It's a Thursday night, and one game of interest to Bruins and 2011 NHL Draft fans is happening in St. Catharines, Ontario tonight between the London Knights and the home team Niagara Ice Dogs.
The Ice Dogs have two players who will likely be on the board when the Boston Bruins make their first pick, compliments of the Toronto Maple Leafs: defenseman Dougie Hamilton and center Ryan Strome.
Hamilton is the more obvious player of interest for the B's given their dearth of high-enders at the defense position in their system, but you never know-- Strome has played extremely well this season and despite his 19th overall ranking by Central Scouting earlier this month, many expect that Strome will be picked inside the top-10 in June. The Bruins don't need another center, but with Marc Savard's career in jeopardy, the organizational priorities just might shift a bit. The point being-- a lot can happen between now and June, so don't be so quick to dismiss Strome as an option should the Bruins opt to trade down. In any case, watch for the teams picking in that top-10 for the right fit, too.
You can read more about Hamilton in the "case for" post that went up a few days ago. I heard from Dougie himself on Twitter, and he was pleased with the work. Bottom line-- this blog puts a lot of time and effort into providing the best, most cutting-edge information, and I'm grateful for the continued support. I also want to thank the legions of Ice Dogs supporters who have discovered this blog and added their own traffic to the site. By now, you've figured out that this blog is not a part of the Boston Bruins, but I hope you will continue to visit for updates on Hamilton, Strome and other players of interest within your OHL sphere of influence.
As for Strome, well let's just say that he's been one of the more consistent and creative players in the OHL this season. With his good size and talent level, he's going to go earlier in the draft that his Central ranking would indicate. It's not as bad as Jeff Skinner from a year ago, but Strome is underrated.
As for the Bruins angle, prospect Jared Knight will be going up against the Ice Dogs tonight after leading his team to a come-from-behind victory a few days ago against Oshawa. Knight is clicking along offensively- his next goal will be his 20th of the season and he's rapidly closing in on 50 points. He only needs 58 to establish a new personal season high.
Another draft player who will be in the lineup for the Knights is Seth Griffith, who was one of our sleepers at the beginning of the season (thanks to blog friend Dominic T.). Griffith was named OHL player of the week, and although small, he's got some real offensive skill and could be one of those earlier-than-expected draft picks in 2011- much like his teammate Knight was.
This is one of those games that is sure to have some NHL scouts at, so hopefully, Dom, who I saw on Twitter is going to St. Catharines for, will post some thoughts and observations on it. I'll update the stats line later and reach out to a couple of my NHL sources to see if they attended and what their thoughts were as well.
Hella good game from the looks of it. Knights win 7-6 in shootout after tying it up with 11 seconds remaining in regulation. Vladislav Namestnikov got the decisive shootout tally in slick fashion. "Slick" is the word I keep hearing associated with Namestnikov's game.
2G, 1A for Knight, Strome had 1G, 2A and Hamilton 1G, 1A
Here's the boxscore.
Video highlights courtesy of TVCogecoOntario