Sting add three prospects in OHL U18 draft

General manager Dylan Seca says the Sarnia Sting went 3-for-3 in the Ontario Hockey League under-18 draft Wednesday.

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General manager Dylan Seca says the Sarnia Sting went 3-for-3 in the Ontario Hockey League under-18 draft Wednesday.

“We went in hopefully looking at three guys and got the three guys we wanted, so that’s perfect,” he said.

The Sting chose Guelph Gryphons defenceman Brock Reinhart in the first round with the ninth overall selection. The Elora native, who’ll turn 17 in July, had 11 points and 36 penalty minutes in 31 games in 2019-20.

“Right-hand defenceman, intelligent, competitive,” Seca said. “He hits hard, he plays hard, skates really well. He’s grown a little bit in the last year. He’s just over 6’1” now. He’s got good puck skills. Just a real steady defenceman.

“(We’ve) not really seen a whole lot of him since his minor midget year. We’ll be curious as to what progress he’s really made. But we liked him a lot in his minor midget year.”

Seca looks forward to seeing Reinhart at training camp in September.

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“We could use a little bit of D depth,” the Sting GM said. “Whether Brock is able to earn his way, we’ll give him the chance. We’ll see.”

The Sting picked Toronto Titans goalie Nicholas Surzycia in the second round, 32nd overall. The 5’11½”, 169-pound Toronto native, who’ll turn 17 in December, is taught by Sting goalie coach Franky Palazzese.

“Franky’s trained him for the last number of years. He’s a goaltender we were surprised was not drafted in his minor midget year,” Seca said. “Athletic, very agile, competitive, has great hands, loves to challenge a shooter. There’s really good upside with him and our goalie coach is comfortable with him. We liked him his minor midget year.

“We always want goaltending depth. We took the two goalies (Taya Currie and Antonino Rizzo) in the priority selection draft. We always try to at least grab one extra goalie there just to have the flexibility just in case.”

Because the Sting drafted a goalie in the first two rounds, they were given a third selection and used it on Lambton Jr. Sting defenceman Owen MacDonald, who’ll turn 17 in August. The six-foot, 169-pound Mooretown native had nine points and 22 penalty minutes in 33 games in 2019-20.

“Rangy kid, keeps the game simple, knows his role, works hard, phenomenal family,” Seca said. “Some good upside there. We think he’s going to play junior B in Sarnia, which is nice to have a guy that’s in town and close to us. It’s perfect.”

Fellow Jr. Sting defenceman Jason Bacchus, 17, went to the Niagara IceDogs in the second round, 21st overall. The 5’9”, 145-pound Sarnia native had three points in 19 games in 2019-20.

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The fifth annual draft was for players born in 2003 and 2004 who played on an Ontario-based U18 AAA team in 2020-21 and weren’t on an OHL team’s protected list.

The Sting have done better in the U18 draft than most teams. Defenceman Marko Jakovljevic played three seasons in Sarnia after being picked in the inaugural draft in 2017.

“We’ve had great success out of this draft, absolutely,” Seca said. “… There’s definite value here. It’s just you never know how the player’s going to develop until you really get him in and around your own group.”

Last year, the Sting signed U18 draft pick Anson Thornton, who has a shot at backing up goalie Ben Gaudreau next season.

“We knew right away he was a guy we were going to sign and have a part of our team,” Seca said.

Next for the Sting is the Canadian Hockey League import draft Wednesday, June 30. They’ll pick 24th overall.

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