Today, I wanted to highlight two different talents because I thought their story was interesting.
Namely that two seemingly unrelated talents on two different OHL squads found themselves in Olten, Switzerland to play ice hockey.
Olten is a little town of about 18,000 in the Swiss Mittelland that acts as a rail hub to the much bigger cities surrounding it, such as Bern, Lucerne, and Zurich. In spite of being as big as Plymouth, it sees thousands of international passengers a day because of the relative distance to those bigger cities. It is also the home of EHC Olten, the local hockey club in town with an 8000 seater arena, of which they regularly fill. EHC Olten is your prototypical small-town club; a second-tier league team with a smaller yet passionate fanbase that they’re in pretty regular contact with, to the point that they still regularly curate a fan-forum themselves that is active as of...yesterday, actually!
Why am I telling you all this? Because I want to tell you about Mason McTavish, and Brennan Othmann, two OHLers who needed a place to go for the year, and found themselves dawning Olten Green this year. And you know what? They both did pretty well, even though they were both tied for youngest player on the team by almost three years.
We start with McTavish, a player that honestly, the Bruins probably won’t get the chance to draft, but could be a choice if people start going off-board right away.
This Zurich-born Canadian was second in OHL rookie scoring in 2019 for the Peterborough Petes, and brought that 6’2 frame to Olten, where he distinguished himself with an absolute cannon of a shot. Seriously, McTavish’s shot is strong enough that even basic attempts seem to be attempting to go bar-down just from the sheer amount of power on them. But if you think he’s a pure scoring threat, you have yet to see this kid battle, because McTavish is a demon in front of the net, constantly jockeying for position and forcing the defense to combat him at every step, turning even routine chances into utter chaos when he’s at his best.
But while his offensive zone skills are impressive, it’s his consistency in the defensive end and skating that needs work. Sometimes he’s engaged and physical, and other times he can look like he’s going through the motions and not keeping up with the play. Further, his skating, while he can get up to speed quickly, his actual top speed is nothing to write home about. He also got a rude awakening on just how much space he had against grown men while playing in Olten, as he could sometimes get caught trying to get too cute in his cycling of the puck. Drafting him will mean trying to instill some sense of normalcy to his defensive play, as well as trying to eke some more skating speed out of him with the skating coaches.
And now, we move on to Brennan Othmann, Swiss-Canadian who played for the Flint Firebirds last year, racking up a respectable pile of points before also getting the chance to go play for Olten. Othmann is scheduled to be later down in the 1st round, if he manages to get picked in the first round at all, and part of that comes from a very...Jekyll-and-Hyde sort of player that Othmann sometimes presents himself as.
When he’s on, Brennan Othmann can look like an NHLer among children in even basic shifts. His shot is considered one of the best in the OHL, he’s seemingly got a knack for finding open holes in opposing defenses that he happily sets up shop in, and has some strong defensive instincts that he gets good use out of with his agile skating and strong frame. And he used all of those crafty talents to become the more productive player of the two, finishing with 16 points in 38 games.
...But when he’s off, Othmann looks every bit as young as he is. His puck-handling skill needs work as he’s often known to fumble passes, even basic ones, and his stickwork is simple at the very best of times, not exactly surprising that he had the least amount of success in the swiss league as a point-getter. His stride meanwhile has been killing his ability to gain speed: at best, it’s somewhat heavy, and at worst, it’s actively plodding, robbing him of speed that would turn him into a much more dangerous player otherwise.
Given between the two, I would believe that both are pretty good, but I think McTavish is probably the guy to get of the two, but I think Othmann could also make a name for himself if given the right opportunity and the careful development he needs. Both players got to have a trip of a lifetime before becoming NHL-bound, and if nothing else, worldly youngsters who’ve seen real pro action will be attractive to anybody looking to bolster their forward depth.
- 14th by EliteProspects’ Consolidated Ranking
- 5th by EliteProspects
- 15th by FC Hockey
- 21st by Neutral Zone
- 16th by McKeen’s Hockey
- 2nd by NHL Central Scouting among North American Skaters
- 9th by SportsNet
- 17th by Recruit Scouting
- 29th by Dobber Prospects
- 13th by Smaht Scouting
- 17th by The Puck Authority
- 11th by TSN (Bob McKenzie)
- 26th by EliteProspects’ Consolidated Ranking
- 21st by EliteProspects
- 17th by FC Hockey
- 27th by Neutral Zone
- 32nd by McKeen’s Hockey
- 8th by NHL Central Scouting among North American Skaters
- 31st by SportsNet
- 21st by Dobber Prospects
- 25th by SMAHT SCOUTING
- 25th by TSN/McKenzie
|Brennan Othmann||2018-19||Don Mills Flyers U16 AAA||GTHL U16||72||66||80||146||48|
|Canada Black U17||International||5||3||3||6||2|
|2020-21||EHC Olten||Swiss League||34||7||9||16||64|
|Mason McTavish||Year||Team||League||Games Played||Goals||Assists||Points||PIM|
|2017-18||Ottawa Valley Titans U15 AAA||HEO U15||30||49||34||83||40|
|Pembroke Lumber Kings U18 AAA||HEO U18||4||2||3||5||2|
|2018-19||Pembroke Lumber Kings U18 AAA||HEO U18||41||47||32||79||109|
|Pembroke Lumber Kings||CCHL||5||3||4||7||6|
|Canada White U17||International||6||2||1||3||8|
|2020-21||EHC Olten||Swiss League||13||9||2||11||6|