4 Boston Bruins Prospects Dominating in the OHL Right Now
Over the past three drafts, the Boston Bruins have selected nine players from the Ontario Hockey League, beginning with Tyler Seguin.
Their diligent scouting in the region looks set to pay major dividends in the near future.
While OHL alumni like Seguin, Ryan Spooner and Alexander Khokhlachev have moved up the ladder, a handful of Boston's best young prospects are thriving in Ontario.
In response to their strong seasons, four future Bruins were recently selected to compete on Team OHL in the Subway Super Series against a team of young Russian stars, including first-overall pick Nail Yakupov and the aforementioned Khokhlachev.
Impressive performances from all four have them contending for prestigious shots to represent Canada at the World Junior Championships.
Anthony Camara, Seth Griffith, Malcolm Subban and Dougie Hamilton are making names for themselves and putting up big-time numbers.
Here is a look at how they are faring in the OHL this season.
Team: Barrie Colts
Age: 19 years old
Drafted: 3rd Round, 81st Overall, 2011
Anthony Camara has made a startling improvement in his fourth OHL season.
Camara began the season red hot, scoring nine goals in his first 10 games. Although his production has slowed some in recent weeks, he has displayed offensive upside that few thought he had.
As of November 15, he is tied for 10th in the league's goal-scoring table with 14 goals. His 27 points through 20 games are just six fewer than he mustered all of last season.
He has nine points so far in just five November games, proving that his early-season strike-rate was no fluke.
On draft day in 2011, Camara was viewed as a little more than a big body. His physical play is noteworthy, but he has since proved that he is by no means a one-dimensional player
His offensive surge now has him being compared to a young Milan Lucic rather than to pure pugilists like Shawn Thornton.
Camara has been among the OHL's hardest hitters for several years and has now become one of the league's most lethal offensive threats.
If he continues to develop offensively, the winger could become a top-six forward at the NHL level.
Team: London Knights
Age: 19 years old
Drafted: 5th Round, 131st Overall, 2012
Seth Griffith became a prolific scorer in the OHL last season as a member of the London Knights. He currently ranks ninth in the league in points with 31, just behind Montreal first-rounder Alex Galchenyuk.
Last season, Griffith put up 85 points in 68 games, which earned him another ninth-place ranking. Although his position among the league leaders has not changed, he is on pace for a much bigger season.
If he plays a full 68 games at his current rate of 1.55 points per game, he projects to notch 105 points.
He is a small, underrated player, but he brings a superb hockey sense to the rink. Griffith has 10 points in just six games since the start of November, including eight assists.
Despite his exceptional performance on the ice, Griffith was passed over in the 2012 draft until Boston took a chance on him in Round 5.
He plays with a chip on his shoulder, and he will be dead set to prove all of his doubters wrong.
The competitive Griffith led the Knights to an OHL title last season, finishing fourth in playoff points, and he is a definite sleeper-pick to become an NHL star.
Team: Belleville Bulls
Age: 18 years old
Drafted: 1st Round, 24th Overall, 2012
Malcolm Subban has not disappointed as Boston's brand new top goaltending prospect.
Though Subban will not be expected to play for the Bruins anytime in the next few years, he may have different plans.
The younger brother of Montreal's P.K. Subban, Malcolm has been arguably the best goaltender in the OHL thus far. He ranks second in the league in both goals-against average (2.16) and save percentage (.933), trailing only Anaheim Ducks' prospect John Gibson.
Subban's 9-4-3 record has carried his team to first place in the East Division through 20 games.
On November 8, Subban started in net for team OHL in the Subway Super Series against Team Russia. He pitched a shutout for 32 minutes before Jordan Binnington came on in relief.
His performance furthered his campaign to be named Canada's starter at the World Junior Championships, and TSN's Ray Ferraro recently speculated via Twitter that Subban is the favorite to anchor the Canadian squad.
The goaltender has a .940 save percentage in the month of November, suggesting that he is only heating up.
Subban's superb play in net should push him up through the ranks rapidly over the next few seasons.
Team: Niagara Ice Dogs
Age: 19 years old
Drafted: 1st Round, 9th Overall, 2012
As the Bruins' number one prospect, Dougie Hamilton was expected to be patrolling an NHL blue line this fall until the lockout sent him back to Niagara for another year.
Hamilton was already a man amongst boys last year, winning the Max Kaminsky Trophy as the OHL's best defenseman. The prestigious award has been previously won by NHL stars Drew Doughty, Brian Campbell and Chris Pronger.
Hamilton's unbelievable 2011-12 campaign saw him lead all defenseman with 72 points.
Even more impressive, he had 12 more points than second-place finisher Cody Ceci, while playing in 14 fewer games than the Ottawa Senators' 2012 first-round pick.
Hamilton is the OHL's top-scoring defenseman once again this year with 28 points in 22 games, ranking him 13th among all skaters.
He is averaging an assist per game and has the fourth-most helpers in the league.
The future Bruin has taken his game to another level in the month of November. Before the start of the month, he had just 12 points in 16 games. In just six games this month, he has nearly matched that total with 11 assists.
That total does not include the assist he provided to Canucks prospect Frankie Corrado for the game-winner in Game 4 of the Canadian Hockey League Subway Super Series.
With all the offense he provides, it can be easy to overlook Hamilton's improving defensive play. He has added a tremendous amount of size since being drafted and now weighs in at over 200 pounds.
The 6'5" defender packs a serious punch and makes a major contribution in his own zone.
Hamilton has a plus-23 rating so far this season, which ranks third in the league and stands as a testament to his superb all-around game.
He will be a favorite to compete for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year when the NHL reopens for business.