Family ties, high skill as Greyhounds concludes day one of OHL draft

With four picks on opening day, they didn’t plan to add at four different positions.

Like all teams. the Soo Greyhounds entered day one of the 2022 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection looking to set the franchise up for the future and came away from the first three rounds of the two-day draft pleased with how it played out.

“We were excited coming into it, just having those four picks tonight, we felt like we could set ourselves up nicely and we felt like we did that,” Greyhounds general manager Kyle Raftis said. “It wasn’t by design that we added at a couple of different positions, but at the same time, those guys were high on our board in those positions.”

Holding the 16th pick in the opening round, the Greyhounds selected center Christopher Brown of the North York Rangers U16 team.

“Brown is an elite skater, really creative with the puck and can just find and create lanes for himself and his teammates,” Raftis said. “He’s just somebody that makes everybody around him better. He’s got a great motor in terms of his work ethic. He has a lot of those tools in how he thinks the game, his skating, and his skill level that once that strength comes, he’s going to be a real force for us.”

In 46 games with the Rangers this season, Brown scoring 19 goals and 60 points.

In the second round, using a pick acquired from Ottawa on Thursday, the Greyhounds selected goaltender Landon Miller of the Vaughan Kings U16 team.

“Landon was a goalie that we tracked pretty well the entire year,” Raftis said. “He has great size, great athleticism, but what really stands out is the way he thinks the game. That’s something that’s interesting when you talk about goaltenders. The way he can track pucks and how he sees the game, combined with his raw tools and his size, really put him in a good spot on our board.”

Miller joined the Vaughan program after spending time in another Toronto-area minor hockey program.

“He wanted to go to Vaughan to get challenged a little more,” Raftis said.

With a pair of picks in the third round, the Greyhounds selected left-shooting defenseman Broden McConnell-Barker.

“Broden’s a really smooth-skating defenseman,” Raftis said. “He has great edge work and plays with some nastiness to his game.”

McConnell-Barker, who had eight goals and 36 points in 33 games this season, made the transition to defense prior to this season.

“It will be interesting to see, with that flexibility, what position he will play,” Raftis said. “At the same time, he had a great year on defense.”

McConnell-Barker is the younger brother of current Greyhounds forward Bryce McConnell-Barker.

Raftis said that adding a player like the younger McConnell-Barker who can play both forward and defense was taken into consideration with the pick.

“That plays into it, because you can see how he sees the game,” Raftis said. “You can see how he walks the line and how he can create in the offensive zone. There’s just that extra skill level. Sometimes when defensemen only play D all the way up, they get to that other blueline and they’re kind of lost in their tracks. With Broden, he just has that ability to see the ice really well and, combined with his skillset, sets him apart from the group.”

With the 58th overall pick, the Greyhounds selected Markham Majors U16 winger Alex Kostov.

“Alex can really shoot the puck,” Raftis said. “He’s got a great, powerful stride. He’s physically mature already and it’s something that, as we watched him this year, he just continued to get better. We’ve had some good luck with wingers we’ve brought in that have similar skillsets to him. When you combine that skillset with his size, we think he’s going to be a really dangerous goalscorer.”

Kostov had 12 goals and 19 points in 23 games this season.

Among the early selections made Friday was a player with family ties to Sault Ste. Marie in winger Porter Martone, son of Sault native Mike, who played for the Peterborough Petes in the mid-1990s.

The younger Martone, a Peterborough, Ont. native who played this season with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens, was selected fifth overall by the Sarnia Sting.

The Saginaw Spirit held the top pick and selected Mississauga Senators center Michael Misa, who was granted exceptional player status ahead of the draft, allowing him to enter the draft a year early.

Misa scored 16 goals and 43 points this season before adding 10 goals and 20 points in seven games at the OHL Cup to end the season.

The 15-round draft resumes on Saturday morning at 9 am The Greyhounds enter day two with 12 picks remaining.

Leave a Comment