OHL Prospect Profile: Ryan Gillespie

– Ryan Gillespie –

Toronto Red Wings (GTHL) | Right-Wing | 2019 OHL Draft Eligible

Ontario, Canada | 6-foot, 170-pounds | 2003-born

The Toronto Red Wings quickly transitioned from a fringe contender into a legitimate challenger as the 2018-19 GTHL season progressed — a reality which would not have been made possible without the contributions of forward Ryan Gillespie.

As a shifty and purposeful skater, Gillespie has developed into a lethal offensive player capable of driving what has become a remarkably deep Red Wings’ attack. Able to be utilized in a variety of situations as well as different positions on the ice, Gillespie’s versatility and unrelenting work-ethic have helped to grow and diversify his game at an impressive rate.

Strengths:

  • Speed
  • Agility
  • Hockey Sense
  • Playmaking Ability

As alluded to above, Gillespie is a smooth and polished skater who traverse the ice with little issue. Of incredible high-end speed, Gillespie often leads the rush and can overtake his defenders to the outside of the ice before driving hard to the goal. What’s more is that Gillespie uses his speed to solidify his all-around game, as the youngster routinely puts his head down and charges hard to his own zone while on the back-check.

Related: 2019 OHL Draft Rankings

In addition to his innate skating abilities, it is Gillespie’s elite-level of hockey sense which has come to allow him to play such as devastating role in the attacking zone. Aware of the location of his opponents at all times and capable of feeling the defensive pressure exerted upon himself, Gillespie can navigate all three zones of the ice with extreme diligence and meander around his defender with apparent ease.

Related: 2019 OHL Draft Prospect Profiles

Once situated in a position to create offence from, Gillespie is pass-first player who loves to move the puck having created time and space for himself to operate, and will setup his teammates for tap-in goals to conclude odd-man rushes with remarkable consistency. Once his shot becomes more of a viable threat, Gillespie will stand as a lethal attacking player of notable versatility.

Area of Improvement:

  • Skating Balance
  • Shot Power

As is the case with a great deal of players his age, Gillespie’s lower body strength and balance on his skates remains a work in progress. Standing 6-feet tall and 170-pounds, Gillespie boasts a solid frame and would do well to add greater muscle to his lower body — doing so would bolster his balance and allow Gillespie to protect the puck with greater success.

Related: 2019 OHL Draft – GTHL Profiles

In addition to his balance and strength, there is the power of Gillespie’s shot. Although accurate, adding greater velocity to his shot would allow Gillespie to stand as a more potent two-way threat — once achieved, goaltenders and opposing defenders will be forced to respect not only Gillespie’s playmaking skills but his lively release as well.

Related: Toronto Red Wings GTHL Articles

In terms of these areas of improvement, they should not come as a surprise. Like the vast majority of players 15 years-of-age, Gillespie continues to mature physically and will only improve as he adds natural strength to his frame.

Future Potential:

Ultimately, Gillespie stands as an immensely promising OHL prospect and one who could breakthrough to the major junior-level as soon as next season based on his skating abilities alone.

And, while particular areas of his game continue to grow, Gillespie could prove to be a steal if chosen by an OHL franchise outside of the fourth-round in the 2019 Priority Selection. Of a tireless engine and seemingly endless determination, Gillespie’s sound two-way play alongside his growing offensive game will surely combine to make him a prospect of significant interest for a number of OHL franchises.

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