2019 Whitby Silver Stick: The Top-15 Performers

With the 2019 Whitby Silver Stick Tournament in the books, we’ve highlighted our top-15 performers from the annual event. In short, prospects eligible for the 2020 OHL Priority Selection did not disappoint.

Ahead of the 2019 Whitby Silver Stick Tournament there were a plethora of teams who held legitimate championship aspirations. However, for most clubs those hopes and dreams were crushed almost immediately, as a quadruple of American teams travelled north of the border and dominated each and every one of their games in a resounding fashion. Although a handful of teams from Ontario faired well — namely the London Jr. Knights, Quinte Red Devils, and the Toronto Marlboros — they proved to be no match for their counterparts from the United States, as the tournament saw its first all-American final in its history.

With this being said, it should come as no surprise to learn that the majority of our top performers from the 2019 Whitby Silver Stick skate for teams based in the United States. In fact, of the 15 players which we have highlighted below, ten competed for teams based south of the border during the tournament — an incredible ratio which accurately reflects the ever-growing strength of hockey and player development in the U.S.A. Now, this is not to say that teams from throughout Canada and its players performed badly, but rather that this year’s OHL Draft class is more heavily laden with American talent than previously thought.

The Top-15 Performers

Now, with this being said, let’s take a look at 15 of the top performers from the 2019 Whitby Silver Stick Tournament. As mentioned above, 10 of these players compete for teams based in the United States — two of which being goaltenders who were downright dominant throughout the event.

Sam Alfano

2019-20 Team: Southern Tier Admirals

Tournament Statistics: 4GP: 4G, 9PTS

All throughout the Whitby Silver Stick, Sam Alfano continued to play at the level which has made him one of the top players in the SCTA this season. A towering force given his 6-foot-3 frame, Alfano routinely outworked his opposition and was able to drive puck possession for his team as a direct result. Moreover, Alfano didn’t hesitate to fire his hard and accurate shot on goal — a tendency which allowed him to score at a goal per game pace while collecting a slew of assists to boot.

Aaron Andrade

2019-20 Team: Toronto Titans

Tournament Statistics: 5GP: 3G, 8PTS

Aaron Andrade pushes the pace of play for the Toronto Titans whenever he takes to the ice, and such was exactly the case throughout the Whitby Silver Stick. Blessed with terrific size and an insatiable work ethic, Andrade fore-checked tirelessly and regularly forced turnovers which led to offensive opportunities for his teammates. Moreover, Andrade continued to prove that he isn’t afraid to go hard to the net by any means — a mentality which allowed Andrade to score three goals and finish in a tie for point-scoring on his team during the tournament.

Matthew Dimarsico

2019-20 Team: Pittsburgh Penguins Elite

Tournament Statistics: 5GP: 5G, 12PTS

The Pittsburgh Penguins Elite battled their way to a quarter-finals appearance in the 2019 Whitby Silver Stick, only to be defeated by the eventual tournament champion. However, reaching the quarter-finals surely would not have been made possible if not for the contributions put forth by Matthew Dimarsico — a wildly talented playmaker who can score his fair share of goals as well. This is exactly what Dimarsico did for the Penguins during the Whitby Silver Stick, as his excellent skating abilities and vision with the puck allowed him to pace his team’s offence while fuelling his teammates as well.

Evan Konyen

2019-20 Team: Pittsburgh Penguins Elite

Tournament Statistics: 5GP: 4G, 11PTS

Helping drive the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite to the quarter-finals of the Whitby Silver Stick alongside Matthew Dimarsico was Evan Konyen — an incredibly competitive forward who loves to score goals. And, Konyen did exactly that this tournament, bulging the twine one four different occasions for his club while factoring in another seven assists. Perhaps the most notable aspect of Konyen’s game aside from his offensive exploits was the youngster’s raw determination, as Konyen is a battler in every sense of the word who plays a team-oriented style of game.

Austin McNicholas

2019-20 Team: Buffalo Jr. Sabres

Tournament Statistics: 4GP: 1.88 G.A.A., 1SO

Austin McNicholas shut the door for the Buffalo Jr. Sabres throughout the 2019 Whitby Silver Stick, leading his team to a berth in the semi-finals in the process. Although he isn’t a towering goaltender by any means, McNicholas displayed a refined level of technicality and predictive thinking which allowed to him piece together a sparkling 1.88 G.A.A. over his four games played. Perhaps his most impressive performance came in a round-robin contest against the Southern-Tier Admirals, where McNicholas was absolutely stellar en route to a 1-0 shutout victory.

Max Namestnikov

2019-20 Team: Detroit Honeybaked

Tournament Statistics: 7GP: 6G, 13PTS

It’s quite clear that elite talent flows in the Namestnikov family bloodlines, as like his older brother Vladislav Namestnikov of the Ottawa Senators, Max is incredibly gifted and lethal when the puck is on his stick. All throughout the Whitby Silver Stick Namestnikov displayed a level of composure and tact typically reserved for a veteran of the game, routinely creating high-percentage scoring plays with ease while looking even more comfortable capitalizing upon those devised by himself or his fellow teammates. In short, despite his lack of size, Namestnikov established himself as a premier offensive player eligible for the 2020 OHL Draft.

Frank Nazar

2019-20 Team: Detroit Honeybaked

Tournament Statistics: 7GP: 8G, 15PTS

Frank Nazar of Detroit Honeybaked led the 2019 Whitby Silver Stick in both goal scoring and points, so his inclusion within our list of top performers goes without question. However, Nazar was far more than a deadly offensive force for his team, as the youngster played each and every game with passion and pace while putting forth a consistent effort in the process. With solid size and as an agile skater, Nazar solidified his status as a top prospect eligible for the 2020 OHL Draft through his effort in the Whitby Silver Stick tournament.

Andrew Oke – G

2019-20 Team: Detroit Honeybaked

Tournament Statistics: 5GP: 1.50 G.A.A.

To win any major tournament at the Minor Midget level requires stellar offensive play, steady defending and consistent goaltending. Fortunately for Detroit Honeybaked, they checked all three boxes with ease as they were backstopped by a composed and competent netminder in Andrew Oke. Boasting solid size, quick lateral movements and the ability to find the puck through traffic, Oke posted a 1.50 G.A.A. through his five games played — all of which were integral on Honeybaked’s route to the tournament championship.

Chase Pietila – D

2019-20 Team: Detroit Honeybaked

Tournament Statistics: 7GP: 1G, 8PTS

Championship teams are built from the crease outwards, and in addition to Andrew Oke in goal Detroit Honeybaked boasted one of the tournament’s most prolific offensive defencemen in Chase Pietila. Of solid stand given his 6-foot, 170-pound frame, Pietila displayed innate two-way abilities throughout the Whitby Silver Stick Tournament, regularly securing his own zone before making crisp outlet passes to his fellow teammates. Once on the move up ice, Pietila regularly jumped into the rush and positioned himself tactfully in order to supplement his team’s attach — a reason behind his eight points in just seven games played.

Lucas Ross

2019-20 Team: Pittsburgh Penguins Elite

Tournament Statistics: 5GP: 6G, 10PTS

Lucas Ross is a highly competitive and lethal offensive player who brings his A-game each an every time he takes to the ice. And, during the Whitby Silver Stick, such was once again exactly the case — Ross displayed tremendous work-ethic and was rewarded for his efforts with six goals and ten points come to the end of the tournament. Known for his ability to bulge the twine, Ross ripped his shot on goal with authority and proved that he isn’t afraid to go hard to the net in search of rebounds.

Cole Sheffield – G

2019-20 Team: London Jr. Knights

Tournament Statistics: 2GP: 2W, 2SO

The London Jr. Knights fought their way to the quarter-finals of the 2019 Whitby Silver Stick, and goaltender Cole Sheffield was nothing other than perfect along the way. In his two games played, Sheffield shut the door with back to back shutouts — outcomes which gave the Jr. Knights shutout performances in three of their five total games played. However, it was the manner in which Sheffield stifled his opponents which was the most impressive, as the youngster proved himself as a technically sound netminder who remains calm and composed under pressure.

Spencer Sova – D

2019-20 Team: Detroit Honeybaked

Tournament Statistics: 7GP: 6G, 9PTS

Complete, well-rounded defencemen don’t come around often, but Spencer Sova could be exactly that. During the 2019 Whitby Silver Stick, Sova dominated at both ends of the ice. Not only was he able to dismantle plays devised by his opposition owing to his agility and strength defensively, but Sova also stood as a dynamic offensive force on the blue line as well. Boasting a booming shot and one which he can force through traffic, Sova slammed home a whopping six goals and nine points from his perch on the point — a total which dwarfed his fellow defenders by a substantial margin.

Brady Stonehouse

2019-20 Team: Elgin Middlesex Chiefs

Tournament Statistics: 4GP: 4G, 7PTS

Despite a stunning start by he and his fellow teammates, Brady Stonehouse and the Elgin Middlesex Chiefs were unable to advance past the round-robin. Although this outcome was surely a disappointing one for the Chiefs, Stonehouse’s personal performance was nothing other than impressive. In addition to leading his team in goal and point scoring during the Whitby Silver Stick, Stonehouse also lead his team in penalty minutes by a wide margin — a total which displayed his willingness to play up to the line and sometimes beyond it.

Trent Swick

2019-20 Team: Southern Tier Admirals

Tournament Statistics: 4GP: 2G, 7PTS

Alongside Sam Alfano, Trent Swick was a force for the Southern Tier Admirals. Although his team didn’t advance past the round-robin, Swick did everything in his power to prolong his team’s play. As a well-rounded and reliable two way player, Swick regularly safe-guarded his own zone and was sure that his team was in possession of the puck before departing his defensive zone. Once established in the attacking end of the ice, Swick displayed his ample agility and on-ice intelligence, routinely making calculated passes to his teammates before moving himself to high-percentage goal-scoring locations — a reason behind his two goals and seven assists during the event.

Cam Vansickle

2019-20 Team: Detroit Honeybaked

Tournament Statistics: 7GP: 6G, 12PTS

To say that Camron VanSickle is a force on the ice would be a dramatic understatement. At the age of 15-years, VanSickle already weighs in at a jaw-dropping 195-pounds and stands 6-foot-1 tall. As a direct result, VanSickle doesn’t hesitate to through his weight around on the ice — a reality which was on full display throughout the 2019 Whitby Silver Stick. However, VanSickle proved himself as far more than an intimidating force, as the youngster also boasts refined skill — he posted six goals and 12 assists in his seven contests for Honeybaked.

Five Honourable Mentions

Because there were too many impressive performances from the Whitby Silver Stick to detail above, here are an additional five players who caught our eye throughout the event who should be watched closely ahead of the 2020 OHL Draft.

  • Owen Baker (Detroit HoneyBaked – 7GP: 6G, 9PTS)
  • Isaiah George (Toronto Marlboros – 5GP: 2G, 6PTS)
  • Mikael Kingo (Vaughan Kings – 2W, 2SO)
  • Ty Nelson (Toronto Jr. Canadiens – 4GP: 1G, 4PTS)
  • Dalyn Wakely (Quinte Red Devils – 6GP: 2G, 6PTS)

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