Oakville Rangers Make History with 5 players selected in the first round of the 2021 OHL Draft!
Nineteen players from across 13 different organizations were
chosen in the first round of the 2021 OHL Priority Selection presented by Real
Canadian Superstore on Friday, June 4.
While American talent Quentin Musty of the U.S. Youth Tier-1 U16
National champion North Jersey Avalanche was tabbed by the Sudbury Wolves with
the first overall pick, it was the Oakville Rangers U16 program that drew
considerable attention on Day 1 of the annual Priority Selection.
The powerhouse Rangers produced five of the first 11 picks on Day 1, an instance not before seen in the history of the OHL Priority Selection.
Captain Calum Ritchie led the way going second overall to the Oshawa Generals, marking the first time Oshawa has picked second since taking defenseman Michael Del Zotto back in 2006.
Right-winger Matthew Soto followed him at fifth overall to the Kingston Frontenacs before teammate Nick Lardis went sixth to the Peterborough Petes. The Mississauga Steelheads selected centreman Luke Misa with the ninth pick before 6-foot-3 forward Owen Outwater joined the North Bay Battalion at 11th overall.
While one team producing five of the first 11 picks is a new benchmark, the 2020-21 Oakville Rangers put themselves in good company with four other teams that have produced four of the first 10 picks in the Priority Selection. Those include the 2019-20 Don Mills Flyers (Wright, Othmann, Clarke, Arnsby), the 2011-12 Toronto Marlboros (McDavid, McKeown, Ho-Sang, Bennett), the 2007-08 Toronto Jr. Canadiens (McFarland, O’Connor, Toffoli, Smith-Pelly) and the 2004-05 Toronto Marlboros (Tavares, Aliu, Smith, Cameron).
Ritchie is described as one of the top prospects in the OHL Draft this year. He can be put on the ice in any situation of the game, whether you need the game winning goal or the last second stop. Ritchie is a complete 200-foot player that coaches love to have. His hockey sense is noted as elite and takes responsibility in all three zones. What separates him from other players is his dedication to both sides of the puck and understands where he needs to be.
With a quick shot and speed and agility, Soto is a threat in the offensive zone whether or not he has the puck on his stick. Between protecting the puck and using his edges, it's those little things that Soto does on the ice that make the difference for him and his teammates.
Lardis is noted for his great skating ability and can keep up with the fast pace of game and uses it to his advantage. It’s not just his ability to skate back and forth but his edgework has been noticed for the power Lardis produces coming out of turns. This is an important skill for him that will translate well at the next level.
A centre who plays both sides of the puck, Misa is a speedy forward that uses his quickness to forecheck and create space for his teammates. His ability to play fast opens up the ice when he gets around defenders and suddenly finds himself in an immediate scoring opportunity. Misa makes himself noticed when he’s on the ice and stands out in his peer group.
Noted as a complete threat when on the ice, Outwater can score goals or set them up in equal fashion. He has the ability to beat defenders one on one and isn’t afraid to have the puck on his stick. Outwater can make things happen on the ice and averaged nearly two points a game in 2019-20. He is known for his offensive package and is described as dangerous when his team is on the attack.
The Oakville Rangers also made their mark on Priority Selection history, matching a record set by the Richmond Hill Stars in 2004 for the most players selected from one team with 16.
Bronson Ride to Windsor, 2nd Round, 20th overall
Conor Thacker to Owen Sound, 5th Round, 84 overall
Jacob Crisp to Windsor, 7th Round, 123rd overall
Matthew Wang to Flint, 7th Round, 126 overall
Zachary Losier to North Bay, 8th Round 149 overall
Lucas Di Giantommaso to Sudbury, 8th Round 152 overall
Alexander Stephen to North Bay, 10th round 182 overall
Mason Zebeski to Mississauga, 11th round 208 overall
Braeden Shaikh to Erie, 14th round, 270 overall
Andrew Brown to Sudbury, 15th Round, 280 overall
Rory Browne to Hamilton, 15th Round, 293 overall
Congratulations to all of these players! you have made us all very proud and we can't wait to see what's next for you!