2021 NHL Draft Review: 5 Undervalued OHL Prospects

With the 2021 NHL Draft in the books, we look at five OHL players who were woefully undervalued by every NHL organization.

With the 2021 NHL Draft officially in the books, the time has come to review the prospects who were — and weren’t — selected within the event. Once again, the Ontario Hockey League was well represented, with 30 of the 224 players chosen in the Draft hailing from prominent organizations with the League. The most notable of these 30 players were Mason McTavish and Brandt Clarke — two incredibly skilled youngsters whose play and prominence led to their selections within the top-ten overall.

While a handful of other talented OHL prospects were also chosen inside of the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft, it was those who were chosen later — or not at all — which garnered a great deal of attention come the conclusion of the event. It is no secret that the OHL did not play during the 2020-21 season due to the Coronavirus pandemic — a reality which had a detrimental impact on the progression of hundreds of players who suddenly found themselves without a place to play during the campaign. This inability to showcase their personal skill-sets undoubtedly impacted their respective draft stocks, as a number of wildly talented OHL players were selected shockingly late within the 2021 NHL Draft, or not at all.

While it goes without saying that being selected by an NHL franchise regardless of the round is nothing less than an honour and incredible accomplishment, here are five youngsters who we believe were woefully undervalued by all 32 franchises over the course of the 2021 NHL Draft.

Benjamin Gaudreau

2020-21 Statistics: 5-0-0, .919%, 2.20GAA (WJC-U18)

2021-22 Team: Sarnia Sting

NHL Draft Status: Round Three, 81st Overall (San Jose Sharks)

Widely regarded as one of Canada’s top young goaltending prospects, Benjamin Gaudreau burst onto the scene with the Sarnia Sting in 2019-20 as a rookie. Although his statistics weren’t sparkling, they were quite impressive given the Sting’s struggles on the ice — Gaudreau earned a save percentage of .890% despite being shelled by high quality scoring chances on a nightly basis. Had he been able to play during the 2020-21 OHL campaign, Gaudreau undoubtedly would have taken a significant step forward in his personal development and have helped the Sting to a fairly successful season in the process.

Despite being held off of the ice this past season with the exception of the U18 World Junior Championship where he was stellar, Gaudreau was still expected to be chosen in the late-first to early-second round of the 2021 NHL Draft. Standing 6-foot-2 and weighing in at 180-pounds, Gaudreau’s highly athletic nature and innate abilities in the crease commanded nothing less. However, come the event, Gaudreau was forced to wait until the middle of the third-round before he heard his name called by the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks, who likely stole one of the best goaltending prospects available, were surely shocked to see Gaudreau still available when they stepped up to make their selection.

Braeden Kressler

2020-21 Statistics: Did Not Play

2021-22 Team: Flint Firebirds

NHL Draft Status: Undrafted

Being under-valued is nothing new to Braeden Kressler, as the youngster who oozes elite hockey sense and ability was also over-looked in the first round of the 2019 OHL Priority Selection. Eventually, Kressler was nabbed by the Flint Firebirds in the second-round, 28th overall — a somewhat shocking fall given his refined skill set and innate offensive abilities. Come the 2021 NHL Draft, the case was unfortunately no different for Kressler, as all seven rounds came and went without Kressler hearing his name called.

Kressler, a second-round selection of the Flint Firebirds, recorded 18 points in his rookie OHL campaign. (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

However, rather than be disappointed, Kressler will surely use this setback as fuel to improve throughout the coming 2021-22 OHL campaign. After posting 18 points in 46 regular season contests as a rookie, Kressler will take to the ice determined to prove his doubters wrong. Although he has always been somewhat under-sized, Kressler compensates for this perceived deficiency through his incredible work ethic tireless engine. Dogged in his pursuit of the puck, Kressler has shown the ability to play a detailed two-way game — now, the time has come for his relentless hard work to pay off on the scoreboard.

Connor Lockhart

2020-21 Statistics: Did Not Play

2021-22 Team: Erie Otters

NHL Draft Status: Round Six, 178th Overall (Vancouver Canucks)

Despite seeing inconsistent ice time on an Erie Otters team flush with depth at their offensive positions, Connor Lockhart still managed to collect 27 points in his 57 regular season contests in 2019-20 — a level of output commensurate with that of a third-overall selection in the OHL Priority Selection. Laden with high-end offensive skills and terrific skating abilities, Lockhart stood poised to erupt in his sophomore season in the OHL. However, when the 2020-21 season was cancelled, it robbed Lockhart of the ability to showcase his true potential at the next level.

As a result, Lockhart didn’t hear his name called until the sixth-round of the 2021 NHL Draft. While time will tell, at first glance it appears as though the Vancouver Canucks stole a player of first-round caliber at 178th overall. With plenty of room to grow and loads of experience to attain, Lockhart should become a prominent offensive player within the Otters’ lineup this coming season — he’ll no doubt prove those who overlooked him wrong in the process.

Francesco Pinelli

2020-21 Statistics: 13GP: 5G, 11Pts (HDD Jesenice, AlpsHL)

2021-22 Team: Kitchener Rangers

NHL Draft Status: Round Two, 42nd Overall (LA Kings)

As a first-round selection of the Kitchener Rangers in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection and the third-highest scoring rookie in his inaugural campaign, it came as no surprise to see Francesco Pinelli projected by many as a first round talent ahead of the 2021 NHL Draft. A player who can score goals, create plays, provide leadership and play a sound 200-foot game, Pinelli has all the makings of a top-six forward at the next level — a reality which should have made him a highly sought after player in the NHL Draft.

Pinelli’s 41 points as a rookie stood as the third-highest total amongst all freshmen in the 2019-20 OHL campaign. (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

However, come Draft Day, Pinelli did not hear his name called. In fact, Pinelli would have to wait until Saturday and the second-round before he discovered where his future in the game lay. Eventually nabbed by the Los Angeles Kings with the 42nd overall selection in the 2021 NHL Draft, to say that many were shocked to see Pinelli fall into the second-round would be an understatement. Long viewed as a consensus first-round pick, Pinelli shockingly fell to the Kings in the second-round — a team which now boasts a wealth of high-end OHL talent in Quinton Byfield, Brandt Clarke and Pinelli. Although Pinelli was surely thrilled to be selected in the Draft regardless of the position, the fact remains that his skill-set and potential should have commanded a first-round selection.

Brenden Sirizzotti

2020-21 Statistics: Did Not Play

2021-22 Team: Ottawa 67’s

NHL Draft Status: Undrafted

Despite putting on a clinic for the Pickering Panthers of the OJHL in the 2019-20 season and being ranked as the 143rd best North American skater as a direct result, Brenden Sirizzotti failed to hear his name called during the 2021 NHL Draft. A second-round pick of the Ottawa 67’s in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection, Sirizzotti skated in nine OHL contests as a rookie, but was largely held out of the team’s lineup due to its incredible depth at every position on the ice. As a result, Sirizzotti was able to shred the OJHL instead, amassing 17 goals and 57 points in just 41 games played — a total which led all 2003-born skaters by a wide margin.

Come the 2021-22 OHL campaign, expect Sirizzotti to make a substantial impact with the 67’s. Boasting blazing speed, terrific hands and the ability to execute highly technical plays at a high rate of speed, Sirizzotti should quickly establish himself as a top-six forward and player who should not have been overlooked in the 2021 NHL Draft. There is a reason why Sirizzotti was named as the OMHA’s ETA Player of the Year in 2018-19, after all — he blasted home 32 goals and 93 points in his 36 league games played as a member of the Whitby Wildcats.

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Erie Otters: 5 Storylines to Follow in 2018-19

Despite missing the postseason the past two campaigns, the Erie Otters stand poised for significant improvement in 2019-20. If able to find success through these five storylines, the Otters could be surprisingly competitive this coming season.

The Erie Otters failed to reach the postseason in 2018-19, marking the second consecutive campaign in which the club fell short of the playoffs since winning the OHL Championship in 2016-17.

However, expect this troubling trend to come to a decisive end this coming season, as the Otters stand as a dramatically improved team owing to an influx of promising young talent.

Sure to play an impactful role this coming campaign and long into Erie’s future is Connor Lockhart — the team’s first choice in the recent 2019 OHL Draft who has the ability to impact the game at both ends of the ice. While he will come to lead the Otters’ offence, Jamie Drysdale will undoubtedly pace the team’s defence — the youngster stands as one of the top defenders eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft. In short, these two elite prospects stand as the present and future of the franchise.

However, Lockhart and Drysdale won’t be able to do it alone. Fortunately, Erie holds a number of other promising prospects as well as experienced depth players who should come to play an important role in the season ahead. If able to receive production from their depth forwards, stable defending, and quality minutes between the pipes, the Otters could do some significant damage in 2019-20.

Five Storylines to Follow

With this being said, here are five key storylines to follow in Erie this season. Although the Otters likely won’t push deep into the postseason, they are a team which could pose a significant challenge to other competitors if they receive positive outcomes in the areas which we have identified below.

1. Will Jamie Drysdale Lead the Otters to the Postseason?

As a former fourth-overall choice in the OHL Priority Selection, nothing other than greatness has come to be expected from Jamie Drysdale. A smooth skating and puck moving defenceman, Drysdale continues to display the ability to impact any given game at both ends of the ice with a remarkable level of poise and consistency.

Jamie Drysdale of the Erie Otters. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Jamie Drysdale recorded 40 points in his rookie season — a total which will surely increase in 2019-20. (Photo Credit: Terry Wilson / OHL Images.)

This poise — and lethality — was on full display in Drysdale’s rookie campaign, as the youngster collected 40 points in his first 63 games of OHL action. Although he also collected a lacklustre -24 plus/minus rating in the process — a total reflective of the Otters’ poor team play — the fact remains that Drysdale is a young prospect booming with potential who has proven he has the skill set necessary to lead Erie back to the postseason.

If he can continue to mesh with his increasingly talented teammates while making improvements in his defensive zone, Drysdale should be able to push the Otters into playoff contention with apparent ease.

2. Can Connor Lockhart Spark Erie’s Offence?

With the third-overall selection in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection, the Otters nabbed the agile and highly skilled Connor Lockhart. A dynamic offensive force for the Kanata Lasers this past campaign, Lockhart is a young centre who can push the pace of playing owing to his speed while devising devastating offensive opportunities in the process.

Officially committed to the Otters for the upcoming 2019-20 OHL season, keep a close eye fixed on Lockhart as the campaign progresses. Sure, he will be one of the youngest players on the ice, however, Lockhart’s raw speed and electrifying shot should allow him to play a crucial depth role for Erie while he continues to improve and strengthen a variety of aspects of his game.

3. Will Aidan Campbell or Forbes Anderson Push for Playing Time?

The Otters struggled to find consistency between the pipes last season, as Dan Murphy, Cole Ceci, and Noah Battaglia pieced together an average campaign of goaltending for Erie. However, with Ceci now set to play for York University in 2019-20, the door has been opened wide for one of the Otters’ young goaltending prospects to seize valuable playing time.

Noah Battagliaof the Erie Otters. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Noah Battaglia will surely battle for valuable playing time this coming season. (Photo Credit: Terry Wilson / OHL Images)

Of the lot, Aidan Campbell or Forbes Anderson could make a significant push for the Otters crease. With both netminders coming off of excellent seasons last year, both are high in not only ability but confidence with the 2019-20 OHL campaign rapidly approaching. And, although it would appear as though Murphy will once again handle the majority of the workload, one or both of these youngsters could come to play a crucial role as the Otters’ backup netminder next season.

4. Hayden Fowler: Star in the Making?

Despite suffering a fractured collarbone this past season, Hayden Fowler fired home eight goals and 18 points in his 25 regular season games played — an impressive point-per-game total for a player who was not yet eligible for the NHL Draft. However, Fowler will be eligible for the NHL Draft this upcoming season, and the Otters are hoping that the youngster can continue his torrent offensive play once the 2019-20 campaign kicks off.

 

If able to stay healthy this coming season, Fowler should come to play a significant role for his team at both ends of the ice. As a former first-round choice of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection, Fowler has the skill-set and determination necessary to become an impact player for the Otters — a reality which he was quickly seizing last year before suffering the first significant injury of his career. If able to play a full regular season, Fowler’s contributions could single-handedly push the Otters towards the post-season.

5. Can the Otters’ Depth Break Through?

The Otters have been mired by inconsistent depth production in recent years — a lack of offensive contribution which has placed a great deal of strain and expectation upon the team’s top players. So, if Erie wishes to legitimately compete for a post-season berth in 2019-20, they’ll need to receive heightened contributions from their bottom-six forwards. While another year of play and additional experience will certainly help the Otters this season, the presence of a number of the team’s mid-round prospects could certainly give the team an offensive edge.

Chad Yetman of the Erie Otters. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Chad Yetman exploded last season, firing home 21 goals and 57 points — both career-highs. (Photo Credit: Terry Wilson / OHL Images.)

If able to receive commitments from the likes of Brett Bressette, Cole Melady, and Ryan Forberg in the months ahead, the Otters could very well feature a bolstered bottom-six capable of contributing sporadic offensive this coming season. Although young, additions such as these would not only earn valuable experience but provide Erie with a strong foundation for their future in the process.

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_TW_CHL_7658
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.

Rossi_BT3
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: Connor Lockhart

Connor Lockhart should be considered one of the premier goal-scorers in the 2019 OHL Draft class. With an electric release and separation speed, Lockhart is the total package, and is projected as a top-10 pick.

– Connor Lockhart –

Kanata Lasers (HEO) | Center | 2019 OHL Draft Eligible

Kanata, Ontario | January 21st, 2003 | 5-foot-9, 165 pounds

Connor Lockhart is an immensely talented offensive center who can dictate the pace of play and turn the game on its head with a flash of speed and skill. During his Bantam season with the Ottawa Jr. Senators, Lockhart put up a ridiculous 50 goals and 76 points over 30 games. He has led his league in goals over both of the past two seasons.

Related: Check out our 2019 OHL Draft Ranking: October Top-20

Now in his OHL Draft eligible year, Lockhart is suiting up for the Kanata Lasers in the HEO Midget league, comprised of ’02 and ’03 born players. Through 12 games, he is just starting to find his stride and has added seven goals and 15 points along the way. Overall, Lockhart is a complete offensive package, with unparalleled scoring abilities, tremendous puck skills, and separation speed to boot.

Strengths:

  • Shot
  • Puck Skills
  • Skating

Connor Lockhart is a natural goal scorer, through and through. He has an elite release that generates power behind his shot and can be unleashed in tight, through traffic, and in any position. Lockhart is able to change shooting angles and quickly fire an accurate shot on net that catches goaltenders in transition. He also has outstanding puck skills, with the ability to make defenders look silly on a regular basis.

Lockhart often looks like he has the puck on a string, and can dangle his way out of trouble and through opponents with ease. Further, his skating level is off the charts, with impressive top speeds and excellent agility. Lockhart utilizes his edges to keep defenders on their toes and can cut in and out of the slot with the blink of an eye. Up front, Lockhart has all the imperative tools to find success at the junior and professional levels.

Area of Improvement:

  • Physicality and Strength

As a modestly sized center, Lockhart will need to add some serious muscle in order to compete and thrive against bigger and stronger opponents in the OHL. Thus far in the HEO, he has been able to let his offensive instincts take over against opponents that are a year older, but he is sometimes knocked off of the puck or out-battled along the wall for a loose puck.

While his strengths will always make him a dangerous offensive force, Lockhart would take another step and become exponentially more dynamic by adding some muscle for the next level, or else he may have to project as a future winger as a result. For the time being, this area isn’t going to hinder his success, but it’s a thought for the future.

Future Potential:

All in all, Connor Lockhart is an electric player with game-breaking skills. He checks off all the boxes as far as his offensive game is concerned, and will continue to battle with Mason McTavish for the right to be the HEO’s top 2019 OHL Draft prospect. Lockhart also possesses underrated playmaking skills, and combines a tremendous and efficient stride with a profound pair of hands to be an offensive threat each and every shift.

Regarded as one of the most potent goal scorers available in this year’s draft class, Lockhart currently projects as a top-10 pick for the 2019 OHL Draft, with room to improve as he adapts to the Midget level throughout the season.