Dwayne Williams (@notsoheavyd) has joined Eyes On Isles as a contributor and his first work is featured tonight on these very pages for your reading pleasure.
Mr. Williams comes to us from ohlwriters.com, an excellent website that covers the entire Ontario Hockey League from top to bottom with outstanding writing and coverage.
His focus, of course, will be to feature Islander prospects within the system as most fans do not get the benefit of this kind of coverage from the mainstream media or even sites like ours on a consistent basis. We truly hope you enjoy the coverage that Mr. Williams could provide from a hardly covered league here in the United States.
His first profile is on defenseman Jesse Graham, a 5’11, 172 pound 19 year old from Oshawa. Graham was selected by New York in the 6th round (155 overall) of the 2012 NHL entry draft.
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Player Profile – Jesse Graham
Jesse Graham came in to the Ontario Hockey League with great expectations. He was drafted by the Niagara Icedogs in the first round as the overall number six pick. His fellow defenceman from Toronto’s Young Nationals squad – Luke Mercer – was also drafted by the Dogs as the very next pick in the OHL draft. Through their careers in St. Catharines they would both share the blue line with current NHL players Dougie Hamilton (Boston) and Jamie Oleksiak (Dallas). In many situations Graham and Mercer would be paired up against other teams’ #2 lines and most recently as the #1 shut down pair.
Jesse grew up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and states that his favorite player in his earlier days was the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Captain Mats Sundin. Unlike Mats, Jesse is not known for his size (5’11”, 172 pounds) – he is recognized for his exceptional skating and puck handling skills – especially on the powerplay. He has good vision from his defensive position and will ‘pick his spots’ when an offensive rush up the ice is appropriate.
He was at the draft in Pittsburgh when drafted in the sixth round by the Islanders – #155 overall in June 2012. ‘it was a huge honor for me and my family to be rewarded for all the hard work up to this point in my hockey career’. At training camp in August, he was very impressed with the skills of Matt Donovan. He was also excited to be on the ice with John Tavares – since he is Captain of the Isles and from Toronto, ON as well
At the start of the season Graham was appointed captain by Head Coach/GM Marty Williamson. Jesse commented that it was a ‘huge honor’ to be seen in a similar light as previous captains Ryan Stome (Bridgeport Sound Tigers – AHL, #1 in team scoring), Andrew Aggozzino (Lake Erie Monsters – AHL, 3rd in team scoring) and Alex Pietrangelo (St Louis Blues top Defenceman).
Recently Graham was traded to the Saginaw Spirit in the OHL for a wealth of draft picks for the young developing Niagara Icedogs. They received two second round picks, a third round pick and an additional second round pick if Jesse plays for Saginaw next season. For the Icedogs, he played 223 games and amassed 114 points and a +30 rating. He was also a member of the team when they played in the OHL Championships two seasons ago vs. the London Knights. In the first 3 games that he has played for his new Saginaw squad he has been used in all game situations and has 3 assists to his credit. You can find his detailed stats on the team website www.saginawspirit.com and the league site www.ontariohockeyleague.com
Dwayne Williams – Contributor (twitter – @notsoheavyd)
Look for future articles on other NYI draft picks Adam Pelech (D) and Mitchell Theoret (F).