This week, the Tampa Bay Lightning will be focusing on another riveting prospect out of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL): Cristiano DiGiacinto.
The Lightning selected DiGiacinto in the sixth round, 170th overall, at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. He is seen as a physical player that plays the body. When asked about his play, Windsor Spitfires head coach Rocky Thompson said: “He plays with fire in his stomach and stands up for himself and his teammates.”
DiGiacinto has spent his entire junior career with the Spitfires. In his previous two seasons, he recorded 38 goals and 35 assists in 84 games. This year, the 19-year-old has continued to put on an offensive clinic. In 21 games, he’s scored 11 goals, 24 points and has compiled a +14 rating.
When asked about his development, Thompson said that he’s on the right path. “He’s progressed very well and has the ability to crack an NHL roster. He needs to figure out that seeing success needs to become habitual.”
This past week was a prime example of his ability for scoring as he put up two goals and an assist in a 7-4 victory against the Mississauga Steelheads on November 13. Two days later, DiGiacinto tallied another assist that resulted in a victory over the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds 3-2.
DiGiacinto also participated for Team OHL as a part of CHL’s Canada Russia Series. The annual international tournament showcases junior talent and draws numerous professional scouts. Hockey Canada uses the tournament as a part of the selection process for the 2016 Canadian World Junior team. Team OHL defeated Russia 2-1 in Game Four to sweep the series for the first time since 2009. DiGiacinto had a +1 rating in the contest.
“He’s very hard to play against,” Thompson said. “That is the biggest compliment to a player. It is one of the first prerequisites that an NHL team looks for.
DiGiacinto has played a pivotal role for the Spitfires as they are in first place in the OHL’s West Division. If he continues to put the puck in the back of the net then the Memorial Cup will be in their sight.