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.

67’s’ MARCO ROSSI RECOGNIZED AS EDDIE POWERS MEMORIAL TROPHY RECIPIENT AS TOP SCORER PRESENTED BY KUBOTA CANADA

Marco Rossi

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League is pleased to recognize Ottawa 67’s forward Marco Rossi who claims the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy as the League’s Top Scorer presented by Kubota Canada.

The draft eligible centreman 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 an OHL scoring champion since London’s Patrick Kane (2.50) in 2006-07. He becomes the first Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy recipient of European descent since Stan Mikita of the St. Catharines Teepees claimed the honour in 1958-59.

“Kubota Canada is thrilled to be the presenting sponsor for the OHL 2019-20 Top Scorer award. Even though the season was abbreviated, we saw some great performances this season and it gives me great pleasure on behalf of Kubota’s employees and the Kubota dealers across Canada to congratulate Marco Rossi as this year’s OHL Top Scorer!,” said Rob Allison, Director of Brand & Corporate Partnerships for Kubota Canada Ltd. “Well done, Marco!”

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. His top performances included a five assist showing on October 20th against Hamilton, another five point outing on November 17th in Sarnia and a career-high six point output on November 27th in Kingston. 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.

“Thank you to the Ontario Hockey League for awarding me the Eddie Powers Trophy,” said Rossi. “I am extremely grateful to receive this recognition. This award 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 had a helping hand for me during this last season and the time leading up to it: Thank you! I am honored and forever grateful to receive this prestigious award.”

Rossi’s 120 points are the most by a 67’s player in a single season since Corey 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 plays a team game and the way that he shares the puck with his teammates was a pleasure to watch this season,” commented 67’s general manager James Boyd. “The fact that Marco was able to lead such a talented group of peers in league scoring, while maintaining the highest standard of defensive play, makes this achievement even more remarkable.”

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.

Rossi becomes the seventh player in 67’s franchise history to earn the award, following Tyler Toffoli (2011), two-time winner Corey Locke (2003, 2004), Andrew Cassels (1988), Jim Fox (1980), Bobby Smith (1978) and Blake Dunlop (1973). He follows other recent OHL standouts who won the award in their draft eligible seasons including Erie’s Dylan Strome (2015), Windsor’s Taylor Hall (2010), Plymouth’s Tyler Seguin (2010), London’s John Tavares (2009) and London’s Patrick Kane (2007).

The Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy was donated by the Toronto Marlboro Athletic Club in memory of Eddie Powers and was first awarded in 1945-46 to Tod Sloan of St. Michael’s who scored 79 points in 25 games.  Jason Robertson of the Niagara IceDogs was last year’s recipient with 117 points in 62 games including 48 goals and 69 assists.  Other recent winners include Barrie’s Aaron Luchuk (2018), Erie’s Alex DeBrincat (2017) and Barrie’s Kevin Labanc (2016).

2020 OHL Awards announcements continue on Monday when the League announces its Matt Leyden Trophy recipient as OHL Coach of the Year.

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/.

Kirill Steklov – London Knights – Player Profile

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 185 Pounds

Date of birth: March 30, 2002

Hometown: Tallinn, Estonia

Position: Defence

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 1, 56th overall, 2019 CHL Import Draft

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season

November Mid-term Final
C Prospect B Prospect 69 N.A.

106 N.A.

The 2018-2019 season saw London Knights’ Defenceman Kirill Steklov split time with Vityaz Podolsk Under-17 and Under 18 squads. With Podolsk Under-17, Steklov appeared in 22 games and scored once while adding 11 assists. But when he joined the older squad, I think his offensive abilities may have surprised many. In 9 games, he scored twice and assisted on 5 others. He improved on those in the playoffs with 3 goals and 4 helpers in 6 games.

The Knights saw enough of him to select him with the 56th overall pick at the 2019 CHL Import Draft and in early July committed to joining the Knights. General Manager Mark Hunter had this to say:

“Kirill will make an immediate impact on our roster for this upcoming season.” We’ve been watching Kirill throughout last season and were very impressed with his talents on the ice.  Kirill fits the new style of defenceman; having an offensive skill set to compliment his defensive strengths.  We were very excited that we were able to select him in the Import Draft and are looking forward to having him play for the London Knights.”

Steklov would begin the year representing Russia at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup – he has Estonian and Russian duo nationalities. Steklov had one assist in 5 games as Russia went on to capture a Gold Medal. Altogether, he has represented Russia internationally on 44 occasions.

Kirill Steklov of the London Knights. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images
Kirill Steklov of the London Knights. Photo by Luke Durda / OHL Images

This season, Steklov appeared in 50 games for the Knights, scoring twice and adding 7 helpers. But as is often the case on a Dale Hunter coached team, your first year isn’t always about offence, but playing defence first. And when your team boasts offensive dynamo Ryan Merkley and third year OHL’er Alec Regula who finished second and sixth respectively in OHL defencemen scoring, the Knights didn’t need Steklov to provide offence. Add to that pair Hunter Skinner (112 overall at the 2019 draft by the New York Rangers) and Markus Phillips – acquired at trade deadline – (118 overall at the 2017 draft by Los Angeles Kings) and veteran Gerard Keane, there wasn’t much ice time to go around after the deadline.

Reading the book on Steklov is not an easy one. He is the ultimate definition of a raw defender. You have to love the size at 6’4” and the reach he possesses. And he has above average mobility to go with that size. He’s shown an ability to stand his blue line and deny zone entries with his reach. His skating is good enough to keep gaps tight and force players to the outside. He has the size and strength to win battles along the walls and to keep opponents from the front of his net. He’s difficult to beat one-on-one.

Steklov showed flashes of all those things. But the consistency was lacking and that could be due in part to lack of ice time, getting the repetitions and building confidence and growing accustomed to the smaller ice surface. Being away from home and his family isn’t an “excuse” as he left his family behind at a very young age in his native Estonia to pursue his hockey career in Russia. But even so, moving to London presented a different lifestyle and a new language.

As we saw with Vityaz Podolsk Under-18, we know Steklov has offensive upside. But just how much is still a question mark. He’s shown flashes of activating offensively. But there is also hesitation in his game when he is carrying the puck. He also plays it to safe at the offensive blue line, almost looking to worried about making a mistake and would rather play it safe (nothing wrong with that). Again, this could be an experience, adjustment period and a confidence thing.

Steklov should get a long look at the 2020 NHL Draft. But one has to look past the rawness and attempt to get a read on his potential.

Jamie Drysdale – Erie Otters – Player Profile

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 175 pounds

Date of birth: April 8, 2002

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

Position: Defence

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 1, 4th overall, 2018 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season November Mid-term Final
A Prospect A Prospect 3 N.A. 3 N.A.

Erie Otters’ defenceman Jamie Drysdale Captained the Toronto Marlboros Minor Midgets AAA squad during the 2017-2018 season. He scored 8 goals and added 42 assists in 57 games and helped lead the Marlboros to the GTMMHL Championship and was named the GTHL Player of the Year.

Drysdale had a superb OHL Cup with a goal and 8 helpers in 6 games and is 7th among defencemen all-time in points at the tournament despite having played the fewest games. In comparison, Mitch Maunu led all defencemen in all-time scoring at the OHL Cup with 4 goals and 8 assists, but in 16 games.

Winning is nothing new for Drysdale as he has won at just about every level from GTMPHL in 2013-2014 to World Junior Championship gold in 2020.

The Otters selected Drysdale 4th overall at the 2018 OHL Priority Selection behind Quinton Byfield (Sudbury) Evan Vierling (Flint) and Will Cuylle (Peterborough). Here’s what OHL Central Scouting had to say at the time:

Jamie is one of the elite defencemen in this year’s Priority Selection. He is an elite skater that moves effortlessly around the ice and looks like he could skate all day long. He has excellent edge work, an explosive 10-foot game and has game changing speed. He is an offensive minded defender that has great puck skills and can do everything at full speed. Jamie is very dynamic on the offensive blue line and is hard to handle because of his mobility, puck skills and decision making.

Drysdale broke onto the OHL for the 2018-2019 season and appeared in 63 games finishing 21st among OHL blue liners with 40 points on 7 goals and 33 assists. More importantly, he finished 8th among all rookies in points. If there was any proof necessary that he could run the powerplay, he led all rookies in powerplay helpers. The OHL named him to the First All-Rookie Team.

Drysdale also represented Canada internationally during the 2018-2019 season. He captained Team Canada Black at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17 (4 assists in 5 games) and at the World Junior Championship Under-18 (2 assists in 7 games).

The 2019-2020 season began with Drysdale once again captaining Team Canada, this time at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. He had 5 helpers in 5 games as Canada captured Silver.

This season saw Drysdale appear in just 49 games, but he still managed to put up 9 goals and 38 assists to lead all draft eligible blueliners with 47 points. That was still good for 13th among all defencemen in the OHL.

As talented as Drysdale is, the World Junior Championships was the proof in the pudding. As the youngest defender at just 17 for Team Canada, and one of the youngest in the tournament, it was obvious he could play with and against players that were older than he. He scored once and assisted on two others in 7 games and helped win Gold for the Canadians.

Unquestionably, Drysdale is the top defender from the OHL draft class. And for most of the year, he was the top defenceman available from around the world but by the time everyone had completed their rankings, Drysdale was being pushed by Jake Sanderson of the US National Team Development Program. But they are different players and it’s going to come down to preference when an NHL team needs to call one of their names.

Jamie Drysdale of the Erie Otters. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Jamie Drysdale of the Erie Otters. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images

Drysdale truly is an elite skater. He has top notch speed in both first strides and top end. It’s hard to find a defender with better mobility. His edgework is elite, turns from forward skating to backward skating without missing a beat and watching him do crossovers is a thrill. I often joke that if he wasn’t a hockey player, he could be a figure skater.

But it doesn’t end with skating for Drysdale. His hockey IQ is also at an elite level. The speed at which he processes the game is astounding really. From the defensive zone, he plays with ice in his veins and is able to make a quick decision on the best play – whether to skate the puck out or to make a perfect pass to clear the zone, all while under forechecking pressure. Offensively, he commands the blueline and with his superb vision and playmaking abilities, he is a threat to create offence. Give him the extra space on the powerplay, and you’d better know exactly where he is at all times.

Drysdale’s shot is something that could be worked on, and maybe it can get heavier as he adds some muscle to his frame. But what he does do is almost always get it through to the goaltender.

Most people feel that Drysdale needs to improve defensively. I have said it many times before, you can say that about almost all defenders at this stage of their careers. But Drysdale’s skating and mobility allows him to keep good gap control and stay with attackers and he tries to use that to his advantage by keeping opponents to the outside. He also has a very active stick and with his gap control, uses that to his advantage to “swipe” pucks away.

Drysdale is trending in the right direction and is only going to get better. I suspect he is going to have an immediate impact in the NHL (when he gets there) similar to that of Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak to Brock Otten (@BrockOtten) of OHL Prospects to talk a little about Quinton Byfield. But I had to ask Brock about Drysdale. Have a listen.

OHL Writers · Brock Otten talks Quinton Byfield and the 2020 NHL Draft

Will Cranley – Ottawa 67’s – Player Profile

Height: 6’4”

Weight: 185 Pounds

Date of birth: February 26, 2002

Hometown: Peterborough, Ontario

Position: Goaltender

Catches: Left

OHL Draft: Round 2, 35th overall, 2018 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season

November Mid-term Final
C Prospect C Prospect 16 N.A.

4 N.A.

Ottawa 67’s netminder Will Cranley is a graduate of the Peterborough Petes Minor Midget AAA program. During the 2017-2018 season he appeared in 18 games, posting a 2.17 goals-against-average. He also manned the net for the Petes at the OHL Cup and for Team OMHA Black at the OHL Gold Cup where his squad captured bronze.

Cranley was the third goaltender selected at the 2018 OHL Priority selection – 35th overall – behind Triston Lennox (26th by Saginaw) and Joe Vrbetic (31st by North Bay).

Last season, Cranley would appear in 11 games for the 67’s, posting a 3.46 goals-against-average and a .868 save-percentage. He would also appear in 6 CCHL games for the Navan Grads – 3.58 goals-against-average, .915save-percentage.

Will Cranley of the Ottawa 67's. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Will Cranley of the Ottawa 67’s. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

The two worst kept secrets in the OHL coming into the season were 1) the 67’s were going to be a juggernaut and 2) Cedrick Andree was going to get the bulk of the action. The latter meant that Cranley was going to have to make the best of the opportunities given to him.

Cranley appeared in 21 games for the 67’s and skated away with a very impressive 18-2-0-0 record. Some will make the argument that he was the beneficiary of the squad he backstopped. And there is some truth to that. The 67’s were more responsible defensively when Cranley was in the net, allowing just 25.6 shots per game. On the flip side, they allowed 28.1 shots per game with Andree in the crease. But you could break down almost every team like that and find that with the backup goaltender.

Cranley finished the year with a 2.81 goals-against-average (2nd among rookies) and .894 save-percentage (4th among rookies) to go along with 4 shutouts.

Cranley possesses some of the characteristics that NHL scouts drool over. First and foremost is the 6’4” size. But for a big goaltender, not only does he move exceptionally well, he is also very acrobatic. His post-to-post movement is excellent. He darts out to the top of the paint impressively quick and uses that size to take away angles. And his superb athleticism allows him to re-set to make that acrobatic save. However, though he has shown those traits, he didn’t do it on a consistent basis through the season.

In close, Cranley tracks the puck well, keeps himself big in his net to take away as much of the top as he can while still taking away the bottom of the net. He keeps his paddle in excellent position and very good at laying it down. He’s also very good with his pads down directing pucks out of danger.

Cranley doesn’t come without warts but he is still a very young netminder with loads of potential and that’s something goaltending coaches can work with. I think his confidence gets shaken if he allows a “soft” goal, not rebounding from it like he should. But it got better as the season progressed.

There are some technical parts of his game that Cranley could work on, and again, coaching will help. Rebound control might just be at the top of the list but that too has shown improvement as the season progressed. I also think he needs to work on holding the post more effectively. There are times he leaves a hole there and great goal scorers can expose that.

But I believe the potential is there with Cranley. It’s hard to say how many goaltenders will get drafted from the OHL in 2020, but Cranley deserves to be on that list.

Martin Chromiak – Kingston Frontenacs – Player Profile

Height: 6’

Weight: 181 Pounds

Date of birth: August 20, 2002

Hometown: Ilava, Slovakia

Position: Left Wing

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 1, 2nd overall, 2019 CHL Import Draft

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season

November Mid-term Final
C Prospect C Prospect 35 Euro

30 N.A.

Kingston Frontenacs winger Martin Chromiak has a history of playing above his age group. It began as a 14-year-old playing in an Under-18 League in his native Slovakia going back to the 2016-2017 season.

During the 2017-2018 season, Chromiak began the season in the Slovak Under-16 League, tearing it apart with 29 points in just 11 games, so up a level he went to HK Dukla Trencin Under-18 squad. In 22 games he scored 16 goals and 15 assists, then tallying 6 goals and 4 assists in 11 playoff games helping the Trencin capture Slovakia’s Under-18 Championship.

The 2018-2019 season saw Chromiak begin the hockey season with HK Dukla in Slovakia’s Under-18 League. After just 4 games in which he scored 3 goals and added 9 assists, it was evident that the competition was below his abilities. So, as a 16-year-old he joined HK Dukla Under-20.

Things weren’t much different moving up for Chromiak He laced up the skates for 39 games and potted 22 goals and 24 helpers playing against older players, then added 9 goals and 8 assists in 15 playoff games and helping lead the Trencin to the Under-20 Championship. He even got into 2 games in Slovakia’s Tipsport Liga (Extraliga), Slovakia’s top league.

 

Chromiak, Martin
Martin Chromiak of the Kingston Frontenacs. Photo by Ian MacAlpine / Kingston Whig-Standard

Chromiak has had plenty of international experience. He has appeared in the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup on two occasions. 2018 saw him score 2 goals and 2 assists in 4 games and in 2019 he scored 2 goals and 3 assists in 4 games. He’s also represented Slovakia in Under-16, Under-18 and Under-20 international competition.

This season saw Chromiak begin with HK Dukla Under-20 squad, but his offence took a nosedive to just 5 goals and 1 assist in 32 games. Maybe there was some complacency in his game. On December 28, 2019, Chromiak committed to joining the Frontenacs for the remainder of the OHL season and he did not disappoint, scoring 11 goals and 22 assists in 28 games.

Chromiak has superb vision to go along with high end passing abilities. He is excellent with the puck on his stick, protecting it well and an ability to slow things down and let plays develop or give his teammate the time to get to high danger areas and then set them up with a perfect tape-to-tape pass.

Chromiak can play both wings, but is most dangerous on the left side, especially on the powerplay where he can run things with his superb playmaking skills. But Chromiak is not just a playmaker. He has an excellent wrist shot and snap shot that is deadly accurate. However, if he is going to predominantly play the left side as a right shot, I would like to see him improve on his one-timer.

Technically, Chromiak is a good skater but I would like to see him continue to work on his acceleration – or separation gear to be precise. But that doesn’t keep him from challenging defenders one-on-one and he has some success in those situations. That said, he is so smart that he finds the areas he needs to on the ice and he gets there with or without the puck.

At 6’1” Chromiak has some good size and I would like to see him engage more physically along the walls battling for pucks and driving to the net with or without the puck. Defensively his game is a work in progress and as one of the youngest players in the draft, that is to be expected. But he has shown that he understands positioning and now it’s a matter of putting in the effort.

Chromiak has been a fast rider in this draft class, and with good reason: his dynamic offensive abilities. He’ll be in a good position with Kingston next season to further develop with a very good, young team.

Jack Quinn – Ottawa 67’s – Player Profile

Height: 6”1”

Weight: 179 Pounds

Date of birth: September 19, 2001

Hometown: Cobden, Ontario

Position: Right Wing

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 2, 39th overall, 2017 Priority Selection

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season

November Mid-term Final
B Prospect A Prospect 9 N.A.

7 N.A.

Jack Quinn played his Minor Midget AAA with the Kanata Lasers during the 2016-2017 and in 45 games scored 28 goals and added 24 assists. The Ottawa 67’s would select him with the 39th overall pick at the 2017 Ontario Hockey League’s Priority Selection.

During the 2017-2018 season, Quinn would skate in the Central Canadian Hockey League with the Kanata Laser. In 49 games, he scored 21 goals while assisting on 25. He was named the CCHL Rookie of the Year, CCHL Top Prospect and was named to the CCHL All-Rookie Team. He also got a taste of the OHL appearing in 8 games and registering 1 helper.

Jack Quinn of the Ottawa 67's. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Jack Quinn of the Ottawa 67’s. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images

Last season, Quinn broke the 67’s lineup beginning primarily as a 4th liner. However, he began to move up the lineup throughout the season and would appear in 61 games and finishing with 32 points on 12 goals and 20 assists. He would add 3 goals and 7 points in 18 playoff contests.

Things clicked for Quinn this season and his abilities as a goal scorer were at the forefront. Not only did he lead all draft eligible players in goals with 52, he finished second among all players only to Nick Robertson.

Some put a question mark on Rossi because he has a late 2001 birthdate like teammate and fellow draft prospect Marco Rossi. Quinn missed being eligible for the 2019 draft by just 4 days. Sometimes, there is too much emphasis put on that.

At 6’1” Quinn has some good size but really needs to add some muscle. Considering he was drafted at 5’9”, played last year at 5’11” and jumped up to 6’1” this season, he is not just still growing, but adjusting to his new frame.

I also see others questioning his defensive game. While Quinn is no Ryan O’Reilly or Patrice Bergeron, one can’t question his commitment to playing a 200-foot game. He has a high-level hockey IQ so he understands where to position himself in the defensive zone. He also has excellent anticipation and seemingly always knows where the puck is going to go and breaks up many of plays that way. He is strongly committed to coming back hard on the back check as well. He may never win a Selke Trophy at the NHL level, but he’s not going to hurt his team either. He can also kill penalties and you will find him on the ice in the last minute protecting a one goal lead.

Quinn has a lethal shot with an uncanny knack for disguising his release. He’s also capable of beating goaltenders with it. To go along with his high IQ, Quinn also has some excellent vision. He digests the situation quickly and like a chess master is able to think ahead. But he’s also able to slow things down and let an opportunity open up. His playmaking skills may be underrated.

Skating was an issue for Quinn a season ago. But like the effort he puts in the defensive part of his game, he put the effort into improving his skating. He’s gained a step but also added some power behind his skating. It all comes down to putting all of his talents together. If there was one area, I would like to see improve it is his willingness to take the puck to the net, or to drive there when he doesn’t have possession. And when he adds that muscle needed, it could bring another element to his game that he excels at.

Quinn should hear his name called in the top-15 at the 2020 NHL Draft. But he could easily be a top-10 talent.

Marco Rossi – Ottawa 67’s – Player Profile

Height: 5’9”

Weight: 187 Pounds

Date of birth: September 23, 2001

Hometown: Feldkirch, Austria

Position: Center

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 1, 18th overall, 2018 CHL Import Draft

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season

November Mid-term Final
A Prospect A Prospect 5 N.A.

6 N.A.

What do Thomas Vanek, Michael Grabner and Michael Raffl all have in common? They are all Austrian born players to have played 470-plus games in the National Hockey League. Ottawa 67’s center Marco Rossi certainly has the potential to not only join that group, but also to be the best Austrian player to skate in the NHL.

As a 16-year-old during the 2017-2018 season, Rossi played in the Swiss Under-20 Elit League with the GCK Lions where he finished ninth in league scoring on 22 goals and 29 assists in 34 games. He would add 5 goals and 5 assists in 9 playoff games and his 10 points were tops in the league.

Selected with the 18th overall pick at the 2018 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft, Rossi would make his way to North America and join the 67’s for the 2018-2019 season and he made quite the impact. Rossi appeared in 53 games, scoring 29 goals and 36 assists for 65 points. Among the Big-Three draft eligible forwards, Rossi, Cole Perfetti and Quinton Byfield, Rossi finished second in rookie scoring and named to the OHL’s Second All-Rookie Team. (Byfield won both OHL and CHL Rookie of the year). Rossi would add 6 goals and 17 helpers in 16 playoff games.

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

Rossi would take things to another level this season. Shortened because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Rossi appeared in 56 games scoring 39 goals and adding 81 assists. Rossi led or was near the top on almost every statistical category among draft eligible players.

The 67’s had just six games remaining when the season was cancelled, so this is not a small sample size. Rossi led the entire league in assists, points and plus/minus, all by a comfortable margin.

Rossi is without question a top-5 talent for the upcoming draft and one could make the argument that top-3 might be the case. The issue that comes up when anyone talks about Rossi is the 5’9 size. NHL Central Scouting, and teams for that matter, gravitate towards players with size that can skate. The question I am asked most frequently is: If Rossi was 4 inches taller, could he challenge for top pick in the draft?

To me, the answer to that question is yes. I recently had a conversation with Brock Otten, who has his own must follow site, to talk about Quinton Byfield (among other things) and posed that very same question to Brock. You can have a listen below.

Half way through the season, I was told on many occasions Rossi could not sustain his 22% shooting percentage through the entire season and that a serious regression towards the league average was due. Well, he finished the season at 20.2%. Players that were ahead of him like Damien Giroux and Joseph Garreffa saw their shooting percentage drop by three times as much as Rossi. That said, if you watched enough of Rossi last season and this season, you’ll see that one of the most improved assets he has is his shot. He has worked hard in improving his quickness on his release and gained confidence in his shooting ability.

Rossi was always the greatest of skaters, but like his shot, he put in the necessary work to improve. And the difference is night and day. He has superb agility and his edgework is outstanding. He has an excellent ability to change gears. His strength on his feet has also improved and is increasingly difficult to knock off balance, despite his size. He can weave through and dissect defences just with his skating. He is also a possession beast with the puck on his stick.

Rossi is not a full speed ahead north-south player. In fact, he is more of an east-west type player who looks to break defences apart, draw players towards him and then use his patience, vision, possession skills and superb passing abilities to set up teammates for high percentage scoring plays. And without the puck he is elusive, finds open areas of the ice and makes himself an available option. He even goes to the front without the puck.

All the things I’ve mentioned make Rossi a dangerous offensive force, so just imagine how dangerous he is with space on the powerplay. He can run the powerplay from the half wall or he can run it from anywhere else in the offensive zone. With just 7 powerplay markers on the season it’s easy to see he is more of the set-up guy then the shooter – he finished second only to Ryan Merkley on powerplay helpers and powerplay assists per game.

With a September 23 birthdate, Rossi is also further along in his development then his peers – he missed last years draft class by just 8 days so, there should be no doubt that Rossi is one of the better 200-foot players in the draft class.

Rossi is the go-to-guy when the 67’s are down a man. His PK skills are bordering on elite. When leading with a minute to go in the game, he’s the guy coaches look to send over the boards first to protect that lead. His attention to detail when defending is at the same level as it is offensively. His positioning is excellent, he takes lanes away with his stick, and few come back on the backcheck as hard as he does.

Finally, I would like to address the size. Rossi doesn’t play like he’s 5’9”, in fact he plays much bigger. He is usually the first guy on the forecheck with a motor that never quits. He won’t shy away from contact and is always willing to battle against much bigger opponents, and yes, he comes away with the puck more then his fair share of the time. And as mentioned earlier, Rossi is not shy about going to the net.

Many people think he may be better suited to play wing at the NHL level because of his size. And that may be the case. But I think the opportunity has to be given to him to show he can handle the riggers of playing down the m idle in the NHL. The playmaking skills, the commitment to the defensive game are their, as well as being an elite faceoff man.

Rossi’s upside is that of a first line center. At worst, he can be a third line pivot who could turn into an elite penalty killer, take on defensive responsibilities and provide some offence.

Have a listen to my chat with Brock: