10 OHL Rookies to Watch in 2021-22

The OHL is back, and the 2021-22 season will introduce two rookie classes to the league — but which players will make the biggest impact with their new team’s?

The OHL is set to return on October 7th, 2021 — marking the official end of a long and painful layoff enforced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Because the 2020-21 OHL campaign was unfortunately cancelled, there is a wealth of storylines to follow as we enter the regular season. Perhaps the most notable storyline of all will be the immense influx of young talent into the league this campaign. Since last season was lost, it means that two rookie classes are set to enter the OHL this season — those born in 2004 and 2005 (with the exception of Shane Wright, of course).

With this being said, there will be an incredible number of youngsters eager to make their mark at the OHL-level this campaign. At the top of the list is none other than Ty Nelson, the first-overall choice in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection who has waited more than a year to take to the ice with the North Bay Battalion. Then there is the 2021 OHL Priority Selection’s first overall choice, Quentin Musty — a power-forward poised to follow in the footsteps of another stellar Quinton who leap-frogged through Sudbury on his way to the Los Angeles Kings in 2020-21.

Ty Nelson has waited more than a year to hit the ice with the North Bay Battalion after being selected first overall in the 2020 OHL Draft. (Photo: Tim Cornett)

So, while we all know that Nelson and Musty will make an immediate impact this season, what other prospects chosen within the past two OHL Drafts could make the biggest splash in their rookie campaigns? Here are ten young players who we expect to explode as they step onto the OHL stage this season, listed in alphabetical order:

10 Rookies to Watch This Season

Colby Barlow

2021-22 Team: Owen Sound Attack

As one of the most talented 2005-born prospects around, it came as a surprise to see Colby Barlow fall to the Owen Sound Attack at eighth-overall in the 2021 OHL Priority Selection. Barlow owns impeccable hockey sense, refined puck skills and the ability to be a force at both ends of the ice on a nightly basis. What’s more is that Barlow has great size and strength for a player of his age — a fact which should allow him to step directly in the Attack’s top-six come opening night.

Jorian Donovan

2021-22 Team: Hamilton Bulldogs

The second defenceman chosen in the 2020 OHL Draft, Jorian Donovan will be counted upon to play major minutes for the Hamilton Bulldogs in his rookie season in the OHL. Fortunately for Donovan, he boasts all of the skills and abilities necessary to allow for a smooth and easy transition. As a tremendous skater with great size, Donovan will be able to showcase his premier shut down abilities in his defensive end this coming campaign and will surely come to playing an impactful offensive role as well. While he likely won’t see considerable time on the Bulldogs’ first power play unit to begin the season, expect Donovan to have a firm grasp on the role come the end of the season.

David Goyette

2021-22 Team: Sudbury Wolves

After dominating the HEO and setting the minor hockey circuit in the U.S. ablaze as a member of Selects Academy, David Goyette will make his long awaited return to Canada this season with the Sudbury Wolves. Although there was a fair deal of uncertainty revolving his selection in the 2020 OHL Draft, Goyette was nabbed by the Wolves and now stands poised to be one of their best players this coming season. Boasting blazing speed, ample agility and the innate hockey sense necessary to keep opposing defenders on their toes, Goyette could very well prove to be one of the best players chosen in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection — if not the best in a few years’ time.

Zakary Lavoie

2021-22 Team: Mississauga Steelheads

Despite being neglected by Hockey Canada in recent international events, Zakary Lavoie stands poised to enjoy a terrific rookie campaign with the Mississauga Steelheads this coming season. Lavoie is a strong and stable skater known for his tactile edge work who can make an impact at both ends of the ice. However, where is most deadly comes in the offensive zone, as Lavoie owns a lethal shot and the vision necessary to create high-percentage scoring chances for his team. Don’t be surprised if Lavoie sees regular time within the Steelheads’ top-six this season as well as on their first powerplay unit this season.

Paul Ludwinski

2021-22 Team: Kingston Frontenacs

If you’re looking for a strong two-way player who excels in each and every facet of the game, look no further than Paul Ludwinski. The fifth-overall selection in the 2020 OHL Draft, Ludwinski plays a refined and highly detailed 200-foot game — an ability which allows him to thrive in all situations on the ice. Whether he is killing a penalty or contributing to a power play, Ludwinski finds ways in which to be productive while helping to improve the play of his fellow teammates in the process. A natural leader and deadly offensive player, Ludwinski’s game is eerily similar to that of another star centre which the Frontenacs are fortunate to ice.

Bryce McConnell-Barker

2021-22 Team: Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds

The 2019-20 Alliance Player of the Year, Bryce McConnell-Barker stands poised to play a major role within the Greyhounds’ top-six this season. With great size and strength, McConnell-Barker is a difficult player to shutdown who is seemingly impossible to knock off of the puck. Moreover, he owns a stellar shot and the ability to score goals in a variety of ways — hence why he was able to score 29 goals in his 33 regular season games played with the London Jr. Knights in his U16 season. As a well-rounded centre who oozes consistency and the makings of a professional player, expect steady production from McConnell-Barker in his rookie OHL campaign.

Max Namestnikov

2021-22 Team: Sarnia Sting

Although the Sarnia Sting will boast a young team this coming season, it will be one that is not only highly skilled but incredibly competitive. Set to lead the way for the new-look Sting is none other than Max Namestnikov — the club’s third overall selection in the 2020 OHL Draft. Well known for his refined skill-set and lethality when the puck is on his stick, Namestnikov is a raw and dangerous offensive player who can fill the score sheet with startling regularity when he is at his best. The main knock on Namestnikov has long been his lack of size and strength, however, the youngster now stands a whopping 25-pounds heavier than he did one year ago — a transition which should allow him to stand as a formidable force in his upcoming rookie season.

Sasha Pastujov

2021-22 Team: Guelph Storm

Despite being drafted by the Guelph Storm in the 2019 OHL Draft, Sasha Pastujov headed south of the border and competed with the U.S. Development Program for the past two seasons. In those two campaigns, Pastujov further established himself as a premier offensive player — totalling 65 points in 41 games played this past season alongside an impressive 26 points in 18 USHL contests. With great size, strength, playmaking skills and the ability to score timely goals, Pastujov — a third-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks in the 2021 NHL Draft — should enjoy a seamless transition to the OHL-level with Guelph.

Carson Rehkopf

2021-22 Team: Kitchener Rangers

During the 2021 OHL Draft, many organizations were unsure of whether or not Carson Rehkopf would opt for the major-junior route if selected. As a result, he fell outside of the top-ten despite being one of the most talented forwards eligible for selection. However, the Kitchener Rangers decided to take a chance on Rehkopf, and it was a gamble which paid immediate dividends. Now committed to the Rangers for the 2021-22 season, Rehkopf will join a highly skilled Rangers roster laden with NHL prospects and depth at every position on the ice. If afforded with ample playing time as well as opportunities in different situations, Rehkopf should be able to total a significant offensive output while quickly becoming one of Kitchener’s top players in the process.

Calum Ritchie

2021-22 Team: Oshawa Generals

Did the Oshawa Generals select the best player available in the 2021 OHL Draft with the second overall selection? Well, although time will tell, there is no question that the Generals added an elite two-way centre to their roster. A deadly offensive player, Ritchie can score goals as well as create them and boasts an innate level of hockey sense typically reserved for high-end NHL prospects. What’s more is that Ritchie often plays an important role in his own zone as well, using his size and strength to assist his defenders in stealing the puck from his opposition before transitioning possession up ice to his fellow forwards. In short, expect Ritchie to have an instant and substantial impact with the Generals this season alongside Ty Tullio and Brett Harrison — we could be talking about the 2021-22 Rookie of the Year in a few months’ time.

Five Honourable Mentions

Sam Alfano

2021-22 Team: Peterborough Petes

Don’t be surprised if Alfano jumps directly into the Petes’ top-six to begin his rookie season. The 6-foot-3 winger and former SCTA Player of the Year is a deadly offensive player who played at a two point-per-game pace in his most recent season with the Southern Tier Admirals.

Pano Fimis

2021-22 Team: Niagara IceDogs

The second-overall choice in the 2020 OHL Draft will be given every opportunity to succeed with the Niagara IceDogs this season. A blue-collar, hard-working player who plays a full 200-foot game, Fimis will surely enjoy ample power-play time considerable even-strength ice time as he acclimates himself to the OHL-level.

Isaiah George

2021-22 Team: London Knights

The London Knights did what the London Knights do in the 2020 OHL Draft, nabbing Isaiah George in the fourth-round at 68th overall. The former Toronto Marlboros star was projected to be chosen in the first-round with ease, but a lack of clarity regarding the direction of his playing future allowed the Knights to secure his rights. Expect the strong and steady George to play a major role with the Knights this season.

Cedric Guindon

2021-22 Team: Owen Sound Attack

The HEO Player of the Year in 2019-20, Cedric Guindon is a formidable offensive force who can be relied upon to play a responsible and disciplined game at both ends of the ice. An equally talented playmaker and goal-scorer, expect Guindon to quickly develop into a jack of all trades for the Attack.

Hunter Haight

2021-22 Team: Barrie Colts

As one of the 2020 OHL Draft’s most lethal goal scorers, expect Haight to pick up right where he left off as a member of the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs this season. Haight is a natural goal-scorer who can pot the puck in a variety of ways — moreover, he can act as a playmaker when opposing defenders place too much emphasis on his ability to shoot the puck.


Mississauga Steelheads: 5 Storylines to Follow in 2019-20

Although the Mississauga Steelheads are a team in transition, the ‘Trout’ are loaded with elite young talent eager to take their team to the next level. What are the keys to the Steelheads competing in the OHL’s Eastern Conference in 2019-20? Find out, here.

The Mississauga Steelheads are a team in transition, as the club has taken a significant step backwards since it reached the OHL Final during the 2016-17 season.

However, this step backwards is simply cyclical, as the vast majority of the Steelheads’ former top players have now moved on to professional careers or other organizations in the OHL — a reality which has placed considerable emphasis on Mississauga’s top young prospects. Fortunately for the Steelheads, a number of these young prospects have quickly begun to leave lasting impressions at the major-junior level — with Thomas Harley, Keean Washkurak, and Cole Schwindt being the latest of which.

As a result, it should come as little surprise to learn that the Steelheads will likely fit into the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference this coming season. However, if able to receive stellar goaltending, substantial contributions from their incoming prospects, and consistency from their veteran players, the Steelheads could rather easily give an opponent a run for their money in the opening round of the 2020 OHL Playoffs.

Five Storylines to Follow in 2019-20

If Mississauga wishes to surpass the first round of the playoffs for just the second time in their eight year history, they’ll need to receive overwhelming contributions from a handful of very particular players. If able to draw stellar season’s from the likes of Washkurak, Schwindt, Harley and Ranger, the Steelheads could prove to be somewhat of a surprise in the Eastern Conference in 2019-20.

Let’s dive into more detail.

1. Can Keean Washkurak Take Charge of the Steelheads?

A second round choice of the Steelheads in the 2017 OHL Draft, Keean Washkurak has become a staple within Mississauga’s lineup over the past two OHL seasons. Known for his blistering speed and unrelenting work ethic, Washkurak is the definition of a team player who will do whatever it takes to ensure success for his team on a nightly basis. Whether it is dropping the gloves to stand up for a teammate or scoring a timely goal to seal a win, Washkurak is more than capable.

Keean Washkurak of the Mississauga Steelheads. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
Washkurak’s hard-working nature and raw ability could land him the captaincy in the years ahead. (Photo Credit: Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

It is this broad skill set and wide range of capabilities which led directly to Washkurak’s selection in the 2019 NHL Draft. Nabbed by the St. Louis Blues in the fifth-round of the event, Washkurak’s speed, adaptability, and hard-working nature proved far too valuable for the reigning Stanley Cup champions to pass upon. Now, as Washkurak prepares to skate in his third OHL campaign for the Steelheads, Head Coach James Richmond will be looking for the youngster to take the next step as an offensive player as well as as a leader. With premium ice time up for grabs in Mississauga, Washkurak has earned the opportunity to seize the role of first line centre-ice man.

Now, can Washkaruk succeed in the role and overcome his opposition’s top talent on a nightly basis? Only time will tell.

2. Can Cole Schwindt the Next Step?

Although widely projected to be chosen in the later rounds of the 2019 NHL Draft, Cole Schwindt heard his name called in the third round — 81st overall — by the Florida Panthers. While this came as somewhat of a surprise to many, the Panthers were clearly smitten with the package which Schwindt brings to the ice on a nightly basis. Standing 6-foot-2 and tipping the scale at 185-pounds, Schwindt is a sturdy winger who can protect the puck with ease and drive possession for his team.

In 2019-20, Schwindt will set out to prove why he was chosen in the third-round of the 2019 NHL Draft. (Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

What’s more is that in addition to his physicality, Schwindt features soft hands, a deceptive shot, and a high level of on-ice intelligence. These abilities led directly to a 31 point improvement for Schwindt in his sophomore season of play with Mississauga, a trend which proved far to valuable for the Panthers to ignore. However, Schwindt’s selection in the third round of the NHL Draft has also created an air of expectation, as the native Kitchener, Ontario will surely return to the Steelheads in 2019-20 with a great deal to prove. If able to continue his upward offensive trend while strengthening his impressive two-way play, Mississauga could very well feature one of the OHL’s most well-rounded players.

3. Will James Hardie Evolve into an Elite Goal Scorer?

James Hardie has long been regarded as a goal-scoring machine, as the youngster scored 40 goals in his Bantam season and 41 goals in his Minor Midget campaign prior to his selection in the first round of the 2018 OHL Draft by the Steelheads. And, not surprisingly, Hardie’s ability to bulge the twine was on full display in his rookie season, as the native of Innisfil, Ontario netted 15 goals in 62 regular season contests despite being provided with sheltered playing time on his team’s fourth-line.

James Hardie of the Mississauga Steelheads. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
An increase in playing time could see Hardie light the lamp with impressive regularity. (Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.)

Which other Steelheads player scored 15 goals in his rookie season? Owen Tippett.

Now, this is not to say that Hardie and Tippett are similar players — both play different styles — however, Hardie could certainly become as potent as Tippett given his heavy shot and innate nose for the net. What’s more is that given the lack of depth present within Mississauga’s roster this upcoming season, Hardie could very well earn ample playing time in a variety of different on-ice situations — a reality which could lead to a sharp increase in his offensive productivity ahead of the 2020 NHL Draft.

4. Can Mississauga’s 2019 OHL Draft Class Contribute?

Despite not holding a second round pick in the 2019 OHL Draft, the Steelheads were still able to select a number of promising young prospects — a handful of which could play impactful roles at the OHL-level this coming campaign. The most intriguing of which is none other than Ethan Del Mastro, an intimidating young defender who was the team’s first round selection and the 12th overall choice. Of great size and a smooth skater, Del Mastro plays a quiet yet effective two-way game defined by his poise and composure while in possession of the puck.

Del Mastro, Ethan of the Toronto Marlboros. Photo by Dan Hickling OHL Images
Del Mastro has all the makings of a sturdy shut-down defender at the OHL-level — now, can he diversify his game? (Photo by Dan Hickling OHL Images)

In addition to Del Mastro are Luca Del Bel Belluz and Chas Sharpe — two third-round selections who both hold promising futures in Mississauga. Del Bel Belluz — a native of Woodbridge, Ontario — boasts tantalizing one-on-one skill and the smooth hands necessary to dangle defenders and create highlight-reel offensive opportunities. Sharpe — a towering young defender — plays the game with a sense of purpose and has the ability to contribute offence from the blue line when the situation demands. If able to receive somewhat consistent contributions from the likes of Del Mastro, Del Bel Belluz, and Sharpe, Mississauga’s roster could be much deeper than initially thought.

5. Will Joe Ranger Battle for the Starting Role in Goal?

When the Steelheads traded Jacob Ingham to the Kitchener Rangers this offseason, it opened up a significant void in the team’s crease. As a result, General Manager Richmond nabbed Kai Edmonds from the Barrie Colts — a towering goaltender who had battled for playing time in Barrie over his last two seasons in the OHL. Born in 2000 and with over 50 OHL games played under his belt, Edmonds will surely be handed the reigns to begin the 2019-20 campaign.

Joe Ranger of the Mississauga Steelheads Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images
Joe Ranger could develop into a dependable goaltender for the Steelheads if able to attain consistency. (Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images)

However, Edmonds’ status as the starting goaltender is far from set in stone, as the Steelheads boast other young netminders ready to battle for playing time like Ingham did upon his arrival. One of which is Joe Ranger, a fourth-round choice of the Steelheads in the 2018 OHL Draft who played surprisingly well in his 15 appearances with the team last season. A natural athlete whose passion for the game is unmatched, Ranger could very well push Edmonds for the starting role if able to attain consistency early in his sophomore campaign — he, and Justin Dilauro, stand as the future of the team’s crease.

The Top 2002-Born OHLers to Watch in 2019-20

The 2020 NHL Draft will be loaded with elite talent, and a great deal of which will come from the Ontario Hockey League. In fact, the 2002-born group of OHL prospects is one of the strongest classes which they league has ever developed. So, which players should you keep an eye on throughout the 2019-20 OHL campaign? Look no further.

The upcoming 2020 NHL Entry Draft — and the first round in particular — will be absolutely loaded with elite talent from the Ontario Hockey League.

In fact, the 2002-born class of OHL prospects is one of the strongest crops which the league has produced in quite some time, as there are prospects at each position of the ice who hold the potential to become star players at the NHL level. Up front stand the likes of Quinton Byfield, Cole Perfetti, Jacob Perreault and Antonio Stranges, while defenders by the names of Jamie Drysdale, Lleyton Moore, and Donovan Sebrango can protect as well as attack. In goal there is Tristan Lennox, a netminder widely regarded as the top Canadian goaltending prospect in decades — although, he is not eligible until the 2021 NHL Draft.

The 2018 OHL Priority Selection featured one of the deepest draft classes in league history. (Photo Credit: Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

In short, there will be a plethora of young talent on display throughout the OHL this coming season, with a number of top NHL prospects set to display their skill in local barns throughout Ontario and into the U.S. However, are you unsure of which teams to target and which players to watch this coming campaign?

Don’t fret, we’ve got you covered.

Below, you’ll meet the top 2002-born players to watch this coming OHL season and learn about their past success’ and exactly what abilities make them unique. Further, we’ve listed an additional five prospects to monitor throughout the coming season, as these honourable mentions could develop into first round talents come to the end of the 2019-20 OHL season.

The Top-10 2002-Born Players to Watch

Here are, arguably, the top ten 2002-born prospects set to grace OHL ice this coming season.

Below, you’ll find what team each prospect played for in 2018-19, their respective statistics, as well as where each youngster will need to improve — if at all — if they wish to take the next step forward in their personal developments.

Quinton Byfield

2018-19 Team: Sudbury Wolves

2018-19 Statistics: 64GP: 29G, 61PTS

Although Alexis Lafreniere is widely expected to be chosen first overall in the 2020 NHL Draft, Quinton Byfield holds the skill and ability to challenge Lafreniere for the prestigious distinction. A towering centre given his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame, Byfield is blessed with terrific size and knows exactly how to use it at both ends of the ice in order to benefit the Sudbury Wolves. What’s more, however, is the fact that Byfield is a tremendous skater in addition to his size, as the youngster features a smooth stride and explosive acceleration.

Quinton Byfield of the Sudbury Wolves. (Photo Credit: CHL Images)

It is Byfield’s size, skating stride, and natural offensive abilities which will make him a player worth watching throughout the 2019-20 OHL campaign. A ferocious competitor, Byfield displayed the ability to lead his team single-handedly as a rookie and will surely stand substantially improved in his sophomore campaign. In addition to Byfield’s blistering offensive game and of note is the youngster’s two-way play, as the native of Newmarket, Ontario is surprisingly responsible and strong within his defensive end.

Will Cuylle

2018-19 Team: Windsor Spitfires

2018-19 Statistics: 63GP: 26G, 41PTS

In his rookie season with the Windsor Spitfires in 2018-19, Wil Cuylle took significant strides in justifying his trade from the Peterborough Petes. Across his initial 63 regular season games played in the OHL, Cuylle posted 26 goals and 41 points — a total which stood as the sixth highest output on the Spitfires’ roster. Now, with the 2019-20 campaign rapidly approaching, Cuylle will look to further establish himself as one of the top young power-forwards in the league.

Will Cuylle of the Windsor Spitfires. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Boasting a 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame, Cuylle has the size necessary to command and protect the puck in the offensive zone. Having created separation from his opponents, Cuylle features a deceptive yet crisp shot which has the ability to beat goaltenders cleanly in the blink of an eye. Further, Cuylle is not afraid to go to the net in search of rebounds or loose pucks — a willingness which makes him a versatile and incredibly potent goal-scoring threat on a nightly basis.

Jamie Drysdale

2018-19 Team: Erie Otters

2018-19 Statistics: 63GP: 7G, 40 PTS

As an absolute stud during his tenure with the Toronto Marlboros of the GTHL, the Erie Otters knew exactly what the were getting when they selected Jamie Drysdale fourth-overall in the 2018 OHL Draft. A confident and smooth-skating defender, Drysdale acclimated to the OHL-level with little issue in his rookie season — hammering home seven goals and a whopping 33 assists in the process. The one blemish on Drysdale’s initial OHL campaign? A sour -24 plus/minus rating which stood as the poorest mark on his team.

Jamie Drysdale of the Erie Otters. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Jamie Drysdale of the Erie Otters. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

However, come the 2019-20 season, expect Drysdale to take to the ice as a dramatically improved two-way player. Already one of the best 2002-born defencemen in the nation, greater size and strength accumulated this past offseason should lead Drysdale to improved play at both ends of the ice. Defensively, greater strength and speed will allow Drysdale to seize the puck and fuel his team’s transition game more so than before, while an increased level of confidence alongside experience will see Drysdale become a lethal threat on the opposing blue line.

Jean-Luc Foudy

2018-19 Team: Windsor Spifires

2018-19 Statistics: 63GP: 8G, 49 PTS

Jean-Luc Foudy took the OHL by surprise in 2018-19, as the former tenth-overall selection quickly became a consistent offensive force in his rookie campaign with the Windsor Spitfires. A former standout with the Toronto Titans of the GTHL, Foudy put his playmaking abilities on full display this past season — accumulating 41 assists against eight goals scored. The driving factors behind Foudy’s playmaking prowess are his vision and confidence when in possession of the puck — two traits which allow Foudy to excel with impressive consistency.

Jean-Luc Foudy of the Windsor Spitfires. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Jean-Luc Foudy of the Windsor Spitfires. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

As Foudy takes to the ice in his second season with the Spitfires, it goes without saying that these traits will be once again amplified owing to the considerable success which he enjoyed as a rookie. If able to continuously dissect opposing defences and set up his equally skilled teammates in the process, don’t be surprised if Foudy joins his older brother Liam as a first round NHL Draft pick.

Tristan Lennox

2018-19 Team: Saginaw Spirit

2018-19 Statistics: 15GP: 2.79GAA, .907% SVP

The OHL is regularly loaded with elite young talent, however, no goaltender will be more valuable this upcoming season than Tristan Lennox of the Saginaw Spirit. Although he isn’t a towering presence in-goal, Lennox is a sizeable netminder who commands his crease with both confidence and poise. The one aspect of Lennox’s game which truly separates him from his competition is the youngster’s raw athleticism, as the native of Mississauga, Ontario features explosive movements and lightning-quick reflexes.

Tristan Lennox of the Saginaw Spirit. Photo by Natalie Shaver/OHL Images

In his rookie campaign with the Spirit, Lennox appeared in 15 regular season games as well as seven playoff contests. Although defined as Saginaw’s backup goaltender during the regular season, Lennox was thrust into the starting role in the postseason when Arizona Coyotes prospect Ivan Prosvetov fell victim to an unfortunate suspension. Despite facing an excellent foe in the eventual OHL champion Guelph Storm, Lennox was simply brilliant and single-handedly held the Spirit in their third-round matchup until the bitter end. In short, Lennox will be one of the top goaltenders in the OHL in 2019-20.

The most impressive fact? Lennox isn’t eligible for the NHL Draft until the 2020-21 season.

Logan Morrison

2018-19 Team: Hamilton Bulldogs

2018-19 Statistics: 47GP, 14G, 34PTS

Although he missed a considerable portion of the 2018-19 OHL campaign due to injury, Logan Morrison stands poised to breakout in his sophomore season. Across his 47 games played with the Bulldogs as a rookie, Morrison potted 14 goals and collected a total of 34 points — an output which stood as the ninth-most amongst all OHL rookies. Nabbed by the Bulldogs in the first round of the 2018 OHL Draft, Morrison features a versatile two-way skill set which should allow Hamilton to flourish this upcoming campaign.

Forward #9 Logan Morrison of the Hamilton Bulldogs
(Photo Credit: Brandon Taylor/OHL Images)

What’s more is that given the subtractions from the Bulldogs’ roster ahead of the 2019-20 season, Morrison will surely receive ample playing time in his first year of NHL Draft eligibility. If able to maintain his health while generating chemistry with his pre-existing line mates as well as new teammates, Morrison could rise significantly within respective draft rankings ahead of the NHL’s 2020 event.

Cole Perfetti

2018-19 Team: Saginaw Spirit

2018-19 Statistics: 63GP: 37G, 74PTS

Despite blasting home 37 goals and an OHL-best 74 points as a freshman, Cole Perfetti was unable to capture the Emms Family Award in 2018-19 as the league’s Rookie of the Year. Not only was this decision highly controversial, but it will undoubtedly serve as additional motivation for Perfetti as he embarks upon his sophomore season in the OHL. Come the 2019-20 campaign, expect Perfetti to be as explosive and productive offensively as he was in his initial year of play at the major-junior level.

Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit. Photo by Natalie Shaver/OHL Images
Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit. Photo by Natalie Shaver/OHL Images

Although his supporting cast in Saginaw this coming season will arguably be weaker than it was in 2018-19, Perfetti’s jaw-dropping vision, composure with the puck, and ability to play a complete two-way game should lead to a wealth of success for the native of Whitby, Ontario. Drafted by the Spirit with the fifth-overall selection in the 2018 OHL Draft, it is without question that Perfetti held the talent to be chosen second-overall — technicalities, however, led Perfetti to Saginaw and on the road to an incredible OHL career.

Jacob Perreault

2018-19 Team: Sarnia Sting

2018-19 Statistics: 63GP: 30G, 55PTS

Jacob Perreault’s rookie campaign in the OHL was simply sensational, as the 18th overall selection in the 2018 OHL Draft burst onto the scene in Sarnia and became an instant difference maker. Founded upon his strong frame, skating strength, and natural two-way abilities, Perreault quickly became a staple within the Sting’s attack owing to his owing to his vision and goal scoring prowess. Come to the end of the 2018-10 season, Perreault had hammered home 30 goals alongside 25 assists — an output which afforded him 55 points on the year.

Jacob Perreault of the Sarnia Sting. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images
Jacob Perreault of the Sarnia Sting. (Photo Credit: Luke Durda/OHL Images)

Come the 2019-20 season, expect Perreault to take yet another substantial step forward in his personal development. Sure to return to Sarnia stronger, faster, and more deadly, Perreault holds the ability to become not only a consistent goal-scorer but an elite centre-man to boot. Not afraid to mix things up physically either, Perreault’s team-oriented approach should bode well for a Sting roster soon to be laden with electrifying young talent.

Antonio Stranges

2018-19 Team: London Knights

2018-19 Statistics: 66GP: 13G, 34PTS

Could Antonio Stranges be the next coming of Mitch Marner in London?

Well, based upon Stranges’ elite puck-handling skills and creativity while in possession, it certainly goes without saying that he has the potential to do so. Although his rookie season with the Knights wasn’t exactly blistering — 13 goals and 34 points in 66 regular season contests — Stranges regularly displayed the jaw-dropping talent requisite of a future star player at the NHL-level. Now, as he enters into his sophomore campaign in the OHL, the question facing Stranges will be whether or not he can elevate his game.

Antonio Stranges of the London Knights. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images
(Photo Credit: Luke Durda/OHL Images)

If the past is any evidence in this regard, expect Stranges to explode this upcoming season. Sure to garner greater and more consistent playing time in a variety of situations, Stranges should quickly become a staple within the Knights’ offensive attack capable of creating and scoring goals in the blink of an eye. Although he is widely expected to be chosen in the late-first to early-second round of the upcoming 2020 NHL Draft, Stranges’ elite skill-set could push his stock much higher than initially anticipated.

Tyler Tullio

2018-19 Team: Oshawa Generals

2018-19 Statistics: 60GP: 15G, 42PTS

A former teammate of Perfetti while skating for the Vaughan Kings of the GTHL, Ty Tullio burst onto the OHL scene for the Oshawa Generals in 2018-19 and enjoyed a surprisingly productive campaign. Drafted by the Generals with the 11th overall selection in the 2018 OHL Draft, Tullio jumped into Oshawa’s lineup and immediately became a versatile offensive threat. Come to the end of his rookie season, Tullio had netted 15 goals and 42 points — an output which ranked as the eighth-best within a deep Generals’ roster.

Tyler Tullio of the Oshawa Generals. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Although concerns surrounding his size have long lingered, Tullio has cast aside any and all doubters owing to his impressive play over the past few years. Sure to return to the ice in 2019-20 faster and stronger than in his rookie season, Tullio will have the opportunity to develop into a vastly underrated two-way star alongside his equally talented teammates. If able to take lofty step forward in his personal progression, Tullio will stand as a hidden gem within the upcoming 2020 NHL Draft.

Five Honourable Mentions to Monitor

Although they aren’t as high profile per se as the prospects listed above, these five prospects are glowing with NHL potential. If able to enjoy successful sophomore seasons, these five youngsters could quite easily be considered as first round talent come the 2020 NHL Draft.

Butler quickly became a goal scoring threat in his rookie campaign with the Petes, and could very well score 25+ in his second season in Peterborough.

Although he played sheltered minutes in 2018-19, Hardie still managed to light the lamp with consistency — he should become a fixture offensively in Mississauga this season.

Traded to Oshawa by the Niagara IceDogs last season, Moore is a terrific skater who can process the game at an elite level. Expect him to log major minutes on the Generals’ blue line.

The late first round pick stepped into the Greyhounds’ lineup as a rookie and had an instant impact. Solid in his own zone, expect O’Rouke’s offensive output to grow as a sophomore.

Sebrango was a pleasant surprise for the Rangers as a rookie, providing offence while limiting his opposition. Expect him to flourish alongside increased playing time in 2019-20.

Barrie Colts: 5 Storylines to Follow in 2019-20

Despite missing the postseason in 2018-19, the Barrie Colts’ future remains incredibly bright and loaded with elite young talent. In this article, we’ve proposed five storylines which will be critical to the Colts’ success this coming season.

Despite a red-hot start to their 2018-19 campaign, the Barrie Colts struggled down the stretch and wound up missing the post-season.

Skating to a 26-38-4 record, the Colts were hampered by a slew of injuries throughout their most recent season — one which also saw a number of long-time Colts and fan favourites traded out of town ahead of the deadline. These transactions significantly decreased the experience and average age of Barrie’s lineup, as the Colts went on to ice the youngest team in the OHL in 2018-19.

Justin Murray of the Barrie Colts. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
The departure of team captain Justin Murray this past season — amongst a slew of others — decimated Barrie’s depth and ability to compete for the postseason. (Photo Credit: Terry Wilson / OHL Images)

However, it is the young age of the Colts’ roster which is brewing a great deal of hope and excitement within the organization and the city’s fan base. With a number of highly touted prospects eager to leave a lasting impression at the OHL-level this coming season, the Colts’ poor campaign in 2018-19 will likely be forgotten once the 2019-20 version of the club takes to the ice with a renewed sense of purpose and ability.

With this being said, here are five storylines to follow regarding the Colts which could prove crucial to their success or failure this coming season. Although a number of questions continue to surround the team, the fact remains that the future of OHL hockey is incredibly bright in Barrie.

5 Storylines to Follow

Here are our five key storylines to follow in Barrie this season. Although the answers to these questions are not immediately known, the outcomes which arise from the situations below will likely dictate the success or failure of the Colts in 2019-20

1. Who Will Seize the Colts’ Crease?

Kai Edmonds, Jet Greaves, and Maxim Zhukov all enjoyed time in the Colts’ crease this past season, however, it appears as though it will be a two-man show come the 2019-20 campaign. And, although Edmonds impressed for Barrie last season, it appears as though Greaves will lead the charge in between the pipes this coming September.

Likely to be selected by an NHL franchise come the 2019 NHL Draft in June, Greaves is a highly athletic and competitive netminder who makes highlight-reel saves with incredible consistency. Square to opposing shooters and never taken out of the play, Greaves proved that he can afford the Colts with an opportunity to win each and every time he takes to the crease — a quality which will prove incredibly valuable given the youth of Barrie’s projected lineup this coming season.

If Greaves, alongside Edmonds, can provide the Colts with stability in the crease this season, it will undoubtedly inflate the confidence of Barrie’s young players and provide them with a solid foundation for success in the years ahead.

2. Can Riley Piercey Take the Next Step?

Nabbed by the Colts with the 16th overall choice in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection, Riley Piercey has all of the qualities of an elite offensive player at the OHL-level. A smooth-skater, Piercey features a strong shot, natural playmaking abilities, and the drive necessary to penetrate opposing defences and generate offensive opportunities for his team.

Riley Piercey of the Barrie Colts. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Piercey’s lethal skill set should translate to considerable offensive potency in the coming 2019-20 campaign. (Photo Credit: Terry Wilson / OHL Images)

His rookie season, however, left something to be desired. Come to the end of the 2018-19 season, Piercey had put forth three goals and 14 points — a total which ranked him as the 42nd-highest scoring rookie in the league. Moreover, Piercey’s three goals placed him in a tie for 48th overall in rookie goal scoring — two outputs which were not reflective of his abilities or ultimate potential at the OHL-level.

An undeniable talent, Piercey has the skill-set necessary to become an impact player and go-to force for the Colts. If he can enjoy a breakout season in 2019-20 — an outcome which would not come as a surprise — Barrie will surely be well on its way to a playoff-berth.

3. Will Brandt Clarke Make an Instant Impact?

When the time came for the Colts to make their first round selection in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection, there was no question as to who they would be selecting. In Brandt Clarke, the Colts added a dynamic two-way defenceman with size who will be one of the top defence prospects to compete in the OHL in quite some time.

The one question surrounding Clarke is just how quickly can he transition to the OHL-level?

Absolutely dominant for the Don Mills Flyers of the GTHL in 2018-19, Clarke has the ability to alter the course of any given game which he competes within and can do so with ease at both ends of the ice. Given his size and strength, Clarke should not be overmatched in his defensive zone — it is his desire to rush the puck and push the pace offensively which will surely take longer to develop against an increased level of competition.

4. Can Ryan Suzuki Lead a Rebound in Barrie?

As a former first overall selection in the OHL Draft, Ryan Suzuki has yet to come close to reaching his ultimate potential. This particular fact was on full display this past season, as Suzuki continued to lead the Colts’ attack at both ends of the ice despite a lack of consistent support from within Barrie’s lineup.

Ryan Suzuki of the Barrie Colts. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Ryan Suzuki has the skill-set and potential necessary to lead a resurgence in Barrie. (Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

With this being said, if there was one player to lead a resurgence in Barrie, it is no one other than Suzuki. An uber-creative playmaker whose goal-scoring abilities continue to improve, Suzuki’s two-way play is simply sensational and will only improve alongside the strengthened abilities of his fellow teammates. If the likes of Piercey and Clarke can play vital roles in 2019-20, look for Suzuki to lead the Colts back to a playoff-berth.

5. Will Ryan Del Monte Add Depth Scoring?

An incredibly talented puck-handler who starred for the Toronto Nationals of the GTHL this past season, Ryan Del Monte was a clever selection by the Colts in the second round of the 2019 OHL Draft. A playmaker first and foremost, Del Monte can devise lethal opportunities with relative ease and is no stranger to firing the puck into the back of the net. However, injuries hampered the second half of Del Monte’s minor midget season — a reality which left many questioning his value in the Priority Selection.

However, the Colts did not hesitate in selecting Del Monte with the 24th overall selection, as the youngster could very well become a crucial depth player for Barrie this upcoming season. Although he isn’t the biggest player on the ice, Del Monte’s ability to elude his opponents should allow him to enjoy a substantial amount of success as a first-year player. If Del Monte’s creativity and confidence can transition to the OHL-level without issue, the Colts could stand poised to receive far more depth scoring than they initially anticipated.

OHL Prospect Profile: Isaac Enright

Isaac Enright has all the makings of an effective defender for the OHL level and beyond. He checks all the boxes in terms of essentials, including impressive sense, intelligence, and decision making, as well as effortless skating and intriguing offensive upside. He has played amongst older competition all year long, providing effective and reliable defending in all situations of the game.

– Isaac Enright –

Pembroke Lumber Kings (HEO) | Right Defence | 2019 OHL Draft Eligible

Cobden, Ontario | 6-foot, 170-pounds | February 8th, 2003

Isaac Enright has shown consistent improvement throughout the course of the 2018-19 season, finding his groove and playing to his strengths against older competition in the HEO. An intelligent two-way defenceman, Enright ranks second in points amongst 2003-born HEO defencemen and was recognized with an invitation to compete for Team Ontario at the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

Related: Check out Prospect Pipeline’s 2019 OHL Draft Rankings.

Further to the point, Enright was given the opportunity to play in five Jr. A games this year, the maximum number allowed for a U16 player, with the CCHL’s Pembroke Lumber Kings. Enright is a smooth-skating defender who uses his sense and vision of the ice to remain one step ahead of the competition. Displaying solid offensive upside, Enright provides an intriguing profile for an OHL career.


  • Skating
  • Sense & Decision Making
  • Offensive Instincts & Upside

Aside from the offensive numbers that jump off the sheet, Enright has showcased a multitude of traits that forecast very well towards a smooth transition into major junior hockey. His mind is one of his greatest assets, processing plays instantaneously and making wise puck and positional decisions. Enright understands when to join the rush and when to hold his position, and also shows impressive instincts as for when to pinch from the blue line.

Related: Don’t miss out on any of our 2019 OHL Prospect Profiles.

Moreover, his skating ability is off the charts. An effortless skater, Enright can reach top speeds in a matter of a few strides and is able to stop, start, and change directions in a flash. This talent allows him to easily stay with opponents on the rush and effectively eliminate the center lane. On the breakout, Enright can fire effective two-line passes, or rush the puck through all three zones with confidence.

Area of Improvement:

  • Strength & Physicality Below the Dots

If there’s one area within Enright’s nearly complete game which could use some perfecting, it would likely be in his strength and physicality below the dots. As with a number of up-and-coming defencemen in this era of hockey, Enright is exceptionally smart with his body and stick positioning, effectively disrupting passing lanes and eliminating time and space without massive body checks.

With that said, if Enright hopes to continue to be as successful in his OHL career, he would be greatly benefit from some added lower-body strength. This would allow him to stand up better against bigger and stronger opponents, as well as to eliminate players along the boards and behind the net.

Future Potential:

Isaac Enright has all the makings of an effective defender for the OHL level and beyond. He checks all the boxes in terms of essentials, including impressive sense, intelligence, and decision making, as well as effortless skating and intriguing offensive upside. He has played amongst older competition all year long, providing effective and reliable defending in all situations of the game.

In all, Enright projects very favourably to the OHL level. As a mobile, two-way defenceman, Enright has displayed tremendous potential all over the province this year, and shouldn’t last long at the 2019 OHL Draft. He currently projects as a fringe second or early third round pick for the OHL Priority Selection.

OHL Update: The Most Lethal Rookies in 2018-19

The OHL is loaded with elite young talent in 2018-19, and the 2002-born rookie class is proving to be no slouch. Here are five of the hottest OHL rookies this season, as well as three honourable mentions to keep an eye on.

The Ontario Hockey League is loaded with elite young talent this season — a great deal of which coming in the form of the 2002-born rookie class.

Led by 2018 first overall selection Quinton Byfield, the likes of Cole Perfetti, Jean-Luc Foudy, Jacob Perreault, and Marco Rossi have all exploded into starring roles with their respective teams this season. And, in most cases, these players have become offensive catalysts for their new franchises — leading the charge on a nightly basis while standing surprisingly consistent in their abilities to do so.

Danlil Chayka of the Guelph Storm. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Danlil Chayka of the Guelph Storm has quietly enjoyed a strong rookie season. (Photo Credit: Terry Wilson / OHL Images)

Outside of these five rookie stars, a secondary class of promising newcomers also exists. Leading this group of rookies are youngsters such as Jamie Drysdale, Will Cuylle, and Vladislav Kolyachonok — three players of varying position who have also been downright dominant in their initial seasons in the OHL.

With this being said, let’s take closer look at five of the OHL’s most prolific rookies thus far in the 2018-19 season. Listed in alphabetical order, you’ll want to know exactly how these former minor midget stars have fared in their first campaigns of major-junior action.

Five Surging OHL Prospects

Quinton Byfield

Team: Sudbury Wolves

Drafted: 1st Overall (2018)

Seeing Quinton Byfield amongst the OHL’s top rookies thus far should come as no surprise, as the first overall choice in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection has picked up where he left off with the York Simcoe Express of the ETA. Founded upon exceptional skating abilities and aided by his immense size, Byfield has quickly become an offensive catalyst for the Sudbury Wolves in his rookie campaign.

Byfield has continued his dominant ways as a member of the Sudbury Wolves. (Photo Credit: CHL Images)

Through his first 48 games played with the Wolves in 2018-19, Byfield had recorded 19 goals and 46 points — a total which led the team at the mid-way mark of February. Regarded as one of the top prospects eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft, Byfield’s presence in Sudbury has helped to transition the Wolves from a fringe contender into a legitimate force within the Eastern Conference.

Jean-Luc Foudy

Team: Windsor Spitfires

Drafted: 10th Overall (2018)

Jean-Luc Foudy could very well come to be known as the steal of the 2018 OHL Priority Selection, as the former Toronto Titans star has had little trouble adjusting to the OHL-level. Thus far in 2018-19, Foudy has become a playmaking force for the Windsor Spitfires — regularly feeding the puck to his fellow teammates while doubling as a possession dynamo.

Jean-Luc Foudy of the Windsor Spitfires. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Jean-Luc Foudy has been a pleasant surprise thus far for the Windsor Spitfires. (Photo Credit: Terry Wilson / OHL Images)

Through his first 50 games played in his rookie campaign, Foudy had recorded a whopping 41 points — 35 of which assists — in helping to drive the Spitfires’ offensive attack. As a tireless skater and puck-hound who buzzes throughout the ice with speed and purpose, Foudy has quickly become a pleasant surprise in Windsor and a prospect who should lead the team in the years ahead.

Cole Perfetti

Team: Saginaw Spirit

Drafted: 5th Overall (2018)

Although he was chosen fifth-overall in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection, it goes without saying that Cole Perfetti was amongst the three best prospects eligible for his respective draft. Fortunately for the Saginaw Spirit, Perfetti was willing and able to compete for their team this year and has been absolutely dominant to begin his rookie OHL campaign.

Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Cole Perfetti has quickly become a standout rookie for the Saginaw Spirit. (Photo Credit: Terry Wilson / OHL Images)

Through his first 47 contests this season, Perfetti was one of just two rookies to produce offensively at greater than a point per game pace — notching 22 goals and 48 points. A dynamic and versatile threat who can shoot the puck with authority as well as pass it, Perfetti has quickly become a fixture within the Spirit’s attack and has shown no signs of slowing down. Come the 2020 NHL Draft, it would be an incredible shock were Perfetti not chosen within the top-15 overall — he is simply that good.

Jacob Perreault

Team: Sarnia Sting

Drafted: 19th Overall (2018)

The Sarnia Sting knew exactly what they were receiving when they selected Jacob Perreault with their first round choice in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection. A former standout with the HPHL’s Chicago Mission, Perreault is a hard-nosed centre who brings both skill and pace to the ice on a nightly basis.

Jacob Perreault of the Sarnia Sting. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images
Jacob Perreault has become a goal-scoring dynamo for the Sarnia Sting. (Photo Credit: Luke Durda/OHL Images)

And, thus far in the 2018-19 season, Perreault has done exactly such for the Sting — contributing offensively on a nightly basis while standing as a difficult and highly competitive force for his opponents to compete with. On the scoreboard is where Perreault has shone brightest, as the native of Montreal, Quebec had blasted home an impressive 26 goals and 22 assists through his initial 50 games played with Sarnia.

Marco Rossi

Team: Ottawa 67’s

Drafted: 18th Overall (2018 Import)

Although one of the OHL’s oldest rookie skaters in 2018-19, Marco Rossi has quickly become the league’s most potent. The 19th overall selection in the 2018 CHL Import Draft, Rossi has quickly earned his place within an abundantly strong Ottawa 67’s team owing to his high-end skill as well as poise with the puck.

Marco Rossi has exploded onto the OHL scene and stands as a premier prospect eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft. (Photo Credit: OHL Images)

Mature beyond his years, Rossi is a stellar playmaker who also boasts the elite skill necessary to also score goals at an outrageous pace. In the opening 39 games of his rookie campaign, Rossi had not only netted 24 goals for the 67’s but he had added a whopping 29 assists for a total of 53 points. Often centring Ottawa’s top line and a fixture on the team’s top power play unit, Rossi’s importance to the 67’s despite his young age is second to none within the OHL.

3 Honourable Mentions

As mentioned above, a dominant secondary class of rookies also exists within the OHL this season — all of whom must be considered elite-level prospects ahead of the 2020 NHL Draft.

With the top-five outlined above, here are three honourable mentions you must keep an eye on as the 2018-19 season winds to a close.

Will Cuylle

Team: Windsor Spitfires

Drafted: 3rd Overall (2018)

The Spitfires paid a substantial price in order to acquire Will Cuylle from the Peterborough Petes, and thus far Cuylle has been exactly as advertised. Although his point totals are slightly behind the top tier of this year’s rookie class, Cuylle has been a force nonetheless — potting 22 goals and 33 points in his opening 50 contests while playing a physical role in the process.

Will Cuylle of the Windsor Spitfires. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Will Cuylle of the Windsor Spitfires continues to dominate owing to his combination of size, speed, and skill. (Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

A tireless skater by nature whose game appears effortless at times, Cuylle is a natural goal-scorer who has the skill-set necessary to drive Windsor’s offensive attack. Of solid size given his 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame, Cuylle will undoubtedly be an integral piece of the Spitfires’ future and an increasingly potent player as he continues to find his footing at the OHL-level.

Jamie Drysdale

Team: Erie Otters

Drafted: 4th Overall (2018)

Come the 2020 NHL Draft, Jamie Drysdale will undoubtedly stand as one of the top defenceman eligible for selection. Nabbed by the Erie Otters with their fourth-overall choice in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection, Drysdale is a calm and composed defender who has had little issue adapting to the OHL-level in his rookie campaign.

Jamie Drysdale of the Erie Otters. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Jamie Drysdale’s composure and maturity have made him a star on the Erie Otters’ blue line at a young age. (Photo Credit: Terry Wilson / OHL Images)

In fact, through his initial 47 games played, Drysdale had recorded four goals and 24 assists for a total of 28 points. Sure, his -16 plus/minus rating was less than stellar, however, it stood as a mark reflective of the Otters’ play as a team this season rather than Drysdale’s inabilities on the blue line. Ultimately, Drysdale is an endlessly talented defender whose on-ice intelligence and poise have and will continue to make him one of the OHL’s most promising young defenders.

Vladislav Kolyachonok

Team: Flint Firebirds

Drafted: 102nd Overall (2018 Import)

The sole 2019 NHL Draft eligible rookie on this list, Vladislav Kolyachonok has quickly established himself as a prospect to watch after being placed on waivers by the London Knights earlier this season. A sizeable defender yet fluid skater, Kolyachonok has become a reliable presence for the Flint Firebirds this season and one capable of playing a seamless two-way game.

Vladislav Kolyachonok of the Flint Firebirds Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images
Confidence and fluid skating are the names of the game for Vladislav Kolyachonok of the Flint Firebirds. (Photo Credit: Luke Durda/OHL Images)

Although his natural offensive instincts and drive can pull him out of position at times, Kolyachonok’s flair throughout the ice is simply unquestionable. An excellent skater who can pass the puck extremely well and rush the puck throughout the ice, Kolyachonok’s 25 points in his first 41 games played this season stand as an indication of his potential at the professional-level.

OHL Prospect Profile: Liam Arnsby

Liam Arnsby is a very strong, hard-working prospect who displays an admirable compete level each shift and loves to engage in the physical game. He displays elite sense and instincts in the offensive zone, and projects as a sure-fire first round pick for the 2019 OHL Draft.

– Liam Arnsby –

Don Mills Flyers (GTHL) | Centre/Right Wing | 2019 OHL Draft Eligible

Ajax, Ontario | 5-foot-10, 170-pounds | November 20th, 2003

After dealing with an early-season injury, Liam Arnsby is back and looks to be in top form. The versatile winger often suits up on the Flyers’ second line, with Francesco Arcuri down the middle. Arnsby is a very strong, hard-working prospect who displays an admirable compete level every shift. One of the many leaders for Don Mills, he possesses upper-tier offensive abilities and seems to be improving week-by-week.

Related: Check out Prospect Pipeline’s 2019 OHL Draft Rankings.

Despite a modest 5-foot-10 frame, Arnsby plays a very physical game, finishing his checks and often separating opponent from the puck. At the recent International Silver Stick, Arnsby was one of the stars for Don Mills, adding four goals and seven assists to finish fourth in tournament scoring.


  • Strength & Physicality
  • Shot
  • Instincts & Sense

Arnsby is quietly one of the more intelligent prospects in this year’s draft class. He displays excellent instincts in the offensive zone, controlling the puck well along the wall and utilizing his defencemen at the blue line, as well as his centre below the dots. He is able to slip into the soft spots in order to make himself a dangerous passing option. Arnsby also has a heavy wrist shot that can be lethal when accurate.

Away from the puck, Arnsby continues to have a positive impact on the play, as he often lays booming body checks that disrupt the opponents forecheck and create turnovers. He reads developing plays instantaneously which allows him to regularly pick off passes and turn the play up ice. This strength also comes in handy when protecting the puck, as he uses his entire lower-body to fend off defenders.

Area of Improvement:

  • Top-End Speed

Although Arnsby’s skating isn’t a weakness to his game, it remains an area in which he has room to develop into a truly dynamic prospect. Using his lower-body strength, Arnsby’s first three steps are powerful and allow him to be an agile skater. However, he doesn’t showcase separation speed that would allow him to blow by defenders on the outside.

Related: Don’t miss out on any of our 2019 OHL Prospect Profiles.

If Arnsby is able to add an extra gear to his game by the end of the year, he could legitimately challenge for a top-10 spot at the draft. He already possesses the intelligence, strength, and offensive capabilities. Greater top-end speed would instantly make Arnsby an offensive catalyst with a multitude of weapons to create scoring chances for his team.

Future Potential:

With an impressive compete level and surprising strength, Liam Arnsby is a unique prospect with all kinds of upside to offer. A versatile winger, Arnsby displays promising offensive potential, and seems to only be scratching the surface of his ultimate potential.

Heading towards the 2019 OHL Draft, Arnsby currently projects as a first-round pick with the potential to rise up even higher as a result of the number of NCAA committed prospects this year.

2019 NHL Draft: Canada’s Top Early Performers

Although it’s only November, it’s time to check in on the best Canadian prospects eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft. In this article, we analyze three players who have impressed this season from each CHL league and check in on the Canadian Jr. A circuit.

Canada has proven time and time again to be a developmental powerhouse in the hockey world.

Consistently pumping out a number of the NHL’s youngest elite players, Canada and the many leagues within it serve as a significant gateway for future stars regardless of their country of origin. And, in 2018-19, exactly such is once again the case — the three leagues which comprise the Canadian Hockey League are saturated with highly skilled talent while the Junior A circuit features a handful of dynamic players as well.

Now, although the 2018-19 season remains young, a slew of players have already begun to separate themselves from their competition. Through consistent and lethal play, these particular prospects — which you will meet below– have enjoyed sensational starts to their first campaigns of NHL Draft eligibility.

Western Hockey League

The Top-3 Early Performers:

  • Kirby Dach (Saskatoon Blades)

Standing 6-foot-4 and 200-pounds, Kirby Dach is an intimidating force who features an explosive offensive skill set. A tremendous passer with exceptional vision, Dach also boasts an improving shot and innate instincts — a combination which makes him a presence each and every shift.

To begin the 2018-19 campaign, Dach wasted little time applying his versatile skill set. In his first 22 games played with the Saskatoon Blades, Dach had recorded 12 goals and added 23 assists for an impressive total of 35 points — the most of any WHL draft eligible forward.

  • Peyton Krebs (Kootenay ICE)

Although his standing within various NHL Draft rankings has fluctuated, Peyton Krebs remains as a constant attacking force for the Kootenay ICE. Standing slightly less than 6-feet tall, Krebs is a workhorse for the ICE and a tireless puck hound. Agile and creative, Krebs can weave through opposing defences and carve his way to the goal while in possession of the puck.

Despite a slightly slow start, Krebs has ramped up his offensive game. Mid-way through the month of November, Krebs had earned himself 27 points alongside six goals. Although his plus/minus rating of -17 left plenty to be desired, Krebs could develop into a strong attacking forward similar to Brayden Point of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

  • Bowen Byram (Vancouver Giants)

Bowen Byram could very well be the best defenceman eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft. Extremely mobile and confident, Byram can be utilized in a variety of situations and is a dominant force at even-strength.

At the half way point of the month of November, Byram had already collected six goals and 15 points alongside a respectable plus/minus rating of +3. As a driving force for the Giants, Byram has consistently displayed the ability to lead his team at both ends of the ice while logging major minutes in the process.

Honourable Mention:

  • Brett Leason (Prince Albert Raiders)

Although he is a 1999-born prospect, Brett Leason could be one of the most promising yet overlooked players available for the 2019 NHL Draft. With two average seasons of WHL play in-hand, Leason has exploded out of the gate to begin his 2018-19 season with 18 goals and 42 points in just 20 games played.

With great size given his 6-foot-4 frame and 205-pound weight, Leason could prove to be a hidden gem if drafted by an NHL franchise this coming June. Although he’ll surely need to develop within the professional ranks before being afforded a shot at the NHL-level, the native of Calgary, Alberta clearly boasts the skill-set of a legitimate NHL prospect.

Ontario Hockey League

The Top-3 Early Performers:

  • Arthur Kaliyev (Hamilton Bulldogs)

Not only is Arthur Kaliyev a smooth skating forward with a wicked shot, but he is also one of the most lethal offensive players in the OHL this season. As a natural goal-scorer, Kaliyev can beat goaltenders in a variety of ways but relies primarily on his heavy and devastating shot to do damage.

Kaliyev is a devastating offensive force who plays with remarkable consistency. (Photo Credit: Bandon Taylor)

With 17 goals and 32 points through his first 21 games played this season, Kaliyev has quickly established himself as a premier offensive player eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft. Rocketing his way up respective draft rankings and showing no signs of slowing down, Kaliyev could be a hidden gem within this year’s class.

  • Ryan Suzuki (Barrie Colts)

As the first overall choice in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection, it should come as no surprise to see Ryan Suzuki as a top performer early on this season. A dynamic playmaker who boasts terrific vision, Suzuki is a consistent threat who makes those around him better on a nightly basis.

Through his first 19 games played with the Colts this season, Suzuki had already accumulated 29 points — eight of which goals. If able to consistently dominate his opposition this season while further strengthening his defensive play, Suzuki could be chosen inside of the top-10 come the 2019 NHL Draft.

  • Thomas Harley (Mississauga Steelheads)

Although he began the 2018-19 OHL season as a relative unknown, Thomas Harley is quickly making a name for himself. A smooth and polished skater with oodles of confidence, Harley is becoming one of the OHL’s best puck-moving defenders despite his young age of just 17-years.

Harley is a smooth-skating defender of significant size who loves to contribute offensively. (Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Having recorded 18 points through his first 21 games this season, Harley is proving that he can play a responsible two-way game against his opponent’s top attacking lines. Although his defensive game remains a work in progress, there is simply far too much to like with regards to Harley’s game to go unmentioned.

Honourable Mention:

  • Matthew Struthers (North Bay Battalion)

Although he was first eligible to be chosen in the 2018 NHL Draft, Matthew Struthers’ lethal play this season could lead to his selection in the 2019 NHL Draft. Of solid size given his 6-foot-2, 210-pound frame, Struthers is an intimidating force who has come to play a significant offensive role for the North Bay Battalion.

Having potted 12 goals and 27 points across his first 18 games played this season, Struthers has been remarkably consistent and endlessly potent. Playing alongside an incredibly dangerous teammate in Justin Brazeau, Struthers has become an offensive catalyst for the Battalion yet one capable of being utilized in a variety of situations. If able to maintain his current level of play, Struthers could very well be chosen in the upcoming NHL Draft.

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

The Top-3 Early Performers:

  • Nathan Legare (Baie-Comeau Drakkar)

Nathan Legare nearly topped his entire offensive output from his rookie season in October alone to begin the 2018-19 season. Blasting home 16 goals and 35 points in his first 23 games played this campaign, Legare has quickly cemented himself as a prospect to watch within the QMJHL this year.

Although long overlooked due to the presences of Jakob Pelletier and Raphael Lavoie, Legare has shed the shadow cast by his competition through competitive and consistent offensive play. A speedy and purposeful skater, Legare demands puck possession and has proven his ability to create lethal scoring chances in the blink of an eye.

  • Jakob Pelletier (Moncton Wildcats)

As the third-overall selection in the 2017 QMJHL Entry Draft, Jakob Pelletier has long been a prospect of immense potential. Fortunately for Pelletier, he is quickly living up to the expectations placed upon him — the Quebec City, Quebec native netted 11 goals and 30 points in his first 20 games played this season.

Incredibly quick, agile, and decisive, Pelletier is a tireless force who loves to attain both personal and team success. Not one to take a night off, Pelletier has come to drive Moncton’s offensive game and is now relied upon by his coaches and teammates to do exactly such. Although somewhat undersized, the punch which Pelletier packs in unquestionable.

  • Raphael Lavoie (Halifax Mooseheads)

In addition to Dach, Raphael Lavoie could be one of the 2019 NHL Draft class’ best power forwards. Standing 6-foot-4 and 200-pounds, Lavoie is an intimidating threat who also plays a consistent offensive game. In fact, Lavoie recorded 12 goals and 22 points through his first 20 games played this season.

What separates Lavoie from most power forwards, however, is his long yet smooth and efficient stride. Despite his lanky frame, Lavoie is a fantastic skater with breakaway speed and the agility necessary to operate deep within the offensive zone. As a late 2000 birth date, Lavoie is one of the oldest yet most NHL ready players eligible for the upcoming NHL Draft.

Canadian Jr. A

The Top-3 Early Performers:

  • Alex Newhook (Victoria Grizzlies)

Long the primary player to watch within the Canadian Jr. A circuit this season, Alex Newhook has wasted little time in establishing himself as a top NHL prospect early on this season. Skating in his second campaign with the Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL, Newhook has already netted 12 goals and a whopping 36 points in his first 24 games played.

Committed to Boston College for the 2019-20 season, Newhook is an explosive and extremely dynamic forward capable of driving his team’s offensive game. As a fluid skater of ample speed and agility, Newhook is endlessly crafty and is most lethal when the puck is on his stick.

  • Harrison Blaisdell (Chilliwack Chiefs)

A second year player with the Chilliwack Chiefs of the BCHL, Harrison Blaisdell is quietly piecing together a strong sophomore season. Committed to the University of North Dakota for the 2020-21 campaign, Blaisdell has been a model of consistency thus far in 2018-19 — recording 15 goals and 27 points across his first 25 games played.

Although of a slightly smaller stature, Blaisdell has become a lethal offensive force for the Chiefs. As a versatile offensive player, Blaisdell can move the puck to his teammates with relative ease or uncork a crisp and accurate shot on goal.

  • Eric Ciccolini (Toronto Jr. Canadiens)

The Toronto Jr. Canadiens are off to a hot start to begin their 2018-19 OJHL season, however, said success would not have been possible without the play of Eric Ciccolini. Headed to Colgate University for the 2020-21 season, Ciccolini has quickly become a devastating attacker for his team.

Having collected 14 goals and 36 points through his team’s first 24 games, Ciccolini led the Jr. Canadiens with absolute authority. As a solid skater with exceptional puck-handling abilities, Ciccolini is a creative skater who can generate quality scoring opportunities off of the rush or via the cycle game.

2019 NHL Draft: 5 Overlooked OHL Prospects

The 2019 NHL Draft features one of the strongest prospect classes in recent history. As a direct result, a great number of young players have been wrongly overlooked and undervalued.

The 2019 NHL Draft will boast one of the strongest prospect classes in recent history — a reality which has overshadowed a number of incredibly promising young players.

In particular, there are a number of prospects playing within the Ontario Hockey League this season whose play has been wrongly overlooked for far too long. Whether it be a lack of stature, inconsistent production, or simply a misinterpretation of an individual’s skill-set, the OHL features an arsenal of talented prospects eager to make an impact at the NHL-level.

If undervalued throughout the course of the 2018-19 season and in the days leading up to the 2019 NHL Draft, these five prospects listed below could come to be known as major draft-day steals in the years to come.

Billy Constantinou

2018-19 Team: Niagara IceDogs

OHL Draft Selection: 2017 (Round 2, 36th Overall)

The Niagara IceDogs are an impressive team within the OHL this season, and are led by an impressive 2019 NHL Draft eligible defenceman in Billy Constantinou. A smooth skating, puck-moving defender, Constantinou plays a stellar two-way game and can be counted upon to influence the outcome of any given game at both ends of the ice.

Billy Constantinou of the Niagara IceDogs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Constantinou’s versatile yet lethal game is driving his value as a 2019 NHL Draft prospect. (Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

A second-round choice of the IceDogs in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection, Constantinou is quickly establishing himself as a quality NHL prospect this season. Scoring 13 points in his first 18 games played alongside a solid +9 plus/minus rating was an excellent start for Constantinou, who has been projected to be selected in the second-round of the 2019 NHL Draft.

Having already surpassed his previous career-high in points, Constantinou could rise into the first round of the NHL Draft if able to put forth a consistent effort this campaign.

Cole Mackay

2018-19 Team: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds

OHL Draft Selection: 2017 (Round 5, 98th Overall)

The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds nabbed Cole Mackay with the 98th overall choice in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection, and it is safe to say that he has already surpassed any and all expectations placed upon him. Following an average rookie campaign with the Greyhounds in which he scored five goals and 14 points, Mackay has exploded out of the gate to begin his 2018-19 campaign.

Cole MacKay of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images
Mackay has quietly become a driving force within the Greyhounds’ offence this season. (Photo Credit: Luke Durda/OHL Images)

With six goals scored and 20 total points in his opening 20 games, the former fifth-round choice is quickly cementing his status as a prospect to watch ahead of the 2019 NHL Draft. However, Mackay has been widely projected as a potential mid-round selection — a difficult reality to comprehend given his consistent lethality thus far this season.

Cole Schwindt

2018-19 Team: Mississauga Steelheads

OHL Draft Selection: 2017 (Round 4, 69th Overall)

While he isn’t the most lethal offensive player in the OHL this season, Cole Schwindt is quickly becoming one of its most consistent two-way forwards.

Although capable of contributing offensively, Schwindt’s value lays in his ability to defend within his own zone and shut down his opposition’s top attackers. Boasting a solid frame given his 6-foot-3 stature and 180-pound weight, Schwindt can physically dominate his opposition in his defensive zone before dislodging the puck owing to his active and accurate stick.

While his offensive game continues to grow, Schwindt’s defensive play can not be overstated. (Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Somewhat similar to former Oshawa Generals star Anthony Cirelli given his sound 200-foot game, Schwindt could prove to be a steal if selected late in the upcoming 2019 NHL Draft. Having scored four goals and nine assists in his first 19 games played with the Mississauga Steelheads this season, Schwindt’s already impressive two-way play alongside his growing lethality could afford the native of Kitchener, Ontario a long and prosperous professional hockey career.

Nathan Staios

2018-19 Team: Windsor Spitfires

OHL Draft Selection: 2017 (Round 1, 17th Overall)

Nathan Staios was selected by the Windsor Spitfires in the first round of the 2017 OHL Priority Selection, yet he has flown largely under the radar to begin his first campaign of NHL Draft eligibility. A fiercely competitive defender, Staios plays a stellar two-way game defined by his pace as well as confidence with the puck. With the poise of a seasoned veteran, Staios sees the ice incredibly well and can navigate within it with relative ease.

Staios is a diminutive defender who boasts a whack of skill and potential. (Photo Credit: OHL Images)

Despite this glowing skill-set, Staios has been widely projected as a second-to-third round choice ahead of the 2019 NHL Draft.

While slightly undersized given his 5-foot-9 frame, Staios has the composure of a highly touted prospect and the raw talent to match. Although his start to the 2018-19 OHL season was somewhat slow offensively considering he scored just one goal in 19 games, Staios had already added seven assists — a rate of production much greater than that of his rookie season.

Keean Washkurak

2018-19 Team: Mississauga Steelheads

OHL Draft Selection: 2017 (Round 2, 30th Overall)

The departures of both Mike McLeod and Nic Hague this past offseason staggered the Steelheads, who saw two of their top offensive players ascend to the professional-level. Fortunately, Keean Washkurak — Mississauga’s second round choice from the 2017 OHL Priority Selection — has quickly made the most of the opportunities presented to him this campaign.

Keean Washkurak of the Mississauga Steelheads. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
Washkurak’s speed and tenacity combine to make him a persistent two-way force. (Photo Credit: Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

With major minutes available, Washkurak has earned his place within the Steelheads’ top-six through consistent and lethal offensive play this season. Standing 5-foot-10 and 185-pounds, Washkurak’s electrifying style of play has been evident on a nightly basis — the native of Waterloo, Ontario has quickly become a two-way stalwart for the Steelheads.

Having recorded five goals and 17 points in his first 19 games played this season, Washkurak could sneak into the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft if able to maintain and improve upon his current level of play.

OHL Prospect Profile: Ethan Del Mastro

Ethan Del Mastro is a reliable and effective defender, showcasing tremendous strength and sense in the defensive zone. He displays intriguing offensive potential, but forecasts as more of a stay-at-home defender at the next level. Del Mastro projects as a mid-to-late second round pick for the 2019 OHL Draft.

– Ethan Del Mastro –

Toronto Marlboros (GTHL) | Left Defence | 2019 OHL Draft Eligible

Toronto, Ontario | 6-foot-1, 181-pounds | January 15th, 2003

Ethan Del Mastro is a big, strong defenceman who excels at defending his own zone. Another along a massive blue line for the Toronto Marlboros, Del Mastro has shown smooth skating abilities and a knack for carrying the puck into the offensive zone.

Related: Check out Prospect Pipeline’s 2019 OHL Draft Rankings.

He displays excellent instincts and is as reliable as they come to defend the house. A big body and a strong processor of the game, Del Mastro consistently throws effective checks to separate the body from the puck. He is one of the most dependable defensemen in the ’03 OHL Draft class.


  • Skating & Agility
  • Positional Sense
  • Power & Strength

A smooth skating pivot, Del Mastro maintains excellent gap control against opposing zone entries. He consistently forces opponents into the walls and corners, if not eliminating them with a booming check. Del Mastro displays tremendous sense of the ice by being positionally sound in all three zones, most notably below the dots in the d-zone.

With a powerful lower-body, Del Mastro is extremely strong on his feet and isn’t afraid to meet an opponent at the blue line or in the neutral zone with a clean, devastating hit. Plain and simple, he is not a fun defenceman to go up against. Del Mastro also shows intriguing offensive upside through smart shot selection and good puck distribution from the blue line. He also has a very dangerous slap shot when he is able to get it on net.

Area of Improvement:

  • Top Speed
  • Shot Accuracy

Del Mastro has the defensive aspects of his game down flat. The only points of improvement would come in developing a more potent two-way game in order to become a true can’t-miss prospect. For starters, he could improve his top speed on the rush. As mentioned, Del Mastro doesn’t shy away from lugging the puck through the neutral zone, where some extra speed could make him a true offensive threat.

Related: Don’t miss any of Prospect Pipeline’s 2019 OHL Draft Profiles.

Along the blue line, Del Mastro can organize and lead the Marlies’ forecheck. He has a powerful shot, but could make a greater impact by finding a way to get the puck on net with greater frequency. These few improvements could help Del Mastro to challenge amongst the top tier of 2003-born defensemen.

Future Potential:

Ethan Del Mastro is a reliable and effective defender for the Toronto Marlboros, showcasing tremendous strength and sense in the defensive zone. He displays intriguing offensive potential, but forecasts as more of a stay-at-home defender at the next level. Del Mastro can shut down opposing first lines and limit scoring chances against wit consistency.

Showing an efficient game that should transition well into the OHL level, Del Mastro projects as a mid-to-late second round pick for the 2019 OHL Draft.