By Corey Witt
Ryan O'Marra was considered a steal on draft day when the Islanders selected him with their 15th overall pick in the first round. Five months later, he's showing why.
In sixteen games for the Erie Otters of the OHL, O'Marra has 26 points on eight goals and 18 assists. He's +11 on the year and second on the Otters in scoring. He's also on pace to amass more than 100 points this season. O'Marra is tearing through the OHL this season and everyone's happy to see the results.
"Ryan is off to a good start this season," said Islanders scout Doug Gibson, who focuses on the OHL and keeps a close eye on O'Marra progress. "He's producing, but the thing to keep in mind with a player like Ryan is that he brings so much more to the table than just offense. He is a leader, and a player who does the little things, too."
O'Marra believes attending his first NHL training camp with the Islanders in Yarmouth in September played a vital role in the successful start to his 2005-06 OHL season.
"I got a great jump-start to my season coming off training camp with the Islanders," said O'Marra following practice with the Otters on Tuesday. "Playing with and against guys like Yashin and Satan and Blake and Parrish gave me some confidence and an idea on what I have to work on to get to the next level. I felt that I was primed for a breakout season and I'm making the best of a good year so far."
O'Marra's success hasn't gone unnoticed. He's been invited to play for Team OHL in the 2005 ADT Canada-Russia Challenge held in Regina, Saskatchewan. The annual competition sees the best of each of the CHL's three leagues face off against the top junior stars from Russia. Islanders prospects Blake Comeau and Dustin Kohn have been invited to play for Team WHL.
"It's an absolute honor to be picked to play in the series," added O'Marra. "In a game like that, the spotlight is on you, so you just want to put on a good show."
So far, he's been doing that nightly for the Otters.