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07-02-2013, 09:51 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: New York, NY
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Brock's Most Impressive 1996 Born Players (OHL):
1. Aaron Ekblad - Barrie Colts
A beast, plain and simple. Ekblad was the best defenseman on one of the top teams in the league this year. He's also been fantastic so far in the playoffs, especially since Barrie has been missing captain Ryan O'Connor due to suspension. He took massive steps forward this year as a defensive player. Most of that was due to the fact that he became more physical and much more difficult to play against. Because of his size, reach, physicality, and agility, Ekblad is one of the toughest defenders to beat one on one in the league. Offensively, I felt like his breakout pass and ability to start the rush improved this year, as did his confidence on the point on the powerplay. The sky is the limit for this young man.
2. Blake Clarke - Brampton Battalion
I was so impressed with Clarke this year. Big guy, but massive offensive potential. He's got terrific hands and can really carry the puck. Is definitely most dangerous off the rush where his size, skating ability, and skill with the puck make him incredibly difficult to contain. I actually was really impressed with his vision and ability to create for his linemates. Not just a, "put the head down and drive to the net" kind of forward. He uses that size to get close and the playmaking ability to find open teammates. Could be a real total package offensive player. Best of all, as the season went on, Clarke became more confident in throwing the body around and showed signs of becoming a physical player. I hope that continues to grow.
3. Sam Bennett - Kingston Frontenacs
Bennett is an incredibly entertaining player to watch. He's one of those high energy guys who always seems to be involved in the play. He's actually got some real pest like qualities to him. He's quite physical and is very involved on the forecheck and in the corners. He and Henri Ikonen did great to work the cycle this year. He may not be big, but Bennett is very slippery and OHL defenseman had a tough time containing him on most nights. I also really liked the way Bennett created offense off the rush. He's got really underrated skill with the puck and made many a defenseman whiff this season. With added strength this offseason, I can't wait to see him play next year (and I hope he sticks with the Under 18 team currently).

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