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The 14th overall pick in the 2013 OHL Draft, Mitchell Vande Sompel is the top offensive defenceman for the Oshawa Generals, who now sit just one win away from a trip to the Memorial Cup. Following up on a campaign where he was named to the OHL All Rookie Team, Vande Sompel put up 12 goals and 63 points in 58 games during his sophomore season. He’s added 5 goals and 14 points in 20 games as he continues to help the Generals make their push for a trip to Quebec City. Vande Sompel represented Canada at last summer’s Ivan Hlinka tournament, scoring one goal and one assist in four games, and bringing home a gold medal. He also played for Team OHL in both games against Russia in the Subway Super Series, picking up an assist in the process. He’s played a few games at forward in his rookie OHL season, but the majority of time was on defence. He is still used at forward on the Generals penalty kill this past year.
Mitchell Vande Sompel
Defense — shoots Left
Born Feb 11 1997 — London, ONT
Height 5.10 — Weight 182 [178 cm/83 kg]
A classic puck moving defenceman, Mitchell Vande Sompel is an excellent skater, amongst the best skating defencemen in this draft. He has outstanding speed in both directions, and excellent acceleration. He adds strong edge-work and agility which allows him to slip by defenders when he rushes the puck up the ice, get back quickly when he is deep in the offensive zone, as well as keep forwards in front of him and force them to the outside when defending against the rush. Vande Sompel also has very balance and is strong on his skates and tough to knock off the puck. While he is undersized, his balance helps him in board battles and in front of the net. While he could add even more muscle and get better at this, and his size is always going to be a problem against bigger forwards, his balance helps him to still do a decent job in this area.
Mitchell Vande Sompel is a good passer, with excellent vision. He has good hockey IQ and makes smart plays with his breakout pass, and on the powerplay. He is also a very good stickhandler who can lead the rush, skate the puck out of danger in the defensive zone, or can play with poise on the blue line and be a real quarterback on the powerplay. His agility allows him to walk the line and open up passing and shooting lanes. Vande-Sompel also has a good slapshot and wrist shot with an excellent release. He understands the importance of keeping his shot low, making sure he gets it through to the net, and generating tip-in and rebound opportunities for the talented Generals forwards.
At 5’10, Mitchell Vande Sompel is a little undersized and has issues with bigger forwards in his own zone. He can be overpowered when defending against the cycle game and trying to defend bigger players down low. While his base is strong and powerful, he needs to add upper body strength. However, his hockey sense and anticipation are very good which allows him to cut down passing lanes. A quick stick allows Vande Sompel to steal the puck from opponents and to cut down on passing lanes. He also has very good positioning. Vande Sompel has even played forward on the Generals penalty kill, using his skating, hockey sense, and quick stick to play a defensive role in a whole new position.
If Vande Sompel was two or three inches taller, I would rank him as a sure first round pick, however that size can be a detriment to defencemen at the NHL level and raises some question marks. If he can overcome it, he has the potential to be a solid second pairing defenceman who adds offence from the back end and can be a major weapon on the powerplay. Vande Sompel’s game is similar to former Devils and Red Wings defenceman Brian Rafalski, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on talent.
Below are some highlight videos of Mitchell Vande Sompel in Action.
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