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DRAFT: Francesco Pinelli Profile

As part of the Road to the Draft profile series, learn about flashy Canadian center Francesco Pinelli

by Sam Kasan @SamiKasan / NewJerseyDevils.com

AGE: 18

COUNTRY: Canada

HEIGHT: 6-1

WEIGHT: 185

POSITION: C

SHOOTS RIGHT: L

DRAFT YEAR PRODUCTION: HDD Jesenice (Slovenia); 13 GP, 5G, 6A, 11PTS, +4

RANKING: 15th Ranked North American Skater - Central Scouting

WHAT'S THE BUZZ

"Pinelli is an elite skater with excellent puck pursuit, work ethic and high compete level. The 18-year-old can contribute on the power play and penalty kill, and projects to be a reliable two-way player in the NHL." 

-Mike Morreale, NHL.com 

CUT TO THE CHASE

If you're into high-end, flashy, and creative hockey, then Francesco Pinelli is your guy. A highly intelligent and elite playmaker that will also execute well in the defensive zone. He has the smarts and talent to make plays in the offensive zone, and also has the work ethic and dedication in the defensive zone. 

Pinelli is a flexible player. He can play center or wing and can be a fixture on the power play or penalty kill. He projects to be a top-6 player and is defensively responsible enough to play in the NHL sooner than later. Pinelli has a decent shot but is a much better set-up man than a finisher. His offensive prowess comes from an excellent hockey IQ and awareness. 

If there is one area of concern, it's his skating, as is with many prospects. But his game is very well rounded and translates to the next level. Some projected him to be a top-10 pick prior to the Ontario Hockey League's lost season. 

Pinelli, like many other OHL players, took his talents overseas as Kitchener and the rest of the league were shut down due to COVID-19. The Hamilton, Ontario native suited up for HDD Jesenice in Slovenia, scoring five goals and 11 points in just 13 games. He earned a gold medal with Canada at the Under-18 World Junior Championship, notching four goals and 11 points in seven games. 

DID YOU KNOW?

Pinelli was Kitchener's first-round pick (13th overall) in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection. 

Photo credit: Kevin Sousa

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