IceDogs roll dice with American picks

On Saturday, the Niagara IceDogs participated in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection. By the end of the day, the IceDogs had selected 14 players including nine forwards, four defencemen and one goalie. This year’s draft had an American flavour to it with a total of four American born players being drafted by the IceDogs, including two of their first three picks. Below we look at the likelihood of the IceDogs signing their first three American picks.

Will IceDogs first pick report to camp?

First round pick Logan Brown from Chesterfield, MO appears to be a big risk.

Despite missing a considerable portion of the season due to injuries, the 6’4″, 210 lbs. centre still scored 14 goals and had 11 assists in 15 games with the Indiana Ice U16 team. While there is no doubt as to Brown’s ability, there is doubt as to whether he will go the OHL route and if he does, whether he will play for the IceDogs.

According to SBnation.com, rumours had Brown’s dad, former NHL player and coach of the USHL Indiana Ice Jeff Brown, joining the 67’s coaching staff next season following an announcement that the Ice hockey team was folding. The thought was that Ottawa, who held the third overall pick, would then draft Logan. That, of course, did not happen as the 67’s selected Travis Barron in the first round instead.

What does that mean? Perhaps the rumours were false. Or perhaps Ottawa was unable to get assurances that Logan would report and decided to take a safer pick. But if Jeff does join the 67’s coaching staff, will son Logan look to be traded to Ottawa, either as a training camp no-show or at the trade deadline next January?

In an interview with the St. Catharines Standard, IceDogs GM/Head Coach Marty Williamson stated that, “There are some issues with his total desire to come to the league.”

After the draft, Williamson was not able to speak to Logan but did talk to his dad.

“The dad was very good,” Williamson told the St. Catharines Standard. “He was extremely grateful that we thought so much of his son to draft him. It caught them a little off guard because we hadn’t had a lot of communication with them.”

For what its worth, an update on the SBNation story stated that Logan is expected to report, either to the OHL team that drafts him, or to a team that trades for his rights after the draft.

IceDogs Draft Goalie for Future

The IceDogs had made it known that they were looking to draft a goaltender in one of the first three rounds and that took place when the team drafted Stephen Dhillon in the third round.

Dhillon is a 6’2″, 163 lbs. goaltender who spent last season with the Buffalo Regals. The Buffalo, NY native was one of six goaltenders invited to the 2014-15 U.S. National Under-17 Team camp. At this point, it is believed that Dhillon has not committed to the U.S National Under-17 program or the IceDogs for next season.

However, even if Dhillon commits to the IceDogs, there may not be room for him on the roster next season. While the IceDogs have both starter Brent Moran and back-up Blake Richard eligible to return, Richard will be an overager next season making it unlikely that the IceDogs will use one of their three overage cards on the back-up goaltender.

However, 2012 OHL Priority Selection Edwin Minney is still on the IceDogs’ radar. The 6”4” goaltender played this past season with the U.S. National U18 team and was the number two ranked North American netminder on CSS’s midterm rankings. While Minney has committed to Michigan State University for the upcoming 2014-15 hockey season, being drafted in the first round of the upcoming NHL draft may persuade Minney that the OHL is the better route for him to take.

In either case, the IceDogs appear confident that Dhillon will be in an IceDogs jersey sooner or later.

“We felt it was time to get what we believe is one of the elite goaltenders, and whether he plays here next year as a back up or goes somewhere else and plays, it’s time to get high-end goalies in,” IceDogs head scout John Neville told the Standard.

Can IceDogs steal sixth round pick Trent Frederick?

The IceDogs drafted Trent Frederic in the sixth round. The 6’1″, 174 lbs. centre who is from Ladue, MO, put up 11 goals and 17 assists for 28 points in 32 games with the St. Louis Blues U16 team last season.

Frederic had the potential to be a first round OHL pick up until this past week. However, all that changed on Thursday when the U.S National Under-17 program announced that Frederic had committed to their Under-17 team for the 2014-15 season, signalling his desire to go the US college route.

While it seems unlikely that Frederic will ever report to the IceDogs, if he does he would be a steal at the sixth round. He would also join the IceDogs’ growing list of American born players as American’s Blake Siebenaler, Aaron Haydon and Zach Wilkie are all set to return to the IceDogs in addition to the possibility of adding Logan Brown and Stephen Dhillon to their roster.

Kevin Legros
Kevin Legros is the Executive Editor of LocalSportsReport.com and the Managing Editor of the OHL Blog. He follows all local sports in the Niagara Region including the Niagara IceDogs, where he has been a season ticket holder since the first season. Kevin was involved in the process of planning for the IceDogs new home arena, the Meridian Centre, which included sitting as a member of the Mayor's Task Force Committee, the St. Catharines Entertainment and Sports Complex Advocacy Committee and the Meridian Centre Fundraising Task Force Committee.