Day one of the 2021 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection is in the books.
In what was likely the most unconventional scouting year for OHL scouts and general managers, the Soo Greyhounds selected a trio of players on Friday that they feel fit the style of what fans have come to know at the GFL Memorial Gardens.
With picks in each of the first three rounds, the Greyhounds selected three wingers which included Ottawa Senators U18 winger Justin Cloutier in the opening round, 18th overall.
Cloutier, a 5’7’, 165-pound right winger who turns 16 later this month, has been called tough to defend by opponents.
“Justin is a dynamic forward, he skates really well,” Raftis said. “He demands the puck in the zone and has great skill and just that motor that he plays with. You can see that skillset, you can see the skating, and you can see all the ability. It’s interesting as you talk to a lot of players in the Ottawa-area, he’s one of the toughest players for them to defend against.
“When we’re evaluating in a bit of a different season, it’s important to get that character on him and how motivated he is and how much he’s just obsessed with hockey and wants to be a part of it,” Raftis added. “That was what stood out on top of the skill.”
In the second round, the Greyhounds selected right winger Marco Mignosa of the Toronto Young Nationals U16 team.
The Greyhounds had some added familiarity with Mignosa, who played with the Young Nats in 2019-20 as an underage player.
“We had a bigger book on him because he played up in the minor midget year as a bantam, so we got to watch him play on a Young Nats team that was an alright team, but not a lot of skill on that team,” Raftis said. “Marco, even as a 14-year-old, led that team and was able to show his ability to score goals. That’s something that we really think that when Marco gets a chance to play with skilled players that are up to his level, he’s going to take off.”
The third round saw the Greyhounds select left winger Ethan Montroy of the Cornwall Colts U18 team.
Montroy, who turns 16 in late-August, has similar traits to Cloutier and Mignosa.
“Ethan’s another guy that just demands the puck when he’s on the ice,” Raftis said. “He’s got great edge work. He can really find soft spots. He loves scoring goals and he’s someone who really drives plays.”
“Between all three of these guys every time you watch them, they’re doing something special with the puck,” Raftis also said.
It what’s been an abnormal scouting year, checking the backgrounds of players leading into the draft has taken on an added meaning with less player viewings than what scouts would have in a normal season.
“As you get background checks on all of these players, which in a lot of years you do that but this year especially, you want to make sure you’re getting the right references because you don’t get that chance to sit across from them and interview them,” Raftis said. “You can see that skill. You can see the skating. You can see the energy when they’re playing.”
The draft is set to resume on Saturday for rounds fourth through 15, beginning at 9 a.m.