TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan – Every NHL scout, general manager and agent has a story to tell about scouting the 2021 NHL Draft Class during the pandemic.

But no scout has had it more difficult than those at the OHL. Ask them about it and they usually sigh.

It was impossible. Not just because the OHL was the only major development league in the world not to play. Because the 16-year-olds they had to assess (or, in an agent’s case, sell) were in transition seasons that usually don’t get much stock. Because a lot of the OHL players who have found other places to play, almost exclusively in Europe, have done so in low-level leagues that don’t traditionally develop NHL prospects, in areas that don’t. not owned by scouts who knew them and in arenas limited by restrictions.

The result, they say, will be a hint of success and failure where the biggest margins will be in Ontario.

When the Stars drafted Kingston Frontenacs forward Francesco Arcuri in a season in Austria with the Alpine Hockey League’s Steel Wings Linz in the sixth round, they took one of those bets.

Those who know Arcuri and his game now better believe that it will pay off.

This week, in Traverse City for the NHL Prospects Tournament, he started trying to prove them – and himself – just after a long drive.

Growing up, Arcuri has always been a star. His grandparents were Italian immigrants from Sicily, but he was born in Woodbridge, a suburb of Toronto, to a hockey family where NHL player Mike Cammalleri was his first cousin.


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