SJ Sharks Prospect Brandon Coe atop the OHL's Points Leaderboard
By: Brandon Caputo
Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images
After scoring his 30th goal of the campaign on Sunday (February 13th), Brandon Coe has now taken back the title of Points Leader for the 2021-22 Ontario Hockey League season.
The 6'4 and 193 pound Right Winger now has 78 points (30 goals 48 assists) on the season in only 46 games.
The San Jose Sharks 2020 4th Round Pick (98 overall) has been a driving force for his North Bay Battalion team all season long, while also being named as an Assistant Captain for the club back in October.
Coe was also a Silver Medalist during the 2017-18 U17 World Hockey Championships; another addition to his impressive young hockey resume so far.
Photo Credit: battalionhockey.com
Back on December 6th 2021, the 20-year old Ajax, ON native's dream came true as he inked his three-year, entry-level contract with the San Jose Sharks after getting off to such a dynamic start this OHL season.
As per battalionhockey.com, North Bay Battalion General Manager Adam Dennis said Coe has provided leadership on and off the ice:
“It was a very proud day for our organization with Brandon earning this contract,” said Dennis.
“We’ve all watched him grow into the player and person he is today and we couldn’t be happier for him. He’s been a dominant force on the ice this season and an even better influence on our young players in the dressing room. We’re looking forward to watching Brandon suit up for the Sharks in the near future.”
Originally selected 3rd Overall by the North Bay Battalion in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection Draft, Coe is now in his 4th season with the club, has seen his points per game totals drastically increase every season.
After an impressive 57 points in 60 games (0.95 points per game) during the 2019-20 OHL Season which was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Coe has shattered this total with 21 more points in 14 less games played in 2021-22, with an astonishing 1.70 points per game.
Photo Credit: Aaron Bell/OHL Images
I recently spoke with Coe to discuss his impressive OHL season so far and goals that he hopes to achieve, as he strives to develop his skills into the pro game someday.
Q1: What was the moment like of finally having your name called on draft night and what was the reaction of being picked by the San Jose Sharks organization?
Coe: "It was great, I had a bunch of family over at my house. Just kept it a little gathering at my house and obviously it was a lifelong dream to get your name called on draft day and it was a dream come true. Thankful to it was to the San Jose organization, with some nice California weather to look forward to!"
Photo Credit: ontariohockeyleague.com
Q2: With no OHL season last year, how was it coming back to the league this year and how was the process of getting familiarized with the league once again?
Coe: "It wasn't too bad. For the most part I got to spend all of last year in San Jose, so that helped in my development. Getting in 17 AHL games there was really good and helped with my confidence coming back to the OHL this season. It's been a good start so far in that regard."
As per battalionhockey.com, San Jose Sharks director of scouting Doug Wilson Jr. had high praises for Coe:
"Brandon is a developing power forward with great skating ability. Last year he gained valuable experience playing in the AHL, and we’re proud of how he has taken his offence to the next level this season.
He’s leading the OHL in scoring and is a key player on his North Bay team.”
Q3: You mentioned playing a decent amount of games with the Sharks AHL Affiliate (San Jose Barracuda) last season; how much did that help & how valuable was that experience for your development as a player?
Coe: "It definitely helped a lot. We were always around the top guys, the (San Jose) Sharks practiced at the same rink we practiced at, so we got to watch a lot of games since they played a lot of home games during that time. Luckily we saw those games and it was nice to be around those guys, learning a lot of things about what it takes at the next level. Especially older guys on our AHL team like our captain Jaycob Megna, he was a great leader to look up to and learn from. Definitely a great learning experience for myself and the rest of the young players there."
Photo Credit: sjsharks.com/NHL.com
Q4: What has been the remedy for the team's huge turnaround this season, going from the bottom of the OHL standings to now being in the mix atop the Eastern Conference?
Coe: "A couple of things. The main thing we focused on was playing fast & using our speed, we've got a lot of young guys on our team and we're utilizing our youth really well. Playing fast definitely helped us out and just playing as a team in general. Everyone is buying into the same process & system that we're playing with consistency, which has worked out for us so far this season. Hopefully we can keep this going!"
Standings provided by ontariohockeyleague.com
Despite his solid season in 2019-20, Coe and his North Bay Battalion team finished last place (20th out of 20 teams) in the Ontario Hockey League with only 38 points and a 17-41-4 record, in 62 games.
A bright spot came from that season as North Bay were able to select talented young defenseman Ty Nelson 1st Overall in the 2020 OHL Draft, who has been a major driving force from the Battalion's backend this season.
In only 47 games this season, the Battalion have a 26-15-3-3 record and sit 2nd place in the entire OHL with 58 points. Already a 20 point increase from 2019-20 in 15 less games played. Coe has been a major contributor for this huge team turnaround for North Bay this season, as they've gone from the bottom of the OHL standings last season to now fighting for the top spot in 2021-22.
Q5: You are currently the OHL's League Leader in Points and are on pace to shatter your career highs in all statistical categories. What has been the biggest improvement in your game personally from the 2019-20 OHL season to help get you to this elite level?
Coe: It's just consistency. I bring my game every night whether I'm scoring, getting assists, or even when I'm not doing that; just getting pucks in deep and helping my teammates in any way possible. Just trying to bring the same game every night this season and hopefully I can keep this pace going all season.
Statistics from ontariohockeyleague.com
Q6: What has been the reason for your success as a forward line? What makes you guys so dangerous for opposing teams to defend?
Coe: "I think everyone is just sharing the puck, we're playing as a group and a good line together, we're all really skilled and tough to play against. We're playing well as a team in general, not just our line and I believe it has helped with our group's success so far."
On Coe's opposite wing is Russian Import Matvey Petrov who signed a three-year, NHL entry-level contract with the Edmonton Oilers, after being selected in 6th Round of the 2021 NHL Draft. Petrov impressed as an attendee at Oilers training camp last September. Petrov was also originally selected 1st Overall by the Battalion in the 2020 CHL Import Draft. Thanks to his strong play with Coe this season, Petrov finds himself currently sitting 6th in the OHL's points race with 65 points in 42 games.
Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images
The 3rd piece of that line is Kyle Jackson who missed 21 games after suffering a knee injury on December 3rd against Hamilton, just recently returned to their lineup on February 10th. With his strong play centering Coe and Petrov this year, Jackson is currently the #65 ranked prospect on Craig Button's 2022 NHL draft list.
Despite missing a significant of time this season, Jackson has an impressive 39 points in 26 games played and was in the Top 10 of the OHL's point race before the injury.
Mitchell Russell (nicknamed "The Hustle"), another teammate of Coe also finds himself in the points race with 61 points in 44 games, which is good enough for 8th place in the OHL.
Photo Credit: Micheline Veluvolu
Q7: Who were some NHL players that you really looked up to in your younger years and who you now want to mold your game after, as you hope to make the transition and jump to Pro Hockey in the near future?
Coe: "A guy like Alex Tuch; he's 6'4 but he can skate like the wind. I try to model my game after him as much as possible. I looked up to Sidney Crosby in my younger years. Obviously I'm not exactly the same player as him, but I like to take the quick playmaking ability from his game and how well he sees the ice.
I definitely love watching those guys play in particular."
Statistics from ontariohockeyleague.com
Q8: What have the (San Jose) Sharks said that they would like to see from you the rest of the season?
Any specific things that they want to see you continually build on in order to make that jump to Pro Hockey and to ultimately make their NHL lineup, as an impact player in the future?
Coe: "Just bringing my speed and my consistency every night. Playing the same game that I know I can, while bringing something to the team on a nightly basis. Whether I'm scoring, making plays, or just finishing my checks every night; bringing the same game as a consistent reliable player every night of the season.
If I can continue to play my game like I know that I am capable of, I am optimistic that it will all work out at the next level, as a contributor for San Jose's NHL lineup one day."
Coe will look to make the jump to Pro Hockey next season in either the NHL or AHL, as he has already made a positive impression on the San Jose Sharks organization. The way the season has gone for Coe and his very skilled Battalion squad, it is not out of the realm of possibility that he finishes off his OHL and junior hockey career on a high note as they remain in the contending mix for an OHL Championship run.