TORONTO, Ont. -- Where did the summer go, you're probably wondering. Well, with a number of 30-degree days still ahead in the forecast, it hasn't quite disappeared just yet. That said, the unofficial start of the OHL Draft season kicks off next Wednesday with the Toronto Titans Minor Midget tournament and it'll be full speed ahead from there.
To kick things off on our end, Priority Selection will be releasing a preliminary look at the '01 crop of goaltenders that will be eligible for the 2017 OHL Priority Selection. Much like you see with NHL Central Scouting's preliminary rankings, we'll be taking a similar approach by categorizing goaltenders into AA (top-40) | A (top-100) | B (top-200) | C (top-300) categories.
The ranking, which will be available to subscribers, will also feature some commentary on recent draft trends for the position and what might be in store for this age group. While the goaltending position is incredibly difficult to judge on the best of days, physical growth between the start of bantam to minor midget can also play a large role in determining how the crop shapes up come draft day.
While this year's group has a few goaltenders who have separated themselves into a higher tier, the season is very much wide open and it would be unwise to expect nothing short of volatility throughout the year. Team changes will be the first sign of that volatility, as some, such as Matthew Dunsmoor (pictured), will be wearing new colours in 2016/17, with the goaltender returning to his hometown Guelph squad.
Titans and Red Wings tournaments kick off the season
Next Wednesday afternoon is where everything kicks off for the '01 age group as the Toronto Titans Minor Midget tournament opens up in the provincial capital. The tournament spans five days and will feature 52 AAA teams, primarily from Ontario but also with the inclusion of several US-based 15U programs. While the tournament often serves as a platform to build hype machines early on, it's always wise to remember that small sample sizes are dangerous and there's no shortage of hockey - including large tournaments - still on the schedule.
A day after the start of the Titans Tournament, their GTHL counterparts, the Toronto Red Wings, will be hosting a large kick-off tournament of their own in the city's west-end. Featuring many of Ontario's major bantam AAA teams (the '02 age group, if you're out of the loop), the Red Wings tournament will also see three American teams travel in for the season opening tournament. For us, the Red Wings tournament is the spot to start getting familiar with the '02 age group and getting a handle on where the talent lies.
What's coming up at Priority Selection
With the new season just around the corner, we're also going to be hard at work re-launching some elements of our site as we prepare to go into our second season of coverage. As of the start of the season, we'll have more than 325 detailed profiles on '01 birth year players, covering their bantam seasons and setting the stage for where they're at going into their draft year.
With the new season hitting, we'll be tweaking our profiles to accomodate minor midget/15U/16U scouting reports as subscribers will retain access to historical data pertaining to the age group. Uploading rosters will also be a priority as we aim to have that information readily accessible for viewers of the site.
The '02 age group also becomes the area of focus in 2016/17 as we continue with the same standard of bantam/14U coverage we launched with last season.
Our schedule for the season is quickly coming together and will take us across Ontario, as well as stops in Buffalo, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Port Huron, and more. So yeah, maybe summer is over, after all.