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2021 OHL PRIORITY SELECTION RECAP

By: Kyle Watson

This past weekend the 2021 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection took place, locally presented by Downtown London.

This year’s priority selection will no doubt go down as one of the most unique drafts in the history of the league for two reasons. First, most of the players selected did not play organized hockey the entire season due to the pandemic. Second, for the first time, a draft lottery was conducted to decide the order of selection.

The Knights drew the 16th overall selection, and through trades entered the draft with 16 picks, including five selections in the first three rounds.

The 2021 draft class features one goaltender, eleven forwards, and four defensemen. Four of the players are from south of the border and four of them are from the Greater Toronto Hockey League. Three are sons of former NHL players and one is a brother of a current Knight. 

Here are the sixteen newest London Knights:

ROUND ONE, 16TH OVERALL
Name: Denver Barkey Position: Centre
Hometown: Maple, ON Birthday: April 27, 2005
Height: 5’7.5” Weight: 135 lbs.
2019-2020 Team League GP G A PTS
Toronto Titans U15 AAA GTHL 32 10 36 46

The comparisons to Mitch Marner will be unavoidable for Barkey as he begins his junior hockey career. 

Just like Marner at 16, Barkey is an undersized forward with an abundance of skill and creativity with the puck. Both were drafted in the same range and attended Hill Academy, a private school for student-athletes in the Greater Toronto Area. 

Barkey won’t mind the Marner comparisons, though – he told Ryan Pyette of the London Free Press he models his game after the former Knights captain. 

A lack of size didn’t prevent Marner from having a legendary OHL career, and it hasn’t held Barkey back thus far either. In major bantam, he finished fourth in GTHL scoring – second in points per game.

 

ROUND TWO, 25TH OVERALL
Name: Easton Cowan Position: Centre
Hometown: Strathroy, ON Birthday: May 20, 2005
Height: 5’9” Weight: 140 lbs.
2019-2020 Team League GP G A PTS
Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs U15 AAA Alliance 32 6 22 28

Cowan makes up for his smaller frame with a relentless work ethic and by always being one step ahead of everyone else. In another strong Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs group, the Strathroy native was the chief creator of offence, always looking to capitalize on open ice and find his teammates. He has formed good habits off the puck that will make his transition to the next level easy.

 

ROUND TWO, 26TH OVERALL
Name: Oliver Bonk Position: Defense
Hometown: Ottawa, ON Birthday: January 9, 2005
Height: 6’1” Weight: 165 lbs.
2019-2020 Team League GP G A PTS
Ottawa Myers U15 AAA HEOAAA 27 5 13 18

The son of the famous NHLer Radek Bonk possesses his father’s size and is renowned for his poise and playmaking ability from the blueline. Oliver doesn’t create offense through dynamic puck handling or skating, rather through his vision and ability to read the play. His smarts translate in his own zone as well, making him a well-rounded player that should fit right in on a talented Knights blueline. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, he had made it to the HEO AAA Bantam Finals and was set to join the Carleton Place Canadians U18 AAA team for the 2020-2021 season.

 

ROUND THREE, 56TH OVERALL
Name: Mathieu Paris Position: Centre
Hometown: Ottawa, ON. Birthday: January 1st, 2005
Height: 5’11” Weight: 160 lbs.
2019-2020 Team League GP G A PTS
Eastern Ontario Wild U15 AAA HEOAAA 30 26 34 60

The Knights have drafted out of the Eastern Ontario talent pool frequently in recent years – selecting Stuart Rolofs, Ben Bujold, Colton Smith, Bonk, and now Paris. 

Prior to the league being shut down, the centre finished first in league scoring and led his team to the finals against his new teammate, Bonk. He is tailor-made to play down the middle of the ice, always trying to move into high danger areas, and shows strong defensive instincts. Paris was supposed to play for the Navan Grads U18 AAA team in the HEO U18 league this past year.

 

ROUND THREE, 58TH OVERALL
Name: Carson Lloyd Position: Defense
Hometown: Toronto, ON Birthday: December 8, 2005
Height: 5’10” Weight: 170 lbs.
2019-2020 Team League GP G A PTS
North York Rangers U15 AAA GTHL 33 5 4 9

Lloyd spent the 2019-2020 season with the North York Rangers of the GTHL. This past year he moved to the Kitchener Jr Rangers program and was the first Knight selected from the Jr Rangers since the 2005 OHL priority selection. 

 

ROUND FIVE, 96TH OVERALL
Name: Kaeden Johnston Position: Winger
Hometown: Peterborough, ON Birthday: February 3, 2005
Height: 6’1” Weight: 170 lbs.
2019-2020 Team League GP G A PTS
Central Ontario Wolves U15 AAA ETAHL 41 15 9 24

The 6’1 forward from Peterborough was over 0.5 points per game during the 2019-2020 season with the Central Ontario Wolves. Johnston was set to join the Peterborough Pete U16 AAA program this past season.  

 

ROUND SIX, 115TH OVERALL
Name: Rylan Donovan Position: Goaltender
Hometown: Richmond, ON Birthday: August 30, 2005
Height: 5’11” Weight: 157 lbs.
2019-2020 Team League W-L-OTL GAA S%
CIHA Green U18 AAA HEOAAA 11-5-0 3.06 .876

The only goaltender selected by the Knights this year, Donovan played in the U18 league as a 15-year-old last year. 

His father is Shean Donovan, a development coach with the Ottawa Senators. Shean also played with Head Coach Dale Hunter in his final season in the NHL with Colorado.

Rylan is the first goaltender the Knights have picked out of Eastern Ontario since 2012.

 

ROUND SEVEN, 136TH OVERALL
Name: Aram Minnetian Position: Defense
Hometown: Woodcliff Lake, NJ Birthday: March 19, 2005
Height: 6’1” Weight: 175 lbs.
2020-21 Team League GP G A PTS
Bergen Catholic High USHS-Prep 7 8 15

Regarded as one of the top American-born 2005s, Minnetian is a dynamic offensive presence from the backend. He played forward last year and scored an incredible 22 goals in 23 games against players as old as 18 before transitioning to the blueline this season.

 

ROUND EIGHT, 148TH OVERALL
Name: Charlie Cerrato Position: Centre
Hometown: Fallston, MD Birthday: March 10, 2005
Height: 5’11” Weight: 170 lbs.
2020-2021 Team League GP G A PTS
Honeybaked U15 AAA HPHL 5 2 1 3

Cerrato is another coveted name coming from the High Performance Hockey League. He is an electric player to watch, prone to making highlight-reel plays and end-to-end rushes. In the USA Hockey National Championships, Cerrato led Honeybaked to the 15O title, scoring once and assisting on three in a 6-3 victory over Florida Alliance.

The Knights have found plenty of talent in the Honeybaked program over the years: Patrick Kane, Max Jones, and Jonathan Gruden all played their minor midget seasons in Detroit.

 

ROUND EIGHT, 158TH OVERALL
Name: Jonathan Castagna  Position: Winger
Hometown: Etobicoke, ON Birthday: April 20, 2005
Height: 6’0” Weight: 170 lbs.
2019-2020 Team League GP G A PTS
Toronto Marlboros U15 AAA GTHL 22 9 5 14

Drafted from the famed Toronto Marlboros program, Castagna is a winger who plays the game at a high pace. He possesses elusive four-way speed and quick hands.

Castagna and the Marlboros were set to face off against the Toronto Jr. Canadiens in the GTHL Bantam Championship before the 2019-2020 season ended.

 

ROUND NINE, 176TH OVERALL
Name: Blake Montgomery Position: Winger
Hometown: Bowie, MD Birthday: May 4, 2005
Height: 6’2” Weight: 165 lbs.
2020-21 Team League GP G A PTS
Skipjacks Hockey Club U16 AAA USPHL 16U 3 2 2 4

Blake Montgomery possesses the same big frame as his older brother, and current Knight, Bryce. He will no doubt grow further, too – Bryce is currently 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds. 

The Hunter brothers are no stranger to having brothers play for them – Matt and Ryan Rupert, Corey and Danny Syvret, Gerard and Joey Keane, and of course, Dylan and Tucker Hunter have all donned the green and gold.

 

ROUND TEN, 180TH OVERALL
Name: Michael Levin Position: Winger
Hometown: Maple, ON Birthday: October 16, 2005
Height: 5’08” Weight: 145 lbs.
2019-2020 Team League GP G A PTS
Mississauga Reps U15 AAA GTHL 25 10 8 18

Michael Levin’s brother David was the 2015 OHL Priority Selection’s 1st overall pick and played five years for the Sudbury Wolves.

After his brother, Michael becomes only the second player drafted born in Israel. Their father, Pavel, played professional soccer in Latvia.

 

ROUND TEN, 183TH OVERALL
Name: Brady O’Malley Position: Defense
Hometown: Ann Arbor, MI Birthday: January 26, 2005
Height: 6’2” Weight: 185 lbs.
2020-21 Team League GP G A PTS
Compuware U15 AAA HPHL 15U 6 1 0 1

Brady O’Malley is a defenseman who possesses pro-ready size at 16 years old. The left shooting D-man comes from the same Detroit Compuware program as former Knights Max Jones and Austin Watson. 

 

ROUND ELEVEN, 216TH OVERALL
Name: Owen Voortman Position: Centre
Hometown: Thunder Bay, ON Birthday: August 2, 2005
Height: 6’0” Weight: 170 lbs.
2020-2021 Team League GP G A PTS
Thunder Bay Kings U16 AAA SIJHL 4 0 0 0

Voortman becomes the second player in two years that the Knights drafted from the Thunder Bay Kings program after they picked centre Jack Pineau last year.

Voortman is a relative of the famed Northern Ontario hockey family, the Staals. 

 

ROUND THIRTEEN, 256TH OVERALL
Name: Braiden Clark Position: Centre
Hometown: Upper Arlington, OH Birthday: April 8, 2005
Height: 5’11” Weight: 185 lbs.
2020-2021 Team League GP G A PTS
Ohio AAA Blue Jackets 15U US 15U AAA 49 19 24 43

The son of former NHLer and current Columbus Blue Jackets Director of Player Personnel, Chris Clark, Braiden is already almost as big as his dad was as a pro. Chris took over the role from Knights owner Basil McRae, who is now the Jackets’ Assistant General Manager.

 

ROUND FOURTEEN, 263TH OVERALL
Name: Sam Tonelli Position: Centre
Hometown: Port Colborne, ON Birthday: October 6, 2005
Height: 5’9” Weight: 130 lbs.
2019-2020 Team League GP G A PTS
Southern Tier Admirals U15 AAA SCTA15 36 11 18 29

The Knights’ final selection of 2021 is another small, but skilled forward. In an interview with Bill Potrecz of BP Sports Niagara, Tonelli described himself as an all-around centre who focuses on making plays for his linemates.

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