The Erie Otters are demonstrating that they are not afraid of age. Their most recent news reinforces this concept.
The team received commitments from three players on Friday. Forward Brett Bressette and defensemen Christian Kyrou and Cameron Morton each agreed to standard player agreements. While it is still unclear that any of these three will crack the opening night lineup, their commitments indicate how impressive each were at camp.
Bressette was taken in the fourth round of this past OHL Priority Selection. A brutal injury derailed him last season. Prior to the injury, Bressette was thought of as someone with potential first-round talent. He was one of the standouts in the scrimmages I saw.
“We’re thrilled with Brett’s continued progress and determination since returning from his injury,” GM Dave Brown said. “He has shown great improvement and we look forward to his continued growth and development.”
Kyrou is the brother of St. Louis Blues prospect Jordan Kyrou. He was taken in the fifth round of this past Priority Selection. He certainly has the pedigree and is not afraid to jump into the play when it’s there.
“Christian has continued to impress the staff with his hockey intelligence and skill level,” Brown said of Kyrou. “We’re excited to have him joining the organization and to watch his continued development.”
Morton was taken in the seventh round of the 2018 Priority Selection. He played last season with the Kingston Jr. Frontenacs where he captained the team to an OMHA Championship. He was also named the top defenseman at the Ontario Hockey Federation Midget AAA Championships.
“Cameron has made a conscious effort to do whatever was needed over the last 15 months to earn this opportunity,” Brown said. “Last season he was an intricate component of a championship team and we are thrilled to add his leadership, determination, and relentless passion to achieve goals to our room.”
The Otters roster already had a logjam coming into camp. Now add three talented youngsters in Bressette, Kyrou and Morton and it’s even more crowded. As we get underway with preseason action, some players had better start looking over their shoulders. Their job might not be as safe as once thought.
Brown and head coach Chris Hartsburg are not afraid of age. Their decisions on who makes this roster and who plays will not be based on age. It will be based on merit, work habits and who deserves it.
With that said, given the current state of the roster, some moves will have to be made. If there’s anything we need to watch during these four preseason games for the Otters, it’s which players are truly on the bubble. It might not be who we think.
Youth is being served in Erie. It’s a credit to the way the team is handling the draft and development. After two long seasons of not making the playoffs, the Otters are primed for a good season thanks to youth in skill positions (Jamie Drysdale, Connor Lockhart among others.) Given how young they are, it just might be the start of much better days for seasons to come.
I am a fully credentialed writer who covers the Columbus Blue Jackets, Cleveland Monsters and Erie Otters as well as the Ontario Hockey League and NHL Draft. The 2021-22 season will mark eight seasons with the Hockey Writers. I am also the site’s Credentials Manager.