Hamilton Bulldogs: 5 Storylines to Follow in 2019-20

Despite an early exit in the 2019 OHL Playoffs, the Hamilton Bulldogs stand poised for considerable improvement in the 2019-20 season. Led by elite young prospects, the Bulldogs could be much closer to legitimately competing than widely believed.

The Hamilton Bulldogs are a team in the midst of a significant transition.

After claiming the OHL Championship in 2017-18, the Bulldogs have watched a number of their former overage stars leave town and have traded a number of their most consistent producers of late to boot. This shift from a veteran laden roster to one that is rich with elite young talent was not only necessary but a transition which could very well lead the Bulldogs to significant postseason success in the near future.

A quality mixture of seasoned players and young prospects could springboard Hamilton to immediate success in 2019-20. (Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Despite being knocked out of the OHL playoffs in the opening round at the hands of the Ottawa 67’s in 2018-19, Hamilton’s young talent has the team on-track to be far more competitive this upcoming season. Led by Logan Morrison and sure to be supplemented by the likes of Avery Hayes, Michael Renwick, and Ryan Winterton, the Bulldogs should boast a surprisingly deep roster this upcoming season and one flush with the ability to take their opponents by surprise.

Five Storylines to Follow in 2019-20

As mentioned, here are five potentially critical storylines to follow in Hamilton this upcoming season. If able to receive favourable outcomes in the situations listed below, the Bulldogs could return to prominence within the OHL’s Eastern Conference. However, if unable to receive timely contributions from their young talent as well as steady play in goal, Hamilton could very well be bounced from the postseason in 2019-20.

1. Can the Bulldogs Rebound from a Tough Season?

After claiming the OHL Championship in 2017-18, the Bulldogs stumbled to a 29-34-5 record in their 2018-19 campaign. Although they were still able to clinch a place in the postseason, Hamilton was promptly swept in the opening round by a loaded Ottawa 67’s squad. However, this result did not come as a surprise so to speak, as a number of the Bulldogs’ top players either left to embark upon professional careers or were traded at this year’s deadline.

Despite a losing record, the Bulldogs earned a postseason berth in 2018-19. (Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Now, the major question facing the Bulldogs is exactly how they will rebound from this past season. Although a number of players will once again move on from the team in 2019-20, a crop of wildly talented youngsters led by the likes of Logan Morrison, Zachary Roy, and Ryan Winterton will look to steer Hamilton in the right direction. If able to receive substantial contributions from their younger players while receiving star play from Arthur Kaliyev and Matt Strome — should he return — the Bulldogs could once again stand as a significant threat in the Eastern Conference.

2. Will Logan Morrison Lead the Way?

Despite missing 21 regular season games due to injury in 2018-19, Logan Morrison showed signs of becoming a consistently impactful player at the OHL-level. In his 47 games played this past season, Morrison potted 14 goals and 34 points — a 0.72 point-per-game pace which stood as the seventh-best mark amongst all 2002-born rookies. In fact, Morrison’s rate of offensive production stood greater than the likes of highly touted prospects such as Will Cuylle, Ty Tullio, and Antonio Stranges.

Forward #9 Logan Morrison of the Hamilton Bulldogs
Although he missed considerable time due to injury last season, Logan Morrison stands as a top prospect eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft. (Photo Credit: Brandon Taylor/OHL Images)

Now, as Morrison heads into his second campaign in the OHL, it goes without saying that the Bulldogs will be expecting a great deal more from the former first round selection. Sure to become a lethal offensive threat on a nightly basis, Hamilton will look for Morrison to play a starring role at both ends of the ice and one that will allow the Bulldogs to become a well-rounded two-way team. If able to add a sprinkling of leadership alongside his natural abilities on the ice, Morrison could rapidly develop into a top prospect eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft.

3. Can Zachary Roy Take the Next Step?

In his first season of play in the OHL, netminder Zachary Roy stepped into the Bulldogs’ lineup and claimed the starting role in goal. At just 18 years-of-age, Roy appeared in a whopping 44 games for Hamilton and earned a 3.59 GAA and .884% SVP in the process — impressive numbers given his he was competing in his rookie campaign. Now, as we head towards the 2019-20 season, there is no question that Roy will retain the starting role and earn the vast majority of starts for the Bulldogs in the process.

Zachary Roy of the Hamilton Bulldogs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Roy appeared in a jaw-dropping 44 games last season as a rookie. (Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

However, Roy’s sudden ascension to the starting role in Hamilton begs the question of whether or not he can become one of the OHL’s next top netminders. As a former standout with the Toronto Nationals of the GTHL and a fourth-round selection in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection, it certainly goes without saying that Roy has the potential to accomplish exactly such. Incredibly athletic and innate in his abilities in the crease, Roy could push the Bulldogs deep into the postseason this coming campaign if able to backstop his team with both poise and confidence.

Side note — could we see Marco Constantini grace the ice in a Bulldogs’ uniform this coming season? Based on Constantini’s stellar play at the Jr. B level this past season, it is safe to say that Roy could feel slight pressure to preform in 2019-20.

4. Will the Bulldogs’ 2019 Draft Class Play a Role?

The Bulldogs enjoyed a tremendous 2019 OHL Priority Selection, as all of their initial five picks — as well as others selected outside of the sixth-round — hold the potential to become quality players at the OHL-level. First and foremost there is Ryan Winterton — a former star with the Whitby Wildcats who is widely expected to jump into Hamilton’s lineup in 2019-20 and make an immediate impact at both ends of the ice.

Sherk, Lawson of the Halton Hurricanes. Photo by Dan Hickling OHL Images
Nabbing Lawson Sherk in the second round of the 2019 OHL Draft will surely prove to have been an absolute steal for the Bulldogs. (Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/OHL Images)

However, perhaps more interestingly, there are the likes of Lawson Sherk, Chandler Romeo, and Owen Simpson — three players of varying positions who should push extremely hard for a place within the Bulldogs’ roster to begin the upcoming season. In Romeo and Simpson, Hamilton holds two former Toronto Red Wings stars capable of creating offence and calm from their posts on the blue line. Further, in Sherk, the Bulldogs boast a natural playmaking centre with size who should be able to transition to the OHL-level with little issue.

If these youngsters can crack Hamilton’s roster and come to contribute, the Bulldogs could hold unprecedented depth and potential within their lineup.

5. Can Ryan Winterton Make an Immediate Impact?

Ryan Winterton was nothing other than dominant as a member of the Whitby Wildcats in 2018-19, blasting home 38 goals and 72 points in just 36 regular season games played. Skating alongside Brenden Sirizzotti and Thomas Johnston, Winterton was a member of what was one of the strongest lines in all of minor midget hockey in 2018-19. It was this incredible play and level of offensive productivity which led to Winterton being chosen by the Bulldogs with the eighth-overall selection in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection.

WINTERTON, Ryan IMG_8708 Tim Cornett
Expectations will be at an all-time high for Winterton as he takes to the ice in his rookie OHL campaign in 2019-20. (Photo Credit: Tim Cornett/CHL Images)

Set to begin the 2019-20 season at the OHL-level with Hamilton, it will be incredibly interesting to evaluate the impact which Winterton can and will have in his rookie season with the Bulldogs. Based upon his size, strength, and ability to process the game at a rapid rate, Winterton should be able to step into Hamilton’s lineup and playing a growing role in sheltered minutes. However, based upon his stellar shot and playmaking abilities, Winterton will surely see sporadic playing time in a variety of special teams situations — success within which could springboard him higher in the Bulldogs lineup.


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.

OHL Prospect Profile: Ryan Winterton

Ryan Winterton is 200-foot centre who is trusted to play a key role in all situations. He shows incredible instincts in all three zones and plays with both a sniper and a playmaker mentality. Winterton projects to be a late first round pick at the 2019 OHL Draft.

– Ryan Winterton –

Whitby Wildcats (ETA) | Centre | 2019 OHL Draft Eligible

Brooklin, Ontario | 6-foot-0, 160-pounds | September 4th, 2003

Ryan Winterton has quickly become an on-ice leader for the Whitby Wildcats in all three zones of the ice. A reliable two-way centre, Winterton is a consistent offensive catalyst for the ETA-leading Wildcats, through high-end offensive instincts and natural vision of the ice.

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

A trusted component of the WIldcats’ game plan, Winterton is often relied upon as a defensive forward as well, playing an imperative part of the team’s penalty kill and taking numerous defensive zone faceoffs each night. Winterton reads the ice very well and showcases an intelligent game as both a sniper and playmaker.


  • Offensive Instincts
  • Skating
  • Two-Way Responsibility

Winterton naturally reads and adapts to the circumstances on the ice, positioning himself in a beneficial area and finding gaps and opportunities for odd-man rushes with regularity. He is dangerous off the rush, utilizing his ability to fire an accurate wrist shot on net or to slip a tape-to-tape pass to a teammate. Winterton is a strong skater with good puck protection ability and above-average agility and top speed, as well as impressive poise with the puck.

Related: Take a look at our 2019 OHL Cup Ranking: October Edition

Ryan clearly understands that potential scoring chances must first come from strong defensive play. He backchecks deep into his own end to support his defenceman and is consistently the first man back to cover for a pinching defender. Winterton is a hound on the puck and strong on his stick to create turnovers before quickly transitioning the play with a smart breakout.

Area of Improvement:

  • Snap Shot Release

If there’s one area in which Winterton could improve to become a more dynamic force, it may be in his release. With a strong and accurate wrist shot, there’s no denying that Winterton can beat goaltenders with a clean shot. With that said, he could benefit from a more electric release on a snap shot under pressure.

If Winterton were able to get the same power behind his snap shot that he displays on his wrister, he could battle with the top tier of natural scorers in the 2019 OHL Draft class. Undoubtedly, Winterton is a leader in offensive production among this year’s ETA prospects and is a vital part of Whitby’s early season success.

Future Potential:

All in all, Ryan Winterton is an extremely productive centre who can break open a game with his combination of speed, skill, and natural instincts. He displays impressive awareness in all three zones and is consistently trusted to play a key role in all situations for his team.

As a leader for one of the top teams in Ontario this year, Winterton has shown intriguing abilities at both ends of the ice and is currently projected as a late first round pick for the 2019 OHL Draft.

NHL Prospect Profile: Arthur Kaliyev

Arthur Kaliyev led all U17 OHL players with 31 goals and 48 points in ’17-18. As a result, he projects to be a top-15 selection at the 2019 NHL Draft, thanks to his pin-point accurate snap shot and creative puck skills.

– Arthur Kaliyev –

Hamilton Bulldogs (OHL) | Left Wing | 2019 NHL Draft Eligible

Staten Island, New York, USA | June 26, 2001 | 6-foot-2, 190-pounds

Arthur Kailyev is a potent goal-scorer with a quick and powerful snap shot. He fit seamlessly into the OHL during his rookie campaign, playing like a four-year vet. His 31 goals and 48 points both led all U17 players in the OHL last year, as Kaliyev became the first 16-year-old to break the 30-goal plateau since Alex Galchenyuk did it in 2010-11 with te Sarnia Sting.

Kaliyev’s game is fine-tuned to the offensive aspects. Aside from his gifted shooting abilities, he boasts quick and creative hands, with the instincts to beat defenders one-on-one. Further, he utilizes his large frame to become a net-front nuisance who is difficult to box out. If Kaliyev can add some more muscle, he could become t\he next gifted power forward.


  • Shot
  • Puck Skills
  • Strength

Arthur Kaliyev is an offence-first winger, and with good reason. His shot is years above his age, with a brisk and authoritative release, Kaliyev can get a high-danger shot off in tight quarters. His snap shot is accurate and deceptive enough to beat goaltenders straight up. Kaliyev is also endowed with soft hands, which allow him to corral the puck through traffic with ease.

Arthur Kaliyev quickly became accustomed to celebrating goals in the OHL en route to a 31-goal rookie campaign, a number which led all U17 player. Photo Credit – Brandon Taylor.

Further to his offensive capabilities, Kaliyev has the size and strength to be a menace in front of the net. He has surprising lower-body strength, which he utilizes in board battles, cycles, and to protect the puck. As Kaliyev continues to grow and mature, this may become more of a benefit over his opponents as he develops towards a potential scoring power forward role.


  • Skating

On the other hand, Kaliyev remains an average skater without game-breaking speed. He accelerates well, but certainly has room to grow as far as agility and top speeds go. While these attributes obviously didn’t hold back his ability to find the twine, an improvement would do wonders for his all-around game.

As we know, an upside skating ability has become an imperative facet of today’s NHL. As such this aspect of Kaliyev’s game must be a focus of his training in order to have a productive future at the professional ranks. Time and time again, we’ve seen potential superstars fall short because of lacklustre skating. Here’s hoping that won’t be the case for Kaliyev.

Future Potential:

Arthur Kaliyev looks to be a future top-six winger at the NHL level. While his defensive game and skating could still use some work, Kaliyev possesses a natural scoring ability and has the potential to be a dangerous power forward if he fills out his frame. Heading into the ’18-19 season, Kaliyev projects to be a Top-15 pick at the 2019 NHL Draft.