The Guelph Storm will focus on ability, not position, when it makes its first pick in the 2008 OHL entry draft May 3.
The Storm picks 12th overall in this year's draft, which, as usual, will be conducted online. It has two picks in the second round -- 32nd and 39th overall.
Storm head coach/GM Dave Barr said the club will take the best player available, regardless of position.
"We'll probably take a defencemen with one of our first three picks, whether that's with our 12th, 32nd or 39th pick. We'll figure that out," he said. "But with our first pick we'll be looking for the best player with the most skill, good character and good size.
"Hopefully we can get that all in one, but you pick the best player you can."
The Storm has taken forwards with its first pick in each of the last two drafts.
Barr and scouting co-ordinator Chris McCleary said the draft is similar to last year's.
"It's similar in that it's not really a deep draft," McCleary said, "but there are some pretty good high-end players in there. But like last year, there aren't a lot of high-end defencemen."
He also said there aren't a lot of great goaltending prospects.
"There are some very good defencemen available, but it's a little forward heavy," Barr said.
"The forwards this year might be a little more skilled and smaller than last year, but there are some very, very highly skilled forwards this year that someone is going to be happy with."
The Sudbury Wolves pick first and are almost certain to select forward John McFarland. The first defenceman picked will likely be 6-foot-3 Eric Gudbranson from the Ottawa area.
There are also some players with good pedigree eligible for the draft. The sons of three former NHLers -- Steve Thomas (Christian), Jeff Beukeboom (Brock) and Mark Tinordi (Jared) -- are all prospects.
McCleary said there's also plenty of good Americans available this year.
"There's a lot of high-end American players and we're in the process of feeling them out" to make sure they want to play in the OHL, he said.
"We're in a positive situation in Guelph because, for the most part, players want to come to Guelph," McCleary said. "Usually by the draft they've indicated the extent of their commitment."
Right now the Storm scouting staff is busy doing background checks on players. Of particular interest are the middle rounds, where McCleary said there are plenty of players who could turn out to be fine OHLers.
"It becomes evenly balanced after the top 40 to 60 players, so we're definitely doing our homework," he said.
Barr did say there is a possibility of some draft picks being traded in the week prior to the draft.
He also said there will likely only be two or three of the players picked this year on next season's Storm team and that they would have to be able to contribute.
This season the Storm carried four 16 year-olds, usually with two sitting in the stands on game nights.