars 15U) – “Hard-working forward whose skating has improved since the beginning of the season. Uses his skill and weight-shifts in his skating that allow him to gain time and space. Sees the ice well and shows that he values puck possession as he is always looking to make a play. Has an accurate shot, with a quick release. Displays good hockey sense and plays a very smart game.”

John Druskinis (Hartland HS) – “Smaller, puck moving defenseman who possesses good four-way mobility.  Plays big time minutes as the youngest player on his team. For being a smaller guy, he does not mind mixing it up.  Does a good job of hitting and pinning his man along the wall and winning his battles. Does a good job in his net-front; he clears the net-front well. Has some offensive abilities from the back-end. Moves his feet and finds shot lanes.”

Mark Estapa (Little Caesars 15U) – “Good north/south skating centerman who plays with some jam. Shows a powerful skating stride with a low center of gravity. Is tough to knock off the puck. Does a good job of finishing his checks and going into high-traffic areas to gain puck possession.”

David Filak, Jr. (Oakland Jr. Grizzlies 15U) – “Plays a cool, calm and collected technically-sound butterfly style. Sees a lot of high-end scoring chances and does a great job of slamming the door shut. Makes the saves he should, while making a high percentage that are sure-fire goals. Plays at the top of his area and squares up to the puck well. Tracks the puck well. Moves in and around his crease well. Competes at a high level and works extremely hard to hone his craft.”

Avery Hayes (Honeybaked 16U) “Quick and agile forward who possesses high-end skill and a good scoring touch. He sees the ice well and makes plays. Plays with a lot of pace, but can also slow it down. Makes everyone on the ice around him better.”

Frank Jenkins (Honeybaked 15U) – “Smooth skating defenseman that has the ability to take over a game from the back end.   Has good skill level, with end to end rushing abilities. Does a very good job of taking time and space away quickly. Projects as a two-way defender, that can log minutes in all situations.”

Tanner Kelly (Little Caesars 15U) – “Highly skilled, undersized forward who skates well. Possesses above-average speed and should get quicker as he continues to grow and add strength to his frame. Quick release and is extremely accurate with his shot. Sees the ice well and does a good job of getting the puck to guys in high-percentage scoring areas. Shows that he values puck possession and supports the puck well in all three zones.”

Jack Kircher (Little Caesars 15U) – “Tall and lanky left-shot defenseman whose game is at best when he keeps it simple. Displays good gap control on his one-on-ones and good rush recognition. Defends well on the puck, containing his man along the perimeter. He wins his battles by mixing in physical play and the use of his heavy stick. Away from the puck, he keeps his head on a swivel and plays with an active stick. He is poised with the puck and looks to make plays. Does a good job of finding shot lanes. Makes a good first pass.”

Jackson Kocur (Honeybaked 16U) – “The most improved player I have seen this season. Big, strong and athletic forward who is very agile and surprisingly quick for how big his frame is. Dedicated his summer to becoming more flexible, athletic and be in overall better condition. Plays an honest, hard working two-way game.  Does a lot of little things, like blocking shots and taking hits to make a play. Has no problem with getting into the dirty areas of the ice. Has good skill level. Uses his strength and skill to get the puck to the net with a purpose. Has some finish within 10 feet of the net. Has the size to step in and play junior hockey next year, but would be better suited improving some parts of his game to make an impact as a 17-year-old.”

Tanner Latsch (Honeybaked 16U) – “Big, skilled forward who skates well. Has good skill, especially in tight spots. Has a heavy shot in which he gets off quickly. Wins his loose puck battles and has improved his play in his own zone throughout the year.”

Victor Mancini (Compuware 16U) – “Big, strong, physical defender with an intriguing upside. Plays a smart, simple and effective game. Defends well, on the puck. Good decision-maker. Makes the proper read a high percentage of the time. Handles the puck well and makes a good first pass. Does a good job of finding shot lanes and making sure the goalie has to make a save.”

Xavier Medina (Honeybaked 16U) – “Quick, mobile, athletic goalie who relies on his athleticism to make saves. He has started to become more technically sound as the year has progressed. Plays at the top of his paint and has the skating ability to get across his crease to get square on passes across the ice.”

Dominic Mufarreh (Compuware 16U) – Good skating winger with a low center of gravity. When he has his feet moving he is difficult to knock off the puck. Has a high-end skill set. Although he is undersized, he shows a good level of compete to fight through checks. Knows how to score goals in a variety of ways. Has a good touch from 10 feet in. Has a quick release, with multiple release points to his shot that keeps goaltenders guessing.

Isaac Novak (Little Caesars 18U) – Small, skilled forward who is quick and elusive. Has an accurate shot with an ultra quick release. One of the better goal scorers in the age group this season. Played 18U a majority of the year, so he knows what it is going to take to play versus bigger and stronger players.”

Nicholas O’Hanisain (Oakland Jr. Grizzlies 16U) – “Plays a very simple yet effective game. Gaps up well on the rush. Does a good job in containment in his own end.  Makes good outlets. Big upside to his game.”

Sahil Panwar (Honeybaked 16U) – “Very strong on his skates, which allows him to make plays. Is very heavy on the puck and wins a good percentage of his loose puck battles. Does a good job of shielding the puck with his body and getting to the net with a purpose. Has a nice finishing touch around the net. Plays an honest two-way game. Type of player that can play anywhere in a line-up.”

Carter Rohman (Compuware 16U) – “Big, tall lanky winger who has adjusted well to playing 16U hockey this year. Does a good job in all three zones, playing the game the right-way. Stepped up to the plate at the midpoint of the season due to multiple injuries on his team. Skating has improved throughout the course of the season. Sees the ice well. He passes the puck and then moves into position to get it back. Heavy shot, with a quick release.”

Tanner Rowe (Calumet High School) – “Lanky center who skates well. Gets a lot out of his stride and has good speed. As he grows and develops he could be an explosive skater. Competes at a high level and does not cheat the game.”

Josh Rule (Fox Motors 16U) – “Good skating forward who has a good skill set. Has good Hockey IQ. Does a good job of supporting the puck. Works to move the puck to an open teammates and then gets himself back into position to get it back.  Sees the ice well and is a good playmaker.”

Ben Schoen (Little Caesars 15U) – “Plays a 200-foot game. Makes himself an option is all three zones by doing a good job of finding the quiet areas on the ice. Good skater who gets up to top speed quickly. Does a good job of using his speed to back down defenders, creating time and space to make plays.  Is an effective playmaker, both off the rush and off the cycle.  Sees the ice well, and does a good job of getting himself into a position to get it back. Very accurate shot, with a quick release.  Shoots the puck from multiple release points.”

Tiernan Shoudy (Little Caesars 16U) – “Good skating left wing/center. Gets up to top speed quickly and is very dangerous in open ice. Has a good shot, with a quick release. When he gets a clean look within 15 feet, the puck has a very good chance of going in.”

Travis Shoudy (Little Caesars 16U) – “A player that continues to get better each viewing. Plays a simple yet effective game. Skates well and gets back to pucks quickly. Competes at a high level and wins a high percentage of his puck battles.  Makes a good first pass with time. Plays a very safe and conservative game.”

Mitchell Smith (Oakland Jr. Grizzlies 16U) – “Skilled puck-moving left-shot defenseman. Plays with a lot of pace. Good skater, with good four-way mobility.  Has end-to-end rushing abilities and sees the ice well.”

Nick Sova (Oakland Jr. Grizzlies 15U) – “Two-way defenseman that possesses good four-way mobility. Possesses a good skill set. Has a good shot, that he gets off quickly. Does a good job of moving his feet to find passing and shooting lanes. Gaps up well on the rush. Displays good hockey sense and does a good job of being on the right side of the puck. Defends well on the puck, using his footwork and active stick to keep his man contained.”

Garrett Steele (Oakland Jr. Grizzlies 15U) – “Two-way forward who is a good north and south skater, who has shown the 5th gear to pull away from opponents in the neutral zone. Plays a 200-foot game and competes at a high level. Has a scoring touch within 10 feet. Has no problem going into the hard to play areas to gain puck possession. Good along his wall and does the little things that help his team win games.”

Antonio Stranges (Little Caesars 16U) – “Center/wing who possesses high-end skill. His skill set and hockey sense allow him to take the game over at times. Can play at a fast pace or slow the game down, depending on what he sees fit. Is a very good skater who gets up to top speed quickly. Is very good on his edges. His skating, edge work and skill set allow his to separate from defenders in all three zones.  If I am a coach and need a goal, I want the puck on Antonio’s stick.”

Joseph Teasdale (Oakland Jr. Grizzlies 16U) – “Short and stocky forward who competes at a very high level.  Plays on the edge, with controlled aggression. Very responsible two-way player. Supports the puck well. Does a good job on his draws, making sure he finishes his routes. I am pretty sure he would run his grandmother into the boards if it meant scoring a goal. Uses his low center of gravity and physical strength to win his puck battles. Has no problem with playing in the dirty areas.”

Jacob Truscott (Little Caesars 15U) – “Highly skilled, puck-moving defenseman. Very good skater with a smooth, effortless stride. Retrieves the puck well and has end to end rushing abilities. Does a very good job of keeping his feet moving and his head up in order to make plays. Sees the ice well and makes good outlets.”

Kyle VanCompernolle (Fox Motors 15U) – “Good skater for a young man that is almost 6-foot-6 off skates.   Show good hockey IQ, seeing the game well, reading and reacting to the play to gain/maintain puck possession. He is at best when he is on the wing. Does a good job along his wall, showing the willingness to take a hit to make a play. Plays an unselfish game.”

MiHockey Staff

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