Future is “Finn”tasic in Frontland

For the
first time in recent memory, the Kingston Frontenacs used both of their Import
picks, in June’s Import Draft, to select promising players to add to their
2012-13 Roster.  Kingston chose Mikko
Vainonen, a 6’3”, 222 lb, left defenseman from Helsinki U20 team with their
first pick (6th overall).  He
was their 2nd leading scorer among defensemen. Vainonen was selected
by the Nashville Predators in the 4th round of the 2012 NHL
draft.  He brings size and leadership
abilities to the Fronts, as he wore an “A” with Helsinki, and the “C” with last
year’s U18 team which competed in the Ivan Hlinka tournament in the Czech
Republic.  With their second pick,
Kingston chose one of Vainonen’s teammates, from Finland’s U18 team, left
winger Henri Ikonen.  He is listed at 6’
and 190 lbs.  Henri was the second
leading scorer on his KalPa U20 team last season, with 17 goals and 28 assists
in 37 games.  Both players are expected
to be in Kingston a week prior to training camp, which begins on August 30th.

The 2012 OHL
Priority Selection could go down as the most successful draft ever for the
Frontenacs’ franchise.  Only time will
tell, of course.

With the 2nd
overall pick, Kingston selected Roland McKeown, a defenseman from the Toronto
Marlboros. Roland is described as "without a doubt the top d-man
available." He is described as an elite skater with excellent mobility and
agility, who loves to rush the puck. He quarterbacked the powerplay for the
Marlboros, something which Kingston will really appreciate down the road, as
their powerplay was close to last in the OHL most of the season. Roland has
good size, at 6'1 and 180 lbs, although he wasn't overly physical in Minor
Midget. He draws comparisons to Drew Doughty. Gilmour described McKeown as a
"right handed Scott Niedermayer." Roland actually visited Kingston
prior to Ryan Spooner's departure, as they share the same agent - Murray Kuntz.
McKeown set a goal to be drafted 2nd overall, and "couldn't be happier to
be here."

With the 9th
overall pick, Kingston selected Samuel Bennett, left winger, who was McKeown’s
teammate with the Marlboros. This pick was awarded to Kingston in compensation,
when Max Domi (who was chosen 8th overall in 2011) refused to report to the
Frontenacs for training camp last season. Sam was a linemate of first overall
pick, Connor McDavid. He was described as having elite puck skills, with a
quick release. He is a strong skater, with explosive speed, and can generate
offense off the rush. Even though he is listed at 5'10 and 160 lbs, he works
hard, and isn't afraid to go into the corners or stand in front of the net. He
was described as having a "great hockey IQ" and he reads the play
well. McKeown explained that Kingston will be impressed with Sam's "sniping
abilities." Sam is excited about joining his buddy in Kingston. Word is,
when Sam's usual #9 wasn't available when he joined the Marlboros, he chose
#93, in honour of Doug Gilmour. Expect him to continue to wear it in Kingston,
too.

With the 23rd
overall pick, the Fronts selected Dylan DiPerna. This pick was originally
Erie's, and was traded to Kingston in the Max Domi trade. Listed at 6'1 and 170
lbs, Dylan is described as a big, physical defenseman, with good offensive
potential. He is a strong skater, who likes to lead the rush, and makes good
decisions, when distributing the puck. Many feel Dylan has one of the hardest
shots in the draft, and he quarterbacked the powerplay on his team, as well. He
is strong positionally, and uses his body well to leverage opponents off the
puck.

Kingston had
the 24th pick, and chose Spencer Watson, who is one of the purest
goal scorers in the draft, with excellent hands. He scored 74 goals (most in
the province), and had 40 assists in 59 league games. He is 5'10 and 155 lbs,
and is a smooth skater. He is very elusive with the puck, has strong puck
handling skills, and is very difficult to defend one-on-one, as he possesses
very quick outside speed. Watson makes good decisions in all three zones of the
ice, but needs to improve his strength to win one on one battles in the OHL.

Expect all
four of these picks to make this year’s team and contribute.

To make room
for the two imports, Kingston released Petr Beranek, who played in 64 regular
season games for the Frontenacs last season, accumulating 12 goals and 23
assists. Kingston’s other import last season was goaltender, Igor Bobkov, who
will likely play in the American Hockey League this season.

To fill the
big void in the crease, the Frontenacs signed recently released Pete, Mike
Morrison.  Mike will play his overage
season in Kingston, and is projected to play the majority of the games. With a
young, inexperienced team, once again, especially on defense, he should see
“lots of rubber.”  Mike is looking to
“bounce back” after a difficult season in Peterborough.  General Manager Doug Gilmour describes
Morrison as a “quality starter and a quality person” who has played in the
league for 4 years. Mike believes he has something to prove, which should
motivate him to do well. Mike started his OHL career in Kitchener.

To make room
for recently drafted defensemen, Alex Gudbranson was traded to the Greyhounds
for three draft picks. 18 year old Adam Lloyd was recently dealt to the Oshawa
Generals for a 5th round pick in the 2015 OHL Priority
selection.  19 year old Jack Nevins was
dealt to the London Knights for a 9th rounder in 2014.  It’s a numbers game for Kingston, as the
beginning of Training Camp approaches.  Spencer
Green and David Mazurek are not expected to be back.

Expect Cody
Alcock to return for his overage season, as Kingston’s captain.  He was awarded the “C” after the Fronts
traded away Tyler Brown last season.

Kingston’s
second round pick in 2011, Mitchell Fitzmorris, is looking to crack the lineup
this year, after a wrist injury sidelined him for the majority of last season.

Once again,
Kingston Frontenacs fans will need a program this year.  The difference is that they are on the right
path, building around highly rated forward, Ryan Kujawinski, acquired last
season for Ryan Spooner.  Expect
Kujawinki’s name to be announced early in the 2013 NHL Entry draft, if he
continues to develop this year.  Other
forwards expected to return are Billy Jenkins, who developed good “chemistry”
with Kujawinski last year, after being acquired from Niagara in January.  Darcy Greenaway was Kingston’s leading scorer
last year and will be counted on to produce this year, as well.

Kingston have
recently signed two other draft picks, as well. 
The Fronts selected 1994 born Slater Doggett in the 12th
round of the 2012 Priority Selection. He played for the Burlington Cougars of
the OPJHL last season. Marc Beckstead was chosen in the 14th round
of the 2011 Priority Selection. He impressed the Fronts at last year’s camp,
and played in Cumberland (JrA), where he amassed 39 points in 57 games, as a 16
year old.

The real
question marks will be on the blue line. 
Kyler Nixon, Mike Moffat, Braydon Blight, Ryan Hutcheson and Warren
Steele will challenge for roster spots, although it is unlikely that all will
make the team.  Andrew Tessier has
decided to try the QMJHL.  

While there
are many question marks surrounding the 2012-13 Kingston Frontenacs, the future
is bright.