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Monday, May 16, 2011

A Look Back At The Finals And The Draft Eligible Players

It's often said that the playoffs, or "big games" can solidify or hurt a players rankings for the NHL Entry Draft. So how did they all do for the Champion Owen Sound Attack and runner up Mississauga St Mikes Majors? Lets take a look.

Jordan Binnington - Owen Sound. Binnington came into the season as one of the top ranked goalies in the OHL for the draft. He was suppose to be the back up to number one Scott Stajcer. When Stajcer went down with a season ending injury (for the regular season at least), Binnington took over and lead the team to first place in the Western Conference.

He appeared in 46 regular season games with a 27-12-4-1 record and posted a 3.05 GAA and .899 Save Percentage. Binnington got of to a bad start in the playoffs in round one against the London Knights and was replace by Michael Zador and eventually Stajcer, who led the Attack to the OHL Championships.

Down 3 games to two, Coach Reeds decided it was time for Binnington, who hadn't started a game in over a month. He stole game 6 and was sharp when he had to be in game 7 to bring the championship to Owen Sound for the first time.

Binnington finished the playoffs with a 4-2 record, a 3.21 GAA and .894 save percentage. And he proved that when the stakes are high, he's capable of putting in a top notch performance.

Stuart Percy - Mississauga Majors. Percy finished the playoffs solidifying all the things that were the hype of the 15th overall pick in the Priority draft and then some.

He's a very solid defensive defenseman with the potential to provide some offense with the ability to log a lot of minutes. He's a mobile skater but will use his on ice vision and excellent passing ability to move the puck forward. That may have more to do with coach Cameron's philosophy than a lack of confidence in his own abilities, or it could be a little of both. Which should make Percy an interesting project for whoever selects him in the NHL draft.

In 64 regular season games, Percy netted 4 goals and 29 assists and was an astounding plus 50. In 20 playoff games he added 2 goals and 10 assists and was a plus 11 which put him on pace to exceed his regular season totals. In this observers eyes, Percy increased his stock.

Andrew Fritsch - Owen Sound. Hard to judge what the playoffs will do to Fritsch after missing time with injury and being a healthy scratch. Coming over from Niagara Ice Dogs, Fritsch had the promise of playing a power forward with goal scoring ability as he had 28 goals and 35 assists in 64 regular season games followed by 2 assists in 7 playoff games.

Not noted for his playmaking abilities, ask any Owen Sound fan who followed the team and they will tell you that they think that the lack of goal production by Joey Hishon in the playoffs (5 goals in 22 games) can be directly attributed to Fritsch missing time.

I think teams will have to look past the playoffs when looking at Fritsch, but you can't ignore the fact that having him in the lineup for the final two games may have opened up some space for his team mates.

Joseph Cramarossa - Mississauga. Cramarossa's offensive numbers dropped in the playoffs. In 59 regular season games he had 12 goals and 20 assists while he was 2-2 in 14 playoff games.

But what he did show in the playoffs was his ability to bring his compete level up for big games. One word: Tenacity. He never gave up on a play, fought for the puck with every ounce of energy he had, was solid in the face off circle and played an all around excellent defensive game.

Cramarossa will never dazzle you with his offensive prowess, but he will give you a solid two way game and won't be a liability to his team.

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