2015 NHL Draft Preview: Mitch Vande Sompel


Mitch Vande Somple: Oshawa (OHL)

Birthplace: London, ON

Position: Defence/Left Wing

Shoots: Left

Height/Weight: 5’10, 185 lbs.

2014-15 stats: 58 GP, 12G, 51A, 63 points

Rankings: 34 (CSS), 74 (ISS)

When the Ottawa Senators took Cody Ceci in 2012, they were taking a player with all the tools but a toolbox that needed to be expanded.

He had a bullet from the point, he was an agile skater, equally so backwards and forwards, and he had a huge frame.

But would he use his frame more often in the NHL? He had a tendency to shy away from physicality as a 17-year old.

Would he be capable of eating 25 minutes a night when he wasn’t a special team specialist? He had a tough time attempting to quarterback the powerplay and he didn’t get in enough shooting lanes on the penalty kill.

Ceci, albeit sheltered at times, was as consistent as any Senators d-man in 2015 and it’s clear the wrinkles have straightened themselves out.

When teams look at Mitch Vande Sompel, some of the same questions, although for different reasons, come to light.

Unlike Ceci, a top-four defenceman as an OHL rookie and the #1 defenceman on a contender in his sophomore year, Vande Sompel was buried at times on this year’s Generals team, arguably the best defensive team in OHL history.

What we do know is that Vande Sompel might not be the speediest, but he is a very powerful skater. He’s always scanning the ice and he can make good outlet passes.

What we don’t know is how he fares if he’s ever forced to play top-pairing and top powerplay (although he did get a lot of powerplay time this year) and penalty kill minutes every night.

If he doesn’t make it as a defenceman, he can always pull a Brent Burns and try his hand at forward. He took on 3rd line duties as a forward at times this season.

Would he be a fit in Ottawa?

As mentioned with Vince Dunn, Ottawa’s left side has some guys they could keep, but Vande Sompel probably fits in a more long-term setup.

Unlike Ceci, who got his feet wet in the NHL in a hurry, Vande Sompel will probably be a leader on a rebuilding Oshawa team, be dealt at the trade deadline to another contender and go through the minor ranks for a little bit.

When you have a Norris-trophy winning defenceman on the right side, adding a talented left-handed defenceman who will play three years on an entry level deal down the road is never a bad plan.