Kingston Frontenacs: 5 Storylines to Follow in 2019-20

Despite a disastrous 2018-19 OHL season, the Kingston Frontenacs stand poised to rebound in a major way. Led by Shane Wright and a number of elite prospects, Kingston will surely be an overwhelming force in little time.

To say that the Kingston Frontenacs struggled mightily during their 2018-19 campaign would be a vast understatement.

In the Frontenacs’ 30th season of play in the Ontario Hockey League, the team skated to its worst team record in franchise history. In posting a dismal 14-52-2 record, Kingston earned a mere 30 points in the OHL standings — a mark which stood as the worst total in the league by a wide margin. Amplifying the Frontenacs’ struggles was the team’s decision to trade a number of its veteran players ahead of the deadline — a painful commitment yet one which was necessary given the trajectory of the team.

Fortunately for Kingston and its fans, this short-term pain should lead to considerable long-term gain in the years ahead. Despite enduring their worst season to date, the Frontenacs now stand loaded with a bounty of elite young talent eager to leave a lasting impression at the OHL-level. In fact, Kingston’s group of prospects is so strong and deep that the team should develop into a legitimate contender in the years ahead — if not in 2019-20.

So, what will need to go right for the Frontenacs if they wish to build a sustainable and competitive roster? And, perhaps more importantly, what aspects of Kingston’s roster will require immediate attention ahead of the upcoming 2019-20 season? Well, let’s examine five key Frontenacs storylines to follow this coming campaign.

Five Storylines to Follow in 2019-20

Team depth, goaltending, and the play of Kingston’s young prospects will determine the level of success which the Frontenacs will enjoy this coming season. If able to receive favourable outcomes in the cases outlined below — a reality which could realistically be unattainable — Kingston could stand as a surprise contender within the OHL’s Eastern Conference.

1. Who Will Tend to the Frontenacs’ Crease?

The Frontenacs’ crease was dominated by Brendan Bonello throughout the 2018-19 season, as the 1999-born netminder appeared in a whopping 48 regular season games for Kingston. In those games played, Bonello earned a 4.28 GAA and .884% SVP — totals impacted greatly by the poor play of the Frontenacs as a whole. However, Bonello’s play, and the play of all three Kingston goaltenders last season, begs the question of who will take the reigns in goal come the 2019-20 season.

Brendan Bonello of the Kingston Frontenacs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Brendan Bonello backstopped the Frontenacs through the vast majority of their 2018-19 campaign. (Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images)

Given the young age of the Frontenacs’ upcoming roster and the franchise’s rebuilding nature, it could make a great deal of sense to afford both Ryan Dugas and Marshall Frappier with the majority of the starts in goal. Dugas, a 2001-born goaltender, was nabbed by the Frontenacs in the fourth-round of the 2017 OHL Draft and could be ready to assume the starter’s role based upon his size, strength, and success in years passed. The second option to seize the crease is Frappier, a slightly older goaltender given his 2000 birth year yet one who holds a decent amount of experience given his previous tenure with the Sudbury Wolves.

A lack of consistent goaltending could prove to be the biggest threat to Kingston’s playoff hopes. (Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images)

In short, it would make a great deal of sense to entrust Dugas with the majority of the playing time in goal this coming campaign. Given the great deal of young prospects set to be inserted into the Frontenacs’ lineup, it would make sense to play a younger goaltender who can develop alongside the franchise’s top prospects in the years to come.

2. Will Kingston’s 2019 Draft Class Make an Impact?

The Frontenacs enjoyed a wildly successful 2019 OHL Draft, as the franchise was able to secure a number of young players with the potential to impact the outcome of any given game. First and foremost was the selection of Shane Wright, a dynamic centre-man who was granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada based upon his abilities on the ice as well as his maturity off of it. However, it was the selections made after that of Wright which has placed Kingston in excellent form.

Francesco Arcuri will surely prove to be a steal given the fact that he was chosen 27th overall in the 2019 OHL Draft. (Photo: Dan Hickling/OHL Images)

All of Francesco Arcuri — a teammate of Wright with the GTHL’s Don Mills Flyers — Maddox Callens, Braden Hache, and Owen Watson are stable yet game-breaking players who will undoubtedly come to play significant roles for Kingston in the not-so-distant future. Of varying position, these four youngsters were all nabbed within the opening six rounds of the Priority Selection and have the potential to become star players. Although it remains unclear which of those listed above will crack Kingston’s opening night roster, all of which will surely make an impact in the OHL in 2019-20 if able to secure highly valuable playing time.

3. What Can Shane Wright Bring to the Table in 2019-20?

We all know that Shane Wright was granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada, and we know that the Fronteancs were fortunate enough to select the budding phenom with the first overall selection in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection. Yet, with this being said, what exactly should we expect from Wright in his rookie OHL campaign? In order to better answer this question, let’s make a quick comparison to Connor McDavid.

Shane Wright
Shane Wright, a former star for the Don Mills Flyers, was granted Exceptional Status by Hockey Canada. (Photo Credit: Max Lewis)

Although they are not necessarily equals, both McDavid and Wright entered the OHL in similar situations. Like Wright, McDavid was also chosen by a bottom-feeding team in the form of the Erie Otters — a club who had struggled considerably prior to selecting him. Despite the weakness of the Otters in his rookie season, McDavid was still able to record 25 goals and 66 points in his 63 regular season contests as an underage player.

Wright should have an instant impact with the Frontenacs, as his game is far too well-rounded to be contained. (Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

So, will Wright be able to produce at a similar pace in his rookie season? Well, this is fairly difficult to determine, as Wright’s supporting cast could prove to be far less supportive than that which McDavid enjoyed as a rookie. One pairing which could prove to be extremely effective for Wright and the Frontenacs in 2019-20, however, revolves around the presence of Nicholas Wong. Although he is a natural centre, shifting Wong to the wing alongside Wright could afford Kingston with one of the OHL’s most dynamic young lines.

4. Who Will Anchor the Frontenacs’ Blue Line?

Despite its difficulties throughout the 2018-19 season, the Frontenacs’ blue line should be dramatically improved come the 2019-20 campaign. Although a number of the team’s top defenders were traded at the deadline or have since moved on to professional careers, Kingston’s defence-core remains significantly promising owing to the presence and continued development of its young blue liners. Jacob Murray, Evan Brand, and Anthony Aguanno all took significant steps in the right direction last season and now stand poised to consume major minutes in a variety of situations.

Jacob Murray of the Kingston Frontenacs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Jacob Murray has a whack of potential, and will surely enjoy increased ice time this coming season. (Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images)

The most intriguing defender of all, however, is none other than Billy Constantinou. Acquired from the Niagara IceDogs last season, Constantinou is a 2001-born defender who is absolutely dynamic when in possession of the puck. A stellar skater and composed playmaker, Constantinou can lead offensive rushes and is no stranger to quarter-backing his team’s power play. In fact, expect him to do exactly such for the Frontenacs this coming season, as Constantinou’s poise with the puck and creativity will allow him to anchor Kingston’s attacking game. Sure, his defensive game requires refining, yet the fact remains that Constantinou will play a starring role for the Frontenacs in 2019-20.

5. Does Kingston Have the Depth Necessary to Contend?

As we have discussed, Kingston’s future is blindingly bright owing to the presence and impending arrival of the franchise’s elite young talent. However, no OHL team can be truly successful unless it features a solid mixture of young talent alongside veteran players of ample experience, ability and confidence. Unfortunately, it does not appear as though the Frontenacs will feature this critical component this upcoming season — the franchise holds a slim few players of exceptional ability in the 1999-2000 age range.

Without production from their bottom-six forwards, Kingston could once again find themselves within a lost season. (Photo: Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Without this key ingredient, Kingston will likely be forced to place far too much pressure upon its young players rather than relying on veterans familiar with the OHL and what it takes to succeed at the major-junior level. Unless the Frontenacs can supplement their roster in the months ahead and remove pressure and expectation from their young talent, Kingston could very well feature an unproductive mixture of players and one incapable of legitimately contending this coming season.


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: Shane Wright

Shane Wright is an exceptional talent. Despite being a year younger than his GTHL competition, Wright is dominating with ease and has been granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada — becoming the 6th player in CHL history to do so.

– Shane Wright –

Don Mills Flyers (GTHL) | Center | 2019 OHL Draft Eligible

Burlington, Ontario | January 5, 2004 | 6-foot, 168-pounds

Shane Wright is a dynamic center with game-breaking talent. He is an elite skater with high-end speed and a tremendous sense for the game. Despite his status as an early 2004-born prospect, Wright has been granted exceptional status by the Ontario Hockey Federation and will be eligible for the 2019 OHL Draft. Born just five days into 2004, Wright should have no issue transitioning to the OHL given his proven ability to consistently dominate the GTHL.

Related: 2019 OHL Draft Rankings

In fact, Wright has long proven himself to be a head above the 2003-born draft class, and began to do so at the Toronto Titans Early Bird Tournament. En route to leading Don Mills to the championship, Wright racked up eight goals and a tournament-leading 17 points in eight games. Then, mid-way through the campaign, Wright turned in a dominant effort at the Whitby International Silver Stick Tournament — notching seven goals and 12 points.


  • Hockey Sense
  • Skating
  • Playmaking

Shane Wright immediately catches your eye with an incredible ability to read the game one step ahead of real-time, analyzing and reacting to take advantage of developing situations. He showcases excellent vision and creativity, sliding the puck through defenders legs or under their stick, as well as chipping the puck past his opponents and using his speed to retrieve it.

Wright is an agile skater who visibly uses his edges to keep defencemen on their toes. He has strong acceleration as well, needing just a couple of steps to break away from opponents. Further, Wright seems to always know where his teammates are positioned on the ice, dishing behind the back and cross-ice passes through traffic onto the tape. He also shows defensive responsibility by back-checking deep into his own zone in order to support his defenders’ play.

Area of Improvement:

  • Shot Power

As an “exceptional” prospect, it’s not easy to pick out any distinct weaknesses in Wright’s game. There simply aren’t many. However, if one was to nitpick and draw out an area of improvement, it would likely be Wright’s wrist shot power. While his shot is by no means below-average, it lacks an electric release which can catch opposing goaltenders off guard.

Related: 2019 OHL Draft Profiles

With this being said, Wright has the ability to beat goalies clean with a pin-point snap shot. He likes to use a curl-and-drag release to create new shooting angles and has quickly become a remarkably consistent sniper. Moving on to the OHL level, Wright would benefit tremendously from adding some power behind his snap shot in order to make him a sniper as well as an elite playmaker.

Future Potential:

Shane Wright looks to be the next great superstar of the OHL. Granted exceptional status, Wright has become just the sixth player in CHL history to earn the honour, following John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, Connor McDavid, Sean Day, and Joe Veleno.

In attaining eligibility for the OHL Priority Selection, Wright will likely be made the first overall choice come April of 2019. Truthfully, Wright has no holes within his game and possesses dynamic offensive abilities. Ultimately, Wright has the necessary size and strength to survive an OHL season as a 15-year-old. In the long-run, Wright must be considered as a top prospect for the 2022 NHL Draft, with the potential to become a franchise centre at the NHL-level for one lucky franchise.

Featured photo credited to Max Lewis.