Hockey evaluators Neutral Zone offers thoughts on Oshawa Generals priority selection picks

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Published May 6, 2022 at 10:09 am

Beckett Sennecke, Toronto Marlboros

The Oshawa Generals stocked their future at the recent OHL Priority Selection minor midget draft with 15 selections, including two in the first round at #8 and #14.

Mississauga Senator underage phenom Michael Misa, who broke tournament scoring records in leading his club to the OHL Cup, went first overall to Saginaw.

Noted scouting and draft evaluators Neutral Zone had a close look at Oshawa’s selections and offered their thoughts.

Round 1, Pick 8 (Neutral Zone #11 in Top 300 Ontario Rankings, 4.50 star)

Beckett Sennecke #45 (C, R, 5’7″, 128, Toronto Marlboros U15, 01/01/2006) This player was an effective offensive generator for his team. He anticipates offensive plays extremely well . . . gets to open space to receive a pass or reads where his options are headed then finds them once they hit a passing seam. Puck protection skills are excellent, lending to a very good performance below goal-line protecting the puck, shielding it from defenders and finding his next option. He has quick hands and can create plays in small spaces. He gets pucks to the net quickly and makes extremely good use of his edges to create separation or make plays in traffic. A consistent offensive threat in this viewing. Grade: A+

Round 1, Pick 14 (Neutral Zone #15 in Top 300 Ontario Rankings, 4.25 star)

Benjamin Danford #77 (D, R, 6’0″, 170, Quinte Red Devils U16, 02/06/2006) – Danford is a good-sized, athletic, two-way defenseman who can play heavy minutes in all situations. He wears the “C” on his chest and gives it everything he has every game. He gets most of his attention with what he’s able to do with the puck; he’s got slick hands, he can evade forecheckers and the vision and puck skill to stretch the ice with his passes. He’s a breakout machine in that he has the dual ability to retrieve pucks quickly, survey the ice and move it instantly or he can slow it down, show poise and skill and wait for the play to develop in front of him. When he didn’t have a passing option he could carry it out himself and also used a few tricky reverse plays to engage his defensive partner and trick the forecheckers. Danford’s head is always up, he can find his teammates streaking through the neutral zone or cutting to the backdoor in the offensive zone and has the skill to get them the puck. He was particularly impressive on the power play where he quarterbacked from the breakout to the offensive zone. He can walk the line with his head up, he can get shots off quick and keep them low for screens and rebounds and can zip a pass across the ice to set up one-timers for his forwards and defensive partners. Danford is underrated defensively, and in our view that was the best area of his game in this event; he can accelerate quickly backwards from a standstill so he doesn’t have to pivot as much as other defenders and he’s got a strong stick. He takes smart pursuit angles, he holds the offensive blue line with lateral quickness to get to the boards quick from the middle and manages the game well knowing when to pinch and when to back off. He stood up opponents on zone entries and while he isn’t a bruiser, physical type defender he does play the body and has great body and stick positioning. A complete player who may not be exceptional in every one area but he’s really good at every facet of his game; played like a first-round pick here. Danford was dominant in the semi finals vs Niagara and seemed to get stronger as the game went on. He is a player we would like to see get more out of his game. He has the puck on his stick so much and skates so well we feel he could produce more offensively. If he develops in this area he could be a top pair defender at the next level. Grade: A

Ben Danford Quinte Red Devils

Round 2, Pick 36 (Neutral Zone #64 in Top 300 Ontario Rankings, 4.00 star)

David Bedkowski #4 (D, Richmond Hill Coyotes U15, 2006) Bedkowski is a monster right-shot defenseman who has size and can play well in all 3 zones of the ice. This player shows strong 1-on-1 readings and likes to stare at the body and take it out of the equation. Not only does he take the body, but he always has a good stick, in the sense of always forcing the player to the outside and preventing any passes cross-ice. We noted that Bedkowski has great movement on the blueline often receiving passes from his linemates as an outlet by making himself available. We watched this player skate the puck end-to-end three times this weekend, starting behind his net and each time getting a quality scoring chance, either by taking the shot or settling down the game and making a smart play. He should continue to use his size and speed to his advantage and in the future, we would like to see him use his deception on the blueline and take the shot himself. Grade B+

Round 3, Pick 47 RW Tyler Graham, Cambridge Hawks U16 AAA (Neutral Zone #68 in Top 300 Ontario Rankings, 4.00 star)

Round 4, Pick 67 Ethan Toms (F, L, 5’10” 160, Quinte Red Devils U16, 01/19/06 – Neutral Zone #39 in Top 300 Ontario Rankings, 4.25 star)

– likely the best pure goal scorer in the OMHA; pinpoint accuracy, a quick release, high velocity with little windup and can read a goalie and know where to go with the puck.

– most of his goals come at even strength

Grade A-

Round 5, Pick 87 D Lucas Rodriguez, Mississauga Senators U16 AAA (Neutral Zone #74 in Top 300 Ontario Rankings, 4.00 star)

Round 6, Pick 111 LW Caeden Heins, Florida Alliance 15s South (Neutral Zone Unranked in Top 300 Ontario Rankings)

Round 7, Pick 131 Aidan Souligny (D, L, 6’1” 175, Navan Grads U18, 01/02.2022Neutral Zone #81 in Top 300 Ontario Rankings, 3.75 star)
– multidimensional defenseman with elite edgework and mobility; good size and can burst in any direction with one step.

– Elusive puck carrier for a bigger guy

Grade A-

Round 8, Pick 151 LW Gavin McGahey-Smith, London Jr. Knights U16 AAA (Neutral Zone #291 in Top 300 Ontario Rankings, 3.50 star)

Round 9, Pick 171 C Harrison Franssen, London Jr. Knights U16 AAA (Neutral Zone #263 in Top 300 Ontario Rankings, 3.50 star)

Round 10, Pick 171 Jack Genovese (C, L, 5’11” 165, Long Island Gulls U16 02/09/06 – Neutral Zone #72 in Top 300 USA National Rankings, 3.75 star)

-smart, 200-ft player that goes with confidence in all areas of the ice.

-consistently brings high energy to every shift and can fly in open ice.

-cerebral two-way forward that proved responsible whenever he was called upon.

Grade: B+ 

Round 11, Pick 211 Fraser McDonell (D/F, Cornwall Colts U18, 01/01/06 – Neutral Zone Unranked in Top 300 Ontario Rankings)

-a big, strong lefty, standing around 6’5 with decent mobility for a player of his frame

-can use his strength and overpower the opposition in a battle to come out with pucks

Grade: B- 

Round 12, Pick 231 G Noah Bender, Waterloo Wolves U16 AAA (Neutral Zone #218 in Top 300 Ontario Rankings, 3.50 star)

Round 13, Pick 251 C Ryan Hodkinson, Huron-Perth Lakers U16 AAA (Neutral Zone Unranked in Top 300 Ontario Rankings)

Round 14, Pick 271 Alex Visnapuu (D, R, Bishop Kearney U14 01/11/06 – Neutral Zone #99 in Top 300 USA National Rankings, 3.75 star)

-smart, strong, simple and successful game

-terrific stick, tough game

Grade B+

The Generals added three players – tow of them goalies – in the just concluded U18 AAA draft as well. Fans will likely get a chance to see netminders Liam Reid (Kitchener Jr. Rangers) and Hayden Sabourin (Guelph Gryphons), as well as LW Edward Downey (Ajax-Pickering Raiders) at this summer’s orientation camp.

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