I've already written similar articles for the WHL breakout prospects, and the QMJHL breakouts. For whatever reason, they began their seasons around the same time while the OHL didn't start until a week or so later. Just like with the other two, I wanted to wait for 10+ games to be played before really looking into the numbers and early scouting darlings.
I'm not necessarily going to just profile the very top prospects, but instead will look at those that seem to be going through a big breakout compared to whatever pre-season hype they had. So while Sam Dickinson may be the top prospect in the OHL right now, he won't get a mention here.
All that out of the way, let's talk about some of the bigger breakouts of this OHL season so far!
I've written about Misa already, but it's worth bringing him up again because he is 100% a breakout case at this point. After 11 games this season, he is healthily atop the OHL for first time draft eligible prospects in points. On the top team in the league, Misa leads Mississauga with 6 goals and 20 points in 12 games. He also has 35 shots, while 8 of his points have come on the powerplay. The second most points for both his age-group peers in the entire OHL and for all players on his team is 13, for comparison.
Since writing an update at the end of the OHL pre-season, Misa has moved from centre to wing. Even aside from his point production, he's gotten strong reviews early on from scouts – including Mitch Brown at Elite Prospects:
Misa attacks with crossovers and passes of varying distances and types. Short-range touch passes, drop passes, backhand feeds, and cross-ice darts all appear as Misa dissects the opposition, sprinting from the pass into the next reception. Early on, he’s the OHL’s give-and-go master, using a quick-possession passing game to build high-danger offence.
There are a lot of other exciting qualities in Misa’s game, too. He’s a hard-working defensive player, a skilled handler, and a precise passer off the boards.
He didn't have a lot of hype to start the season, and was not on Bob McKenzie's top 16 + 4 honourable mentions in his first draft rankings of the year. If he keeps up his play and production, we can safely assume he'll wind up as a first rounder for sure. He's a bit small (5'10") so that might limit how high he goes at least a bit.
Parekh is someone I mentioned in my very first watch list for this year's draft as one of the many top-potential defensemen. So far, he's been living up to the hype and a bit more – he looks like he could wind up being the most offensively gifted defensemen in this draft. He was taken 19th overall by Saginaw in the OHL draft, and has had some hype for his offense going back to the OHL cup as a 15 year old in 2021/22.
Last year, Parekh had his rookie season and set an OHL record for goals by a rookie defensemen with 21 in just 50 games. This year, he played for Canada at the Hlinka and had 3 points in 5 games, and so far leads the OHL's U18 defensemen in points with 12 in 10 games. His playmaking has improved a lot from last year, when he was primarily a goal scoring defensemen (only 16 assists). He's simply become a complete offensive force, with improving defense to go with it – though that isn't a major strength for him yet, from what I can see.
A teammate of Misa on the OHL leading Mississauga Steelheads and another big surprise has been their starting goalie: 17 year old Ryerson Leenders. At 6'1", he's at best average for a typical goalie, and probably considered a bit small. But as good as Misa has been, Mississauga probably isn't leading the league in the standings without Leenders.
Leenders was a 2nd round pick by Mississauga, and was their main starting goalie by the end of last season when he was just 16. His stats weren't great, but he was very young and Mississauga was a rebuilding team that traded away most of their top players. The fact he outplayed the other goalies and got into so many games is an achievement for him, and it looks to be paying off this year. He has one of the top save percentages (.920) in the league among all the main starters, let alone those his age. He also leads the league in wins and has the second most playing time, so he's had a high work load so far.
Liam Greentree is a 6'2", 198 lb left winger who was a former 2nd round pick on the Windsor Spitfires. He is coming off a rookie season in the OHL where he had 25 goals and 45 points in 61 games – that was good for the 3rd most points for U17 players, and the most in goals. So far this season, he has the second most points (17) for U18 draft eligible players and again is leading in goals (8) in only 12 games.
There are two impressive factors in his favour: he is leading his team in both points and goals, regardless of age; and only three of his points have come on the powerplay. Scouts I've read mark his skating and footspeed as average, but give him very good marks for his skill and intelligence:
Greentree finds success by outthinking the opposition. He slips into space before defenders figure out the next play, delays off the rush instead of forcing pucks into traffic, and bypasses defenders with passing plays. His hands are smooth and fast, deftly chaining pass receptions into dekes, passes, and quick-release wristers, adding deception when necessary.
Fibigr was taken in this summer's CHL import draft out of Czechia. He was taken 16th overall by the Mississauga Steelheads, which has turned into one of the early OHL powerhouses. He's a 6'0" left shot defenseman playing with another 17 year old Parker Von Richter. They've formed a pretty formidable pair despite being their age – Fibigr in particular has a July 22nd birthday, making him on the younger side of draft eligibles.
So far, Fibigr has the second most points among U18 defensemen with 11 in 13 games – five of them have come on the powerplay. He's a good skater and reminds me a bit of Topi Niemelä in terms of how active he plays, in particular when joining in on the offense and trying to shut down the neutral zone. I wouldn't rate his defense as great, but I can see the potential there.