OHL Prospect Profile: Joshua Kavanagh

– Joshua Kavanagh –

Sudbury Wolves (NOHA) | Right Defence | 2019 OHL Draft Eligible

Hanmer, Ontario | 6-foot-1, 170-pounds | May 6th, 2003

Josh Kavanagh is an elite, puck-moving defenceman who has honed his transition game while remaining reliable on the defensive side in all situations as well. A smooth and effortless skater, Kavanagh covers the ice well and holds good gaps against opponents on the rush. An intelligent defender with intriguing upside, Kavanagh will be a highly sought after defender at the 2019 OHL Draft.

Related: Check out Prospect Pipeline’s 2019 OHL Draft Rankings.

As a member of the GNML’s Sudbury Minor Midget Wolves, Kavanagh has been a leader from the back end all year long, playing at well over a point-per-game rate while also leading the Wolves to several long runs at some of Ontario’s biggest Minor Midget tournaments.

Strengths:

  • Two-Way Abilities
  • Skating
  • Sense & Intelligence

Kavanagh displays all the traits of a promising new-era defenceman. A smooth skater, Kavanagh shows off multiple options when breaking out of his own zone, whether through a slick tape-to-tape pass, a simple chip, or by skating the puck through the neutral zone himself. He judges plays very well and is able to process when it is beneficial to join the rush.

Related: Don’t miss out on any of our 2019 OHL Prospect Profiles

Kavanagh possesses an effective shot from the blue line by getting it on and off his stick in an instant and excelling at getting his shots on net through traffic. On the back end, he shows a strong understanding of his position and uses an effective combination of body and stick positioning to eliminate passing lanes and force opponents away from the center lane. An intelligent prospect, Kavanagh is also a tremendous decision-maker with and without the puck.

Area of Improvement:

  • Physicality

While Kavanagh possesses solid size for his age, there remains the potential for a more physical side to his game as he continues to solidify his frame. Although he isn’t afraid to take opponents into the boards during an incoming rush or get in the middle of a battle for a loose puck, Kavanagh could add another element to his game by making opponents look out for a strong body check.

While we mentioned that Kavanagh epitomizes the new-era defenceman, a stronger physical aspect would make him a much more intimidating defender to go up against, especially as he prepares to move forth in a major junior career. With this point being raised, it’s important to note that this is not an aspect of Kavanagh’s game that will hold him back, but rather a side that could increase his value further.

Future Potential:

The undisputed top defenceman from Northern Ontario, Josh Kavanagh displays everything an OHL team could want from a young defender; skating, intelligence, and offensive upside. An elite prospect who will represent Team NOHA at the 2019 OHL Cup, Kavanagh has showcased a mature and highly talented game that should translate well into the major junior level.

With a number of high-end puck moving defenceman in this year’s draft class, it will be tough to pinpoint where Kavanagh may be drafted, but one could expect to hear his name called somewhere in the 30-50th overall range.

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