Huge and skilled but raw defenseman Dougie Hamilton you already know a bit about if you read my OHL preseason watch list. He was No. 7 there and if you don't remember it, here's the link for a quick refresher.
However, center Ryan Strome is a player who has come out of nowhere early this season to capture the attention of NHL scouts with his size, skill level and productive play-- he briefly led the league in scoring with nine points in five games (actually tied with Ryan Murphy at the time)until a pair of Sarnia Sting players in Nail Yakupov (Oct. '93 birthdate- not eligible until 2012) and Tyler Peters (overager) eclipsed him with 10 points to move to the top of the scoring list.
Strome has nice size, is a good skater and is emerging as yet another potential high-end prospect to come out of the OHL this season. One of my sources has seen him and had this to say about Strome last night:
"He's legit; nice size, nice skills and is really playing well right now," he said when asked if the early production might be a fluke, given that he only produced 14 points in 34 games last year with Barrie. "I'd say that right now, he looks like a solid early second-rounder, but if he keeps it up, then he'll move up into the first, somewhere in the early twenties, I would think."
Hamilton, already well established on the radars of most NHL scouts working the OHL beat, appears to have taken his development and overall game to the next level and is clearly trending upward as that "complete package" of size, mobility and offensive upside. Watch him this season: he's got one goal and three points in the early going, and at 6-4, 193 pounds, has that natural size that every team covets.
"This is a guy who already looks like a solid No. 2 for the NHL and it's still early," the scout said. "He's got a very nice upside and I think is only starting to show what he's capable of."
So, there you have it-- Hamilton and Strome. Two players on the same team, but who are just a pair of latest examples of how strong a league the OHL is in terms of being a pipeline of talent to the NHL.