In the years that I have been doing this, I don’t ever recall a month like January where so many players could have been chosen our Draft Eligible Player of the Month. Tyson Foerster, Luke Evangelista, Brett Brochu, James Hardie, Ty Tullio, Jack Quinn, Marco Rossi, Cole Perfetti and Quinton Byfield were all, for different reasons, deserving.
We settled on Mr Consistency, Cole Perfetti of the Saginaw Spirit for the second time this season.
Through 13 games in the month of January, Perfetti found the back of the net 8 times while assisting on 21 others and finishing a plus-16. He was held off the score sheet just once, a January 15th matchup against the Soo Greyhounds. In the 12 remaining contests, 9 were multi point games.
Perfetti was named the game’s first star 3 times and the game’s third star twice. But let’s not get into the Ontario Hockey League’s three-star selection process.
Serious consideration was given to London Knights netminder Brendan Brochu. The rookie keeper appeared in 9 games in January winning all of them while posting a sparkling 1.89 goals-against-average and a .940 save-percentage.
Foerster appeared in 11 games scoring 8 goals and assisting on 9 others. Evangelista scored 6 goals and 11 assists in 11 games, Hardie 12 goals and 8 assists in 11 games, Tullio 7 goals and 9 assists in 13 games, Quinn 17 goals and 7 assists in 12 games, Rossi 6 goals and 16 assists in 12 games and Byfield 7 goals and 6 assists in 7 games.
Tyler “Ty” Tullio played his minor midget AAA for the Vaughan Kings during the 2017-2018 season in which he scored 38 goals and 51 assists in 50 games. He would also add 5 goals and 5 assists in 7 games for the Kings at the OHL Cup.
Tullio would be selected 11th overall at the 2018 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection by the Oshawa Generals, owned by his father Rocco. Whether that had any bearing on the selection is irrelevant. Tullio was absolutely deserving. At the time of the draft, this is what OHL Central Scouting had to say about Tullio:
Tyler is a competitive player that would do almost anything to score a goal or win a hockey game. He is a good skater that can beat defenders wide and win loose puck battles all over the ice. He possesses a junior level shot already. It’s hard, accurate and he gets it on net very quickly. Tyler competes very hard each shift and isn’t shy to battle against the bigger defenders and usually comes out with the puck. He is a ‘Gamer’ and the type of player you win with.
Tullio made the Generals roster out of camp for the 2018-2019 season. He played in 60 games scoring 15 goals and 42 points and was named to the Second All-Rookie squad. Tullio also represented Canada at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17 and in 5 games contributed a helper for Team Black.
Through 40 games this season, Tullio has registered 18 goals and 44 points already surpassing his totals from a year ago.
At 5’11” and just 166 pounds, Tullio needs to add some much-needed muscle. It’s hard to imagine how Central Scouting’s scouting report on him could have possibly been the case with his frame. But make no mistake about it, it is pretty much deadly accurate.
Tullio’s work ethic is as good as it gets and it is contagious. When teammates see him giving his all with each shift, they just want to carry it on. He’s always willing to battle to get positioning with much bigger opponents. He does not shy away from getting in on the forecheck and causing havoc for defenders.
He’s a very good skater with good speed. He’s willing to take on defenders wide but knows his limits. He maneuvers with relative ease and has good edgework. He gets in on battles quickly and surprisingly, wins many of those battles. I can only imagine how much better he’ll be when he adds that strength/bulk.
You’ve also got to like Tullio’s shot. He has a very quick and deadly release and gets a lot behind his shot with accuracy. But he’s not just a shooter. He always seems to make the right play when dishing to teammates. He sees the ice so well and sees plays developing, but he won’t force a play if he’s not sure it’s there.
I think one area he needs to improve on his decisions without the puck. That’s not to say he makes bad decisions, but in certain situations he could be more assertive in his decision making. He’s still very you with an April birthdate and the majority of his draft class are older. The issue should become a non-issue as he gets older.
I’m also not sure I agree or disagree with Central Scouting ranking Tullio 54th among North American Skaters. That puts him in the middle of the third round for the National Hockey League Draft. NHL Central Scouting had him listed as a C Prospect in the preseason which means a fourth, fifth or sixth rounder (we had him as a B Prospect). So, he has climbed on their rankings.
The problem is this: The second round of the NHL Draft group is very deep, not with just OHL players, but from all over the world. It’s going to be a tough group to break into.
Sure, most teams have yet to play a handful of games, but the calendar has switched from September to October (are you getting ready for winter yet?) so it’s time to look at the first time draft eligible player statistical leaders as we begin the journey towards the 2020 National Hockey League Draft.
Three things we know for sure: 1) the list of names today will not be the same in March. 2) Barring a catastrophe or major injury, expect to see Quinton Byfield to stay at or near the top of the lists. 3) Same goes for Jamie Drysdale among blueliners.
Byfield leads the way in goals, points and tied for top spot in assists. Not only does he lead the league’s draft eligible players in points, but he leads the entire OHL. A sure fire top 5 pick in Montreal on June 26, 2020 but there are those (yours truly included) that believe that he could challenge for the number one spot at season’s end.
Here’s a look at the statistical leaders. As always, we take great care in compiling stats, but always refer to the OHL Website for official stats.