Published April 11, 2024

Colts set to take forward with fifth overall pick in OHL draft

Colts set to take forward with fifth overall pick in OHL draft

In an OHL Priority Selection headlined by a group of talented forwards, the Barrie Colts are set to do some forward-thinking with their early first-round pick.

The Colts hold the fifth overall selection when the first round gets underway on Friday evening, and it’s expected that forwards will dominate the early part of the draft.

“It looks to be forward heavy,” said Barrie general manager and head coach Marty Williamson, whose club also holds picks No. 27,No. 30, and No. 48 in the first four rounds. “A few of the defencemen have already committed (to playing in) the United States.

“I think, especially at the five-hole, a forward will be our target and then with our two second-round picks we hope to grab a defenceman and a different player there at that point. Definitely, at the five-hole, we’re looking at a forward.”

Barrie's News Delivered To Your Inbox

Stay up to date with what Barrie's talking about. Get the latest local news delivered right to your inbox every day. Never miss out on what's going on ...
Subscription Form
Consent Info

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Central Ontario Broadcasting, 431 Huronia Rd, Barrie, Ontario, CA, You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

The Windsor Spitfires get to go first on the board after winning this year’s draft lottery, and it’s expected they will name Oakville Rangers ‘AAA’ minor midget forward Ethan Belchetz (banner image) the first pick overall on Thursday.

The six-foot-five, 230-pound force led Oakville to the OHL Cup and was named the tournament’s most valuable player after recording five goals and 11 points in seven games.

The Sarnia Sting are up next, followed by the Peterborough Petes, Niagara IceDogs, and then Barrie.

Toronto Marlies offensive standout Adam Valentini and offensive stalwart Braidy Wassilyn of the Markham Majors round out the consensus top three prospects in this year’s OHL draft.

The Barrie Colts ‘AAA’ minor midgets, which won the Ontario Minor Hockey Association title and made it to the semi-finals of the OHL Cup before losing to Oakville, are expected to dominate the first round with as many as three forwards possibly being taken in the first 10 selections.

Alex McLean, with his elite vision and playmaking, scoring forward Nathan Amidovski, and highly touted centre Logan Hawery are all expected to hear their names called in the first round.

Barrie’s last pick this high came back in 2019 when they selected defenceman and future Los Angeles Kings star prospect Brandt Clarke fourth overall. The Colts held the No. 1 pick overall in 2017 using it to select Ryan Suzuki.

Whoever the Colts take with their fifth pick, they're confident he should be a key piece for the club down the road.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for us,” said Williamson of the early pick. “You never know how these things work out. We’re looking to be successful next year and can an ’08 (birth year) make that big of an impact on us winning next year? That’s the kind of thing that is still an interesting piece.

“Hopefully we’re going to get a player that can contribute, but I think our focus on trying to be one of the top teams is really going to be with our players that we have already.”

As for the talent available in this year’s OHL draft, Williamson said the expectations have changed from earlier in the year.

“I don’t see it as deep as originally thought,” he said. “That’s what most of the GMs are saying now, that it’s not as deep as what was first portrayed earlier in the year. It’s five or six players heavy, then there’s a bit of a separation, and then at 15 and 16 there’s another separation. I think you’re going to see some crazy things from pick No. 10 to 20.

“I don’t mean crazy in terms of what the picks are. We might have them at No. 35 on our list, and they go 10th, and the guys we have at 10th or 12th are going in the 30s for other teams. I think there’s a wide variety of preference after the first 10 picks. There are good players there.”

Williamson expects big forwards to dominate the early picks.

“I think what’s happening with the early picks is there’s a lot of size and well-built kids,” he said. “After that, the draft gets small. There’s a lot of small players, so sometimes that’s hard to decipher which one of the small players are going to be successful and which ones just can’t quite get it done.

“That’s where hopefully we’ve done our homework and we’re able to acquire guys we think can be successful even though they’re not six-foot-three.”

While Williamson sees a good level of talent available in this year’s draft, he believes it will take some time for that talent to take fruition at the OHL level.

He doesn’t see many, if any, of the top picks, having a major impact in their first year,

“I think it takes a lot of time with all of them,” said Williamson of the development needed. “I know the big guy (Belchetz) is going to first, but it’s going to take these kids time to adapt to our league. There’s no Connor McDavid in this draft, and those kinds of guys that might step in right away.

“There’s good players in this draft, and they’re going to step in and contribute, but I don’t see impact right away at all.”

The OHL draft gets underway Friday night at 7 p.m. with Rounds 1-3, before restarting again at 9 a.m. on Saturday with Rounds 4-15.

Fans can watch streaming of the live draft for free on OHL Live. It will also be made available on Rogers TV as well as on channel 466 of the Rogers Super Sports Pak.


ETHAN BELCHETZ (Oakville Rangers) F – “Ethan is a big power forward that at times seems like he is a man playing amongst boys. He is an intimidating force whenever he is on the ice.” 

ADAM VALENTINI (Toronto Marlboros) F - “Adam has proven all year that he is one of the top prospects for this year’s Priority Selection. He is very dynamic when he has the puck on his stick and he makes everyone around him better.” 

BRAIDY WASSILYN (Markham Majors) F - “Braidy is one of the most dynamic and offensively gifted players in this year’s Priority Selection. He is always a threat every time he is one the ice, he will constantly challenge defenders with his speed and skill.”  

LOGAN HAWERY (Barrie Colts) F - “Logan is one of the most complete and highly skilled centres in this year’s Priority Selection. He has an extremely high hockey sense and rarely makes a poor decision when he has the puck on his stick.”

ALEX MCLEAN (Barrie Colts) F – “Alex is an elite centre that has the skill to make everyone around him better,” says OHL Central Scouting. “He is a dynamic skater that has the ability to change gears in mid stride, he will challenge anyone with the puck on his stick.

NATHAN AMIDOVSKI (Barrie Colts) F – “Nathan is a big winger that just oozes offence and offensive skill,” says OHL Central Scouting. “He is a player that given the opportunity, given a chance, he doesn’t miss many. He is one of those players sometimes you don’t notice him all game, but when he gets those one or two chances next thing you know the puck is in the back of the net.”

CALEB MALHOTRA (Vaughan Kings) C – “Caleb is a very smart hockey players,” says OHL Central Scouting. “He comes from a good bloodline of hockey. He’s a tall, lanky centreman that has got a ton of skill and a ton of upside. I think he’s just going to get better and better as he gets stronger and fills out.”

COLE ZURAWSKI (Mississauga Rebels) F – “Cole is probably one of the most pure goal scorers in the GTHL,” says OHL Central Scouting. “He’s got a shot that a lot of guys in the Ontario Hockey League would love to have. He’s a big, strong kid.”

COLIN FITZGERALD (Peterborough Petes) F – “I’m a 200-foot centre that plays his role in the defensive zone and then can obviously generate offence in the offensive zone,” says Fitzgerald. “Basically, I’ve been dreaming about this my whole life. My dad played in the OHL, and I grew up watching it.”

BRADY SMITH (North York Rangers) F – “Brady is a goal scorer,” says OHL Central Scouting. “In the GTHL he would be one of the top two or three guys in the league for goals this year. He’s one of those guys that the puck follows.” 

banner image: OHL Images

What do you think of this article?

Have a breaking story?

Share it with us!
Share Your Story

What Barrie's talking about!

From breaking news to the best slice of pizza in town! Get everything Barrie’s talking about delivered right to your inbox every day. Don’t worry, we won’t spam you. We promise :)
Subscription Form
Consent Info

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Central Ontario Broadcasting, 431 Huronia Rd, Barrie, Ontario, CA, You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Related Stories