The Mississauga Steelheads used two of their first three picks in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection, Apr. 6, to bolster their blue line in a big way.
With top NHL prospect Thomas Harley already a force on the point, Mississauga added another important piece back there when it used its 12 overall selection to grab defenceman Ethan Del Mastro, who like Harley is strong in all three zones of the ice.
“Ethan Del Mastro is a big, left-shot (defenceman) that likes to play physical,” general manager and head coach James Richmond said of the six-foot-two, 184-pound Freelton native. “A smooth skater (who) moves the puck well and plays with a competitive edge.”
Del Mastro had eight goals and 36 assists in 73 games last season with the Toronto Marlboros AAA minor midgets in the Greater Toronto Hockey League.
“I can’t wait to get started,” the young defenceman said. “It’s such a great organization to play for and I’m ready to be a part of it.”
Del Mastro should develop into a reliable blue liner that Richmond can use in any situation, including log key minutes on both specialty units.
“Ethan has very good mobility in all directions and has a powerful stride in open ice,” the written OHL Central Scouting report said of Del Mastro. “His puck skills allow him to make plays in all three zones. He competes hard every shift and isn’t afraid to take the body. He has thrown many big open-ice hits this season.
“Ethan is solid in his own end, plays hard and can make a good outlet pass. He was a big part of the success his team had and will play big minutes in the future at the next level.”
With three picks in the third round, Richmond used his 51 overall selection to take Toronto Red Wings centre Luca Del-Bel Belluz. The five-foot-11, 155-pound forward had 32 points in 30 games with the Red Wings.
“Very good in faceoffs and plays with pace,” Richmond said of Del-Bel Belluz.
Richmond continued to build his blue line, taking Chas Shape of the North Central Predators AAA minor midgets with the first of back-to-back selections.
The Orillia native and 60 overall pick had five goals and 14 assists in 34 games with the Predators.
“Chas brings a physicality,” Richmond said of Sharpe, who stands just under six-foot-two and weighs 177-pounds. “He moves the puck well, he reads the game well. . . he can protect the right side for us.”
Richmond added some scoring and grit up front when he used his last pick in the third round and the 61overall to pickup Joshua Reid of the Pembroke Lumber Kings. The centre had 45 points in 42 games and despite a smaller frame of five-foot-eight and 146-pounds doesn’t shy away from getting involved.
“Smaller in stature, but he plays more like Brad Marchand,” Richmond said comparing Reid to the Bruins star and super pest. “Over a point a game, (he) plays with a bit of an edge.”
The Steelheads reached into their own backyard and practically into their own seats at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre to grab Mississauga native Adam O’Marra with their 114 pick overall in the sixth round. The five-foot-eight, 141-pound centre had 20 goals and 23 assists in 32 games with the Oakville Rangers AAA minor midgets in the Ontario Minor Hockey Association.
O’Marra and his family have been long-time Steelheads season ticket holders.
“It’s such a huge honour,” he said of being drafted by his home-town team. “I’ve been watching the Steelheads as long as I can remember. It’s just a great feeling and I’m happy to be a part of the Steelheads.”
Here are the remainder of Mississauga’s 14 picks in the 15-round OHL draft:
Rd. 7 – 134. Drew Jeffers, Detroit Compuware 16U D
Rd. 7 – 141. Justin DiLauro, Whitby Wildcats G
Rd. 9 – 174. Riley Rosenthal, South Florida Hky Acad. D
Rd. 10 – 194. Callum Chisholm, Richmond Hill Coyotes LW
Rd. 11 – 214. Tye Scott, Mississauga Rebels D
Rd. 12 – 234. Ikki Kogawa, Toronto Nationals RW
Rd. 13 – 254. Sean Mateer, Markham Waxers C
Rd. 14 – 274. Connor Driscoll, Toronto Nationals RW
Rd. 15 – 294. Wade Bolton, Central Ontario Wolves D
photo: The Mississauga Steelheads used their seventh pick in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection to grab Whitby Wildcats goaltender Justin DeLauro. Tim Cornett/CHL Images