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2011 Draft Prospect- Daniel Catenacci, C, 5’9, 180, Sault St. Marie



Daniel Catenacci, C, 5’9, 180, Sault St. Marie

Drafted 1st overall in the 2009 OHL Draft

65 games, 26 goals, 45 assists 71 points, -3 +/-, 113 pim

By Ian Esplen

Some will say Daniel Catenacci has been a disappointment so far in his OHL career. That is what happens when you go 1st overall in the draft, and fail to live up to the standards that Stamkos and Tavares have set for going 1st. Catenacci is a different type of player then those two, and should not be labeled a disappointment, in any sense of the word. His will to win at all cost, might be higher then anyone in this draft class. He is likely the best skater in the draft, an outstanding leader both on and off the ice, and he might be the best all around player in the draft.

Catenacci spent the first few years of his life growing up in Italy, where his Father played Pro hockey. "It was funny to see him skate at 2, when he could hardly walk," says Maurice Catenacci. "I would bring him on the ice. He would fall, cry and wouldn't let me pick him up. He just wanted to skate." It was that will to succeed, that turned Daniel into the elite skater he is, and helped him dominate minor hockey with the York Simcoe Express, scoring 87 points in 39 games, while racking up over 100 penalty minutes.

While playing with the York Simcoe Express, he would be voted most valuable forward at the all-Ontario AAA bantam championships, and awarded the most valuable player honour at a tournament in the Czech Republic.

All the hard work paid off for Catenacci and he went number one overall in the OHL draft in 2009, to the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds. When asked how he felt about going to Sault St. Marie, a city that has had players demand trades after being drafted (Lindros, Mayer). Catenacci had this to say, “Choosing where you’re drafted isn’t right, wherever you’re selected, you’re selected. You’ve got to go somewhere to get to the next level. It doesn’t matter if it’s five minutes from home, you have to play hockey somewhere.”

Catenacci’s first year with the Greyhounds was a little up and down. He managed only 30 points in 65 games. Despite his lack of offence, he was very strong in his own end and on faceoffs. From time to time he even found regular ice-time on the Greyhounds power play and penalty kill

His strong play during his first Ontario Hockey League season, earned him a spot on team Ontario, for the 2010 World under 17 challenge. At the tournament, Daniel played the fearless brand on hockey he is rapidly becoming known for. He finished every hit he had a chance, and despite being one of the smaller players he had some of the biggest hits in the tournament. He ended up posting 5 points in 6 games in helping team Ontario to a silver medal.

His strong play for Team Ontario earned him an invite to Team Canada’s Under 18 Summer camp. At that camp, Catenacci earned a spot on the team by showing he had all the little things coaches look for. He was the best skater in camp, using his speed to create all kinds of turnovers. Again, despite his size, he hit everyone he could and showed no fear of players he was giving up 30-40 pounds on, not only knocking them off the puck but off their skates. He was also the best face off player at camp, and displayed a ton of character and work ethic. At the Hlinka tournament, Catenacci played with the edge he is becoming known for, and finished second on the team in penalty minutes, and tied for 4th in points.

This season started with Catenacci trying to improve on last year. “I put a lot of pressure on myself last year to perform well,” Catenacci said, “and I think it messed up my head a bit mentally. I let the pressure get to me.” So far this year the pleasure has not gotten to him. He has been one of the most complete players for the Greyhounds. He often leads the teams forwards in minutes played, and is key to their power play and penalty kill. His strong play lead to an invite to the Home Hardware Prospects game, where he won the fastest skater completion, and scored a great shorthanded goal on a breakaway.

Daniel Catenacci has all the tools to be a very good NHL hockey player. Whether he ends up as a first line centre, or a second line centre will depend on the supporting cast he has around him, but he should be a good one. His assets are his fierce competitiveness, all world skating, skill, vision, athletic ability, faceoff skill, 2-way play, and smarts. His only flaws are his size, and he takes some very undisciplined penalties sometimes because of the passion he plays with.

NHL Comparison- Faster Derek Roy, with more of an edge

Works Cited





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