Buzzing The Net is profiling Canadian Hockey League players who are in their NHL draft season.
Scott Oke truly put his name on the map on Sept. 25.
The Saint John Sea Dogs right wing, a prototype power winger at 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, cashed in one of the quirks of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The league's earlier regular-season opening (two weeks ahead of the OHL and WHL) gives younger players extra audition time, as it were, while older players are at NHL training camps. That night in September in Drummondville, with observers on hand to scout the Sea Dogs' passel of prospects and the Voltigeurs' Sean Couturier, Oke had his first two-goal game in the QMJHL.
That ended up representing 40 per cent of the St. Lambert, Que., native's season total, but it hinted that Oke has some scoring touch to go along with his big frame. That helped him reach 44th in NHL Central Scouting's final North American ranking earlier this month. Oke is willing to take modest statistics — five goals, 10 points in 54 regular-season games; three assists in 10 playoff appearances — and a bottom-six role in exchange for the exposure that comes with playing on a contender.
"I find that a lot of scouts watch our games because we have a good team, best record in Canada," says Oke, one of six Sea Dogs in Central Scouting's domestic top 50. "I might not play as much, but I've learned a lot ... I'd rather win, I guess."
"I really like it here," Oke adds. "The people around us, you need anything, they'll do anything possible to get it for you."
Oke was a high third-round selection out of in 2009, but had an early-season stint with the Sea Dogs as a 16-year-old. He ended up being returned to his Collège Charles-Lemoyne midget AAA team, but believes that helped him in the long run.
"I took it as a chance to perfect my defensive game and really work on my skating so I could come and make the team this year," he says.
"Probably my physical game. I also have to work on my defensive awareness, there's always room to improve on that. I also see myself becoming a power forward, so I need to get bigger, stronger, learn to finish all my checks. I can produce offensively once I get there."
2. Whom in the NHL do you look at and say, 'That's someone I need to be playing like?'
"Maybe a James van Riemsdyk type of guy. He's a good skater, he does he does his job and he's not scared to finish his checks."
3. What do you consider your proudest hockey achievement?
"Probably winning the Quebec Midget Challenge last year [with Collège Charles-Lemoyne], which is the big mid-season tournament with all the team in the league. Then just being drafted by the Saint John Sea Dogs."
4. What person has had the most impact on you in hockey?
"Probably my brother [Mathew Oke, who played Junior A and NCAA Division III hockey, along with a one-game stint with the QMJHL's Victoriaville Tigres]. He's eight years older than me, so he taught me a lot about how to play and was a good player himself. He played university hockey in the States.
" ... in terms of teammates, on my line, it pretty much has to be [Sea Dogs centre Stephen] Macaulay [a St. Louis Blues sixth-round pick]. He's a hard-working two-way forward. For this year, I'm looking up to him and he's helping me a lot."
5. What is the worst movie you have ever had to watch on the team bus?"There's a couple. Probably Quarantine ... It was scary, a lot of noise going on."
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.