Highly-touted player commits to Windsor Spitfires
Published Friday, June 14, 2019 2:29PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, June 14, 2019 7:28PM EDT
The Windsor Spitfires have added a highly-touted prospect for next season.
Egor Afanasyev has committed to the OHL team after deciding not to attend Michigan State.
Afanasyev scored 27 goals and 35 assists in 58 games last season Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound left winger -- who is originally from Tver, Russia -- says he wanted to play in the Ontario Hockey League to achieve his goal of playing in the NHL.
"I think it's the closest junior league to the NHL, and the NHL is my goal since day one," says Afanasyev.
The 18-year-old left winger is ranked 16th among North American skaters by Central Scouting and is expected to go in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver next weekend.
Originally Ottawa's sixth-round pick (106 overall) in the 2017 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection, Afanasyev's rights were acquired by Windsor in the trade that sent franchise cornerstone Michael DiPietro to the 67s back in December.
Afanasyev feels his game adapts well to the OHL.
"I'm a two way power forward and I have a pretty good shot, and I like the puck possession style of play," says Afanasyev.
Windsor Head Coach Trevor Letowski says he's excited about adding such a top prospect.
"I think he's going to be a real marquee, dynamic guy in our league," says Letowski.
Spitfires general manager Warren Rychel says Afanasyev is one of the most improved players in North America over the last two years.
"He's big and he can skate," says Rychel. "The more better players you have, the better chance you have of winning and this is the perfect example of that."
Now that the ownership questions around the Spitfires have been answered, Rychel says they will focus on signing 2018 first round pick Wyatt Johnston of the Toronto Marlies.
Rychel adds they are also looking to add talent from the 2019 CHL Import Draft at the end of June.
The Windsor Spitfires will open the 2019-20 OHL season on home ice.
The Spitfires have announced the home and season opener will be Saturday, September 21st when the Peterborough Petes visit Windsor.
Game time is 7:05 p.m. at the WFCU Centre.
The Spitfires schedule includes eight Saturday games and seven Sunday afternoon games. The OHL team says it is designed to make home games more accessible to families.
Windsor will have 18 players eligible to return this season.
The Spitfires will finish the regular season on the road in Sault Ste. Marie on March 22.