The 2019 OHL Priority Selection is set for Saturday, April 6th. That is a little over a week away. As scouting agencies and OHL teams finalize their lists ahead of the draft, OHL fan bases begin to draw curious as to the players that their teams will bring into the fold.
The last few years I've partnered with TheScout to bring you an extremely in depth Draft Primer. This year, I bring you a different preview of the draft; a mock draft. And since I do not see as much minor midget action as I would like to, I have obviously brought in some great minds who have seen these draft prospects play a ton.
Helping out with this first round mock draft are:
Steven Ellis – Writer/Digital Content Producer for The Hockey News (@StevenEllisTHN)
Ryan Stacey – Scout with TheScout.ca (@ryan_stacey5)
Prospect Pipeline – Independent OHL Draft scout/resource – Prospect Pipeline (@NHLProspectLine)
Of course, if you're looking for more information on the upcoming OHL Draft, make sure you check out TheScout who will be releasing their final list and other great resources in the coming week. You can also check out Prospect Pipeline who also have some fantastic OHL Draft (and NHL Draft) content for you to read.
Without further ado, here is our mock with many honorable mentions:
Due to Wright’s exceptional status grant, this selection is obviously a slam dunk. Wright is just such a complete player. He processes the game a step ahead of his peers and is already quite a complete player who can see the ice in all situations for Kingston next year. The key for Kingston will be surrounding him with players who can thrive from his playmaking ability and help to take pressure off of him. This year’s Import Draft and next year’s Priority Selection (where Kingston will likely pick high again) will be key to their potential turn around. (Brock Otten)
2. Flint Firebirds - Brennan Othmann – Don Mills Flyers – Left-Winger
After selecting savvy centerman Evan Vierling with their 2018 1st round selection, the Firebirds make an investment to their forward group and select sniper Brennan Othmann. Othmann is a naturally gifted scorer who combines evident shooting ability with size and speed. In transition, he shows intelligence in spacing and offensive formation allowing him to insert himself with perfect timing and create high-quality offensive chances. With steady production all year, and an elevated output to help secure the OHL Cup, Othmann brings a full offensive arsenal and gives Flint a top-tier scoring winger to ride with Vierling and lead their offence for the foreseeable future. (Ryan Stacey)
3. Erie Otters - Brandt Clarke - Don Mills Flyers - Defenceman
On many occasions this season, Clarke looked like the best player on the ice for Don Mills - even better than Wright. Clarke is a fantastic skater that gets himself out of tough positions easily and is very smart at distributing the puck. He's patient, but smart when making a pass and always has his head on a swivel. Clarke is willing to jump into rushes and rarely stays out of position long due to how fast he gets back to his own zone. Clarke will run the power play of whatever team ends up drafting him and it's safe to say he's this year's Jamie Drysdale. He’ll be a game changer next year. (Steven Ellis)
4. Barrie Colts - Connor Lockhart - Kanata Lasers - Centre
With a slew of highly talented players available to the Barrie Colts at fourth-overall, the club doesn’t hesitate in nabbing Connor Lockhart -- an energetic player who can make an impact in all three zones of the ice. A tireless skater with an unwavering engine, Lockhart can dictate the pace of play and create offence single-handedly owing to his creativity. Boasting a powerful and accurate shot alongside innate playmaking abilities, Lockhart’s game is reminiscent of Philadelphia Flyers forward Travis Konecny. In short, Lockhart will stand as a pillar within the Colts’ roster long into the future. (Prospect Pipeline)
5. Peterborough Petes - Mason McTavish - Pembroke Lumber Kings - Center
Compensation for the fact that Will Cuylle was a no show (and subsequently dealt to Windsor), the Petes jump at the chance to draft another power forward in McTavish. Possessing one of the best shots in the draft, McTavish’s power game could complement Peterborough very well as he could be the perfect linemate for someone like Nick Robertson next year and the year after. And with Paquette and possibly Gallant moving on, the organization needed to address depth at the position anyway (Brock Otten)
6. Windsor Spitfires - Danil Zhilkin - Toronto Marlboros - Forward
With this pick, Windsor is getting a pure goal scorer with tremendous skill and smarts with the puck. Zhilkin made an immediate impact with the Toronto Marlboros at the Toronto Titans Early Bird Tournament, recording a tournament-leading nine goals while finishing with 12 points. He isn't the most fluent skater, but he has good speed and can pivot fairly quickly. Zhilkin isn't afraid to get physical and if he could be most consistent, he’d be very tough to contain (Steven Ellis)
7. Sarnia Sting - Francesco Pinelli - Toronto Red Wings - Centre
Pinelli is a talented offensive pivot who has game breaking capabilities with the puck on his stick. Nearly leading the Toronto Red Wings to an improbable upset of the Don Mills Flyers in the OHL Cup, he possesses the ability to lead an offensive and generate for teammates on each and every shift. He demonstrates powerful skating, poise and perseverance under pressure and an ability to shoot the puck that is rivalled by few in the class, making him an easy selection for Sarnia as they further enhance their overall offensive structure. (Ryan Stacey)
8. Hamilton Bulldogs - Brett Harrison - London Jr. Knights - Centre
Since their move to Hamilton, the Bulldogs have selected a forward with each and every one of their first round picks in the OHL Priority Selection. And, in 2019, that same trend continues as the Bulldogs select Brett Harrison from the London Jr. Knights. With great size and strength standing 6-foot-1 and 165-pounds, Harrison is an intimidating force and one of the most natural goal scorers eligible for this year’s draft. A 42-goal scorer for the Jr. Knights during their 2018-19 regular season, Harrison is a complete package who should develop into Hamilton’s first line centre owing to his stellar skating and offensive abilities. (Prospect Pipeline)
9. North Bay Battalion - Liam Arnsby - Don Mills Flyers - Center/LW
Arnsby just seems like the perfect fit for the way Stan Butler likes to play the game. Competitive and versatile forward who can slot anywhere in the line-up, who can bring physicality, and who possesses a high IQ in all three zones. Fresh off a great performance in the OHL Cup Final, Arnsby should compliment North Bay’s competitive group of young forwards well and offers up solid offensive upside too. (Brock Otten)
10. Owen Sound Attack - Ethan Del Mastro -Toronto Marlboros - D
In terms of safe, reliable defencemen, Del Mastro is one of the best options around. He's great at managing the puck and moves well with and without it. His above-average skating ability allows him to beat forwards to the puck before dishing it out and is rarely found out of position. Del Mastro has good size for a kid his age and you'll be persuaded to play him more in physical bouts. Del Mastro is a smart defenseman that will make an immediate impact in the OHL and will fit in in a top-four role nearly out of the gate. (Steven Ellis)
11. Peterborough Petes - Francesco Arcuri - Don Mills Flyers - LW/C
Arcuri is an intriguing player due to his ability to rotate in his offensive deployment. He offers creativity and crisp passing which translates well as a facilitator, while also demonstrating a quick shooting ability which elevates his potential as a goal scorer. In addition he plays with a determined drive and selfless attitude, which fuels his desire to retrieve pucks and grind his way through the dirty areas with physicality and perseverance. With the earlier selection of established center Mason McTavish, Peterborough elects to go with the multidimensional Arcuri who can contribute in whatever role he is assigned, complimenting a diverse Petes forward group. (Ryan Stacey)
12. Mississauga Steelheads - Logan Mailloux - Toronto Marlboros - Defence
The Mississauga Steelheads need a stable two-way defender on their blue line for years to come, and Logan Mailloux of the Toronto Marlboros fits the bill. Already of OHL size despite his young age, Mailloux improved dramatically over the course of the 2018-19 season and now stands as a potent force in all three zones of the ice. An impressive skater considering his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame, Mailloux should be able to step into the Steelheads’ lineup next season and make an immediate impact. Given his current trajectory, Maiiloux could very well develop into one of the best defenders selected within the 2019 OHL Priority Selection. (Prospect Pipeline)
13. Kitchener Rangers - Colby Saganiuk - Pittsburgh Penguins 16U - Center
Without an NCAA commitment, Saganiuk may be the highest profile American player who could be convinced to head north to the OHL. Undersized, yes, but Saganiuk is a fantastic skater with the potential to be a high impact offensive player. Currently at the USDP U17 camp, he may still take some convincing. But the Kitchener franchise has never been afraid of a recruitment battle. With a mid 2nd and an early 3rd, in addition to drafting well last year, Kitchener can afford to roll the dice here on a potential #1 center and hope that if he does not commit that they can deal his rights. Of course, they could also wait until that Oshawa 2nd to see if he is still available, but he likely does not get by Saginaw at the end of the first. (Brock Otten)
14. Guelph Storm - Braedon Kressler - Mississauga Senators - Center/Right Wing
Kressler played two seasons of minor midget hockey with the Senators and was the best player for nearly his entire time at the level. He isn’t the biggest player on the ice, however, what Kressler lacks in stature he more than compensates for speed, skill, and tenacity. The team relied on him often this year to be a dynamic scoring threat and he didn’t disappoint. Again, he isn’t a big kid, but he does a great job of getting the puck on net and has the skill to be a valuable asset. (Steven Ellis)
15. Sudbury Wolves - Wyatt Johnston - Toronto Marlboros - Center
Sudbury had a strong contribution from their 2002 draft class with players like Jack Thompson and the uber talented Quinton Byfield establishing themselves as OHL regulars this season. With this selection, the Wolves look to enhance their surge by selecting a safe, efficient player and they get one in Wyatt Johnston. Johnston is a slick moving center, who has a developed skill set with patient puck movement tendencies and a well-timed release. He also has a adapt ability to makes plays one-on-one, finishing with highlight reel goals on multiple-occasions, which should further his value in the eyes of the Sudbury fan base. (Ryan Stacey)
16. Oshawa Generals - Brenden Sirizzotti - Whitby Wildcats - RW
Brenden Sirizzotti scored just three fewer points in the ETA this season than Quinton Byfield did for the York Simcoe Express in 2017-18 -- a major reason for his selection in the first round. An explosive and highly energetic player, Sirizzotti’s natural offensive abilities will boost an Oshawa Generals squad short on young, high-end talent up front. With Anthony Salinitri and Brandon Saigeon moving on from the OHL come the end of the 2018-19 campaign, the Generals will require an elite talent to skate alongside the likes of Ty Tullio and Lleyton Moore for years to come -- fortunately, Sirizzotti fits the bill. (Prospect Pipeline)
17. Niagara IceDogs - Artem Guryev - Toronto Marlboros - Defense
After dealing two top shelf younger defenders this year in Billy Constantinou and Lleyton Moore, I feel pretty confident that Niagara will look to add to their blueline with this selection now that they have been given it back. Originally thought to be forfeited due to a player recruitment violation, the OHL recently awarded it back to Niagara, lessening the sanctions. Could also see guys like Jack Matier or Paul Christoplous here, but Niagara opts for the Russian rock in Guryev. His size and physicality should play immediately in his own end. While his offensive potential is still a bit of an unknown, his solid instincts at both ends and his size/mobility combination make him a good bet to be a solid OHL defender. (Brock Otten)
18. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds - Landon McCallum - Brantford 99ers - Right Wing
McCallum was one of the main offensive catalysts for Brantford, especially when Maddox Callens wasn't in the lineup. McCallum can go from being the fastest, most skilled player on the ice to a fiesty pest that gets under your skin. A strong two-way forward, McCallum's speed gives him the edge in tight battles and his wrist shot has impressive velocity and power. In many cases, McCallum was in charge of carrying the 99ers on his back and didn’t struggle to do so. (Steven Ellis)
19. Saginaw Spirit - Roman Schmidt - Don Mills Flyers - Defense
Saginaw looks to score big for the second year in a row, this time electing to go with defender Roman Schmidt. As a second year minor-midget, Schmidt plays a developed style of game which coincides perfectly with his larger stature. Physically demanding and all-around mature, he plays a man's game with a powerful stride and force in his shot attempts. He possesses a thorough thought process and intelligent stick placement which easily counteracts any minor skating discrepancies. Should he forgo his commitment, he is a player that can jump in and be impactful right away for the Spirit. (Ryan Stacey)
20. London Knights - Stuart Rolofs - Kanata Lasers - Left Wing
The London Knights already boast a stellar core of forwards heading into the 2019-20 season, but the addition of an OHL-ready Stuart Rolofs will only add to the unparalleled depth that they possess. Rolofs is a strong and skilled power forward with high-end natural goal scoring abilities. With an electric release and impressive power behind his wrist shot, Rolofs has consistently hovered around a goal-per-game rate over his past three seasons. With excellent instincts, Rolofs displays the potential to become a reliable sharp-shooter from the half wall on the power play, as well as a potent force along the wing on the rush. He should be able to step right into the Knights’ lineup next year and play sheltered, but effective, minutes. (Prospect Pipeline)
21. Ottawa 67's - Deni Goure - Chatham-Kent Cyclones - Center/Right Wing
One thing that I could see the 67’s looking to add at this pick is a skilled winger who can score. There are a few options available that fit that description, but Ottawa opts for Goure who possesses one of the best shots and highest goal scoring potential of any forward available. He likes to push the pace and play the game at a quick tempo to utilize his creativity with the puck and that type of player will fit in well with the likes of Clarke, Rossi, Quinn, Tolnai, and the other great young forwards that Ottawa has in the fold. (Brock Otten)
Honorable Mentions (Personal Favourites & Best Remaining)
Honorable Mentions (Personal Favourites & Best Remaining)
Paul Christopoulous - Don Mills Flyers - Defense
Such a smart two-way defender. With his right shot and his ability to quarterback the powerplay, I do not think he lasts long on draft day. After his strong OHL Cup performance, I could easily see him as a first round pick. Projects as a solid, all around top 3 defender and should play in the OHL next year.
Jack Matier - Soo Thunderbirds - Defense
Size and skating combination from the back-end. Right handed shot. A raw player who has among the highest potential of any defender available. Another guy that I could easily see as a first round pick.
Benjamin Gaudreau - North Bay Midget Trappers - Goaltender
IMO the top goaltender available and if that’s the case, he’s probably an early second round pick (Oshawa with Flint’s pick? Sudbury with one of their two 2nd’s?). Has the size and athleticism/quickness combination that all scouts look for now in goaltenders.
Daniel Michaud - Quinte Red Devils - Center
Smooth skating power center who has a high upside, although could take some patience in terms of development. I liked his game at the OHL cup.
Jack Beck - Toronto Marlboros - Right Wing
Playmaking winger with an extremely high hockey IQ. Should be able to play a 3rd/4th line role in the OHL already next year because he skates well and because he understands how to play in all three zones.
Adam O’Marra - Oakville Rangers - Center
O’Marra was the best player on a weak Oakville Rangers team, often dominating the play and leading the offensive charge. He didn’t look out of place when called to play for the Aurora Tigers of the OJHL late in the year and even saw some time with Oakville’s midget team, too. Slick and crafty with the puck, O'Marra is smart when dancing around in the offensive zone and has a nice quickness to his game.
Ethan Esposito - Mississauga Senators - Center
Every time I watched Esposito play for the Sens, he was the most effective player on the team. Often, he was one of the only players consistently getting scoring chances, he could run the power play, he got under the skin of his opponents and never seemed to miss any shots. He's a smaller kid which could hurt him as he moves up to the OHL, but in terms of pure skill, Esposito is a diamond in the rough.
Matteo Giampa - Niagara North Stars - Center
Small yet crafty, Giampa showed on various occasions that he can completely dominate a shift from a skill perspective and that his speed is rather deadly. His hands are quick, he almost always wins the battles to the puck and his wrist shot is rather quick, too. His talent is first-round quality, but his game isn’t rounded enough to truly warrant it.
Sasha Pastujov - Detroit Compuware U16 - Right Wing/Left Wing
Pastujov is a highly skilled forward who has game breaking abilities with the puck. An excellent distributor he excels at involving his teams in various plays, and continually exerts varying offensive sets. One of the highest ranked players in the draft, his commitment is the only thing keeping him out of the Top 10.
Dylan Duke - Detroit Compuware U16 - Center
Duke faces a similar situation as he is a top ranked player but falls out due to his commitment. Displaying a full acronym of defensive and offensive ability, he is hard on the puck, physical and exerts himself with an elite level of positional awareness. Look to hear Duke’s name as he moves through the US Development Program.
Thomas Johnston - Whitby Wildcats - Left Wing/Center
Johnston has been a steady riser all season and completes a powerful trio on the Whitby top line. He is a smart, two-way dimensional player who displays creative and drive when engaged in the cycle game. Displays steady passing, a great motor and a goal scoring ability which relies on quick hands and unpredictability which has generated a lot of output in the seasons final month.
Lawson Sherk - Halton Hurricanes - Center
Sherk was the SCTA player of the year and rightfully so. Hes strong on the puck and comfortable in transition, feeding off of linemate Burroughs to create a strong 1-2 punch atop the Halton offensive core. Ability to produce offensively, he is also impactful in his own end, showcasing a quick stick and a favourable quality of stripping the puck and leading transitions.
Jon-Randall Avon - Peterborough Petes - Center
While not a first-round player Avon is a speedy offensive presence who can flat out fly. Speed is the name of his game and it generates an unpredictable offensive effort, while also being applied in the forecheck. With overall smarts and effort to compliment offensive ability, he's a likeable player which would be a key addition to any team.
Cole Hipkin – Brantford 99'ers - Defense
A strong defender for the Brantford 99ers this season, Hipkin is a mature two-way player who can drive the pace of play in all three zones of the ice. In addition to his solid skating abilities, Hipkin features good size and the ability to consistently diffuse offensive plays as they are devised by his opposition.
Ryan Winterton – Whitby Wildcats - Center
A staple on the Whitby Wildcats’ top line this past season alongside Brenden Sirizzotti and Thomas Johnston, Ryan Winterton is a stable and consistent offensive performer who also happened to lead the ETA in goals with 38. Although no stranger to bulging the twine, Winterton stands as a threat to pass too, a quality which makes him an unpredictable threat in the attacking zone.
Connor Punnett – North Central Predators - Defense
Size, strength, and skill are the key features of Connor Punnett’s overall game -- a major reason why the youngster stands as OHL-ready ahead of the 2019-20 campaign. An intimidating presence on the blue line given his ability to shutdown opposing players both physically or with his accurate stick, Punnet is also a smooth and purposeful skater who can navigate the ice with ease and isn’t afraid to rush the puck deep into his offensive zone.
Marc Boudreau – Toronto Marlboros – Left Wing
Somewhat overshadowed by the likes of Danil Zhilkin, Wyatt Johnston, and Jack Beck on the Toronto Marlboros’ roster this past season, Marc Boudreau’s game continues to progress and impress. A strong and steady skater, Boudreau is a lethal offensive player in the making owing to his impressive work ethic, steady hands, and elite-level hockey IQ.
Devon Savignac – Sudbury Wolves – Left Wing
One of the hardest working players we witnessed during the 2018-19 season, Devon Savignac is a tireless skater and competitor who strives to make a difference each and every shift. With speed to burn and the skill-set to match, Savignac can toy with defenders in his attacking zone and features the unique ability to process, analyze, and react to the game while moving at top speed.