2019 OHL Draft Ranking: December’s Top-100

It’s December, which means it’s time to unveil our latest 2019 OHL Draft Ranking. In our December edition, we present this year’s top-100 prospects while also offering 20 honourable mentions.

It’s hard to believe that we’ve burned through yet another month of the 2018-19 minor midget campaign, and what a month it proved to be.

As November progressed, the top teams continued to dominate their competition — solidifying their places in OHL Cup Rankings as an immediate result. However, perhaps the most notable play of all this past month arose at the 2018 International Silver Stick Tournament hosted by the Whitby Wildcats.

Annually one of the season’s most prestigious tournaments, this year’s Silver Stick proved to be not only highly entertaining but extremely valuable for scouts and fans alike — affording everyone the opportunity to compare and contrast the top prospects eligible for the 2019 OHL Draft.

Come the end of the tournament, the matchup many were hoping for occurred: the undefeated Don Mills Flyers did battle against Detroit Compuware. Featuring arguably a dozen of this season’s top players, the championship game was wildly entertaining and offered a tremendous opportunity to view a number of this season’s elite prospects.

Following a late goal from Brennan Othmann to tie the game late in regulation, it was Noah Laba who delivered the championship-winning tally for Compuware — a stunning yet well-earned decision which handed Don Mills their first defeat of the current campaign.

So, with a month of tremendous play behind us and December eager to afford each and every minor midget team a handful of new challenges, let’s meet three prospects who are red-hot of late before diving into December’s 2019 OHL Draft Ranking.

Three Red-Hot Prospects

The month of November offered a wealth of opportunities for prospects to place their names on the radar ahead of the 2019 OHL Draft. Whether it was the Battle of the Border, the Alliance Showcase, ETA Showcase, or the Silver Stick Tournament — November afforded each and every prospect with ample time to shine.

With this being said, here are three youngsters whose play has stood out of late.

Sasha Pastujov

2018-19 Team: Detroit Compuware 16U (HPHL)

Sasha Pastujov of Detroit Compuware arrived at the Whitby Silver Stick Tournament with one goal on his mind: domination. En route to his team’s championship, Pastujov not only led the tournament in goal-scoring with nine tallies but he stood atop the event with 16 points in his nine games played — a stellar offensive output which earned Pastujov MVP-honours.

Aided by incredible team play, Pastujov has continued to display the high-end puck-skill and skating abilities which have cemented him as one of the 2019 OHL Draft’s top prospects. Of solid size and seemingly endless confidence, Pastujov is not afraid to drive the puck hard to the net or do battle within the dirty areas in order to command puck possession.

Once in control, Pastujov is endlessly creative as well as consistent in his ability to generate offence.

Stuart Rolofs

2018-19 Team: Kanata Lasers (HEO)

One of the 2019 OHL Draft’s most notable and devastating power-forwards, the game of Stuart Rolofs has continued to progress dramatically. An absolute force for the Kanata Lasers this season given his 6-foot-2 and 190-pound frame, Rolofs pairs his immense size with a strong stride and the ability to dominate puck possession — especially so below the goal line.

However, Rolofs has proven time and time again to be much more than a big body, as the youngster is a natural goal-scorer who can pot the puck with incredible consistency. In fact, in the month of November alone, Rolofs blasted home 11 goals and 19 points across a mere eight games played. Boasting a wicked wrist-shot and the willingness to gobble up rebounds, Rolofs could prove to be one of the steals of the Draft this coming April.

Jon-Randall Avon

2018-19 Team: Peterborough Petes (ETA)

With 21 goals and 38 points in-hand across his 22 games played to round out the month, Jon-Randall Avon’s impressive rate of production has thrust him into an elite company within the ETA. However, it is the manner in which Avon has staked his claim atop the ETA which is most impressive of all — the youngster’s whopping total stood 20 points greater than any of his fellow teammates, a glaring indication of Avon’s persistent lethality.

Jon-Randall Avon of the Peterborough Petes Minor Midget team is a dynamic offensive threat who can not only create but also finish tantalizing scoring plays from his centre-ice position. – Prospect Pipeline

As a tremendous skater who tracks the puck exceptionally well, Avon positions himself in ideal areas in order to generate offence and has a knack for reading and reacting to the play before it develops. In short, keep an eye on Avon and his progression in the coming months — he could prove to be one of this year’s most under-appreciated prospects.

December’s Top-100 Prospects

Somewhat unbelievably, we are now just four short months away from the 2019 OHL Draft.

This year’s OHL class is quickly proving to be exceptionally deep, as plenty of promising prospects could very well fall into the fourth or even fifth rounds of the 2019 event. And, now more than ever before, a major trend which has continued and will surely impact the Draft is the number of NCAA commitments among this season’s group of top prospects.

In fact, 11 of our top-40 prospects — at the moment — are currently committed to an NCAA program, a reality which poses a great deal of unpredictability ahead of the big day.

Brandt Clarke
Impeccable composure and poise have fuelled Brandt Clarke’s incredibly consistent play thus far this season — a major reason behind his stable standing as our second-best OHL prospect.  (Photo Credit: Max Lewis)

Further, as we drive deeper into the 2018-19 regular season, consistency will begin to play a major role in separating the top-tier of prospects from the remainder of the pack. And, while there remains plenty of time for movement within the top rounds, some players are beginning to find their likely place within the rankings — with hot and cold months having less of an impact throughout the remainder of the season.

Now, without further ado, here are December’s Top-100 prospects eligible for the 2019 OHL Draft. Also featured within this month’s ranking are 20 honourable mentions who have continued to impress and hold roles of significance within their respective organization’s — listed alphabetically.

Note: This list features the Top-100 skaters available for the 2019 OHL Draft, and does not include goaltenders. Also, it is not a mock draft.

Rank Player Team Position
1 Shane Wright Don Mills Flyers C
2 Brandt Clarke Don Mills Flyers RD
3 Connor Lockhart Kanata Lasers C
4 Roman Schmidt* Don Mills Flyers LD
5 Sasha Pastujov* Detroit Compuware RW
6 Dylan Duke* Detroit Compuware C
7 Francesco Pinelli Toronto Red Wings C
8 Brennan Othmann Don Mills Flyers LW
9 Cole Hipkin Brantford 99ers RD
10 Mason McTavish Pembroke Lumber Kings C
11 Maddox Callens Brantford 99ers C
12 Danil Zhilkin* Toronto Marlboros C/LW
13 Francesco Arcuri Don Mills Flyers C
14 Brett Harrison London Jr. Knights C
15 Luke Hughes* Detroit Little Caesars LD
16 Liam Arnsby Don Mills Flyers C/LW
17 Braeden Kressler Mississauga Senators C
18 Brenden Sirizzotti Whitby Wildcats RW
19 Colby Saganiuk Pittsburgh Penguins Elite C
20 Deni Goure Chatham-Kent Cyclones C
21 Dylan Gratton* North Jersey Avalanche LD
22 Artem Guryev Toronto Marlboros LD
23 Jeremy Wilmer* North Jersey Avalanche C
24 Wyatt Johnston Toronto Marlboros C
25 Stuart Rolofs Kanata Lasers LW
26 Marc Boudreau Toronto Marlboros LW
27 Kaleb Lawrence OHA Maroon C
28 Ryan Winterton Whitby Wildcats C
29 Ryan Del Monte* Toronto Young Nationals C
30 Ethan Del Mastro Toronto Marlboros LD
31 Jack Devine* Chicago Mission C
32 Cole Eichler Don Mills Flyers C/RW
33 Redmond Savage* Detroit Compuware LW
34 Paul Christopoulos Don Mills Flyers RD
35 Kaleb Nelson York-Simcoe Express C
36 Ranvir Gill Ottawa Jr. Senators RD
37 Pasquale Zito Mississauga Rebels C
38 Wil Murphy Kingston Jr. Frontenacs LD
39 Camden Daigle Huron Perth Lakers LW
40 Davis Burnside* Chicago Mission LW
41 Jon-Randall Avon Peterborough Petes C
42 Jack Beck Toronto Marlboros LW
43 Daniel Michaud Quinte Red Devils C
44 Jesse Fishman Mississauga Rebels C/RW
45 Chase Stillman* Sudbury Wolves C
46 Devan Nagra Toronto Young Nationals LD
47 Logan Mailloux Toronto Marlboros RD
48 Ethan Larmand North Central Predators RW
49 Ryan Burke Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs C
50 Ty Gallagher* Detroit Compuware RD
51 Josh Bloom Toronto Young Nationals LW
52 Kai Alexander Greaves Cambridge Hawks LD
53 Jack Silich* Chicago Mission RW
54 Max Smolinski Detroit Little Caesars RD
55 Vitaly Levyy Long Island Gulls RW
56 Zacharie Giroux Sudbury Wolves RW
57 Landon Cato* Toronto Young Nationals RD
58 Steven Laforme Brantford 99ers RW
59 Christian Catalano Mississauga Rebels RW
60 Marko Sikic Kitchener Jr. Rangers C
61 Owen Watson Smiths Falls Bears LW
62 Therien Thiesing Chicago Mission LD
63 Tucker Robertson Toronto Marlboros LW
64 Jordan Adams Halton Hurricanes LW/C
65 Kyle Maloney Waterloo Wolves C
66 Josh Kavanagh Sudbury Wolves RD
67 Alex Christopoulos Don Mills Flyers RW
68 James Jodoin Oakville Rangers RD
69 Mark McIntosh Guelph Jr. Gryphons RW
70 Payton Robinson Don Mills Flyers RD
71 Cooper Way Waterloo Wolves C/LW
72 Jack Matier Soo Thunderbirds RD
73 Josh Ziliotto Burlington Eagles C
74 Braden Haché York-Simcoe Express LD
75 Justin O’Donnell Toronto Marlboros RW
76 Sam Sedley Huron Perth Lakers RD
77 Nicholas Sewecke Pittsburgh Penguins Elite C
78 Ty Anselmini Guelph Jr. Gryphons C
79 William Gourgouvelis Whitby Wildcats LD
80 Landon McCallum Brantford 99ers RW
81 Kobe Tallman Toronto Young Nationals LW
82 Adam O’Marra Oakville Rangers C
83 Owen Forester Toronto Young Nationals RD
84 Calum Chau Halton Hurricanes LD
85 Ryan Gillespie Toronto Red Wings C
86 Jordan D’Intino London Jr. Knights C/RW
87 Jacob Dupuis Clarington Toros RD
88 Thomas Johnston Whitby Wildcats LW
89 Judd Katz Mississauga Rebels LD
90 Sean Clarke Vaughan Kings C
91 Cole Patey North Central Predators LW
92 Andre Anania Toronto Red Wings LD
93 Ben Felicetti Burlington Eagles RW
94 Jordan Fuller York Simcoe Express LW
95 Liam Shewdyk Niagara North Stars C/RW
96 Christian Campanelli North York Rangers C
97 Callum Chisholm Richmond Hill Coyotes RW
98 Jacob Maillet Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs C
99 Ryan Cutler York Simcoe Express RW
100 Nathan Oickle Peterborough Petes RD
HM Mateo Amaral Cambridge Hawks LW
HM Eric Bonsteel Mississauga Senators RD
HM Lucas Brzustowski Kitchener Jr. Rangers LD
HM Ethan Burroughs Halton Hurricanes RW
HM Douglas Carr Whitby Wildcats RD
HM Nolan Forster Toronto Marlboros LW
HM Jacob Holmes York Simcoe Express LD
HM Ethan Lindsay Barrie Jr. Colts C
HM Cole Melady Huron Perth Lakers C
HM Edward Moskowitz Don Mills Flyers LW
HM Simon Motew Chicago Mission RD
HM Tarabh Nolan Toronto Young Nationals RW
HM Luca Pasciuta Windsor Jr. Spitfires LD
HM Declan Ride* Toronto Young Nationals RD
HM Chandler Romeo Toronto Red Wings LD
HM Tyler Savard Peterborough Petes LW
HM Devon Savignac Sudbury Wolves LW
HM Aidan Shepard Toronto Marlboros LD
HM Sam Volturo Detroit Little Caesars RD
HM Riley Wood London Jr. Knights RW

* – Indicates a prospect currently committed to an NCAA program.

2019 OHL Cup Ranking: November’s Top-10

It’s the middle of November and time to unveil our second OHL Cup Ranking of the 2018-19 season. In this month’s edition, four new teams have cracked the top-10 overall while a handful of contenders have fallen off dramatically.

Although it’s been a mere month since we published our inaugural OHL Cup Ranking of the 2018-19 season, there has been an overwhelming amount of change throughout the current standings owing to outstanding regular season and tournament play.

Truthfully, it’s incredibly difficult to believe that this year’s minor midget campaign is already nearing its half-way mark. Sure, there are a bevy of tournaments and crucial games yet to be played, however, the 2018-19 regular season is unfolding before our eyes and the campaign’s more notable teams have been quick to establish themselves as legitimate contenders.

Related: 2019 OHL Prospect Profiles

Since we last convened, the Don Mills Flyers have refused to lose a single game and continue to stand as the beast within this year’s field of competitors. And, while the Toronto Young Nationals and Toronto Marlboros have retained their standing within the top-10, the highly touted Mississauga Rebels have fallen off dramatically, going 2-5-0 over the past month.

Meanwhile, in the ETA, the York-Simcoe Express have hit a bit of a rough patch, sporting a 2-3-2 record since October’s ranking. At the same time, the North Central Predators have taken advantage, now tied with the Express for the West Division lead with two games in hand.

 

The SCTA remains highly competitive at the top of the standings. While the Niagara North Stars have maintained the league lead, the Halton Hurricanes and Guelph Gryphons are hot on their tail. The Gryphons, specifically, have found their stride of late, winning seven straight and nine of their last 10.

The Alliance has seen perhaps the most movement over the past month, specifically with the Waterloo Wolves falling from first to sixth in the league standings due to a 0-4-1 record since last month’s ranking. As a result, the London Jr. Knights have climbed up to second in the standings with the league’s most potent offence, averaging 4.7 goals per game.

Related: 2019 OHL Draft Rankings

Owing to the embattled performances of four particular teams, a new and highly competitive slew of clubs have cracked this month’s top-10. And, although their places are anything but secure, consistent and overwhelming play in the coming months could very well cement their respective places as legitimate contenders for the OHL Cup.

Now, if you’ve already met October’s top-10 teams, dive head-first into this month’s OHL Cup Ranking:

10. Niagara North Stars

  • League Record: 11-2-4; 58GF & 29GA
  • Tournament Record: 3-3-2
  • October Ranking: Not Ranked

The Niagara North Stars have surpassed Halton and maintained their lead among the SCTA standings for several weeks now. Despite lacklustre results at the Titans Early Bird and Wendy Dufton Memorial Tournament, the North Stars boast a deep forward corps that allows them to roll three lines all game, led by the likes of Liam Shwedyk, Parker Hendsbee, Matteo Giampa, and Nathan Zadorozny.

But, the key to their success is owed to tremendous defensive play by all involved, displaying a culture that has bought into a team-first approach. The North Stars have developed a reputation for their dedicated work ethic in all three zones, especially in supporting each other and the puck in the defensive zone. Niagara has been consistent throughout the season, and their 66.7 GF% goes to show that, a rate which is 10% greater than any other SCTA team.

9. North Central Predators

  • League Record: 10-3-1; 53GF & 38GA
  • Tournament Record: 5-4-1; Sweet 16 at Titans Early Bird and Wendy Dufton
  • October Ranking: Not Ranked

The North Central Predators remain one of the hottest teams in the ETA, riding a 5-1-1 record over the past month. A hard-working and grinding squad, the Predators have a knack for finding a way to win tight games. Led by the dynamic trio of Ethan Larmand, Cole Patey, and Nicholas Dowling, the Predators feature a high-skill and blazing-fast top line. We also encourage scouts, OHL teams, parents, and fellow players to not forget about Brett Bressette. A tremendously talented forward, Bressette is currently recovering from an injury and hopes to return this season.

On the other side of the puck, North Central plays a responsible and intelligent style that limits opponent scoring chances and moves the puck back up ice with consistency. In particular, Chas Sharpe has shown an excellent ability to keep opponents to the outside while also joining the rush to create offensive opportunities for his team. In goal, Wade Monague has shown supreme talent to hold the Predators lead through impressive lateral movement and a calm demeanour between the pipes.

8. London Jr. Knights

  • League Record: 10-4-3; 80GF & 49GA
  • Tournament Record: 4-4-1; Sweet 16 at Wendy Dufton
  • October Ranking: Not Ranked

The London Jr. Knights crack the top-10 for the first time this season on the back of a 4-1-3 record in the past four weeks. Led by an explosive offensive attack, the Knights utilize three lines that can all find the back of the net. Led specifically by the trio of Brett Harrison, Riley Wood, and Jordan D’Intino, London unsurprisingly leads the Alliance in goals for.

Unable to put together a notable showing at either of this year’s major tournaments thus far, the Jr. Knights will be a motivated and dangerous squad to watch in the coming months, as they continue to gel as a team and grow in the potency. Further, London’s defensive corps plays a hard-checking and in-your-face style that makes them a nuisance to go up against. With an efficient transition game, the Jr. Knights can make opposing teams pay for their mistakes in a matter of seconds.

7. Toronto Red Wings

  • League Record: 8-5-3; 58GF & 30GA
  • Tournament Record: 5-2-2; Sweet 16 at Wendy Dufton
  • October Ranking: Not Ranked

An up-and-coming team that is just starting to scratch the surface of their potential, the Toronto Red Wings have established themselves as a true threat in the GTHL. Winners of seven of their past nine games, the Red Wings feature a potent offence that is led by Francesco Pinelli, Ryan Gillespie, and ’04-born Adam Fantilli. Playing a high-paced game with impressive puck movement, the Wings can turn momentum on its head in a matter of moments.

On the back end, goaltender Joshua Rozenweig has slowly but surely grown stronger as the year has worn on, a testament to the play of the team’s defensive corps as well. Despite the slow start, the Red Wings goal output now rivals the likes of the Flyers, Nationals, and Marlboros. Their growth was put on display at the Wendy Dufton Memorial Tournament, where they cruised to a 4-0-0 round robin record.

6. Chicago Mission

  • League Record: 9-0-0; 54GF & 15GA
  • Tournament Record: 10-2-1; Final at Titans Early Bird; Sweet 16 at Wendy Dufton
  • October Ranking: 8th

It’s been a perfect past month of play for the Chicago Mission, who have ascended to sixth-overall within this month’s OHL Cup Ranking. Alongside a 6-0 record since we last met, the Mission put forth 34 goals for against a mere 14 against in dominating their opponents with both consistency and force. Owing to their stellar play, the Mission now boast a perfect 9-0 record this season and stand high atop the HPHL standings.

Leading the charge for the Mission has continued to be highly touted prospect Jack Devine, who blasted home five goals and 11 points in his past six games played. Further supplementing the team’s attack has been the likes of Davis Burnside, Alexander Babich, and Jonah Copre — who alongside goaltender Nick Larrabee have been essential in fuelling the Mission’s impressive play to date.

5. Brantford 99ers

  • League Record: 12-3-2; 78GF & 42GA
  • Tournament Record: 9-2-1; Quarterfinals at Wendy Dufton; Champions at Dale Parker
  • October Ranking: 7th

Expected to be the team-to-beat in the Alliance, the Brantofrd 99ers are living up to their reputation through their first two months of action. After riding an 11-0-1 run, the 99ers finally proved to be human in a 6-1 defeat to the Jr. Knights, their second loss to the team this season. Regardless, Brantford remains the favourite in their league and has begun to earn some separation at the top of the standings.

Led by top 2019 OHL Draft prospect Maddox Callens, the 99ers boast three of the top five scorers in the league, along with Landom McCallum and Steven LaForme. On the blue line, Cole Hipkin is another name to know and a regular contributor towards Brantford’s success. Overall, the 99ers display a mixture of prominent stars along with effective role players to combine as an all-around force and one of the toughest teams to face in Ontario.

4. Whitby Wildcats

  • League Record: 13-1-3; 85GF & 29GA
  • Tournament Record: 8-2-0; Sweet 16 at Titans Early Bird; Sweet 16 at Wendy Dufton
  • October Ranking: 6th

The Whitby Wildcats continue to pose a real threat for opponents, continuing to roll along with a 6-0-1 record since their sole loss on the season, a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Peterborough Petes. The Wildcats pace the ETA in both goals for, with 85, and goals against, with 29, roughly halfway through the regular season. Their 74.6 GF% ranks second among Ontario’s four Minor Midget leagues to only the Don Mills Flyers, who boast a 82.4 GF%.

The Wildcats are led by their top line of Brenden Sirizzotti, Ryan Winterton, and Thomas Johnston, who make up the ETA’s top three point producers and have combined for a whopping 54.1% of Whitby goals scored this year. Along the blue line, all three Wildcat pairings can chip in offensively as well, all while remaining diligent and efficient in their own end. This team is a well-oiled machine that will force opponents to play their style of game and pick them apart in all three zones.

3. Toronto Marlboros

  • League Record: 12-2-2; 65GF & 28GA
  • Tournament Record: 9-2-2; Quarterfinals at Titans Early Bird; Final at Wendy Dufton
  • October Ranking: 3rd

Despite a loss to Don Mills and a tie against the pesky Vaughan Kings to close out their month of October, the Toronto Marlboros have rebounded of late with six consecutive and convincing wins. And, although Don Mills may be out of reach, the perennial powerhouse once again finds itself battling for position atop this season’s standings.

As has been the case in many previous campaigns, the Marlboros are a team defined by their exceptional depth. Although lacking a ‘star player’ per se, Toronto has come to dominate its opposition of late through committed team play and a dedication to consistency.

Since we last convened, the trio of Danil Zhilkin, Wyatt Johnston, and Artem Guryev have been superb. However, the contributions put forth by Tucker Robertson, Marc Boudreau, Justin O’Donnell, and Ethan Del Mastro have been equally crucial and have propelled the team to sustained success. Fuelled by the strong goaltending provided by both Domenic Rollo and Ben West, the Marlboros have become increasingly dominant and could very well leapfrog the Nationals come December’s ranking.

2. Toronto Young Nationals

  • League Record: 13-3-0; 71GF & 35GA
  • Tournament Record: 5-1-0; Quarterfinals at Titans Early Bird
  • October Ranking: 2nd

Although the Toronto Young Nationals stand as a team capable of legitimately competing against Ontario’s best this season, they have proven to be human of late. After a scorching hot start to their past month of play owing to a 4-0 record, the Nationals have dropped two consecutive contests to teams competing within the GTHL. While the first of which came against the upstart Red Wings, the Nationals’ loss to the Markham Majors made a serious dent to the team’s momentum.

However, these two recent losses should not take way from the Nationals’ success to date, as the team has been one of the GTHL’s most consistent and lethal thus far this season.

Led by a growing star in Zachary Dean, the Nationals have received excellent scoring owing to the presences of Ryan Del Monte and Josh Bloom, as well as superb defending in the forms of Deven Nagra and Landon Cato. Backstopped by a Jonathan Quick-like goaltender in Samuel Moncada, the breakout performances of Ikky Kogawa, Owen Forester, and Declan Ride have come to afford the Nationals with depth rivalled only by the high-flying Flyers.

1. Don Mills Flyers

  • League Record: 17-0-0; 112GF & 24GA
  • Tournament Record: 16-0-0; Champions of Titans Early Bird and Wendy Dufton
  • October Ranking: 1st

Don Mills is a runaway train which can’t be stopped.

Not only have the Flyers played to a perfect regular season record thus far this season, but the team also remains flawless in tournament play — affording the powerhouse team a combined 33-0 record to date. For Don Mills, their success has come as the direct result of exemplary team play — each and every player has contributed to the Flyers’ dominance on consistent basis.

Since our October ranking, Shane Wright has continued to lead the charge for Don Mills. However, Wright has been aided increasingly by outstanding performances from his fellow teammates, as the Flyers’ forwards, defence, and goaltenders have all competed with a remarkable level of consistency and determination. In particular, the games of Francesco Arcuri, Cole Eichler, Brennan Othmann, and Edward Moskowitz — to name a few — have continued to grow and afford Don Mills with unparalleled depth.

As we move later into November and the beginning of December, the most significant question facing the Flyers is whether or not they will lose a game this season. Although they have certainly had their close calls, Don Mills stands as the most complete minor midget team in contention this campaign and have shown no signs of slowing down.

* All team records are as of November 13th, 2018*

2019 OHL Draft Ranking: November’s Top-60

Two months through the 2018-19 campaign, we are beginning to get an early sense as to who belongs in which tiers for the 2019 OHL Draft. In this month’s ranking, we include a Top-60 as well as 10 honourable mentions. Further, read up on 3 prospects on the rise after a spectacular month of October.

Quickly, we find ourselves nearly a third of the way through the Minor Midget regular season. Over this past month, we’ve gained an invaluable look into the top teams across the province, specifically those who have been able to play at a consistently high level and separate themselves amongst this year’s group of true contenders.

Related: Check out Prospect Pipeline’s Top 2019 OHL Draft Prospect Profiles

As well, another major tournament has been checked off the list; the 2018 Wendy Dufton Memorial Tournament, hosted by the London Jr. Knights. It was a familiar result, with the Don Mills Flyers rolling their way to another tournament championship, this time on a combined 8-0-0 record, with a remarkable 51 goals for and just 4 goals against.

The Flyers continue to dominate the GTHL as well, boasting a perfect 13-0-0 record, with only the Toronto Young Nationals on their tails, with an 12-1-0 record. The Alliance has been much more competitive at the top of the standings, with the Brantford 99ers and Windsor Jr. Spitfires leading in terms of points percentage at the time of writing. However, there are seven teams within six points of the league lead.

Related: Look ahead to March, with our 2019 OHL Cup Ranking – October Edition

In the ETA, the Whitby Wildcats have established themselves as a true force to be reckoned with, boasting a league-best 11-1-3 record. On their tails remain the York Simcoe Express and North Central Predators, who should both be considered threats for the OHL Cup. In the SCTA, the Niagara North Stars are earning some separation, but the Halton Hurricanes, Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs, Guelph Jr. Gryphons, and Burlington Eagles remain in a tight battle for the second seed.

3 Prospects on the Rise

Over the past month, a few prospects have been able to overcome sluggish starts and begin to show their true colours amongst this year’s crop of top prospects. Three players in specific have utilized a massive month of October to soar up the ranking.

Brennan Othmann:

While Othmann was already a highly touted prospect for the 2019 OHL Draft, October may have been enough to lock him down as a first rounder. At the Wendy Dufton Memorial Tournament, Othmann was unstoppable, piling up a ridiculous 16 goals and 25 points over just eight games.

One of the premier snipers in this year’s draft class, he boasts a pro-level release and precision accuracy. Othmann can get his shot off in tight spaces and changes up shooting angles with effectiveness. His recent play has been impressive enough to push him into consideration as a top-10 pick.

Kaleb Lawrence:

Lawrence has fallen into the shadows of the likes of Mason McTavish and Connor Lockhart for much of his minor hockey career. However, a blazing start to the 2018-19 campaign has brought his name forth in plenty of discussions. His 12 goals and 21 points in 14 games of HEO Midget action place him first among 2019 OHL Draft eligibles in points-per-game, with 1.50.

Further, his goals-per-game rate also places him second amongst the same group. Lawrence is an intelligent forward who processes the game at impressive rates. He can truly be a game-changer, and could push for the first round by year’s end.

Jesse Fishman:

When Pasquale Zito went down with an upper-body injury for parts of October, Fishman stepped up in a big way for the Rebels. Taking over the first line centre role, Fishman became an offensive catalyst for his team, proving that he has what it takes to be a leader of a top-tier squad.

A slick skater with impressive top speed, Fishman handles the puck with ease on the rush and is an intelligent playmaker with excellent vision, frequently dishing cross-crease passes. He has honed his shot as well, an accurate snap shot with a quick release, Fishman has been consistently improving his draft stock since game one.

November’s Top-60

Now five months away from the 2019 OHL Draft, we are beginning to get a feel for a consensus top-tier of prospects. Consistency is starting to show through for the best of players, who showcase an impressive compete level night in, night out. With that said, there’s still plenty of time for movement amongst the draft rankings as the 2003-born draft class continues to grow, mature, and develop.

Related: Look back and compare to our 2019 OHL Draft Ranking: October’s Top-20

A large theme in this year’s OHL Draft appears to be NCAA commitments. Among the top-20 prospects, six are currently committed to an NCAA program, with another four in the remainder of the list. Of course, these verbal commitments have a significant impact on the outcome of the draft. See Antonio Stranges, Owen Power, Stephen Halliday, and many more from the 2018 OHL Draft. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues throughout the year, or if some of those committed prospects end up in the OHL after all.

Note: This list compiles the Top-60 skaters available for the 2019 OHL Draft, as well as 10 honourable mentions (HM). The list does not include goaltenders, and is not a mock draft.

Rank Player Team Position
1 Shane Wright Don Mills Flyers Centre
2 Brandt Clarke Don Mills Flyers Right Defence
3 Mason McTavish Pembroke Lumber Kings Centre
4 Roman Schmidt* Don Mills Flyers Right Defence
5 Maddox Callens Brantford 99ers Centre
6 Dylan Duke* Compuware Centre
7 Francesco Arcuri Don Mills Flyers Centre
8 Connor Lockhart Kanata Lasers Centre
9 Danil Zhilkin* Toronto Marlboros Left Wing/Centre
10 Francesco Pinelli Toronto Red Wings Centre
11 Luke Hughes* Little Caesars Left Defence
12 Brennan Othmann Don Mills Flyers Left Wing
13 Cole Hipkin Brantford 99ers Right Defence
14 Sasha Pastujov* Compuware Right Wing
15 Braeden Kressler Mississauga Senators Right Wing/Centre
16 Ryan Winterton Whitby Wildcats Centre
17 Pasquale Zito  Mississauga Rebels Centre
18 Dylan Gratton* North Jersey Avalanche Left Defence
19 Daniel Michaud Quinte Red Devils Centre
20 Deni Goure Chatham-Kent Cyclones Centre
21 Artem Guryev Toronto Marlboros  Left Defence
22 Colby Saganiuk Pittsburgh Penguins Elite Centre
23 Wyatt Johnston Toronto Marlboros Centre
24 Owen Watson Smiths Falls Bears Left Wing
25 Brett Harrison London Jr. Knights Centre
26 Ryan Del Monte* Toronto Young Nationals Centre
27 Cole Eichler Don Mills Flyers Centre
28 Kaleb Lawrence OHA Maroon Centre
29 Ethan Del Mastro Toronto Marlboros Left Defence
30 Cooper Way Waterloo Wolves Centre/Left Wing
31 Jeremy Wilmer* North Jersey Avalanche Centre
32 Jack Devine* Chicago Mission Centre
33 Marc Boudreau Toronto Marlboros Left Wing
34 Jesse Fishman Mississauga Rebels Centre/Right Wing
35 Liam Arnsby Don Mills Flyers Centre
36 Ranvir Gill Ottawa Jr. Senators Right Defence
37 Stuart Rolofs Kanata Lasers Left Wing
38 Davis Burnside* Chicago Mission Left Wing
39 Paul Christopoulos Don Mills Flyers Right Defence
40 Zacharie Giroux Sudbury Wolves Right Wing
41 Brenden Sirizzotti Whitby Wildcats Right Wing
42 Alex Christopoulos Don Mills Flyers Right Wing
43 Jordan Adams Halton Hurricanes Left Wing/Centre
44 Josh Bloom Toronto Young Nationals Left Wing
45 Vitaly Levyy Long Island Gulls Right Wing
46 Ryan Burke Elgin Middlesex Chiefs Centre
47 Wil Murphy Kingston Jr. Frontenacs Left Defence
48 Nathan Zadorozny Niagara North Stars Left Wing/Centre
49 Deven Nagra Toronto Young Nationals Left Defence
50 Jack Beck Toronto Marlboros Left Wing
51 William Gourgouvelis Whitby Wildcats Left Defence
52 Steven Laforme Brantford 99ers Right Wing
53 Camden Daigle Huron Perth Lakers Left Wing
54 Tucker Robertson Toronto Marlboros Left Wing
55 Braden Hache York-Simcoe Express Left Defence
56 Jack Matier Soo Thunderbirds Right Defence
57 Christian Catalano Mississauga Rebels Left Wing
58 Ethan Larmand North Central Predators Right Wing
59 Jake Coleman Pembroke Lumber Kings Left Wing
60 Chase Stillman* Sudbury Wolves Centre
HM Ryan Gillespie Toronto Red Wings Centre
HM Christian Campanelli North York Rangers Centre
HM Kyle Maloney Waterloo Wolves Centre
HM Justin O’Donnell Toronto Marlboros Centre/Right Wing
HM Ethan Gore Guelph Jr. Gryphons Centre
HM Ethan MacKinnon Elgin Middlesex Chiefs Left Defence
HM Logan Mailloux Toronto Marlboros Left Defence
HM Therien Thiesing Chicago Mission Left Defence
HM Sam Sedley Huron Perth Lakers Right Defence
HM Josh Kavanagh Sudbury Wolves Right Defence

* – Indicates the prospect is currently committed to an NCAA program.

2019 OHL Cup Ranking: October’s Top-10 Teams

The 2018-19 hockey season is well underway, meaning it’s time to unleash our first OHL Cup Ranking of the season — a ranking which looks at Ontario’s top-10 minor midget AAA teams.

The 2018-19 Ontario Minor Midget Season is now well underway, with two of the year’s major tournaments already completed. With each respective league roughly a quarter of the way through the regular season, the approximate standings are beginning to take shape. We’ve witnessed a few early season surprises as well as a couple of letdowns, but overall it’s been a very strong start to the campaign and a promising look into the class of the 2019 OHL Draft.

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

As the unofficial start to the ’18-19 campaign, the Toronto Titans Early Bird Tournament provided a fresh glimpse into what is a very deep ’03 prospect class. After a tightly contested round robin, it was the Chicago Mission, Pittsburgh Penguins Elite, Sudbury Wolves, and Don Mills Flyers who clinched a berth at the semi-finals. In the end, the Flyers capped off a dominant performance with a championship that featured 48 goals for and just seven goals against.

Shane Wright (’04) has been the main leader for the Don Mills Flyers, who are a combined 24-0-0 in ’18-19. (Photo Credit: Max Lewis)

The team was led by Shane Wright, Alex Christopolous, and Cole Eichler up front, as well as Roman Schmidt and Brandt Clarke on the blue line. Other leaders in the tournament included Danil Zhilkin of the Toronto Marlboros, Jack Devine of the Mission, and Sean Clarke of the Vaughan Kings.

Related: Check out Prospect Pipeline’s 2019 OHL Draft Player Profiles

Later in October, the Wendy Dufton Memorial Tournament provided a early look into the development and improvements made by the top teams in the province. This time around, the Marlboros and Little Caesars cracked the semi-final, while Sudbury and Don Mills returned to the final four once again. Once more, the Flyers proved far too much for their opponents to handle, running away to an undefeated championship with 51 goals for and just four goals against.

This time around it was Wright along with Francesco Arcuri and Brennan Othmann leading the charge, combining to compile a ridiculous 16 goals and 25 points for Don Mills. Elsewhere, Justin Ertel of the Toronto Red Wings and Jordan Fuller of the York-Simcoe Express provided an impressive look into their offensive potential.

Without further ado, let’s delve deeper into Prospect Pipeline’s October OHL Cup Ranking.

October’s Top-10 Teams

10. Halton Hurricanes

  • League Record: 6-0-1; 29GF & 13GA
  • Tournament Record: 5-5-0; Quarterfinals at Wendy Dufton

The Halton Hurricanes got off to a rather slow start at the Titans Early Bird, but have quickly turned things around to reflect their true potential as a top team in Ontario. Holding the top points percentage in the SCTA, the Hurricanes have utilized a deep and responsible roster that have bought into a strong two-way game.

That style of play has been on display throughout their SCTA games as well as at the Wendy Dufton Memorial, where Halton consistently played a hard-fought game and ground out wins on their way to a quarterfinal appearance. Jordan Adams and Ethan Burroughs often lead the team’s offence which will cycle their way around the O-zone and keep their feet moving to generate scoring chances.

9. York-Simcoe Express

  • League Record: 7-1-1; 42GF & 20GA
  • Tournament Record: 5-3-1; Sweet 16 at Wendy Dufton

Seemingly a perennial contender, the York-Simcoe Express are proving to be a serious threat again in ’18-19. Off to a strong start in ETA action, where they place second behind only the Whitby Wildcats in points percentage, the Express have combined an underrated offence and stingy defence to become a brutal opponent to face.

Despite not showing their true potential at this year’s tournament thus far, York-Simcoe boasts a deep forward corps with three potent lines. Up front, Kaleb Nelson and Jordan Fuller often drive the Express offence with high-danger speed and skill. Along the blue line, captain Braden Haché and ’04 Thomas Sirman have consistently provided a lethal one-two punch of size and strength beside speed and skill, ultimately creating an impressive transition game.

8. Chicago Mission

  • League Record: 17-5-3; 132GF & 45GA
  • Tournament Record: 9-2-2; Final at Titans Early Bird; Sweet 16 at Wendy Dufton

One of this year’s top teams from the USA, Chicago Mission showcases a dynamic offence which can spread out the goals among all three lines. Running all the way to the final of the Titans Early Bird, the Mission were only defeated by Don Mills 3-0, impressive by the calibre of the Flyers. Chicago will likely battle Little Caesars all year long for the title of the top U15 USA team.

This is a team that finds success in its offence, and it’s distributing very well. Between Jack Devine, Davis Burnside, and Jack Silich, the Mission can turn a game on its head quickly. On the back end, Therien Thiesing has shown tremendous potential as a dynamic two-way defender, providing Chicago with difference makers at both ends of the ice.

7. Brantford 99ers

  • League Record: 7-2-1; 53GF & 29GA
  • Tournament Record: 6-3-2; Quarterfinals at Wendy Dufton

A highly touted roster, the Brantford 99ers got off to a slower than expected start before finding their groove after just a few short games. Quickly, Brantford has begun their ascent up the Alliance standings. Featuring a high-powered offence, this is a team that can defeat the best of lineups when they’re on their game. Unfortunately, they have shown a tendency to be somewhat inconsistent in their efforts.

Empowering their offence are forwards Maddox Callens and Steven LaForme, along with dynamic two-way defenceman, Cole Hipkin. Together, this trio can dictate the pace of the game and turn momentum on its head in an instant. If the 99ers are able to get their defensive woes under control and perform more consistently, they should be a force to reckon wit all year long.

6. Whitby Wildcats

  • League Record: 7-0-2; 53GF & 19GA
  • Tournament Record: 8-2-0; Sweet 16 at Titans Early Bird; Sweet 16 at Wendy Dufton

One of the most gifted teams in all of Ontario, the Wildcats have only missed out in the games that count most thus far. At both major tournaments in 2018, Whitby has gone undefeated in the round robin before bowing out in the round of 16, making up for the team’s only two losses of the ’18-19 season. Other than those few blemishes, the Wildcats have been virtually perfect, racking up an impressive goal differential.

Whitby boasts a deep and potent lineup, led largely in part by Ryan Winterton, Brenden Sirizzotti, and Tommy Johnston up front, who create three lines of offence that can cause havoc for opponents. On the back end, William Gourgouvelis and Owen Brady make up a quick and smart blue line who can transition the game with ease and strange the creativity out of their opponents.

5. Mississauga Rebels

  • League Record: 4-2-1; 24GF & 10GA
  • Tournament Record: 9-2-0; Quarterfinals at Titans Early Bird; Sweet 16 at Wendy Dufton

Although they don’t boast an elite young player, per se, the Mississauga Rebels have quickly established themselves a ferocious force within the GTHL this season. Scoring and defending by committee, the Rebels’ success to date has been driven by the team’s excellent depth, as Mississauga has received substantial contributions from throughout their entire lineup.

Leading the attack thus far for the Rebels has been Pasquale Zito, Christian Catalano, and Jesse Fishman — three extremely competitive forwards who play strong, two-way games. Further, the Rebels have been stabilized on the blue line by Jack Guvenal and Anthony Russo — two puck-moving defenders who pose a threat in all three zones of the ice. If the Rebels can continue to receive significant contributions from throughout their lineup, the team’s impressive tournament and league showings to date could be an indication of greater success this season.

4. Waterloo Wolves

  • League Record: 8-1-2; 40GF & 23GA
  • Tournament Record: 4-4-1; Sweet 16 at Titans Early Bird

A well-rounded and well-coached roster, the Waterloo Wolves consistently bring an unparalleled work ethic to the rink and have bought-in to a team-first approach. However, despite their nearly flawless record in Alliance, the Wolves have been unable to translate that success into tournament action so far. Nonetheless, this is a team to be reckoned with, and one which prides itself on finding ways to win tight games.

Led up front by a trio uber-talented forwards, the Wolves have received over half of their offence from the combination of Cooper Way, Kyle Maloney, and Owen Parsons. These three are the game-breakers for Waterloo and have proven to be virtually unstoppable on any given night.

3. Toronto Marlboros

  • League Record: 5-1-1; 21GF & 11GA
  • Tournament Record: 9-2-2; Quarterfinals at Titans Early Bird; Final at Wendy Dufton

The Toronto Marlboros are a perennial powerhouse in the GTHL, and the 2018-19 season in quickly proving to be no exception. With a slew of immensely talented forwards and defencemen within their roster, the Marlboros once again boast a deep and intimidating attack capable of overwhelming their opponents on a nightly basis. Bringing speed, size, and elite skill to the table, the Marlboros’ impressive showings at the Toronto Titans Tournament and Wendy Dufton Memorial should come as little surprise.

Like most successful teams, the Marlboros are defined by their depth.

Although the likes of Danil Zhilkin, Wyatt Johnston, and Jack Beck have regularly led the team offensively, contributions from other notable players such as Tucker Roberston, Marc Boudreau, Ethan Del Mastro, and Artem Guryev have helped to push the Marlboros into elite territory. Backstopped by an impressive duo in goal to boot, the Marlboros are a team not to be taken likely.

2. Toronto Young Nationals

  • League Record: 9-1-0; 38GF & 18GA
  • Tournament Record: 5-1-0; Quarterfinals at Titans Early Bird

Depth is the name of the game for the Toronto Nationals, who arguably boast one of the deepest and strongest rosters within the GTHL this season. Spearheaded by a relentless offence and stabilized by a sizeable yet mobile blue line, the Nationals stand as a tireless force capable of defending and attacking at will.

Perhaps the most overlooked asset — no pun intended — within the Nationals’ locker-room is goaltender Samuel Moncada. Although he is somewhat undersized for a goaltender given his 5-foot-9 frame, Moncada has compensated for his perceived deficiency through extremely tactile and athletic play. Eerily similar in playing style to Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings, Moncada is an sensational young goaltender whose game should lead the Nationals to a wealth of success this season.

1. Don Mills Flyers

  • League Record: 9-0-0; 46GF & 10GA
  • Tournament Record: 16-0-0; Champions of Titans Early Bird and Wendy Dufton

There’s no surprise here.

Throughout the 2018-19 season to date, the Don Mills Flyers have stood as a dominant and unrelenting force. Sure, they have faced their fair share of legitimate challengers, however, the Flyers had yet to lose a game this campaign as of mid-October and boast the roster necessary to embark upon a long and fruitful run.

What separates the Flyers from their competition this season is the team’s unique combination of elite skill as well as depth. Unlike other teams who boast one of these qualities or the other, the Flyers are fortunate to feature a whack of elite young talent throughout their roster and at all positions of the ice.

Leading the way offensively for the Flyers thus far has been Shane Wright, Liam Arnsby, and Brennan Othmann — three immensely talented and consistent players who can single-handedly drive Don Mills’ offence. However, it would be wrong not to mention the contributions of Cole Eichler, Alex Christopoulos, Brandt Clarke, and Roman Schmidt — four players who have been remarkably lethal in addition to playing strong, all-around games.

In short, it will take a massive effort on the part of an other team on this list to dislodge Don Mills from their standing atop October’s OHL Cup Ranking.

* All team records are as of October 16th, 2018*

2019 OHL Draft Ranking: October’s Top-20

The 2018-19 OHL season is officially underway, meaning there is no better time than the present to meet October’s Top-20 OHL Draft eligible prospects.

We are now one month into the 2018-19 Minor Midget AAA season and there are already plenty of headlines to jump on. After the Toronto Titans Early Bird Tournament unofficially kicked off the year, with the Don Mills Flyers coming away as dominant champions, each team has now played several games in their respective league’s regular season as well.

Related: Check out Prospect Pipeline’s Top 2019 OHL Draft Prospect Profiles

Of course, the majority of this year’s top prospects have gotten off to fast starts as expected, but a few lesser mentioned players are also quickly making a mark in their OHL Draft eligible campaign. As for the top teams across the province, the Don Mills Flyers have continued along their torrent path, jumping out to a 5-0-0 record in the GTHL. The Toronto Young Nationals remain the only other team with a perfect record in the league, while the Toronto Marlboros remain close behind.

Related: Look ahead to March, with our 2019 OHL Cup Ranking – October Edition

Over in the ETA, the Whitby Wildcats and Ajax-Pickering Raiders are off to the hottest starts, each led by a deep and potent offence, while the Niagara North Stars and Halton Hurricanes remain perfect in the SCTA. Meanwhile, the Waterloo Wolves and Kitchener Jr. Rangers currently lead the pack in goals for and in the standings in Alliance, while the Windsor Jr. Spitfires and Brantford 99ers are hot on their tails.

3 Players to Watch

A few players have stood out in the early portion of the season and have drastically boosted their draft stock. Utilizing their hockey sense and offensive instincts, these three players in specific have done well to catch the eyes of scouts with a combination of blazing speed and elite shots.

Mason McTavish:

McTavish is currently leading the HEO Midget AAA league with 16 points in 10 games as a member of the Pembroke Lumber Kings. In a league consisting of ’02 and ’03-born players, McTavish has been utterly dominant each game, showcasing a dynamic toolset including a pro-level release and tremendous physical abilities. Likely pushing for a top-5 selection, McTavish has surpassed Connor Lockhart as the HEO’s top prospect so far, boasting a mature game with game-breaking puck skills.

Francesco Pinelli:

As a member of the modestly mediocre Toronto Red Wings, Pinelli can often be lost in the shadows. However, his immense talents will not be overlooked for long. A tremendous skater with impressive lower-body strength, Pinelli is a beast on the puck and shows a compete level that makes him a great leader on the ice. He is the complete offensive package and a five-tool center, and has shown flashes of an electric and powerful release as well.

Braeden Kressler:

Kressler instantly made his presence known at the Titans Early Bird Tournament, where he put on a clinic en route to posting four goals in four games. A smaller but speedy winger, Kressler shows a compete level second-to-none and isn’t afraid to drive the danger areas against larger opponents. His greatest asset by far is his shot, with a tremendous release and precise accuracy, Kressler can beat goaltenders clean with regularity.

October’s Top-20

With the 2019 OHL Draft just about six months away, there still remains plenty of time for variations to the October Rankings. In fact, one of the greatest assets that a prospect can show is year-round consistency, meaning that several second-tier prospects will have room to improve their draft stock simply by maintaining their pace of play throughout the rest of the season.

Related: Look back and compare to our 2019 OHL Draft Ranking: Pre-Season Top-10

Clearly, the Don Mills Flyers remain the team to beat across the province. Boasting a combined 13-0-0 record this season, the team possesses a great portion of this year’s top talent, highlighted by three of the top four prospects in our ranking. By the end of the season, they could easily have as many as five first round picks on their roster. As a result, they are unanimous favourites for the 2019 OHL Cup.

Rank Player Team Position
1 Shane Wright Don Mills Flyers (GTHL) Centre
2 Brandt Clarke Don Mills Flyers (GTHL) Right Defence
3 Mason McTavish Pembroke Lumber Kings (HEO) Centre
4 Roman Schmidt** Don Mills Flyers (GTHL) Right Defence
5 Danil Zhilkin** Toronto Marlboros (GTHL) Centre/Left Wing
6 Maddox Callens Brantford 99ers (Alliance) Centre
7 Connor Lockhart Kanata Lasers (HEO) Centre
8 Luke Hughes** Little Caesars Left Defence
9 Francesco Pinelli Toronto Red Wings (GTHL) Centre
10 Cole Hipkin Brantford 99ers (Alliance) Left Defence
11 Daniel Michaud Quinte Red Devils (ETA) Centre
12 Artem Guryev Toronto Marlboros (GTHL) Left Defence
13 Francesco Arcuri Don Mills Flyers (GTHL) Centre
14 Wyatt Johnston Toronto Marlboros (GTHL) Centre
15 Deni Goure Chatham-Kent Cyclones (Alliance) Centre
16 Braeden Kressler Mississauga Senators (GTHL) Right Wing/Centre
17 Ryan Winterton Whitby Wildcats (ETA) Centre
18 Brett Harrison London Jr. Knights (Alliance) Centre
19 Zachary Dean Toronto Young Nationals(GTHL) Centre/Right Wing
20 Cooper Way Waterloo Wolves (Alliance) Centre/Left Wing
** Roman Schmidt (Boston University), Danil Zhilkin (Boston University), and Luke Hughes (University of Michigan) are all committed to NCAA programs.

2019 OHL Draft Ranking: Pre-Season Top-10

With the 2018-19 OHL season set to begin, Prospect Pipeline presents its first 2019 OHL Priority Selection Ranking of the season. In this pre-season edition, we highlight 10 stelar prospects who have continued to impress.

Although the 2019 OHL Priority Selection remains more than eight months away, there’s no time like the present to meet this year’s crop of incredibly talented OHL prospects.

With an entire season yet to be played, odds are a few of these names will change and the order of their positioning will fluctuate as well. However, for the likes of Brandt Clarke, Danil Zhilkin, Roman Schmidt, and Wyatt Johnston, their places within the top-10 of this year’s Priority Selection are almost guaranteed.

[RELATED: 2018-19 GTHL Season Preview]

Possessing elite-level talent and the ability to persist in the face of overwhelming pressure and odds, these four individuals will surely enjoy considerable success at the OHL-level. Yet, don’t count out those who failed to crack this pre-season’s top-10 and landed on the honourable mentions list, as there is no motivator more powerful than provocation.

The Top-10 OHL Prospects: Pre-Season Edition

10. Devon Savignac

Position: Right-Wing

2018-19 Team: Nickel City Sons Minor Midget AAA

If there were a heart and hustle award handed out at the Toronto Titans Early Bird Prospects Tournament to begin the month of September, Devon Savignac surely would have claimed the distinction.

All throughout the tournament, Savignac was an energetic force for the Sudbury Wolves’ Minor Midget AAA team. Founded upon a tireless engine as well as a seemingly endless amount of energy, Savignac was a presence in all three zones of the ice owing to his elite speed and determination. Eager to have the puck on his stick and capable of creating lethal offensive chances for his team, Savignac paced the Wolves’ offence and recorded five points in seven games in the process.

Although he will need to improve his overall strength over time, Savignac has the offensive tool-kit and hockey sense necessary to succeed at the OHL-level. If able to sustain his play over the course of the 2018-19 season, Savignac will surely push for a place in the top-10 overall come next April.

9. Francesco Pinelli

Position: Centre

2018-19 Team: Toronto Red Wings Minor Midget AAA

Although he didn’t light up the scoresheet at the Toronto Titans’ Early Bird Prospects Tournament — netting one goal and two points in four games played — Francesco Pinelli was a persistent force who proved himself as a dynamic offensive player.

As a strong and sturdy skater with speed to burn, Pinelli plays a professional-style of game. Capable of protecting the puck as he flies up the ice as well as when he cycles the puck below the goal line, opposing defenders face a huge battle when tasked with handling Pinelli’s agility, creativity, and size. What’s more is the Pinelli is a player who can be utilized in all situations — an indication of the strength of his all-around game.

Skating for the Toronto Red Wings Minor Midget AAA team this coming season, Pinelli will be able to maintain his standing as a first-round prospect in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection if he can improve his offensive totals.

8. Francesco Arcuri

Position: Centre

2018-19 Team: Don Mills Flyers Minor Midget AAA

Slowed by an injury at the Toronto Titans Early Bird Tournament which limited his exposure and abilities, Francesco Arcuri is simply too strong of a player to fall out of the Prospect Pipeline’s top-10 to begin the 2018-19 season.

Boasting solid size and excellent skating abilities, Arcuri is a dynamic offensive player who can spearhead his team’s offensive attack. In possession of quick and decisive hands, Arcuri makes difficult, high-risk plays with relative ease and is remarkably consistent in his abilities to do so. Although his shot continues to improve, Arcuri’s ability to see the ice and play-make within it drives his current value as an OHL prospect.

Skating for a stacked Don Mills Flyers team this coming season, Arcuri will be afforded with ample opportunities to pad his offensive totals ahead of the 2019 OHL Priority Selection. Unless his production slips this season, expect Arcuri to be nothing other than a top-10 selection next April.

7. Maddox Callens

Position: Forward

2018-19 Team: Brantford 99ers Minor Midget AAA

The Brantford 99ers Minor Midget AAA Team didn’t compete in September’s Toronto Titans Early Bird Tournament, but that didn’t stop Maddox Callens from cracking Prospect Pipeline’s pre-season OHL Draft Ranking.

As a crafty and creative forward, Callens is well-known for his ability to play-make as well as shoot the puck. Boasting incredible vision on the ice, Callens can move the puck to his fellows teammates in high-quality scoring positions with ease or fire a well-placed shot on goal instead. What’s more is that Callens is an excellent skater, as his sharp edges and impressive agility allow him to maneuver throughout the ice with ease.

In 2017-18, Callens played his bantam season with the 99ers at the minor midget level. Despite competing against competition a year older than himself, Callens did not look out of place and managed to record 15 goals and 33 points in his 33 games played.

6. Wyatt Johnston

Position: Forward

2018-19 Team: Toronto Marlboros Minor Midget AAA

The Toronto Marlboros Minor Midget AAA team has become a perennial powerhouse, and the 2018-19 version of the club will surely be no different.

Although the roster doesn’t boast the same depth of talent which it did last season, the Marlboros still stand as one of the GTHL’s most promising and dominating teams. Helping to lead the way for the Marlboros offensively this season will be Wyatt Johnston — an incredibly intelligent forward who can analyze the ice and operate within it with remarkable efficiency.

[RELATED: Toronto Titans Tournament Top-20 Performers]

As a strong and sturdy skater who is difficult to knock off of the puck, Johnston dominates possession of the puck for his team and is next to impossible to dispossess.

Further, with quick hands and a lethal release, Johnston can move the puck without issue before ripping the puck on goal. Although he only recorded seven points in six games played at the Toronto Titans Early Bird Prospects Tournament, Johnston has the skill-set necessary to dominate the GTHL this coming season.

5. Luke Hughes

Position: Defence

2018-19 Team: Little Caesars Minor Midget AAA

Well, you can squash any doubts as to whether or not elite-skill runs in the Hughes’ family genes.

Much like his older brothers Quinn and Jack Hughes, Luke Hughes in an immensely talented young player with the potential to become a star at the next level. Although exactly where he will play next season remains uncertain, Hughes would surely be a highly sought after prospect if he intends to play at the OHL-level.

Similar to his brother Quinn, Hughes is a fleet-footed defenceman who loves to rush the puck. Immensely confident in his abilities, Hughes will lead or join his team’s attack and stands as a versatile force in the offensive zone. Capable of moving the puck to his teammates with ease and poise, Hughes is a pillar of strength on the blue line who loves to contribute offensively.

One aspect of Hughes’ game which must improve, however, is his overall strength. Like his brothers, Hughes is slightly undersized and can be knocked off of the puck too easily. If able to improve his lower-body strength throughout the course of the coming season, Hughes will become a dominant two-way defender of ample upside.

4. Mason McTavish

Position: Forward

2018-19 Team: Pembrooke Lumber Kings Minor Midget AAA

Mason McTavish dominated the OEBHL last season as a member of the Ottawa Valley Titans, recording a league-high 83 points in just 30 games played. In fact, McTavish was so potent that he earned four games of action with the Pembroke Lumber Kings’ minor midget team, during which time he added another five points in four contests.

For McTavish, his game begins in the defensive zone.

Capable of battling for possession of the puck before rushing it out of harm’s way, McTavish can lead the rush and loves to drive to the net.

Once in the opposing zone, McTavish will unleash his wicked wrist shot — a shot defined by its ample velocity and a lightning-quick release. Boasting arguably the best shot of any 2019 OHL Priority Selection eligible player, it should come as no surprise to learn that of McTavish’s 83 points last season, 49 of which were goals.

3. Roman Schmidt

Position: Defence

2018-19 Team: Don Mills Flyers Minor Midget AAA

Roman Schmidt is — without a doubt — one of the most promising defencemen eligible for the 2019 OHL Priority Selection.

Boasting intimidating size and solid skating abilities, Schmidt is an imposing force on the blue line who can punish opposing players before pounding the puck on goal. In fact, Schmidt potted six goals and 10 points in his eight games played at the Toronto Titans Early Bird Prospects Tournament — a glaring indication of his lethal offensive abilities in addition to his strong defensive play.

Roman Schmidt
Schmidt is a dominating defender whose size, strength, and skill combine to make him an intimidating force. (Photo Credit: Max Lewis)

Committed to Boston University to begin the 2020-21 season, it is unclear whether or not Schmidt will lace up his skates at the OHL-level or honour his commitment to the Terriers. However, the fact remains that Schmidt’s unique combination of size, skill, and mobility make him a prospect of immense potential and value.

2. Danil Zhilkin

Position: Forward

2018-19 Team: Toronto Marlboros

No goal-scorer was more lethal at the Toronto Titans Early Bird Prospects Tournament than Marlboros forward Danil Zhilkin.

In his six games played, Zhilkin potted nine goals and 12 points while helping to lead his team to a berth in the quarter-finals. Although the Marlboros would eventually fall to a strong Pittsburgh Penguins Elite team, Zhilkin’s ability to directly influence the outcome of any specific game came to define his play on a nightly basis.

However, Zhilkin’s shot is just one aspect of his overall game — a game which is not only well-rounded but remarkably consistent. As a strong and sturdy skater, Zhilkin protects the puck with ease and is a possession dynamo. Capable of cycling the puck to his teammates and fending off opposing defenders, Zhilkin’s size allows him to see the ice well and navigate within it with both poise and confidence.

Although he is committed to Boston University for the 2021-22 season, Zhilkin stands as one of the most dynamic offensive players eligible for the 2019 OHL Priority Selection.

1. Brandt Clarke

Position: Defence

2018-19 Team: Don Mills Flyers Minor Midget AAA

If Shane Wright isn’t granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada to enter the OHL a year ahead of schedule, then it is Brandt Clarke of the Don Mills Flyers who should — at the moment — be chosen with the first overall selection in the event.

The younger brother of Ottawa 67’s forward Graeme Clarke, Brandt is a smooth-skating and poised defenceman competing for the GTHL’s Don Mills Flyers this season. Boasting great size and excellent hockey sense, Clarke is a presence at both ends of the ice who never buckles under pressure — instead, he thrives within it.

Brandt Clarke
Clarke’s impressive composure and stellar two-way game make him one of the 2019 OHL Priority Selection’s most promising prospects. (Photo Credit: Max Lewis)

Defensively, Clarke uses his size to his advantage in order to overwhelm and pin opposing forwards. Once in possession, Clarke’s silky skating allows him to power his way up the ice with ease — an ability which allows Clarke to lead offensive rushes with remarkable frequency.

Once established in the offensive zone, Clarke handles the puck extremely well and rarely commits turnovers. Capable of walking the blue line with ease in the face of pressure, Clarke moves the puck to his teammates extremely well and can fire the puck on goal through traffic with consistency.

In all, Clarke is an incredibly poised blueliner who boasts the complete package of size, speed, skill, and on-ice intelligence.

Honourable Mentions:

The top-10 prospects eligible for the 2019 OHL Priority Selection are anything but set in stone. Here, in alphabetical order, is a list of honourable mentions whose strong play this season could catapult them into Prospect Pipeline’s top-10:

  • Liam Arnsby (Don Mills Flyers, GTHL)
  • Eric Bonsteel (Mississauga Senators, GTHL)
  • Alex Christopoulos (Don Mills Flyers, GTHL)
  • Sean Clarke (Vaughan Kings, GHTL)
  • Cole Hipkin (Brantford 99ers, AHMPL)
  • Thomas Johnston (Whitby Wildcats, ETA)
  • Joshua Kavanagh (Nickel City Sons, GNML)
  • Connor Lockhart (Kanata Lasers, HEO)
  • Daniel Michaud (Quinte Red Devils, ETA)
  • Max Smolinski (Little Caesars, USA)

The Exceptional Exception:

Shane Wright

Born on Jan. 5th, 2004, Shane Wright finds himself ineligible for the 2019 OHL Priority Selection.

At the moment, that is.

Having proven himself capable of dominating his peers with relative ease, there is no reason why Wright shouldn’t be made eligible for the coming OHL Priority Selection by Hockey Canada. Although one of the youngest players competing at the GTHL’s minor midget level this season, Wright is undoubtedly a step above his competition and would not benefit whatsoever from an additional season of play in the GTHL.

Shane Wright
Shane Wright of the Don Mills Flyers is a legitimate candidate for exceptional status. (Photo Credit: Max Lewis)

Incredibly strong on his skates and boasting natural speed, Wright is a gifted talent who sees the ice incredibly well. As creative as they come, Wright can play-make with ease and owns a stellar shot to boot. What’s more is that Wright is a well-rounded, 200-foot player who can be utilized and succeed in all situations.

In short, Wright should be playing in the OHL next season, not the GTHL.

If awarded exceptional status, expect Wright to sky-rocket to the top of Prospect Pipeline’s monthly OHL Priority Selection Rankings. Until awarded exceptional status — if at all — Wright will stand as an endlessly talented youngster whose immediate future remains uncertain.