Selection provided much-needed heart, size: Wolves

By: Scott Haddow – Straight Up Sports

 | Apr 09, 2014 - 11:56 AM |
Michael Pezzetta, the Sudbury Wolves' top pick in last Saturday's OHL Priority Selection, has the size, strength and work ethic the team says it desperately needs. Supplied

Michael Pezzetta, the Sudbury Wolves' top pick in last Saturday's OHL Priority Selection, has the size, strength and work ethic the team says it desperately needs. Supplied

Pack looks ahead to next season

Sudbury Wolves 2014 first-round draft choice Michael Pezzetta is coming into the league at 200 pounds and he plans on using every ounce to make an impact as a rookie.

Pezzetta makes no apologies for the way he plays the game. He comes at his foes with ferocity and physical play. He wants the puck more than anything and will squeeze out every drop of energy he has to get it.

“It’s an inside fire I have,” the 16-year-old said. “I want the puck. I want it on my stick and I’m going to do whatever it takes to get the puck. I’m going to get it and see what I can do with it.”

Pezzetta played for the Mississauga Senators AAA minor midget team in 2013-14, putting up 11 goals, 26 points and 32 penalty minutes in 29 games. His family was the biggest influence in his life and in hockey. Pezzetta’s older brother, Stefano, played in the league before, and his parents instilled in him a strong work ethic.

“I was raised to work hard to have success,” Pezzetta said. “I go out and work my tail off. I don’t want any regrets. I’m mature and responsible. It is from my family and my upbringing.”

Pezzetta has been to Sudbury twice, when he was younger, to compete in the Big Nickel Hockey Tournament. He knows he is coming to a town with fans who love Major Junior hockey.

“I was excited to be drafted by Sudbury,” he said. “I know the fans are good to the players. I looked into Sudbury more now, and it is a bigger city than I thought. I am looking forward to coming up there and playing hockey.”

Sudbury Wolves head scout Andrew Shaw saw Pezzetta 15 times this season. There was never a time when he had any doubts he was the player the Sudbury Wolves needed. The only doubt Shaw had was whether Pezzetta would be still available when the Wolves picked 11th overall. Pezzetta was and there was no hesitation from the Sudbury staff to take him.

“His consistency stood out,” Shaw said. “He is a gamer and takes no shift off. He is a punishing hitter. He is strong when it comes to physical play. We had him rated sixth on our list. It was an easy decision to take him.”

Shaw projects Pezzetta will make an impact in the OHL next season.

“He will contribute,” Shaw said. “He is a hard-working kid. He will put up some points. He will give strong, two-way physical play. He was one of the most ready-to-play players in the draft. He will not look like a rookie.”

In the third and fourth round, Sudbury selected defenceman Trenton Bourque (51st overall) and forward Brady Pataki (65th overall). Bourque is a 6-1, 176-pound defender who played for the Hamilton Bulldogs minor midget team in 2013-14.

He recorded two goals, 21 points and 44 penalty minutes in 40 games. Pataki is a hulking power forward at more than 6-1-and 221 pounds, who played for the Chatham Cyclones minor midget team in 2013-14. Pataki had five goals and 13 points in 31 regular season games before busting out with 13 goals and 16 points in 18 playoff games.

“Bourque can step in right away because of his intelligence,” Shaw said. “He is skilled and mobile and poised. He reads the ice well.

“Pataki is solid from head-to-toe. He is a strong skater and physical, but doesn’t take a lot of penalties. He is a hard guy to play against and I think fans will like him because he plays every shift hard.”

Shaw would have liked to add more Northern Ontario flavour to the team, and only drafted Sudbury’s Ryan Mooney from the local area when the dust settled on draft day.

“Mooney is a great skater and works hard and battles hard,” Shaw said.

Shaw felt content with the latest crop of prospects for the future.

“We added size and intensity this year and we came up balanced,” Shaw said. “At least 10 players from this draft will play in the organization when it is all said and done.”

Sudbury president and GM Blaine Smith and the scouting staff had one priority at this year’s draft and it was to get players with size, edge, and physical play.

“We called it a gritty draft,” Smith said. “We were looking for players who raise their game when it matters the most. Our scouts saw more than 1,500 games. We were all on the same page and everyone is excited about the players we were able to draft. "

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