There isn’t going to be a much bigger signing in the OHL — at least in terms of size — than 6-foot-6 forward Kaleb Lawrence, who signed a standard player contract with the Owen Sound Attack the end of last month.
Lawrence is coming off a big year for the Ontario Hockey Academy, where he had 59 points (26g-33a) in 43 games playing midget AAA hockey last season. Not afraid to use his size, Lawrence also racked up 81 penalty minutes. Lawrence was a second-round pick of the Attack in this past summer’s OHL Priority Selection. Our scouts last saw Lawrence at the 2018 Junior Chowder Cup in New England, where he received a B- grade for the tournament.
“A behemoth at 6’6 and 200 pounds and moves pretty well considering his size and build,” our scouts said. “We would not qualify him as a speedster but he is able to stay in the play utilizing those long strides to catch up. He could not be covered here by just one defender, it was a necessity to cover him with two people because he could bowl his way through single defenders with a low shoulder. That strength will mean that teams will always have a place for him: even if it comes as a net-front presence on the power play and nothing else.”
The Peterborough Petes signed forward Curtis Trolley. Last season Trolley appeared in 54 games for the Lindsay Muskies (OJHL), scoring 10 goals and adding 15 assists.
The Guelph Storm made a splash signing 4.5-star forward Andrey Bakanov. The former Michigan recruit is coming off one season with the Cedar Rapids Roughriders (USHL), where he scored five goals and added nine helpers; he also played internationally for Russia’s U17 team. The Storm spent a first-round pick in the CHL Import Draft on Bakanov this past summer.
“We are excited to officially welcome Andrei to our club,” said Guelph GM/head coach George Burnett. “He is an impressive young talent and will fit in very nicely with our group both now and in the future.”
The Sudbury Wolves signed 4-star forward Kosta Manikis, who had been committed to Clarkson. The Toronto native had a breakout season in the OJHL last year, scoring 18 goals and adding 29 assists for 47 points in 48 games between Stouffville and the Toronto Jr. Canadiens.
4.25-star forward Ryan Del Monte, who had been committed to Harvard, signed with the Barrie Colts. A second-round pick in the OHL Priority Selection, Del Monte had 69 points (24g-45a) in 42 midget AAA games last season for the Toronto Nationals.
The Hamilton Bulldogs signed Mark Duarte, an ’02 forward who had been playing for the Hamilton Kilty B’s in the GOJHL.
The Kitchener Rangers signed 4.5-star forward Francesco Pinelli, who is coming off a monster year for the Toronto Red Wings AAA team. Pinelli had 114 points on 49 goals and 65 assists in just 71 games last season. Pinelli also put up 14 points in the OHL Cup in seven games and also had three goals in four games for Team GTHL.
Denver recruit Ruben Rafkin signed with the Hamilton Bulldogs. The 3.75-star defenseman had 10 points (2g-8a) in 38 games for the Tri-City Storm (USHL) last season and the former Selects Academy player has extensive experience with Finland’s international teams.