Friday Five / Junior Hockey

FRIDAY FIVE: Fantastic Freshmen

Last season saw Arthur Kaliyev become the first 16-year-old to score 30 goals since Alex Galchenyuk scored 31 with Sarnia during the 2010-11 season. This season, a couple of players could reach the mark, highlighting a strong group of 2002-born players in the OHL.

Quinton Byfield (Sudbury Wolves) – 52GP, 22g 29a 51pts

The first overall pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection has certainly lived up to the hype. Byfield has points in six straight games, with four goals and ten points over that stretch. Travis Konecny was the most recent first overall pick to score at a point per game pace during his rookie season, Byfield has the chance to do so this year.

Cole Perfetti (Saginaw Spirit) – 52GP, 27g 31a 58pts

The fifth overall pick has points in 15 of his last 17 games, with 11 goals and 23 points. Perfetti continues to play a big role on a strong team, and leads all OHL freshman with 27 goals and 58 points this season, and has put up 16 multi-point games.

Jacob Perreault (Sarnia Sting) – 54GP, 27g 22a 49pts

The 19th overall pick in the OHL draft has adjusted nicely to the OHL. Son of former NHLer Yannick Perreault, he has been playing mostly wing early in his OHL career, but has played centre in the past. He’s scored the same amount of goals as Perfetti despite being selected 14 picks later. A great late first round grab by the Sting.

Jamie Drysdale (Erie Otters) – 51GP, 6g 25a 31pts

The only defensemen on the list, Drysdale set an Otters’ franchise record for points in a season by a rookie blueliner. He leads all first year Dmen in goals and points, and is the top scoring player on Erie’s blue line. Drysdale has three goals and six points in his last eight games.

Will Cuylee (Windsor Spitfires) – 54GP, 24g 12a 36pts

The third overall pick in the draft made headlines in the offseason after he refused to report to Peterborough, which prompted his eventual trade to Windsor. With 24 goals as a freshmen, he’s been well worth the price tag for the Spits. Cuylee has three multi-goal games this season, that saw him score in seven straight games in late-December and early-January. No first year play has taken more shots on goal than Cuylle.

Honourable Mentions

Jean-Luc Foudy (Windsor Spitfires) – 54GP, 6g 37a 43pts 

Foudy leads all first year’s with 37 assists, and let me tell you, him and Cuylee are going to be a dynamic duo in Windsor for years to come. He’s played centre for the most part this season, which can be a tough adjustment for a young player coming into the league.

Antonio Stranges (London Knights) – 56GP, 11g 21a 32pts

The highly-skilled forward plays a depth role on a strong London team, albeit with some powerplay opportunities. His production has been streaky at times during his rookie season but this guy is a game breaker, and I expect him to do some serious damage with an increased offensive role next season.

Tyler Tullio (Oshawa Generals) – 50GP, 13g 21a 34pts

Tullio has gotten better as the seasons gone on. In ten February games, Tullio has three goals and 11 points. That follows a five game stretch in January that saw him score four goals and ten points.

Photo of Jacob Perreault by Luke Durda
Other photos by Terry Wilson / OHL Images

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