So how did I make this list? Thankfully I actually saw a lot of this group in their OHL draft year, so I have that to go off of. We also have a few performances from the last few months. The first being the few players who played at the PBHH. The second being the Hockey Canada U18 Summer Camp (with only a few of the scrimmages streamed). The third, for a select few, we have Hlinka/Gretzky Cup performances. That said there are so many variables to consider...that simply can not be considered. Which players worked the hardest to get themselves in the best shape possible the last 18 months to be ready for this season? Which players went through growth spurts? How will players fit into their OHL lineups with two years worth of Priority selections and Import selections vying for roster spots? In most years, my preseason list is actually somewhat similar to my final list (with obvious exceptions who move up and down). This year? I expect it to look completely different in May/June. So many of these young men are going to look like way different hockey players at the end of the year compared to the start because of last year's debacle.
I have already been asked a bunch about the strength of this OHL crop. It's not a question that we can answer right now. Coming out of U16, I felt like this group was only average, with the group's best player (Adam Fantilli, 2023 eligible due to a late birthday) opting to head south of the border. Obviously, that's not including Shane Wright who was granted exceptional status the year prior. How will a lost year of development, essentially, impact that? Again, too many variables to consider to give a truthful and reliable answer to that question. But one thing is for sure, it will be great to have the OHL back! Bring on the 2022 draft season!
Here's my early list: