The Barrie Colts locked up another pair of key prospects from their haul in this year’s OHL Priority Selection and Under-18 midget draft.
The club announced the signings Thursday of forward Vladislav Dvurechenskii and goaltender Matteo Lalama. That brings the number of players who have committed to the team from the pair of 2019 drafts to six, including five of their top six selections in the OHL Priority Selection.
Both Dvurechenskii, a fifth-round pick (90th overall) and Lalama, a first-round selection in the U-18 draft, were off to strong starts with the Collingwood Colts, the club’s affiliate in the Ontario Junior Hockey League.
“We are very happy they committed to Ontario Hockey League contracts and we’re looking forward to seeing them get into their first game action this weekend,” Colts general manager and head scout Jason Ford said.
A native of Russia, Dvurechenskii suited up last season with the North York Rangers ‘AAA’ minor midgets and recorded 15 goals and 17 assists to go along with 94 penalty minutes. The Colts believe the hulking six-foot-four, 208-pound winger has all the makings to become an effective power forward as his career develops.
“Vlad is a powerful kid for his age,” Ford said of the 16-year-old who suited up in Barrie’s 5-2 exhibition win over the Niagara IceDogs, Thursday night, at the Colts Centre. “He skates well, has pretty good hands and a strong shot. For a player his size, he has a lot of good attributes that will help him become an impact player along the way.”
Lalama played last season with the Niagara North Stars midgets and was impressive in Collingwood early, boasting a 2-0 record with a 2.50 goals against average and a .909 save percentage.
With a returning Jet Greaves and Vancouver Canucks prospect Arturs Silovs expected to carry the load in goal this season, it’s likely Lalama will continue to develop in Collingwood this season.
“Matteo is a competitive goalie that is really improving as he gets older, stronger and sees more high calibre shots,” Ford said of the 17-year-old goaltender. “He had an excellent training camp and we are excited to add him to our goaltending depth.”
Fourth overall selection Brandt Clarke continued his strong preseason play with his team-leading fifth goal in the win over Niagara. Second-round pick Ryan Del Monte, Peter Fleming, Luke Bignell and Jacob Tortora also scored for the Colts, who improved to 3-1 in exhibition play.
Barrie completes its preseason schedule with a home-and-home weekend set against the Kitchener Rangers, beginning Friday night on the road. Game time Saturday back in Barrie is 7:30 p.m.
Photo: Barrie Colts general manager Jason Ford (far right), and head coach Warren Rychel (first from left) announced the signing Thursday of goaltender Matteo Lalama (second from left) and forward Vladislav Dvurechenskii (third from left) on Thursday. Photo courtesy of Barrie Colts.