– Landon Cato –
Toronto Nationals (GTHL) | Defence | 2019 OHL Draft Eligible
Toronto, Ontario | 6-foot-2, 180-pounds | March 31st, 2003
The Toronto Nationals of the GTHL are one of the top minor midget teams in North America this season, and are founded upon stellar goaltending, terrific defensive depth, and high-end talent up-front.
Backstopped by both Samuel Moncada and Forbes Anderson, the Nationals are a team which can generate offensive from its blue line in addition to boasting elite-level forwards in Zachary Dean and Josh Bloom. However, while the team’s overall depth is impressive, there is arguably no stronger department within the Nationals’ roster than their blue line.
Featuring Declan Ride, Devan Nagra, Landon Cato, and Owen Forester, the Nationals boast the blue line necessary to embark upon a meaningful 2019 OHL Cup run. One defender in particular who has been leading the way for the Nationals throughout the 2018-19 season is Cato — an intimidating defenceman who plays the game with an edge alongside a highly promising two-way game.
With this being said, let’s take a closer look at Cato’s abilities ahead of the 2019 OHL Priority Selection.
- Skating and Agility
- Two-Way Play
- Physicality and Competitive Edge
- Defensive Play
Skating and agility stand as the foundation of Cato’s growing game, as the sizeable defender uses his quick feet to navigate the ice with relative ease. Of solid speed, Cato will use his wheels to track and pin opposing forwards in his defensive end or charge up the ice in order to join a developing offensive attack.
Related: 2019 OHL Draft Rankings
This desire and ability to join the rush has allowed Cato to garner impressive offensive totals for the Nationals this season, as the defender will regularly step up from his post on the blue line in order to sustain plays developed by his teammates. A crisp puck-mover to boot, Cato can distribute the puck well from the blue line and stands as a fixture on his team’s power play as a result.
Affording Cato with a strong overall game is the youngster’s willingness to play a physical style alongside his unwavering competitive edge. Not afraid to stand up for himself or a teammate, Cato can play an in-your-face style when the situation demands and will ramp up his intensity and effort with ease when battling stern competition.
Related: 2019 OHL Draft Prospect Profiles
Rounding out Cato’s growing game is the young defender’s defensive abilities. Owing to his physicality and willingness to use it, Cato can punish attacking players below the goal line and uses his quick feet in order pester his opponents. Also known for his quick and accurate stick, Cato can surprise his attackers by dis-possessing them before quickly transitioning the puck to his forwards.
Areas of Improvement:
- Shooting Frequency
There aren’t many glaring areas for improvement within Cato’s game as of the 2018-19 season — a major reason why the Toronto, Ontario native earned a commitment to the NCAA’s UMass (Amherst) for the 2022-23 campaign.
Related: 2019 OHL Draft — GTHL Profiles
If we were to pinpoint areas for improvement, however, they would be with respect to Cato’s on-ice discipline as well as his tendency to fire the puck on-goal from the blue line. Resulting from his competitive edge, Cato can — at times — take undisciplined penalties which force his team to the penalty kill. Now, this is not to say that Cato is a reckless player by any means, but rather than greater composure would allow him to maximize his physicality and style of defensive play.
Secondly, there is Cato’s willingness to shoot the puck from the blue line. In possession of a hard and heavy shot, Cato would do well to blast the puck on goal more often — doing so would create a whack of rebounds for the Nationals’ highly talented forwards to gobble up.
Ultimately, Cato has the potential to develop into a sturdy top-four defenceman at the next-level — whether it be in the OHL or NCAA.
Of great size at 6-foot-2 and 180-pounds, Cato will have no trouble adapting to the physical demands of hockey at the next-level while his strong skating and competitiveness should allow him to excel relatively quickly. As a stable minute-muncher with the proven ability to succeed in all situations, Cato will be a highly sought-after player come the 2019 OHL Draft.