(Courtesy of OJHL Website)
The Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) today announced that Will Reilly of the North York Rangers has been named the recipient of the OJHL Top Prospect Award as selected by NHL Central Scouting.
The 17-year old was somewhat of a late-bloomer, having played last season with his Upper Canada College high school squad. But the talented rookie blueliner was on NHL Central Scouting’s radar for much of the 2014-15 season, having been listed on their preliminary rankings list in November.
“Will Reilly is an offensive, puck-moving defenceman with a good size frame and good pro potential,” said NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr. “His strength is his puck handling ability and puck movement; effective making a strong outlet pass. He has good offensive instincts and possesses a quick release shot; scoring 17 goals on the year. He used his array of playmaking and passing to quarterback the North York power play. He has used his year in the OJHL to develop his overall game and prepare himself for the next step in his hockey career.”
Listed at 6’2”, 190 lbs., Reilly immediately made an impact in the Rangers lineup this season, playing significant key minutes on the club’s backend. He quickly became the club’s offensive catalyst from the point, finishing fourth on the Rangers with 17 goals and fifth in overall scoring with 35 points in just 47 regular season games played. Those totals would also rank Reilly among the OJHL’s elite defenceman, tying for second in goal scoring and eleventh in overall scoring from the blueline. The rookie would key North York’s power play, firing home 12 goals with the man advantage, second only to OJHL Top Defenceman Eric Williams, along with 24 power play points, which ranked third among the league’s rearguards and accounted for nearly half of the Rangers 53 power play goals scored during the season.
Other highlights of Reilly’s impressive rookie campaign included being invited to the Team Canada East Final Selection Camp and he was also named a member of Team OJHL Oates, recording three assists in five games played, en route to winning the 2014 Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge that was held in Toronto. In January, Reilly was named to Team East to compete in the 2015 CJHL Top Prospects Game that was held in Oakville and following the season, Reilly’s efforts were rewarded as he was named an OJHL 1st Team All-Prospect.
The OJHL Top Prospect Award is awarded annually to the player selected by NHL Central Scouting as the top-ranked draft eligible prospect for the upcoming NHL Draft.
Callum Fryer of the Aurora Tigers has been named runner-up to Reilly as OJHL Top Prospect.
Playing his second full season for the Tigers, the 18-year old defenceman steadily progressed up the scouting charts throughout the 2014-15 season to be the lone OJHL player that was listed on NHL Central Scouting’s Mid-Term Rankings in January; ranked 202nd among North American skaters. Fryer was a steadying influence on the Tigers blueline, helping the number one defensive club capture the OJHL Regular Season title. Earlier in the year, he was selected as a member of Team Canada East that participated at the 2014 World Junior ‘A’ Challenge held in Kindersley, Saskatchewan, being named to the All-Tournament Team, as well as being a member of Team OJHL Hawerchuk at the 2014 Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge held in Toronto and Team East at the 2015 CJHL Prospects Game held in Oakville.
“A stay at home defenceman who plays an effective size/strength game utilizing his presence,” said Marr. A strong skater with good mobility, he can skate the puck effectively and make responsible choices. Keeps his game with the puck simplified to make sure on the first pass out of the zone and has the ability to connect on headman passes. He plays with focus and gets the job done in the defensive zone. His game has continued to grow and improve over the course of the season.”
The OJHL Rookie-of-the-Year and Most Valuable Player Award recipients will be announced next week.