By Fred Wallace
Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".
The 2020 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection is set for Saturday with the North Bay Battalion holding the 1st pick overall and the Owen Sound Attack eventually picking with the # 10 selection.
I'm sure all 20 OHL member teams will tell you there's pressure to have a good to great draft, but I'll suggest that the need in Owen Sound and for the Attack is more significant than it's been in quite some time.
The trend for Owen Sound, not coincidentally, in both the standings and drafting success is downward.
Owen Sound has drifted from 3rd to 6th to 7th in a 3 year span in the Western Conference.
Running parallel to that dip in the standings is a slide in drafting and/or development.
From 2016 to this season, a period of 4 drafts, 16 players made it to Owen Sound.
On the surface, that number seems decent.
However, 2 of those 16 players were " one & done ", never to be seen again in the OHL. Plus 5 others were dealt, one of those has been dealt twice, therefore the aggregate number of Attack draft survivors over the past 4 drafts is......... 9, or an average of 2.25 per draft.
Among the discouraging elements of this trend is that the 4 divisional rivals of the Attack; Erie, Guelph, Kitchener & London have drafted and dressed 22, 24, 22 & 22 players respectively over that same period.
Again, not everyone selected by the Otters, Storm, Rangers and Knights is still there, but I like their numbers better than Owen Sound's ( MORE is better, right ? ).
Most concerning, I'd think, for the Attack is the 2018 draft that produced just 2 players who were, with the Attack at the cancellation of the regular season this year; defender Nolan Seed & netminder Nick Chenard.
Again, by comparison, Guelph and London both managed to get 8 players apiece from that draft into their organizations.
With the bulk of the 2018 drafted players being 18 year olds going into next season, that indicates to me, Owen Sound will start in arrears of their divisional rivals, teams they play 28 times per season in a normal season.
We can get into all kinds of semantic discussions about the value of players acquired via trade, free agent signings, or even the concept of ' addition by subtraction ', but to a simple man, which I most certainly am, the need for an above average haul in the OHL Priority Selection on Saturday is key for the Owen Sound Attack.
I'm Fred Wallace