Off to Texas, as the Dallas Stars are next.
1. Jason Robertson - Kingston Frontenacs
One of the more polarizing draft eligible players this year. Those that love him, love Robertson and had him inside the lottery of their rankings. Where as others believed his lack of elite skating ability and inconsistency away from the puck made him more of a 2nd/3rd rounder. In reality, Robertson ended up being an early 2nd rounder of the Stars, who probably feel like they got a steal. I'm certainly a fan, especially where they ended up getting him. Robertson WAS Kingston's offense this year. Didn't have a ton of help, yet was a consistent offensive force. Yes, his skating needs to improve. But his hockey sense is top notch. He really understands how to work in the offensive zone without the puck. Finds gaps in the defense and is always a step ahead of the opposition. But he's also terrific in puck protection, using his size to drive the net. And his shot and release are top notch. On top of skating, I want to see his play away from the puck (in terms of a defensive standpoint) improve. He shows flashes of developing as a physical player, but that needs to be more consistent. Robertson will return to Kingston and should be one of the OHL's leading scorers this year as I see the Fronts offense being a tad better around him. I think he's a 90+ point player and 45+ goal scorer.
2. Nicholas Caamano - Flint Firebirds
Fantastic season for Caamano. The Stars couldn't have asked for better. Nearly doubled his production from his draft year and improved in almost every way. Caamano is up to 6'3 now and he uses that size advantage to drive the net with authority. He's got quick feet and is a very effective player without the puck. Felt he really stepped up his game as someone who can forecheck and win battles for the puck consistently. His shot and his confidence in using it really improved too. In his draft year, felt he was more of a crash and bang winger who showed a great ability to score garbage goals near the crease. But this year he added a great wrist shot as a weapon and he scored a lot of goals from the slot with a quick release. Also felt like he got a lot better as a puck carrier, that added length improving his ability to protect the puck and drive the middle. IMO, Caamano is one of the most underrated prospects in the OHL right now. His breakout season was hidden because he plays in Flint. But the Firebirds were surprisingly decent last year and they'll look to improve even more next year. I see Caamano right in the thick of that and I expect him to be a 40 goal scorer and 80+ point player.
3. Liam Hawel - Guelph Storm
Project pick by the Stars. Tall, lanky center who has some redeeming qualities. Moves well for a big center. Flashes the ability to drive the net. Also flashes a strong two-way ability and some physical skill. Started the year with the Soo but was dealt to Guelph for Hurricanes draft pick Noah Carroll. Depending on the development of others, Hawel could be Guelph's 2nd or 3rd line center next year. But he needs to have gotten a lot stronger in order to put up consistent offensive numbers. The Storm are looking to take that next step as a playoff team next year and they need players like Hawel to really progress. Not sure I'd expect him to be a point per game player yet, but if he can hit the 20 goal and 50 point mark, that would be a great step forward IMO.
4. Chris Martenet - Ottawa 67's
Never a great sign when you get dealt from a team competing for an OHL Championship in your 20 year old, overage season. Shows a lack of trust in the player to be a key cog for a competitive team. The Knights dealt Martenet to Ottawa where he provided leadership to an extremely young blueline. But I don't think it was a great year for his development. Yes, he's a physical defender with great reach. And he's got a good head on his shoulders as a defensive player. But, the same limitations that affected him last year (skating and puck skill) are still evident. As he moves on to the pro level next year, I think he'll initially struggle with the speed of the pro game. The Stars have a ton of defenders signed on to play pro next year so my guess would be that he spends the year in the ECHL.