OHL draft 2015: London Knights' Ian Blacker pick, Saginaw Spirit taking Michael Pastujov highlight early rounds

Peterborough pick Simon Boyko will be one to watch come September (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)
Peterborough pick Simon Boyko will be one to watch come September (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

Sniffing out which players' are serious about school and who might be more selective about his hockey destination is as much of a part of the Ontario Hockey League priority selection draft as evaluating a 16-year-old's inner fortitude. 

The priority selection might no longer be the Dirtiest Day In Sports, in Chris Dilks' immortal phrasing, but the early to middle rounds still contained some intriguing choices, which certainly include but are not limited to the following:

— The London Knights, who have proven willing to wait to get their man over the years, chose Western Michigan University-committed defenceman Ian Blacker of the Brampton 45's at No. 70 overall. The 6-foot-3 Blacker is said to be focused on college hockey; his brother Ben Blacker is also committed to WMU. (You might recall that Montreal Canadiens prospect Michael McCarron was committed to WMU before choosing the Knights in 2013.)

London also took U.S. national team development program-bound winger Brady Tkachuk.

— Sarnia selected coach/co-owner Derian Hatcher's son, forward Kelton Hatcher

— The Saginaw Spirit, not so long ago, cashed in big time when future Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad hopped aboard after spending two seasons in the U.S. national team development program. Saginaw, which is rebuilding, choose college-committed forwards Cole Coskey (Miami of Ohio) and Michael Pastujov (Michigan) at Nos. 47 and 63. Saginaw also selected Pastujov's older brother in  2014. Pastujov might prove to be one of the top players in the available talent pool.

 Mississauga is coming off a four-year run with Spencer Martin in goal. The Steelheads used the No. 89 pick on former NHLer Keith Primeau's puck-stopping progeny Cayden Primeau, who was a last cut of the U.S. under-17 program.

— The Windsor Spitfires might have a find in Cole Carter, the first re-entry selection. Carter averaged 1.75 points as a 16-year-old with the Junior B Stittsville Rams, who play not far from head scout Wayne Smith's stamping ground. As you might expect with a player who was passed over by all 20 teams last spring, Carter is on the small side.

Windsor, whose goaltending has been an issue for several seasons, made hometown 'tender Michael DiPietro the first netminder taken at No. 23 overall.

— This is more art than exact science, but there was a wide range of opinion about the Toronto Jr. Canadiens right-shooting forward Simon Boyko, who slipped through the first three rounds. The Peterborough Petes took the plunge at No. 66 overall.

— The next goalie off the board, to Sarnia at No. 34, was Aidan Hughes, who checks in at 6-foot-2 1/2 and 240 pounds.

The underlying belief is that this draft was relatively thin. But the successful teams tend to know which rocks to flip over. 

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

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