Northern lights on OHL draft

April 11, 2024

There has been moderate representation from the Northern Ontario Hockey Association branch relative to players being picked at recent Ontario Hockey League priority selections draft proceedings.

Eleven players from the NOHA’s Great North Under 18 Hockey League were picked at each of the 2023 and 2022 OHL priority selections drafts. And it is feasible that at least that many — and perhaps a few more — from the Great North will be chosen at the 2024 OHL priority selections draft, which is slated to be held on April 12 and 13.

Following is a Hockey News North list of 16 players with 2008 birth dates from the NOHA ranks who could well have their names attached to OHL teams once the April 12-13 priority selections draft process has been completed.


Mason Walker, Sudbury U16 Wolves. The skilled skater finished second in the entire Great North in scoring despite playing for the league’s only Under 16 team against older competition. Walker has speed and smarts to go with his skill and will most likely be the top player from the NOHA and the Great North to be picked at the looming OHL draft. Even more impressive is that Walker is one of the youngest players eligible for the draft with a late November birth date. Should go within the first three rounds of the draft.

Logan Rivard, New Liskeard Cubs. Nearly as dominant as Walker but had the advantage of playing alongside older players. Finished third in the Great North in scoring. Should go within the first five rounds of the draft.

Edan Etheridge, Timmins Majors. Among the top scorers in the Great North during the regular season, he was probably the best player in the playoffs in sparking the Majors to the tournament championship. Has a reputation for elevating his game in pressure situations. With good size and play making abilities, he could be a steal as a mid round draft pick.

Danny MacDonald, Soo Jr. Greyhounds. Medium size with a good pair of hands makes him a natural goal scorer. One of the better all around draft eligible forwards from the Great North who benefited from the coaching of Denny Lambert and Jeremy Stevenson on the Soo bench. Mid to late round draft pick potential.

Maverick Hill, New Liskeard Cubs. Played on a line with the above mentioned Logan Rivard in a better than average support role. Mid to late round draft pick potential.

Benjamin Brunton, North Bay Trappers. Has exceptional offensive skills and has learned the all around game from Trappers head coach Guy Blanchard. Something about this kid says he is going to be a pleasant surprise for some OHL team. Mid to late round draft pick potential.

Lex Lamontagne, Kapuskasing Flyers. Stood out on lowly Kapuskasing team and then played particular well for Team NOHA at the OHL Cup. Mid to late round draft pick potential.

Jameson Fabbro, Sudbury U16 Wolves. Does nothing spectacular but has all the tools to possibly play in the OHL. Mid to late round draft pick potential.

Ashton Pitawanakwat, Sudbury U16 Wolves. His skating and skill level stand out as his strengths. Later round draft pick.

Kaden Wicklander, Sudbury U16 Wolves. Has a compete that clearly stands out. Picked up his game as the regular season went on into the playoffs. Later round draft pick.


Cole Wreggitt, Soo Jr. Greyhounds. Physical, stay at home defender who has offensive abilities. Many saw him as the best defenseman in the Great North this season. Good, solid early to mid round potential.

Dawson Morris, Sudbury U16 Wolves. Good skater who makes good decisions while playing a strong, physical game. Mid to late round draft pick.

Brady Real, Soo Jr. Greyhounds. Big kid who works hard and plays the game with few mistakes. Mid to late round draft pick.

Liam Watson, Soo Jr. Greyhounds. Small but skilled with a good shot and standout offensive skills. Late round draft pick who could be an absolute steal if teams look past his size.


Carson Ruddy, North Bay Trappers. Stands tall and uses his size. Just looks like a goalie who has confidence to stop the puck regardless of the situation. Could be a mid round pick but likely a bit of a later round selection.

Sebastien Brassard

Sebastien Brassard. Soo Jr. Greyhounds AA. The only player not from the AAA level Great North U18HL to make this list of potential OHL draft picks. Stood out for the AA level Jr. Greyhounds of the Nickel District Minor Hockey Association. Defied the odds to not only make Team NOHA but play exceptionally well at the OHL Cup. Has good size and athleticism. Was a casualty of Sault Ste. Marie again not having an under 16 AAA level team this past season. If he is drafted, some OHL general manager is going thank his scout(s) for recommending this kid as a mid to late round draft pick. It says here that if given a good opportunity, Brassard will likely play in the OHL.


Meanwhile, two players from Sault Ste. Marie who headed to Pittsburgh to play in the Jr. Penguins AAA elite program this season are being projected as feasible first – or at least second — round picks at the April 12-13 OHL priority selections draft.

The 2008 birth year skaters are long-time teammates from the Sault Ste. Marie minor hockey ranks — defenseman Luca Blonda and forward Nik Rossetto. Both left the Sault for Pittsburgh ahead of the 2023-2024 season and are now considered blue chip OHL prospects. 

Luca Blonda

With a late birth date, Blonda will not turn 16 until November 25 of this year. As for Rossetto, he will turn 16 on August 2. Various OHL general managers and scouts have referred to both Blonda and Rossetto as elite, top level prospects who combine skill, speed and hockey smarts.

Blonda, who has offensive skills from his defense position, potted 15 goals, 30 assists, 45 points in 55 games for the Jr. Penguins this season. He led all Penguins defensemen in scoring and had the seventh most points on the team. Rossetto, meanwhile, sparked all Jr. Penguins in scoring with 47 goals, 27 assists, 74 points in 53 games. They were the only Canadian born players on the Pittsburgh roster.

Three others from Sault Ste. Marie who went south to play this season are forwards James Elliott of the Barrie U16 Colts, Evan Headrick of the Oakville U16 Rangers and Aiden Atkinson of the Halton U16 Hurricanes. Headrick could be a second or third rounder … maybe higher?

Meanwhile, other potential 2008 birth year prospects from the north for the upcoming OHL draft who left home to play down south this season are defenseman Dylan Rousselle from Blind River and goalie Mateo Beites from Sudbury. Rousselle is an offensive minded defender who skated with the Grey-Bruce U16 Highlanders while Beites tended goal for the Barrie U16 Colts.

(This year’s OHL priority selections draft will be held over the course of two days, with Rounds 1-3 taking place beginning at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, April 12. Rounds 4-15 will take place on Saturday, April 13 beginning at 9 a.m.)

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