The Ontario League's Erie Otters went from doormat to powerhouse in a year thanks to a talented ensemble that included Connor Brown, Dane Fox, Andre Burakovsky and Adam Pelech. But the spotlight has always come back to phenom Connor McDavid. The top prospect for the 2015 draft knew about playing for a marquee team even before the Otters turned around thanks to his days with the minor midget Toronto Marlboros. As an underager, McDavid played on a squad that featured a murderers' row of talent and went all the way to the OHL Cup final before losing to the Mississauga Rebels. Robby Fabbri, now of the Guelph Storm, was part of that Rebels team and he's up for the draft this year, as are several former Marlboros.
I caught up with McDavid at the OHL Awards, where he took home trophies for sportsmanship and academics. Though top prospects have been known to check out the draft a year early just to scope out the scene, McDavid will not be going to Philadelphia. Instead, he plans on using his summer to get bigger and stronger with training guru Gary Roberts. In the meantime, I asked him to scout his buddies from that Toronto team that will be selected this summer.
Roland McKeown, D, Kingston – “He was my captain for a couple years. He skates very well, he can do everything very well. There's nothing that he struggles with. I assume he's going to be a very high pick and I'm really excited to see where he ends up.”
Sam Bennett, C, Kingston – “Benny does everything well. He's a tough player to play against; I'd certainly rather have him on my line. Still a very good friend with him.”
Jaden Lindo, RW, Owen Sound – “I feel he gets lost a little bit (ie overshadowed). This year he battled injuries, but he's a great guy and maybe one of the most physically ready guys to go to the NHL.”
Josh Ho-Sang, RW, Windsor – “Josh is unbelievable on the ice. Watching the stuff he does is pretty crazy. He's got all the talent in the world and he's going to be a very high pick. A lot of people may have doubts about him but I don't see any problems. I think he's a great kid, a great guy to be around.”