Although he is one of the youngest players eligible for the 2020 OHL Priority Selection, Adam Fantilli is quickly becoming one of its most dynamic prospects.
Born in December of 2004, it is mind-boggling to comprehend that Fantilli has already competed against players nearly two years older than himself. Having skated for the Toronto Red Wings at the Minor Midget level before moving on to the Toronto Jr. Canadiens, Fantilli quickly became one of the GTHL’s most electrifying players before departing for Kimball Union Academy — dazzling his opponents with speed and creativity each and every time he took to the ice.
In 2018-19, Fantilli skated alongside Kitchener Rangers prospect Francesco Pinelli, and rarely looked out of place. Sure, he may not be strong as his opponents owing to his young age, however, Fantilli’s ability to process the game and operate within it has placed him into a class of his own ahead of the 2020 OHL Priority Selection.
Developing an Offensive Dynamo
With Shane Wright awarded exceptional status by Hockey Canada ahead of the 2019-20 OHL season, Fantilli would appear to be a lock for first overall come the 2020 OHL Priority Selection. Sure, others will surely challenge Fantilli for the distinction, yet the youngster’s game could prove to be too well-rounded and dynamic for his Minor Midget colleagues to overcome.
As mentioned earlier, Fantilli is an explosive and purposeful skater — in fact, it is Fantilli’s skating which has come to define his game. Capable of meandering through opposing defences with relative ease, Fantilli relies on his superb edge-work and ample agility to give him an offensive edge. With separation speed and seemingly endless energy, Fantilli’s feet drive all components of his game.
What’s more is that in addition to his excellent footwork, Fantilli is an exceptional player-maker. As a forward who sees the ice well, Fantilli can move the puck to his teammates with confidence and regularly devises complex scoring opportunities. And, while Fantilli can drive the puck to the net himself, he stands as a much more versatile threat when he utilizes his teammates to his advantage.
One aspect of Fantilli’s game which will need to improve in the coming years, however, is the youngster’s on-ice discipline. Although he is as competitive as they come and determined to attain team success each and every time he steps onto the ice, Fantilli features a mean streak which can place him and his team into penalty trouble from time to time.
When able to reign in his aggression and direct it in a far more productive form, Fantilli stands as a boy amongst men despite being one of the youngest players on the ice and has the innate hockey sense and ability requisite of a top-tier OHL prospect and future NHL star.
The Years Ahead
While Fantilli is eligible for the 2020 OHL Priority Selection, there are no guarantees that he will take his talents to the OHL-level.
In the past, Fantilli has indicated his desire to play in the NCAA, and it goes without saying that there is surely substantial interest in his services south of the border. Although an NCAA commitment from Fantilli will likely not come until the 2020-21 season, he could select a destination much earlier given his proven potential as an elite prospect.
Most recently and following in his alleged interest to pursue an NCAA career, Fantilli walked away from the GTHL’s Toronto Jr. Canadiens in order to play alongside his brother Luca with Kimball Union Academy within the USHS-Prep circuit. Although his option to play in the OHL still remains, it appears increasingly likely that Fantilli will compete in the NCAA in the near future given his commitment to the USHL’s Chicago Steel for the 2020-21 campaign.