By Kevin Chambers | SN Staff
With the playoffs nearing in most hockey leagues, let’s check in on Saint John’s 2015 draft class (included here are some of the players that are still expected to take the US college route but remain protected by the Sea Dogs).
Kicking things off with the ninth overall selection in 2015, Alex D’Orio has had a very good season with Cantonniers de Magog. D’Orio is being mentored by head coach and former NHL goaltender Felix Potvin, which should benefit him as he continues to develop in hopes of being a big part of the Sea Dogs’ future. D’Orio is posting some solid numbers with a 2.56 goals against average and a save percentage of .908, including three shutouts. D’Orio has been splitting most of the starts for Magog with 2016 draft prospect Justin Blanchette.
Next we have the 10th overall selection in the 2015 draft, Cedric Pare. Pare is currently on pace for a point per game season with 15 goals and 26 assists for 41 points in 40 games with the Commandeurs de Levis in the Quebec Midget AAA Hockey League. Despite the Commandeurs being in last place in their division, Pare has managed to climb to a tie for 24th overall in the league in points and is getting plenty of ice time as he continues to develop in midget AAA.
In the third round of the 2015 QMJHL draft, the Sea Dogs added another defenseman to their stable of impressive young defenders. Vincent Martineau is currently the captain of the Phenix Esther-Blondin who currently sit in first place in their division and second overall in QMAAA. Martineau provides solid leadership for the Phenix and continues to be a solid contributor to their offense while being a strong defender in his own zone. Currently, Martineau has tallied seven goals and 18 assists in 32 games and in his brief stint with Saint John managed to record his first QMJHL goal on Dec. 29 against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
In the fourth round in 2015 the Sea Dogs added Morgan Barron from Newbridge Academy. Barron left camp early to maintain his NCAA eligibility and is currently attending St. Andrew’s College. Barron recently announced via Twitter that he has committed to Cornell University, which may mean he’ll continues his hockey career south of the border. Barron has had an outstanding season thus far, putting up 39 goals and 28 assists for 67 points in 53 games. There is still plenty of time for Barron to change his mind, but at this point, it seems he will choose the NCAA route.
The first American player drafted in 2015 was Marc McLaughlin, who currently plays out of Cushing Academy and has committed to St. Lawrence University. The Sea Dogs undoubtedly still have hopes to convince McLaughlin to play in the QMJHL. McLaughlin has put up 16 goals and 13 assists for 29 points in just 23 games with Cushing Academy.
In round eight the Sea Dogs looked to add some size, picking up 6’3” Kallum Muirhead. Muirhead is spending this season with the Charlottetown Islanders midget AAA team (Ed. Note: could ya find some new team names, Charlottetown?) and he continues to improve his skill set. Muirhead currently has 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points in 28 games. Muirhead also has 97 penalty minutes on the season.
Another potential player that is currently leaning towards the NCAA option was chosen with the first of two picks in the ninth round. Ben Mirageas currently attends school at Avon Old Farms Prep School and has committed to Providence College. Mirageas seems like a bit of a long shot at this point but he does have some solid numbers with three goals and 15 assists for 18 points in 16 games this season.
With their second selection in the ninth round the Sea Dogs picked up Ian Smallwood from St. John’s. Smallwood is spending this season with the Vito’s and is putting up some excellent numbers offensively. Smallwood is actually tied for the most goals on the team with 2016 draft prospect Anderson MacDonald with 18 goals apiece. Along with his 18 goals, Smallwood has added 13 assists, giving him 31 points in 28 games this season. It’s also worth noting that 13 of his 18 goals this year have come on the power play.
The Sea Dogs made two more selections in the 11th round, the first of which is Jonathan Mason who projects as more of a defensive defenseman. Mason is spending this season playing with the Yarmouth Mariners of the MHL and currently has a goal and six assists in 27 contests.
With their second selection in the 11th round the Sea Dogs added gritty forward Alexandre Lafreniere who showed some excellent work ethic during training camp. Lafreniere is another Sea Dog prospect who’s spending this season with the Vito’s, running that tally to three this season. Lafreniere currently sits second in team scoring behind MacDonald with 15 goals and 18 assists for 33 points in 32 games.
The Sea Dogs used their first of two 12th round selections on another defender, picking up Matt O’Leary who’s playing this season with the St. John’s Privateers in the Newfoundland Major Midget Hockey League. He is currently second in team scoring - as a defenseman. O’Leary has eight goals and 17 assists for 25 points so far this season.
The Sea Dogs then added another young goaltender that has some potential in William Hardy-Murray. Hardy-Murray started the season in Espoir in Quebec and has since started playing in the midget AAA ranks for the Blizzard du Seminaire St Francoise. With the Blizzard he has put up quality statistics, including a goals against average of 2.54 and a save percentage of .906. Hardy-Murray certainly seems to be improving as the season moves along, which is certainly a positive sign.
Sam Leblanc was chosen in the 13th round by the Sea Dogs. Leblanc continues to attend Rothesay Netherwood School where he has 15 goals and 13 assists for 28 points in 38 games played.
The final player we’re taking a look at is 14th rounder William Aubry, who projects to be more of a checking line or energy type player. Aubry has four goals and eight assists for 12 points in 31 games with the Riverains of Charles Lemoyne.
Statistics as of Wednesday
Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation