Colts add power forward with 10th overall pick in weekend’s OHL draft

Ultra-competitive Cole Beaudoin the complete package for Colts

Cole Beaudoin knows exactly what got him here and the Barrie Colts’ top pick in this weekend’s 2022 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection plans on bringing it to his new team. 

“I’m always going to be playing the same way. I’m always going to work hard,” said the big power-forward from the Nepean Raiders U18 AAA who went 10th overall. “That’s something that is my biggest asset. Not many guys work as hard as me. I back check every single time and will go on the forecheck and lay the body, so it’s always going to be the same.

“I’ll always do my job to do whatever it takes to win a game.”

It’s that competitive nature that the Barrie Colts love about their newest prize pony in the stable.

“With Cole, the package is pretty impressive,” said Colts assistant general manager Rob Stewart. “He’s a big guy with some skill, but he’s ultra-competitive and I think that’s what we liked most about him.

“His engine is great. He’s first on the forecheck, first on the backcheck and it doesn’t matter what the scoreboard says he seems to play with the same intensity every shift.”

An intensity that Beaudoin says arose in him as a child by taking in his father’s advice.

Eric Beaudoin, a fourth-round NHL pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning, played parts of three seasons with the Florida Panthers before embarking on a long pro career in Europe.

“He’s been alongside for so many years now,” said the 16-year-old, six-foot-two, 190-pound Kanata native who finished second in the Hockey Eastern Ontario AAA in scoring with 24 goals and 53 assists for 77 points in 32 games. “When I was a little kid playing for Kanata or with all my buddies he’s definitely been there. He’s taught me things to do, but always said just work hard.

“Good things will happen, don’t worry about the score or any of that stuff. Just keep working hard and good things will come.”

Adding size up front was the underlying theme for the Colts early in this weekend’s draft. Barrie had three picks in the top 30 and used them all on forwards with a high-driving motor.

They used their 26th overall selection to grab left-winger Carter Lowe from the Toronto Marlies U16 AAA team and three picks later selected centre Lucas Ellinas from the North York Rangers U16 AAA team.

“That’s definitely been a point of emphasis for the last couple of drafts,” Stewart said of adding size and drive upfront. “If you look at our team and how (head coach Marty Williamson) has them playing now we think that can be the driving force behind the success of our hockey club.”

A strong two-way forward, Lowe had 22 goals and 28 assists for 50 points in 46 games with a very good Marlies club.

“He’s another big player that can really skate and has some offensive ability for sure,” said Stewart. “He had a really good OHL Cup where he was a driving force behind his Marlies team. We like the whole package he can bring upfront.”

With size hard to come by, Ellinas was on the radar despite the two-way centre missing some games this season.

“He had some injuries over the season and didn’t really get as much gameplay as some of the other guys,” Stewart said of Ellinas who had 11 goals and 11 assists in 18 games with North York. “Our scouts were on him early. He’s really a smart, two-way player that has some edge and is more of a natural scorer.

“We thought we got three guys that complimented each other pretty well. Obviously, size and skill are at a premium and we thought we did pretty well getting a good mix of that.”

With four picks in the top 50, the Colts used their third-round selection to address the blue line with the addition of Kashawn Aitcheson.

The six-foot-one, 167-pound stalwart with the North York Rangers U16 AAA team is another fierce competitor the Colts believe can develop into an effective shutdown defender.

“We really like him,” Stewart said of Aitcheson, who had nine goals and 31 points in 47 games for North York. “He’s got some rawness to his game, but another guy who’s ultra-competitive can really skate, loves to be aggressive in all three zones and make plays. I think what we like most about him is he’s hard to play against.

“He played in the GTHL against some of the top guys and he did a real good job of making life difficult for them. That’s something everyone’s after for the back end, for sure.”

Barrie believes it added some future skill and scoring upfront with its next two picks.

Diminutive forwards Parker Forlin, of the Niagara North Stars U16 AAA team, and Nolan Newton, of the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves U16 AAA, provide plenty of scoring punch.

The five-foot-six, 161-pound Forlin, who had 24 goals and 42 points in 23 games, was the straw that stirred the drink on the dynamic Stars line along with fellow OHL prospects Luka Testa (15th overall to London) and Andrew Vermeulen (71st to Niagara).

The five-foot-eight, 156-pound Newton had 14 goals and 36 points in 27 games with the Capital Wolves.

“They’re two really skilled guys who drove their teams,” said Stewart. “We think those are guys that can really make an offensive impact down the road for us.”

Barrie grabbed another centre with its second pick in the fifth round in Wyatt Warner from Kemptville 73s U18 AAA, before grabbing defenceman Jack Brauti of the Shattuck-St. Mary’s Sabres 15’s in the sixth round.

“He plays with some bite as well,” Stewart said of Brauti. “He’s grown a lot over the last little while. We think his game is on the up and up. He’s a guy who can probably step in a year from now.”

The Colts did add a couple of goaltenders to the stable. They grabbed Glen McInnes of the Quinte Red Devils U16 AAA in the seventh round and then two rounds later picked up Ben Hrebik of the Halton Hills Hurricanes U16 AAA club.

Both stand over six-foot-one.

“We wanted to definitely add some goaltending depth here,” said Stewart. “It was a good year for goalies across the board. I’m not sure what the final number was, but there were quite a few taken here and I think that’s a testament to the crop as a whole.

The two guys we got, Glen and Ben, we are happy with. We had them rated really close on the list. (Goalie coach) David Belitski did a lot of scouting for us this year on the goalie side and thought both of them had potential to come in and play one day.”

Barrie finished the draft adding nine new forwards, six defencemen, and two goaltenders to the prospects stable.

“As a whole, we were pretty happy how things went,” said Stewart, who said the team plans to hold a skate in June for its new prospects. “We’re excited with this group as an addition to the 2005s and we really liked last year. We think going forward the future is bright in Barrie.”

Here’s an in-depth look at the prospects the Colts added to the stable in this year’s Draft. Capsules are provided by the scouting team at Neutral Zone (neutralzone.net). Star rankings are 1 up to 5:

Round 1, Pick 10 C Cole Beaudoin, Nepean Raiders U18 AAA (Neutral Zone #49 in Top 300 Ontario Rankings, 4.00 star)
Cole Beaudoin #11 (F, L, 6’1″, 180, Nepean Raiders U18, 04/24/2006) – Beaudoin finished second in his league scoring with 77 points (24G, 53A) in 32 regular-season games. He is a big, strong, skilled power-forward that takes every shift with passion and max effort. Cole can overpower the opposition with his sheer size and outworks, outwills, and outbattles everyone on the ice consistently. He has a wide-balanced skating stride that turns into a freight train of power when rolling up ice. Beaudoin can lower his shoulder and take defenders wide, making him impossible to get a stick on and slow down or dangle his way to the middle with his smooth, quick hands. He is a moose down low and not easy to move as he takes total control of the ice below the hash marks. He can drive plays to the net and open up space for his linemates or make plays from the perimeter with his deadly accurate passing he gets through all windows of space. All passes are hard, landing flat to the touch. Cole generates chances at will with and without the puck as he can use his strength to outmuscle guys to the net. Beaudoin competes in all areas of the ice and is reliable in all situations he is put in. He takes care of his end responsibly and can create high-quality opportunities in the offensive zone. Grade: A [April 2022]

Round 2, Pick 26 LW Carter Lowe, Toronto Marlboros U16 AAA (Neutral Zone #16 in Top 300 Ontario Rankings, 4.25 star)

Carter Lowe #85 (F, Toronto Marlboros U15, 2006) – A sturdy centre who plays a very committed two-way game. He is effective in the offensive zone down low with the puck, shielding it and generating cycles with linemates. He is reliable supporting the puck and becoming an outlet within a cycle play. He has a willingness to play inside, in traffic areas. His big body and long reach are leveraged to gain an advantage. He anticipates plays without the puck very well . . . will accelerate into open ice to present himself as an outlet in all three zones. His puck plays were somewhat inconsistent, there were times he forced pucks into high traffic areas rather than assess and find a play with a lower risk of turnover. Grade: A [November 2021]

Round 2, Pick 29 C Lucas Ellinas, North York Rangers U16 AAA (Neutral Zone #71 in Top 300 Ontario Rankings, 4.00 star)

Lucas Ellinas #91 (F, L, 5’9″, 141, North York Rangers U15, 03/01/2006) – Ellinas is a lanky left-shot centre who plays a reliable 200-foot game. His defensive zone commitment low helps his team to clean zone exits and offensive attacks. His determined play and ability to protect the puck helped stretch offensive zone possession time for his team. He showed above-average anticipation skills that contributed to his positive defensive and offensive plays. At times in Whitby, Elinas showed an abrasive net drive game. He was most effective when he used his size and body positioning in good scoring areas and should focus on this area for his development. Grade: B [November 2021]

Round 3, Pick 50 D Kashawn Aitcheson, North York Rangers U16 AAA (Neutral Zone #77 in Top 300 Ontario Rankings, 4.00 star)

Kashawn Aitcheson #77 – Aitcheson is a tall, athletic, multi-purpose defenseman with a translatable game. He has great zip on his passes and can facilitate the offense from the backend; he makes smart outlets on the breakout, he can see through traffic and advance the puck in the neutral zone which leads to odd-man rushes and patrols the offensive blue line to exploit the seams and create scoring chances. He was particularly effective on the power play where he showed he can take the puck end to end, can snap passes off and showcased his heavy one-timer. Defensively he has a long reach and uses it to steal pucks and intercept passes in the slot area. He seemed to have a good sense of the situation and knew when to play aggressively and when to play conservatively. Talented late ‘06 prospect who can play top pair at the next level. Grade: B+

Round 4, Pick 73 C Parker Forlin, Niagara North Stars U16 AAA (Neutral Zone #28 in Top 300 Ontario Rankings, 4.25 star)

Parker Forlin #90 (F, R, 5’8″, 154, Niagara North Stars U16, 04/23/2006) – Forlin plays on arguably the best line in the league alongside Luca Testa and Andrew Vermeulen and he’s the one who makes it go. He’s a possession style, high IQ forward with a slick set of hands and playmaking ability. His head is always up and can use his patience to wait for a lane or make quick, instinctual decisions under duress. What makes Forlin special is that he plays a complete game. He’s the first guy in on the forecheck despite his size, has quick closing ability and caused turnovers. He isn’t afraid to battle it out in the dirty areas. He has a patient stick, smooth hands and can sauce passes into tight windows to set up his linemates. He was elusive in tight areas and had the quickness to pull away from defenders in the neutral zone. He scored several goals throughout the tournament in a variety of ways. Forlin was also the teams best penalty killer. A well-rounded, consistent, detailed prospect who was the straw that stirred the drink. If he grows and gets stronger, he has the potential to be a top scorer at the next level. Grade: A-

Round 5, Pick 93 C Nolan Newton, Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves U16 AAA (Neutral Zone #179 in Top 300 Ontario Rankings, 3.50 star)

Nolan Newton #8 – Newton is a skilled centreman out of Sudbury who led their team in points with 36 in just 27 games. He’s got a swift set of hands, one-on-one skill and shifty footwork to turn defenders inside out on the rush. He can change direction at full speed to cut inside and get pucks to the net and has a quick, tricky release. A puck possession style forward who can make opponents miss, has the poise to wait for the lane to open and the explosive first step to exploit it. His best attribute was his vision; he made not only skilled passes, but saw through traffic, found the late trailers coming into the slot and engaged his points in the offensive zone to set up scoring chances. At the next level he could be centre or a wing, but it’s his quickness, skill and hockey IQ that really stood out here. Grade: B+

Round 5, Pick 94 C Wyatt Warner, Kemptville 73s U18 AAA (Neutral Zone #250 in Top 300 Ontario Rankings, 3.50 star)
Wyatt Warner #57 (F, R, 5’10”, 175, Kemptville 73s U18, 07/10/2006) – Warner led the 73’s in goals, assists and points with a 12-17-29 mark and was the go-to guy in all situations. He is a strong, smart forward that is difficult to knock off pucks and can turn into a freight train moving up ice even though he is not a massive guy. Warner can push the pace or slow it down and control the puck for extended periods. He is a bull along the wall and strong on the stick, not getting his stick lifted and able to come out of battles with possession. He can create plays from anywhere in the offensive zone. Warner was consistently dangerous with the puck on his stick this season. Grade: B+ [April 2022]

Round 6, Pick 104 D Jack Brauti, Shattuck-St. Mary’s Sabres 15s (Neutral Zone #42 in Top 300 Ontario Rankings, 4.00 star)

Round 7, Pick 133 G Glen McInnes, Quinte Red Devils U16 AAA (Neutral Zone Unranked in Top 300 Ontario Rankings)

Round 8, Pick 153 D Evan Passmore, Waterloo Wolves U16 AAA (Neutral Zone Unranked in Top 300 Ontario Rankings)

Evan Passmore #88 – Passmore is a 6’2”, right shot, December ‘06 defenseman with some bite to his game. He’s deceptively light on his feet for his frame, he can move laterally and shadow speedy forwards and takes smart angles defensively to drive opponents wide. He plays with some jam, threw his body around in the corners and behind the net and used his reach to knock pucks off sticks. He has a heavy wrister from the point and he’s safe with his puck movement. Defensively he’s hard to penetrate, he keeps his position, holds the line and can ride opponents off the puck and lifts stick around the net front.  Grade: B

Round 9, Pick 173 G Ben Hrebik, Halton Hills Hurricanes U16 AAA (Neutral Zone #163 in Top 300 Ontario Rankings, 3.75 star)

Ben Hrebik #31 (G, L, 6’1″, 180, Halton Hurricanes U16, 04/04/2006) – Hrebik is a tall, highly athletic netminder who was excellent down low, smooth in his slides and taking away second chance opportunities. He’s flexible and can move up and down quickly, reposition himself to make secondary saves and maintain body control on side to side slides and not get out of position. He tracks the puck well, keeps his head level and glove out in front of him, he has a solid stance and stops most breakaway chances against him. Our only knock was that he was sometimes too conservative and backed up instead of coming out to the top of the paint and challenging the shooter. A high ceiling netminder who will only improve with more confidence and experience. Grade: B [April 2022]

Round 10, Pick 193 D Noah Smith, Markham Waxers U16 AAA (Neutral Zone #198 in Top 300 Ontario Rankings, 3.50 star)
Noah Smith #88 (D, R, 6’1″, 165, Markham Waxers U16, 02/27/2006) – Smith is a tall, strong, physical defender who was hard to play against on one-on-one’s given his body positioning and core strength. He gets his stick on opponents sticks to take away options, he gets his body in front of shots and can shield forecheckers from the puck, absorb contact and still move the puck up. He plays hard, he takes the body and will drive opponents out of the net-front to give his goalie clean sight lines. Smith isn’t overly offensive but he has a firm, accurate first pass and contributes on the second power-play shooting to screens and tips and getting pucks to his teammates in scoring areas. Grade: B 

Round 11, Pick 213 D Carter Merritt, Cambridge Hawks U16 AAA (Neutral Zone Unranked in Top 300 Ontario Rankings)

Round 12, Pick 233 RW Ryan Cornfield, Kitchener Jr. Rangers U16 AAA (Neutral Zone Unranked in Top 300 Ontario Rankings)

Round 13, Pick 253 D Luke Blenkhorn, Kitchener Jr. Rangers U16 AAA (Neutral Zone #160 in Top 300 Ontario Rankings, 3.75 star)

Luke Blenkhorn #15 (D, Kitchener Jr. Rangers U15, 2006) – A slight right-shot defender who plays a composed game for the Jr. Rangers. He is a late birthday and has the time he needs to develop his physical strength. Despite his slight build he is not afraid to engage along the boards and will step into attackers if they have their heads down. He has the potential to be a two-way defender. He is mobile, smart and plays an unselfish game. Grade: B- 

Round 14, Pick 273 D Randy Mak, Mississauga Reps U16 AAA (Neutral Zone Unranked in Top 300 Ontario Rankings)

Round 15, Pick 293 LW Noah Mathieson, Windsor AAA Zn Jr. Spitfires U16 (Neutral Zone #119 in Top 300 Ontario Rankings, 3.75 star)

Noah Mathieson

#43 – Mathieson is a tall, lanky, athletic centreman who was hard on the forecheck, finished checks and showed some hunger for the puck around the net. He uses his length and reach to hold the puck out beyond defenders grasp and has deceptive puck handling ability. He was always around the puck, he plays hard and competes hard at both ends of the ice, blocking shots, playing the body and protecting his net-front. He’s a bit raw at this point in his stride and pace of play but has an exciting upside. Grade: B+

Round 15, Pick 303 RW Victor Ding, Mississauga Reps U16 AAA (Neutral Zone Unranked in Top 300 Ontario Rankings)

images via OHL Images
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