The excellent OHL Prospects is counting down the league's top 50 draft-eligible players and, by process of elimination, the Kingston Frontenacs centre and blog beejo is in the Top 10. Werek was the eighth OHLer and 32nd skater overall in the final NHL Central Scouting rankings. Astute readers will note that Werek chose the Frontenacs over college hockey at Boston University to help his draft status and he's only two spots ahead of a forward named Alex Chaisson who has chosen college hockey at Boston University.
(Update: Werek is ranked fifth among OHLers. He is 26th on the International Scouting Service list, so first round is a possibility.)
Here's what the site had to say, in part, about the Ethanator:
"Why the concerns about his offensive potential? In Stouffville Junior A last year, he outscored Corey Trivino, being a year younger, and all that was heard about Trivino last year was the offensive potential he had. This just in though, Werek can play, and play well. Scoring 32 goals on that Kingston team this year is quite impressive, considering how terrible they were. Even more impressive was his consistent effort throughout the entire season, continuing to improve as the season went along and he got more comfortable. Look at how he finished the season, 6 goals, 7 assists in the 8 games of March. Werek is just a solid player. He skates hard, forechecks and is developing into a very effective puck possession player. He has good hands and can from time to time, flash some serious stickhandling ability, especially in driving to the net, which he did with increasing authority as the season went along. He backchecks, he takes the body, and he's slowly developing into a power forward. He's also an incredibly intelligent player, who knows where to be on the ice."For anyone wondering, the OHL has had at least 10 players taken in the first two rounds of every NHL draft held in the past 10 years, so that bodes well for Werek's chances. On average, the 10th OHL player selected goes about 46th overall, so keep that in mind for wagering purposes (actually, if you're betting on the NHL draft, you probably should seek help).
Anyway, the best to Werek, who became a beejo of this site early last season. It only seemed sporting to cheer for him after this site got great mileage out of his holdout in 2007-08 and the Frontenacs dumb-lucked into him. That went double when both Larry Mavety and Doug Gilmour would pull stunts like using a defenceman in a shootout instead of him, and such. It was clear early on that he'd be something once he adapted to the pace and physicality of the OHL. It also exacerbated the jock-sniffing once it was publicized that he was attending Queen's University.
Frontenacs defenceman Taylor Doherty is 15th on OHL Prospects' list, which confirms what observers such as Tim Cunningham of TVCogeco said all season:
"There is no denying that Doherty had a very disappointing season. He was talked about as a potential mid first rounder, and now could be lucky to see himself go in the mid 2nd round. However there are still things to like about him. For one, he's 6'8, 218lbs. For two, he has solid puck skills and shows great skating ability moving forward in carrying the puck up the ice. For three, he's not afraid to take the body and use his size to his advantage. Now for the downside. For one, while he's a solid straight away skater, his lateral and backwards mobility needs work, especially for him to develop into an effective two way defender. For two, he also needs to work on his defensive zone coverage. At times he becomes over aggressive and loses his man, leading to scoring opportunities. For three, his hockey sense at the offensive end has come into question and leads some to believe those offensive stats will never come. So that's three strikes for, three strikes against. He's a project, there is no denying it, but there is enough to like that suggests with solid coaching and an attitude directed towards improvement (where the draft interviews come in handy), he can develop into an NHL defender."