OHL Prospect Profile: Nolan Dann

Nolan Dann of the GTHL’s Toronto Red Wings is a highly energetic and well-rounded prospect eligible for the 2019 OHL Draft. As hard-working as they come, Dann has all the makings of an invaluable player at the next-level.

– Nolan Dann –

Toronto Red Wings (GTHL) | Left-Wing | 2019 OHL Draft Eligible

Cambridge, Ontario | 5-foot-10, 176-pounds | May 21, 2003

Despite a somewhat slow start to their 2018-19 GTHL campaign, the Toronto Red Wings rebounded and quickly became one of the league’s most competitive teams. Although led offensively by the likes of Francesco Pinelli and Adam Fantilli, scoring depth proved to be crucial to the Red Wings’ success throughout the season.

One player in particular who developed into a consistent offensive force for the Red Wings was left-winger Nolan Dann — an energetic player whose two-way game allowed Toronto to thrive at both ends of the ice. What’s more is that Dann’s play throughout the year not only improved dramatically but was also incredibly consistent — two qualities which will make him a highly valued prospect come the 2019 OHL Draft.

Strengths:

  • Skating Speed and Strength
  • Offensive Creativity
  • Two-Way Play
  • Work-Ethic

As mentioned above, Dann developed into a consistent offensive producer for the Red Wings as their 2018-19 season progressed. Driving Dann’s offensive output were his stellar skating abilities and strength on his feet — two qualities which allowed him to drive the pace of play for his team. Capable of beating opposing defenders wide while creating space as a result of his speed, Dann devised or scored a number of timely goals throughout the campaign and was consistent in his ability to do so.

Related: 2019 OHL Draft Rankings

Another direct benefit of Dann’s speed and skating abilities is the youngster’s willingness and dedication to playing a well-round, two-way game. As a player who prioritizes his own zone first, Dann will use his skating strength to force turnovers and dis-possess opposing players before leading the rush up ice. Boasting an active stick and innate defensive qualities, Dann’s versatility makes him a truly valuable prospect with a substantial amount of upside.

Related: 2019 OHL Draft Prospect Profiles

Rounding out Dann’s impressive skill-set is his unwavering work-ethic on the ice. Regardless of his position at any given time, Dann will work endlessly to put himself in a position to benefit his team whether it be in the offensive or defensive zone. As hard-working and dedicated to team success as any prospect eligible for the 2019 OHL Draft, Dann has the makings of a stellar two-way player who can contribute offensively to boot.

Area of Improvement:

  • Lower-Body Strength
  • Shot Velocity

Like many players of his age, Dann will do well in the years ahead to add greater strength to his lower-body. Although he already stands as a strong skater, adding greater strength will allow Dann to protect the puck far more easily while continuing to improve arguably his best asset on the ice — his electrifying skating abilities.

One other aspect of Dann’s game which he could look to strengthen this coming off-season is his shot velocity. While his shot is accurate, adding greater velocity to his shot and release would allow Dann to stand as a more versatile threat in the offensive zone — one who can beat goaltenders clean from a distance in addition to his natural playmaking abilities.

With this being said, these are simply areas in which Dann could stand to improve — they are not areas of weakness by any means.

Future Potential:

Ultimately, Dann holds the potential to become an extremely valuable player at the next-level. As a strong skater known for his well-rounded play, Dann’s skill-set should allow him to contribute at both ends of the ice long into the future alongside a level of consistency highly sought after by his peers.

Come the 2019 OHL Draft, expect Dann’s name to be called in the fourth-to-sixth round of the event. As an incredibly talented and determined player, Dann will undoubtedly push hard for — and potentially secure — a roster spot with an OHL team to begin the 2019-20 season. After all, his outstanding performance in the 2019 OHL Cup did not go unnoticed.

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2019 OHL Cup: The Top-20 Performers

The 2019 OHL Cup has come to a close, and what a tournament it proved to be! Re-live all of the action by meeting the top-20 performers from the tournament, here.

The Don Mills Flyers are your 2019 OHL Cup champions.

However, claiming the trophy proved to be anything but a walk in the park for the Flyers, who were strongly tested in virtually each and every game they played throughout the tournament. Yet, come overtime of the Championship Game, the Flyers once again found a way to get the job done — overcoming a 4-1 deficit to defeat the Toronto Red Wings by final score of 6-5.

Related: 2019 OHL Draft Rankings

And, while the usual suspects rowed the boat for the Flyers, a number of wrongly overlooked prospects seized the opportunity to impress on the big stage — scoring timely goals or producing offence at a remarkably consistent pace. Once of which for Don Mills was Edward Moskowitz — a hard-working and tireless skater who put his scoring abilities and playmaking touch on full display throughout the tournament.

In fact, there were a whack of incredibly impressive performances pieced together by a number of highly touted prospects throughout the 2019 OHL Cup. And, despite a number of which being eliminated relatively early on in the tournament, each and every prospect who impressed deserves to be recognized on a more substantial level.

Related: 2019 OHL Draft — Player Profiles

With this being said, we’ve take a moment to list our top-20 performers from the 2019 OHL Cup. While many names will sound familiar to most, a number of other prospects assessed below are relative newcomers to the hockey prospect world yet are deserving of their distinction nonetheless.

The Top-20 Performers

Listed below, in alphabetical order, are our top-20 performers from the 2019 OHL Cup. Although these 20 players vary in position, team, and nationality, all of which deserve substantial recognition given their efforts throughout this year’s tournament.

Zak Brice (G) – Detroit Little Caesars

  • 2019 OHL Cup: 4-2-0, 2.34 GAA, .893 SV%

Zak Brice didn’t receive the same recognition as some of his teammates, but he was just as important with his consistent and timely goaltending. Sporting a 4-1-0 record with a 1.41 GAA and .934 SV% before heading into the Semi-Final matchup against Don Mills, Brice’s numbers were significantly skewed from that 7-1 loss.

Another goalie of somewhat smaller stature, Brice showed off excellent rebound control and a never give up attitude in the crease, making several spectacular saves across the course of the tournament. Playing every minute of his team’s six contests, it’s hard to imagine Little Caesars cracking the Semi-Finals without him on their side.

Paul Christopoulos (D) – Don Mills Flyers

  • 2019 OHL Cup: 4 G, 2 A, 6 PTS

A reliable defender with tremendous gap control and very intriguing offensive upside, Paul Christpoulos has fallen into the shadows of fellow Don Mills’ defencemen, Brandt Clarke and Roman Schmidt, at times this season. However, he utilized the OHL Cup to solidify his potential as a smooth skating, two-way defenceman at the OHL level.

Protecting the blue line with authority, Christopoulos matches his opponents speed on the rush and is assertive in pressuring them to the outside. With an active stick, he is effective at disrupting teams on the cycle. Further, Christopoulos has consistently showcased an elite transition game, in which he is confident to join the rush himself when available.

Brandt Clarke (D) – Don Mills Flyers

  • 2019 OHL Cup: 2 G, 8 A, 10 PTS

The consensus top defenceman available for the 2019 OHL Priority Selection, Brandt Clarke only solidified his status for the upcoming OHL Draft this week. While his offensive upside is what sticks out to most, and for good reason, it’s his defensive abilities that really put himself into an elite category of minor midget defencemen over the past decade.

Clarke’s agility and elusiveness are second to none, as he is calm under pressure and can create time and space for himself with the puck like it’s nothing. That agility, combined with the most effective stick in recent memory, makes him virtually impossible to get by on the rush. Clarke boasts a complete game with exceptional talent at both ends of the ice.

Luca Del Bel Belluz (LW) – Toronto Red Wings

  • 2019 OHL Cup: 6 G, 2 A, 8 PTS

Often flying under the radar of his teammates, Francesco Pinelli and Adam Fantilli, Luca Del Bel Belluz displayed some elite puck skills throughout the course of the OHL Cup. He has contributed some highlight reel goals on occasion this season, but has struggled to put together a consistent, all-around game.

However, Del Bel Belluz managed to put together a string of impressive performances at the tournament, tallying six goals in six games and providing some serious skill on the wing of the Red Wings’ second line. Although he will need to refine his skating and strength for the OHL, Del Bel Belluz displayed oodles of natural talent this past week, catching the eyes of everyone in the building.

Maxwell Donohoe (RW) – Mississauga Rebels

  • 2019 OHL Cup: 4 G, 6 A, 10 PTS

Although somewhat inconsistent in his offensive production throughout the 2018-19 GTHL regular season, Maxwell Donohoe pieced together a tremendous showing at the 2019 OHL Cup. Using his size and speed to his advantage, Donohoe regularly attacked his opposition with a purpose and was able to generate a great deal of scoring chances as a result.

In fact, Donohoe was able to produce when needed the most, as the youngster recorded multiple points against all of the Whitby Wildcats, Team NOHA, and the Toronto Marlboros — the Rebels’ three most critical games of the OHL Cup. Sure, losing in the semi-finals was not the result which the Rebels wanted, however, both Donohoe and the Rebels turned heads with their impressive play throughout the tournament.

Benjamin Gaudreau (G) – Team NOHA

  • 2019 OHL Cup: 1-2-0, 2.03 GAA, .936 SV%

The renowned North Bay Trappers and Team Ontario goaltender put on yet another display of elite play at the OHL Cup. Going up against three high-end offensive forces in his games, Benjamin Gaudreau held Team NOHA in their games and was the back bone for a team which had higher hopes for their result.

Showcasing excellent size, positioning, lateral movements, and ability to track the puck through traffic, Gaudreau was cool under pressure and clocked in some impressive numbers despite being very busy in the crease. Unfortunately, being placed in the tournament’s toughest division proved to be too much for the North, but Gaudreau was able to pad his OHL Draft stock in the meantime with some incredible performances.

Luke Hughes (D) – Detroit Little Caesars

  • 2019 OHL Cup: 3 G, 1 A, 4 PTS

The Detroit Little Caesars were a dominant force throughout the 2019 OHL Cup before ultimately falling to the Don Mills Flyers. Offence proved to be the name of the game for Little Caesars, who out-scored their opposition by a wide-margin prior to their 7-1 defeat at the hands of the Flyers. One player who played a significant role in his team’s offensive outburst was defender Luke Hughes — a stellar puck-moving defenceman who can think the game at an electrifying-level.

Come to the end of the 2019 OHL Cup, Hughes had blasted home three goals and added one assist for the Little Caesars — providing a much-needed punch from the blue line while taking pressure off of his consistently productive forwards. Decisive and purposeful in his skating and not afraid to take risks owing to his intelligence, Hughes’s play helped solidify him as a top prospect eligible for the 2019 OHL Draft — although he may not choose the major-junior route owing to his University of Michigan commitment.

Ryan Humphrey (C) – Total Package Hockey

  • 2019 OHL Cup: 4 G, 3 A, 7 PTS

Despite being eliminated by the Don Mills Flyers in their quarter-final clash, TPH Hockey and Ryan Humphrey enjoyed an impressive showing at the 2019 OHL Cup. Playing to a 3-1 record in round robin competition, TPH Hockey proved to be a formidable foe throughout the entirety of the tournament. One force behind TPH’s persistent play was the presence of Ryan Humphrey — a hard-working centre who can be utilized in a variety of situations.

In the OHL Cup in particular, Humphrey was a notable threat on his team’s power play. A creative playmaker who can shoot the puck as well, Humphrey tallied three power play goals for his club and kept his opponents on their heels owing to his shifty and decisive play while in possession of the puck.

Wyatt Johnston (C) – Toronto Marlboros

  • 2019 OHL Cup: 5 G, 8 A, 13 PTS

Wyatt Johnston concluded the 2019 OHL Cup as one of the tournament’s top scorers — a reality which should come as little surprise to those who have tracked his progression throughout the 2018-19 campaign. A shifty and nimble skater, Johnston can navigate the offensive zone with ease and relies upon his intelligence and awareness to create lethal scoring opportunities for his team.

In his five games played during the OHL Cup, Johnston displayed elite-level analytical skills which could make him a first-round selection come the 2019 OHL Draft. Always aware of the location of his teammates but not afraid to drive the puck to the net himself, Johnston routinely displayed his smarts and was able to lead his team’s attacking game as a direct result.

Griffen Jurecki (C) – Detroit Little Caesars

  • 2019 OHL Cup: 4 G, 6 A, 10 PTS

Although of a slightly smaller stature, Griffin Jurecki played a substantial role in his team’s charge to the semi-final round. A threat in all three zones of the ice who proved himself capable of being utilized in a variety of situations, Jurecki paced his team offensively and was incredibly consistent in his ability to do so.

As a player who can both pass and shoot the puck, Jurecki stood as an unpredictable threat for Detroit Little Caesars capable of capitalizing on each and every mistake committed by his opponents. An incredibly hard-working player who strives to possess the puck each and every shift, Jurecki’s energy and persistence served as motivation for he and his teammates as they pushed deep into the elimination rounds.

Logan Mailloux (D) – Toronto Marlboros

  • 2019 OHL Cup: 1 G, 8 A, 9 PTS

Logan Mailloux has developed rapidly over the course of the 2018-19 season, and was quick to put his incredibly mature skill-set on display throughout the 2019 OHL Cup. A tower of power on the Marlboros’ blue line owing to his 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame, Mailloux can dominate and dis-possess attackers in his own zone with ease before transitioning the puck up ice or joining the rush.

Once in the offensive zone, Mailloux stands as a dynamic presence on the blue line. A tremendous skater considering his impressive size and strength, Mailloux features the proven ability to anchor his team’s blue line in a variety of situations and can create plays or fire the puck on-goal as well as any defender eligible for the 2019 OHL Draft — the reason behind his nine total points in this year’s tournament.

Daniel Michaud (C) – Quinte Red Devils

  • 2019 OHL Cup: 5 G, 2 A, 7 PTS

Daniel Michaud is an intimidating player owing to his 6-foot-2 frame and 180-pound weight. However, in addition to his size, Michaud has proven time and time again to be a lethal offensive force capable of leading his team’s attack on a nightly basis. And, in the 2019 OHL Cup, such was once exactly the case — Michaud paced his team offensively while standing as a responsible presence at both ends of the ice.

This highly skilled and aware two-way game led to a great amount of success for Michaud in this year’s tournament despite his team’s early exit, as the youngster blasted home five goals and seven points in his five games played.

Jack O’Brien (LW) – Detroit Little Caesars

  • 2019 OHL Cup: 2 G, 6 A, 8 PTS

As a player of impeccable on-ice vision and creativity, it should come as no surprise to learn that Jack O’Brien led his team in assists in the 2019 OHL Cup. A natural playmaker with the uncanny ability to hit his teammates with crisp and creative cross-ice passes, O’Brien continued to prove himself as a shifty skater who can keep opposing defenders guessing owing to his slick puck-handling skills.

While his goal-scoring abilities are undoubtedly improving, O’Brien will stand as a far more lethal offensive player once he can bulge the twine in addition to create and implement high-percentage scoring plays as a result of his vision. Ultimately, the 2019 OHL Cup was a tremendous showing for O’Brien, who proved himself capable of competing and succeeding against incredibly stern competition

Brennan Othmann (LW) – Don Mills Flyers

  • 2019 OHL Cup: 8 G, 6 A, 14 PTS

Brennan Othmann continues to electrify scouts and fans alike, as the youngster boasts a devastating shot and the consistency necessary to become an elite-player at the OHL-level. And, all throughout the 2019 OHL Cup, Othmann’s play was no different — the dynamic winger continued to blast the puck into the back of the net with authority and was a driving force behind his team’s success at both ends of the ice.

Further, Othmann displayed his unique ability to contribute offensively when needed the most — putting up significant point totals towards the end of the round robin and into his team’s elimination games. Sure, his play away from the puck could use a little work in the years ahead, however, the fact remains that Othmann is a deadly talent and one of the top prospects eligible for the 2019 OHL Draft — don’t be surprised if he is one of the first five players selected on draft day.

Francesco Pinelli (C) – Toronto Red Wings

  • 2019 OHL Cup: 7 G, 7 A, 14 PTS

Francesco Pinelli has pushed the pace for the Toronto Red Wings all season long, and didn’t hesitate to do the same once the OHL Cup rolled around. A tremendous and consistent two-way player for the Red Wings, Pinelli continued to display his strong all-around game throughout the OHL Cup — regularly supporting and defending his own zone before charging up ice and generating offensive opportunities.

Alongside the likes of Adam Fantilli and Nolan Dann, Pinelli helped to push the Red Wings into the OHL Cup final, where his team-oriented play and dedication to success was once again on full display. A potential first-round choice ahead of the 2019 OHL Draft, Pinelli’s commitment to team success and all-around play should make him an overnight fan-favourite when he steps onto OHL ice next season.

Lawson Sherk (C) – Halton Hurricanes

  • 2019 OHL Cup: 4 G, 4 A, 8 PTS

Although his Halton Hurricanes were bounced from the 2019 OHL Cup by Detroit Little Caesars in the quarter-finals, Lawson Sherk enjoyed a stellar showing — and one which will undoubtedly improve his stock ahead of the 2019 OHL Draft. Of solid size given his 6-foot-1 frame, Sherk stood as an immovable force in his offensive zone and was virtually impossible to knock off of the puck.

Once in possession, Sherk was a lethal and versatile threat considering his proven ability to both shoot and pass the puck with absolute authority. Moreover, when unable to create a devastating offensive play, Sherk displayed the mature ability to shield and protect the puck while his teammates moved into more feasible positions to generate opportunities. In the end, Sherk walked away from the OHL Cup with four goals and four assists in-hand — a total which led his team.

Brenden Sirizzotti (RW) – Whitby Wildcats

  • 2019 OHL Cup: 4 G, 3 A, 7 PTS

A virtual lock to be selected within the first round of the 2019 OHL Draft, Brenden Sirizzotti continued to display his torrent offensive abilities for the Whitby Wildcats in the OHL Cup. A stellar skater of tremendous speed an agility, Sirizzotti regularly drove his team’s offensive game and kept his opponents on their heels all tournament long owing to his elite-level puck-skills and shooting ability.

A member of one of the most dangerous lines in all of minor midget hockey this past season, Sirizzotti proved himself capable of succeeding on his own throughout the OHL Cup — regularly seeing ice time in a variety of situations and succeeding nonetheless. Sure to enjoy a seamless transition to the OHL-level given his impressive skating abilities and solid size, Sirizzotti’s OHL Cup performance did nothing other than solidify his presence as one of the OHL’s top young prospects.

Shane Wright (C) – Don Mills Flyers

  • 2019 OHL Cup: 8 G, 10 A, 18 PTS

Surprise, surprise — Shane Wright listed as one of the top performers in a tournament.

In fact, Wright’s been doing it all season long, and he certainly wasn’t going to take his foot off of the gas pedal in the OHL Cup. As dynamic and creative as ever, Wright once again played a starring role for his Don Mills Flyers — leading the tournament in scoring owing to his jaw-dropping eight goals and 18 points in a mere seven games played.

Utilized in all situations and a fixture on his team’s penalty-kill, Wright’s superb all-around game was on full display as he consistently displayed the skill-set and maturity which earned him Exceptional Status ahead of the 2019 OHL Draft. Sure to be a star in the OHL next season, Wright not only led his team but stood high above his competition throughout his first and final OHL Cup — a performance which will go down in history as one of the best of all-time.

Justin Wu (G) – Mississauga Rebels

  • 2019 OHL Cup: 4-2-0, 1.84 GAA, .925 SV%

A goaltender who makes up for his lack of size with incredible athleticism and compete between the pipes, Justin Wu almost single-handedly carried the Rebels from the Wild Card series into the OHL Cup Semi-Finals. The Rebels were an up and down team all year, and were placed in hands down the strongest division of the tournament.

However, with huge wins against top ranked teams in Whitby and NOHA, the Rebels found themselves in the playoff bracket. Another massive upset against the Marlboros, where Wu stopped 39 of 40 shots, and Mississauga was onto the semis. Wu significantly increased his OHL Draft stock this week, showing off his true potential and composed style of play that made the Rebels the biggest surprise of the tournament.

Pasquale Zito (C) – Mississauga Rebels

  • 2019 OHL Cup: 4 G, 6 A, 10 PTS

Pasquale Zito appears to have saved his best for last, as the smooth-skating power-forward came alive for the Mississauga Rebels in the 2019 OHL Cup. Somewhat inconsistent in his offensive production throughout the 2018-19 GTHL regular season, Zito played a starring role in his Rebels’ charge to the semi-finals.

In fact, across just six tournament games played, Zito was able to fire home four goals and ten points — a total which placed him in a tie with Donohoe for the most on his team. Determined when in possession of the puck and more persistent than ever before, Zito displayed the high-end skill and ability which has long made him a premier prospect eligible for the 2019 OHL Draft.

Five Honourable Mentions

Listed below, in alphabetical order, are five prospects who also enjoyed tremendous showings at the 2019 OHL Cup. Unfortunately, due to the play of those listed above, these five wildly talented players just missed being ranked as one of the tournament’s top-20 players.

OHL Prospect Profile: Joshua Orrico

Joshua Orrico of the GTHL’s Toronto Red Wings is a fluid skater and poised defender whose value ahead of the 2019 OHL Draft continues to grow. Come draft day, expect Orrico to be chosen quickly be an eager OHL franchise.

– Joshua Orrico –

Toronto Red Wings (GTHL) | Defence| 2019 OHL Draft Eligible

Ontario, Canada | 5-foot-8, 150-pounds | June 15th, 2003

If the Toronto Red Wings hope to legitimately compete with the likes of the Don Mills Flyers, Toronto Nationals, and Toronto Marlboros during the 2018-19 GTHL season, they’ll need to receive contributions from throughout their lineup.

Fortunately for the Red Wings, their impressive team depth has quickly become one of the club’s defining features. Loaded offensively, stable on the blue line, and seemingly impenetrable in-goal, the Red Wings have to come present a significant challenge to the GTHL’s top teams and are only growing in strength.

One major component of the Red Wings’ torrent play throughout the 2018-19 campaign has been defenceman Joshua Orrico — a fluid skater and mobile defender whose game at both ends of the ice continues to grow with each passing game. Sure, Orrico missed time to begin his first year of OHL Draft eligibility, however, the defender has been absolutely dominant since his return.

Strengths:

  • Skating Ability
  • Playmaking and Vision
  • Offensive Instincts
  • Composure

Quick feet and stellar skating abilities stand as the foundation of Orrico’s game, as the young defender can move throughout the ice with ease and is of a purposeful and direct nature. Slippery within his own zone owing to his ample agility, Orrico can avoid opposing fore-checkers with impressive consistency and boasts the composure necessary to make crisp and accurate breakout passes in the face of overwhelming pressure.

Related: 2019 OHL Draft Rankings

Orrico’s ability to move the puck with a purpose derives directly from his natural playmaking abilities, as the youngster features exceptional on-ice vision as well as the poise and creativity necessary to fire dangerous passes throughout the ice with apparent ease. Now, this isn’t to say that Orrico will become the next playmaking dynamo, but rather that his abilities can facilitate crisp puck movement at both ends of the ice.

Related: 2019 OHL Draft Prospect Profiles

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Orrico’s growing game is his poise and composure when in possession of the puck. Although referred to above, Orrico’s patience cannot be understated, as his ability to out-wait his opponents in order to implement the best play possible has come to fuel the Red Wings’ offence while stabilizing their defensive zone in the process.

Area of Improvement:

  • Shot Power and Penetration
  • Physical Strength

Standing 5-foot-8 and 150-pounds, it goes without saying that Orrico is not the most physically intimidating player on the ice. However, this reality is of no fault of his own, as the youngster has simply yet to fill out his growing frame. With this being said, increasing his physical strength in the coming years must be Orrico’s primary focus — once of improved balance and stability, Orrico will become a truly dynamic defender.

Related: Toronto Red Wings Prospect Profiles

Tied directly to Orrico’s smaller stature is his shot power and its resulting penetration. At the moment, Orrico is largely a pass-first player given his tremendous vision and lack of shot strength. Once a more physically mature force, Orrico would do well to pound the puck on goal more often — as penetrative point shots have the ability to generate numerous rebounds and offensive opportunities.

Future Potential:

Ultimately, Orrico should develop into a stellar two-way defender at the next-level once he adds greater size and strength to his frame.

Boasting maturity beyond his years, Orrico features the confidence and poise of a seasoned veteran and the dynamic skill-set to match. Although he was not a major point producer as of the 2018-19 season, Orrico should develop into a lethal threat from the blue line in the coming seasons as he polishes and fine-tunes his overall game.

In short, there’s a great deal to like with respect to Orrico’s play. Come the 2019 OHL Priority Selection, expect Orrico to be chosen in the third-to-fifth round range — if not higher.

OHL Prospect Profile: Ryan Gillespie

Ryan Gillespie of the GTHL’s Toronto Red Wings is an assertive two-way player who can contribute to his team’s success at both ends of the ice.

– Ryan Gillespie –

Toronto Red Wings (GTHL) | Right-Wing | 2019 OHL Draft Eligible

Ontario, Canada | 6-foot, 170-pounds | 2003-born

The Toronto Red Wings quickly transitioned from a fringe contender into a legitimate challenger as the 2018-19 GTHL season progressed — a reality which would not have been made possible without the contributions of forward Ryan Gillespie.

As a shifty and purposeful skater, Gillespie has developed into a lethal offensive player capable of driving what has become a remarkably deep Red Wings’ attack. Able to be utilized in a variety of situations as well as different positions on the ice, Gillespie’s versatility and unrelenting work-ethic have helped to grow and diversify his game at an impressive rate.

Strengths:

  • Speed
  • Agility
  • Hockey Sense
  • Playmaking Ability

As alluded to above, Gillespie is a smooth and polished skater who traverse the ice with little issue. Of incredible high-end speed, Gillespie often leads the rush and can overtake his defenders to the outside of the ice before driving hard to the goal. What’s more is that Gillespie uses his speed to solidify his all-around game, as the youngster routinely puts his head down and charges hard to his own zone while on the back-check.

Related: 2019 OHL Draft Rankings

In addition to his innate skating abilities, it is Gillespie’s elite-level of hockey sense which has come to allow him to play such as devastating role in the attacking zone. Aware of the location of his opponents at all times and capable of feeling the defensive pressure exerted upon himself, Gillespie can navigate all three zones of the ice with extreme diligence and meander around his defender with apparent ease.

Related: 2019 OHL Draft Prospect Profiles

Once situated in a position to create offence from, Gillespie is pass-first player who loves to move the puck having created time and space for himself to operate, and will setup his teammates for tap-in goals to conclude odd-man rushes with remarkable consistency. Once his shot becomes more of a viable threat, Gillespie will stand as a lethal attacking player of notable versatility.

Area of Improvement:

  • Skating Balance
  • Shot Power

As is the case with a great deal of players his age, Gillespie’s lower body strength and balance on his skates remains a work in progress. Standing 6-feet tall and 170-pounds, Gillespie boasts a solid frame and would do well to add greater muscle to his lower body — doing so would bolster his balance and allow Gillespie to protect the puck with greater success.

Related: 2019 OHL Draft – GTHL Profiles

In addition to his balance and strength, there is the power of Gillespie’s shot. Although accurate, adding greater velocity to his shot would allow Gillespie to stand as a more potent two-way threat — once achieved, goaltenders and opposing defenders will be forced to respect not only Gillespie’s playmaking skills but his lively release as well.

Related: Toronto Red Wings GTHL Articles

In terms of these areas of improvement, they should not come as a surprise. Like the vast majority of players 15 years-of-age, Gillespie continues to mature physically and will only improve as he adds natural strength to his frame.

Future Potential:

Ultimately, Gillespie stands as an immensely promising OHL prospect and one who could breakthrough to the major junior-level as soon as next season based on his skating abilities alone.

And, while particular areas of his game continue to grow, Gillespie could prove to be a steal if chosen by an OHL franchise outside of the fourth-round in the 2019 Priority Selection. Of a tireless engine and seemingly endless determination, Gillespie’s sound two-way play alongside his growing offensive game will surely combine to make him a prospect of significant interest for a number of OHL franchises.

OHL Prospect Profile: Francesco Pinelli

Francesco Pinelli is a vastly underrated center who can accomplish anything asked of him. A responsible two-way player, Pinelli has impressive offensive upside and should be considered as a first-round pick for the 2019 OHL Draft.

– Francesco Pinelli –

Toronto Red Wings (GTHL) | Center | 2019 OHL Draft Eligible

Stoney Creek, Ontario | 6-foot, 177-pounds

Francesco Pinelli is one of the most underrated prospects in the GTHL right now, largely as a result of his team’s position in the standings. The captain of the Toronto Red Wings, Pinelli is a terrific leader on and off the ice, leading by example through his unparalleled compete level and being vocal with his teammates throughout the game.

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

Pinelli centres the Red Wings top line and is consistently relied on in all situations and at both ends of the ice. He is a five-tool player who can accomplish any assignment from his coaches and has the offensive upside to suggest that he has more to contribute down the road. Pinelli is a smart, two-way center with excellent skating abilities and high-end puck skills.

Strengths:

  • Instincts
  • Skating
  • Playmaking & Vision

Pinelli is a player that all coaches would love to have on their side. He makes those around him better through his leadership abilities and tremendous hockey sense. Pinelli is a very smart center who plays a very responsible 200-foot game and generates offence by way of his innate offensive instincts. He is a strong skater with good lower-body strength that allows him to protect the puck with ease. Pinelli has impressive top-end speed and edgework, and often creates odd-man rushes by jumping into the rush.

A creative thinker, Pinelli utilizes quick hands and impressive vision of the ice to become a dangerous playmaker. He can skate and move the puck into an area that creates passing lanes and thread tape-to-tape passes through skates and sticks. Pinelli loves to throw cross-ice passes on the power play that gift his teammates with tap-in goals.

Area of Improvement:

  • Shot Accuracy

Francesco Pinelli has a powerful release on his snap shot that he can release in an instant to catch goaltenders off guard. However, his accuracy could use slight improvements, as he often fires the puck over the net in attempt to pick a corner. His shot has the strength and deceptiveness to be extremely dangerous if he were able to pick holes that are available more often.

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On a stronger team, Pinelli would likely be able to benefit in the goal department from better opportunities. However, he’s sometimes forced to play a “do-it-all” role with the Red Wings which often leads to making higher risk plays and trying to force shots while they’re available. However, Pinelli projects very well down the road as a potent two-way center who can lead his team’s forecheck.

Future Potential:

Francesco Pinelli would undoubtedly be receiving more hype if he were suiting up for a top three team in the GTHL. In any case, he is the type of player who you can’t take your eyes off of and seems to create an eye-catching play each shift. Pinelli is a speedy and skilled center with natural leadership abilities, who should continue to climb the rankings as the season wears on.

Pinelli projects as a first-round pick for the 2019 OHL Draft, and could potentially climb into the top-10 if he maintains a consistent pace of play all year long.