Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images
Brennan Othmann is a 2021 NHL Draft prospect, who hails from Scarborough, Ontario. Othmann is the son of Gery Othmann, who played Swiss hockey for over ten years with multiple teams including HC Thurgau and EHC Basel. His uncle, Robert Othmann played in Switzerland as well and spent the bulk of his time with EHC Burgdorf, EHC Zunzgen-Sissach and EHC Olten.
Othmann is a dual citizen. He holds Swiss citizenship as well as Canadian citizenship, but has represented Canada in international play. In fact, he is on Canada’s U18 roster for the U18 World Championships that begin on April 26th in Frisco, Texas and Plano, Texas (just due north of Dallas).
Othmann played youth hockey in the GTHL with the Don Mills Flyers. In his 2018-2019 season, Othmann led the GTHL U16 players in goals, assists and total points. He averaged 2.03 points per games. Not only did he lead the league in points, but he had 30 points more than Francesco Pinelli (2nd in points) and Brandt Clarke (3rd in points). After his incredible season in the GTHL, he was selected second overall by the Flint Firebirds in the 2019 OHL Priority Draft. He likely would have been selected number one in the draft, but Shane Wright who was awarded CHL exceptional player status, went number one to the Kingston Frontenacs.
Othmann made his OHL debut in 2019-2020 and recorded 33 points (17 goals and 16 assists) in 55 games. His performance led to him being named to the 2019-2020 OHL All-Rookie team which also included Wright, Clarke, Chase Stillman (2021 eligible prospect), Ruben Rafkin (2021 eligible prospect, over-ager) and Brett Brochu (2021 eligible prospect, over-ager).
This season, Othmann ended up playing hockey in Switzerland since the OHL did not return to play. He appeared in 34 games and tallied 16 points (seven goals and nine assists). Othmann was not the only 2021 NHL Draft eligible prospect who ended up in Olten. Mason McTavish of the Peterborough Petes, also owns a Swiss players license and ended up joining Othmann for 13 games.
D.O.B – January 5, 2003
Nationality – Canada/Switzerland
Draft Eligibility – 2021
Weight –165 lbs
Position – Left Wing
Handedness – Left
Othmann’s Style Of Play
Normally, I don’t jump to comparables right off the bat in my reports, but with Othmann, it’s slightly different. The Dallas Stars have been stacking up a youthful core of offensive talent in their system. Through the past few drafts, they have selected prospects like Mavrik Bourque, Yevgeni Oksentyuk, Ty Dellandrea and Daniel Ljungman. Two of the prospects mentioned played for the OHL’s Flint Firebirds. In addition to Dellandrea and Oksentyuk, they also draft Nicholas Caamano in the 2016 NHL Draft and Caamano is also a former Firebird.
With that being said, when I watched Othmann in anticipation of writing this report, I noticed just how much he reminded of former Dallas Stars winger Brenden Morrow. Morrow was not the biggest skater on the ice, but he was a strong-willed power forward that had a knack for always finding the right spot in the offensive zone.
In addition, I realized that the Stars could theoretically re-create the magic that they had in the late 2000s with Morrow and Mike Ribeiro. The way that Bourque can fire passes in such tight lanes just reminds me of how outstanding Ribeiro was with puck distribution.
While it might seem as if I really want the Stars to draft Othmann, there are many teams that could draft Othmann and develop him into their own Morrow in due time. There are many teams who could pair him with an elite playmaker. But, given the Stars’ draft history, I wanted to explain that it would be an interesting fit as the Firebirds have been on Dallas’ radar.
When it comes to puck control and stick-handling, Othmann has some development to do. Othmann will sometimes struggle to gain possession of the puck off of a pass. He tends to lose control of the puck immediately. This situation tends to arise when Othmann is not being presented with a traditional tape-to-tape feed.
Stick-handling alone is very much a developmental need for Othmann and it’s extremely evident when you watch Othmann on the rush and/or completing a controlled zone entry. Othmann can swing around the defender when the defender’s gap control isn’t well-rounded. But, when it comes to facing tough defensive competition, he struggles to be a deceptive puck mover and has challenges when attempting to swing the puck around the defender. Othmann has shown that he can rebound from stick-handling complications, but he will need to beef up his stick-handling to excel at the next level. He doesn’t need to be deceptive to be a strong stick-handler. Instead, his reachability needs to improve to fend off the attack and swerve the puck around the attacker.
Sometimes to avoid struggling to puck handle around defenders, he will look to dump and chase. He will use his upper body strength to beat the defender to the puck like in the clip below.
As I mentioned above, Othmann does an excellent job at finding open ice to exploit. It’s not just open ice down low in the slot. Othmann has shown that he can find open ice in low danger situations as well. But, he will also go down low when teammates are beyond the red line in low danger and identify spots in high and medium danger for them to thread passes to.
Once he finds an opening for his teammate(s) to pass to, he has proven that he silky smooth hands that pave the way for dynamic shooting ability. His hands are as smooth as butter. His shot is swift and accurate. Othmann has scored highlight goal after highlight goal and it’s a complete mixed bag when it comes down to how he put the puck in the back of the net. He will deliver five hole goals at net-front, one-timer net-front goals, silky wrist shots from range and more. Othmann constantly proves that he has one of the best shots in the 2021 NHL Draft class. Now, it doesn’t beat Dylan Guenther, Mason McTavish, Samu Tuomaala, Simon Robertsson or Chaz Lucius‘ shooting ability, but it is still one of the best.
From a passing perspective, Othmann will face challenges with his wind-up. There are situations where Othmann puts too much force into his wind-up and it makes his passes incredibly difficult to receive. Yet, he has shown that the can deliver smooth tape-to-tape feeds and well-placed centered passes to the slot from low danger to key up goals. In addition, if he needs a fail safe when struggling to stick-handle around defenders, he has shown that he can complete deceptive behind the back passes in 2-on-2 situations.
Othmann’s skating needs further development.
On a positive note, he has strong ankle flexion. Every extension and every recovery is identical and well-timed with Othmann’s knee resting above his toes. Strong ankle flexion allows Othmann to be more mobile in stride.
Aside from his ankle flexion, Othmann has shown during gameplay that there are a few issues that he needs to overcome. He has a “heavy foot stride” and that will slow him down when he is utilizing a power stride to pick up acceleration. In stride, you will also notice that there are many instances in which Othmann struggles to complete a full skate recovery.
In addition, his edges and stopping ability need improvement. Othmann will struggle to keep his balance when deploying inside edges and his edges will hurt his adaptability on the forecheck. His edges aren’t always smooth and if the attacker keeps his feet moving, it becomes a challenge for Othmann. Also, his stopping ability needs to become crisper and he can not rely on a wide glide stop consistently at the NHL level. For instance, sometimes you will see Othmann use a “pizza”, which is what most skating and skiing instructors refer to as a wide glide stop. Unfortunately, it’s a slow way to stop especially if you are skating at full speed. If Othmann is in the offensive zone and he is skating to open ice in anticipation of a one-timer scoring chance, he should look to use rotate his skates and implement crisp edges to stop the glide.
In transition, when in control of the puck, Othmann has shown that he will utilize both hands and constantly shift the puck from forehand to backhand. Since his isn’t a strong stick-handler, shifting the puck back and forth with both hands is his go-to when on the rush.
Othmann has proven that he will not force the puck into well-defended situations. He is extremely conservative with the puck and will button-hook to drop back. By button-hooking and dropping back, he can re-group and identify a teammate with open ice to deliver a zone exit pass to.
From a defensive transitional perspective, Othmann seems to struggle to keep pace and has to chase the puck instead of playing preventive defense in the neutral zone. With that being said, he will attempt to stick-lift and poke-check to make up for being late when defending the rush.
In the defensive zone, Othmann has shown that he can be an efficient defender. In low danger situations, he will play the body of the puck carrier and looks to exert dominance/upper body strength to force the carrier to lose possession of the puck at the moment of impact.
From a positioning standpoint, he will defend the point well and sits up at the perimeter. But, he will adjust on the fly and the depends on the situation down low. If the puck is down low at net front or behind the net, Othmann will drop down to the hash marks in the faceoff circle to lend a hand and attempt to force the cycle to stay along the boards in low danger. Othmann will drop to his knees to block shots in more vulnerable scenarios.
Brenden Morrow, Left Wing, Former NHLer (Played for the Dallas Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning and the St. Louis Blues)
Top 6 Winger (NHL)
stats from InStat and EliteProspects
Prospect report written by Josh Tessler. If you would like to follow Josh on Twitter, his handle is @JoshTessler_.
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