It was only three years ago that Bradford, ONT native Brandon Francisco scored 12 goals in 65 games as a 16-year old for the Sarnia Sting. It appears as though those numbers were more percentage-driven than anything else, since the once promising prospect followed with two disappointing seasons.
Now, Francisco, who was traded to the Kitchener Rangers last summer, looks to hone his offensive game via a less traditional route, the OJHL:
The Bradford native has asked the team for permission to join the Newmarket Hurricanes on the Tier II loop.
Francisco was an offensive minded player but never found his groove in Kitchener. He had 15 points in 62 games this past season and was a healthy scratch at times in the post-season.
Francisco said he hopes to rediscover his scoring touch in Newmarket and perhaps return to the OHL in a year. If not, he'll play Tier II and concentrate on school. [Rangers Report]
The other thing particularly of note that Francisco said was that he's open to being traded, but recognizes that there isn't too much of a demand for the services of a 19-year old.
Perhaps this whole ordeal can be seen as a warning for players with all the talent in the world but not the necessary skills to round out the game. Francisco went undrafted and never flirted with rankings past his midget draft year.
In Francisco's OHL draft year, he was widely considered to be a first round pick, rated 17th by ISS and called "one of the most offensively dangerous players in the draft," with "the best hands of any draft eligible forward." In fact, the only reason he was rated so low at 17 (by ISS) was that Francisco had signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Maine on a scholarship. [OHL Prospects]
Francisco never rounded out his game or filled in his frame. He's listed at 5'10" and 166 lbs, which puts a player at a disadvantage. He's grown just 11 lbs since his 16-year old year, so potentially there's another growth spurt waiting in Francisco.
Anyway, he'll have a year in the OJHL, work on his game, and then maybe there will be the opening for a return to the OHL for his overage year or other ventures. Hopefully this isn't the end to a story that began with so much promise.
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