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Familiar top prospects dominate OHL discussion

by Mike G. Morreale

12 p.m. ET -- The Ontario Hockey League was the next league on the itinerary for discussion at NHL Central Scouting's final meeting of the top draft-eligible players in North America.

The top five OHL players listed at the midterm -- Samuel Bennett of Kingston, Aaron Ekblad of Barrie, Michael Dal Colle of Oshawa, Nicholas Ritchie of Peterborough and Brendan Perlini of Niagara -- continued to gain high praise.

On Bennett: "He's done nothing to change my mind. I think he's done a great job all season."

On Ritchie: "This guy is big (6-2.25, 231), but can still play at top speed and play well at top speed. He can up his game when he has to."

On Dal Colle: "He's had that consistency you need. He would project to be even better once he gets that strength; this kid continues to grow. He's got a good stick and his hockey sense is solid."

There were numerous other players mentioned, including a discussion on center Robert Fabbri of the Guelph Storm. Fabbri was No. 25 on Central Scouting's midterm release in January. The 5-foot-10, 166-pound left-hander had 45 goals and 87 points in 58 regular-season games for Guelph.

"Robert has been very noticeable and extremely productive," Central Scouting's Chris Edwards said. "He is an excellent playmaker and has good puckhandling ability. He's very effective on the power play, elusive and quick."

Of the major junior hockey leagues, the OHL may wind up having the most players drafted in the first round in June. Eight players from the OHL were selected in the opening round last year and 14 of the top 30 North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list are from the league. Half of the 40 players invited to the BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Calgary on Jan. 15 also represented the OHL.

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