Draft days had NHL liking OHL kids

Soo Greyhounds defenceman Ryan O'Rourke was chosen by the Minnesota Wild in the second round of the 2020 NHL Draft. SPECIAL TO SAULT THIS WEEK jpg, SH

Share Adjust Comment Print

It was a good couple of days for players from the Ontario Hockey League and the Soo Greyhounds.
A total of 31 players from the OHL were selected in the seven rounds of the 2020 National Hockey League draft that was held recently over a two-day period.
The 31 OHL players include seven selected in the first round, led by forward Quinton Byfield of the Sudbury Wolves, who was taken second overall by the Los Angeles Kings.
Of note, the OHL featured five players selected in the top 10, which was the most by the Ontario loop since 2010. Additionally, four OHL players were picked in the second round of the draft.
Seventeen of the OHL’s 20 teams developed NHL draft talent in 2020 led by the Greyhounds, who produced a league best four draft picks.
Sudbury Wolves and Ottawa 67’s both accounted for three selections, while the Barrie Colts, Erie Otters, Kingston Frontenacs, Kitchener Rangers, London Knights, Saginaw Spirit and Windsor Spitfires all had a pair of players selected.
London maintained its record streak of at least one player chosen annually since way back in 1969.
•••
OHL FIRST ROUNDERS
Sudbury centre Quinton Byfield led the way for the OHL in being selected second overall by Los Angeles. The 18-year-old from Newmarket, Ont. became the highest selected Black player in the history of the NHL draft, while simultaneously becoming the highest-drafted player in the Wolves 48-year OHL franchise history.
“Being able to spend that with my family, the people that supported me growing up, is really exciting,” relayed Byfield. “Hearing my name get called was definitely a big relief off my shoulders. I can’t wait to go to L.A. now.”
Erie Otters defenceman Jamie Drysdale followed Byfield on the path to southern California, being selected sixth overall by the Anaheim Ducks. Drysdale, who claimed a Canadian World Junior gold medal alongside Byfield in January, became the highest-drafted defenceman in Otters history.
“It’s unbelievable being where I am right now,” said Drysdale. “It’s definitely a really fun time and there was nothing but excitement in the room when I got picked. It’s a very nerve-wracking time, but when you hear your name called it’s special and it’s lived up-to and surpassed everything I thought it would be.”
A pair of Ottawa 67’s went back to back in the eighth and ninth overall selections, with 52-goal scorer Jack Quinn being taken by the Buffalo Sabres followed by fellow forward Marco Rossi joining the Minnesota Wild. It marked the first time the 67’s have had two players chosen inside the top-10 at the NHL draft since 1978 when line mates Bobby Smith (first overall, Minnesota North Stars) and Tim Higgins (10th overall, Chicago Blackhawks) accomplished the feat.
“It was a very exciting night for me and my family. It was a long wait and a lot of years of hard work that went into it,” said Quinn. “I knew that my meetings went well with Buffalo and we had some great talks, but at the same time I had no expectations or any idea where I was going to go.”
“Coach Andre Tourigny and the whole coaching staff, it’s first class along with the whole 67’s organization,” said teammate Rossi after being selected one pick later. “I’m so happy for him,” he added of Quinn being selected by Buffalo. “It’s good for the Ottawa 67’s to have two really good players in the top 10.”
Saginaw Spirit scoring leader Cole Perfetti completed the top 10 by being selected by the Winnipeg Jets. Perfetti became the highest-drafted player in Saginaw’s history following a club record-setting 111-point season. Perfetti is just the second Spirit player to be chosen in the first round of the NHL Draft and the first since 2006.
“Even though it wasn’t a traditional draft, it’s something I’ll never forget and a memorable night to share with these people,” said Perfetti, surrounded by family. “The Jets are a great organization and Winnipeg is a great spot for me. I can’t wait to get there and get going.”
Barrie Colts winger Tyson Foerster joined the Philadelphia Flyers at 23rd overall, being rewarded for a 36-goal season.
“It’s obviously meant a lot being close to home,” he said. “Barrie is only 30 minutes from where I am (Alliston) so the Colts have been huge to me, especially (coaches) Dale (Hawerchuk) and Todd Miller who have helped me a lot through my career. To finally hear my name called was a dream come true.”
Sarnia Sting forward Jacob Perreault rounded out OHL selections in the first round, joining Erie’s Jamie Drysdale as the newest prospect in the Anaheim Ducks organization. The 27th overall pick, Perreault was chosen 20 spots higher than his father Yanic, who was a third-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1991. The Sting sophomore led his team with 39 goals last season.
“I’m just following in his footsteps,” Perreault said of his father. “He’s been through the draft and he knows what you need to do to get to the next level and he’s given me a lot of feedback throughout the past year. It’s a pretty good feeling to finally get drafted. It is something that I have been thinking about ever since I was a little kid.”
•••
FOUR TOP DOGS
The Greyhounds were popular with, as previously mentioned, an OHL-best four players selected.
Defenceman and team captain Ryan O’Rourke was the top Greyhound player selected, going in the second round, 39th overall, to the Minnesota Wild.
Minnesota director of amateur scouting Judd Brackett called O’Rourke — who had seven goals, 30 assists, 37 points in 54 games with the Greyhounds in 2019-2020 — a “strong skater … a two-way defender with great character and grit.”
In the fourth round, the New Jersey Devils selected Greyhounds centre Jaromir Pytlik 99th overall while the St. Louis Blues used the 119th pick to take Tanner Dickinson.
The Calgary Flames drafted centre Rory Kerins in the sixth round with the 174th pick.
Pytlik had 22 goals, 28 assists, 50 points for the Hounds in 2019-2020, trailing Kerins, who had 30-29-59 totals and ahead of Dickinson, who produced 9-31-40 totals and was somewhat of a surprise pick in the fourth round.

Comments