Bulldogs at 11: Connor McMichael
The Hamilton Bulldogs have selected Connor McMichael, captain of the Ajax-Pickering Raiders (ETAMMHL) with the eleventh pick in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection. McMichael is a 5’10”, 160 lbs, should help to solidify the Bulldogs offensive output in the next four seasons thanks to his eagerness to have and shoot the puck.
Hamilton is bucking the trend of taking large players, but continue to heavily value leadership from their draft selections. McMichael creates offense thanks to a high degree of hockey sense and skill. He’s been praised for being very vocal on the ice, and is able play gritty along the boards. Has an impressive skill set who pretty much has all of the tools you expect of a first round pick between skating and stick skills.
OHL Central Scouting – “Connor is one of the top players in this year’s class. He is a skilled centre that is dangerous every time he is on the ice. He is deceivingly quick and has very good separation speed. His pucks skills are elite and he has great one-on-one moves. Connor is a threat whenever he has the puck on his stick. He sees the ice better than most do at this age and has the ability to find the open man and put the puck in a position for that player to get a good chance.” (Source)
TheScout.ca Draft Guide – “He’s a player who shows flashes of brilliance from time to time but all too often, we’ve been left wanting a more sustained impact. For teams selecting in the backend of the first round or early second, McMichael will bring a lot of value as he does offer two-way smarts and impact. A player who excels in defensive situations yet owns the skill and creativity to create offense as well. If he can Improve his urgency, he has another level to hit”. (Source)
Matt Baraba – TheScout.ca – “His game breaking abilities and outstanding puck control has had scouts raving about him all season. May be one of the most elite penalty killers, especially at catching defenders off guard chasing back for the puck and stealing it before they even know he is there. His quick stick and impressive eye hand coordination makes him a threat all over the ice and possibly the best two way players in the draft this year. Though I speak so highly of his defensive upside, Connor is a weapon in the offensive zone from being a playmaker on the power play to sniping from the slot with his deadly accuracy. Such a smooth and elegant skater, he glides around the ice always looking to intercept passes and seems to be a play ahead of everyone on the ice with such awareness. Being such an all around talent has allowed him to play in every situation that his coaches throw at him and he excels a majority of the time when called upon. Having the looks of a player that is ready for the next level, he may just need to pack on a few pounds to be ready to play against the bigger boys and hold his own in the rough areas on the ice. Too go along with his exceptional skating abilities he also displays next level puck control as he can turn defenders inside out at a snap of the fingers”. (Source)
HockeyProspect.com “McMichael is an intelligent, two-way forward with elite skill and a strong compete level. McMichael possesses the versatility and smarts to play in all situations and has the skill level to be an effective presence in all situations. McMichael possesses excellent versatility offensively, thriving as both a playmaker and goal scorer with the natural ability to make those around him better. McMichael plays with good pace to his game and generates a quality top speed. McMicahel’s skating is his one area where he can improve, however he showed on countless occasions an ability to reach a second gear which allowed him to create separation from checks and/or beat opponents to loose pucks. McMichael is an extremely good forechecker as he can create turnovers both aggressively or passively utilizing strong anticipation skills. However McMichael’s quick stick is his best tool on the forecheck, quickly stripping oppositions of possession before turning the change of possession into an offensive opportunity.”