This week’s prospects include Brendan De Jong (Portland Winterhawks), Jonah Gadjovich (Owen Sound Attack) & Drake Batherson (Cape Breton Screaming Eagles).
Brendan De Jong, D, Portland Winterhawks, WHL
Weight: 195 lbs.
Born: March 23, 1998 – Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Draft: 2013 WHL Draft – Round #7 (154th overall) by the Portland Winterhawks
Portland defenceman Brendan De Jong was passed over in last year's draft for many reasons but his inability to play a good defensive game was a main factor. He is a tall, lanky kid who has an awkward skating stride and has no speed at all but he has improved significantly in his own end. He uses his long stick to break up cross ice passes, closes gaps and stays with his check. He also has developed an offensive side to his game and is confident in carrying the puck deep and creating offensive opportunities. He likes to shoot often and keep it low for redirections. On the PK, he keeps the crease clear and makes sure his goalie can see the puck. Still considered a project but has come a long way in a year's time.
DID YOU KNOW? Brendan’s older brother Nolan suited up in 124 games for the University of Michigan from 2013 to 2017 and captained the Wolverines this past season. He was a seventh round draft pick of the Minnesota Wild in 2013 after playing his junior hockey with Victoria in the BCHL.
Jonah Gadjovich, LW, Owen Sound Attack, OHL
Weight: 201 lbs.
Born: October 12, 1998 – Whitby, Ontario, Canada
Draft: 2014 OHL Draft – Round #2 (39th overall) by Owen Sound Attack
Power forward Jonah Gadjovichis noticed every shift he takes. Was a catalyst during Owen Sound’s push through the season and then the postseason putting up 46 ovals and 74 points in 60 regular season game. He does a real good job of drawing attention to himself and opening up lanes and space for his linemates to get open. He takes up a lot of space on the ice with his frame and he works well in the corners. He is not afraid to drive to the net with the puck and does a good job of protecting the puck with his long reach. Real effective on the power play, scoring 17 power play goals and spends time on the penalty kill as well. Just an average skater but plays a gritty style. Real competitive and is the type of player you want on your team. Really likes to shoot as he took as indicated by the 275 shots he took this season which placed him in the top 10 in he OHL. Loves the puck on his backhand.
DID YOU KNOW? Gadjovich just completed his third full season in the league. An OHL veteran who was passed over last season after scoring only 14 goalsand 24 points in 66 games. He played his minor midget AAA season in 2013-14 with the Whitby Wildcats scoring 15 goals and 30 points in 23 games and also played in the OHL Cup.
Drake Batherson, C, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, QMJHL
Weight: 183 lbs.
Born: April 27, 1998 – Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA
Draft: 2015 QMJHL Draft – Round #6 (97th overall) by the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
A big growth spurt and a chance to play regularly has put Batherson on the map after his first full season in the QMJHL. Tagged as a late bloomer, he scored 22 goals and 58 points in 61 games this season and added another seven goals and 12 points in 11 postseason games. He carries a good accurate shot and creates chances for himself for his work down low. Knows the game and gets himself into good position in the offensive zone. Dangerous on the power play and uses his size to his advantage, bumping along the boards and in the corners. Plays with a chip on his shoulder and makes himself very tough to defend and knock off the puck.
DID YOU KNOW? Batherson’s Father Norm hails from North Sydney Nova Scotia and enjoyed a successful hockey career playing four and a half seasons in the American Hockey League before moving to Germany to play out the rest of his playing career. While he was playing in Fort Wayne for the Komets, Drake was born but grew up in Germany. During the 2015-16 seSon. Drake played for the Valley Jr. Wildcats in the MJHL but did appear in 10 games with Cape Breton where he recorded two assists.
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4) Introducing the 2017 HockeyNow Minor Hockey Players of the Year
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