By Carl Chimenti –
Jim Paliatifo said he kept things pretty simple during his first Ontario Hockey League draft as GM of the Saginaw Spirit – he picked whatever talent he could find.
It still worked out to be a pretty balanced draft for the Spirit, who selected nine forwards, six defensemen, and one goaltender in the online draft, held on April 7.
“We just went with the best player as we continued to move from round to round,” Paliafito said.
With their first pick (12th overall), Saginaw selected Jeremiah Addison, a left winger from the Toronto Marlboros, one of the top midget minor teams in the Greater Toronto Hockey League. Addison was one of twelve players selected from the team during the 15-round draft that lasted well over seven hours to complete. The 5-foot-11-inch, 180-pound forward scored 28 goals and 46 points last season. Addison is expected to bring both speed and pure scoring abilities to the Spirit roster next season.
“Jeremiah has a real good compete level and along with his offensive talent he also has a great shot,” said Paliafito. “He is someone we had targeted and we are really happy to have him on our team.”
Saginaw got bigger on the back-end after selecting 6-foot-3-inch, 211-pound defenseman Brandon Prophet with the first of their two second round picks (32nd overall). For all his size, Prophet has both an offensive upside and a mean streak, scoring eight goals and 24 points in 30 games last season for the Upper Canada Cyclones, along with 50 penalty minutes.
“We felt we needed to add size to the blue line and Prophet addresses that need,” said Paliafito. “Brandon is a very mature kid with leadership qualities. He is a shut-down defenseman who has offensive skills. Just a good character kid and we are very excited in what he will bring to the Spirit.”
Dylan Sadowy, a 6-foot, 160-pound left winger, was also selected in the second round (37th overall). He is a graduate of the Vaughn Kings Minor Midget program, another GTHL team. Sadowy should add some scoring punch to the Spirit forwards, as they look to replace their top scoring line of Michael Fine, Josh Shalla and Brandon Saad who will all move on to the professional ranks next season.
“He is a great skater and one of the smartest players on the ice,” said Paliafito. “A great playmaker but again it was his hockey sense that attracted us to draft him.”
Saginaw also had two picks in the third round, where they selected another left winger, Kris Bennett from the North York Rangers (50th overall), and defenseman Trevor Abbott from the London Knights Gold minor midget team (62nd overall). Bennett is small in size (5-foot-9, 145-pounds), but that did not stop his offensive production, as he averaged a point a game this past season.
“Kris is a skilled player and a great skater,” said Paliafito. “As he fills out and gets a little stronger he has a great chance to be a goal scorer and a consistent point producer in the Ontario Hockey League.”
Abbott is an offensive defenseman with good size (6-foot, 178-pounds), who posted 8 goals and 45 points in 41 games last season.
“Trevor is a player that we had rated very high and for some reason slipped to the third round and we’re very happy that he was still available,” said Paliafito. “He is a kid who physically has the ability to be able to play in the league next year.”
Overall, Paliafito was quite pleased with the draft.
“We expect three of our kids from this year’s priority draft to make our team next year as we continue to go with the youth as they develop like we have done in past.”
SAGINAW 2012 OHL DRAFT PICKS
1st round, Jeremiah Addison, LW, Toronto Marlboros
2nd round, Brandon Prophet, LD, Upper Canada Cyclones
2nd round, Dylan Sadowy, LW, Vaughan Kings
3rd round, Kris Bennett, LW, North York Rangers
3rd round, Trevor Abbott, LD, London Knights Gold
5th round, Brandon Lindberg, LC, Waterloo Wolves
5th round, Brandon Lukezic, RD, Vaughan Kings
6th round, Connor Graham, LW, Toronto Marlboros
7th round, Lucas Martellacci, LW, Toronto Marlies
7th round, Mark Jankowski, LC, Stanstead
9th round, Boyd Diclemente, G, Peterborough Petes
10th round, Michael Prapavessis, LD, Mississauga Rebels
12th round, T.J. Melancon, RD, Oshawa
13th round, Quinn Syrydiuk, RW, Jr. Canadiens
14th round, Kyle Connor, LW, Detroit Belle Tire U16’s
15th round, Carter Landry, RD, Whitby Wildcats