I finally had time to finish watching all 10 games at Hockey Canada’s U17 camp that finished last week. I was excited to see the WHL and QMJHL-based players for the first time. I had caught most of the OHL players already at the OHL Cup in March/April. Overall, the talent level at the camp was very impressive. In terms of regions, I really liked what I saw out of the WHL class but was left disappointed by the QMJHL class. I don’t pretend to know how to evaluate goalies properly, but Gabriel D’Aigle sure looks like a home run prospect. Other than that, the whole class seemed a little underwhelming in comparison to the OHL and WHL guys.
Most of these players are eligible for the 2024 NHL Entry Draft. However, I found many more players than usual had late birthdates and are actually elegible for the 2025 NHL Draft. That is in addition to exceptional status prospect Michael Misa, who was the only 2007-born player at this camp. All together, 2025 eligibles Michael Misa, Jordan Gavin, Malcolm Spence, Roger McQueen, Porter Martone, and Bill Zonnon were all top-10 picks in their respective regional drafts. Without further ado, here are twenty standouts I noticed from this brief summer camp.
Brandon Wheat Kings, 4th overall
6’3”, 170 lbs.
10/2/2006 (2025 NHL Draft)
McQueen was one of the best players at camp. His size, speed, hands, and vision make him projectable as an elite playmaker. He also isn’t afraid to dangle right through guys in his path. He can rifle the puck (with accuracy too). McQueen ended up finishing with 8 points in 4 games to lead all players at camp. From the looks of it, Brandon got a good one at 4th overall and the best part is, he is a 2025 draft eligible as a late 2006 date of birth, so he is actually younger than the majority of players out there. I see McQueen becoming a genuine star in the WHL and being a highly coveted NHL draft prospect in 2025.
Sarnia Sting, 5th overall
6’2”, 171 lbs.
10/26/2006 (2025 NHL Draft)
Another 2025 NHL draft eligible, Martone was impressive all camp long for Team White. A tall, versatile forward, Martone finished with 7 points, including 4 goals. He has great hands and a strong nose for the net. Not a speedy player but does nearly everything else well, including playing a rugged game that Sarnia will appreciate when he hits the OHL.
Winnipeg Ice, 18th overall
5’9”, 155 lbs.
11/19/2006 (2025 NHL Draft)
Woo came out flying in the first game, showcasing his fearless, high-energy style of play. Never afraid to take a risk or engage physically, Woo is a fun player to watch. He is quite small at 5’9” (I doubt it) but makes up for it with his skating and puck handling. Loves to have the puck on his stick and is able to move very effectively in all directions with the puck, making him elusive and difficult to catch.
Oshawa Generals, 14th overall
6’0”, 176 lbs.
2/6/2006 (2024 NHL Draft)
I really liked Danford’s upside at the OHL Cup but thought he needed to manage his risk better if he wanted to see solid minutes right away in the OHL. I was super impressed with his risk management in this camp. What was more impressive is that he and he didn’t have to sacrifice any of his puck moving/carrying ability to improve it. His defensive game was also very strong and he looked like a genuine threat on the powerplay as well. His skating and mind for the game really opens up the ice in favour for his team. Has some of the highest potential of any defenseman at this camp. Looking very forward to watching him with Oshawa next season.
Saginaw Spirit, 1st overall
5’9”, 157 lbs.
2/16/2007 (2025 NHL Draft)
Starting with an uncharacteristically poor game in the opener, Misa improved drastically as the games wore on. He started using his elite skating ability to open up the ice and create scoring chances. He was Team Gold’s best player by the last game. It’s hard not be enticed by Misa’s potential as a hockey player—the skating is elite, he has plenty of room to add strength (a major weakness for him currently), his hockey sense is off the charts, and his underrated two-way game, including faceoffs, is another area I really like. Misa usually always has the right idea when it comes to scoring chance creation. Sure, the execution could be a bit better, but that’s something we will see improve with Misa in his OHL Career. He may not have an incredible rookie season in the OHL but look for him to show high-end potential in year one and then breakout offensively in year two.
Niagara Ice Dogs, 25th overall
5’11”, 166 lbs.
4/30/2006 (2024 NHL Draft)
He was one of my favourite players at the OHL Cup and impressed me at the U17 camp once again. Constantly all over the ice and in your face, he is a play-driving force. He buzzes around with so much energy and is certainly a frustrating player to play against. Possesses the puck very effectively and has no fear of taking it to the inside of the ice. I can’t wait to watch He play for my local team next year, the Niagara Ice Dogs. I’m sure he will be a fan favourite.
Rouyn-Noranda, 20th overall
5’11”. 163 lbs.
11/25/2006 (2025 NHL Draft)
Carbonneau displayed excellent puck handling ability all camp long. He was able to establish himself as a a helpful offensive player early on. Yet another 2025 NHL Draft eligible, Carbonneau went in the 2nd round but from my perspective, was one of the top QMJHL-based forwards at this camp. Carbonneau will have no problem establishing himself in the QMJHL early on, as he can maintain control of the puck in addition to playing stronger than his weight.
Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, 1st overall
6’3”, 190 lbs.
Fresh off being the #1 pick in the QMJHL draft, Lavoie was just slightly underwhelming at the U17 camp by my expectations. The tools are absolutely there with Lavoie—I love how mobile and rangy he is as a 6’3” defenseman. He can move around the ice exceptionally well. I also like how poised he is on the ice, seemingly at all times. However, I found his execution of plays a little off. This doesn’t mean much in terms of his long-term outlook, but it does mean he may struggle to find his game in his QMJHL rookie season. I think he could add a little more intensity, strength, and ruggedness to his game without sacrificing poise. Overall, Lavoie is still an impressive package and it’s easy to see why he went #1 at the draft.
Seattle Thunderbirds, 1st overall (USA Draft)
5’11”, 185 lbs.
6/13/2006 (2024 NHL Draft)
I had never seen Celebrini play before this camp, and about two minutes into the first game I was blown away. Not only does he have speed, but he also has the ability to process the game at a high speed, a strong work ethic, a good shot, excellent vision, and elite puck control. He dominated the first game and while he maintained a high level of play throughout camp, the first game was by far his best. It’s early, but Celebrini looks like a candidate for #1 overall in 2024. He reminds me of Nathan MacKinnon with how he plays at full speed without sacrificing any control or vision, which happens to many fast players. I see Celebrini as an instant impact player when he goes to play for Chicago in the USHL next season.
Oshawa Generals, 8th overall
5’11”, 155 lbs.
1/28/2006 (2024 NHL Draft)
Sennecke looks poised to have a great rookie season in the OHL. Alongside Celebrini, he was incredibly dangerous for Team Red at this camp. Sennecke has excellent offensive instincts that will work at higher levels. He also doesn’t have rely on physical abilities to create offense. Sennecke consistently makes high IQ plays that lead to scoring chances, controls the puck with poise, and can move the puck quickly. He continued his stellar play at the OHL Cup right into this summer camp and to me, already looks like a steal for Oshawa at 8th overall. I predict a very high-scoring junior career for Sennecke.
Baie-Comeau Drakkar, 4th overall
5’6”, 183 lbs.
4/9/2006 (2024 NHL Draft)
The small winger and younger brother of Flames prospect Jeremie Poirier, Justin Poirier is a dynamic goal scoring winger who went 4th overall in the recent QMJHL draft. He demonstrated his elite shot early with an awesome wrister to open the scoring in the first game. While he missed a game, he came back and played well in Team Red’s final game. Poirier loves to shoot the puck but he is also an agile player who can deploy the 10-2 stride to maneuver his way around the offensive zone. Can facilitate offense outside of just shooting with his strong hockey sense.
Saginaw Spirit, 19th overall
5’10”, 156 lbs.
2/15/2006 (2024 NHL Draft)
Perhaps the most consistently impressive player in the entire camp. I had seen Parekh at the OHL Cup and while he was named a tournament all star there, I wasn’t completely sold on his game. Here, Parekh changed my opinion completely. His breakout and offensive reads were near perfect, his puck control was excellent, and he played well in his own zone. He looked untouchable whenever he had the puck—calm, collected and always keeping his feet moving. On top of being elite in transition, Parekh was a force in the offensive zone, making crisp, accurate passes that kept defenders guessing. Needs to add about thirty pounds, but Parekh is a name to watch over the next couple years.
Erie Otters, 2nd overall
6’0”, 175 lbs.
9/22/2006 (2025 NHL Draft)
Spence plays a hard-nosed, fast-paced game that will allow him to be effective immediately in the OHL. He is a player who can create a large volume of scoring chances through his speed and ability to control the puck. Has the versatility of being both a shooter and a playmaker and can contribute defensively as well. While Spence’s execution and finishing could have been mildly better in this camp, I expect to him to be a fantastic OHLer over the next three years and a very high pick in the 2025 NHL Entry Draft.
Spokane Chiefs, 1st overall
5’11”, 155 lbs.
1/14/2006 (2024 NHL Draft)
The WHL’s first overall pick was briefly injured in this camp but played well both before and after injury. Catton’s primary attack style is that of a playmaker but he also has a very accurate shot that he used to score three goals here. I think Catton has what it takes to produce offense at the WHL level– he is very quick and sees the ice incredibly well. Not the biggest or most physical guy, but one who loves to possess the puck and look for the high danger opportunities.
Prince Albert Raiders, 14th overall
5’9”, 140 lbs.
8/3/2006 (2024 NHL Draft)
Ritchie might be on the smaller side at 5’9″ and 140 lbs., but he was exceptional in this brief U17 camp. He scored a couple awesome goals here by cutting into the interior of the offensive zone and letting an accurate wrister go. As seen with those goals, Ritchie is not afraid to take the middle of the ice for his size. He also handles the puck very well and doesn’t try to overcomplicate puck movement offensively. Overall, he is a slick, smart offensive player who will be fun to watch in the WHL.
Niagara Ice Dogs, 4th overall
6’2”, 190 lbs.
6/1/2006 (2024 NHL Draft)
I got the same impression of Dickinson here as I did at the OHL Cup—he is very OHL ready. Out of any defenseman at this camp, Dickinson is currently the best player. His defensive game stands out due to his work ethic, effortless positioning, and strength. At 6’2″ and 190 lbs., Dickinson dominates physically versus his peers. He is usually always first to the puck and makes very quick decisions once he gets it. There were countless times this camp where Dickinson made an exceptional defensive play due to pure effort in the backcheck. He isn’t an elite skater or gamebreaking offensive talent, but Dickinson is a very steady defenseman who will see big minutes wherever he plays in 2022-23.
Ottawa 67’s, 7th overall
5’11”, 175 lbs.
3/9/2006 (2024 NHL Draft)
Far and away the top offensive defenseman in April’s priority selection. One of the most fun players to watch of any in this class, Mews uses his mobility and vision to create offense all over the ice— it is seemingly his main goal. His breakout passes are crisp and accurate and his offensive zone passing leads to scoring chances. His skating is incredible and he moves so effortlessly and with so much poise when he has the puck. Like any young, offensive defenseman, risk management will be the key to Mews’ success, in addition to developing a consistent, sound defensive game.
Lethbridge Hurricanes, 10th overall
5’11”, 169 lbs.
3/8/2006 (2024 NHL Draft)
Miguel Marques oozes upside with his high-end skating ability, soft hands, and exceptional vision. He made numerous passes that allude to his potential as a playmaker in the WHL, and hopefully the NHL. Lethbridge must be ecstatic to have drafted him at 10th overall. I think Marques will be an electrifying player in the WHL– he just needs to add some strength and put his skill to more effective use.
Guelph Storm, 12th overall
5’10”, 159 lbs.
8/21/2006 (2024 NHL Draft)
Luchanko was one of my favourite players at the OHL Cup and once again he excelled at this camp. Luchanko likes to be all over the ice, getting involved in any capacity he can. He works hard off the puck and disrupts opponents frequently with his puck hound mentality. With the puck, he is a very intelligent player who has no qualms about driving to the net or working his way to the interior of the ice. An underrated playmaker as well, Luchanko will adjust fluidly to the OHL this season.
Saginaw Spirit, 24th overall
6’0”, 152 lbs.
2/9/2006 (2024 NHL Draft)
I was a little surprised Stewart fell to round two at the priority selection in April. Stewart is a smart centre who skates really well. He plays in the inside of the ice, works hard, and delivers results all over the ice. He didn’t end up on the scoresheet at all but he looks like a player I will really like in the OHL– I’m looking forward to seeing how he develops over the next two years.
Thanks for reading! I will be back with another post next week with some thoughts on the U18 camp, including the standouts and how the Hlinka Gretzky Cup roster is shaping up.