The CHL has named Anthony Cirelli the Player of the Week. Cirelli had four goals and five assists for nine points over just four games played this past week as his Erie Otters advanced to the OHL Finals.
Cirelli was drafted 72nd overall in the third round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning. General Manager Steve Yzerman acquired the pick used to take Cirelli by trading the 28th overall pick in the first round for this pick. He also acquired a second round pick that was used to select Mitchell Stephens. Cirelli and the Otters defeated Stephens and the London Knights in the second round of the OHL playoffs.
Cirelli was originally drafted out of the Oshawa Generals after winning the Memorial Cup in 2015 where he scored the winning goal in overtime.
Cirelli spent the next season as the Captain of the rebuilding Oshawa Generals and was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, which allowed him to join the Syracuse Crunch. He played in three games with the Crunch before the end of the season. He returned to Oshawa for the 2016-17 season again serving as Captain. Cirelli was given an opportunity with Team Canada at the World Junior Championship and excelled with seven points in seven games on his way to a Silver Medal finish.
After the WJC, Cirelli was traded to the Erie Otters where he will have another opportunity to play for a Memorial Cup if the Otters can get past the Mississauga Steelheads for the OHL Championship. Cirelli leads the Otters with 13 goals in the playoffs and is fourth on the team for points.
Cirelli is joined on the Otters by fellow Lightning prospects Taylor Raddysh and Erik Cernak.
Next fall, Cirelli is slated to join the Syracuse Crunch full time where he will have an opportunity to be one of the team’s top two center options. He has the offense in his game to be a very good AHL center that can produce at a high level. His NHL ceiling is likely as a bottom six forward that can play center or on the wing, play a defensively-responsible game, win faceoffs, and chip in some depth scoring.
He’s made great strides in his development in the OHL and his performance at the WJC was a promising sign against high level competition. He’ll need to refine his game in the AHL, but there’s no reason at this time to expect he won’t eventually make it to the NHL.
We’ll continue to keep a close eye on Cirelli and his fellow Otters as they attempt to build a dam to keep the Steelheads out of the Memorial Cup tournament.