Rounds 4-15 Draft Recap – 2023 OHL Priority Selection Presented by Real Canadian Superstore

MISSISSAUGA, ON – The second day of the OHL Priority Selection Presented by Real Canadian Superstore got underway on Saturday with rounds four through fifteen. The Steelheads called on 9 new players that were added to the 2023 Draft Class.

Starting in the fourth round, the Steelheads picked up two players in Alex Valade and Aidan Lane. Valade put up 13 points (4G, 9A) in 24 games with the U16 Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves. The 5’9”, 160 lb defenceman was drafted 79th overall. 

“I’m thrilled! It’s amazing, a great place to play and I’m thrilled to get started out there” Valade said when asked how it felt to be drafted by Mississauga. “I’ll bring a leader to the group, and a guy that can stop goals and bury goals.”

“Alex is a great skating, tough as nails defenceman,” said Head Coach and General Manager James Richmond. “We are super excited to add to the Steelheads.”

Lane is a right winger from the U16 Toronto Marlboros, drafted 80th overall with a pick from Windsor. The 6’0”, 176 lb forward recorded 48 points (20G, 28A) in 35 games this past season. The Mississauga native also participated in the 2023 OHL Cup with the Marlboros, putting up 13 points (8G, 5A) in 5 games. 

Lane spoke on getting drafted to the Steelheads. “I have been coming to watch games at the Paramount Centre as a Steelheads fan since I was three years old. It is a terrific honour to be selected by my hometown Mississauga Steelheads.”

Richmond described Lane as “One of the top ‘07 forwards in this draft. Big fast power forward that scores a lot. We are really happy to welcome Aidan and his family to the Steelheads family”

While the Steelheads did not pick in the fifth round, their sixth-round selection went to Kieran Riley from the U16 Toronto Nationals. The 6’0”, 180 lbs defenceman put up 15 points (4G, 11A) in 29 games.

Richmond described Riley as a “Great skating defenceman that moves the puck up ice in a hurry. He’s a very solid D-man that will play in all situations.”

“It’s an honour to be drafted by the Steelheads, they’re a great organization! It’s really exciting and a really good day for me cause I’ve put a lot of work into it.” Riley said when asked how it felt to be drafted to Mississauga. “I can bring speed, size, vision and a good shot.” 

The Steelheads seventh round pick went to Jared Harding, younger brother of current Steelhead Finn Harding. Likewise to his older brother, Jared is a left defenceman from the U16 Don Mills Flyers, drafted 128th overall. Harding put up 11 points (1G,10A) in 36 games this past season. He too played in the 2023 OHL cup, picking up one assist. 

When asking Jared what it felt like to be drafted to The Steelheads, he said “I’ve always wanted to play for this team, it’s pretty much the hometown team for me.” Harding also made note of his brother as he said, “Watching my brother play for this organization, they’ve been so good to him and to be a part of it myself, it’s so exciting and I can’t wait to get started.”

Coach Richmond also had nothing but good things to say about Harding, “He is an extremely smart defenceman that skates really well. We look forward to seeing Jared alongside his older brother Finn on the Steelheads blue line one day.”

The Steelheads did not have a pick in the eighth, tenth and twelfth round of this draft and would select five more prospects. Rounds 9-15 were capped off with:

Trent Vaillancourt (168th) 

“Strong, tough defenceman that transitions the puck up ice very well. Very hard to play against every shift.” – Richmond

Matteo Sabatini (208th)

“Great skating defenceman that competes extremely hard. Transitions the puck really well.” – Richmond

Justin Vlassis (248th)

“Big strong hard nose forward that plays with a lot of pace.” – Richmond

Wyatt Jinman (268th) 

“Fast skilled forward that plays a solid 200’ game.” – Richmond

Ivan Kastelan (288th)

“Strong positional goalie that gives his team a chance to win. Ivan gives us better goalie depth in the future. We look forward to seeing Ivan competing for one of our goalie positions.” – Richmond

Steelheads Draft Notes

  • The Steelheads took the first goalie in the draft for the second year in a row
  • On the first day the team took three players in the first two rounds all at different positions (Goalie, Forward, Defenceman)
  • Over the two days of the draft, the Steelheads selected four forwards, six defencemen, and two goalies. 
  • Out of the twelve picks, four were selected from the Toronto Marlboros
  • There were two players selected from Mississauga, three from Toronto
  • One American player was selected by the club

After a successful day in the War Room, Richmond added, “We are extremely excited with our selections in this years draft. We addressed all of our needs and believe we have the makings of a great ‘07 class. All of these players will have an opportunity to be a Steelhead in the future.”

Round by Round Selections:

Selection Name               Position Team
Round 1 – 7th Jack Ivankovic G Mississauga Senators U16
Round 2 – 35th Kieran Witkowski LW Toronto Marlboros U16
Round 2 – 40th Luke Dragusica D Toronto Marlboros U16
Round 4 – 79th Alex Valade D Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves U16
Round 4 – 80th Aidan Lane RW Toronto Marlboros U16
Round 6 – 115th Kieran Riley D Toronto Nationals U16
Round 7 – 128th Jared Harding D Don Mills Flyers U16
Round 9 – 168th Trent Vaillancourt D Southern Tier Admirals U16
Round 11 – 208th Matteo Sabatini D Toronto Marlboros U16
Round 13 – 248th Justin Vlassis C Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 15
Round 14 – 268th Wyatt Jinman LW Toronto Jr. Canadiens U16
Round 15 – 288th Ivan Kastelan G Burlington Eagles U16


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