– Paul Christopoulos –
Don Mills Flyers (GTHL) | Defence | 2019 OHL Draft Eligible
Ontario, Canada | 5-foot-11, 180-pounds
There aren’t many minor midget teams capable of competing alongside the Don Mills Flyers this season, as the club is simply too skilled and too deep to be overcome on a consistent basis.
Perhaps the most impressive feature of the Flyers’ overall team depth lays on the blue line, as Don Mills boasts a handful of defenders capable of playing a sound two-way game. And, although Brandt Clarke and Roman Schmidt have come to be known as two of the GTHL’s top blueliners, it is Paul Christopoulos whose game has continued to improve and impress throughout the 2018-19 campaign.
- Two-Way Play
- Offensive Instincts
Skating is a crucial skill within today’s game, as the ability to maneuver throughout the ice with ease leads directly to not only sound defensive play but lethal offensive opportunities as well. Fortunately for Christopoulos he is no slouch in the mobility department, as the youngster features not only high-end speed but the acceleration necessary to impact the game at both ends of the ice.
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A direct result of Christopoulos’ impactful skating is his ability to play a reliable and consistent two-way game. In his defensive zone, Christopoulos utilizes his quick-feet to smother, dominate, and pin his attackers to the boards before using his stick to dislodge the puck and attain possession. Once in control of the puck, Christopoulos can lead the charge up ice and stands as a potent threat from the blue line owing to his agility as well as poise with the puck.
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This innate two-way nature has allowed Christopoulos to play a growing role on the Flyers’ blue line. More than capable of stabilizing his own zone during a penalty kill, Christopoulos is also becoming a dynamic power play threat who can pass the puck as well as blast the puck on goal owing to his booming shot. Seemingly more confident with each passing game, Christopoulos’ physical nature and two-way abilities have made him a player of immense intrigue within Don Mills’ loaded lineup.
Area of Improvement:
- Defensive Responsibility
Due to his naturally offensive nature, Christopoulos loves to carry the puck up ice and join the rush in order to generate lethal scoring opportunities for his team — his desire to do so stands as one of his most admirable qualities. However, his ability to do such this season may have become slightly inflated given his standing within one of — if not the — best minor midget rosters in North America.
With this being said, Christopoulos will need to focus on the importance his defensive play in the coming years — and especially so once he plays for a less dominant team which spends a greater deal of time within its own zone. Now, this is not to say that Christopoulos is a poor defender by any means — as in reality he is quite strong — but rather to state that Christopoulos must continue to refine his defensive game alongside his offensive prowess in order to become a more versatile and well-rounded two-way defender.
At the end of the day, Christopoulos stands as one of the most dynamic and complete defencemen eligible for the 2019 OHL Priority Selection.
Sure, he could fall late into the second-round before being selected, however, the fact remains that Christopoulos is an immensely promising prospect. With size, speed, defensive awareness and offensive up-side in-hand, Christopoulos is a full-package prospect who should skate for an OHL franchise in 2018-19. Of growing confidence and creativity, he could be prove to be one of this year’s most underrated prospects.