Just because a player isn’t drafted during his first year of eligibility doesn’t mean he can’t be an excellent NHL prospect. Amadeus Lombardi shows that waiting a year to be drafted into the NHL can be a good thing. Now in his second season in the OHL, Lombardi is scoring at a terrific pace and is currently the top-scoring Detroit Red Wings prospect.
Flint Firebirds (OHL)
Recent Detroit draft pick Amadeus Lombardi is proof that good things do come in small packages. The diminutive Lombardi (5’10, 165 lbs) was even smaller when he was first drafted into the OHL during the 2019 OHL Priority Selection. Lombardi was only 5’8,135 lbs when the Flint Firebirds selected him in the 13th round, #245 overall. The Firebirds allowed him to go back and play for the U18 Toronto Titans for the 2019-2020 season. The year was cut short because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and all games were canceled for the following season.
Lombardi was not selected during the 2021 NHL Entry Draft for several reasons. Prior to the draft, Lombardi had only played midget hockey in Toronto. His diminutive stature also contributed to his not being drafted into the NHL. One OHL season and 507 days of training in the gym may have helped develop Lombardi into a legitimate NHL prospect.
After scoring 37 points in 33 regular season U18 games for the Toronto Titans, Lombardi played his rookie season in the OHL. In 67 regular games, he scored 18 goals, 41 assists, 59 points, and a +9 rating. In 19 playoff games, he scored another seven goals, eight assists, and 15 points and had a -4 rating.
NHL Entry Draft
Several Canadian players were not selected during their first season of eligibility for the NHL Entry Draft in 2021. Many did not play any games because of the ongoing pandemic. These players were then eligible for a second time, and many were selected as 19-year-olds.
The Detroit Red Wings selected Amadeus Lombardi in the 4th round, #113 overall. The center from Newmarket, Ontario, then participated in the Red Wings Development Camp in July, followed by the Prospect Tournament in September. Lombardi looked good during the Prospects Tournament, and he followed up the experience with a terrific start back in the OHL.
Back to Junior
Lombardi is playing in what will likely be his final year of junior. Once again playing for Flint (OHL), Lombardi is currently 6th in OHL scoring. In his first 26 games, Lombardi has scored 14 goals, 20 assists, and 34 points and has a +11 rating. The Firebirds are the top-scoring team in the OHL and are currently fifth in the Western Conference of the OHL standings.
There is a chance that Lombardi goes back to junior next year and plays in the OHL as an overage player. Each team is allowed three overage players, and with Lombardi missing an entire year of junior when he was 18, it may be to his advantage if he remains in the OHL.
The Red Wings will retain Lombardi’s rights until June 2024. This should benefit both the player and the Red Wings. One more year of junior will provide the Red Wings an opportunity to watch him closely while at the same time allowing the player to get stronger so that he can play against men at the professional level. It should be fun to watch Lombardi continues to score in bunches as he continues his first post-draft season in the OHL.https://share.transistor.fm/s/6481b918