Niagara IceDogs select 14 skaters and two goaltenders for Ontario Hockey League Draft
After an entire season without playing a game, the Niagara IceDogs entered the 2021 Ontario Hockey League Draft with the goal of selecting the best player available and subsequently meeting specific needs. .
According to the estimate of general manager Joey Burke, they exceeded all points. Not only is their top pick, forward Juan Copeland, considered a “top 10 talent” with a huge advantage, but Joey Costanzo, who was picked with the very next pick, has all the tools to become a ” franchise keeper ”.
“We are absolutely thrilled with the moon. We never thought that in a million years we would be able to achieve the caliber of players that we have done in every round, ”said Burke, summing up a 15-round draft that ended on Saturday. . “There’s no question in our mind that we have four to six guys who could end up being potential first-round talents.
“It’s an incredible draft in a very strange year, but we have done very, very well.”
An “elite offensive advantage” and an “elite skill” fired at Copeland from the IceDogs recruiting radar.
“In our mind, in the lineup we chose, it wasn’t even close,” said Burke. “This guy had top 10 talent.
“The other guys we sensed were just a step behind.”
Niagara knew ahead of time that the 5-11, 165-pound left hand shot would be handed to the team if the IceDogs selected it.
“It made the decision very easy and we’re delighted to land him,” said Burke, who picked the 15-year-old third in the second round with the 22nd overall.
Costanzo was ranked 23rd overall by Niagara, who lost their first-round pick for the league in a player recruiting violation.
Choosing Costanzo was about choosing the best player available while also meeting a need.
“It was a bit of both. On our side, we entered this draft by really targeting Costanzo, ”said Burke. “We felt he was head and shoulders above the other goalies in this age group.
“We targeted this guy to be our future guy, and to be really our franchise goalie and to support this young group that we are forming here.
“It’s the highest we’ve reached as a group from a goalie perspective in years. “
Tucker Tynan has up to two seasons remaining in his junior eligibility. Burke is confident that the 6-foot-1, 160-pound Costanza will have the patience to wait her turn.
“It’s certainly not an easy transition for a 16-year-old goaltender. He will obviously have to mentor Tucker and learn to play at this level, ”said the general manager. “We have every confidence in the world that he will and that he is up to the challenge.”
“He’s an opposing force, he’s an intimidating guy on these shooters. He’s going to be a lot of fun to watch, and I’m sure he will become a fan favorite in Niagara.
Burke was asked if players from the United States have a head start over their Ontario counterparts in this year’s draft as they can play.
“I’m thinking a bit, to be completely honest,” he said. “You can’t necessarily see these Americans live, you have a full season video for them of real and meaningful competition.
“With the Canadian guys, there wasn’t much to do. “
Niagara knew that in a year like this, there were players who would have gone to higher rounds if the pandemic hadn’t suspended play on this side of the border.
“It went very, very well for us, and we couldn’t be happier.”
Seven of Niagara’s 16 picks, including the top four, were acquired in trading with other teams.
“If we look at the trades we’ve had over the past few seasons, it’s no surprise that we’re prepared not only to do really well this season, but also going forward,” said Burke.
Niagara has selected two forwards from the region: forward Matthew Lee, 15, of Fort Erie, ninth round, 174th overall; Dawson Lukey, 17, St. Catharines, 15th round, 294th overall.
Here are the players selected by the Niagara IceDogs in the 2021 Ontario Hockey League Draft:
Juan Copeland, 15, Fowlerville, Michigan, LW, 22nd overall, Detroit HoneyBaked U15; Joey Costanzo, 15, Etobicke, G, 23rd overall, Toronto Marlboros U16; Declan Waddick, 16, Lakeshore, Ont., C, 39th overall, Waterloo Wolves U16
Andrew Wysick, 15, Etobicoke, D, 45th overall, Vaughan Kings U16
Connor Haynes, 15, Sault Ste. Marie, C, 65th overall, Markham Majors U16
Jax Wismer, 16, Utopia, Ont., D, 85th overall, Barrie Jr. Colts U16
Cole Bishop, 15, Franklin, Tennessee, F, 105th overall, Detroit HoneyBaked U15; Zachary Schulz, 15, South Lyon, Michigan, D, 112th overall, Detoit HoneyBaked U15
Giacomo Martino, 16, Toronto, F, 134th overall, Vaughan Kings U16
Anselmo Rego, 16, Woodbridge, Ont., C, 145th overall, Toronto Marlboros U16
Matthew Lee, 15, Fort Erie, C, 174th overall, Bishop Kearney Selects U15
Adamo Zingaro, 16, Toronto, D, 185th overall, Toronto Titans U16
Alex Laurenza, 16, Woodridge, Ont., C, 212th overall, Toronto Jr. Canadiens U16
Christian Mitsis, 15, Vaughan, Ont., D, 225th overall, Toronto Red Wings U16
Matteo Porporino, 15, Woodbridge, Ont., G, 265th overall, Toronto Red Wings U16
Dawson Lukey, 17, St. Catharines, F, 294th overall, Gilmour Academy Lancers U16
Source: Ontario Hockey League