With their final pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs have selected left-shot defenceman Ryan O’Connell of St. Andrew’s College.

The 6’1, 170-pound O’Connell is the fourth defenceman selected by the Leafs in the 2017 draft in what’s been a clear effort to stock the organizational pipeline on the backend.

The Gloucester, Ontario native posted 33 points in 47 games in the CHAS (prep league) this season as well as four points in seven games for St. Andrew’s in the CISAA (Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association).

According to Elite Prospects, O’Connell is expected to play in the BCHL for the Penticton Vees for the 2017-18 season before heading off to college at Boston University the following year.

O’Connell was ranked 208th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting and 180th by Future Considerations.

Mark Hunter’s Take

A young man that is right in our backyard in St. Andrew’s. He’s going to Penticton and then to a good program in BU. This kid has a good upswing and can really skate. We’ll be patient with him and watch his development.

Ryan O’Connell Scouting Report

Courtesy of the 2017 NHL Draft Blackbook:

Ryan O’Connell is a simplistic, two-way defender with strong mobility. A player who is at his best in possession, O’Connell often utilizes his skating abilities to lead transition attacks up ice and into the offensive zone. Ryan makes strong decisions in possession and can create while keeping his feet moving up ice. While O’Connell thrives as a puck carrier, he is equally as strong as a puck distributor, seeing the ice very well and making a hard and accurate first pass. Offensively O’Connell creates from the back end with his vision and puck distribution skills, however also displays an underrated shot along with the ability to open shooting lanes and get pucks on goal with his quick feet and release. O’Connell contains well in transition, closing his gaps well and angling opponents to low percentage areas of the ice before separating player from puck with simple contact or by poking the puck free. O’Connell isn’t overly physical but does show good strength to his game. Ryan’s strength defensively comes from anticipating the play, strong body positioning and an active stick. O’Connell is expected to suit up for the Penticton Vees of the BCHL next season before joining Boston University for the 2018-2019 season.

Ryan O’Connell Statistics

2012-13Ottawa Jr. 67s Minor Bantam AAAOEMBHL2239126|Playoffs91342
2013-14Ottawa Jr. 67s Bantam AAAOEBHL29322256|Playoffs80330
Ottawa Jr. 67s Minor Midget AAAOEMMHL20110|
2014-15Ottawa Jr. 67s Minor Midget AAAOEMMHL21216188|Playoffs102680
2015-16St. Andrew's CollegeCISAA141784|Playoffs40330
St. Andrew's CollegeCAHS554273114|
2016-17St. Andrew's CollegeCISAA70444|Playoffs51452
St. Andrew's CollegeCAHS476273318|
2017-18Penticton VeesBCHL-----|
2018-19Boston Univ.NCAA-----|