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 North Bay Battalion

Opportunities in Store for New Recruits

April 15, 2015 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL)
North Bay Battalion News Release

NORTH BAY, Ont. - The North Bay Battalion hopes some of the 15 players it chose in the Ontario Hockey League's Priority Selection on Saturday can find a home on the roster next season.

The Battalion has 12 players born in 1994 or 1995 on the current roster and, with only three of them eligible to return, players tabbed in the 15-round event will have a chance to compete for a number of vacancies.

"We secured some players that have an opportunity to come in and have an immediate impact," Bob Wetick, Battalion director of scouting, said via telephone. "There are others who may be a year away but have an opportunity because of the number of players we may be losing. It all comes down to the work they put in over the summer."

The Battalion chose eight forwards, comprising two centres, three left wingers and three right wingers, five defencemen and two goaltenders. All but one of the players chosen was born in 1999.

The Troops' first-round pick was right-shot defenceman Brady Lyle, a North Bay native who played for the under-16 team, which won the United States championship, at Shattuck-St. Mary's, a private school in Faribault, Minn. Lyle, six feet and 176 pounds, produced 17 goals and 31 assists for 48 points in 55 games.

"There was a lot of knowledge about him," said Wetick. "The fact the U.S. nationals were held in Buffalo gave a lot of teams the opportunity to see him play. Shattuck dominated for the most part, and Brady was especially good in their game against Victory Honda when he had to log a lot more ice time in a game they won 2-1 after they lost a defenceman to injury. We may be losing three defencemen, and this was a case where we were trying to take the best player and in this case he was a defenceman from North Bay."

The Battalion didn't own a second-round pick and used its third-round choice on right winger Jacob Ball of the Peterborough Petes minor midgets. Ball, six-foot-three and 181 pounds, recorded 19 goals and 26 assists for 45 points in 36 games.

"He has the size we like," said Wetick. "He has good size and a tall and rangy build. He has good skating speed, and that should improve as he gets stronger. He has a good touch around the net and a wrist shot that can at times be overpowering. He has the opportunity to come in and make an impression."

The Battalion selected the first 17-year-old taken when they pegged left-shot centre Kyle Potts of the Oakville Blades midgets in the fifth round. Wetick said Potts was spotted by scout Dan McIlhone, who follows the midget ranks in Ontario, at the Ontario Minor Hockey Association championships at Whitby, Ont.

"He was added to the eligibility list late," said Wetick. "Once we realized he was eligible we did some homework and we were able to interview him. He has good size and is a smooth skater. He has a chance to come in and make an impression immediately."

In addition to Lyle, the Battalion chose three other players from Northern Ontario. The Troops took two players from the Sudbury Wolves minor midgets, left winger Bradley Chenier in the fourth round and centre Daniel Walker in the 10th, and defenceman Eric Allair of the North Bay Trappers midgets in the 13th.

"Chenier had a very solid season with a club that had to come down to Southern Ontario and play a lot of tournaments between September and January. He developed his game, as did Walker, who's growing into his body, and he'll probably get even bigger and stronger. Eric needs to get bigger and stronger. He's a stay-at-home defenceman."

The Battalion's two choices in goal were Mathew Woroniuk of the Don Mills Flyers minor midgets in the sixth round and Max Wright of the Waterloo Wolves minor midgets with its second pick in the ninth.

"Woroniuk was the starting goalie for a Don Mills team that was very successful," noted Wetick. "He was a bedrock for them. He's a big, rangy goalie who really fills the net. He can cover a large amount of the net even in the butterfly. He's quick post-to-post. We'd like to see him be more aggressive and challenge shooters at the top of his crease."

Wetick said Wright reminded him of Jake Smith, who has backstopped the Troops to 51 regular-season wins in two seasons in North Bay.

"Wright isn't the biggest goalie in the world, but he's a very steady, consistent performer. He's very unflappable in the net."

One of the club's more intriguing picks came in the seventh round when it chose right-shot defenceman Josh Maniscalco of the Shattuck-St. Mary's midgets. Wetick and regional scout Jason Day saw Maniscalco, a resident of Perkiomenville, Pa., at a Buffalo camp last July.

"I recall thinking he was the best defenceman at the camp," said Wetick. "He's a very good defenceman. He's solid and strong. He has a commitment to the United States National Team Development Program for two years and has indicated that after that he'd be interested in joining us if the situation appeals to him at that time. We'll wait and see because of the talent he has."

The other forwards the Battalion chose were Stefan Palatsidis, a right winger from the Whitby Wildcats minor midgets and left winger Kameron Shearer from the North Central Predators minor midgets, both pegged in the 12th round, right winger Andy Baker of North Central in the 14th and left winger Curtis Abbott of the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs minor midgets in the 15th.

"Palatsidis is a big, strong right winger and he gives us some depth there," said Wetick. "He's strong on the boards and on the puck. He has good puck skills and is good on the forecheck. Shearer had an abbreviated season because of injury. He's a really competitive kid. Baker had a good season scoring-wise. He's a little undersized but has good skill and speed. Abbott had a good season. His foot speed is a concern; he needs to develop that burst and find that extra gear. He has good skill."

The Battalion's two other choices on the blue line were Joseph Franzin, a right shot from Whitby with its first pick in the ninth, and Wade Brennan, a left shot from the Ottawa Senators minor midgets in the 11th.

"They're different types of defencemen. Franzin is very offensively minded and not as big as Brennan. He's a good skater who's good on the power play and can handle the puck. He needs some work in his own end. Brennan is a stay-at-home defenceman who's a physical, punishing hitter who's good along the boards and in the corners."

Six Battalion picks were among 126 players taken in the OHL Priority Selection who were named Tuesday to rosters for the 2015 OHL Gold Cup tournament to be held May 7-10 at Kitchener. Lyle, Chenier, Walker and Allair will play for the Northern Ontario Hockey Association, while Ball will play for OMHA Black and Franzin for OMHA White.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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