The 2020 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection Draft, presented by Real Canadian Superstore, took place entirely online on Saturday, April 4th and the Hamilton Bulldogs have added a 15-player draft class to the franchise pipeline.
In the 1st round, 6th overall, the Bulldogs selected defenseman Jorian Donovan from the Kanata Lasers Midget AAA program. Donovan will come to the Bulldogs having spent this past season playing at the U18 level with Kanata where he posted 8 goals & 19 assists for 27 points across 38 regular season games while adding 2 goals & 3 assists in 5 playoff games. Noted as a tremendous skater with advanced hockey IQ, Donovan will add multiple elements to the Bulldogs blueline. Donovan is also the son of former NHLer Shean Donovan who played in 951 games at the sport’s highest level between San Jose, Colorado, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Calgary, Boston & Ottawa.
The Bulldogs would go back to the HEO circuit in the 2nd round as with the 21st overall selection the team would take centre Jonathan Melee of the Rockland Nationals. Originally from Fredericton, NB, Melee now calls the Ottawa-area home but began his 2019-20 season with the Toronto Titans posting 7 points in 6 games of the GTHL before retuning to the Rockland Nationals U18 where he spent the end of his major bantam season. Melee would go on to post 9 goals & 28 assists for 37 points in 31 games adding another 3 points in 2 playoff games. As a result of his impressive showing, Melee would also see game action with the Castleman Vikings of the CCHL2 & Rockland Nationals of the CCHL.
With the 57th overall pick in the 3rd round the Bulldogs would go local, selecting the captain of the Hamilton Huskies, Patrick Thomas. The offensively gifted forward broke the Huskies all-time scoring record, previously held by Bulldogs President & General Manager Steve Staios, scoring 23 goals while adding 33 assists for 56 points in 33 games during the regular season and posting a tremendous 5 goals & 13 assists for 18 points in 15 playoff games.
In the 4th round with the 66th overall pick the Bulldogs selected Noah Van Vliet of the Toronto Jr. Canadiens. The hulking left-shot defender, 6’2’’ 202lbs, brings size and mobility to the Hamilton blueline and having played in the OHL Cup as an under-age player in 2019 brings a lot of big game experience from the midget level. Scoring 4 goals & 9 assists for 13 points 32 regular season games, Van Vliet would be a tower of power in the playoffs posting 2 assists across 12 playoff games. Van Vliet would additionally earn himself a 5-game stint with the Whitby Fury of the OJHL where he would post an assist.
With the 98th overall pick in the 5th round the Bulldogs would select centre Ben Armstrong from the Vaughn Kings. Armstrong really found his stride in his minor midget season down the stretch and into the playoffs where he became a key piece for the Kings. Scoring 11 goals, to lead the team, & 6 assists for 17 points in 35 regular season games, Armstrong would another team leading 6 goals with 2 assists for 8 points in 11 playoff games.
The Bulldogs would next pick in the 7th round, 126th overall where the team would select centre Luke Devlin from the Toronto Marlboros. Originally from Memphis, TN, Devlin who now calls Toronto home is the son of Toronto Raptors play-by-play announcer Matt Devlin. In his minor midget season Devlin would post 7 goals & 11 assists for 18 points across 33 games while adding an assist in 5 playoff appearances.
At the 146th overall selection in the 8th round the Bulldogs would once again turn to the Hamilton Huskies, selecting goaltender Riley George who was sensational during the 2019-20 season with the Huskies posting a 2.03 GAA over 19 starts before making another 9 playoff appearances for the powerhouse Huskies. George becomes the third local goaltender in the Bulldogs’ stable joining Hamilton’s Marco Costantini & Oakville’s Matteo Drobac.
With the 166th overall selection in the 9th round the Bulldogs turned to the London Jr. Knights to select defenseman Owen Kindree. The 6’0’’, 165lbs left-shot defender skated in 24 games for the Jr. Knights in the regular season posting 5 points and providing a lock down style of defense across his 9 post season games while also appearing in 2 games for the London Nationals of the GOJHL and 1 for the Brantford Jr. 99ers of the OJHL. The Bulldogs have had a lot of recent success with the Jr. Knights, selecting current roster members Liam Van Loon in 2017 & George Diaco in 2018.
The Bulldogs held two picks in the 10th round, with the first being the 186th overall where the team would select centre Andrew DellaDonna from the South Kent Selects Academy. The 5’8’’, 175lbs was a dynamic offensive force in the 2019-20 season where he recorded 75 points in 73 games.
The second of the two 10th round selections would be the 189th with the Bulldogs selecting left-winger Adrian Rebelo from the Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs. Rebelo was a force at both the minor and major midget levels in the 2019-20 season scoring 28 points in 31 regular season games before an impressive playoff run of 6 points in 8 games with the minor midget side. Playing at the major midget level Rebelo would post 4 points in 7 regular season appearances with an additional 3 in 4 playoff games.
In the 11th round with the 206th overall pick the Bulldogs would turn south of the border for the second time in the draft, selecting dynamic offensive forward Logan Cooley from the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 16U, where he has posted 83 points over 69 games. The 5’8’’ 143lbs centre is currently slated to head to the USNDTP for the 2020-21 season.
From south of the border to northern Ontario as with the 226th overall pick in the 12th round the Bulldogs would select defenseman Callum Craft from the North Bay Trappers. The 6’0’’, 155lbs defender registered 6 goals & 9 assists for 15 points across 29 regular season games, finishing second on his team in scoring by a defenseman, before heading to the major midget level where he would post an assist in 5 regular season and a single playoff game.
In the 13th round with the 246th overall pick the Bulldogs would select defenseman Ethan Sullivan from the Oakville Rangers. The 5’11’’, 171lbs left-shot defender from Oakville, recorded 3 goals and 8 assists for 11 points in 30 regular season games before impressing in the playoffs with 2 goals and 5 assists for 7 points in 14 playoff games. Sullivan would also earn a call to the major midget level where he appeared in 2 games.
With the 266th pick in the 14th round the Bulldogs would select skilled centre Thomas Sinclair from the St. Michael’s Buzzers of the OJHL. A 2002 birthdate, Sinclair could be looked at as a late bloomer with a potentially high ceiling. Now standing 6’2’’, 183lbs the right-shot from Toronto has impressed with his time at St. Michael’s College before moving to the St. Michael’s Buzzers for the 2019-20 season where he would post 18 goals & 26 assists for 44 points in 45 games while adding an additional assist in 4 playoff games.
In the 15th round with the 290th overall pick the Bulldogs would add one more local goaltender to the pipeline, selecting Tristan Malboeuf of the Oakville Rangers. The Oakville native spent his 2018-19 season with the Hamilton Huskies bantam side before moving to the Rangers for his minor midget season. Malboeuf sparkled in both the regular season, posting a 2.15 GAA over 18 games, and managed to keep his numbers steady in the post-season with a 2.18 GAA over 9 playoff appearances.
At the end of the 2020 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection Draft, the Hamilton Bulldogs will add 5 defensemen, 8 forward and 2 goaltenders to an already deep pipeline of talent. Hamilton management, coaches, media and fans will all be looking forward to eventually getting a look at the newest Bulldogs on ice.