Prospect Check-In: Brennan Othmann
Brennan Othmann is a top prospect eligible for the upcoming 2021 NHL Draft.
The Scarborough, ON native played in 55 games with the Flint Firebirds of the OHL last season, picking up 33 points (17 goals and 16 assists). This year though is a little different for Othmann. While he would have suited up with the Firebirds, due to the pandemic shutting down the league, he was sent overseas on a loan to play with EHC Olten of the Swiss league.
Othmann has played 29 games with Olten and has done fairly well for playing in a new environment. He currently has seven goals and eight assists for 15 total points.
“It’s been really good so far; we have been playing really well,” Othmann said. “I have a buddy here now, Mason McTavish, so it’s been awesome. It’s a bit of a challenge, just because it’s a professional league and I’m playing against guys who are older than me.
“There are some guys with kids so it’s definitely a little weird, but it’s also a great experience at the same time.”
With this year being wild for a lot of draft-eligible players, there were a couple of options on the table as to where Othmann could play for the time being. Being half Swiss, he decided it would be a good idea to play with EHC Olten.
“My family and agent were the ones who did all the work,” Othmann said. “There were a couple teams over here and the A league, which is the league above us. But we decided to come to the Swiss league here with Olten. My uncle actually played for the team and knows the GM and the coach a little bit. So we decided to go here, and Flint agreed and said it was a good situation.”
Othmann adjusting well while playing overseas
Othmann has been working up the lineup this season, earning his minutes and getting more and more confident every time he hits the ice. Playing on a line with McTavish, the OHLers have been playing well together, showing off what the Ontario league has to look forward to if it can kick-off.
“One of a handful of CHL players headed overseas on loan to start 2020-21, Othmann has slid into the men’s league very well,” FCHockey scout Josh Bell reported. “While he’s not seeing a whole lot of ice time at this point, he’s using his time well.”
Othmann has been using his time in the new surroundings to improve and make the most out of his time.
“My mindset going into this year is to just be loose and have fun,” Othmann explained. “I mean times now are really tough as you know. Mason and I are one of the few players who actually get to play, and play in a good league like the Swiss one here. I think we are just going out and enjoying every second with the team, it’s a great group of guys, and we are learning lots. Just looking forward to the OHL starting so I can bring what I learned over there.
“Playing in Europe is a lot different than in North America. Here the guys are more finesse and play more with skill, making fancy plays, whereas back home its skill and finesse, which guys have, but they also like to hit a lot more. That’s definitely something different. Sometimes I’ve hit guys and they don’t really like it, they’ll retaliate and take a penalty. Also skating the puck on the big ice surface in Europe has been awesome.
“Hopefully, I can bring that back.”
Othmann showing off his skill in Switzerland and beyond
Othmann is a unique player with adequate speed and skill. He is especially known for his powerful wrist and one-time shot, with a quick and accurate release. His skating ability allows him to fully open up for a pass to rip it on net. In addition to his shot, Othmann is also known to be a decent playmaker offensively too. He is a shifty skater with good vision and quick hands to make a pass.
“He is an above-average skater who shows good agility and the ability to stop and change directions on a dime,” FCHockey scout Joseph Aleong wrote in a scouting report. “But doesn’t get great extension on his stride and it limits his acceleration despite solid foot speed.”
Defensively, Othmann continues to grow and get better. He does well to get involved in physical activity, even against the bigger, stronger men in the Swiss league.
“I model my game after two players,” Othmann explains. “Corey Perry from Montreal and Matthew Tkachuk from Calgary. My coach actually compared me to Perry, especially when he was in his prime. He’s a goal scorer and likes to get under guys skin, knows his role, hits guys, and makes good plays.
“My dad has come up with a Tkachuk comparison a little bit. I have a few of the same attributes as him, I mean I won’t go out there and fight a guy, but I want to win and everyone on the team loves him but hates playing against him. I like watching him but I’m not as disrespectful as he is on the ice.”
Othmann continues, shifting to his current performance.
“I still believe I have a pretty good shot and a pretty quick release. I think I can put the puck in the back of the net pretty good. I’ve been snake-bitten the last few games here, but still getting chances.”
“Something I need to get good at, and I know everyone says it, but I think I need to get bigger and stronger to play at the next level. If you want to play in the NHL, that’s how you have to be, big and strong, and I think working on little things like that will help.”
Othmann hopes to impress NHL teams, despite odd year
“What I think teams should know is that I’m a team guy,” Othmann states. “I love being around all my teammates. I’m a guy that can score a goal for you if you need one, but I also have confidence in my teammates to score a goal. I’m there for my teammates, I’m there for my organization.
“Now since being here with Olten I care about these guys, I want to win with them, and whenever I’m back in Flint I want to win with them. I’m just a player who always smiles and likes to crack a couple of jokes once in a while.”
Being a young, up-and-coming star can be hard, especially in a year where scouts, fans, and the media all have eyes on you. But for Othmann, there have been plenty of people in his life giving him the advice to guide him through this special season.
“There are guys who are about 31-years-old who give me advice about being snake-bitten, obviously they’ve been through it,” Othmann said. “One guy is 20 years older than me and he has been through that a lot. He just tells me that I have to stay positive and to not worry about the last few games.
“Just come to the rink, put a smile on your face and have fun, then create those chances and they will come. Honestly, that’s something that I will think about for –the rest of my hockey career.”