David Levin (photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
Born to Latvian immigrants in Israel, Levin came over to Toronto to push his hockey career in the right direction and it worked. Now the skilled winger will be tabbed by the Sudbury Wolves with the top selection overall.
David Levin is going to open a whole lot of eyes when he suits up for the Sudbury Wolves next season. The Ontario League franchise announced today that the skilled right winger with the Toronto-based Don Mills Flyers would be their top choice, first overall, in Saturday's OHL draft. Levin's a pretty good prospect, but he's certainly the best to ever come out of Israel.
Levin was born and raised in Israel to Latvian immigrants and learned to play hockey in the Middle Eastern nation. The 15-year-old largely played roller hockey, but would get to the rink sometimes. Nevertheless, he quickly developed into an all-world talent for his age group and after coming over to Toronto a couple of years ago, he has proven it again versus the toughest competition.
Playing for Don Mills in the Greater Toronto League, Levin rang up a hefty 39 goals and 80 points in 55 games, leading the Flyers to the OHL Cup final against the rival Toronto Marlboros. Levin's nine points in six tourney games tied for tops overall, but he couldn't will his Flyers past the Marlies, who triumphed 3-2 in a classic overtime showdown at the old Maple Leafs Gardens (now the Mattamy Athletic Centre).
Levin's best asset is his mind. The youngster has a preternatural sense for where the puck is going next and that makes him very dangerous when the opposition tries to move forward, as he is adept at picking off passes or simply swiping the puck off unsuspecting foes. This also extends to his playmaking vision, which is quite good.
How good will he be for the Wolves? For the sake of context, Levin is not expected to have a seismic impact for Sudbury – this year's draft features a cohort of very good players, but none that reigned the rankings the way a John Tavares or Aaron Ekblad did.
Part of what makes Levin valuable to the Wolves is that he has no problem joining a Sudbury team that really scraped the bottom of major junior this season and doesn't have a lot to build off – especially since the Minnesota Wild have the option of sending import Pavel Jenys to the AHL for all of next season (he was drafted out of the Czech Republic, not Sudbury), where he has been playing since Sudbury's campaign finished.
My sense is that some other prospects weren't so hot about the idea of playing for the Wolves – and feel free to debate the issue of teens and their agents having a say in which team drafts them amongst yourselves.
I could see Levin having a similar impact to 2013's top pick, Ottawa's Travis Konecny. He has been an integral part of the 67's for the past two seasons and is slated to be a first-round pick in the NHL draft this summer, though not a lottery selection.
Of course, Levin's Israeli back story is tough for any other prospect to top at this point.