2019 OHL Cup: 50 Players to Watch
The 2019 OHL Cup is officially underway!
This year’s tournament is shaping up to be one of the most competitive and entertaining in recent history, as a number of clubs hold a legitimate chance to claim this year’s crown. Although the Don Mills Flyers stand as the favourite to lift the Cup, a number of other squads feature rosters beaming with talented young players capable of pulling off the impossible.
Who are these players in particular, you ask?
Well, whether you’re fortunate enough to attend the 2019 OHL Cup in person or will be watching online, you’ll want to keep tabs on the 50 players which we have identified and profiled below. And, while there are plenty of other talented prospects to watch in this year’s tournament, the 50 listed below stand as the cream of the crop within their respective rosters and the minor midget circuit as a whole.
In short, keep this list handy throughout this year’s tournament. You’ll want to watch these 50 prospects play when their team’s grace the ice at Scotiabank Pond.
The Top-50 Players to Watch
Here are the top-50 prospects to watch in the 2019 OHL Cup. While some names will sound familiar, others are not as recognizable yet will surely be worth knowing as the OHL Cup unwinds over the course of March.
For simplicity and organization, this list will organized alphabetically by league and association.
Consistency is one of the leading qualities of Maddox Callens’ game, as the energetic young forward features an accurate shot of ample velocity. However, when his shot doesn’t beat an opposing goaltender, it creates rebounds for his teammates to gobble up. Although somewhat prone to penalties, Callens’ offensive abilities will see him selected in the opening round of the 2019 OHL Draft.
As one of the the top defenders eligible for the 2019 OHL Draft, don’t be surprised to see Cole Hipkin lead the Brantford 99ers at both ends of the ice. A tremendous and fluid skater, Hipkin can play a decisive role at both ends of the ice owing to his maneuverability and can generate substantial offence from his perch on the blue line as well.
- Landon McCallum
A dynamic forward of solid size and natural offensive instincts, Landon McCallum was one of the most potent players in Alliance hockey this past season. A pass-first player, McCallum can also blast the puck on-goal or protect it down low in order to generate considerable possession time for his squad.
Kitchener Jr. Rangers:
Marko Sikic has quickly developed into a lethal offensive force, and a consistent one at that. Featuring intimidating size and a smooth skating stride, Sikic can traverse the ice well for a forward of his size and has no trouble filling the back of the net. To boot, Sikic features a heavy shot with a crisp release.
- Matthew Sop
A versatile offensive player, Matthew Sop can do it all on the ice. A strong three-zone player, Sop can initiate breakouts from his own zone and is a beast in the attacking zone. A shooter who also happens to be a natural playmaker, Sop can dismantle his opposition in a number of ways and is increasingly intelligent in the use of his teammates.
- Braeden Bowman
Of solid size, Braeden Bowman is a difficult player to handle. Capable of securing the puck and protecting it within the offensive zone, Bowman boasts stellar vision and can create high-percentage scoring plays despite the heavy defensive presence in front of him. Moreover, Bowman features a heavy shot which has the ability to surprise and sneak through goaltenders if not respected.
- Owen Parsons
A natural goal-scorer, Owen Parsons is a dynamic and lethal offensive force for the Waterloo Wolves. A 28-goal scorer during his regular season campaign, Parsons is a shifty skater who can score goals in a variety of ways. Whether he be crashing the net, picking up rebounds, or blasting his stellar shot on goal from a distance, Parsons is a threat to light the lamp each time he takes to the ice.
Windsor Jr. Spitfires:
- Ray Hamlin
A tenacious force for the Jr. Spitfires in 2018-19, Ray Hamlin brings a mixture of offensive ability and physical force to the ice on a nightly basis. Not afraid to stick up for his teammates or throw a well-placed body-check, Hamlin can contribute offensively to boot and has become rather consistent and deadly in his ability to do so.
- Cayden Faust
Although he didn’t obliterate the scoresheet this past season, Cayden Faust is a consistent offensive contributor who brings energy and creativity to the ice. A key component of the Jr. Spitfires’ roster, Faust boasts quick hands and the ability to process the play in front of his at a rapid pace.
Widely regarded as one of the top goaltenders eligible for the 2019 OHL Draft, Max Donoso is an electrifying netminder who is not only explosive in his movements but also calm and composed in the crease. Founded upon strong positioning and lightning-quick reflexes, Donoso can turn away the hottest of shooters with ease and was a fixture within the Windsor Jr. Spitfires’ roster this season.
London Jr. Knights:
Brett Harrison absolutely dominated Alliance hockey in 2018-19, blasting home 42 goals and 63 points over the course of the regular season. In fact, both of these totals stood as the best in his league — a clear indication of Harrison’s dominance and ability to bring his devastating offensive abilities to the ice on a nightly basis. Come the 2019 OHL Draft, Harrison should hear is name called in the opening round considering he stands as one of the top goal-scorers in this year’s class.
Eastern AAA Hockey:
As the ETA’s highest scoring player in the 2018-19 season, Brennan Sirizzotti is an explosive skater who can pick apart opposing defences with relative ease. A pass-first player as evidenced by his 61 assists in 36 games played for the Wildcats, Sirizzotti is also a lethal shooter who can release the puck in the blink-of-an-eye with both accuracy and velocity.
A linemate of Sirizzotti throughout the 2018-19 regular season for the Wildcats, Ryan Winterton is one of the top goal-scorers eligible for the 2019 OHL Draft. In fact, across his 36 regular season contests, Winterton blasted home a league-best 38 goals — a testament to his nose for the net, creativity, and raw consistency on the ice.
- Douglas Carr
An intimidating defender for the Wildcats, Carr is an extremely physical player who isn’t afraid to stick up for teammates — hence his 106 PIM in 36 regular season games played. However, Carr is far more than a devastating blueliner, as the youngster stands as an offensive threat on the back end and can contribute to his team’s success in all three zones of the ice.
York Simcoe Express:
Kaleb Nelson is an intelligent centre who plays a very impressive, 200-foot game. Showcasing above-average skating and puck skills, Nelson demonstrates all the traits of a natural goal scorer. He has consistently led his team as an offensive catalyst in both regular season and tournament action this season.
A standout for Team Ontario in the 2019 Canada Winter Games, Jacob Holmes is a versatile blueliner who can contribute at both ends of the ice. A pesky defender who loves to irritate and dis-possess his opponents, Holmes can join the rush and features a booming shot from the point alongside his steadily growing playmaking abilities.
Quinte Red Devils:
An electric power forward with speed and strength to kill, Daniel Michaud is the type of player who can take control of a game all on his game. Heating up at the right time, Michaud has been almost unstoppable for the last part of the season and playoffs, and nearly single-handedly carried Quinte into the OMHA Championships.
- Connor Brooks
A sturdy and consistent defenceman for the Quinte Red Devils throughout the 2018-19 campaign, Connor Brooks is a poised prospect who can play a starring role at both ends of the ice. Strongest in his defensive zone and in his ability to dismantle plays devised by his opposition, Brooks also features an intriguing offensive game which has continued to grow and develop of late.
North Central Predators:
Cole Patey is one of the top two-way players eligible for the 2019 OHL Draft, as the youngster can hound his opponents in the defensive zone owing to his physicality before creating high-percentage scoring chances in his attacking end. A natural goal-scorer with an above-average shot, Patey is no stranger to devising plays and is more than willing to lay thundering body-checks when the opportunity arises.
Connor Punnett has quietly put his name on the map as one of the top puck-moving defencemen available for this year’s OHL Draft. His skills at both ends of the ice, as well as upper-level strength and physicality, were two leading reasons for his inclusion on Team Ontario for the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
Greater Toronto Hockey League:
Don Mills Flyers:
Speed and skill are the name of the game for Francesco Arcuri, who was wrongfully overlooked at times this season within a deep Don Mills Flyers roster. A terrific skater who brings both flair and pace to the ice, Arcuri has the ability to single-handedly drive his team’s offence and is fairly consistent in his ability to do so. Of solid size to boot, Arcuri’s game should translate well to the OHL-level.
A skilled and strong player, Liam Arnsby regularly makes a difference at both ends of the ice. He’s displayed the strength to consistently separate opponents from the puck with powerful body checks, but also possesses high-end skill and sense of the ice which allow him to be a crucial contributor for the Don Mills Flyers. Arnsby is a spark plug for the Flyers, and was also extremely impactful for Team Ontario at the Canada Winter Games.
Arguably the top defenceman eligible for the 2019 OHL Draft, Brandt Clarke brings poise, composure, and high-end skill and ability to the ice. Of solid size and strength, he has consistently displayed a ridiculous level of elusiveness while both breaking out of his zone and while patrolling the blue line. Never afraid to join the rush, Clarke has shown high-end offensive upside while maintaining excellent defensive awareness, with incredible stick and body positioning.
Perhaps the most dynamic scorer in the 2019 OHL Draft class, Brennan Othmann has earned a reputation as one of the most potent shooters in the province. Showcasing high-end puck skills at top speed and in traffic, Othmann has a nose for the net and a knack for being in the right place at the right time. He has an incredibly quick release and can pick the smallest of holes in opposing goaltenders.
Fresh off of being granted Exceptional Status by Hockey Canada and the OHL, Shane Wright is the consensus top prospect in this year’s draft. With otherworldly hockey sense and an innate talent to escape high pressure situations with possession, Wright is nearly impossible to steal the puck from. He can burn opponents as both a dynamic playmaker and as a sniper, and is very reliable in the faceoff circle as well.
North York Rangers:
- Luca Rea
Luca Rea of the North York Rangers is a feisty forward who brings skill, speed, and physicality to the ice on a nightly basis. A crafty offensive player, Rea boasts quick hands and has the raw talent necessary to drive his team’s offensive game each time he takes to the ice.
- Patrick Saini
A tireless engine defines the play of Patrick Saini, as the youngster is a hand-full on the forecheck and loves to force his opponents into turnovers. Once in control of the puck is when Saini is the most deadly, as he features an innate ability to protect possession and can make quick and effective decisions in order to benefit his team on the scoreboard.
One of the most composed defenders you will find at this age level, Ethan Del Mastro plays a quiet but effective game. A fluid skater with great size and strength, Del Mastro is as reliable as they come, holding tight gaps on the rush, forcing plenty of turnovers, and moving the puck up ice with authority. As he continues to find his confidence, Del Mastro is exhibiting a higher and higher offensive ceiling as well.
Arguably the hardest hitter in Ontario’s minor midget circuit, Artem Guryev is simply no fun to go up against. He excels as matches his opponents speed on the rush, and can instantly cut off space along the wall with booming body checks. He shows promising offensive upside as well, often gaining zone entries with possession and using a strong shot from the blueline to create scoring chances.
A Boston University commit, Danil Zhilkin’s game revolves around his skating and sense of the ice. With an extremely efficient stride and great agility, he can blow wide by defenders or also use his slick mitts to cut into the middle and make his opponents look silly. With a quick and accurate release, Zhilkin has consistently demonstrated a sniper’s mentality.
A smooth skater and talented puck-handler, Josh Bloom is a gifted offensive player who can single-handedly drive his team’s offensive game. Known for his great vision and ability to process the game at a rapid pace, Bloom can distribute the puck to his teammates with ease and also features a strong shot. In short, Bloom is a well-rounded and stable all-around player.
- Zachary Dean
Although he isn’t eligible for the 2019 OHL Draft, Zachary Dean will unquestionably be one of the top players competing in the 2019 OHL Cup. A determined and agile skater defined by his above-average speed, Dean can meander through opposing defences before driving the puck hard to the goal. A tremendous playmaker with incredible hands and vision, Dean can also shoot the puck — a reality which keeps his opponents off balance at all times.
Despite his smaller stature, Samuel Moncada is unquestionably one of the top goaltenders eligible for the 2019 OHL Draft and competing in the 2019 OHL Cup. Eerily similar in playing style to Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings, Moncada is extremely flexible and agile in his crease and has a knack for making game-saving, highlight-reel saves with remarkable frequency.
Toronto Red Wings:
One of the youngest players set to compete in the 2019 OHL Cup given his 2004-birth year, Adam Fantilli is also one of the most promising. Despite his age, Fantilli features excellent size, strength, and skating abilities. Sure to be a top-five pick in the 2020 OHL Draft, Fantilli is as dynamic as they come and isn’t afraid to mix things up physically either.
Francesco Pinelli has been a model of consistency for the Toronto Red Wings this season, captaining his squad to an impressive regular season record and notable postseason success. A strong centre, Pinelli plays a solid two-way game and can influence any given contest in all three zones of the ice. Further, in addition to his natural playmaking abilities, Pinelli features a strong and accurate shot.
One of the top goaltenders eligible of the 2019 OHL Draft, Joshua Rosenzweig is a tireless competitor who brings his A-game to the ice each and every time he stands between the the pipes. Of solid size given his age, Rosenzweig is an excellent puck-tracker who allows puck to simply hit him before gobbling up rebounds — if any. A left-handed catcher, Rosenzweig features lightning-quick reflexes and the ability to keep his team in games which they don’t necessarily deserve to win.
A feisty forward who brings speed and skill to the ice, Jesse Fishman is a tireless skater who can be relied upon to play a key role for his team at both ends of the ice. Not afraid to deliver bone-rattling body-checks, Fishman drives puck possession for his team and stands as a threat to pass or shoot once in control.
- Judd Katz
A steady riser within this year’s 2019 OHL Draft class, Judd Katz is making waves as a result of his size, on-ice intelligence, and steady defensive play. Although he features a heavy shot from the point, Katz’s main strengths lay in his defensive play — the youngster can shot down opposing forwards with ease and moves surprisingly well for a defender of his size and strength.
Northern Ontario Hockey:
A Providence College commit, Chase Stillman is a consistent offensive player defined by his stellar playmaking abilities and nose for the nest. Although a pass-first player, Stillman isn’t afraid to drive hard to the next in order to create rebounds and general offensive opportunities for his team. As hard working as they come, Stillman’s professional style of play makes him a well-rounded and highly valuable prospect.
- Zacharie Giroux
A consistent offensive producer, Zacharie Giroux is a pure goal scorer with a nose for the net. With the ability to score in a multitude of ways, Giroux is able to double as a playmaker with the opportunity presents itself. A quick skater with impressive agility, Giroux is everything you want in a first line scoring winger.
A tower of power on the blue line, Joshua Kavanagh is an incredibly successful and potent two-way defender founded upon his incredible on-ice intelligence and decision-making with the puck. Of a growing offensive game, Kavanagh continues to grow his game at both ends of the ice and is a strong and sturdy skater capable of diffusing any and all plays devised by his opposition.
Thunder Bay Kings:
- Jack Michaelis
Although he isn’t the biggest player on the ice, Jack Michaelis is a tenacious fore-checker who plays a strong all-around game in all three zones of the ice. A natural goal-scorer, Michaelis features a strong and accurate shot and has the ability to distribute the puck effectively to his teammates as well.
South Central AAA Hockey:
A lethal offensive machine, Ethan Burroughs can turn a dull play into a legitimate scoring chance within seconds. He has showcases impressive agility and explosiveness over the course of the season and is a wizard with the puck. He can use his hands and creativity to make defenders look silly, and use his accurate shot to find the back of the net with ease.
- Lawson Sherk
A fluid skater with tremendous playmaking talents, Lawson Sherk has formed a lethal 1-2 punch alongside Burroughs. With creative hands and a knack for finding minuscule passing lanes, he can often find teammates in unlikely positions. With that said, his shot is fairly strong as well, giving himself plenty of options with the puck.
- Calum Chau
A fleet-footed, puck moving defenceman, Calum Chau has seemed to only improve with each passing game. A tremendous transition player, Chau can make all kinds of stretch passes from the defensive zone. An agile and elusive skater, Chau can get himself out of trouble in even the most dangerous of situations.
Like his brothers Jack and Quinn, Hughes is far from the biggest player on the ice. However, like his two superstar brothers, Hughes more than compensates for this perceived deficiency through tactile defensive play and lethal capabilities in the offensive zone. A smooth and creative skater, Hughes loves to rush the puck up ice and can make decisions, pass the puck, or fire it on-goal all at a high-rate of speed.
- Griffin Jurecki
The captain of Little Caesars, Griffin Jurecki leads by example with a tremendous work ethic at both ends of the ice. With a strong sense for the game, he is able to utilize his combination of skating, skills, and shot to be a lethal threat for opponents. With good strength, he can also engage in the physical aspect of the game.
- Max Smolinski
A fleet-footed and agile defenceman, Max Smolinski is a strong and stable force on the back-end who can shutdown plays devised by his opposition before transitioning the puck up the ice. Once established in the attacking zone, Smolinski is a composed threat on the blue-line who can move the puck to his forwards or force the puck on goal owing to his intelligence and crisp release.
- Connor Miller
Connor Miller led the way offensively for Honeybaked U15 in 2018-19, posting nine goals and 25 points across his 18 regular season games played. An innate offensive player, Brooks is a sturdy skater with a nose for the net who knows how to generate lethal scoring opportunities for he and his teammates.
- Joseph Blackley
A highly promising two-way defender who competed for the Buffalo Regals in the SCTA this past season, Joseph Blackley is a well-rounded prospect who will represent Team TPH in the 2019 OHL Cup. Strong in his own zone and capable of transitioning the puck to his forwards, Blackley features a steadily improving offensive game and stands as a threat to either pass or shoot the puck from his perch on the blue line.