Today, Blackhawks defensive prospect Ethan Del Mastro made Team Canada for the World Juniors tournament. Game 1 will be the day after Christmas against Czechia. Chicago will actually have 4 players on team Canada (Kevin Korchinski, Colton Dach, and Nolan Allan are the other 3). However, I'd like to single out Del Mastro as I've seen a big difference in him so far this season (OHL).
Ethan Del Mastro was drafted by Stan Bowman in the 2021 draft. He went #105 overall, but at the time it seemed like a low risk / high reward selection to me at least. In my preview at www.realgm.com I mentioned that this was the Blackhawks best pick and that I thought they got Del Mastro at least a round past where I would have taken him.
Last season for Mississauga he put up "good" numbers as a top pairing defenseman (48pts in 68gms). It's this season however that has shown a two way and physical expansion to his overall play. In his second season as the Steelheads captain, Del Mastro is putting up 21 points in just 22 games.
In my prospects preview that I released over a month ago I had listed Del Mastro as just outside the top 10. You can click on this paragraph for review. Obviously with the major junior. college, and european leagues under way a lot has changed.
You can see from the video above as Mississauga forward James Hardie (a very good double over ager by the way) gets through into a high danger position and Del Mastro enters the rush for a good one timer finish. You notice his size here as well. Del Mastro is 6'4 and well above 200 pounds as a 19 year old (20 in a month).
This season in many games you'll see his team really rely on him to make plays, take on the other teams' best player, and be the vocal leader. It's impressive to see, no doubt why Team Canada will have him in an important top 4 role.
Moving forward, I expect Del Mastro to graduate from the OHL to the AHL and immediately be one of the IceHogs best players. If you asked me a year ago I would have said Del Mastro would be a fringe NHL player at best..... Now? He could be a future 2nd pairing defenseman for the Blackhawks by the 2024-2025 season.