Riley Piercey – Flint Firebirds – Player Profile

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 200 Pounds

Date of birth: March 20, 2002

Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario

Position: Wing

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 1, 16th overall, 2018 Priority Selection by the Barrie Colts

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season

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

129 N.A.

Riley Piercey played his Minor Midget AAA hockey with the Toronto Marlboros during the 2017-2018 season. He scored 26 goals and 30 assists while skating in 59 games. Piercey went on to add 4 goals and an assist in 6 games with the Marlboros at the OHL Cup. He also scored one for Team GTHL Red at the OHL Gold Cup as they went on to capture silver.

The Barrie Colts would select Piercey with the 16th overall pick at the 2018 OHL Priority Selection. Here’s what OHL Central Scouting had to say prior to the draft:

Riley is a big power forward that is very hard to play against as he is constantly moving and takes the body every chance that he has. He is a powerful skater that when at full speed is very quick. He is a player that makes the simple, effective play the majority of the times. He has a good shot which he gets off quickly. Riley plays hard in all three zones and rarely takes any short cuts. He is the type of player that coaches like to have on the bench because he can play up and down a lineup.

During his OHL rookie season, Piercey appeared in 60 games for the Colts scoring 3 goals and 11 assists. He also represented Canada with Team White at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17 going pointless in 5 games.

 

Piercey, Riley
Riley Piercey of the Flint Firebirds. Photo by OHL Images.

Piercey began this season with the Colts and in 35 games had 9 goals and 4 assists which was kind of disappointing. But on January 7, 2020 the Colts sent Piercey along with Tyler Tucker to the Firebirds for Evan Vierling and draft picks.

The trade was kind of a breakout for Piercey as he went on to score 8 goals and 13 assists in 27 games prior to the season being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more then doubling his points-per-game from .37 to .78 points-per-game.

The trade started to draw some attention to Piercey. While we here at OHL Writers had him as a potential 7th round pick coming into the season, NHL Central Scouting left him off their pre-season watch list, their November list and their mid-term list. It wasn’t until their final list that they had Piercey ranked – 129th among North American Skaters.

Piercey is a big bodied forward who can play both sides. He’s not afraid to use his size to play the physical game. He also uses that frame extremely well to win battles down low and along the walls. Technically, he skates extremely well, has some excellent edgework and is difficult to knock off of the puck and once he gains possession, he is willing to drive directly to the net. He doesn’t possess top end speed, but for a player his size navigates the ice well. We would like to see some improvement in his speed.

Once Piercey arrived in Flint, we saw that he had some vision and playmaking skills. However, using those assets consistently has been an issue. When he produces offensively, they come in bunches and he can go multiple games without producing.

When you’re not producing, you have to bring other elements to the game and we believe Piercey is capable of that. The physicality, energy, the willingness to stand in front of the net to provide a screen and a solid defensive game is there. We believe he has a good shot with a good release however, at under 2 shots per game, he doesn’t utilize it enough.

Piercey is still raw and has some potential. He will be worth a late round pick in hopes that he can find some consistency and continue to develop.

Jake Uberti – Niagara IceDogs – Player Profile

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 185 Pounds

Date of birth: March 7, 2002

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

Position: Center

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 4, 72 overall, 2018 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season

November Mid-term Final
N.R. N.R. 202 NA

147 NA

Jake Uberti played his Minor Midget AAA during the 2017-2018 season with the Mississauga Reps of the GTHL. In 33 games, Uberti scored 11 goals and assisted on 20. He scores 1 goal in 5 games for the Reps at the OHL Cup, but he had a superb OHL Gold Cup while representing Team GTHL Blue, scoring 4 goals to go along with 5 helpers in 4 games.

The IceDogs selected Uberti with the 72nd overall pick at the 2018 OHL Priority Selection.

During his rookie OHL season, Uberti played in 59 games scoring twice and assisting on 7 goals. He went pointless in 8 playoff contests.

During this shortened season, Uberti scored 17 goals and 16 assists in 57 games.

Uberti, Jake
Jake Uberti of the Niagara IceDogs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Much like I wrote about Logan Morrison of the Hamilton Bulldogs, the lack of upper class draft eligible players in Niagara didn’t bring a lot of NHL Scouts into the building so Uberti could suffer from not having a lot of eyes on him. Not to mention that the IceDogs were the second worst team in the OHL getting blown out on many occasions. So, who could really blame scouts looking elsewhere?

Things began to fall apart when netminder Tucker Tynan was lost for the season due to injury. And then the trading of Akil Thomas and Phil Tomasino was the straw that broke the camels back. But after the January 9, 2020 trades that sent Thomas to Peterborough and Tomasino to Oshawa, the door became open for Uberti to step up in a more offensive role and he did just that scoring 7 goals and 8 assists in 21 games pushing his points per game up from .50 to .71 points per game.

Still, it’s difficult to get a true read on the 6’1”, 185-pound native of Toronto, Ontario. Uberti has good size and has a willingness to drive to the net. He can be difficult to knock off of his feet, is solid enough at maintaining possession and wins most of his battles. He’s got a decent amount of speed with an ability to gain the zone with possession.

Uberti also plays a solid 200-foot game, although that could be hard to notice on a team that was, for a lack of a better term, a mess defensively. It’s also difficult to get a read on his vision and playmaking skills. Uberti is capable of driving the play for himself, but I don’t think he utilized his teammates at a level that one could judge those abilities. And that may be because the talent around him wasn’t that high.

There are definitely parts of his game that scouts will like. The question is, how much upside is there?

Lleyton Moore – Oshawa Generals – Player Profile

Height: 5’9”

Weight: 175 Pounds

Date of birth: February 27, 2002

Hometown: Woodbridge, Ontario

Position: Defence

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 1, 12th overall, 2018 Priority Selection by Niagara IceDogs

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season

November Mid-term Final
C Prospect C Prospect N.R.

194 N.A.

Oshawa Generals diminutive defenceman Lleyton Moore played his Minor Midget AAA with the Toronto Marlboros during the 2017-2018 season. In 54 games, Moore scored 16 goals and piled up 34 helpers. He was even better for the Marlboros at the OHL Cup setting up 8 tallies. Moore would represent Team GTHL Blue at the OHL Cup as well where he scored once and assisted on 4 others in 4 contests.

The Niagara IceDogs selected Moore with the 12th overall pick at the 2018 OHL Priority Selection. Here’s what OHL Central Scouting had to say at the time:

Lleyton is a mobile defenceman that loves to have the puck on his stick and isn’t afraid to lead a rush. He is a strong skater in every direction, is explosive and has a very high top speed. His puck skills are elite as it seems like the puck is on a string at times. He sees the ice well and is very creative. Lleyton’s biggest attribute is his skating ability. It helps him defend, recover when he is up in the rush and create offence from the back end. He is one of his team’s go to players and plays in every situation.

Moore made his OHL debut with the IceDogs during the 2018-2019 season where he scored twice and added 8 helpers and an impressive plus-19 in 28 games. On January 8, 2019, Moore was traded to the Oshawa Generals along with 6 draft picks for Jack Studnicka and Matt Brassard. Moore would play in just 6 games for the Genies and put up 3 assists, but got into 15 playoff games and assisted on 5 goals. Moore would also represent Team Canada White at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17 but went pointless in 5 contests.

Lleyton Moore of the Oshawa Generals. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Lleyton Moore of the Oshawa Generals. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images

Prior to the 2019-2020 season being cancelled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Moore would appear in 57 games and scored 6 goals while assisting on 22. The Generals are looking to Moore to pay dividends for next season as Oshawa is one of two teams with a bid to host the 2021 Memorial Cup.

At 5’9” tall, defence is always a question mark. What Moore has learned to do is use his skating ability and positioning to defend. But he is always going to be in tough trying to defend against bigger players at any level. Battling along the walls and defending the front of his net will not come easy to him.

So, Moore is going to have to be at the top of his game offensively to be able to make up any shortcomings on defence.

Moore is an elite level skater with an explosive first step and reaches a superb top speed quickly. His edgework is elite, his lateral movement is where you’d want it to be and he pivots from forward skating to backwards effortlessly. He has shown an ability to weave through traffic and gain the offensive zone, but he can also get separated from the puck easily if you can keep gaps tight on him. His transition to offence is very good as he can skate the puck up ice or he can make a good first pass.

Moore has shown an ability to quarterback the powerplay as he sees the ice well enough and he has some very good playmaking abilities. He usually makes the right decision when the puck is on his stick. His shot however needs to improve on many levels. Moore won’t overpower goaltenders with his shot. He doesn’t always get his shot through and when he does, it’s not usually in an area that creates second-chance opportunities.

I don’t know that Moore has done enough to draw the attention of scouts this season – as I said earlier, next season may be the year we want to see from him. But maybe there is one out there that has seen enough to take a chance on him early this year rather then waiting on his draft re-entry year.

I would certainly give him some serious consideration late in the draft.

67’s’ MARCO ROSSI VOTED OHL’S MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Rossi, Marco 2

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that 2020 NHL Draft prospect Marco Rossi of the Ottawa 67’s is the 2019-20 recipient of the Red Tilson Trophy awarded to the OHL’s Most Outstanding Player of the Year as voted by the writers and broadcasters that cover the League.

Rossi becomes the eighth different 67’s player to win the award and first since Corey Locke’s second of back-to-back honours in 2003-04. He follows reigning Red Tilson Trophy recipient Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen of the Sudbury Wolves as the second European import player to ever be recognized.

“Thank you to all of the accredited OHL media writers for awarding me the prestigious Red Tilson Trophy,” said Rossi of the honour. “I would like to acknowledge the great Mr. Albert “Red” Tilson, who was killed in action in Europe during World War II, a true hero. In these COVID-19 unprecedented times, I honor the men and women, doctors and nurses and all of those putting their lives on the line for all of us across the globe, true heroes that follow in Mr. Tilson’s footsteps.”

Rossi finished atop the CHL scoring charts with 120 points including 39 goals, 81 assists and an impressive plus/minus rating of plus-69 over just 53 games. His 2.14 point-per-game pace led the OHL and is the highest such figure by a Red Tilson Trophy recipient since Erie’s Connor McDavid (2.55) in 2014-15. He was recently recognized as the first Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy recipient of European descent since Stan Mikita of the St. Catharines Teepees claimed the honour in 1958-59.

“I am extremely grateful to receive this recognition,” Rossi continued. “This is truly a team award, and I want to thank the entire first-class 67’s organization for their support over the 2019-20 season. From the ownership group, to the management staff, to the coaching staff, to the training staff, to my teammates, to my billeting family, to my immediate family, to the fans and to everyone who provided a helping hand during this last season and the time leading up to it: thank you! I am honored and forever grateful to receive this prestigious award.”

The 18-year-old from Feldkirch, Austria helped power the first place 67’s with the League’s top power play, rounding out the campaign with a total of 34 multi-point performances, 23 of which included three points or more. He earned three star of the game recognition a total of 23 different times, a figure that includes eight first star selections. The 5-foot-9, 187Ib. centreman finished the schedule with an impressive 58.5% success rate in the faceoff circle and was held off the scoresheet just four times.

Rossi’s 120 points are the most by a 67’s player in a single season since Locke (151) in 2002-03. His plus-69 rating is the fifth-highest by any player since the League began tracking plus/minus in 1996-97, trailing fellow 67’s Nick Boynton (plus 81, 1996-97) and Sean Blanchard (plus-74, 1996-97) as well as London’s Danny Syvret (plus-70, 2004-05) and Sault Ste. Marie’s Morgan Frost (plus-70, 2017-18).

“Marco brought fans out of their seats on numerous occasions this season, consistently showcasing his skill and smarts,” said 67’s general manager James Boyd. “Marco played with a commitment to the team concept and attention to detail defensively and on many nights dominated the game with his play at both ends of the ice. Marco is an outstanding player and it is fitting that he be awarded the Red Tilson Trophy for his contributions to our team this season.”

The sixth-ranked North American skater on NHL Central Scouting’s Final Draft Rankings competed in the 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game this past January in Hamilton. Rossi, who was named to the OHL’s second all-rookie team in 2018-19, has accumulated 185 points (68-117–185) over just 109 regular season games since being selected by the 67’s with the 18th overall pick of the 2018 CHL Import Draft. He was widely recognized in the 2019-20 OHL Coaches Poll, appearing in six different categories as he earned recognition as the Eastern Conference’s smartest player, best playmaker and best shootout shooter.

The Red Tilson Trophy is the most prestigious individual award presented by the Ontario Hockey League.  First presented in 1945, the trophy is named in honour of Albert “Red” Tilson, who was killed in action in Europe during World War II. Tilson was the OHA scoring champion for the 1942-43 season after scoring 19 goals and 38 assists for 57 points in 22 games with the Oshawa Generals.

Accredited media were asked to select their top choice from the 20 nominees submitted by all 20 member clubs. Rossi led the way, receiving 62% of the overall vote followed by the League’s second-highest point producer in Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit with 13% of the vote and OHL goal-scoring leader Nick Robertson of the Peterborough Petes with his share of 12%.

This marks the 10th time a 67’s player has earned the award as Rossi follows the aforementioned Corey Locke (2002-03, 2003-04), defenceman Brian Campbell (1998-99), two-time winner Alyn McCauley (1995-96, 1996-97), Andrew Cassels (1987-88), Jim Fox (1979-80), Bobby Smith (1977-78) and Peter Lee (1975-76) in having his name engraved on the trophy. In addition to Luukkonen, other recent winners include Sarnia’s Jordan Kyrou (2018), Erie’s Alex DeBrincat (2017) and London’s Mitch Marner (2016). Rossi joins Connor McDavid (Erie 2015), Tyler Seguin (Plymouth 2010), John Tavares (Oshawa 2007), David Legwand (Plymouth 1998), Eric Lindros (Oshawa 1991) and Jack Valiquette (Sault Ste. Marie 1974) as the seventh player to claim the honour prior to his NHL Draft selection.

The Red Tilson Trophy winner is the OHL’s nominee for Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year to be announced in the coming weeks.

2020 OHL Awards announcements continue on Friday when the OHL recognizes the 2019-20 recipient of the Ken Bodendistel Character Award for Officials.

For full coverage of the 2020 OHL Awards, be sure to visit ontariohockeyleague.com or follow along on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

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/.

Reid Valade – Kitchener Rangers – Player Profile

Height: 5’10”

Weight: 162 Pounds

Date of birth: March 14, 2002

Hometown: Caledon, Ontario

Position: Right Wing

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 1, 17th overall, 2018 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season

November Mid-term Final
N.R. N.R. 123 N.A.

148 N.A.

Reid is a speedy winger that is constantly moving and putting pressure on the other team. He has electric speed and is always challenging defencemen wide or jumping quickly in and out of holes for scoring chances. He has a good skill set which allows him to beat players one-on-one as well as finish off scoring chances when they arrive. He shoots the puck well and has a quick release. Reid is a smart player that can play any type of game or role on his team.

That was OHL Central Scouting’s scouting report on Kitchener Rangers Right winger Reid Valade following his Minor Midget AAA season with the Toronto Marlboros during the 2017-2018 season. Valade scored 31 goals and assisted on 38 in 55 games for the Marlboros. He added 3 goals and 6 helpers for the Marlboros in 6 games at the OHL Cup and represented Team GTHL Blue at the OHL Gold Cup, scoring 3 goals and 4 points in 4 games.

Valade made his OHL debut on September 21, 2018 and registered his first point, an assist, on October 5, 2018. His first OHL goal didn’t come until his 31st game on January 4, 2019 against the Owen Sound Attack. Valade would finish the year with 5 goals and 15 assists in 62 games. He would also represent Canada at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17 and record 2 assists in 5 games.

Valade, Reid
Reid Valade of the Kitchener Rangers.

By the time the 2019-2020 season was cancelled, Valade had appeared in 52 games, scoring 18 goals and assisting on 21.

Valade is an exceptional skater with tremendous speed and very quick acceleration from zero. Even when in motion, he has a surprisingly quick separation gear. He gets in on the forecheck quickly and despite his 5’10” frame, he’s not shy about going into battle when he gets there. He’s also willing to drive to the blue paint with or without the puck.

Valade plays at a high pace and does so at every turn. He provides the Rangers with a lot of energy the way he plays the game and he can get under the oppositions skin. Valade possesses a very good shot, with a quick release and an ability to beat goaltenders with. He’s been used on the powerplay and has shown he can be effective with limited opportunity.

Valade by all accounts is a very coachable player. He can be seen absorbing what coaches are telling him on the bench and taking direction from teammates. He can also be trusted defensively. His skating allows him to come back on the forecheck, he understands the need to get into and take away lanes. He uses his stick effectively; he can kill penalties and be trusted to go up against the opposition’s top players.

Most believe that the knock on Valade is that his head and his hands need to catch up to his feet. There is some truth to that. He plays at such a high pace with a lot of energy, that he doesn’t always make the right decisions. But there is certainly a lot to like.

NHL Central Scouting didn’t list Valade on their players to watch list in the preseason or November lists. However, when their mid term rankings came out, they had Valade at 123 among North American Skaters and dropped him 25 spots on their final rankings. That puts him in the 7th round for the 2020 NHL Draft.

Valade can be a solid 4th liner at the next level that can kill penalties, can be trusted defensively provide energy and pop in the odd goal. If he can put it all together, he can bring the same attributes on the third line with a little more scoring ability.

Logan Morrison – Hamilton Bulldogs – Player Profile

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 175 Pounds

Date of birth: July 9, 2002

Hometown: Guelph, Ontario

Position: Center

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 1, 18th overall, 2018 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season

November Mid-term Final
C Prospect C Prospect 184 N.A.

190 N.A.

With stars Arthur Kaliyev and Jan Jenik already drafted by NHL squads, there weren’t a lot of reasons for the scouting community to converge on First Ontario Center in Hamilton and catch a glimpse of the Bulldogs young pivot Logan Morrison. That is, until Jan Mysak joined the team following the World Junior Championships. But was it enough?

With the cancellation of the season due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, it’s provided the opportunity to go back to re-read notes and dissect video.

Morrison was a first-round selection, 18th overall at the Ontario Hockey League’s Priority Selection following an impressive year of Minor Midget AAA hockey with the Guelph Jr. Gryphons during the 2017-2018 season. In 33 games, Morrison scored 32 goals and assisted on 42 others.

Logan Morrison of the Hamilton Bulldogs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Logan Morrison of the Hamilton Bulldogs. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Morrison also did well with the Gryphons at the OHL Cup scoring 4 goals and 2 assists in 4 games. He would also represent Team OMHA White at the OHL Gold Cup and scored 5 goals in 4 contests.

From OHL Central Scouting:

Logan is one of the smartest offensive players in this year’s Priority Selection. He has a great understanding of the game and each situation. He is creative offensively but also makes the simple safe play which is usually the right one. He is a good skater that once in full stride he is deceivingly quick. He has great vision with the puck and scored numerous big goals for his team this season. Logan is one of those players that makes players around him better and he should continue to do this in the OHL.

The 2018-2019 season was Morrison’s rookie campaign in the OHL and had an impressive season with 14 goals and 20 assists in just 47 games. His 34 points were good for 9th among rookies but his .72 points-per-game were good enough for 6th.

A case could be made that Morrison didn’t make the expected jump offensively this season, based on his 23 goals and 22 assists in 59 games, and his .77 points-per-game rose only slightly. But when your lineup boasts Kaliyev, Jenik (until his injury) and Mysak (after his arrival), the top offensive situations are going there first – and there is no second guessing that although he did play with Jenik and Kaliyev at times.

The biggest improvement in Morrison from his rookie season was in his skating. I think he’s improved on his first step, his acceleration and his top speed. While it’s not explosive, he’s not slow and if he continues to put in the work and maybe adding a separation gear, it can only help him offensively.

Morrison is an extremely intelligent player. One of the more underrated aspects of his game is his puck possession abilities. He can hold onto the disk, sees plays developing quickly and dishes off perfect passes. But what is impressive is his play without the puck. He is able to move into space or drive the net knowing full well he is going to draw attention and create space for his teammates.

Despite his size, Morrison is not afraid to do battle behind the goal line on the forecheck and works his tail off to try and gain possession. He’s going to need to add some bulk to continue battling against bigger opponents.

Morrison is not just an offensive player. His defensive game has come a long way. His positioning is very good, he uses his stick effectively and he is good at transitioning to offence. In the neutral zone, he’s very good at anticipating and has shown improvements in breaking up plays before the opposition enters his zone. Again, adding some strength will help him win battles defensively.

Morrison has also shown marked improvement in his faceoff abilities. He’s still just at 48% on the season but that’s a big jump from the 40% a season ago.

NHL Central Scouting has Morrison at 190th among North American Skaters. That would put him outside the draft and looking at next season as a second opportunity. I think an NHL team should take him this season because if there is one thing we know for certain, it’s that Morrison will put in the work necessary.

Cameron Butler – Niagara IceDogs – Player Profile

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 202 Pounds

Date of birth: June 9, 2002

Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario

Position: Right Wing

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 2, 27th overall, 2018 Priority Selection – Peterborough Petes

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season

November Mid-term Final
C Prospect C Prospect 100 N.A.

138 N.A.

Cameron Butler played two seasons of Minor Midget AAA with the York Simcoe Express. The first season was 2016-2017 where Cameron would score 21 goals and 21 assists in 25 games and another 6 goals and a helper in 7 playoff games.

The following season, Butler would return to the Express. In 34 games, he scored 27 goals and 30 assists. In the playoffs Butler added 3 goals and 4 assists and helping the Express win the OMHA Championship. He added 6 goals and 2 assists in 6 OHL Cup games and 3 goals and 2 helpers in 4 OHL Gold Cup games en route to capturing bronze with Team OMHA Black.

The Peterborough Petes would select Butler with the 27th overall pick at the 2018 OHL Priority Selection. Here’s what OHL Central Scouting had to say:

Cameron is a typical power forward that uses his size to his advantage. He is a powerful skater with a nice long stride. He has a good skill set for a player of his stature with the ability to make plays in tight areas. He can beat defenders one-on-one when he has the chance. He is used on the point on the power play at times because of his very heavy and accurate shot. He isn’t afraid to shoot the puck and he will put it on net from anywhere. Cameron is relied on to play in all the big situations.

The 2018-2019 season saw Butler make his OHL debut with the Petes. He scored 18 goals in 64 games, fifth among rookies and it would appear that he began cementing his reputation as a power forward who could score.

Butler, Cameron
Cameron Butler of the Niagara IceDogs. Photo by Alex Lupul.

Butler began this season with the Petes. In 39 games with the marron and white, Butler scored 12 goals and 7 assists on a squad expected to make some noise until the season was ended by the COVID-10 Pandemic. But on January 9, 2020, the Petes shipped Butler, along with 4 draft picks to the Niagara IceDogs for Akil Thomas in a bid to make that run.

Going from a top-5 team to one of the bottom feeders in the OHL isn’t always the best-case scenario for a player in his draft year. But for Butler, going to a young and rebuilding team like Niagara afforded him the opportunity for more quality minutes that wasn’t going to happen in Peterborough.

The 17 games Butler appeared in for the IceDogs didn’t affect his point production in either direction as he finished with the same .48 points-per-game as he had in Peterborough on 6 goals and 7 assists. What took a big hit was his plus/minus dropping from a minus-5 to a minus-40 after the trade. On a team that finished the year minus-126, that was to be expected.

While the game today is mostly played around skill and speed, there will always be room for that big bodied power forward who is not only willing to throw his weight around, but can skate. And Butler can skate for a 6’4” 200-pound-plus player. His first steps generate a lot of power and he gets to top speed quickly – not a burner, but above average. Once he gets those long, powerful strides going and with his strength he is virtually impossible to stop one-on-one. At least, he has shown that ability on multiple occasions and now it becomes a case of doing it regularly.

Today’s game also requires the ability to play east-west and not just north-south. Butler is a north-south player who wants to attack straight ahead. But he has shown some flashes of being able to adjust. He can make plays, sees the ice well and actually has some decent playmaking abilities. Yet, he is still such a raw player, it’s hard to say whether he will continue to develop those skills while working on other areas of his game and find consistency.

Personally, I would take a late round chance on him in hopes that he can develop.

Aidan Campbell – Erie Otters – Player Profile

Height: 6’5”

Weight: 188 Pounds

Date of birth: August 22, 2020

Hometown: Cranberry Township, PA

Position: Goaltender

Catches: Left

OHL Draft: Round 12, 224th overall, 2018 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season

November Mid-term Final
B Prospect C Prospect 28 N.A.

28 N.A.

During his Ontario Hockey League draft season of 2017-2018, Erie Otters netminder Aidan Campbell manned the net for the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite Under-15 squad in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League. He appeared in 21 games and posted a 2.14 goals-against-average and .929 save-percentage.

The Otters selected Campbell in the 12th round pick, 224th overall at the 2018 OHL Priority Selection. Campbell was also selected at the 2018 United States Hockey League’s Future’s Draft in the 3rd round, 36th overall by the Sioux City Musketeers.

Aidan Campbell of the Erie Otters. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Aidan Campbell of the Erie Otters. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

The 2018-2019 season saw Campbell play at 5 different levels, from High School Hockey to the USNTDP Jrs. in the USHL. That year was highlighted by his performance with the Penguins Under-16 squad in which he led the league with a .69 goals-against-average and .944 save-percentage and 8 shutouts in 28 games en-route to the league championship. He was even better at the National Championships leading his squad to a 2-1 victory over Yale while being outshot 27-11 in the championship game.

The 2019-2020 season was Campbell’s rookie campaign in the OHL and his NHL draft year. He appeared in 26 games with a 10-8-1-4 record, 3.65 goals-against-average and .872 save-percentage. Not exactly eye-popping numbers but it is the norm for a rookie goaltender on a squad that could have missed the playoffs had the season not ended because of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The first thing you notice when Campbell skates out for the pregame warmup is the enormous 6’5” frame. And we know how much NHL scouts drool over that size, although smaller goaltenders are making somewhat of a comeback and being showing some success.

In the crease you notice that Campbell plays with a high level of determination and focus. He is mentally strong and doesn’t get rattled. His mentality allows him to move on and get set quickly for the next chance. When you talk to those around the Otters’ organization, it’s that focus that they mention first.

Among the 31 goaltenders NHL Central Scouting has on their North American final rankings – which includes 8 draft re-entries – Campbell’s August 22 birthdate makes him the 3rd youngest goaltender ranked for the draft behind Grant Riley (August 28th – NAHL) and Brett Brochu (September 9th – OHL). That means that Campbell lacks behind most of the others in terms of experience and development.

As mentioned, the size is there and he does a good job at taking away a lot of the net by keeping himself big. For the most part he shows very good technique but that could use some tweaking, and as I’ve said a thousand times, good coaching will help him with that.

Campbell could also improve on his movement in the blue paint. I don’t think his size hinders him in any way when it comes to movement, I think it’ll come down to tweaking or adjusting his movement.

Campbell does well with his angles, tracking the puck and seeing through traffic – a benefit of being a large goaltender. He also does well with those battles in front of his net, taking away the bottom of his goal while also remaining tall to take away the top portion. He has also shown that he won’t chase the puck and rather rely on his positioning and let the puck hit him.

Campbell displays a lot of confidence in his abilities and is determined to put in the effort necessary to compete – something he has done extremely well at every level. This isn’t a particularly strong draft class for goaltenders, and we’re seeing more goaltenders going into a second draft season so I will be curious to see if scouts have enough on Campbell this time around.

James Hardie – Mississauga Steelheads – Player Profile

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 180 Pounds

Date of birth: January 18, 2002

Hometown: Innisfil, Ontario

Position: Left Wing

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 1, 8th overall, 2018 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season

November Mid-term Final
N.R. N.R. 213 N.A.

163 N.A.

The NHL scouting community had a difficult task ranking players for the 2020 Draft due to the cancelation of the CHL season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The opportunity to watch the players under pressure situations – a.k.a. the playoffs – was taken away from them.

One of the more glaring ranks by NHL Central Scouting is that of Mississauga Steelheads forward James Hardie. When Central Scouting released its mid-term rankings, Hardie was ranked 213th among North American skaters. By the time you add in Europeans and goaltenders, that virtually meant he would go undrafted. When they released their final rankings, they had moved him up 50 spots to 163 among North American skaters, which would put him in the 7th round.

I’m not alone in the belief that Hardie is vastly underrated by Central Scouting. OHL coaches voted him as the second most underrated player in the Eastern Conference in the OHL Coaches Poll, ahead of Ottawa’s Austen Keating, who was just voted the Overage Player of the Year.

James Hardie of the Mississauga Steelheads. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
James Hardie of the Mississauga Steelheads. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images

Hardie played his Minor Midget AAA hockey for the Barrie Colts during the 2017-2018 season. He appeared in 34 games, scoring 41 goals and assisting on 29. He would add 6 goals and 7 helpers in 8 playoff games and 3 goals and 5 assists in 5 games at the OHL Cup. The Steelheads selected him with the 8th overall pick at the 2018 OHL Priority Selection. Here’s what OHL Central Scouting had to say:

James is a goal scorer that loves to shoot the puck. He has a junior-level shot already. It has pace, accuracy and he can pull the trigger quickly. He does a good job of finding open ice or those little quiet pockets in the offensive zone. He isn’t afraid to try and beat a defender in open ice when the chance is there. He plays for a well-structured team that does all the little things well and he knows his responsibilities in his own end. James was a big reason why his team had success in the playoffs and OHL Cup

Hardie broke onto the OHL scene a year ago and in 62 games scored 15 goals and 7 assists. When the remainder of this season was cancelled, he had already compiled 34 goals and 29 assists in 59 games. Among the OHL’s draft eligible players, Hardie finished 6th in goals, 8th in points, 4th in powerplay goals and no one took as many shots on goal as Hardie.

Part of the reason Hardie may have been ranked so lo to start is because he got off to a slow start. In his first 29 games, he had 12 goals and 7 assists but had a tremendous second half with 22 goals and 22 assists in his final 30 games.

Hardie is a shot generating machine, firing almost four and a half shots per game. It’s a hard, heavy, accurate shot that he has the utmost confidence in and he’s not afraid to use it. But he’s not always trying to beat goaltenders with it. He does shoot with a purpose, putting the disk in areas that the goaltender has a hard time directing and thus creating second chances. His release is also excellent and it is more noticeable with the man advantage when there is more space.

Hardie is a good technical skater, but we would like to see him add another gear. He’s not slow, but at 5’11” adding that gear could be beneficial. That doesn’t prevent him from challenging defenders one-on-one as he is more then willing. But he does play bigger than his size at times, willing to get in on the forecheck and throw his weight around to create turnovers.

Hardie will never be known as a playmaker first, his livelihood is his shot. He has shown some good hockey IQ offensively with the ability to find open spots in the offensive zone so that teammates can set him up for his shot.

Hardie continues to round out his offensive game. Earlier in the season, he didn’t show the drive to get to the middle of the ice and the high danger shot zone, but that was markedly improved in the second half, just like his production.

Hardie’s all-around game needs to improve. The offence is there. Just how patient an NHL team will be to develop that area of his game will determine how high he will go in the draft. But they must be thrilled with the offensive ability.

Oli Bjorgvik-Holm– Mississauga Steelheads – Player Profile

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 200 Pounds

Date of birth: May 23, 2002

Hometown: Oslo, Norway

Position: Defence

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 1, 32nd overall, 2019 CHL Import Draft

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season

November Mid-term Final
N.R. N.R. 140 N.A.

116 N.A.

A native of Oslo, Norway, Oli (Ole) Bjorgvik-Holm played midget hockey in the United States during the 2018-2019 season as an Alternate Captain Colorado Thunderbirds Under-16 squad. In 62 games he scored 21 goals and 32 assists. He was the 32nd overall pick of the Mississauga Steelheads at the 2019 CHL Import Draft. As a 15-year old (2017-2018 season) he played in Norway’s Under-16, Under-17 and Under-20 leagues.

Bjorgvik-Holm was also selected in the United States Hockey League Draft by the Tri-City Storm in the 18th round, 282nd overall at the 2018 USHL Phase II Draft. He was committed to attend the University of Denver to play NCAA Division I hockey, but on July 6, 2019 he decided to forego his NCAA eligibility and signed with the Steelheads.

Ole Bjorgvik-Holm of the Mississauga Steelheads. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Oli Bjorgvik-Holm of the Mississauga Steelheads. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images

Bjorgvik-Holm would appear in 57 games for the Steelheads and score twice while assisting on 17. Things looked very promising for the Mississauga defender when he registered 4 points in his first 6 games. He still managed to finish third among rookie defenders even though he slowed down from the pace he set in the first half dozen games.

Bjorgvik-Holm has some big size with some meat on his bones. He moves well for a big defender although his lateral movement could use some work. His pivoting from forward to backwards skating is smooth and rarely misses a stride. He has some good speed but could stand to work on his agility. He has a very active stick and with his long reach is very good a breaking up plays. He’s also not shy about using his big frame. He’ll use it to separate opponents from the puck and to win battles along the walls.

Bjorgvik-Holm’s bread and butter may be that of a defensive defenceman who can log big minutes, take on the oppositions top players and provide steady and efficient penalty killing for you. But he does come with some intriguing offensive abilities.

Bjorgvik-Holm is a smart player who knows what to do with and without the puck. He makes a very good first pass breaking out of his own zone, but he has shown flashes (and more confidence as the season progressed) of being able to skate out of his zone and transition to offence. He has also shown an ability to join the rush when the opportunity presents itself, but I believe he focuses more of his attention to defence so he’s not always showing that ability.

NHL Scouts are certainly going to be intrigued by the size and the ability to move, especially for a defender in today’s game. Bjorgvik-Holm will at the very least bring a solid defensive game at the next level. The question that needs answering is: how much offence can he bring to the table?

He could be a good find with a project tag attached in the later rounds.