31 OHL PLAYERS SELECTED IN 2020 NHL DRAFT

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that 31 OHL players were selected in the seven rounds of the 2020 NHL Draft held virtually on Oct. 6-7 representing approximately 14% of all 217 players picked by the NHL’s 31 teams.

The 31 OHL players includes seven selected in the first round headed by Quinton Byfield of the Sudbury Wolves, chosen second overall by the Los Angeles Kings. The OHL featured five players selected in the top 10, the most by the League since 2010. Four OHL players were picked in the second round of the draft, bringing the League’s opening two-round total to 11.

A total of 78 Canadian Hockey League players were chosen including 31 from the Ontario Hockey League, 28 from the Western Hockey League and 19 from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

By position, a total of 22 OHL forwards were selected, as well as seven defencemen and two goaltenders. Among the OHL’s drafted players, 22 are selections born in 2002 and six are late 2001-born picks. Three 2000-born players were selected in Guelph’s Nico Daws (3rd round, New Jersey), Erie’s Chad Yetman (6th round, Chicago Blackhawks) and Saginaw’s Ilya Solovyov (7th round, Calgary Flames).

17 of the OHL’s 20 member clubs developed NHL Draft talent in 2020 led by the Soo Greyhounds who produced four picks. The Ottawa 67’s and Sudbury Wolves both produced three selections, while the Barrie Colts, Erie Otters, Kingston Frontenacs, Kitchener Rangers, London Knights, Saginaw Spirit and Windsor Spitfires all had a pair of players selected. The Knights maintained their record streak of players chosen annually since 1969.

20 of the NHL’s 31 teams selected at least one OHL player. The Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues and Tampa Bay Lightning picked up two each.

A total of 17 OHL players selected were invited to compete in the 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Hamilton, Ont.

Following the 2020 NHL Draft, a total of 2,410 OHL players have been selected since 1969, representing approximately 20% of all players chosen.

OHL Players Selected in the 2020 NHL Draft:

Click on player name below to watch pick announcement and media availability. More player interviews with be uploaded to ontariohockeyleague.com as they become available.

First Round (7 OHL Players):
2. Quinton Byfield (Sudbury Wolves) – Los Angeles Kings*
6. 
Jamie Drysdale (Erie Otters) – Anaheim Ducks*
8. 
Jack Quinn (Ottawa 67’s) – Buffalo Sabres*
9. 
Marco Rossi (Ottawa 67’s) – Minnesota Wild*
10. 
Cole Perfetti (Saginaw Spirit) – Winnipeg Jets*
23. 
Tyson Foerster (Barrie Colts) – Philadelphia Flyers*
27. 
Jacob Perreault (Sarnia Sting) – Anaheim Ducks*

Second Round (4 OHL Players):
39. Ryan O’Rourke (Soo Greyhounds) – Minnesota Wild*
42. 
Luke Evangelista (London Knights) – Nashville Predators*
48. 
Jan Mysak (Hamilton Bulldogs) – Montreal Canadiens
60. Will Cuylle (Windsor Spitfires) – New York Rangers*

Third Round (4 OHL Players):
63. Donovan Sebrango (Kitchener Rangers) – Detroit Red Wings*
75. 
Jean-Luc Foudy (Windsor Spitfires) – Colorado Avalanche*
76. 
Danil Gushchin (Niagara IceDogs) – San Jose Sharks**
84. 
Nico Daws (Guelph Storm) – New Jersey Devils*
93. 
Jack Thompson (Sudbury Wolves) – Tampa Bay Lightning*

**Gushchin is committed to Niagara for 2020-21 and not included in overall totals

Fourth Round (5 OHL Players):
94. Zayde Wisdom (Kingston Frontenacs) – Philadelphia Flyers
98. 
Brandon Coe (North Bay Battalion) – San Jose Sharks*
99. 
Jaromir Pytlik (Soo Greyhounds) – New Jersey Devils*
119. 
Tanner Dickinson (Soo Greyhounds) – St. Louis Blues
123. Antonio Stranges (London Knights) – Dallas Stars*

Fifth Round (5 OHL Players):
126. Ty Tullio (Oshawa Generals) – Edmonton Oilers
127. Evan Vierling (Barrie Colts) – New York Rangers
128. Martin Chromiak (Kingston Frontenacs) – Los Angeles Kings
141. Isaak Phillips (Sudbury Wolves) – Chicago Blackhawks
145. Ole Bjorgvik-Holm (Mississauga Steelheads) – Columbus Blue Jackets

Sixth Round (4 OHL Players):
162. Evgeniy Oksentyuk (Flint Firebirds) – Dallas Stars
163. 
Will Cranley (Ottawa 67’s) – St. Louis Bues
172. Chad Yetman (Erie Otters) – Chicago Blackhawks
174. Rory Kerins (Soo Greyhounds) – Calgary Flames

Seventh Round (2 OHL Players):
205. Ilya Solovyov (Saginaw Spirit) – Calgary Flames
217. Declan McDonnell (Kitchener Rangers) – Tampa Bay Lightning

*Invited to 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

For more information on the 2020 NHL Draft including full results visit nhl.com.


About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league. For more information visit http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/.

FRONTENACS’ ZAYDE WISDOM RECEIVES E.J. MCGUIRE AWARD OF EXCELLENCE

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League is proud to recognize Kingston Frontenacs forward Zayde Wisdom, who has been named the 2020 recipient of the E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence by the National Hockey League. The award is bestowed annually on the draft eligible candidate who best exemplifies commitment to excellence through strength of character, competitiveness and athleticism.

“E.J. McGuire was a very special person who cared deeply about the game and the players that played it,” said OHL Commissioner David Branch. “Zayde epitomizes all the values of this award and is very deserving to be honoured with the E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence.”

Wisdom was presented the award by Buffalo Sabres forward and OHL graduate Wayne Simmonds at The Ford Performance Centre in Toronto on Tuesday.

“It definitely hit home when they told me I won the award,” Wisdom told NHL.com’s Mike Morreale. “I feel I’ve worked my whole life, have struggled for a long time, but am grateful for every single part of my life, so getting an award like this, especially from a guy like Wayne Simmonds, who’s had to go through sort of the same thing I went through growing up in Scarborough, was something else.”

A 5-foot-10, 195Ib. right-winger, Wisdom scored 29 goals and added 30 assists for 59 points in 62 games as a sophomore with the Frontenacs in 2019-20. He finished the abbreviated season as the 54th-ranked prospect on NHL Central Scouting’s North American list, up 36 spots from 90th overall on the midterms released in January.

Wisdom, who is Black, was a regular at Simmonds’ Road Hockey Warriors charity ball hockey tournaments, organized for underprivileged children, beginning when he was 7 years old. He and his younger brother, Zaccharya, a sixth round pick of the Niagara IceDogs in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection, were raised mostly by their mother, Mairri McConnell, and grandmother, Kitty McConnell, in a home where money was tight and paying to put two boys through organized hockey was a challenge.

The hard-working power winger, who won an OHL Cup title with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens prior to being selected by the Frontenacs in the fourth round of the 2018 OHL Priority Selection, received high praise from NHL Central Scouting Director Dan Marr.

“Zayde Wisdom plays the game in a way that amplifies the qualities that the E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence embodies and he truly merits receiving this honor,” said Marr. “He makes you notice him in games because he utilizes his skills and competes every shift with an energy and passion that is infectious and generates results.

“Zayde has a strong support group to help guide him along his way and is a shining example of what you can accomplish if you set your mind and heart to it. During this season, he significantly improved his draft status and he will be a future asset to the NHL club that selects him.”

The E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence is dedicated to the life and legacy of former NHL Central Scouting Director E.J. McGuire who passed away following a battle with cancer on April 7, 2011. McGuire served as head coach of the Guelph Storm from 1995-97.

Eventual Philadelphia Flyers first round pick Travis Konecny of the Ottawa 67’s was the inaugural recipient of the award ahead of the 2015 NHL Draft.

For the full story detailing Wisdom’s long-time friendship with Wayne Simmonds and his story of perseverance on the road to the Ontario Hockey League, visit NHL.com.


About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league. For more information visit http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/.

OHL ANNOUNCES KEY DATES FOR 2020-21 SEASON

Toronto, Ont. –With a planned return to play less than three months away, the Ontario Hockey League continues to work with government and health agencies to plan the safe return of OHL action while also finalizing outstanding issues such as safe attendance at venues and cross border travel for teams. In preparation for the 2020-21 playing season, the League today announced a number of key dates to be circled on the calendar.

OHL Training Camps are scheduled to open on Sunday, November 15, with Exhibition play commencing on the weekends of November 20-22 and 27-29.

Other notable dates for the 2020-21 season include a February 10, 2021 trade deadline, the conclusion of the Regular Season on April 29 and the 2021 OHL Playoffs for the J. Ross Robertson Cup taking place from May 2 to June 14. The 2021 Memorial Cup presented by Kia is scheduled for June 17-27 and will be hosted by either the Oshawa Generals or the Soo Greyhounds.

With an eye to the future, the 2021 OHL Priority Selection presented by Real Canadian Superstore is scheduled for Saturday, May 8 followed by the OHL Under-18 Priority Selection on Wednesday, May 12.

The OHL plans to open the 2020-21 Regular Season on the previously announced target start date of Tuesday, December 1.

About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league.

OHL ANNOUNCES RETURN TO PLAY PLANS

RTP

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that it is planning to return to play on December 1, 2020, subject to ensuring that the players, fans, staff and community are able to play and attend games safely. Over the next four months the League will continue to work with government and health agencies to finalize outstanding issues such as safe attendance at venues and cross border travel for teams and players.

“We are looking forward to getting back to playing hockey, but are committed to ensuring that we do so in a manner that is safe and healthy for our players, officials, families, billets, teams, staff, fans and the community,” said OHL Commissioner David Branch. “Players will remain at home until the season resumes and teams will work closely with them on both their academic studies and overseeing their on and off-ice development. In addition, the League will liaise with our facilities to ensure that our venues are safe for our return to play.”

The season will include a 64-game schedule and a 16-team playoff format. The regular season is scheduled to end on Thursday April 29, 2021.  The 102nd Memorial Cup presented by Kia is scheduled to be played June 17-27, 2021 and will be hosted by either the Oshawa Generals or Soo Greyhounds.

About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league.

CHL APPOINTS INDEPENDENT REVIEW PANEL

Press Release

Toronto – The Canadian Hockey League today announced that it has appointed an Independent Review Panel to review the current policies and practices in the league that relate to hazing, abuse, harassment and bullying and the allegation that players do not feel comfortable reporting behaviors that contravene these policies.

The panel will be chaired by former Premier of New Brunswick Camille Thériault and will include Sheldon Kennedy and Danièle Sauvageau.

“The CHL is committed to the 1,400 young men who play in our league and the protection of our players has been and will always be our primary concern,” said CHL President Dan MacKenzie. “This is why we have assembled this Independent Review Panel to review the effectiveness of our current policies, player experience programs and procedures for reporting off-ice misconduct, to help ensure that we are providing the safest environment free of hazing, abuse, harassment and bullying.”

Over the last 20 years the CHL and its member leagues the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, have made a number of advancements to Players First programs including extensive policies and practices to educate players and team staff on respect in sport, prevention of hazing, abuse, harassment and bullying, along with introducing a leading mental health program, Talk Today, in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association.

“As a former member of the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleus and lifelong hockey fan, I can attest to the fact that hockey, at all levels, is a key part of Canadian culture,” said Thériault. I look forward to working with my fellow panel members to review the CHL’s policies and practices to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all players.”

The goal is to have the report of the Independent Review Panel completed in time for the start of the 2020-21 season.

About the Panel:

Camille Thériault is the former Premier of New Brunswick, an Officer of the Order of Canada and the former chair of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB). He recently retired as the President and CEO of UNI Financial and has twice been named in the Top 50 Atlantic Business leaders by Atlantic Business magazine. He received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2012 and an honorary doctorate from the Université de Moncton.

Sheldon Kennedy is a former Memorial Cup champion and NHL player who is widely known for his role in bringing the attention of abuse in sport to the forefront. He has been instrumental in bringing governments, public and private sector partners together to work collaboratively to influence policy change and improve the way child abuse is handled. He co-founded the Calgary and Area Child Advocacy Centre and the Respect Group. He has received countless awards and honorary doctorates, including being named a Member of the Order of Canada in 2014 and the Order of Hockey in Canada in 2020.

Danièle Sauvageau is known for her extensive experience in investigation, public safety, high level sport, business and sports coaching. She has more than 33 years of service in policing where she has held strategic investigative and strategic development positions. She has participated in 10 Olympic Games (2002 Gold medalist for women’s hockey) and several Pan American Games and World Championships as head coach and general manager. She has received numerous awards over the years including Canada’s Meritorious Service Cross, an Officer of the Order of Canada, and has been named the Coach of Year in Quebec three times.

About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league. For more information visit http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/.

Council selects Hamilton Urban Precinct Entertainment Group L.P to revitalize Hamilton’s entertainment district

Press Release

HAMILTON, ON – Today, in a historic decision, Hamilton City Council announced that the City will move forward with the development plan from Hamilton Urban Precinct Entertainment Group L.P. (known as ‘the Precinct Group’) to deliver entertainment, culture, and renewed vitality to Hamilton’s downtown core. The Precinct Group’s plan includes a modernized arena, a newly renovated convention centre and concert hall, significant investment in the Art Gallery of Hamilton, as well as new residential, affordable housing, office and retail space development.

Today’s announcement signals an important first step in the development process. Next steps include negotiations between the City and the Precinct Group to create a “Master Agreement”, which is expected to be finalized in late 2020. The completion of this “Master Agreement” would see arena renovations beginning in the Fall of 2021.

In addition to taking on all capital costs for the renewal of the City’s entertainment facilities, under the plan approved by Council today, the Precinct Group would take over responsibility for the operations and maintenance of the FirstOntario Centre and the FirstOntario Concert Hall for a period of 99 years and of the Hamilton Convention Centre indefinitely, without any monetary contribution from the City. In a 2019 study completed by Ernst and Young, the elimination of the City’s ongoing subsidization and capital commitments at its entertainment assets would provide Hamilton taxpayers with $155M in savings over the next 30 years. The City’s contribution to this initiative involves City owned lands in the downtown core and deferrals of a portion of any additional property taxes resulting from the new developments.

The Precinct Group’s proposed $50M renovation of FirstOntario Centre includes a new building exterior, comprehensive transformation of the lower bowl, expanded concourse level, and a new flexible and attractive curtaining system for the upper bowl balcony. Fans will have access to premium amenities like a microbrewery, suites, and hospitality clubs. Fans will also have year-round access to the experience through street-level hospitality activations on York Blvd. and Bay Street. The management of the transformed arena will pursue global partnerships to supply top touring artists and live events in the facility. The Precinct Group looks forward to the continued partnership with the Hamilton Bulldogs as the arena’s anchor tenant.

In addition to the comprehensive arena transformation, the Precinct Group’s plan also includes over $16M in capital upgrades to the existing Hamilton Convention Centre, FirstOntario Concert Hall, and Art Gallery of Hamilton. As well, an estimated $340.5M in auxiliary mixed-use development, including affordable housing, will be part of any residential developments that stem from this initiative.

The City of Hamilton would like to thank Darko Vranich and his Vrancor Group team for their continued investment in the Hamilton community. While their proposal was not ultimately selected, Vrancor Group invested significant time and effort into this process. The City commends Vrancor Group for their vision, professionalism and passion for our city, and looks forward to more opportunities to work together as part of Hamilton’s transformation story.

The Precinct Group’s proposed revitalization plan lays the foundation for a world-class entertainment precinct, right in the heart of downtown Hamilton, that will drive additional tourism and serve as a premier sports, entertainment, and cultural center for all Hamiltonians. On behalf of Council, I would like to thank the Precinct Group, Vrancor, and all other private sector entities that participated in this process.” – Mayor Fred Eisenberger, City of Hamilton

“The transformed arena will be a destination for sports fans, music lovers, and families, creating a first-class guest experience in the urban heart of the Greater Hamilton area. We also look forward to working with the Hamilton Bulldogs to ensure they have a modernized facility to call home for years to come.”

 “While our Precinct Group is proud to have been recommended in this process, we want to extend our thanks and appreciation to our competitor. Both proponents have demonstrated a significant commitment to the urban core, and we look forward to working with the Vrancor Group in helping urban Hamilton reach its ultimate potential.” – PJ Mercanti, Precinct Group President and Carmen’s Group CEO

Quick facts

  • The Precinct Group is a forward-thinking private-sector consortium including LiUNA, Fengate Capital, Meridian Credit Union, Paletta Group, and Carmen’s Group. The Precinct Group’s mission is to honour and enrich the communities they build in with thoughtfully designed arts, entertainment, sports, residential, commercial and mixed-use properties.
  • On December 1, 2017, Hamilton City Council approved a motion that directed staff to investigate opportunities for a private sector-led redevelopment of the FirstOntario Centre, the Hamilton Convention Centre, and the FirstOntario Concert Hall.
  • In the Summer of 2019, Ernst and Young (EY) completed a comprehensive review of the FirstOntario Centre, FirstOntario Concert Hall and the Hamilton Convention Centre, collectively referred to as Hamilton’s Entertainment Venues.
  • Upon completion of the Entertainment Venues Review, Council directed staff to engage with various private sector entities to explore their interest in a potential reimagined Downtown Entertainment Precinct, and staff marketed the investment opportunity over a 3-month period.
  • In February 2020, Council authorized and directed staff to simultaneously negotiate proposed private sector offerings through Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with each of Vrancor Group Inc. and Hamilton Urban Precinct Entertainment Group L.P., for a period not to exceed 120 days, with respect to the redevelopment of Hamilton’s Entertainment Venues.

SPIRIT’S MILLMAN ADDED TO CANADA’S NATIONAL JUNIOR TEAM SUMMER DEVELOPMENT CAMP

unnamed (1)

Toronto, Ont. – Hockey Canada announced Wednesday the addition of Saginaw Spirit defenceman Mason Millman to its National Junior Team Summer Development Camp set to take place online from July 27 to 31.

Millman joins Spirit teammates Tristan Lennox, Cole Perfetti and Ryan Suzuki along with 13 other OHL players and Canadian National Junior Team head coach Andre Tourigny of the Ottawa 67’s in drawing invitations to the virtual camp.

A soon-to-be 19-year-old from London, Ont., Millman recorded 44 points (13-31–44) over 58 games in his sophomore season after being selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the fourth round (103rd overall) of the 2019 NHL Draft. The 6-foot-1, 180Ib. left-shot defender has collected 69 points (16-53–69) over 130 career regular season games and helped the Spirit reach the Western Conference Championship Series in 2019, recording five points (2-3–5) over 13 playoff outings. Millman was originally Saginaw’s seventh round (124th overall) pick in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection.

The 2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship returns to Canadian ice this December, with Edmonton, Alta. and Red Deer, Alta. set to co-host the annual holiday tradition.

For more information on Hockey Canada or Canada’s National Junior Team, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along via social media on FacebookTwitter and Twitter.com/HC_WJC.

About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league. For more information visit http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/.

Press Release

ONTARIO HOCKEY LEAGUE APPOINTS RICO PHILLIPS DIRECTOR, CULTURAL DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

Press Release

Phillips was the 2019 recipient of the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award

unnamed

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that it has appointed Rico Phillips to the newly created role of Director of Cultural Diversity and Inclusion. In this role, reporting to the Commissioner, Phillips will establish and lead a committee to provide guidance and expertise to the League and teams to help ensure that the game is inclusive for all players, staff and fans.

“There is no question that the biggest challenge facing hockey and sports, at all levels, is how to ensure that the game is inclusive. I believe the key to doing this is to work hard to eradicate racism and ensure an environment that is free from any discrimination,” said Phillips. “I am looking forward to working with the League and the Cultural Diversity and Inclusion Committee on these very important, and I believe attainable, goals.”

The Committee on Cultural Diversity and Inclusion will make recommendations and build upon the League’s current policies and player and staff training.

“Rico Phillips has proven over the years that he not only understands hockey, but he understands the role that community plays in the sport and the challenges that face players and teams with regards to racism and inclusiveness,” said OHL Commissioner David Branch. “I am very pleased that he has agreed to join the OHL in this critical role and I look forward to his ongoing contributions in this important area.”

About Rico Phillips:
Rico Phillips is a change-maker in the sport of hockey, having begun his role in the game as a high school hockey referee in the 1980’s. In 2010 he founded the Flint Inner-City Youth Hockey Program in an effort to increase racial and socioeconomic inclusivity in minor hockey. In 2019 he was awarded the NHL’s prestigious Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award. He is a retired member of the City of Flint Fire Department.

From the OHL’s current Diversity policy:
The Ontario Hockey League cares about diversity within its environment.  The OHL values all of its players, staff, and officials and is committed to providing a place where all players and personnel are treated with respect.  Not only does this mean that the League strives for an environment that is free from unequal treatment on the basis of race, age, gender, creed, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status or disability – it also means that we strive for an environment where we value and benefit from the distinctiveness of each other.

About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league. For more information visit http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/.

OHL Writers Final Draft Rankings

Byfield, Quinton (1)
Quinton Byfield of the Sudbury Wolves. Photo by OHL Images

The National Hockey League is set to hit the ice under their return to play plan with a new collective bargaining agreement in place. We won’t bother going over those details here. The NHL held their first draft lottery a few weeks ago but there is still one more lottery to take place. One lucky (or unlucky) team eliminated from the play-in round will win the first overall pick. That pick will be Alexis Lafreniere.

So, the draft really begins at the number two spot where it could be Quinton Byfield or Tim Stutzle. Or there could be a surprise.

After many live viewings and countless hours of re-watching video – what else was there to do when we were stuck at home because of the coronavirus – we’ve put together our rankings of Ontario Hockey League Players.

Our list includes 12 goaltenders and 57 skaters. We believe you’ll see 3 OHL goaltenders and 41 skaters selected at the draft. Also listed with each player is their final ranking by NHL Central Scouting.

Under normal circumstances, the draft is a crap shoot. But it’s a draft like we’ve never seen before.

Let the guessing begin!

RK PLAYER POS TEAM NHL
FINAL
1 Quinton Byfield C Sudbury 2
2 Jamie Drysdale D Erie 3
3 Marco Rossi C Ottawa 6
4 Cole Perfetti LW Saginaw 5
5 Jack Quinn  RW Ottawa 7
6 Jacob Perreault C Sarnia 17
7 Jan Mysak C Hamilton 28
8 Ryan O’Rourke D Sault Ste Marie 27
9 Tyson Foerster C Barrie 21
10 Martin Chromiak RW Kingston 30
11 Jean-Luc Foudy C Windsor 33
12 Will Cuylle LW Windsor 34
13 Luke Evangelista RW London 39
14 Zayde Wisdom RW Kingston 54
15 Jaromir Pytlik RW Sault Ste Marie 46
16 Antonio Stranges LW London 56
17 Tyler Tullio C Oshawa 52
18 Brandon Coe C North Bay 35
19 Donovan Sebrango D Kitchener 59
20 Evan Vierling C Barrie 66
21 Oliver Suni RW Oshawa 53
22 Jack Thompson D Sudbury 60
23 Kirill Steklov D London 106
24 **Pavel Gogolev LW Guelph 107
25 Ruben Rafkin D Windsor 84
26 *Evginiy Oksentyuk LW Flint 109
27 Mitchell Smith D Saginaw N.R.
28 Rory Kerins C Sault Ste Marie 72
29 Ethan Cardwell  C Barrie 70
30 Tanner Dickinson C Sault Ste Marie 67
31 James Hardie  LW Mississauga 163
32 Isaak Phillips D Sudbury 114
33 Hayden Fowler C Erie 87
34 *Robert Calisti D Sault Ste Marie 78
35 Logan Morrison C Hamilton 190
36 Declan McDonnell RW Kitchener 155
37 Oli Bjorgvik-Holm D Mississauga 116
38 Reid Valade RW Kitchener 148
39 Riley Piercey RW Flint 129
40 Cameron Butler RW Niagara 138
41 *Maxim Golod LW Erie 213
42 Ville Ottavainen D Kitchener 137
43 Jake Uberti C Niagara 147
44 Lleyton Moore D Oshawa 194
45 Dylan Robinson D Windsor N.R.
46 Alec Belanger D Ottawa N.R.
47 Igor Chibrikov D Owen Sound 188
48 *Billy Constaninou D Sault Ste Marie NR
49 *Louka Henault D Windsor 171
50 *Tye Kartye LW Sault Ste Marie 192
51 *Austen Swankler C Erie 200
52 *Ilya Solovyov D Saginaw N.R.
53 Jakob Murray D Kingston 193
54 Andrei Bakanov RW Guelph N.R.
55 Cameron Tolnai C Ottawa N.R.
56 Vitali Pinchuk LW Kingston N.R.
57 Mark Woolley D Owen Sound N.R.
Goalies
1 *Nico Daws G Guelph 1
2 Nick Malik G Sault Ste Marie 10
3 Tucker Tynan G Niagara NR
4 Will Cranley G Ottawa 4
5 Brett Brochu G London 29
6 Owen Bennett G Guelph 24
7 Aidan Campbell G Erie 28
8 Ty Austin G Peterborough 14
9 *Mack Guzda G Owen Sound 31
10 Zachary Papoutsakis G Oshawa NR
11 Marco Costantini G Hamilton NR
12 Xavier Medina G Windsor NR
*Draft re-entry
**2nd time draft re-entry

Mitchell Smith – Saginaw Spirit – Player Profile

Height: 5’ 10”

Weight: 180 Pounds

Date of birth: September 15, 2002

Hometown: Saginaw, MI

Position: Defence

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 5, 84th overall, 2018 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season November Mid-term Final
N.R. N.R. N.R. N.R.

Saginaw Spirit blueliner Mitchell Smith hasn’t gotten a mention from National Hockey League Central Scouting all season, and it’s not because he met draft eligibility for the 2020 draft on the very last possible day. We do however believe he should be on the list.

Smith played his Midget Hockey with the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies Under-16 squad during the 2017-2018 season where he scored 8 goals and 39 assists in 58 games. Smith had verbally committed to attend the University of Michigan, yet his hometown Saginaw Spirit still drafted him in the 5th round of the 2018 Priority Selection, 84th overall. He was also selected in the 5th round of the 2018 USHL Futures Draft, 72nd overall by the Dubuque Fighting Saints.

Mitchell Smith of the Saginaw Spirit. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Mitchell Smith of the Saginaw Spirit. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images

During the 2018-2019 season, Smith returned to the Grizzlies and scored 13 goals while assisting on 30 in 52 games. He decided to forego his NCAA career with Michigan and sign with Saginaw for the 2019-2020 season. In 56 games with the Spirit Smith scored 7 goals and assisted on 9 and was named to the OHL Second All-Rookie squad.

In many ways, Smith fits the description of the new, modern, smaller defenceman. He possesses high end mobility and hockey sense. He retrieves pucks quickly and transitions to offence with a very well-timed pass but he also has the ability to skate with the puck and go end-to-end.

Smith is very good at keeping possession and buying time before dishing off an excellent pass, however, there are times he holds onto the puck too long and an earlier pass may have been the better decision. At 5’10” there are always questions raised about defensive abilities. Smith almost always plays stick-on-stick defensive hockey. His skating ability allows him to keep his gaps close and he can force opponents to the outside and then use his stick effectively to break up the rush. Where he can find himself in trouble is in front of his net where boxing out can be an issue. But he’s still young and transitioning from Midget to Junior isn’t always easy.

Smith’s offensive numbers won’t jump out at you. In fairness, he received almost no powerplay time and didn’t get into many offensive situations. Early in the season, Smith was averaging 10 minutes a night on the ice. As the season progressed and his defensive game wasn’t causing the team many issues, the coaches began trusting him with more ice time, but still no specialty teams play. And for most of the season, he was paired with an offensive defenceman so providing offence wasn’t necessary.

We believe there is some intriguing upside and potential in Smith. He could turn out to be a good find for an NHL team in the middle rounds.

We would take that gamble.