Oshawa Generals star, Oakville Rangers grad goes #27 to Colorado in NHL draft

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Published June 29, 2023 at 8:13 am

Calum Ritchie, Oshawa Generals

Oshawa Generals star Calum Ritchie went #27 in Wednesday nights NHL draft to the Colorado Avalanche, one pick before the Toronto Maple Leafs, who used their selection on London Knights winger Easton Cowan.

Ritchie, who scored 59 points in 59 games for the Generals despite playing the entire season with a torn labrum, was ranked as high as number six pre-season but his injuries last season – though he missed just nine games – made him a polarizing power forward among NHL general managers.

The Oakville Rangers product was the #2 overall pick in the 2021 draft by Oshawa from the Oakville Rangers, the first of five players from the U16 AAA squad taken in the first round of the OHL draft that year.

The 6’2 centre has already enjoyed a wealth of national and international exposure in his two years in Oshawa, scoring the overtime winner in the 2021 Capital City U17 Challenge; contributing a goal and an assist as his Team Red beat future #1 pick and budding superstar Connor Bedard’s Team White in January’s Top Prospects game; and adding nine points in seven games as Canada earned bronze at the World U18 Championships in Switzerland in March.

Long time hockey scout Jason Bukala prophetically ranked Ritchie at No. 27 in the draft and called him a “big body” and potential power forward who “leans goal scorer more than playmaker” in his report to Sportsnet.

Bukala added that Ritchie is a “threat to produce on the power play and can be a load to handle for defenders at the net front.”

His criticism of Ritchie was that the player lacked a “consistent impact at even strength,” with “room for more pace and drive overall,” but noted that injuries in the 2022-23 season factored into his assessment.

“A cerebral player who can leave you wanting more, but also produces more than his share of offence at the OHL level,” Bukala added. “Will need to play consistently quicker, faster and more engaged for his element to impact the NHL game.”

Bukala projected Ritchie to be a top six NHL forward and gave high praise for his goal scoring and as a power play contributor, as well as his skating, particularly his agility and ability to separate from defenders.

Ritchie is expected to get a good look at Avalanche training camp this fall but should be back in an Oshawa Generals uniform this coming season. That’s certainly the hope of the Generals organization, who congratulated Ritchie and his family on a “fantastic milestone,” while predicting the team’s star centre will be “one of the OHL’s top forwards” in the 2023-24 season. Ritchie, the team said on their website, will also be a “key factor” in the club’s climb back up the standings following an 8th-place finish this past season.

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