BATTALION ANNOUNCES TY NELSON AS FIRST OVERALL PICK IN 2020 OHL PRIORITY SELECTION

Press Release

Ty Nelson

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League in association with the North Bay Battalion Hockey Club today announced that 16-year-old defenceman Ty Nelson of the GTHL champion Toronto Jr. Canadiens will be the first overall pick in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection presented by Real Canadian Superstore.

The announcement was made over an online news conference hosted by the Battalion Friday afternoon.

“It’s an honour to receive the Jack Ferguson Award as the first overall pick of the OHL Priority Selection,” said Nelson. “I want to thank my mother, father and sister for all of their dedication, love and hard work they’ve put into helping me get here. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my family. I also want to say thank you to all of the coaches, teachers and trainers that I’ve had over the years as they’ve shaped the player that I am today. Lastly I want to thank Mr. Abbott, Mr. Dennis, Coach Oulahen and Coach Winstanley. It’s an honour to be drafted by an outstanding organization like North Bay. To the Battalion fans, I can’t wait to get started.”

Nelson is the first of 15 selections currently held by the Battalion ahead of Saturday’s proceedings and joins a developing young club that features 2019 first round selection Liam Arnsby along with 17-year-old twin brothers Alex and Paul Christopoulos in front of 6-foot-6 netminder Joe Vrbetic.

“Those close to our team have seen the growth in the second half of the season and the promise in our young group,” said Battalion general manager Adam Dennis. “It’s imperative that we add to this momentum, and we feel that in Ty we’re adding a player and a person that can do that. Getting to know Ty and his family, we know that we’re bringing a top class person into our dressing room and somebody that can really add to what we’re building here.”

Nelson led all GTHL defencemen in regular season scoring with 32 points (11-21–32) over 33 games before pacing all rearguards offensively throughout the GTHL Playoffs, putting up 12 points (1-11–12) over 11 contests as the Toronto Jr. Canadiens were crowned league champions. The Toronto native was a member of Canada’s bronze medal-winning team that competed at the 2020 Youth Olympic Winter Games in Lausanne, Switzerland this past January. A swift-skating, puck-moving defenceman that stands 5-foot-8 and 174Ibs., Nelson was born March 30, 2004, making him eligible for the 2022 NHL Draft.

Nelson is the 2020 recipient of the Jack Ferguson Award presented annually to the player selected first overall in the OHL Priority Selection. The ‘Fergie’ recognizes the dedication and contributions made by Jack Ferguson during his 25 year association with the OHL, first as a scout with the Ottawa 67’s and followed by his appointment as head of the OHL’s Central Scouting Bureau in 1981 as its Director of Central Scouting. Nelson is the second member of the Battalion franchise to receive the award following defenceman Jay Harrison, who was the Brampton Battalion’s first-ever draft pick back in 1998. He’s the first defenceman selected first overall since another Jr. Canadiens rearguard in Ryan Merkley was selected first by the Guelph Storm in 2016. Prior to that, Jr. Canadiens blue line standout Jakob Chychrun was selected first overall by the Sarnia Sting in 2014.

“Ty was one of the leaders on his team this year and a big force behind their GTHL championship,” said OHL Director of Central Scouting Darrell Woodley. “He never stops competing and is a bulldog on the ice. He also finishes all his checks which makes him very hard to play against. He is an offensive threat whenever he is on the ice, especially with the puck on his stick, and averaged over a point-per-game this season. He possesses a very good and accurate shot from the point and also finds lanes well to get the puck on net in order to either create rebounds or score. There isn’t much he doesn’t do well and he will be a very impactful player at the next level.”

Nelson will be officially announced as the first overall pick of the 2020 OHL Priority Selection when things get underway on Saturday, April 4 at 9:00am. The first three rounds of the Priority Selection will be streamed live on the OHL’s YouTube channel beginning at 8:45am. Live results and full Priority Selection coverage can be found at ontariohockeyleague.com.

Former winners of the Jack Ferguson Award include:
1981 Dan Quinn, Belleville Bulls
1982 Kirk Muller, Guelph Platers
1983 Trevor Stienburg, Guelph Platers
1984 Dave Moylan, Sudbury Wolves
1985 Bryan Fogarty, Kingston Canadians
1986 Troy Mallette, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
1987 John Uniac, Sudbury Wolves
1988 Drake Berehowsky, Kingston Raiders
1989 Eric Lindros, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
1990 Pat Peake, Detroit Ambassadors
1991 Todd Harvey, Detroit Ambassadors
1992 Jeff O’Neill, Guelph Storm
1993 Alyn McCauley, Ottawa 67’s
1994 Jeff Brown, Sarnia Sting
1995 Daniel Tkaczuk, Barrie Colts
1996 Rico Fata, London Knights
1997 Charlie Stephens, Toronto St. Michael’s Majors
1998 Jay Harrison, Brampton Battalion
1999 Jason Spezza, Mississauga IceDogs
2000 Patrick Jarrett, Mississauga IceDogs
2001 Patrick O’Sullivan,Mississauga IceDogs
2002 Robbie Schremp, Mississauga IceDogs
2003 Patrick McNeill, Saginaw Spirit
2004 John Hughes, Belleville Bulls
2005 John Tavares, Oshawa Generals
2006 Steven Stamkos, Sarnia Sting
2007 Ryan O’Reilly, Erie Otters
2008 John McFarland, Sudbury Wolves
2009  Daniel Catenacci, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
2010  Alex Galchenyuk, Sarnia Sting
2011  Aaron Ekblad, Barrie Colts
2012  Connor McDavid, Erie Otters
2013  Travis Konecny, Ottawa 67’s
2014  Jakob Chychrun, Sarnia Sting
2015 David Levin, Sudbury Wolves
2016 Ryan Merkley, Guelph Storm
2017 Ryan Suzuki, Barrie Colts
2018 Quinton Byfield, Sudbury Wolves
2019 Shane Wright, Kingston Frontenacs

Ruben Rafkin – Windsor Spitfires – Player Profile

Height: 6’

Weight: 190 Pounds

Date of birth: January 8, 2002

Hometown: Turku, Finland

Position: Defence

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 1, 14th overall, 2019 CHL Import Draft

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season November Mid-term Final
C Prospect C Prospect 72 N.A.

We may as well get this tweet by Ruben Rafkin this morning out of the way first:

 

Rafkin signed a two-year deal to play professional hockey with his hometown team TPS in the Finnish Elite League (Liiga as it is known in Finland). The move follows teammate and goaltender Kari Piiroinen’s decision to leave the Spitfires and play for Tappara in their native Finland.

How does this affect Rafkin for the 2020 National Hockey League Draft? Well, there are two trains of thought here. One, you have to like the fact that he will be playing against men in a very good league for the next two years as opposed to Major Junior. Two, there is always some concern that players who sign European contracts at this stage may not always be willing to jump over to the NHL.

Ruben Rafkin of the Windsor Spitfires. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images
Ruben Rafkin of the Windsor Spitfires. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images

Also coming into question is whether Rafkin will be considered drafted from the CHL or from a European League. The importance of that is this: Players drafted out of the CHL are not eligible to play in the AHL unless they are 20 years of age. Hence, it’s the CHL or NHL for them, whereas players drafted out of Europe are eligible for the AHL at any age after the draft. This is important should Rafkin have an out-clause to come back to North America at any time under this contract.

Think back to 2012 when Spitfires’ Alexander Khokhlachev returned home to Russia to play in the KHL. Half way through the season, he wanted to return to North America, but there were only two options available to him because he was drafted out of the OHL: return to the Spitfires or play in the NHL with the Boston Bruins. The latter had virtually no chance of happening, so his only option was the OHL.

Jim Parker of the Windsor Star has this quote from Rafkin:

“I just finished four years of high school in the States and I am ready for (the) men’s game,” the 18-year-old Rafkin said. “Also, (it’s) to be closer to see my little brother (eight-year-old Rafael) grow up and it has always been a dream to play pro in my hometown. I have nothing bad to say about Windsor.”

Rafkin played his Midget hockey in the United States. He put on the blades for the Selects Hockey Academy Under-16 squad during the 2017-2018 season and in 47 games scored 10 goals and assisted on 34. During the season, Rafkin received a tender to play for the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League for the 2018-2019 season, which he signed. Rafkin had previously committed to play for the University of Denver for 2019-2020.

Rafkin would play in 38 games for the Storm and score 2 goals and 8 helpers while racking up 90 minutes in penalties.

This season, Rafkin decided to forego his NCAA career and opted to sign with the Spitfires after they selected him 14th overall at the 2019 CHL Import Draft. He appeared in 59 games with the Spitfires scoring 4 goals and assisting on 27.

Rafkin is not a typical Finn that is about skating, passing and scoring goals. He’s a physical defender who, while at 6 feet tall, plays even bigger. In fact, he relishes that type of game and the more physical the game, the better he is. And he’ll be the first player to come to the aid of a teammate.

But he’s not just a physical player as he possesses some intriguing skills. Rafkin is a very smooth skater with excellent agility. He’s not a burner but he’s not slow. He uses his edges very well and he’s quick enough to step up on opponents and deliver a check. He’s strong along the walls, but needs to work on his net front coverage both in terms of positioning and strength.

Rafkin also has some very good vision, and when combined with the superb passing abilities he has, he is a threat at creating offense. He has the ability to quarterback the powerplay with those skills, but we didn’t always see those opportunities granted to him in Windsor.

Rafkin’s defensive abilities suggest he will be an NHL player. And playing against men for two years will further develop those skills. The only real question is whether his offence can improve and how much it translates to the NHL. That’s the million-dollar question for NHL Scouts. And how high do you draft a defensive defenceman.

I’m not suggesting Rafkin is just a defensive defenceman, that’s his strength right now. I’m just not sure how much offence he has for the NHL.

But the risk/reward may just be worth an extra thought.

Jack Thompson – Sudbury Wolves – Player Profile

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 180 Pounds

Date of birth: March 19, 2002

Hometown: Courtice, Ontario

Position: Defence

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 2, 30th overall, 2018 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season November Mid-term Final
B Prospect B Prospect 67 N.A.

When it comes to the 2020 National Hockey League Draft, the general consensus is that Jamie Drysdale (Erie Otters) will be the first blueliner selected when we finally have a draft. Ryan O’Rourke (Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds) is considered a very early second rounder with a chance to move into the first round.

Then there’s the next group that includes Donovan Sebrango and Ville Ottavainen (Kitchener Rangers), Ruben Rafkin (Windsor Spitfires), Kirill Steklov (London Knights), Isaak Phillips (Sudbury Wolves) and today’s profile, Phillips teammate Jack Thompson.

Pull a name out of a hat, stick them in a blender – you can choose your own synonyms – this can literally go in multiple ways.

Jack Thompson of the Sudbury Wolves. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Jack Thompson of the Sudbury Wolves. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Thompson played his Minor Midget AAA with the Toronto Toros during the 2017-2018 season where he scored 17 goals and added 21 assists in 36 games. He followed that up with 5 goals and 4 assists in 10 playoff games.

The 2018-2019 season saw Thompson appear in 52 games for the Wolves. In 52 games, Thompson scored 6 goals and assisted on 10. But it was the 2018 playoffs where it became evident that Thompson’s offence can and will translate to the OHL. In 8 games, he scored once and assisted on 4 others.

During this shortened season, Thompson played in 63 games while scoring 13 goals and adding 19 helpers, finishing first among draft eligible defencemen in goals and third in points.

If there is one concerning stat with Thompson – I know many of you don’t put emphasis on it – it’s Thompson’s plus/minus. Of all the regulars on the Wolves, Thompson was the only player to finish with a negative with a minus-7.

Thompson is still a young, raw defender with a boatload of potential that is going to require patience and a strong development system at the next level. Thompson is a very good skater with excellent mobility with the tools to be able to skate out of trouble in his own zone and run the powerplay from the point. However, he doesn’t always make the right decisions in those situations. Not a big deal though. Experience and development can most importantly, gaining confidence can play a huge role in limiting those errors.

Thompson’s talents show that he can be an effective powerplay quarterback. As mentioned, he can control the powerplay from the blueline. He walks the line with his excellent mobility and he sees the ice so well that he can thread the needle, but again, sometimes he makes the wrong decisions and turns it over. He has a superb shot from the point. Its hard, heavy and accurate and he puts pucks into places that can produce second chance opportunities.

Defensively, Thompson holds his ice well and is usually in position. His skating allows him to recover quickly. He possesses an active stick in the d-zone. He has the ability to skate the puck out of the zone or to make that first good pass, Again, it’s about patience and developing and gaining experience so that he limits the turnovers he is prone too.

There’s been a lot of eyes on the Sudbury Wolves this season because Quinton Byfield is widely considered the number two prospect for the 2020 draft so there’s been a lot of eyes on Thompson. The decision Scouts have to make is whether they believe in the rawness and the potential they see or is he always going to be the offensive defender that is going to cost you on any given night?

We’re betting on the potential.

Zayde Wisdom – Kingston Frontenacs – Player Profile

Height: 5’9”

Weight: 195 Pounds

Date of birth: July 7, 2002

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

Position: Right Wing

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 4, 73rd overall, 2018 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season November Mid-term Final
N.R. N.R. 90 N.A.

Perhaps no other player has caught the attention of the scouting world and moved up the rankings as much as Kingston Frontenacs’ Zayde Wisdom has. Wisdom was an after thought on NHL Central Scouting’s Players to Watch Lists in the preseason and November and jumped all the way to 90th among North American Skaters on their mid-term report.

In fairness to Central Scouting, they weren’t the only ones to “miss the boat”. We here at OHLW didn’t include him on our preseason list, but moved him up to a C prospect on our list (4th, 5th or 6th round prospect) in November. The 90th ranking by Central Scouting sets Wisdom as a late 4th or early 5th round pick when you take into consideration Goaltenders and Europeans.

Zayde Wisdom of the Kingston Frontenacs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Zayde Wisdom of the Kingston Frontenacs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images

Wisdom played his Minor Midget AAA hockey during the 2017-2018 season with the Toronto Junior Canadiens where he appeared in 57 games, scoring 15 goals and adding 38 assists. Wisdom had a superb OHL Cup Tournament with 3 goals and 5 helpers in 7 games and helping the Junior Canadiens capture the OHL Cup.

Wisdom played his first Ontario Hockey League game a season ago and played in a total of 60 contests for the Frontenacs. He scored just 3 goals and assisted on 10 others on a team that finished last overall, scored the fewest goals (68 fewer than the next closest) and the second most goals surrendered.

Wisdom wrote a different story this season as a young Frontenacs team improved. He finished the year with 29 goals and 30 assists in 62 games. His 59 points were second only to junior phenom to be Shane Wright on the team. But that is the question many pundits are asking themselves: Just how much was Wisdom the beneficiary of playing with Wright?

That’s not an easy question to answer. To play with a player of Wright’s calibre, you need to be able to think the game at a high level to do so. And you need to put yourself in position when defences are keying in on your best player. Consider this: through the first 10 games while Wright, who was granted exceptional status by Hockey Canada, was getting acclimated to the OHL and going against older players, it was Wisdom who was carrying the offence for the Fronts.

Wisdom is a good skater with good speed and is markedly improved from a year ago. He is able to get on the forecheck quickly and create havoc. He darts into lanes quickly and without hesitation. He’s a small guy at 5’9” but built like a tank. Quite simply he is the little engine that can with a motor and work ethic that never hits pause.

Wisdom is not afraid to go to the dirty areas, in fact, he has a superb net front presence. You’ll find he parks himself in front of the blue paint and yes, he is hard to move. But he’ll also score the majority if his goals from the top of or in the paint. But he also has an excellent shot and release that can beat a goaltender from the high slot or coming down his wing. Frankly, with his ability to find open ice combined with his shot, we are a little bit surprised he doesn’t score more of those goals.

Wisdom has also improved on his puck possession and has learned the importance of maintaining possession in today’s game. He is strong on his feet and hard to separate from the puck. His body is always in a good position to protect the puck. We would like to see his playmaking skills improve. To put it in hockey terms, would like to see his hands catch up to his feet and his head.

We see Wisdom topping out at the NHL level as a third line winger who will provide energy and some offense. He will be able to move up and down the lineup in a pinch.

What we all know for sure is that there have been a lot of eyes on Wright this season. And that bodes well for Wisdom because the more you see him, the more you realize what assets he can bring to the NHL. And all the rankings available are showing just that.

Hayden Fowler – Erie Otters – Player Profile

Height: 5’10”

Weight: 181 Pounds

Date of birth: September 24, 2001

Hometown: Kingston, Ontario

Position: Center/Wing

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 1, 19th overall 2017 Priority Selection (Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds)

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season

November Mid-term Final
C Prospect B Prospect 66 N.A.

Hayden Fowler played his Minor Midget AAA hockey during the 2016-2017 season with the Greater Kingston Frontenacs AAA squad. In 35 games, Fowler scored 22 goals and added 18 helpers. In 10 playoff contests he would contribute 6-4-10 totals. He would also play 3 games with the Kingston Voyageurs of the Ontario Junior Hockey League to end the season and notching one assist.

Here’s what OHL Central Scouting had to say at the time:

Hayden is one of the top prospects in the ETA this year. He is one of the most dynamic skaters and uses his edges better than anyone. He is explosive off the mark and can change gears in mid stride. His one-on-one skills are impressive and help him make many a defender look silly. Hayden is a team-player with great vision and playmaking abilities. He is always looking to set up teammates when the opportunity arises. He has a very high hockey I.Q. and is always in the right spot at the right time.

The Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds selected Fowler with the 19th overall pick at the 2017 Priority Selection.

Fowler would skate for the Greyhounds out of camp during the 2017-2018 season and in 33 games scored twice while assisting on two others. Not quite the start he was hoping for. But on January 6, 2018, the Greyhounds sent Fowler to the Erie Otters along with 9 draft picks for Jordan Sambrook and Taylor Raddysh, and the rest is history.

Hayden Fowler of the Erie Otters. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Hayden Fowler of the Erie Otters. Photo by Terry Wilson/OHL Images

Fowler had a breakout of sorts following the trade, getting more ice time and playing higher on the depth chart that wasn’t going to happen with a Greyhounds squad with championship aspirations. Fowler would go on to skate in 28 games that season for the Otters, scoring 10 goals and 12 assists.

Last season was a down year for Fowler. The major reason was a clavicle injury that cost him 3 months on the shelf. With a September 24, 2001 birthdate, Fowler missed being eligible for the 2019 draft by just 9 days. That may have been a blessing in disguise since missing that much time would have caused him to drop at the draft, and despite scoring 8 goals and 10 assists in 25 games, no one knows just how far he would have dropped.

Fowler took on a larger role this season, including a leadership role as he was named an Alternate Captain in Erie. He appeared in 52 games reaching the 20-goal plateau while also assisting on 22.

There is not much to add to OHL Central Scouting’s scouting report from 3 years ago. Finding consistency has got to be the top priority. When Fowler is on his game skating, taking on defenders one-on-one, setting up teammates for scoring opportunities or unleashing an underrated shot, then it shows he can be a player at the NHL level. But sometimes that consistency is lacking, not just game-to-game, but at times shift-to-shift.

There is no questioning Fowler is an extremely talented hockey player that possesses the tools along with the toolbox. Finding that consistency will be key in how far he can go at the next level.

ONTARIO HOCKEY LEAGUE PREPARING FOR 2020 ONLINE OHL PRIORITY SELECTION PRESENTED BY REAL CANADIAN SUPERSTORE

OHL Draft 2020Press Release

 

Toronto, Ont. – In the midst of what’s been an unprecedented season in the hockey world, the Ontario Hockey League is busily preparing for one of the biggest days on its calendar – the 2020 OHL Priority Selection Presented by Real Canadian Superstore, which is currently scheduled to take place on Saturday April 4th beginning at 9:00am.

The annual Priority Selection is one of the highlights of the season as 300 players join OHL member team organizations, striving to grow their game while pursuing their academic endeavours in the world’s premier development League. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Priority Selection will be held entirely online, adhering to all government and public health physical distancing guidelines at both the League and member team levels. This year’s unique approach to a very special day will be conducted in the interest of ensuring the health and safety of prospects, their families as well as OHL member team and League personnel.

The League has reached out to prospects and their families to both explain the process and the program, and to remind them of the March 28, 2020 emergency order in Ontario prohibiting organized public gatherings and social gatherings of more than five people. Teams in Pennsylvania and Michigan are also following public health recommendations of local, state and federal governments.

All member teams have been advised of the guidelines and rules of the process including:

  • League and member team staff cannot work from the premise of their hockey offices or arenas. All gatherings must adhere to the emergency order issued by the Ontario Government on March 28 prohibiting public or social gatherings of more than five people.
  • All self-isolating or quarantined participants must respect those guidelines
  • Proper protocols must be in place including: access to hand sanitizers, hand-washing facilities, etc.
  • League staff, including Commissioner David Branch, will be working remotely and respecting the established health guidelines.
  • The 2020 OHL Priority Selection will be conducted entirely online. In addition, the first three rounds of the event will be streamed on the OHL’s YouTube channel with player highlight footage and live updates. The League will also be gathering content throughout the event, engaging draftees, general managers and OHL Central Scouting personnel on virtual platforms.

Players, families and fans are invited to follow the first three rounds of the 2020 OHL Priority Selection streaming live on the OHL’s YouTube channel.

Follow the Ontario Hockey League on Twitter (@OHLHockey), Instagram (@ohlofficial), Facebook (@OHLHockey) and YouTube (@ontariohockeyleagueofficial) for complete up to the minute coverage of the 2020 OHL Online Priority Selection Presented by Real Canadian Superstore.

For more information, visit ontariohockeyleague.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.

OHL Writers’ Draft Eligible Player of the Year

First off, I want to begin by saying I hope you are all safe and healthy in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. We all have to do our part to keep our families, our friends, our neighbours and ourselves from catching and spreading this terrible virus.

We don’t know when hockey will return, and for this piece here, we don’t know when the National Hockey League Draft will take place and how exactly the NHL will conduct the draft or how the draft order will be set. But here at OHLW, we will continue to bring you the usual content regarding the draft as we will get through this and it will eventually take place.

Our draft eligible player of the year isn’t always a reflection of the player we believe should be the first Ontario Hockey League player selected at the draft, but rather the player that performed the best from the first drop of the puck to the final horn of the season.

This year, for us, that player is Marco Rossi of the Ottawa 67’s.

Rossi, Marco
Marco Rossi of the Ottawa 67’s. Photo by OHL Images

Rossi led the entire OHL in assists (81) and points (120) and finished tenth in goals (39) en route to capturing the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy for most points on the season. He also led the entire league in plus/minus with a plus-69, and finished second in powerplay assists (31).

Rossi was named in the recent Coaches Poll as the Eastern Conference’s smartest player, best playmaker and best shootout shooter. He finished second in the voting as best on face-offs and defensive forward. He was voted as the third best penalty killer by the coaches.

On three occasions, November, December and February, Rossi was selected our draft eligible player of the month. The quest for perfection was interrupted twice by a player we gave consideration here to: Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit.

Perfetti finished second only to Rossi in the OHL scoring race with 111 points and assists (74). It’s the first time since the 2014-2015 season when teammates Dylan Strome and Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters that draft eligible players finished one-two in the OHL scoring race. Prior to those two accomplishing the feat, you’d have to go back to 2009-2010 when Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin both finished with 106 points and went one-two respectively at the NHL Draft.

We also gave some quick consideration to London Knights’ netminder Brett Brochu. In a season where there were more questions then answers coming into the season, Brochu took to the crease and ran with it. He set an OHL record with 32 wins for a first year netminder on lost just 6 games on the year. Not bad for a goaltender not ranked on NHL Central Scouting’s Players to Watch Lists or mid-term rankings!

Jacob Perreault – Sarnia Sting – Player Profile

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 198 Pounds

Date of birth: April 15,2002

Hometown: Hinsdale, Illinois

Position: Right Wing

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 1, 19th overall, 2018 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season

November Mid-term Final
A Prospect A Prospect 17 N.A.

Jacob Perreault was selected as the second to last pick of the first round of the 2018 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection. The son of former NHL’er Yanic Perreault, he was born on April 15, 2002 in Montreal Quebec while dad was a member of the Montreal Canadiens.

Perreault has two brothers and a sister also involved in hockey. Youngest brother Gabriel (14) just finished this season with the Chicago Mission. Older sister Liliane (20) just completed her second season in the NCAA at Mercyhurst University. The eldest, Jeremy (21) last played for the Chicago Cougars of the USPHL. Dad is still in the game as a Development Coach with the Chicago Blackhawks.

During the 2017-2018 season, Perreault played for the Chicago Mission Under-16 squad and in 20 games scored 14 goals and added 11 helpers leading the HPHL in goals and points.

Perreault burst onto the scene with the Sting a season ago and finished second among rookies in goals with 30 and fourth in points with 55 while playing in 63 games. He was named to the OHL First All-Rookie squad.

Jacob Perreault of the Sarnia Sting. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images
Jacob Perreault of the Sarnia Sting. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images

This season, Perreault has done nothing short of solidifying his draft position. He finished the shortened year with 39 goals and 31 assists in 57 games.

While Perreault is predominantly a winger, he has at times shown the ability of playing down the middle. His father was a force in the faceoff circle, the best ever since the NHL started keeping faceoff statistics winning 61.1% of his draws. It’s something the younger Perreault has learned from his father. While he only took 104 draws, he won 60 of them, good for 57.7%.

Perreault has an elite level shot, one of the best in the entire OHL let alone the draft class. He gets it off with such a deceptive release, it’s hard and it is deadly accurate. But most importantly, he can beat goaltenders from anywhere inside the offensive zone with it. With an 18.8 shooting percentage, you can see how deadly his shot can be. But he also possesses a superb back hand, and a half-slap one-timer that fools just about everyone.

While there have been some questions raised about Perreault’s skating, any issues should have been put to rest at the Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on-ice testing. While Perreault finished second in overall testing to Jean-Luc Foudy, widely considered the best skater in the draft class, it was Perreault that finished atop the rankings in on-ice testing, leading the way in 30-meter forward skating, 30-meter forward skating with the puck, reaction, weave agility with the puck, second in weave agility and third in transition agility with the puck. (See full results here).

At 5’11”, Perreault isn’t exactly big. But he has a lot of muscle in his frame weighing in at 198 pounds. While he doesn’t shy away from physicality, he is at his best when he escapes defenders and gets himself into open situations where he can unleash his shot. How dangerous he can be in space is evidenced when there is open ice on the powerplay. Perreault finished second among draft eligible players in powerplay goals.

That said, his goals to assist ratio suggest Perreault plays with a shoot first mentality. And while he possesses an elite shot and can score in multiple ways, we sometimes feel that Perreault passes up opportunities to shoot or take the puck to the net or carry it with possession, something he’s capable of, he is dishing off to teammates instead.

One of three things can explain that: 1) he lacks confidence, 2) he doesn’t think the game at a high enough level, or 3) Perreault is a raw talented player that just needs to gain more experience. We lean heavily towards number three.

As pointed out earlier, Perreault is a very good skater who is very strong on his edges. But often times he skates off balance and can be prone to being knocked off the puck. Finding consistency is also key for Perrault. At times he has shown he can dominate and take over a game but at times you wonder if he even played.

The tools are there, the hockey sense is there. It’s just a matter of finding some consistency and confidence and putting it all together.

I wouldn’t bet against him!

You can find Perreault among the leaders in a variety of draft eligible statistical leaders.

OHL ANNOUNCES 2019-20 COACHES POLL WINNERS

Coaches Poll

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the results of the Eastern and Western Conference Coaches Polls for the 2019-20 OHL regular season.

The OHL Coaches Poll provides member club coaches with the opportunity to recognize the top three players in 20 different skill categories within their own conference.

In the Eastern Conference, the first place Ottawa 67’s led the way with eight players spread out over an impressive 17 different categories. Top 2020 NHL Draft prospect and OHL scoring champion Marco Rossi was included in six different fields, being voted the Conference’s Smartest Player, Best Playmaker and Best Shootout Shooter. Teammate Noel Hoefenmayer was a two-time first place finisher, being recognized with the East’s Hardest Shot and as the Top Offensive Defenceman. The Peterborough Petes featured seven different players in the final results covering 15 different categories. Toronto Maple Leafs prospect and OHL goal-scoring leader Nick Robertson was included in six different fields, placing first as the Conference’s Most Dangerous in the Goal Area and Best Shot. Petes captain Zach Gallant was voted Best in Faceoffs, finishing in the top-three in that field for the fourth straight season. Overage Oshawa Generals captain Kyle MacLean also had a strong showing in the poll, being included in four different categories while being voted the East’s Best Defensive Forward and Top Penalty Killer. Mississauga Steelheads forward Keean Washkurak was voted the East’s Hardest Worker for a second straight year while teammate Thomas Harley took Best Skater recognition after placing second in 2018-19.

In the Western Conference, top 2020 NHL Draft prospect Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit led all OHL players with first place finishes in four different categories including Smartest Player, Best Playmaker, Best Stickhandler and Best Shootout Shooter. Teammate Damien Giroux placed first in two different categories including Hardest Worker and Best Defensive Forward. The first place London Knights and the defending OHL champion Guelph Storm each featured six different players in the results. London forwards Liam Foudy and Connor McMichael were both included in three different categories, with the former placing first as the Conference’s Best Skater and Best Penalty Killer while the latter was voted the West’s Best Shot and Most Dangerous in the Goal Area. The Storm had three players involved in three different categories headlined by Nico Daws who was voted Most Improved, Best Puckhandling Goaltender and second-best Shootout Goaltender, while Pavel Gogolev and captain Cam Hillis were also part of three separate fields. Windsor Spitfires captain Luke Boka was voted the Conference’s Best Shot Blocker for the third consecutive year. Flint Firebirds defenceman Tyler Tucker was voted the West’s Best Body Checker after earning the same distinction in the Eastern Conference last season.

The Coaches Poll is tabulated when each team submits one nominee per category, and coaches then vote for the top three players for each category within their conference.  Players receive five points for a first place vote, three points for a second place vote, and one point for a third place vote.  Clubs are not permitted to vote for players from their own team allowing for a maximum of 45 possible points for each winner.

All 20 categories are listed below with Eastern Conference and Western Conference winners including their final point totals in brackets.

Most Underrated Player:

Eastern Conference:
1. Luke Moncada, North Bay Battalion (28)
2. James Hardie, Mississauga Steelheads (22)
T-3. Austen Keating, Ottawa 67’s (15)
T-3. Kyle MacLean, Oshawa Generals (15)

Western Conference:
1. Chad Yetman, Erie Otters (33)
2. Connor Corcoran, Windsor Spitfires (20)
3. Eric Uba, Guelph Storm (11)

Most Improved Player:

Eastern Conference:
1. Jack Quinn, Ottawa 67’s (29)
2. Tyson Foerster, Barrie Colts (28)
3. Zayde Wisdom, Kingston Frontenacs (16)

Western Conference:
1. Nico Daws, Guelph Storm (45)
2. Tyler Angle, Windsor Spitfires (19)
3. Luke Evangelista, London Knights (16)

Smartest Player:

Eastern Conference:
1. Marco Rossi, Ottawa 67’s (41) – finished first in 2018-19
2. Shane Wright, Kingston Frontenacs (17)
3. Akil Thomas, Peterborough Petes (10)

Western Conference:
1. Cole Perfetti, Saginaw Spirit (31)
2. Jamie Drysdale, Erie Otters (27)
3. Connor McMichael, London Knights (22)

Hardest Worker:

Eastern Conference:
1. Keean Washkurak, Mississauga Steelheads (24) – finished first in 2018-19
2. Nick Robertson, Peterborough Petes (19)
3. Kyle MacLean, Oshawa Generals (15) – finished second in 2018-19

Western Conference:
1. Damien Giroux, Saginaw Spirit (37)
2. Luke Boka, Windsor Spitfires (22)
3. Vladislav Kolyachonok, Flint Firebirds (11)

Best Playmaker:

Eastern Conference:
1. Marco Rossi, Ottawa 67’s (45)
2. Semyon Der-Arguchintsev, Peterborough Petes (17)
3. Philip Tomasino, Oshawa Generals (16)

Western Conference:
1. Cole Perfetti, Saginaw Spirit (40)
2. Ryan Merkley, London Knights (22)
3. Cam Hillis, Guelph Storm (15)

Most Dangerous in Goal Area:

Eastern Conference:
1. Nick Robertson, Peterborough Petes (36)
2. Arthur Kaliyev, Hamilton Bulldogs (27) – finished second in 2018-19
3. Jack Quinn, Ottawa 67’s (21)

Western Conference:
1. Connor McMichael, London Knights (36)
2. Pavel Gogolev, Guelph Storm (35)
3. Jonathan Yantsis, Kitchener Rangers (7) – finished third in 2018-19

Best Skater:

Eastern Conference:
1. Thomas Harley, Mississauga Steelheads (30) – finished second in 2018-19
2. Brett Neumann, Oshawa Generals (19) – finished first in 2018-19
3. Declan Chisholm, Peterborough Petes (16)

Western Conference:
1. Liam Foudy, London Knights (35)
2. Jamie Drysdale, Erie Otters (28) – finished tied for third in 2018-19
3. Jean-Luc Foudy, Windsor Spitfires (18) – finished tied for third in 2018-19

Best Shot:

Eastern Conference:
1. Nick Robertson, Peterborough Petes (38)
2. Arthur Kaliyev, Hamilton Bulldogs (25) – finished first in 2018-19
3. Jack Quinn, Ottawa 67’s (18)

Western Conference:
1. Connor McMichael, London Knights (39)
2. Pavel Gogolev, Guelph Storm (31)
3. Jacob Perreault, Sarnia Sting (15)

Hardest Shot:

Eastern Conference:
1. Noel Hoefenmayer, Ottawa 67’s (41)
2. Arthur Kaliyev, Hamilton Bulldogs (24) – finished first in 2018-19
3. Nick Robertson, Peterborough Petes (13)

Western Conference:
1. Brady Lyle, Owen Sound Attack (35)
2. Bode Wilde, Saginaw Spirit (22)
3. Connor Corcoran, Windsor Spitfires (14)

Best Stickhandler:

Eastern Conference:
1. Joseph Garreffa, Ottawa 67’s (35) – finished second in Western Conference in 2018-19
2. Nick Robertson, Peterborough Petes (17) – finished first in 2018-19
3. Philip Tomasino, Oshawa Generals (16)

Western Conference:
1. Cole Perfetti, Saginaw Spirit (31)
2. Evgeniy Oksentyuk, Flint Firebirds (24)
3. Aidan Dudas, Owen Sound Attack (15)

Best on Face-Offs:

Eastern Conference:
1. Zach Gallant, Peterborough Petes (36) – finished second in 2018-19, second in 2017-18 and first in 2016-17
2. Marco Rossi, Ottawa 67’s (23)
3. Cole Schwindt, Mississauga Steelheads (12)

Western Conference:
T-1. Ty Dellandrea, Flint Firebirds (29) – finished first in 2018-19
T-1. Jason Willms, London Knights (29) – finished first in Eastern Conference in 2018-19
2. Greg Meireles, Kitchener Rangers (9)
3. Cam Hillis, Guelph Storm (8)

Best Body Checker:

Eastern Conference:
1. Navrin Mutter, Hamilton Bulldogs (29) – finished second in 2018-19
2. Macauley Carson, Sudbury Wolves (18)
3. Kevin Bahl, Ottawa 67’s (14)

Western Conference:
1. Tyler Tucker, Flint Firebirds (23) – finished first in Eastern Conference in 2018-19, third in Eastern Conference in 2017-18
2. Kelton Hatcher, Sarnia Sting (15) – finished second in 2018-19
3. Mark Woolley, Owen Sound Attack (14)

Best Shot Blocker:

Eastern Conference:
T-1. Nikita Okhotyuk, Ottawa 67’s (21) – finished third in 2018-19
T-1. Jacob Paquette, Peterborough Petes (21)
2. Macauley Carson, Sudbury Wolves (18) – finished tied for first in 2018-19
3. Mason Howard, Niagara IceDogs (10)

Western Conference:
1. Luke Boka, Windsor Spitfires (25) – finished first in 2018-19 and 2017-18
2. Tyler Tucker, Flint Firebirds (19)
3. Fedor Gordeev, Guelph Storm (14)

Best Defensive Forward:

Eastern Conference:
1. Kyle MacLean, Oshawa Generals (24) – finished first in 2018-19
2. Marco Rossi, Ottawa 67’s (21)
3. Macauley Carson, Sudbury Wolves (19)

Western Conference:
1. Damien Giroux, Saginaw Spirit (25) – finished second in 2018-19
2. Liam Foudy, London Knights (21)
3. Cam Hillis, Guelph Storm (15)

Best Penalty Killer:

Eastern Conference:
1. Kyle MacLean, Oshawa Generals (24)
2. Jacob Paquette, Peterborough Petes (16)
3. Marco Rossi, Ottawa 67’s (15)

Western Conference:
1. Liam Foudy, London Knights (41) – finished first in 2018-19
2. DJ Busdeker, Saginaw Spirit (12)
3. Keegan Stevenson, Guelph Storm (9)

Best Offensive Defenceman:

Eastern Conference:
1. Noel Hoefenmayer, Ottawa 67’s (45) – finished third in 2018-19
2. Thomas Harley, Mississauga Steelheads (22) – finished first in 2018-19
3. Declan Chisholm (Peterborough Petes (18)

Western Conference:
1. Ryan Merkley, London Knights (41) – finished second in Eastern Conference in 2018-19
2. Jamie Drysdale, Erie Otters (22)
3. Brady Lyle, Owen Sound Attack (15)

Best Defensive Defenceman:

Eastern Conference:
1. Kevin Bahl, Ottawa 67’s (45)
2. Nico Gross, Oshawa Generals (19)
3. Jacob Paquette, Peterborough Petes (17) – finished first in 2018-19

Western Conference:
1. Alec Regula, London Knights (28)
2. Michael Vukojevic, Kitchener Rangers (20)
3. Connor Corcoran, Windsor Spitfires (17)

Best Puck-Handling Goaltender:

Eastern Conference:
1. Kai Edmonds, Mississauga Steelheads (26)
2. Zachary Roy, Hamilton Bulldogs (17)
3. Christian Propp, Kingston Frontenacs (16)

Western Conference:
1. Nico Daws, Guelph Storm (35)
2. Jacob Ingham, Kitchener Rangers (33)
3. Tristan Lennox, Saginaw Spirit (8)

Best Shootout Shooter:

Eastern Conference:
1. Marco Rossi, Ottawa 67’s (29)
2. Nick Robertson, Peterborough Petes (23)
3. Philip Tomasino, Oshawa Generals (12)

Western Conference:
1. Cole Perfetti, Saginaw Spirit (25)
2. Liam Hawel, Kitchener Rangers (21)
3. Pavel Gogolev, Guelph Storm (18)

Best Shootout Goaltender:

Eastern Conference:
1. Cedrick Andree, Ottawa 67’s (32)
2. Hunter Jones, Peterborough Petes (23)
3. Marco Costantini, Hamilton Bulldogs (14)

Western Conference:
1. Jacob Ingham, Kitchener Rangers (39) – finished third in Eastern Conference in 2018-19
2. Nico Daws, Guelph Storm (23)
3. Anthony Popovich, Flint Firebirds (8)

FANTILLI BROTHERS COMMIT TO STEEL

GENEVA, ILLINOIS — The Chicago Steel announced Wednesday the signing of forward Adam Fantilli of Kimball Union Academy to a USHL tender agreement for the 2020-2021 season. Perhaps the most highly-touted prospect in the 2004 birth year, the 6-foot-2, 181-pound forward will join the Steel this fall.

Source: FANTILLI BROTHERS COMMIT TO STEEL