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NHL Central Scouting Names Three Otters in Final Rankings

May 5, 2022 - Ontario Hockey League (OHL) - Erie Otters News Release

Erie, Pennsylvania - In just over two months, professional hockey hopefuls will wait with bated breath to hear their name called at the 2022 National Hockey League Entry Draft in Montreal. One of the biggest signs of the forthcoming Draft is the release of NHL Central Scouting's Final Rankings of eligible draftees, which was unveiled this morning.

With the 2021-22 season at a close for the Erie Otters, the team sees three players ranked among the top players in the world by Central Scouting - Goaltender Nolan Lalonde (R, '04), Defenseman Christian Kyrou ('03), and Defenseman Spencer Sova (R, '04).

Nolan Lalonde, the #49 overall pick in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection Draft, was ranked 14th among all North American Goaltenders. Coming into his rookie season as an anticipated backup, Lalonde quickly became an every-night starter for the Otters, and a big part of their unexpected success - growing into the top rookie goaltender in the OHL during the season. The native of Kingston, ON appeared in 54 of Erie's 68 games this season, with an .877 SV%, 3.62 GAA, and a 14-25-2-1 record - his 24 wins top among all rookie goaltenders, and t-7th in the OHL. Lalonde was named a Goaltender for Canada's National Men's Under-18 Team at the 2022 IIHF U18 World Championship, starting one game and getting Team Canada's lone-win in net. Lalonde also earned Midwest Division Academic Player of the Month honors from the OHL in November.

Christian Kyrou, the #84 overall pick in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection Draft, was ranked 48th among all North American Skaters. A dynamic sophomore season, Kyrou grew from an undiscussed, rotation Defenseman to a star-studded 200-foot player with game-changing ability. After not previously appearing on any of the season's NHL Central Scouting 'Players to Watch List', Kyrou's consistency and growth through the first half of the season had put him on the Scouts' radar at the Midterm Rankings, earning him 179th overall. Finishing top three in scoring among all OHL Defenseman, top-50 in the entire league, and top-3 on the team, Kyrou's breakout season earned him a top-50 ranking for the upcoming draft. The 18-year-old defenseman appeared in every game this season for Erie, ranking third in team-scoring (1st among Defenseman), 3rd in the OHL for defensemen in scoring with 60 points (18G+42A).

Spencer Sova, the #8 overall pick in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection Draft, was ranked 80th among all North American Skaters in the rankings. The 17-year-old defenseman appeared 64/68 games this season for the Otters, running the point on the power play, and being part of the top D Pair. A native of Windsor, ON Sova was a top-10 scorer on the team and top-40 scorer amongst all OHL Defensemen with 28 points (9G+19A) including four PPGs. Sova was named an Alternate Captain for Canada's National Men's Under-18 Team at the 2022 IIHF U18 World Championship, and was a point-per-game player for Team Canada with three assists in three games.

Of note as well, international Otters' prospect and draftee Juraj Slafkovsky (Round 2, #90 in 2021 CHL Import Draft) was ranked the top International Skater by NHL Central Scouting, after his season with TPS in Finland.

The Otters organization congratulates the three players for their recognition in the Final Rankings, and wish them the best in the lead-up to early July's Draft. Since 1969, over 2400 OHL players have been selected in the NHL Draft, representing over 20 percent of all players chosen by clubs, and a figure higher than any other league; solidifying the OHL as the number one supplier of NHL talent. Since 1996, 42 players from the Erie Otters have been selected - including names like Connor McDavid, Ryan O'Reilly, Dylan Strome, and more.

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