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OHL: 2022 NHL DRAFT Video Review – Dylan Krill’s Five Early Prospects to Watch

On Wednesday, March 11, 2020 Robert Calisti of the Soo Greyhounds scored into an empty net to secure a 4-1 victory against the Flint Firebirds. Who knew that Calisti’s goal would be the last one scored in the Ontario Hockey League before an over 18 month layoff due to the COVID pandemic.

However, thanks to vaccines and safety precautions, the OHL is back! We are a quarter of the way through the 2021/22 season now and that means it is time to take stock in individual and team performances. The London Knights have dominated early on the back of balanced scoring and tremendous goaltending from Brett Brochu. The Eastern Conference is a log jam of teams fighting consistency. And the league’s double rookie crop (those selected in the 2020 and 2021 Priority, Import, and U18 drafts) is becoming more comfortable with each passing week.

A good portion of that rookie crop makes up the talented OHL players eligible for the 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal next summer. While it may be too early to make sweeping generalizations or concrete projections, considering many of those eligible are trying to find consistency after their first two months in the league, we can identify some players who have caught our eye.

Dylan Krill’s Five

Hello my name is...David Goyette

Background Information  
Team: Sudbury Wolves Position: C
Height/Weight: 5'11, 174lbs Birthdate: 2004-03-27
Season to Date Stats GP-21 G-4 A-12 PTS-16

Attributes to Like

  1. Puck Skill

Goyette has been able to put his impressive hands on display many times this year. Here Goyette receives the puck in transition and enters the offensive zone. He makes a nice deke to move the puck from his inside, making the defender bite, then quickly back to his outside to successfully open up space for himself for a high-danger chance.

Goyette starts this play by picking up a loose puck behind his net and reading the ice to see where open space exists. Goyette starts to gain acceleration along the boards while protecting the puck, he quickly gets his head up, identifies an incoming hit, and makes an excellent one-handed deke to push the puck past the opponent, creating a 3 on 2 rush.

While in transition with a teammate, he notices the defense collapsing so he slows up and follows behind his teammate to create more space. After receiving a drop pass, he makes a quick fake shot, freezing the defender and making him reach to attempt to block the shot, but Goyette acknowledges the defender with his stick fully extended so he makes a great toe-drag around the stick, gets around the outside, and brings the puck back in to his inside to get a shot on net.

  1. Vision/Playmaking Ability

Goyette displays great patience on this play. Receiving the puck below the hash-marks, Goyette holds the puck and waits for options to open up. He is in a position where he looks like he’s going to shoot, freezing the goalie, but then he elects to pass it to his teammate who just gets open in the perfect time in the slot for a goal.

Goyette starts this play by receiving a pass on the transition, creating an offensive zone entry. He takes the puck wide, drawing in a defender and opening up space. He then completes a pass to his teammate in the slot for a good scoring chance. The shot gets blocked and ends up loose behind the net. Goyette takes advantage and quickly picks it up and makes a quick pass around the net to another teammate for another high-danger scoring chance.

Goyette is very consistent with making smart, creative plays at high-pace. In this play, Goyette goes to pick up a loose puck, noticing a defending applying pressure, he makes a quick backhand pass through the defender perfectly placed on his teammates stick. Understanding where his teammate was going to end up, made this simple play very effective with perfect execution

  1. Skating

This was a really nice play displaying his use of deception in both his skating and body language. Goyette picks up the puck in the defensive zone and makes two quick dekes to get past two opponents. He notices his opponent being aggressive and applying a lot pressure so he makes a slight turn, making it seem like he’s going to regroup in his own zone, but he makes a sharp cut using his strong edges to quickly turn and accelerate back the other way, completely beating his opponent and gaining space to create an offensive zone entry.

This was a good play to display Goyette’s straight-line skating and speed. Starting the breakout from behind the net, he begins to accelerate quickly with a good use of crossovers. When exiting the defensive zone, he puts the jets on and gets great strength in each stride, gaining great speed through the neutral zone, pushing the defenders back. He uses some more crossovers before entering the offensive zone to open up more space and to stay unpredictable. He ends up going wide, keeping good puck protection along the boards and successfully completes the zone entry.

A simple, yet effective transition from a clean defensive zone exit into a controlled offensive zone entry. Picking up the loose puck in his own end, he makes a quick deke to get around an opponent then quickly accelerates behind the net, using great power in each stride with a good use of crossovers. After skating around the net, he quickly scans the ice and after a few strides he gets to top speed, beating two opponents clean and completing a successful offensive zone entry.

Rest of the Season Outlook

Goyette has spent this season moving up and down the lineup, playing with different teammates, but the majority of the time he’s been used as their top-line center, usually playing with fellow 2022 NHL draft eligible, Evan Konyen and 2023 eligible, Quentin Musty. Throughout the season, Goyette has been able to use his speed very effectively and consistently, being able to drive play well on the transition for his team. With his chemistry growing with his linemates, I believe Goyette will continue to produce offense and be a key player for the Wolves in all situations.

Hello my name is...Paul Ludwinski

Background Information  
Team: Kingston Frontenacs Position: C/W
Height/Weight: 5'11, 172lbs Birthdate: 2004-04-23
Season to Date Stats GP-19 G-3 A-9 PTS-12
Attributes to Like
  1. Positional Awareness

Ludwinski starts this play by joining his team on the breakout, accelerating quickly. He picks up the loose puck in the neutral zone and carries it into the offensive zone with great speed. After entering the zone, he skates towards the slot, making the defender bite. He then makes a nice behind the back, drop-pass to his teammate and makes it seem like he’s going hard to the net, before making a hard cut, dropping back into open space. He then receives the pass and gets a quick shot on net for a good scoring chance.

A great shift here from Ludwinski displaying his offensive and positional awareness. This whole shift Ludwinski consistently provides an option for a pass by always getting into open space and supporting his teammates with the puck. He continues by driving the puck movement and prolonging possession in the offensive zone by creating chances for his team.

Ludwinski displays his speed and ability to play with high pace on this shift. He starts by circling back in his zone to gain acceleration. After receiving the puck, he makes a good move to protect the puck. Making his way into the neutral zone he makes a strong pass to his teammate at the blueline. After making the pass, Ludwinski turns on the jets and goes hard straight to the net, but nothing comes from it. Then away from the puck he skates to the slot for an option, receives it and quickly passes it to his teammate for a scoring chance.

  1. Defensive Awareness

Two great defensive plays here by Ludwinski to take away two scoring chances. It begins with a good attempt with his stick to disrupt the play, but not getting all of the puck. He follows the play with great energy, chasing down the puck carrier and making a strong stick lift, then sweeps the puck away. Unfortunately, the puck ends up on another opponent's stick, but Ludwinski makes the smart play and ties up his man at the net to shut down any chance for a tip.

Ludwinski applies great pressure and forces the puck carrier to make a drop pass to his teammate. He misses his first attempt at reaching out to poke the puck off his stick, but stays with him and with a strong defensive stick he tries again and is successful this time, knocking the puck off his stick. After stealing it and accelerating quickly, he transitioned into the offensive zone and created a scoring chance off the rush.

An excellent display of Ludwinski’s high-motor and ability to get back to defend. Following a turnover, Ludwinski starts deep in his own zone. He notices a two-on-one beginning to form so he puts full effort into his backcheck, quickly getting to his top speed. He catches up to the play and in perfect timing, makes a great stick lift to take away the high-danger scoring chance.

  1. Energy/High-Motor

A great play in transition with Ludwinski catching a pass off the boards with speed. Using his quick feet and strong edges he gets past an opponent and lowers his shoulder, cutting to the inside while protecting the puck. He attempts to pass to his teammate for a high-danger scoring chance, but doesn’t connect. He continues to follow the play with great speed, and while pressuring the puck carrier, he steals the puck easily off his stick to regain possession.

Ludwinski’s high-motor and speed make him very effective at winning puck battles and this shift is another example. He doesn’t get to the puck first, but he blocks and knocks down the pass attempt and handles the puck, making a nice bank-pass and while attempting to get around the defender, he forces him to take a penalty.

Here’s another great sequence by Ludwinski displaying his high-motor. He uses crossovers efficiently to quickly accelerate before receiving the puck in the neutral zone. With great speed he drives into the offensive zone, forcing the defenders back. He makes a slight fake drop pass, but continues to go hard to the net, getting a good shot off. Ludwinski continues with speed behind the net seeing the play go the other way, he displays a great backcheck and successfully catches up to force the opponent to dump the puck in.

Rest of the Season Outlook

As of recently Ludwinski hasn’t been able to produce offense consistently, but in each game, he is still able to find ways to be effective with his high-motor and two-way awareness. Playing on both special teams, Ludwinski has been a very responsible and reliable player for the Frontenacs. Splitting time playing on different lines and positions, he’s been used in many different ways, but has been able to adapt well. He has a great combination of competitiveness, defensive awareness and high hockey sense that many teams will be looking for at the NHL draft.

Hello my name is...Hunter Haight

Background Information  
Team: Barrie Colts Position: C
Height/Weight: 5'10, 167lbs Birthdate: 2004-04-04
Season to Date Stats GP-18 G -5 A-6 PTS-11

Attributes to Like

  1. Skating

Here Haight is able to use his agile skating and strong edge work to his advantage to get into open space while being pressured. Making sharp turns and cuts to quickly change pace and direction to keep defenders on their toes, being hard to defend and keep up with is something he consistently does.

Haight starts the breakout by gaining speed and receiving the puck behind the net. Before entering the neutral zone, he completes a nice bank-pass to his teammate entering the offensive zone. He then takes three powerful strides and quickly gets to top-speed into the zone for a passing option.

Another breakout by Haight with him effectively using crossovers to gain speed and stay deceptive. Reading the ice well and understanding where he needs to go to get into open space, he enters the offensive zone in the middle of the ice, but elects to drive to the outside for better options. He uses his edges well to stay strong and balanced when making sharp turns.

  1. Scoring Ability

A highlight reel goal by Haight here displaying his great puck skills and offensive mind. Receiving a pass on his skates and directing it to his stick, he notices the defender being over-aggressive and completes a great toe-drag to get around him, finishing with a hard release, resulting in a goal.

Starting this play by carrying the puck on the transition, he passes up to his teammate with speed, following close behind in open space. After they both enter the offensive zone, Haight receives a drop-pass and drives towards the net, and with a quick release at the hash-marks, he scores top corner over the glove.

On the powerplay, Haight moves the puck back to his defenseman to reset. As he skates towards him, they make a nice play to swap places. Haight quickly gets into open space and gets set up, firing off a well-placed one-timer for a scoring chance.

  1. Positional Awareness

A play on the powerplay displaying Haight’s positional awareness. In the bumper role, Haight understands he needs to always be in position to receive and make passes quickly. While in the slot, Haight stick lifts his opponent to open passing lanes for his teammates. He consistently is looking to create options, whether that be with a pass, shot or deflection.

In the offensive zone, Haight quickly finds space in the slot to give a great passing option. Haight consistently supports his teammates and gives them an option when under pressure. He begins to move the puck well to a teammate in the zone and finds a way to sneak behind the play to get open for a high-danger scoring chance. He continues after and goes on to create more scoring chances and prolong possession with his playmaking and vision.

Haight ends up behind the play, but manages to sneak up on the puck carrier, lifts his stick and steals the puck away. He quickly accelerates while driving towards the net, but makes a hard cut to the middle, drawing the attention of the defenders, and makes a nice drop pass to his teammate for a good scoring chance.

Rest of the Season Outlook

Haight has consistently been effective in each game on both sides of the puck and has displayed little difficulty adjusting to the league, already centering the Colts top line at times. He uses his speed to drive his line well on the transition and has shown how valuable he is by consistently creating chances for his team while still providing defensive coverage to suppress chances against. Haight has shown that he has a high offensive ceiling with both his playmaking and scoring touch. I fully expect him to continue to produce and rise up draft rankings as the season goes on.

Hello my name is...Luca Del Bel Belluz

Background Information  
Team: Mississauga Steelheads Position: C
Height/Weight: 6'1, 178lbs Birthdate: 2003-11-10
Season to Date Stats GP-19 G-11 A-12 PTS-23

Attributes to Like

  1. Puck Skill and Creativity

Del Bel Belluz protects the puck well along the boards and attempts to pass it back to his teammate, but gets intercepted. Right after the opponent loses control, he takes back the puck and quickly passes to his teammate. Then he goes to find open space to support his teammates. Receiving a pass in the corners, he comes out and makes two great dekes to go inside-out of two opponents then complete a pass to his teammate, resulting in a goal.

A great offensive zone entry by Del Bel Belluz cutting into traffic with ease, controlling and protecting the puck well. After getting through two opponents, he makes a great deke to go inside from his backhand, putting the puck between the defenders’ feet, opening up space for a great scoring chance, coming close, but still drawing a penalty.

An incredible display of puck skill by Del Bel Belluz here. On a two-on-one, he has great speed and gets a clear lane into open space for the pass. He receives a saucer pass a foot in-front of the goalie and manages to control and toe-drag around the goalie for a highlight reel goal.

  1. Puck Protection Ability

A great sequence displaying impressive puck handling and protection. Del Bel Belluz uses his full length to extend to keep the puck away from opponents and has great control in traffic. Here he’s able to drive into the offensive zone and into the slot and still get a shot off in traffic, resulting in a goal.

Starting this play on the breakout, Del Bel Belluz gets pressured by an opponent, but he uses his body to shield the puck and beat him wide. He starts to lose control while entering the offensive zone, but somehow manages to keep control of the puck by using his skates, getting past three opponents and setting up a high-danger scoring chance off the rush.

Another play starting on the breakout, Del Bel Belluz gains good speed while receiving the puck. He skates down the middle in the neutral zone, but cuts wide quickly when entering the offensive zone to get past a defender, once again using his length to protect the puck. He makes a slight hesitation, faking a shot to freeze the goalie and completes a nice wrap-around for a goal.

  1. Vision

This was a very impressive play by Del Bel Belluz displaying great vision. After entering the offensive zone, he made a couple stick handles waiting for the defender to bite, once he did, he made an excellent saucer pass with little room right on the stick of his teammate for a high-danger scoring chance. He was patient with the puck and timed the play perfectly.

Starting in his own zone, he collects the puck and takes a few strides with his head up. He identifies an open passing lane and his teammate open down the ice. He successfully completes a long stretch-pass to spring his teammate on a breakaway, resulting in a goal.

A simple, yet effective play on the transition. Del Bel Belluz receives the puck in the neutral zone and skates through and into the offensive zone. Once he enters the zone, he makes a pass to his teammate and continues to go to the net. He takes one quick look to see that the defender is biting and when his teammate makes a pass back to him, he instantly makes a pass to his other teammate open in the slot for a high-danger scoring chance.

Rest of the Season Outlook

After seeing NHL Central Scouting give Del Bel Belluz a “C” grade, I realized he is a player I believed some needed to watch more. Tied for most points on his team, he has become one the most creative and all-around players eligible for the NHL draft in the OHL. I don’t expect him to slow down production because of his ability to create chances very consistently and his willingness to go after the puck. He has displayed many times how skilled he is by making plays no one else can or would even attempt. With his confidence high, I believe he will soon get the attention he deserves.

Hello my name is...Beau Jelsma

Background Information  
Team: Barrie Colts Position: LW
Height/Weight: 5'9, 174lbs Birthdate: 2004-04-28
Season to Date Stats GP-19 G-6 A-4 PTS-10

Attributes to Like

  1. Energy/High-Motor

Starting this play in his own zone, Jelsma picks up a loose puck and instantly puts his foot on the gas, making a quick pass to his teammate for a give-and-go to get around an opponent. Gaining great speed through the neutral zone, he elects to dump the puck in and beats his opponent to the puck. He manages to get through a few opponents by protecting the puck, then finds space to become a passing option.

Jelsma puts his high-motor and speed on full display here. After gaining momentum in his own zone, he picks up the loose puck in the neutral zone and takes full advantage of an opponent that fell. Entering the offensive zone with speed he makes a cut into the slot and makes a skilled backhand play. After coming up short, the play begins to go the other way so Jelsma puts in a full effort on his backcheck and ends up forcing his opponent to dump the puck in.

An excellent effort by Jelsma here to chase down a loose puck and use his speed to separate himself to create a breakaway. At top speed he makes a simple play to go backhand, coming to a complete stop and then back to forehand for a nice goal.

  1. Puck Protection Ability

After receiving the puck in the neutral zone, Jelsma rushes into the offensive zone with speed. Once he’s close to the defender he cuts to go wide and makes three quick powerful strides to accelerate. This helps to separate himself away from his opponent. Using his body well to protect the puck and his edges to stay balanced, he goes hard to the net and makes a quick backhand to forehand deke for a nice goal.

Another great sequence where Jelsma is able to use his body and speed to protect the puck. Catching the puck in the neutral zone and going towards the boards with a defender. Jelsma slightly pushes the puck ahead, absorbs a hit, and squeezes through to create a good chance on the rush.

This is another prime example that Jelsma is hard to knock off the puck and plays bigger than he is. After receiving a puck while entering the offensive zone, he quickly pokes the puck ahead before taking a hit along the boards. However he is able to escape the majority of the hit and does not lose momentum. While in the zone he notices another opponent coming towards him aggressively, so Jelsma makes a hard stop and side-steps the opponent to get away and prolong possession.

  1. Playmaking

Following a turnover, Jelsma picks up a loose puck in the offensive zone and starts to drive towards the net. As he’s skating towards the net, he shows that he’s going to shoot, freezing the goalie, but he stays patient and waits for his teammate to get open for a one-timer. Jelsma times it perfectly and completes a tape-to-tape pass, resulting in a goal.

Jelsma is always playing with great energy and compete and this play is nothing out of the ordinary. Like usual, Jelsma beats his opponent to the loose puck in the offensive zone, he freezes and fakes as if he is going to shoot, freezing the goalie. He waits until the perfect moment where the defender is spread out, locates a hole, and completes a perfect pass to his teammate, resulting in a goal.

A great set up by Jelsma here off the rush. Using his body along the boards to block a pass, he ends up getting through traffic and into open space. He identifies his teammate beside the net and passes to him, then cuts hard, straight to the net to complete a successful give-and-go, but the attempt comes up short.

Rest of the Season Outlook

Throughout this season, Jelsma has been very impressive. Despite only averaging 12:32 minutes per game and playing a bottom-6 role, he is tied for fourth in scoring with 6 goals. Every time he’s on the ice you will notice his energy level and how effective he is driving play with his speed and his ability to protect the puck. Jelsma plays much bigger than he is, and some teams may overlook him just because of his size, but he projects to be a strong two-way winger who can handle a bottom-6 role and be effective on both special teams.