A troika of forwards stands tall in the talent pool that is poised to help elevate the Kingston Frontenacs into future Ontario Hockey League contention.
Center Shane Wright and wingers Zayde Wisdom and Martin Chromiak are first line pieces of the puzzle that have Kingston ticketed for emergence within the Eastern Conference come the next OHL season.
All three were major points producers with the Frontenacs during the 2019-2020 season — and they all have time on their side in the form of remaining OHL eligibility.
Granted exceptional status as a 2004 birth date youngster, Wright was Kingston’s first round pick — and first overall — at the 2019 OHL priority selections draft.
Wisdom and Chromiak both have 2002 birth dates. Wisdom was the Frontenacs fourth round pick at the 2018 OHL priority selections draft while Chromiak was taken by Kingston in the first round of the 2019 Canadian Hockey League import draft.
The Kingston trio made sweet music during the 2019-2020 OHL season.
Wright and Wisdom finished one-two on the Frontenacs scoring short. Playing as a 15-year old, Wright put up 39 goals, 27 assists, 66 points while Wisdom was close behind with 29-30-59 numbers.
And just as impressive was Chromiak, who is being projected as a possible second or third round pick at this year’s National Hockey League draft.
Chromiak joined the Frontenacs in January of this year and proceeded to light it up with 11 goals, 22 assists, 33 points in only 28 games after moving to Kingston from his Slovakia homeland.
To be sure, when a team has been at the bottom of the standings, it figures that there is no place to go but up. And Kingston, it would seem, is poised to move up sooner than later.
After its league-worst record of 14-52-2 in 2018-2019, Kingston improved marginally to a 19-39-4 mark in 2019-2020. However, the slight boost was not enough to save the job of head coach Kurtis Foster, who was recently fired to make room for the return of Paul McFarland as the bench boss in Kingston.
The 34-year old McFarland, who has spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach in the NHL, was Kingston’s head coach for three winning seasons before that.
And led by the likes of the projected, aforementioned, first line trio of Wright, Wisdom and Chromiak, McFarland is headed to a really good situation as he makes for a rerun in Kingston effective the 2020-2021 OHL season.
Other up front returnees of note are several who could be top six forwards in 2020-2021, including Jordan Frasca, Nick Wong and Francesco Arcuri.
Notably, Frasca, who has a 2001 birth date, put up 15 goals, 28 assists, 43 points for Kingston in 2019-2020 as a former seventh round draft pick of the Windsor Spitfires in 2017.
Kingston was able to obtain Frasca from Windsor for a sixth round pick prior to the start of last season in what ranks as a shrewd trade by Frontenacs general manager Darren Keily.
Wong, who also has a 2001 birth date, put up respectable totals of 14 goals, 18 assists, 32 points for the Frontenacs in 2019-2020 and represents a player obtained by Keily via trade with the Oshawa Generals in 2018-2019 who could be in for a breakout season in 2020-2021.
As for Arcuri, he has a 2003 birth date and was Kingston’s second round draft pick in 2019, having being a line mate of the aforementioned Shane Wright with the minor midget Don Mills Flyers of the Greater Toronto Hockey League.
Arcuri managed seven goals, 13 assists, 20 points in limited ice time in his rookie season in Kingston in 2019-2020 and should pan out to become a productive draft pick of Kingston head scout Aaron Van Leusen.
There is no doubt about Arcuri’s potential, according to the reputable Jeff Twohey, who serves as the Frontenacs advisor to his close friend, aforementioned GM Darren Keily.
“Arcuri has the potential to really make an impact … big kid, long reach, great hands, can score goals,” Twohey relayed to Hockey News North.
Of note, the astute, 60-year old Twohey was part of four OHL championship teams with the Peterborough Petes as an assistant coach, assistant general manager and general manager.
With Keily at the helm as GM, the return of a proven OHL coach such as McFarland and talent judges such as Twohey and Van Leusen providing their expertise, the Frontenacs appear to be in good form.
Perhaps all they need is a player or two from northern Ontario to round out their roster?