2023 OHL Mock Draft

Apr 18, 2023 | World Hockey Hub

Photo from Instagram | @mschaef48
Photo from Instagram | @mschaef48

Matthew Schaefer an obvious No. 1? Four Jr. Knights go in Rd 1

The Erie Otters are on the clock for the 2023 OHL Priority Selection process set to begin on April 21st. They will have their pick of the litter when choosing amongst the top 2007-born prospects in youth hockey. Their first overall selection will be the first of a 15-round event as OHL member clubs identify players for the future of their respective organizations.

The top draft-eligible prospect in the OHL jurisdiction, William Moore, is already committed to play for the U.S. National Team Development Program (USNTDP). He played the 2022-23 season with the Toronto Marlboros, and with dual citizenship, is set to represent Team USA next fall. That, in all likelihood, takes him out of consideration for the first overall pick. In the process, leaves Erie’s decision wide open to choose between a variety of players with varying skill sets at virtually every position. How will the first round unfold? We offer up a look at the first 22 picks coming up this Friday:

1. Erie Otters – Matthew Schaefer, U16 Halton Hurricanes

Schaefer was one of, if not, the best player at the 2023 Canada Winter Games. As captain of Team Ontario, he scored the game-winning goal in overtime to clinch the national championship back in February. On top of that, he scored 12 goals and 32 points in 25 games for Halton. Despite the Hurricanes being eliminated in pool play of the U16 OHL Cup, Schaefer still finished second among defensemen in scoring at the tournament. He’s a do-it-all defender that would instantly bolster Erie’s blue line.  

2. Niagara IceDogs – Brady Martin, U16 Waterloo Wolves

The right-handed forward scored 56 points in 23 games for Waterloo this season. He tied for the tournament lead with eight goals in six games at the U16 OHL Cup earlier this month. On top of that, he scored 85 points in 34 ALLIANCE Hockey games this season. He’s a physical presence on the ice with a heavy shot. Teams looking for a little sandpaper in their lineup may find just that with Martin 

3. Soo Greyhounds – Ryan Roobroeck, U16 London Jr. Knights

One of the most talked about prospects in the class because of his size, skating ability and puck skills. Roobroeck is listed at 6-foot-2 but looks even bigger on skates. He finished among the top skaters in points at the Canada Winter Games; a tournament that features some of the best prospects in the 2007-birth year. He was pivotal in Team Ontario’s run to a championship, scoring four of the team’s final nine goals in en route to a gold medal. He’s won everywhere he goes, and Roobroeck will likely make an instant impact when selected.

4. Kingston Frontenacs – Owen Griffin, U16 York-Simcoe Express

Much smaller in stature than the ones going ahead of him here, but Owen Griffin is extremely creative with the puck on his stick. He has a knack for finding open guys and the ability to create passing lanes with great on-ice vision. He led the ETAHL in goals (51) and assists (43) to help YSE to a 55-15-7 record this season. 

5. Niagara IceDogs – Tyler Hopkins, U16 Halton Hurricanes

He finished second in the SCTA in scoring behind teammate Tanner Lam (more on him in a bit). Hopkins was one-third of the most dominant line in the league for Halton. Going to Niagara here, the IceDogs get a burner who can get to top speed in just a few strides. Not only is he fast with his feet, but Hopkins can make plays at top speed as well. He can skate, he can score and he could prove to be a force in the OHL because of it.

6. Oshawa Generals – Quinn Beauchesne, U18 Nepean Raiders

The second defenseman off the board, appropriate for a prospect that may have been the best defender at the Canada Winter Games, second only to Schaefer. He played up an age group with the Nepean Raiders, and produced 35 points in 28 games to finish fourth among HEO defensemen. May be a bit of a challenge to crack the lineup right away, as Oshawa could return as many as five of its seven defensemen from the ‘22-23 season.

7. Mississauga Steelheads – Luca Romano, U16 Toronto Jr. Canadiens

The Jr. Canadiens’ most effective offensive player. Romano has a knack for attacking the middle of the ice, plus finishing off the play with a scoring touch. Looks a bit smaller on the ice than what he’s listed at 5-foot-11 and 165 lbs. However, he has the potential to provide Brantford with a boost to the middle of its lineup, as he creates so many quality scoring chances in a variety of ways.

8. Brantford Bulldogs – Jacob Cloutier, 15O Pittsburgh Penguins Elite

He led PPE in scoring with 81 points from the wing. Cloutier has a good feel for the game, especially without the puck. He’s got his head up to make smart plays coming out of the defensive zone and a nice tendency to find soft areas in the offensive zone. His ability to make positive plays at both ends of the rink would be a nice addition to the Bulldogs’ lineup.

9. Sudbury Wolves – Tanner Lam, U16 Halton Hurricanes

Talk about puck skills with Lam. He’s got a tremendous gift for creating offense on his own with the ability to get past defenders 1-on-1 and also find shooting lanes with little space to operate. That can sometimes get him into trouble trying to do a bit too much at times. However, the good significantly outweighs the bad with Lam, as he led the SCTA in scoring with 71 points in 35 games. Plenty of upside to like here taking Lam near the end of the Top 10.

10. Kitchener Rangers – Rylan Singh, U16 York-Simcoe Express 

A slippery defender with the ability to skate his way out of danger, be it walking the blue line in the offensive zone or evading forecheckers below his own goal line. Singh is extremely active in the rush, pushing the back end every chance he gets. That makes him a dangerous threat offensively, as evidenced by his 16 goals and 65 points this season.

11. Kitchener Rangers – Henry Brzustewicz, 16U North Jersey Avalanche

The first American off the board, may be a reach at this particular spot but Brzustewicz to Kitchener makes sense for a few reasons. First, Henry’s brother Hunter was a standout defenseman for the Rangers this past season. Second, Kitchener’s D corps is on the older side, and adding Henry would be a perfect fit given the need and pre-existing family connection. Third, with the compensatory pick at 10, the 11th pick is a bit of a luxury. They know what they would be getting with the Brothers Brzustewicz on the back end, and adding Henry would be a good get for the Rangers.

12. Owen Sound Attack – Matheas Stark, U16 Toronto Marlboros

Very smart with the puck on his stick. Stark is not one to put pucks into danger areas or take unnecessary risks. That makes him a very reliable forward that would pair well with Oshawa’s top scorers. He may not be super dynamic or have a crazy high end like picks 1, 2 or 3 here. However, Stark is the type of player you could pair with that high-end player in your lineup to round out a top line. 

13. Peterborough Petes – Ethan Weir, U16 London Jr. Knights

He could find a role similar to Stark, as a fantastic complimentary player to Peterborough’s current top scorers. Problem is, the Petes may lose much of their scoring from the ‘22-23 season. Can Weir be a source of offense? Maybe. However, his value is more geared towards the smart, little plays that build momentum into bigger plays. Good zone exits and entries, no unforced turnovers and risky plays kept to a minimum. He’s going to be a good role player for a team in the back half of the first round.

14. Guelph Storm – Chase Hull, U18 Renfrew Wolves

Another under-ager that played up in the U18 HEO, Hull was the highest-scoring ‘07-born player in the league. He scored 33 goals and 63 points for the first-place Renfrew Wolves as they went 35-4-0 in league play. He has a very quick release which is a tad surprising, given his 5-foot-10 frame. However, that should put Hull in a good spot at the next level, especially considering Guelph could lose three of its top four scorers. 

15. Flint Firebirds – Cameron Reid, 15O Bishop Kearney Selects

He was second in the States among ‘07-born defensemen, with 69 points in 75 games. Reid had the ability to take over games for BK this season, flashing his footwork and puck skills in one fell swoop. He’s the definition of a quarterback at the position, constantly communicating with his D partner and teammates on the ice. Firebirds would be getting a leader here who could positively impact the team in more ways than just hockey.

16. Saginaw Spirit – Carson Cameron, U16 Central Ontario Wolves

Another member of Team Ontario from the Canada Winter Games, Cameron was part of a loaded blue line in that February tournament. His skating ability sets him apart from most on the back end. Great use of his edges, very mobile and can transition from defense to offense with ease. Cameron scored 12 goals and 34 points in 30 ETAHL games; fourth among league defensemen. 

17. Sarnia Sting – Shamar Moses, U16 Don Mills Flyers

His size makes him a problem for defenders in-zone. Moses is 6-foot-3 and 210 lbs, and he knows how to use his frame to his advantage. A true puck protector that doesn’t lose many board battles. On top of that, he’s able to move pucks to teammates in space that usually leads to positive offensive plays. Moses would fit right in with a Sting team that was the third tallest in the league; 10 players listed at 6-foot-2 or taller.

18. London Knights – Parker Snelgrove, U16 London Jr. Knights

May not be the fastest prospect in the 2007 birth year, but he does get the most out of it. Snelgrove is relentless on a forecheck, just out-working opposing skaters to get to loose pucks. His motor is what propelled the Jr. Knights’ offense and opened up space for players like Roobroeck to have the season he did. Snelgrove will be a great depth forward who can bring energy and kill penalties right out of the gate.

19. Barrie Colts – Will McFadden, U16 Peterborough Petes

Hit the 100-point mark for the Petes in 44 ETAHL games. He added nine more points in the OHL Cup before they were eliminated in the semifinals. McFadden has a good feel for the play as it develops and regularly knows where he wants to go with the puck before it gets to him. A prospect that can be a key piece to a team’s offense without being the main focal point of it. His value comes in many forms, including a playmaker on a PP unit or stout defender on a depth line.

20. Windsor Spitfires – Aiden Young, U16 London Jr. Knights

Not a lot of lightning in his game but plenty of thunder. He won’t wow you with fancy plays, but Young will very casually make routine ones that lead to big things. Zone exits up the wall to space getting out of the zone. Driving wide, leaving a drop pass to space for teammates. He does a lot of the little things that flashier players don’t want to do. Young will pair well with forwards in any other lineup here, but Windsor would get a nice contributor with the 20th pick here.

21. North Bay Battalion – Ivan Galiyanov, U16 Vaughan Kings

Part of the Vaughan Kings’ unlikely run to an OHL Cup final, Galiyanov scored 54 points in 64 games this season. He’s smart with the puck, not just in the attacking zone but also defensively. Galiyanov limits turnovers and dangerous plays by keeping his head up and making smart decisions. His sound positioning and effort in the D-zone makes him a low-risk, high-reward player at the end of the first round for North Bay.

22. Ottawa 67’s – Jake O’Brien, U16 Toronto Jr. Canadiens

An historic performance at the OHL Cup propelled O’Brien up the draft boards. He earned tournament MVP honors after producing 17 points in seven games; eighth-most in a single OHL Cup. He’s most dangerous without the puck, able to slash his way into open space in the offensive zone. When teammates found him open, he found ways to put the puck in the net. That certainly carries weight, and could make him a nice pickup here at the end of the first round.

Want more coverage of the OHL Priority Selection and other major junior drafts? Follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for the latest news, updates and more!


Recent News

Follow Us

More Headlines

Opening ceremonies at the 2023 World Youth Championships in Prague.
‘11 forward leads tournament in points, goals heading into playoff round
Prospects GTA from the 2022 Ontario All-Star Showcase
More than 300 players from Ontario and USA set to participate in 20-team event
The 2023 World Youth Championships are set to take place in Prague.
Players from ‘09,’10,’11 birth years set to compete at annual tournament