Sting select Namestnikov third overall in OHL draft (AUDIO)

The Sarnia Sting picked Max Namestnikov third overall in the 2020 OHL Draft - April 4,2020. (TIM CORNETT/OHL Images)

The Sarnia Sting selected Maxim Namestnikov with the third overall pick in Saturday’s Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.

The 15-year-old centre played for Honeybaked U15 last season and had 53 goals and 75 assists for 128 points in 59 games played. He’s currently committed to Michigan State University for 2023-24, but that could change.

According to the OHL scouting report, “Max may be the most offensively gifted and creative player in this year’s Priority Selection. He is explosive off the mark and has another gear that a lot of players don’t have. He isn’t the biggest player, but he doesn’t let that stop him, as he will battle anyone for a loose puck.

“His offensive tools and instincts are what really separate him from everyone else; he can make moves in tight areas and isn’t afraid of traffic either. He played a big role in his team’s success as a driving force in every game they played.”

Max is the brother of former London Knight Vlad Namestnikov, who is now a member of the Colorado Avalanche.

Max said he feels really honoured to be taken by the Sting and is excited to be playing close to his hometown of Wolverine Lake, MI. “That’s what I really wanted. My family wants to stay close to me and I want to stay close to them. Being close to family is key and they’re an hour and a half away, so it’s perfect for me.”

He said speed is a key element of his game. “Of course, the second part of it is my physicality and that’s hopefully what I can bring to Sarnia. Another thing about my game is my IQ level, I can see a lot of plays that some other players can’t.”

Sting play-by-play announcer Leigh Cunningham spoke with Max Namestnikov by telephone:

The Sting selected left handed defenceman Matthew Morden with the 34 overall pick in round two. Morden had five goals and 16 assists in 33 games with the Toronto Titans this past season. He also had an assist in one game with the OJHL’s Burlington Cougars.

Leigh Cunningham speaks with Matthew Morden:

The Sting selected right winger Ryder McIntyre in the third round, 51st overall. He had 24 goals and 17 assists in 36 games for the Ajax Pickering Raiders this past season.

According to his scouting report, “Ryder is a big power forward that plays a very heavy game and is hard to handle when he gets going in open ice. He is a good skater that needs to improve on his ten-foot game, but once he gets going his speed is good enough for the next level. He competes hard and hits hard all the time.

“He will drive the net and go to those dirty areas to score goals, which is something he does very well. He has a junior level shot already; it has pace, accuracy and he gets it off very quickly when he needs to. Ryder is physically strong enough to play at the next level, he now just needs to work on getting quicker.”

Leigh Cunningham in conversation with Ryder McIntyre:

A total of four Lambton Jr. Sting Minor Midget AAA players were chosen in the draft, including Wyoming native Austin Harper who the Sting took in the tenth round.  The right winger had 16 goals and 19 assists in 30 games this past season. He also had a pair of assists in four contests with the Sarnia Legionnaires.

The Sault St. Marie Greyhounds selected Sarnia-born right winger Landen Hookey in the ninth round and defenceman Caleb Van de Ven in the 13th. Defenceman Joshua Hoover went in the tenth round to Sudbury.

Hookey notched 13 goals and 17 assists in 33 games, and had a goal and an assist in two games with the Legionnaires. Van de Ven had five points in 32 games and scored once in four games with the St. Thomas Stars. Over 26 contests Hoover, a Sarnia native, scored nine goals and added 15 assists for 24 points. He was held pointless in two games in a Legionnaires uniform.

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The Sting had 15 picks in this year’s draft:

Round 1 (3) – Namestnikov, Maxim C (5 foot 7 165 lbs) Detroit HoneyBaked 15

Round 2 (34) – Morden, Matthew LD (6 foot 2 166 lbs) Toronto Titans MMAAA GTHL

Round 3 (51) – McIntyre, Ryder RW (6 foot 2 207 lbs) Ajax-Pickering Raiders

Round 5 (83) – Casey, Seamus RD (5 foot 8 146 lbs) Florida Alliance 16U Youth (USA)

Round 6 (103) – Eveleigh, Liam LD (5 foot 10 192 lbs) Waterloo Wolves MMAAA MHAO

Round 6 (107) – Brindley, Gavin RW (5 foot 7 139 lbs) Florida Alliance 16U Youth (USA)

Round 7 (123) – Facchinelli, Julian RW (5 foot 7 147 lbs) Markham Majors MMAAA GTHL

Round 8 (143) – Grover, Dylan G (6 foot 3 148 lbs) Kitchener Jr. Rangers MMAAA MHAO

Round 9 (163) – Filak, Zach C (6 foot 1 177 lbs) Detroit Compuware 16U Youth (USA)

Round 10 (183) – Harper, Austin RW (5 foot 6 139 lbs) Lambton Jr. Sting MMAAA MHAO

Round 11 (203) – Transit, Ryan RD (5 foot 8 180 lbs) Detroit Little Caesars 15’S Youth (USA)

Round 12 (223) – Messina, Nicholas LW (5 foot 5 137 lbs) Vaughan Kings MMAAA GTHL

Round 13 (243) – Vogelsberg, Joshua LW (5 foot 10 143 lbs) Mississauga Reps MMAAA GTHL

Round 14 (263) – McArthur, Keegan RW (6 foot 1 190 lbs) Dallas Stars Elite 15’S Youth (USA)

Round 15 (283) – Fang, Alfred LW (5 foot 9 157 lbs) Mississauga Rebels MMAAA GTHL

-With files from Dave Dentinger