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Barrie Colts to pick in top 5 at upcoming OHL draft

Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection will take place over two days beginning April 12
The Colts Captain's Wall at Sadlon Arena in Barrie is shown in a file photo.

For the first time in five years the Barrie Colts will get to select a player in the top handful of picks at the Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.

On Wednesday evening, the OHL held its draft lottery and released the order of selection for the upcoming draft, which will take place April 12 and 13.

Barrie will make its first pick at No. 5.

The last time the Colts picked in the top five was in 2019 when they selected star defenceman Brandt Clarke. While captaining the Barrie team last season, he had 23 goals and 38 assists in just 31 games after being returned to junior by the Los Angeles Kings, who took eighth overall in the 2021 NHL Draft.

Last year, the Colts took right-winger Shamar Moses with the 19th-overall pick. Cole Beaudoin, who was second in team scoring this season with 28 goals and 34 assists, was taken at No. 10 in the 2022 draft.

In 2017, Barrie had the top pick in the OHL Priority Selection and chose forward Ryan Suzuki, who ending up playing two and a half seasons with the organization before being traded to the Saginaw Spirit. He's now playing for the AHL's Springfield Thunder and has yet to suit up for an NHL game with the Carolina Hurricanes, who took him in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft at No. 28.

For the OHL draft lottery, with each of the four non-playoff teams participating, the 20th-place Niagara IceDogs had a 40 per cent chance of landing the top pick, followed by the 19th-place Windsor Spitfires at 30 per cent, the 18th-place Peterborough Petes at 20 per cent, and the 17th-place Sarnia Sting at 10 per cent.

For the first time since 1976, Windsor will select first overall after the lottery results were revealed.

The league says the final results were determined by a computerized random number generator, with the process overseen and certified by Robert Bayne, partner with the law firm Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP.

The Sarnia Sting will pick in the second-overall slot, 

Windsor's only other first-overall draft pick was Jim Fox, selected from the North Bay Trappers back in 1976. Fox would never play for Windsor, instead going on to become one of the league's most prolific scorers as a member of the Ottawa 67's before embarking on an NHL career.

The Spitfires had a dismal 18-42-5-3 record this season following back-to-back division titles. They were crowned Western Conference champions in 2022, coming within one win of the J. Ross Robertson Cup.

The 2024 OHL Priority Selection will take place over two days, with rounds one to three starting at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 12. The draft will continue on Saturday, April 13 starting at 9 a.m. with rounds four to 15. The draft will be streamed for free on OHL Live.

2024 OHL Priority Selection First Round Order:

  1. Windsor Spitfires
  2. Sarnia Sting
  3. Peterborough Petes
  4. Niagara IceDogs
  5. Barrie Colts
  6. Flint Firebirds
  7. Owen Sound Attack
  8. Kingston Frontenacs
  9. Guelph Storm
  10. Erie Otters
  11. Ottawa 67’s
  12. Sudbury Wolves
  13. Mississauga Steelheads
  14. Brantford Bulldogs
  15. Kitchener Rangers
  16. North Bay Battalion
  17. Oshawa Generals
  18. Soo Greyhounds
  19. Saginaw Spirit
  20. London Knights
  21. Ottawa 67’s*

*indicates compensatory pick