– Francesco Pinelli –
Toronto Red Wings (GTHL) | Center | 2019 OHL Draft Eligible
Stoney Creek, Ontario | 6-foot, 177-pounds
Francesco Pinelli is one of the most underrated prospects in the GTHL right now, largely as a result of his team’s position in the standings. The captain of the Toronto Red Wings, Pinelli is a terrific leader on and off the ice, leading by example through his unparalleled compete level and being vocal with his teammates throughout the game.
Related: Check out our 2019 OHL Draft Ranking: October Top-20
Pinelli centres the Red Wings top line and is consistently relied on in all situations and at both ends of the ice. He is a five-tool player who can accomplish any assignment from his coaches and has the offensive upside to suggest that he has more to contribute down the road. Pinelli is a smart, two-way center with excellent skating abilities and high-end puck skills.
- Playmaking & Vision
Pinelli is a player that all coaches would love to have on their side. He makes those around him better through his leadership abilities and tremendous hockey sense. Pinelli is a very smart center who plays a very responsible 200-foot game and generates offence by way of his innate offensive instincts. He is a strong skater with good lower-body strength that allows him to protect the puck with ease. Pinelli has impressive top-end speed and edgework, and often creates odd-man rushes by jumping into the rush.
First time seeing Francesco Pinelli AND Ryan Gillespie in the lineup at the same time for the ‘03 Red Wings.
…you’re not going to find many better 1-2 punches than that. #OHLDraft
— Priority Selection (@PrioritySelect) November 18, 2017
A creative thinker, Pinelli utilizes quick hands and impressive vision of the ice to become a dangerous playmaker. He can skate and move the puck into an area that creates passing lanes and thread tape-to-tape passes through skates and sticks. Pinelli loves to throw cross-ice passes on the power play that gift his teammates with tap-in goals.
Area of Improvement:
- Shot Accuracy
Francesco Pinelli has a powerful release on his snap shot that he can release in an instant to catch goaltenders off guard. However, his accuracy could use slight improvements, as he often fires the puck over the net in attempt to pick a corner. His shot has the strength and deceptiveness to be extremely dangerous if he were able to pick holes that are available more often.
Related: Check out the 2018 Toronto Titans Early Bird Tournament: Top-20 Performers
On a stronger team, Pinelli would likely be able to benefit in the goal department from better opportunities. However, he’s sometimes forced to play a “do-it-all” role with the Red Wings which often leads to making higher risk plays and trying to force shots while they’re available. However, Pinelli projects very well down the road as a potent two-way center who can lead his team’s forecheck.
Francesco Pinelli would undoubtedly be receiving more hype if he were suiting up for a top three team in the GTHL. In any case, he is the type of player who you can’t take your eyes off of and seems to create an eye-catching play each shift. Pinelli is a speedy and skilled center with natural leadership abilities, who should continue to climb the rankings as the season wears on.
Pinelli projects as a first-round pick for the 2019 OHL Draft, and could potentially climb into the top-10 if he maintains a consistent pace of play all year long.