Two seasons removed from an OHL Championship, the Erie Otters are looking ahead to the 2019-20 season in the hope of getting back into the OHL Playoffs.
After selecting an exciting young defenceman in Jamie Drysdale with the fourth overall pick of the 2018 OHL Priority Selection, Otters GM Dave Brown and his staff turned their attention to addressing the team’s forward corps with their opening selections in 2019.
First round, third overall choice Connor Lockhart of the Kanata Lasers was the HEO Midget AAA circuit’s Rookie of the Year this past season, putting up 30 goals, 49 assists and 79 points over 41 games. The Kanata, Ont. native is the first Ottawa-area first round selection by the Otters since they selected Michael Blunden 18th overall back in 2002.
Lockhart officially committed to the Otters on May 17th.
Having had success with recent local recruits in goaltender Aidan Campbell and forward Austen Swankler, the Otters looked to Pittsburgh in the second round, selecting small but crafty Penguins Elite 16U forward Colby Saganiuk at 37th overall. He is the grandson of former Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins forward Rocky Saganiuk who skated in the NHL between 1978-84.
The Otters selected one of many North Central Predators scooped up in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection, taking centreman Brett Bressette in the fourth round (65th overall). The Midland, Ont. native was productive when he was in the lineup, but missed much of the season due to injury.
Erie picked up a pair of defencemen two picks apart in the fifth round, selecting Christian Kyrou of the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs 84th overall before selecting Wil Murphy of the Greater Kingston Frontenacs at 86th overall. Kyrou is the younger brother of former OHL Player of the Year Jordan Kyrou who now skates in the St. Louis Blues organization.
Other mid-round selections included hard-working Quinte Red Devils captain Benjamin White in the seventh round and 6-foot-2 Toronto Nationals goaltender Forbes Andersen in the eighth round.
Over 20 days in July ontariohockeyleague.com will take a look at the future of all 20 OHL clubs. See more from the OHL 20 in 20 series.