(Read my preview on Sebastian Cossa HERE)
(Read my preview on Aatu Raty HERE)
The Flint Firebirds are far from the upper echelon of junior franchises in the CHL. They have struggled mightily since their inception in 2015/16 and have had to battle through a few controversies. The most prominent of which came in their inaugural year, when owner Rolf Nilsson fired the team’s entire coaching staff after not giving his son enough playing time.
It has been turbulent, to say the least. Yet, despite these challenges, the organization has been able to yield some legitimate NHLers in recent years. Carolina goaltender, Alex Nedeljkovic, spent a few years with the franchise while they were in Plymouth and has blossomed into a bonafide starter in the NHL this past season.
For this upcoming draft, the Flint Firebirds are banking on another playing in representing them. Brennan Othmann is expected to go in the first round of this year’s entry draft and it appears the Edmonton Oilers could be in a position to take him.
Will Othmann become Edmonton’s first-ever Flint Firebird prospect? Let’s take a closer look at the player to find out....
Who Is Brennan Othmann?:
Brennan Othmann is a 6’0 174lb left-winger who has split the last two season’s between the Flint Firebirds of the OHL and Olten EHC in the Swiss league. His boxcar numbers aren’t anything eye-popping, scoring 33 points in 55 games with Flint while notching 15 points through 34 points with Olten.
The value in Othmann’s game comes in his ability to finish off plays. He has a wicked arsenal of shooting options, all of which terrorize any goalie that has the misfortune of facing him. Combine this with a knack of getting open without the puck and you have a very dangerous offensive threat in Othmann.
He also thinks the game very well. Othmann is rarely caught out of position and is able to think quickly in a developing situation. His defensive game is positively affected by this, but there is a main weakness that he will have to work on if he hopes to be an impact player in the NHL.
Othmann is not a very great skater. His acceleration and overall speed is not where it should be for a top prospect. This causes problems in the defensive zone especially as opposing players are able to easily outmaneuver him to get open. It can also be an issue on the rush as his faster teammates leave him behind. Thankfully, this seems to be one of the easier areas for prospects to improve upon with proper training.
He thinks the game extremely well and, if he can figure out how to get quicker on the ice, he has the potential to be a constant threat in the NHL.
To get a better understanding of Othmann’s playstyle, let’s see what the scouts have to say:
Steve Kournianos (The Draft Analyst): “A nasty in-your-face competitor with a plus-plus shot, Othmann may not have the measurements to be called a “power forward”, but don’t tell that to the growing list of victims who he’s plastered to the ice.”
Sam Consentino (Sportsnet): “A mini growth spurt along with an improvement in skating, led to a great U18. Scored 16 points in 34 games on loan to EHC Olten in Switzerland this season.”
Tony Ferrari (Dobberprospects): “He gets after the forecheck and still has the skill and offensive prowess that made him a second overall pick in the OHL. Understanding that he needed to up his shot volume, he is consciously getting more pucks on net and finding success.”
Ben Kerr (Last Word on Sports): “Othmann is a smart and physical player, with a high-end work ethic. He has the type of makeup that coaches will love and will be given every opportunity to develop into a top-six forward in time. However, he needs to work on his skating if he wants to really make an impact at the NHL level.”
Does He Make Sense at 19?:
Othmann is looking like a mid-to-late first-round pick by all accounts. Some teams might be scared off from his skating issues but I have seen more than a few scouts call him a ‘safe’ pick due to his potential to play in the bottom six even with those concerns.
The consensus seems to be somewhere between picks 15-20.
Bob McKenzie (TSN): 16
Craig Button (TSN): 18
Sam Consentino (Sportsnet): 14
Nick Richards (Dobberprospects): 20
This makes Othmann a very reasonable pick-up at #19.
Potential Fit with Oilers?:
I see a lot of similarities between Othmann and Raty. Both had rather underwhelming years with their respective clubs and both of them are probably bound for an NHL bottom six at the very least.
The thing that intrigues me about Othmann is his offensive ability. His wide array of shots makes him the perfect finisher in all situations and this is something that has eluded the Oilers since Connor McDavid’s arrival in 2015.
I think Othmann might have the edge over Raty because it appears that is just technical things that need adjusting and not mental aspects. Raty needs more time to mature as a player while Othmann needs proper coaching to improve his skating.
He’ll need at least another year in junior to accomplish this but, overall, I think Othmann has the potential to help the team as soon as 2022/23 whether it be in Bakersfield as a call-up option or as a player who has played his way onto the roster.
If he is able to fix all the issues that plague his skating he would look mighty fine next to one of McDavid or Draisaitl in the top six. Even if he can’t accomplish that, he would provide a good scoring touch in the bottom six down the road.