Bulldogs Building For Success in Hamilton
The Hamilton Bulldogs took some key pieces to help build toward future success at the OHL Priority Selection on Saturday — including three local players plucked from the Hamilton Huskies and Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs.
Following the 2019-20 OHL season, the Bulldogs were looking to add some more goal scorers along with extra depth on the blue line. They made 15 total picks in the draft, adding eight forwards, five defensemen and two goalies.
Bulldogs Pick-by-Pick Breakdown:
Sixth Overall – Jorian Donovan (D), Kanata Lasers
With their first-round selection, the Bulldogs wanted to add extra depth to their blue line in Jorian Donovan.
Son of former NHL’er Shean Donovan, he put up 8 goals and 27 points in 38 regular season games, along with an extra 5 points in 5 playoff games. Described as an incredible skater, Donovan already has an edge in making the jump to the OHL, as he played at the U18 level this past year.
21st Overall – Jonathan Melee (C), Rockland Nationals
With their first pick in the second round, the Bulldogs turned to an offensive talent in Jonathan Melee.
Melee also played at the U18 level last season with the Rockland Nationals, putting up 37 points in 31 games. The Fredericton, New Brunswick, native began his season with the Toronto Titans, putting up six points in five games before making the move to play for Rockland.
Melee is likely to take on a depth role in the Bulldogs forward lineup in 2020-21.
57th Overall – Patrick Thomas (F), Hamilton Huskies
Patrick Thomas, captain of the Hamilton Huskies, has the potential to make immediate impact on the Bulldogs’ forward core.
Setting the scoring record for the Huskies this season with 56 points in 33 games, Thomas definitely can break into the lineup for the Bulldogs next season and help the team make a deep playoff run.
66th Overall – Noah Van Vliet (D), Toronto Jr. Canadiens
The Bulldogs added some size to their blue line in selecting Noah Van Vliet in the fourth round.
The 6’3”, 203-pound defender posted four goals and 13 points across 32 games last season. He also accumulated 46 penalty minutes, proving his physicality is there to help him make the jump to the next level. Van Vliet found himself with the Whitby Fury of the OJHL for five games where he posted an assist and gained additional experience at the junior level before moving up to the OHL.
98th Overall – Ben Armstrong (C), Vaughan Kings
The Bulldogs once again turned to offense in the fifth round, drafting centre Ben Armstrong from the Vaughan Kings.
A natural born goal scorer, Armstrong lead his team in goals with 11 in 35 regular season games and an additional six goals in 11 playoff games. He is sure to add some depth to the Bulldogs’ forward core in the future.
126th Overall – Luke Devlin (C), Toronto Marlboros
Adding more future forward depth, the Bulldogs turned to the Toronto Marlboros of the GTHL to select centreman Luke Devlin.
Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Devlin had a successful minor midget season posting seven goals and 11 assists in 33 regular season games.
146th Overall – Riley George (G), Hamilton Huskies
The Bulldogs would once again select locally, taking goaltender Riley George from the Hamilton Huskies.
George is sure to add depth to the future between the pipes, posting an incredible 2.03 GAA this season leading the Huskies to an OHL Cup berth.
166th Overall – Owen Kindree (D), London Jr. Knights
Adding more to the defensive depth, the Bulldogs turned to the London Jr. Knights to select 6’0” defender Owen Kindree.
Posting five points in 24 regular season games, Kindree is a big-body defensive defenseman who will contribute to the Bulldogs’ blue line down the road.
186th Overall – Andrew DellaDonna (C), South Kent Selects Academy
Going south of the border for their first of two 10th-round picks, the Bulldogs selected centreman Andrew DellaDonna from the South Kent Selects Academy.
The Syracuse, New York, native posted 41 goals and 75 points in 73 games last season, proving to be a future offensive force. With a commitment to Ohio State University for 2022-23, it is unsure if DellaDonna will report to the OHL. However, he has the potential to contribute a lot to the Bulldogs club should he choose to play.
189th Overall – Adrian Rebelo (LW), Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs
For the third time, the Bulldogs drafted locally, taking Adrian Rebelo from the Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs.
Rebelo split his 2019-20 season between the minor and major midget Jr. Bulldogs teams. He posted 11 goals and 28 points across 31 games at the minor midget level, along with an additional six points in eight playoff games. He was also an offensive force at the major midget level, posting three goals and four points in seven regular season games and adding three goals in four playoff games. He has potential to add offensive depth as a late round pick for the Bulldogs in future years.
206th Overall – Logan Cooley (C), Pittsburgh Penguins Elite U15
Hamilton went to the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite program to draft centreman Logan Cooley.
Logan earned himself a spot among the U.S. National Under-17 Team for next season and has a commitment to University of Notre Dame in 2022-23. He will add offensive talent wherever he ends up down the road.
226th Overall – Callum Craft (D), North Bay Trappers
The Bulldogs added another North Bay native to their system, joining the ranks of current players Payton Vescio and Zachary Roy, in defenseman Callum Craft.
Craft was the second leading scorer among defensemen on his team, posting six goals and nine assists across 29 regular season games. He also spent some time at the major midget level, scoring one goal in five regular season games played.
246th Overall – Ethan Sullivan (D), Oakville Rangers
The Bulldogs added another defenseman from the Oakville Rangers in Ethan Sullivan.
Sullivan is another who got the call-up to the major midget level, playing in two games after impressing in minor midget. Posting three goals and 11 points in 30 games, Sullivan’s defensive game adds to the depth on the Bulldogs’ blue line.
266th Overall – Thomas Sinclair (C), St. Michael’s Buzzers
The Bulldogs turned to the St. Michael’s Buzzers of the OJHL to select 2002-born Thomas Sinclair.
The 6’2” centre posted 44 points in 45 games in the 2019-20 season, giving him the potential to crack the Bulldogs roster as a late-round pick this upcoming season.
290th Overall – Tristan Malboeuf (G), Oakville Rangers
For their final pick in the Priority Selection, the Bulldogs would add a little extra depth between the pipes in Tristan Malboeuf.
The Oakville Rangers’ netminder posted a 2.15 GAA in 18 games started, and maintained his solid numbers th
rough nine playoff games where he had a 2.18 GAA.
After entering the 2019-20 season with a sense of the future, it looks to be even brighter now.
Overall, Hamilton addressed their biggest needs in goal-scorers up front in this year’s Priority Selection, while adding some top-end talent on the back end as well.