Heading into the OHL Draft this year, there seemed to be a lot of debate on who would land where early on. It was already known that Don Mills Flyers star David Levin was going to be selected first overall by the Sudbury Wolves, but who would be the next to hear their name called?
While he may not have been selected second, or even third, Mississauga Steelheads‘ Owen Tippett has the skill to become the best player in the draft and eventually become an early pick at the NHL selection event in 2017.
Tippett has been a special player for years. Despite being an under aged forward, the Peterbourgh, Ont. native made the jump to the Toronto Red Wings Minor Midget team for the 2013-2014 season. Playing against older and tougher competition, Tippett managed to pot 15 goals and 21 points in 31 games, fantastic numbers for a kid of his age. The cousin of Saginaw Spirit forward Mitchell Stephens, Tippett absolutely took control of the GTHL in his first full season in Minor Midget. In 50 games with the Red Wings this season, Tippett put up a whopping 52 goals and 87 points in 50 games to lead the league in scoring at the end of the season. His play all season made him a very popular option for the first overall pick, but an injury before the OHL Cup Minor Midget tournament may have been one of the reasons that Tippett fell down on draft day.
Unlike first overall pick David Levin of the Sudbury Wolves, Tippett saw some Junior A action this year, spending time with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens of the OJHL. During his short stint with the club, Tippett was able to post 3 points in 6 games. Those numbers aren’t as mind-blowing as the 12 points Kitchener Rangers star Adam Mascherin was able to put up last year in six games, but it’s still very impressive for a 15-year old to succeed in a league whose most offensive weapons are usually five years older.
An elite scorer, Tippett may have missed one of the more elusive tournaments of the year, but his overall season really was enough to stand out of the crowd. He’s got a shot that seems to never know how to miss the net, with many people saying that it was good enough for pro last season. Tippett has the ability to play a solid two-way game that can really change the outcome of a contest, whether it be scoring a beautiful goal or rushing back to strip an opponent of the puck. His explosive speed makes him a very tough forward to catch on the rush, and with a cannon of a shot, his offensive skill is as elite as it gets in the draft.
Tippett will likely make the transition to the OHL next year after getting selected fourth overall by the Mississauga Steelheads. Tippett will be joining Michael McLeod, Sean Day and Austin Gerhart as the Steelheads try to claw back and make the OHL playoffs after a tough season this year. Tippett is a player that can make an impact right away in the OHL and should continue to get better from here.
Steven is a junior hockey reporter for the Oakville Blades of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, and also focuses on international hockey for his website, TheHockeyHouse.net. You can follow Steven on twitter @StevenEllisNHL.
Photo credit: Aaron Bell – OHL Images