Friday, July 31, 2020

31 Teams in 31 Days - Detroit Red Wings

After dealing Alec Regula, Detroit had no OHL prospects this season. However, they may have one next year.

**Albin Grewe - Saginaw Spirit
A recent selection of the Spirit in the Import Draft, all signs point to Grewe suiting up for the Spirit next season. If so, it is likely that Saginaw will put Grewe with Perfetti and Suzuki on the first line, so that he can open up space for them with his physicality. If he's playing with that duo consistently (especially on the powerplay), his production could be quite high (in the 75-85 point range). It sounds like a really good opportunity for him to develop after a disappointing season in Sweden this past year.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

31 Teams in 31 Days - Dallas Stars

This is a really strong group of OHL prospects for the Dallas Stars

1. Thomas Harley - Mississauga Steelheads
I really, really liked Harley's progression this season. I think he took a massive step forward as a defensive player. In his draft year, it was rare to see Harley use his size to his advantage in the defensive end. This passiveness was my biggest criticism of him as a player. This year that was nearly one hundred percent rectified; a complete 180. He became ultra aggressive in stepping up on attackers, using his reach and his size to disrupt in the neutral zone. The turnovers he forces here by being aggressive, allow him and Mississauga to play up tempo and on the attack often. Deeper in his own zone, we saw Harley really start to put emphasis on being a physical player. This is especially true behind the net, where he seems most at home finishing his checks and suffocating opposing players. Offensively, he's still a major asset because of his skating ability and penchant for creating in transition. However, I think he showed more restraint at even strength, selecting his spots better to push deep, showing more trust in his teammates to gain entry by making quick outlet passes when his lane or space was taken away. One area of his game that I still think could use more growth is quarterbacking the powerplay. I would still like to see him be a little more fluid on the point, using fakes, and his quickness to open up those lanes. He can get a little trigger happy back there and too often those shots are fired wide. The million dollar question is, is Harley ready for the NHL next season? There certainly looks to be an opening for him, given the uncertainty of Stephen Johns' health, and the UFA status of Roman Polak and Andrej Sekera. I think he will definitely earn that pre ELC, nine game look. Part of me would love to see him back in the OHL again, to see him continue to improve his confidence as a two-way player, and to continue to improve his offensive decision making. However, I do also realize that he may be ready to be tested more, in an environment where his skating ability can't get him out of trouble all the time. A realistic expectation could be the type of NHL season Thomas Chabot had in his first year (around that 25 point mark), if he sticks in Dallas. And if he returns to the OHL, he could be the favourite for the Max Kaminsky as the league's top defender, and a lock for the Canadian WJC team (if there is a WJC).

2. Ty Dellandrea - Flint Firebirds
It was definitely a strong season for Dellandrea. Not only did he increase his offensive production significantly, but he also lead Flint to a much improved record and was a key member of Team Canada's gold medal winning effort at the WJC's. His strong leadership with Flint earned him the OHL's Mickey Renaud Trophy (awarded to the top captain). Basically all the areas that I outlined in last year's report for him to improve on (making quicker decisions with the puck, goal scoring production, consistency, team success) progressed quite well. In particular, I think most promising was Dellandrea's increased confidence in his shot and the consistency with which he was able to escape coverage near the crease in order to get himself those opportunities. He always had a heavy shot, it was hunting down those chances more consistently that seemed to be the hard part. Overall, you've got one heck of a complete hockey player. There really isn't anything that Dellandrea does poorly and I think given his skating ability, IQ, and strength in the faceoff dot, he could probably jump right into the Stars lineup next season. One thing that I might highlight would be a need to get stronger to win those battles more consistently below the hash marks. Dellandrea engages often, but he could stand to do a little better to win those challenges. Additionally, Dallas does have a tendency to develop their players slowly, and there may not be a spot for him to play consistently, especially down the middle. If he's in the AHL, I would expect him to be around the 45-50 point mark like Jack Studnicka was this past season. Ultimately, I've moved Harley ahead of Dellandrea only because I think his upside is higher. While Dellandrea is a terrific player, his skill level with the puck and overall creativity never quite developed the way that I thought it would and as such, I think he likely levels off as Jeff Halpern kind of player who can be a great two-way, middle six center.

3. Riley Damiani - Kitchener Rangers
Full disclosure, I had higher expectations for Damiani this season. I truly thought that he would be among the OHL's leading scorers. Instead, he saw his numbers dip. So what's the deal? I think context is required here. Kitchener got off to a very slow start as a team that saw them change coaches. During the Mike McKenzie period later in the year, the team was rolling and would have likely done some major damage had the postseason actually occurred. Secondly, the Rangers really made a concerted effort to spread the wealth; rolling three lines pretty equally. Damiani still led Kitchener in scoring, something to be applauded. He's still a high energy player who can keep the puck on a string in the offensive end, and controls the half wall as well as any forward in the OHL. While his forward stride and overall explosiveness can still only be classified as average, Damiani moves well laterally and his cuts are sharp, which gives him a real elusive quality in the offensive zone as he darts in and out of traffic. His vision is high end. His shot is better than the numbers would indicate. My real criticism here is that I felt that his engagement level without the puck (that high energy intensity I spoke of) was just not as consistent as it had been in previous years. Getting back to playing all out, all the time will be key for Damiani's development as a pro player. He's not the biggest and he's not the quickest, so he's going to have to consistently outwork the opposition. If he can establish himself as a top 9 player in the AHL next year, that would be huge, posting numbers over that 30+ point mark.

4. Nicholas Porco - Barrie Colts
Definitely a step backward this year for Porco, which included a move from Saginaw to the rebuilding Barrie Colts. Ultimately, his game still lacks polish and substance. Without question, he is one of the better skating forwards in the OHL. His explosiveness earns him scoring chances when he's attacking in transition because he can get behind defenders by catching them flat footed. But when he does not have the puck, he is just not a consistent factor. Porco still has goal scoring potential, but he needs to do a better job of finding those opportunities in the middle by playing through traffic. And he needs to 100% commit to using his speed to attack as a forechecker and to play along the wall. Whether its a will thing, or a lack of strength thing, it's not too late to be corrected. But if Porco can't become more of an East/West player, he probably doesn't earn a contract from the Stars next year. So what can we expect next year? Barrie should improve with some nice young talent and Porco will be a focal point of their second line. The opportunity for him to improve his numbers will be there. We could be looking at a major breakout in the 30+ goal range, or we could not at this point. I think the skating ability is just too good for him not to figure things out at some point, though.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

31 Teams in 31 Days - Columbus Blue Jackets

Liam Foudy leads the OHL crop for the Blue Jackets.

1. Liam Foudy - London Knights
The Blue Jackets organization really couldn't have asked for a better developmental season from Foudy. He really took some nice steps forward. His engagement level without the puck, his defensive play, his work in traffic, and his work as a forechecker really became so much more consistent. And these are the areas of Foudy's game that will be his bread and butter at the NHL level given his speed and projection as a high quality middle six player. Additionally, he was more assertive in using the middle to gain entry to the offensive zone, rather than being kept to the perimeter. This opened up more options for him as a playmaker and made him a more consistent offensive facilitator. In his short emergency recall to Columbus, these improvements were on full display. Ditto for the World Junior Championships, where he was one of Canada's most effective forwards en route to a gold medal. Offensively, Foudy has some limitations still. His shot will likely never be above average. He can still have a tendency to play with tunnel vision in transition. He is not the most creative player. However, I do think that his poise and patience with the puck in the cycle and when working the half wall, really improved. And realistically, this is more critical as Foudy is likely to be utilized more in retrievals and as a support player at the next level, and not relied upon as much for entries as he has been in the OHL. I do not think Foudy will require time at the AHL level. I think he can play next year with the Blue Jackets and fill a third line role for them. I wouldn't expect a ton from him offensively, but a 10 goal, 20 assist kind of season is very realistic.

2. Tyler Angle - Windsor Spitfires
During stretches this year, Angle was one of the most dangerous offensive players in the OHL. When he was on, and in the zone, he was nearly unstoppable from shift to shift. When he wasn't, he was difficult to spot. Some of that is certainly on Angle, to improve conditioning or find another way to be more consistent. Some of that is a reflection of the Spitfires, who were up and down as a team this season. Angle did look like he had improved his skating, in particular the explosiveness of his stride, which was necessary given his lack of size. He always keeps his feet moving in the offensive zone and plays with a lot of energy, but when the puck is on his stick, there was previously a bit of lull. I saw improvement there this season. More improvement will be needed to be a pro player, but it's a step in the right direction. I also still see his pro projection being on the wing and not down the middle, where he can use that tenaciousness to support, rather than lead the attack. Next year, he'll return to Windsor as an OA. I see his OA season going one of two ways. The first way, is a stagnant year where he's around the point per game mark and probably fails to earn a contract from Columbus. The second way is that he corrects some of his consistency issues and explodes offensively, emerging as a 90+ point player. 

3. Eric Hjorth - Sarnia Sting
Hjorth came pretty much advertised this season in the OHL, his first in the league after crossing the pond. On a lot of nights, he looked like a kid coming off a lost season of development due to injury. Tough coming into the league on a poor team too; baptism by fire. As such, there was certainly some tentativeness to his game. At times, I felt him to be indecisive with the both ends. No question, he needs to make quicker decisions when the puck is on his stick. I also felt him to be too passive in the defensive end; too often a bystander. A 6'4 defender should certainly never be a bystander. All that said, he's a raw kid who definitely has the potential to improve in his second season next year. The big point shot is real. He can fire the puck and he is aggressive in searching out opportunities to utilize it. His skating is also good for a big man and I think that as he gains confidence, we really could see him become more of a factor in leading the attack. He just needs to extend deeper. Sometimes for Import defenders, we see a totally different player in their second season as they adjust to the pace and rigorous demands of the OHL. I suspect we could see a different player next season in Hjorth. Wouldn't shock me at all if we see him in the 17-18 goal range and the 45+ point range next year. He'll probably need to be there in order to earn a contract too. The key is just how much growth is possible regarding his decision making.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

31 Teams in 31 Days - Colorado Avalanche

No OHL prospects for the Avalanche currently.

Monday, July 27, 2020

31 Teams in 31 Days - Chicago Blackhawks

1. Alec Regula - London Knights
Acquired from Detroit in exchange for Brendan Perlini, Regula emerged as one of the top defenders in the OHL this past season. He makes such a large impact in a variety of different situations. With his size (6'4, 200lbs), and his reach, he is such a difference maker in the defensive end. According to InStat Hockey, his takeaway numbers were among the best of any defender in the OHL. His gap control is solid and he understands when he needs to take away space from his checks. Regula also really stepped up the consistency of his physical game this year, taking on that leadership role for London and making life difficult for opposing forwards below the hashmarks and near the crease. Regula is also a difference maker on the powerplay, where he plays the bumper position for the Knights. His hands are quite good for a big defender and he's so strong on his skates, that he becomes an immovable object for a lot of OHL defenders. However, a common misconception about him is that he's only a factor offensively with the man advantage. Not the case. He was third in the OHL among defenders with 0.45 even strength primary points per game this past year. He has very good offensive instincts without the puck and identifies shooting lanes well, showing a penchant for jumping up to create. With his strong skating ability and big, long strides, he knows that he can take chances because he recovers well. Without question, Regula's breakout/exit pass was the most improved part of his game. He really cut down on his turnovers and his decision making was much quicker and more deliberate. The only time you really see turnovers become an issue is when he tries to be aggressive as a puck carrier, pushing through the neutral zone. He just doesn't have the puck skill to be able to push through defenses in transition, at least consistently. Regula will turn pro next year and I am a lot more confident about his NHL potential now than I was a year ago. While there may be some adjustments needed as the pace increases, his size and skating ability will play right away as a defensive player. I honestly believe that the Blackhawks should continue to use Regula as a net front presence on the powerplay too. He is such an asset in that position. Look for him to be in the 25-30 point mark as an AHL rookie and for him to push for an NHL roster spot within a few years.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

31 Teams in 31 Days - Carolina Hurricanes

1. Ryan Suzuki - Saginaw Spirit
No question, Suzuki is one of the most talented playmakers in the OHL. When he's given time and space to operate, he is so deadly with the puck because of how well he anticipates the play and sees the offensive zone. The move to Saginaw really helped Suzuki's confidence level too, especially when paired with Cole Perfetti. Having another equally talented player to skate with, I saw Suzuki forcing plays less than he was guilty of previously. He can still struggle to prolong possession deep in the offensive zone because he gets outmuscled along the wall, however I do think that we saw progression in his play away from the puck under Chris Lazary, especially in terms of defensive commitment. Moving forward, as Suzuki becomes a little quicker, a little stronger and more confident as this level, I do think that we'll see his goal scoring ability improve. In Saginaw (compared to Barrie), I think we saw him attack the middle more often in search of those scoring opportunities (the nature of playing with Perfetti), however more consistency is required. I think his shot is more of a weapon than he believes it is. Look for Ryan to have an absolutely monster season next year and be among the OHL's leading scorers. I think he's still a longer term project as an NHL top 6 player, but he is taking steps forward in the right direction, rounding out his game, and doing the things asked of him for his development.

2. Jamieson Rees - Sarnia Sting
For an ultra competitive kid like Rees, I think it has to be really hard to play for a team that struggles to win games consistently. The offensive production was great. He had one of the better point per game averages in the league. However, I think that, at times, his high risk style of play helped to contribute to some of those mounting Sarnia loss totals. Be it turnovers from trying to force entry to the offensive zone, or from pushing through traffic to the net. Poorly timed penalties (and suspensions) also contributed to Rees' play taking on some frustrating tendencies. I still love him as a player and as a pro prospect, but things will need to tighten up next season. Rees will need to figure out how to tow the line to keep him in the lineup and on the ice. He is at his best when he's playing physical, but can he tone it down and still be an impact forechecker and three zone player? Additionally, can Rees learn to utilize his linemates more effectively as a go to offensive player and cut down on his turnovers? I think we'll see a turnaround next year where he finds himself near the top of the OHL scoring race (like Suzuki). A 100 point season isn't outside the realm of possibility if he can stay healthy. Additionally, a trade out of Sarnia is also possible as the Sting move forward with a rebuild.   

3. Blake Murray - Sudbury Wolves
Look, I'm not going to say that Murray is a better NHL prospect than Suzuki and Rees (which should be obvious considering I have him ranked behind those two). However, I do think that Murray progressed more as a player and that is extremely promising for his prospects as an NHL player. A power center, Murray clearly improved his conditioning heading into the season as he was able to maintain a higher level of play and really improve his consistency and engagement level shift to shift. I also think that he looked noticeably quicker this year, something that was outlined as a reason that he fell to the 6th round. Murray is still a great goal scorer who possesses a really heavy shot that could translate to the NHL level. He's also really strong on faceoffs. Moving forward, Murray will need to continue to improve his skating. At times, he still looks a little stiff with the puck on his stick; a focus on improving his lateral footwork and his ability to cut while in possession could help him be more dynamic in transition. Next year, Sudbury should be a strong team yet again, and I would expect Murray to be a 40 goal scorer and an 80+ point player. Given his size and skill package, he is tracking toward an ELC and projects as a middle six goal scorer who can play multiple positions.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

31 Teams in 31 Days - Calgary Flames

No OHL prospects for the Calgary Flames currently.

Friday, July 24, 2020

31 Teams in 31 Days - Buffalo Sabres

Only one OHL prospect for the Buffalo Sabres currently.

1. Matej Pekar - Sudbury Wolves
Splitting the shortened year between Barrie and Sudbury, Pekar saw a slight uptick in production from a year ago, but still didn't take that next step as an offensive player that I was hoping for/anticipating. I think we have a pretty clear picture of the type of player that he is and the type of player he projects to be at the NHL level. He operates best as a complimentary piece with more skilled players. He drives the net wide and has enough speed to catch defenders flat footed. He is great in puck retrieval situations, on the forecheck, and when prolonging possession along the wall. He engages physically and can be a real pain in the ass to play against. His shot still hasn't really developed into a significant weapon, but he can finish off plays in tight. Pekar does have good vision coming off the wall and works well to open up that space for his more skilled linemates. Moving forward, the key for him will be to continue to improve his skating so that he fits in the mold of today's checking line player. That's not to say that Pekar is a poor skater, as I did mention that he can beat defenders with speed. But I think if he could get it to that next level, he would be an even more effective. If he could just get a little quicker, his aggressiveness away from the puck would be even more of an asset. Buffalo will have some options next year as to what to do with Pekar. His most likely destination is in the AHL, where I would suspect that he is eased into a larger role and plays most of the year on a third or 4th line. I wouldn't expect a lot of offense in his first year, but he does project as an NHL player down the line IMO.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

31 Teams in 31 Days - Boston Bruins

No OHL players for the Boston Bruins at this current time.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

31 Teams in 31 Days - Arizona Coyotes

Second up are the Arizona Coyotes.

1. Jan Jenik - Hamilton Bulldogs
Jenik was having a heck of a season before a knee injury at the World Junior Championships ended his season. He is just such a fun player to watch. He is relentless on and off the puck and it makes him consistently dangerous. By adding strength and improving his explosiveness this year, Jenik was able to be more consistently effective as a driver of play in transition. He doesn't mess around or take short cuts. Jenik is always pushing the pace and looking to attack the middle of the ice. There is a real variance in his attacks too, not always just taking the puck wide to beat defenders with speed. According to my research on InStat hockey, he's the leader in offensive zone entries per game for any NHL drafted prospect in the OHL (ahead of the Foudy brothers). He's also a strong two-way player who can be relied upon in any situation. At the pro level, I would expect his defensive abilities to improve even more. As a player who excels with the puck on his stick, Jenik can be prone to some offensive zone turnovers, but he never gives up on a play and is always working to get the puck back when he coughs it up. Some tweaks may be needed in the decision making department at the pro level, as he won't be able to stickhandle and skate around/through NHL/AHL defenders the way that he does in the OHL. The question is, just how much will that knee injury hurt his development? Jenik is a player who made some improvements to a previously average skating stride, it would be a shame for those improvements to stagnate or take a step backward. Continuing to strengthen his lower body will be key for his development. The skill level and effort are there though. Hopefully he's able to get back into action right away to start next season (which it sounds like he will be). I think he's a 50+ point player in the AHL.

2. Axel Bergkvist - Kitchener Rangers 
An impressive first (and only) OHL season for Bergkvist, a 7th rounder by Arizona in 2019. It took him a little bit to find his stride, but by season's end, he had become one of the league's elite puck moving defenders. His skating ability is a real asset, in particular the smoothness of his stop/starts, and the explosiveness he possesses. This makes him so elusive when exiting the zone. Bergkvist also has good vision when working the point. Really like how he is able to find players back door so consistently after he draws in defenders by being aggressive stepping into the slot area. He draws the attention of the opposition but rarely turns the puck over in the offensive zone. Given his lack of size (5'9), I suppose the million dollar question is, can he defend effectively at even strength at the next level? He's a pretty strong/thick kid, and I think he challenges well at the OHL level. However, he's certainly not a physical player and his intensity level will need to increase. He's signed on to play in the Allsvenskan next year so it will be interesting to see how he plays against men there before a likely transition to the AHL the following year. This looks like a great seventh round selection by the Coyotes though, as Bergkvist at least looks like someone who can quarterback a powerplay and have his minutes sheltered on the third pairing (if his defensive game doesn't translate as well).

3. Liam Kirk - Peterborough Petes
While Kirk certainly didn't have a poor season, averaging over a point per game, I'm not sure he reached the expectations that I had for him. Injuries were a bit of an issue, missing time due to a concussion and as a result of a puck to the face. Kirk is still a skilled offensive player. He generates good velocity on his release and still projects as a goal scorer. He looked more confident with the puck this year and that poise allowed him to develop into a more well rounded offensive player; showing improvements as a playmaker and passer. However, he's still slight and is a relatively one dimensional player. He will engage, but he's not winning the majority of his battles near the wall or in front of the net. This really prevents him from being a more consistent player. Ultimately, I suspect that this is why the Coyotes have yet to sign Kirk as they wonder if his skill set is dynamic enough to be a top six player at the NHL level. Where Kirk plays next year remains to be seen. He could be back in Peterborough as an overager. He could play in the AHL on a PTO. He could head back overseas. Arizona has until 2022 to sign him, so they make ultimately take their time. Kirk was drafted as a project and he still remains one.

4. Ryan McGregor - Sarnia Sting
After the Maple Leafs chose to relinquish McGregor's rights, the former 6th rounder returned to Sarnia for his overage season. As part of a rebuilding Sting team, McGregor did his best to keep the team afloat in a leadership role. As such, he earned an ELC from Arizona. McGregor projects best as a bottom six center because of how well rounded his game is. He's certainly not a physical player, but his skating ability and defensive IQ make him a candidate to fill a 3rd or 4th line center role. He has a really good/active stick in the defensive zone, consistently forcing turnovers by applying pressure to puck carriers and by anticipating/jumping passing lanes. As an offensive player, McGregor works best as a pass first playmaker. He creates space with his pushes and has the vision to facilitate even while at full speed. Not an extremely creative player, McGregor operates best in a straight line. Ultimately, the question is, just how well can McGregor's game translate to the pro level? There's certainly going to be some concern that he is a classic "tweener" because of a well rounded skill set, but one that lacks a dynamic quality. As mentioned, McGregor probably profiles best as a future checking line center, but he'll need time in the AHL/ECHL to really build up the strength necessary to excel in that role. I would expect that we see him in the ECHL next year with a target of making the AHL full time the following year.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

31 Teams in 31 Days - Anaheim Ducks

Well we certainly need to do our annual "31 Teams in 31 Days" a little differently this year. With the 2020 NHL Entry Draft set to occur in early October, we're only going to look at the players drafted or signed from previous seasons. Then, when the draft occurs, I will go back and edit each team's article with the OHL players that they select. Additionally, I will still go through with my annual ranking of the Top 25 OHL Prospects, however I will include 2020 NHL Draft prospects in this piece (based on my rankings for that crop).

Last year we started at the bottom of the alphabet. That means this year we go back to the top. The Anaheim Ducks are first!

1. Mathew Hill - Defense - Barrie Colts
Hill is the type of player who doesn't really get a ton of appreciation when playing on a poor team. The Colts were an inconsistent team this year due to their youth, especially down the stretch, and that puts a lot of pressure on a stay at home defender like Hill. The offensive production dropped slightly, but that is not what he's being counted on for. His offensive game is simple. You will not see him take liberties with the puck. If he separates his man from the puck, he has his head up and is looking to pass out as quickly as possible. At times, he can be pressured into poor choices, which come as a result of a lack of dynamic puck skill and confidence. His mobility is actually good for a bigger defender, so I would like to see him gain more confidence in using that skating ability to open up the ice more for breakout opportunities. Defensively, Hill is a major asset in defending in transition. He is very hard to get around because of his reach and he is not afraid to use his size to angle off attackers and put them on their behind. He is also a strong and stable presence near the crease, again, using his size to intimidate and tie up. Where I think Hill's defensive game still needs more growth is along the wall. He loses too many challenges for a larger player because he doesn't keep his feet moving and is forced to reach. Additionally, it would be great to see more consistency as a physical player to pin and seal his man so that they don't slip away as easily as they seem to from his grasp. However, the Colts should be better next year and Hill should not be written off as a pro prospect just yet. He still possesses the raw size and mobility package that hooked the Ducks in the first place. I would look for his offensive production to improve slightly too. A 5-6 goal, 20 assist kind of season is certainly a possibility.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

2020 CHL Import Draft Review

On Tuesday, June 30, the Canadian Hockey League held its annual Import Draft. It is here, CHL teams get the opportunity to add import talent to their roster. There are two rounds of the draft, and a team can pass on their pick at any time.

Just to remind you, CHL clubs are permitted to carry only two import players on their team or protected list every year. However, if a CHL team has an Import who was an NHL first round pick they receive the opportunity to add another player to their protected list to cover should that first round import make the pro level. There are other scenarios which can allow you to carry the rights of three (such as having an OA Import, having an Import on their protected list who didn't show the year prior, etc). Overall, it's pretty complicated. And even more so this year with some additional covid rules in place and the NHL Draft yet to occur.

Again, further complicating things this year is the uncertainty surrounding the hockey season and the NHL Draft. How many imports will make the trek given the pandemic situation? How will a late NHL Draft affect strategy?

While the Import Draft can be a bit of a crap shoot, many of the players drafted do come over (in a normal year) and can have an impact. Let's breakdown the results of previous five Import Drafts.

In 2015
23 of 28 players selected came to the OHL (82%)
17 of 28 players selected lasted the entire OHL season with their clubs (61%%)
10 (open for debate) of the 28 players had a significant impact on their OHL teams (36%) 

In 2016
23 of 30 players selected came to the OHL (76%)
21 of 30 players selected lasted the entire OHL season with their clubs (70%)
12 of 30 (open for debate) had a significant impact on their OHL teams (40%) 

In 2017
18 of 25 players selected came to the OHL (72%)
16 of 25 players selected lasted the entire OHL season with their clubs (64%)
10 of 25 (open for debate) had a significant impact on their OHL teams (40%) 

In 2018
24 of 27 players selected came to the OHL (88%)
20 of 27 players selected lasted the entire OHL season with their clubs (74%)
10 of 27 (open for debate) had a significant impact on their OHL teams (37%) 

In 2019
22 of 28 players selected came to the OHL (79%)
20 of 28 players selected lasted the entire OHL season with their clubs (71%)
10 of 28 (open for debate) had a significant impact on their OHL teams (36%)

Of course this article wouldn't have been possible without the help of these experts:
Jimmy Hamrin (@jimmyhamrin)
Dennis Schellenberg (@ScoutingFactory)
Viktor Fomich (@RUSProspects)
Chapin Landvogt (@Csomichapin)
Marco Bombino (@marco_bombino)
Czech Prospects (@CZprospects)
Ryan Wagman (@RAWagman)
Samuel Tirpak (@SammyT_51)
Ross Martin (@MHLProspects)

Here are the reports: 

1. North Bay Battalion - Matvei Petrov - Forward
After already acquiring one Matvei this offseason (Minnesota Wild draft selection, Matvei Guskov), the Battalion opted to double down by taking Russian forward Matvei Petrov with the first overall selection. Petrov had one of the higher point per game averages among U17 players in the MHL this past season and was a top player for the Russian U17 entry at the five nations (was not rostered for the World U17 Challenge). Listed at 6'1 already, he injects size and skill into the Battalion lineup for next season, and should help to accelerate the team's rebuild with some other fantastic young players.

Scouting Report:
Offensively, Petrov was one of the most talented 03’s in the MHL last season. Equally adept at passing and shooting, and does a really nice job “disappearing” in the offensive zone before showing up in a dangerous location all by his lonesome. Nice hands as well; uses his long frame to get a lot of puck movement while retaining control. The rest of his game, like a lot of young forwards, is a work in progress. Petrov spends a lot of time on the perimeter, and doesn’t engage much physically. His stride also lacks some strength; again, that is not uncommon for a D-1 player. Petrov definitely has the talent to excite in the OHL, and I am a bit disappointed that I won’t be following him this year. - Ross Martin
Petrov is a right-handed natural center, who is also comfortable at wings, has been named among top 2003 born Russian players for quite some time now. Plays at high intensity, got good skating and puck skills, great shot, which is why he is more of a shoot-first type of player than a playmaker (although his passing skills are ok too). - Viktor Fomich

4. Niagara IceDogs - Danil Gushchin - Forward
Drafted last year by Regina in the Import Draft, it was rumoured then that Gushchin turned down the offer to the WHL because he had hoped to be selected by an OHL team. He gets his wish this season. Gushchin is a potential top 75 selection for the 2020 NHL Draft this year and is coming off a very strong season in the USHL with Muskegon. There are some rumours that he is looking towards a pro contract in Finland for his D+1 year, however it seems that Niagara is quite confident that they can get him to report. He would become an immediate first line player for the Dogs and would be an electric add to the organization because of his high skill level.

Scouting Report:
Speaking to an NHL scout about Gushchin this year, I was told that the Russian winger needs to play with an edge to be successful. It is clear that when he does as that scout noted, his skill set can absolutely shine. His hands and feet are both very quick and deceiving. He is capable of pulling off fantastic zone entries. Despite lacking in size, he is incredibly dogged on the puck and is remarkable in his ability to shelter it from backchecking defenders. Gushchin doesn’t have the blazing speed one likes to see in a player of his small stature, but his feet play up thanks to edgework and agility that can be simply dazzling. Gushchin tends to be more “on” when his team has the puck, and flat when they don’t. He can go from an expert reading of the play to a disinterested bystander in the space of a single shift.- Ryan Wagman, McKeen's Draft Guide

7. Sarnia Sting - Alex Geci - Forward
A fairly highly rated prospect heading into next year's NHL Draft, Geci is a Slovak center who split time between his native country and Finland this past year. He has size and plays the game with power, which should fit right in with the group being assembled in Sarnia currently. Between Geci and Namestnikov, the Sting's future down the middle looks bright and even gives them flexibility to move Jamieson Rees to help the rebuild further.

Scouting Report:
Geci is an offensive player who drives the net hard. He is a great shooter and has a good variety of shots in his arsenal to use. He also has very good playmaking abilities as he sees the ice beautifully in offensive and neutral zones. I don't worry about his transition to NA style of game as he likes to play a lot on the inside and as I mentioned at the beginning, he drives the net hard. Naturally uses his size (6'2) to his advantage on offense and also defense where he is really competent as well. Skating is also very good! However, he doesn't have a high ceiling offensively and while he has very good shot and offensive game, I don't expect him to post above point per game numbers in OHL. He just doesn't have those high end skills in my opinion, but he is really solid overall. He should be a fully capable two-way 2nd line center for Sarnia who would crack 20-goal mark and post around 40-45 points in his first year, which would be pretty solid. - Samuel Tirpak

16. Hamilton Bulldogs - Artyom Grushnikov - Defense
Grushnikov is a very high profile defense prospect heading into the 2021 NHL Draft, with most scouts already listing him as a potential first round selection. He played a year up for Russia internationally this season (with the U18's at the Hlinka/Gretzky and the U19's at the WJAC) and would be a terrific add for the Bulldogs defense that is being retooled this offseason (Kammerer, Donovan). Word is that Grushnikov was very interested in crossing the pond before the Import draft took place, and Hamilton has done very well to get their high profiles Imports to report in recent years.

Scouting Report:
Grushnikov has long been playing up an age level, competing with the U18’s and U19’s this year at the Hlinka/Gretzky and at the World Junior A Challenge. With his size (6’2), mobility, and composure at both ends, it is easy to see why. His game is extremely mature. Look for him to be a target at the CHL Import Draft as playing North America would give him a chance to show off more of his offensive skill set. - Brock Otten, McKeen's Draft Guide
He’s my top 2021 NHL Draft defender from the MHL (and third ranked player), so this is big if he comes over. Good size, good skating, quite polished defensively for such a young player. Not a very physical player, but I don’t think he needs to be, with his brand of defense. Grushnikov flashes offensive ability, but looks hesitant to use it; I can’t tell if he is just over cautious, or if maybe I’m just reading too much into some of those flashes.- Ross Martin
Grushnikov is LHD, also is among the top guys of his age, and actually was even a regular on U18 Team Russia already last season, which shows how he is naturally gifted in terms of athleticism. Pretty mobile and has a good pass, although I'm not sure if he has enough puck-moving potential. - Viktor Fomich

19. Mississauga Steelheads - Kasper Larsen - Defense
The Steelheads sure are trying to build a massive blueline after selecting 6'6 Danish defender Kasper Larsen. He fits right in with the likes of Harley, Holm, and Del Mastro. Larsen already played pro against men this year with Rodovre (which also rostered former OHL standout defender Nick Crawford). He was also the only U18 player to record a point in the Danish men's league this past season.

Scouting Report:
With respect to Larsen, I can say that Denmark's (rather modest) hockey scene has been very much talking about him as a considerable draft possibility for the 2021 draft since he collected 8 assists in 12 second league games as a 16-year old. Larsen has grown up playing for Rodovre, which is the same club Lars Eller comes from, and was coached in juniors by Olaf Eller, former U20 team coach for Denmark, who is of course Lars' father. He played on the club's pro team this winter as well as for Denmark's U20 side at the D1A worlds in Belarus, but his season was heavily interrupted by a ruptured spleen (even lost 3 kg of blood) after being subjected to an unfortunate check in the team's game against Norway. He was operated upon immediately right there in Belarus and then had a rather windy road to getting back up and running again. Kasper is of course a very big kid who has no problem using his size to his physical advantage on the ice, even against men, but has shown some skating weaknesses at times, both in overall balance and leverage, as well as in the speed department. Nonetheless, he has some smooth hands, can maintain good puck possession through his stickhandling abilities, and has a pretty hard shot, even if accuracy wasn't always present at the pro level this past season. His first pass in exiting the zone improved quite quickly last fall. What stands out the most, however, is that he seems to have a generally good understanding of the game. He can read situations well and comprehends situational challenges at an above-average rate for his age. There are a lot of tools there and I'd have to say this is a strong gamble for Mississauga, as I sure would like to see him over there as he's probably the best Danish Dman to come along in a while. - Chapin Landvogt, McKeen's Hockey

22. Erie Otters - Alexei Kolosov - Goaltender
A bit of a curveball from the Otters here, as I did not see the team selecting a goaltender with Daniel Murphy and Aidan Campbell already in place and a high selection spent on Nolan Lalonde this past priority selection. Where does Kolosov fit in? I suppose Erie walks away from Murphy as an OA and goes with Campbell and Kolosov, allowing Lalonde to play Tier 2. However, does Kolosov even report with a KHL contract with Dinamo Minsk already in his back pocket for next year? Regardless, OHL teams have had great success with Belarussian players in recent years, and Kolosov had some impressive numbers this season.

Scouting Report:
GM Dave Brown on Alexei Kolosov: “Adding yet another solid athlete with international experience. Very athletic goalie that we think will become a nice partner with Aidan (Campbell) and allow us to properly develop Nolan (LaLonde).” Mark Scheig, via Dave Brown (

25. Barrie Colts - Stanislav Vrhel - Forward
Vrhel, a late birthday '02 born Czech forward was certainly well traveled this past season. He played for six different teams, excluding his international forays for the Czech Republic. Part of that had to do with a late season transfer from the Czech circuit to the Finnish one when he joined the Pelicans program. He's slated to continue their next year, but perhaps Barrie can convince him to join the Colts for his draft year (giving him some potential stability).

Scouting Report:
A late 2002 born forward, who could play both center and wing. He has great hands, good hockey IQ and good speed. He plays with lot of confidence and energy, but sometimes he tries to do too much. Vrhel had a strange season, playing for SIX different teams (Chomutov, Chomutov U20, Pelicans, Peliitat, Pelicans U20, Pelicans U18). I see lot of potential in him but he needs to settle up and mature his game. OHL could be the right way but I have no additional news about his plans for next season. - Czech Prospects

28. Owen Sound Attack - Noah Delemont - Defense
It's not too often that you see Imports change leagues after their rights are released, but that is the case with Delemont. A high selection of Acadie-Bathurst last year, Delemont failed to live up to the high expectations placed on him. However, this is a player who came into the season with a lot of hype (for the CHL and the NHL Draft). He is not void of talent and this is a solid pick by Owen Sound to see if they can unlock what Acadie-Bathurst could not. They are likely hoping that he can help to replace some of the offense lost from the backend by the graduation of Brady Lyle.

Scouting Report:

31. Sudbury Wolves - Samu Tuomaala - Forward
A highly touted 2021 NHL Draft prospect, Tuomaala is one of the better 2003 born players in Finland right now and would be a terrific addition to Sudbury's top six next year if they can get him to report. Currently a member of the Karpat organization, Tuomaala was a standout for Finland internationally this year at both the U17 and U18 levels. Sudbury has had a lot of success getting Finnish players to report in recent years and the success of UP Luukkonen will definitely play a role (especially if he offers encouragement and support).

Scouting Report:
Tuomaala oozes potential as a goal scoring winger because of his highend speed and shot. His hands keep up well with his feet, making him extremely dangerous in transition. He is the third player in the Karpat program on this list and performed extremely well in the U20 league this past season as a U17 player.- Brock Otten, McKeen's Draft Guide
One of the most intriguing Finnish prospects for the 2021 NHL Draft. He's a dynamic winger with game-breaking speed and skill. Explosive with great acceleration and top speed. Good lower-body strength and is balanced on his skates. A very good, proficient finisher who can beat goalies from a distance and shoot in stride. Very skilled puck handler with swift hands to control the puck at high speeds. Not the most intense player away from the puck, but his compete level is not an issue for me. He has a two-year contract with Kärpät's pro team, so it seems unlikely he would sign with Sudbury. But if he does, I think he would be an impact player for them right away. - Marco Bombino

37. Oshawa Generals - David Mudrak - Defense
A Slovakian defender playing out of Finland, Mudrak is a little older than your typical Import selection (2001 in this case), but it makes sense for Oshawa to grab an older, more seasoned player. They hope to be hosting the Memorial Cup and to be making a push for an OHL Championship. Mudrak was a key member of the Slovakian WJC team this year and should at least be able to provide a stable presence on the third pairing. He's not likely to replace Nico Gross, but it's a smart move for a competitive team.

Scouting Report:
He had a strong season for TPS U20 in the top Finnish junior league. Has a hard, whippy slap shot with good velocity and can rip it from the point. Moves the puck well, has some vision and head for the game. Good on the power play. A decent skater with pretty good mobility. Has good strength and reach as well. I think moving to the OHL would be a great move for him. I don't think he would benefit from playing another season in the Finnish juniors, but on the other hand, he isn't ready to play in the Liiga either. I think he could manage very well in the OHL. - Marco Bombino

40. Windsor Spitfires - Daniil Sobolev - Defense
Not a member of the Russian U17 team this year, Sobolev did play a full year in the MHL, and was one of the higher scoring U17 defenders in the league (outproducing Grushnikov for example). With the loss of Connor Corcoran and presumably Ruben Rafkin, the Spits have to be hoping that Sobolev can bring some offensive flair to ice from the blueline.

Scouting Report:
An aggressive defender, Sobolev was a noticeable presence on the MHL last year despite his young age. His aggression can lead to some real chances for his club, but too often leads to chances against. A lot of his game seems like it is on the verge of taking a big leap forward, but it just hasn’t yet- for example, his skating mechanics will click one shift, but be a little wonky the next. It is a similar story with his stick skills, though I think his passing ability is pretty good already. - Ross Martin
Daniil Sobolev is a RHD with a good shot and puck skills, physically strong and solid at his own end too. Maybe recently he wasn't considered among the top talent tier, but still was a regular on the U17 Team Russia, not to mention that a year earlier he was invited even to a 2002 born team. - Viktor Fomich

43. Peterborough Petes - Brian Zanetti - Defense
As a U17 player, Zanetti was one of the best defenders in the Swiss U20 league this past season and was also a standout for the Swiss National team at both the U17 and U18 levels. Not to set the hype bar too high, but his season was among the best in the history of the league, comparing favourably to the likes of Swiss standouts Roman Josi and Luca Sbisa at the same age. With Declan Chisholm, Jacob Paquette, and Hudson Wilson all moving on, Peterborough was in need of desperate help on the blueline heading into the year and they have to be hoping that Zanetti can be an immediate impact player.

Scouting Report:
A big and lanky defenceman who is eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft. Zanetti possesses smooth skating strides and a decent lateral movement, however, he could work on his overall mobility and needs to get quicker when making turns. Also, he could improve the explosiveness in his first strides. Thanks to his size, he also possesses a long reach and plays with a long stick, that he knows how to use effectively. Shows a good timing with the stick, is good at chipping pucks and is effective when interfering plays and passing lanes. Is able to poke pucks away with his long reach and doesn’t give opposing puck carriers much space. Although he is big in size, he does not necessarily play a very physical game and prefers to use his stick along the boards rather than closing the gap physically. Something he would definitely need to work on in order to fit in the North American type of game better. Nevertheless, he reads game situations in the defensive zone well and possesses a sound positioning game. Also in front of his own net, he could play the physical card more effectively to keep forwards away from scoring on rebounds. Needs to gain lower leg strength and bulk up in order to match his size. Offensively, Zanetti is a guy that likes to join rushes and gets involved in the offensive side of the game. That shows his stats from the previous season with HC Lugano U20, where he scored 8 goals and added 19 assists in just 38 games. He sees open ice very well and is good at skating into those areas, making him available as a fourth forward when breaking out through the neutral zone. Really identifies those open ice sports well and sees passing lanes. Seems to be very aware of his line mates and is able to play quick passes as he often knows already where to put the puck next when attacking. Shows good vision and overall offensive game situations. Thinks quickly and can carry the puck up ice from his own zone into deep into the neutral zone. He is still a raw talent and needs to work on his weaknesses quite a bit but the upside can be seen. - Dennis Schellenberg

46. Flint Firebirds - Dmitry Kuzmin - Defense
Before we get into this report, it should be said that Kuzmin is not likely to suit up for Flint this year given that the team already has Oksentyuk and Kolyachonok returning (in all likelihood). However, since Kolyachonok has an NHL contract, they were permitted to make a third selection to add to their reserve list. Kuzmin is a fellow Belarussian and an undersized defender. As an '03, perhaps they are looking towards the future with this pick, securing his rights following his draft year should he progress well as an 18 year old in Belarus this coming season.

Scouting Report:
Kuzmin, a native of Kholstovo, Belarus, recorded an impressive 25 points (6G, 19A) in 33 games, including a plus-34 rating, as an underager with the Belarus Under-18 National Team this past season. The 5-foot-8, 176-pound left-shot defenseman also tallied seven points and a plus-7 rating in 24 games playing against two age-groups ahead of him with the Belarus Under-20 National Team.
He was nominated as the Best Defenseman Award at the Vlado Dzurilla Tournament this past February after winning a Silver Medal with Team Belarus at the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in February 2019.-

49. Kitchener Rangers - Pavel Cajan - Goaltender
It seemed very likely that Kitchener would use this selection to grab a goaltender and they did just that. Cajan, a late born 2002 (NHL eligible in 2021), is a good sized netminder who served as the back-up for the Czech Republic at last summer's Hlinka/Gretzky (behind Jan Bednar, and replacing Nick Malik on the roster). While projecting goaltenders can be tough, the Rangers have to be hoping that Cajan can come in and be the team's starter next year.

Scouting Report:
A late 2002 born goaltender seems to be a bit underrated. He’s flying under the radar because of two great 2002 born Czech goalies Nick Malik and Jan Bednar, but he is not that far behind them. He had a few strong performances in U18 national team this season and was solid with Liberec in Czech U20 league. Cajan is an athletic goalie with a good size. He has good reflexes, is quick on his skate and can read the play. He’s expected to report and I think playing in the OHL in his draft year could help him to get higher in draft rankings. - Czech Prospects

52. Saginaw Spirit - Pavel Mintyukov - Defense
Not eligible for the NHL Draft until 2022 (because of a late '03 birthday), Minyukov is a good sized defender who was a standout at the World Under 17's this past year. He saw regular action in the MHL too and should be able to jump into the Saginaw lineup next season, helping to replace the likes of Bode Wilde, Ilya Solovyov, and Reilly Webb, who are all moving on.

Scouting Report:
Speaking of puckmoving potential, then I'd say LHD Mintyukov might be a pretty interesting one, as he is pretty creative kid. Additionally he is considered to be already extremely good at his own end, which not that common for young Ds. Might be a bit under the radar, as he is a late 2003 born, but I think he can also be considered among the high-end talent tier. - Viktor Fomich


55. London Knights - John-Jason Peterka - Forward
If London can get Peterka to report, needless to say that would be gigantic for the organization. Selected last year by Barrie, the Colts gave up his rights this year, allowing London to select the top German forward. A potential top 20 selection for the 2020 NHL Draft, Peterka would likely become an immediate impact player at the OHL level. I have seen some skepticism around his reporting, however it should be noted that London just doesn't miss on first round selections under Hunter. The only recent one I can recall is Jesper Bratt, and the only reason he didn't report was because he made the New Jersey Devils.

Scouting Report:
Of the many wonderful things we’ve seen from Peterka this season, his shot sticks out as his strongest weapon. He gets quite a bit of mustard on his wrist shots, which pose a level of precise placement very atypical of a player his age. As much as his wrist shot is something to already view favorably at the pro level, his down-on-one-knee one-timer has become his calling card.  His mitts are silky smooth and he seldom loses the puck on his own accord or without great effort being invested by his opponent. He has shown flashes of brilliance when it comes to dipsy-doodling and deking out opponents while a number of his offensive passes this year have been nothing short of graceful. The way in which he heads the puck, protects it, and applies his skills to attacking should have most talent scouts envisioning much more production down the road when he has fully grown and has several years of experience under his belt. Adjustments have been necessary in this first pro season, but he has been resilient in handling physical play, avoiding unnecessary danger zones, getting himself open, driving to the net, and finding teammates with pinpoint passes at just the right time. He is coachable when it comes to assignments away from the puck, even if that isn’t necessarily a strength to date. Featuring a fairly wide stance for his height, Peterka is able to maintain his balance in a number of situations, particularly along the boards, even while being hounded by opponents. His speed is deceptive as he doesn’t necessarily look like he’ll be able to achieve separation in many cases, but often makes use of an almost hopping-like trot to gain distance from defenseman.- Chapin Landvogt, McKeen's Hockey

57. Ottawa 67's - Vsevolod Gaidamak - Forward
It can be tough to meet expectations when you're replacing two dynamite players in Marco Rossi and Nikita Okhotyuk, however the 67's are hoping that Gaidamak can do that. A top Russian '03 player and a potential high selection for the 2021 NHL Draft, Gaidamak was a standout at the World Under 17's this past year where he helped Russia to a gold medal. Ottawa has to be hoping that he can jump right into the team's top six, especially given the graduations that they may have up front.

Scouting Report:
Not easy to tell how Gaidamak was picked so low, since he is another high-end prospect and his CHL plans wasn't really a secret to anyone. He is a hard-working two-way center with good size, hands and finishing ability. - Viktor Fomich


82. Erie Otters - Artyom Kulakov - Defense
An '03 defender, Kulakov was not part of the Russian U17 team this past season. However, his stats in the U17 league are impressive at well over a point per game. Kulakov also has decent size (listed at 6'2). Erie is likely hoping that Kulakov can join Spencer Sova in being a part of the future of the Otters blueline.

Scouting Report:
Not easy to tell much about Kulakov, since last season he didn't play both in MHL and for the U17 Team Russia, but in previous year he was a regular on that 2003 born NT, so I guess we can consider that at least he is not talentless. - Viktor Fomich


85. Barrie Colts - Alexander Palchik - Forward
With their second selection, Barrie grabs another late born 2002 forward in Belarussian Alexander Palchik. The 6'0 forward played against men in the main Belarussian league this past season and was a teammate of OHL'ers Oksentyuk, Kolyachonok, and Pinchuk on that strong U18 team that took the IIHF world's by storm in April of 2019. Palchik's stats in the tournament were similar to Pinchuk's, which is impressive considering he was a year younger. Barrie has to be hoping that he can at least make a similar impact to the Kingston import this coming season.

Scouting Report:
In the 2nd round, 85th overall, the Colts chose Alexander Palchik from Belarus. “Alexander brings an excellent compete level and has great hockey sense.  He has played up an age internationally and gained tremendous experience from this. He wants to come over to improve his game in the North American setting,” said Jason. -

91. Sudbury Wolves - Dominik Jendek - Forward
A 6'1 forward, and 2001 born, Jendek already played against men this year in the Slovakian men's league with Bratislava. With Fredrik Dichow already signed on for next season, Jendek is insurance should first round selection Samu Tuomaala not report. The Wolves are also not writing off a return for Matej Pekar as an OA, if there is uncertainty surrounding his spot at the pro level.

Scouting Report:
He is a really good skater and offensive player with good size and solid skillset. He is a natural goalscorer who has pretty good shot. His main skill is that he is able to find open spaces very nicely and is efficient offensively, which is really good skill to have in OHL. His defense needs some work. He is not that good defensively and I don't think he would ever be that prototypical two-way guy, but he can get better. Two-way play is just not his style of play as his game is based mostly on his offensive output. If he comes over, he would need some time to adjust his game, but he should be fine after a month or two. It's hard to predict Dominik's point production, but if he transitions well, he should finish at around 25 goals and 40 points since he is more developed older player. - Samuel Tirpak


103. Peterborough Petes - Kaspars Ziemins - Forward
The last Kaspars to play in the OHL (at least from memory) turned out to be a pretty good player (Daugavins). With their second selection, Peterborough goes for a Latvian, 2002 born forward who already had some success playing against men in the Latvian mens league this past season. Perhaps he can provide some quality depth to the team's bottom six. Of course, if Liam Kirk ends up returning as an OA if he's not given a shot at the pro level, Peterborough has already expressed interest in having him back, which would leave Ziemins as the odd man out.

Scouting Report:
“We were able to watch some video of Kaspars playing in the Under-18s and he showed very well in that tournament, and we also had some good reports from contacts in Europe,” added Oke. “He has a high hockey IQ and is a very motivated player who, in the past, has come to Canada to train in the off-season.” -
“He’s a shooter,” said Oke. “He’s an offensive guy who can make plays and is not afraid to shoot the puck.” Ziemins came to Toronto last summer to train. “He’s somewhat familiar with North America and speaks good English and is excited about a potential opportunity with us,” said Oke. “Being a little bit older that might help with the adjustment of coming over,” said Oke. -

112. Saginaw Spirit - Albin Grewe - Forward
A third round selection of the Detroit Red Wings in 2019, Grewe is a Swedish forward who would no doubt be an impact player for the Spirit should he report. He did not have the best 2019/20 season as part of the Djurgardens program, and the Spirit have had success drafting Red Wings prospects and getting them to report so that the Wings can keep a closer eye on them. Grewe plays an abrasive style; similar to Sarnia Sting forward Jamieson Rees, and would do well to open up some room for the likes of Cole Perfetti and Ryan Suzuki next year.

Scouting Report:
"An aggressive power forward with nice hands. Grewe is a good playmaker and can be creative with the puck. He works hard both offensively and defensively could become a good middle six-winger. Grewe used his skating as a weapon at junior level but his short stride style limited his effectiveness at the senior level because his skating does not stand out at that level. Grewe isn’t big in size (6’0) either for a power forward. He is coming off a poor season overall in Sweden, so I think CHL will be good for him and as 19 year old in that league I think he can be ppg player. He needs to change his game to become an NHL player in the long run. His chance is to be more of a role player than an offensive star. His hands are above average for a role player and combine that with his gritty play he has potential. His hockey sense is average and he needs to find other ways to produce chances than he has done so far in his career. CHL seems like a smart step where he will get room to develop his game and not be prematurely slotted in a role that doesn't fit his long-term potential." - Jimmy Hamrin, McKeen's Hockey

117. Ottawa 67's - Kasper Simontaival - Forward
With the last pick by an OHL team, the 67's really took a big shot in selecting Finnish forward Kasper Simontaival. A potential first round selection at this year's NHL entry draft, Simontaival already has a contract with Tappara. However, I am sure the 67's are hoping that the NHL team that drafts him can work out a loan to get him in an Ottawa uniform, where he could be a top line winger and one of the better offensive talents in the OHL.

Scouting Report:
As a skater, Simontaival has improved in the last year. His first few strides are quick and powerful. He has the ability to separate from defenders and gain a stride ahead. He has a wide stance and he is sturdy on his skates which makes him tough to knock off the puck. Simontaival is a precision shooter and clinical finisher with a scorer's blade. He has an excellent shot selection as he can score with a one-timer, slap shot, wrist shot or backhander. The release is very quick, especially on his wrist shot, with impressive power to boot. He can be a scoring threat from pretty much anywhere in the offensive zone – even from further out. He has the ability to create space for himself to unleash quality shots, even when having limited time and space. Scoring goals seems to come very naturally to him. He has great vision and processes the game quickly. He can be creative with the puck and dangle opponents with a high success rate. He rarely turns the puck over in vital areas or gets overly complicated with the puck, which will bode well for in the future.The winger is on the smaller side but his lack of size hasn't affected his game a whole lot – and I don't think it will in the future either. He is surprisingly strong on the puck and uses his body well to keep defenders at bay. This allows him to buy time to make plays in the offensive zone. He will finish his checks every now and then, plus he does not shy away from board battles and can hold his own against bigger opponents.- Marco Bombino, McKeen's Hockey