Another Bertuzzi for the Guelph Storm

GUELPH – The Guelph Storm is hoping more of the Bertuzzi magic rubs off on them.

Saturday, the Storm selected centre Tag Bertuzzi with the second overall pick in the Ontario Hockey League’s priority selection – its draft.

“Our fans will recognize that name and we’re pleased to build on that Bertuzzi tradition,” Storm general manager Mike Kelly said on a video on the Storm’s website. “But if his name had have been John Smith, he would’ve been our player. We followed him for 18 months and we absolutely love what he’s going to be able to contribute to the Guelph Storm here in the future.”

Tag Bertuzzi is the son of Todd Bertuzzi, the team’s first ever pick after the franchise relocated in the Royal City from Hamilton. Todd Bertuzzi was taken fifth overall in the 1991 draft and finished four seasons with the team with 116 goals, 164 assists and 536 penalty minutes. He’s tied for fourth overall in goals for the Storm, is fourth overall in assists, third overall in points and first overall in penalty minutes. Early this season the Storm raised a banner with his name and number on it to the Sleeman Centre rafters to honour his performance with the team.

“This is an unbelievable experience,” Tag Bertuzzi said in a video interview tweeted by the OHL. “To get drafted is awesome and to get drafted by such a good organization that my cousin and father have been through is just so cool.”

Tag Bertuzzi is also the cousin of Tyler Bertuzzi who also played four seasons with the Storm after being selected in the fourth round, 78th overall, of the 2011 draft. Tyler Bertuzzi finished with 71 goals, 100 assists and 325 penalty minutes in 201 games with the Storm.

Tag Bertuzzi will enjoy a bit of a comfort level by being drafted by the Storm.

“I’ve been down there a few times and it’ll be fun going back,” Tag Bertuzzi.

Standing a quarter-inch shy of six feet and weighing in at 186 pounds, Tag Bertuzzi had 21 goals, 29 assists and 85 penalty minutes in 49 games with the Oakland, Mich., Junior Grizzlies’ under-16 team this season.

“It was an awesome ride with amazing teammates,” he said of his minor hockey experience. “I couldn’t have asked for a better few years with everybody.”

Tag Bertuzzi also had a goal and two assists in his second appearance in the OHL Cup appearance. He had four goals and an assist last year as a call-up to Oakland’s U16 team. He had scored 36 goals and had 32 assists and 66 penalty minutes in 53 games with Oakland’s U15 team that season.

“We forecast him at centre ice although he has the ability to play all three positions,” Kelly said. “He’s very skilled and a very good skater. From the blueline to the net I think one of the most elite players.

Tag Bertuzzi does know he has things to work on to prepare to report to the Storm’s training camp late this summer.

“My complete game — I need to get my 200-foot game and just work on my strength and speed,” he said. “Hopefully I can help produce for the team next year.”

The Storm had five picks in the first 55 selections of this year’s OHL draft and used them to pick three forwards and two defencemen. They picked centre Mason Primeau from the Toronto Nationals minor midget AAAs in the second round, 22nd overall, defenceman Anthony Aguanno from the Mississauga Rebels minor midget AAAs in the third round, 42nd overall, defenceman Mark Woolley from the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs minor midget AAs in the third round, 54th overall, and left winger Dennis Golovatchev from the Mississauga Reps minor midget AAAs in the third round, 55th overall.

The 6-foot-4, 180-pound Primeau is the son of former NHLer Wayne Primeau. Mason Primeau had 13 goals and 16 assists in 33 games with the Toronto Young Nationals minor midget AAAs.

“(He’s got) a real good hockey IQ, soft hands and the ability to pass the puck. Typical of most 15-year-olds at that height, he’s going to have to get a little bit stronger, but again National Hockey League pedigree in the family,” Kelly said of Primeau. “We think he’s going to be a cornerstone of a future championship team here as well.”

The 5-foot-10, 176-pound Aguanno had 11 goals and 29 assists in 48 games with the Mississauga Rebels minor midget AAAs. He played in two OHL Cups and had a total of three goals and eight assists in 10 games and was named to the 2017 tournament’s all-star team.

“(He was) one of the top-scoring defencemen in the GTHL,” Kelly said of Aguanno. (He’s) a player that’s won championships in eight consecutive years, I believe. We think he’s OHL ready. He’s strong, very competitive, moves pucks and also contributes on the offensive side of the puck.”

The 6-foot-2, 192-pound Woolley had 11 goals and 12 assists in 33 games with the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs minor midget AAAs.

“(He’s) another large, left-shot defenceman,” Kelly said of Woolley. (He’s) very athletic. He did extremely well in the combine this past weekend in Oshawa. A little bit raw, but I think that’s part of the intrigue. We see an awful lot of upside. It’s probably going to take a little bit more time for him to be absolutely OHL ready, but the ceiling is extremely high.”

Golovatchev had 20 goals and nine assists in 34 games with the Mississauga Reps minor midget AAAs, the OHL Cup winners. He scored the winning goal in that tournament’s final.

“Again, good size – 6-foot-3,” Kelly said. “An elite skater, elite shot, elite skills – a little bit of consistency. He has to work on his game to be OHL ready, but again this player has not only a lot of OHL potential, but a lot of NHL potential.”

Overall the Storm selected 15 players – eight forwards, five defencemen and two goaltenders.

Included was Jonah Burley, a defencemen with the Guelph Junior Gryphons minor midget AAAs who the Storm picked in the 14th round, 262nd overall.

A total of 985 players were eligible for the draft and 300 were selected.

 

  • Guelph Sports Journal