Battalion adds three

NORTH BAY, Ont. — The North Bay Battalion selected left winger Kevin Henstock of the Oakville Rangers midgets first overall in the fourth annual Ontario Hockey League Under-18 Priority Selection on Wednesday.

Henstock was the first of three picks the Battalion made in the process, which featured players who played last season on midget AAA teams in the Ontario Hockey Federation, Hockey Eastern Ontario or Hockey Northwestern Ontario and who weren’t on the protected list of any Canadian Hockey League club, including those in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League.

North Bay also selected goaltender Wade Monague of the North Central Predators in the second round, 21st overall, and defenceman Alex Little of the North Bay Trappers in the third round at No. 41.

Henstock, a six-foot-one, 179-pound Oakville resident who turned 17 on March 25, scored 23 goals and earned 35 assists for 58 points in 44 regular-season and playoff games.

“He’s a very skillful player who’s a great skater,” general manager Adam Dennis said of Henstock.

“He’s always around the net, and he’s big on the forecheck. He was injured part of last year or he probably would have been drafted then. We think he can come in and compete for a spot on our opening roster.”

Monague, who turned 17 on Jan. 7, is a six-foot-two, 170-pound resident of Orillia, Ont. He played in 30 games last season, posting a 3.42 goals-against average and two shutouts.

“He’s a big kid that’s very athletic, and I think he has a lot of potential,” noted Dennis. “He joins a good group of young goalies that we’re excited to work with.”

Little, a product of Minden, Ont., is five-foot-11 and 155 pounds. He marked his 17th birthday March 5.

In 38 games with the Trappers, the right-shot rearguard scored nine goals and added 20 assists for 29 points. He also played four games with the Powassan Voodoos of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League without registering a point.

“He’s very versatile and can do a lot of things,” Dennis said of Little, who plays both the left and right side.

The two-round process was conducted over the Internet in inverse order of the overall standings during last season, which was cut short by two weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic, with the playoffs also cancelled. What would have been the four non-playoff clubs, two in each conference, were guaranteed the first four picks regardless of points.

If a team took a goaltender, it had the option of making a third selection, which couldn’t be used on a goaltender. All clubs had to make at least two picks, but none could make more than three.

The Battalion’s first-round pick, eighth overall, last year was defenceman Ryan Thompson of the Toronto Marlboros, who played 43 games with the Troops in 2019-20, recording three assists.

The 20 OHL clubs made a total of 56 selections, numbering 30 forwards, 10 defencemen and 16 goaltenders.

North Bay selected 14 skaters and one goaltender, all born in 2004, in the OHL Priority Selection on Saturday, but the date of any orientation camp is unknown because of the pandemic. The Battalion, which finished last in the Central Division, Eastern Conference and league with a won-lost-extended record of 17-41-4 for 38 points, made defenceman Ty Nelson of the Toronto Jr. Canadiens minor midgets the No. 1 pick.

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