Created: Tuesday, 30 April 2019 19:25
April 2019 update of the Top 10 Windsor Spitfires prospects heading into the 2019-2020 season.
2019 first-round pick Wyatt Johnston leads the Top 10 which is heavy on 2002 birth years. Johnston was a top player all year on the Toronto Marlboros Minor Midget team, but really elevated his game towards the end of the season to become one of the highest rising players in the age group. He is a very smooth-skating center with an elite skill-set and an athletic frame that has plenty of room to fill out.
Recently signed Xavier Medina is an extremely athletic goalie who gives the Spits a goalie for the future and one who can challenge for considerable playing time in the 2019-20 season. Egor Afanasyev is another player the Windsor brass will be working on hard to try and get signed. The gamebreaking Russian forward starred for Muskegon this past season in the USHL and is the 16th ranked North American skater heading into this year’s NHL Draft
Joining Johnston on the list are fellow 2019 draft selection and GTHL counterparts Pasquale Zito and Maxwell Donohoe. Like Johnston, they both played very well down the stretch as teammates on the Mississauga Rebels Minor Midget AAA team. While not cracking the Top 10, Ben Felicetti is another 2019 pick who offers intrigue down the road.
Defenseman Dylan Robinson saw several games with the club this past season and spent the majority of the year in Jr. B where he was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year in GOJHL’s Western Conference. He is headed for full-time duty in 2019-2020.
2018 picks McKay Hayes, Christian Stevens and Cade Lemmer are poised to make serious challenges for roster spots.
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Created: Monday, 29 April 2019 19:54
April 2019 update of the Top 10 Sudbury Wolves prospects heading into the 2019-2020 season.
The Wolves have built solid depth at the forward position and leading the way in the Top 10 are 2019 draft picks Chase Stillman, Landon McCallum and Ethan Larmand. We weren’t entirely comfortable with McCallum’s first-round selection but we do understand the allure. The Brantford 99ers product is a crafty playmaker to go along with a 200 ft. engine as a center and a pest mentality. We feel however that second-round pick Chase Stillman has more offensive upside, given the fact he has a better individual skill-set and scoring touch.
Other 2019 draft selections such as Ryan Gillespie, Andre Anania and Payton Robinson were all excellent value picks by the Wolves with all three figuring to be solid contributors through long OHL careers.
Forward Blake Butler and goaltender Jonathan Lemaire, both taken in the 2018 Priority Selection, should be given long looks to break camp with the club (Lemaire saw four regular season games and one playoff game with the Wolves this season). The depth of the prospect pool comes into focus from that 2018 draft with the likes of Simon Labelle, Nathan Ribau, Michael Tiveron, Robbie Stewart, Ryan Smith, Giordano Biondi, and Darren Beattie all having had good seasons.
Despite having a commitment to Miami-Ohio University, 2019 sixth-round pick Red Savage cracks the Top 10. There will be hope that there is a connection between Red’s father Brian who is a former NHLer and current Wolves head coach Cory Stillman. Kyle Aucoin, son of ex-NHL blueliner Adrian Aucoin is another bloodline prospect who would be in the Top 10 if his prospects for playing in the OHL became clearer.
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Created: Monday, 29 April 2019 14:14
April 2019 update of the Top 10 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds prospects heading into the 2019-2020 season.
The list is heavy on 2018 draftees but it is 2019 selections Jacob Holmes and Marc Boudreau who lead the way. Holmes was the team’s first-round selection in this past April’s Priority Selection and is a defenseman who brings intangibles that will make him very useful in his career. He is a smooth skater with elite shooting attributes which set him up to be a weapon at the offensive blueline. Boudreau is a well-sized forward who brings great competitiveness and detailed effectiveness. He is a difference-maker as a forechecker, gets to scoring areas at opportune times, and can finish.
Tyson Tomasini, Kalvyn Watson, and Dominic Mufarreh were forwards we liked from the 2002 age group and will be on the short list to grab roster spots. Mufarreh and Watson both saw games this past season. Fellow 2018 draft picks Finn Brown, Nate Mann, Matthew Halushak and Cole McGuire all put themselves very much in the mix with strong seasons. Brown in particular was very impressive, scoring 19 goals and totalling 43 points in 54 games with St. Michael’s in the OJHL; something that surely surprised the Hounds brass considering he was an 11th round pick.
We weren’t overly high on the Greyhounds 2019 draft, but we won’t be surprised if we look back in a few years and have to admit how wrong we were, because the team has been excellent at finding and developing under-appreciated talent.
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Created: Sunday, 28 April 2019 19:21
April 2019 update of the Top 10 Sarnia Sting Prospects heading into the 2019-2020 season.
2019 first-round, seventh overall pick Ben Gaudreau is an easy selection for the top spot. Rarely does a goalie get taken that high so it shows what an elite prospect he is at the position. The North Bay Trappers product will be expected to come into camp and give Ethan Langevin a serious challenge for the #1 job.
Center Nolan Burke saw thirteen regular season games with the Sting and three more in the playoffs and he’ll be ready for full-time duty next year. Fellow 2018 draftees Wyatt Schingoethe and Owen Saye are also on the list and Saye is another forward who saw some time this past season. Schingoethe is an elite 2002 birth year who is comitted to the University of Notre Dame and is coming off a strong rookie season with Waterloo in the USHL.
The likes of Justin O’Donnell, Nolan Dann, Ty Voit, Devan Nagra, Ryan Mast and Sean Behrens were all a part of a solid 2019 Priority Selection by the Sting with O’Donnell and Dann figuring to be the first signings among that group. Sean Behrens is an exceptional skating defenseman who was ranked within our top 20 players in the entire 2003 age group but holds a commitment to the University of Denver as a well as a spot on the U.S. National U17 Team.
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Created: Sunday, 28 April 2019 14:00
April 2019 update of the Top 10 Saginaw Spirit Prospects heading into the 2019-2020 season.
The Spirit prospect pool is loaded on ‘what-ifs,’ and several big time players who would have been considered gambles on draft day are featured in this Top 10, and several more are on the outside.
Leading the group is 2019 third-round pick Dylan Duke who was our eighth ranked player in the entire 2003 age group. Committed to the University of Michigan as well as having an offer from the U.S. National Team Program, Duke’s third-round selection hints that those options may not be that strong. An outstanding 200 ft. center, the Compuware product is a complete hockey player with advanced intelligence in all areas and situations with the skill and efficiency to match.
Others in the Top 10 with ties elsewhere include 2017 pick Nicholas Zabaneh, 2018 pick Mitchell Smith, and an intriguing one in Eamon Powell. Powell's 2019 draft selection should pique curiosity since he is a very talented player who went undrafted in his initial year because of a commitment to Boston College and his electing to play for the U.S. National Program.
The club’s top two picks in the 2019 draft, defenseman Connor Punnett and winger Josh Bloom follow Duke and will be good bets to be signed shortly and begin their OHL careers as 16-year-olds in 2019-2020. Fellow 2003 birth-years Davis Codd, Roberto Mancini and Griffin Jurecki add to what was a strong draft by GM Dave Drinkill and his staff.
It will be interesting to see if Sebastian Bulovs can come in and earn a spot at the team’s training camp. Bulovs is a very talented forward with dynamic and lethal offensive attributes who could be a dangerous scoring threat if he puts it all together.
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