Taylor Raddysh will lean on some familiar faces while embarking on his first season with the Erie Otters.
The Otters, who have had a run of success with graduates of the Toronto Marlboros — 2014 OHL player of the year Connor Brown, sophomore Dylan Strome and that Connor McDavid fellow — went back to that well by chosing Raddysh No. 19 overall in the priority selection draft. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound forward will be reunited with his brother, third-year defenceman Darren Raddysh.
"He'll help out a lot," Taylor Raddysh, who was the leading scorer in last spring's OHL Cup showcase with 14 points over seven games, says of his upcoming family reunion in northern Pennsylvania. "Whenever I'll need him, he'll just help me out through thick and thin. I work out with him every day and skate with him. He gives me the odd tip.
"Every brother's competitive," adds Raddysh, who says his parents, Mark and Michelle, have formed a tight bond with the family of Strome, the Otters' top pick in 2013. "You always want to do better than the other one. I think that will help us throughout this year and on into the beginning of the year."
The Caledon, Ont., native counted 25 goals and 52 points in 31 games for the Marlboros last season. Raddysh also kicked it up a notch in the bigger events that draw more scouting eyeballs. His skating needs fine-tuning — which is commonplace for 16-year-olds who have already shot above 6-foot tall — but Raddysh offers potential as a big forward with a good finishing touch around the net.
"I led the Titan tournament in points and just went from there," Raddysh, who was a national-level lacrosse player before going all in on hockey, says of his AAA minor midget season. "Throughout the year I didn't have many bad games. I think that showed why I deserved it [being a first-rounder].
"I'm a power forward type of player," the right-handed shooter says. "I will always finish my checks. When the opportunity is there I can create scoring chances and create plays."
1. What is a component of the game that you really need and want to show improvement at by the end of the season?
"Probably my skating, to get it to the high-end level. Right now it's at the normal level but I want to excel at it."
2. You need to be yourself, but what NHLer do you use as a role model?
"People say I play like [former Boston Bruins great] Cam Neely. Someone who always finishes his checks and can score consistently and create plays. Stuff like that. People always say that's who I should model my game after."
3. Outside of your parents (Dwayne and Gwen Raddysh), who has done the most to help you reach this point?
"My agents with Orr Hockey, Dave Gagner and Jeff Jackson. Whenever I've needed them they've given me help and promoted me to help get me to where I am today."
4. Who is the one person you most look forward to facing in the OHL?
"Probably my best friend, Travis Barron, who's drafted to Ottawa [third overall]. Since the draft, we've always been talking our first game against each other, what it's going to be like. Things like that."
5. What is your favourite movie or TV show?
"Movie probably would be Miracle. But my favourite TV show just Sportscentre on TSN."
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.