Justin Azevedo in the sixth round is a very interesting pick. As I said, he won OHL player of the year honors playing in Kitchener, in the same league as Steven Stamkos and John Tavares. But his size (5-7 or 5-8, roughly 180 pounds) apparently had a lot of teams doubting his NHL future.
His coach at Kitchener was Peter DeBoer, recently hired as coach of the Florida Panthers.
DeBoer told the Canadian Press, “I think he just needs someone to give him an opportunity. You’re going to be reading about him five years from now and guys are going to be kicking themselves for missing out on him. He’s proven all his critics wrong from the day he arrived in Kitchener and this tops it all off. An amazing season for an amazing kid.”
Of winning the player of the year award, Azevedo said, “I’ve had to do it all my life in every league I’ve played in. I had to prove that no matter how small I was, I could play in every league. Coming into this league, I knew it would be the same. Being recognized for it, is awesome. I never really thought about winning anything. I just went out there, played my game and worked as hard as I could to help the team. There were a lot of great names who won this award before me. I’m just ecstatic about winning it.”
There are some good stories out there about this kid: