If there is something Greg Meireles does well, it’s everything.
Meireles, 16, is considered to be one of the best young players heading into the Ontario Hockey League draft in April. A dominant force every time he touches the ice, Meireles posted an incredible 51 points in just 27 games during his Minor Bantam season with the Ottawa Jr. 67’s. Meireles made the transition to Major Bantam the following season, where his 21 goals were enough to lead the team at the end of the season. That season, Ottawa went on to win the Ontario East Minor Hockey League title. The championship meant that the 67’s would represent the OEMHL at the Bantam All Ontario Championships in Stratford, Ont., where the team was able to finish with a bronze medal after a loss in the semi-finals to the Toronto Young Nats. Meireles was simply marvelous at the pacing the team in scoring with nine points in seven games, good for third best in the tournament overall. Meireles was one of the biggest stars at the tournament, finishing with nine points in seven games to finish third in event scoring.
Meireles’ performance as a 15-year-old was so impressive that the Minor Midget 67’s team called him up for two games late in the season, something that usually only the best prospects do. While he did only participate in two games, it did offer him a good chance to prepare for the biggest season of his life, the 2014-2015 Minor Midget season. With tremendous OHL Draft attention all season long, Meireles finished the season with 41 points in 24 games, good for second on the team and fourth in the league despite missing six games.
It wasn’t just during the regular season that Meireles stole the spotlight. At the end of the prestigious OHL Cup tournament in Toronto, the 67’s forward tied four other players, including Sudbury Wolves’ first overall selection David Levin, with nine points. Despite his team heading back home with no medals, Meireles proved to be one of the best players all tournament long and cemented a spot in most peoples rankings as a surefire top ten pick in this year’s OHL Draft. To top that off, Meireles managed to win the gold medal at the 2015 Canada Winter Games, playing with potential top 10 OHL picks Ryan McLeod, Zach Gallant, Owen Tippett and Ian Blacker.
The Ottawa Junior Senators of the CCHL used a “protect” on Meireles this year, meaning they’ll keep his rights for the upcoming season. Whether or not he makes the OHL full-time or not is still to be determined, but if his performance in Ottawa’s series against Pembroke is any indication, the team made a really good decision keeping him away from other teams. In his first four playoff games with the club, the “Affiliated Player” had two goals and an assist, a very solid effort from a kid four years younger than a good portion of the competition.
Meireles may not have the physical traits that some teams may be looking for, his small stature (5’9) has allowed him to show incredible quickness and the ability to maneuver through tight situations. An elite skater that can set the pace with just one stride, Meireles has fantastic vision that allows him to make a play way before any opposing defensemen have a chance to counteract his actions. His release from his wrist shot is absolutely mesmerizing, and in no matter what capacity he attempts, he always seems to find a way to get the puck into the back of the net. He’s almost like a smaller Jamie Benn, and if you’re anything like the Dallas Stars star, you’ll be good at the next step.
Considered to be the best prospect in the OEMHL, Meireles will easily find himself landing in the top 10, maybe even top five. Many teams kept a sharp eye on him all season long, and after tearing up the OHL Cup in the middle of March, there are even more reasons to believe that Meireles will be a top commodity on April 11th.
Photo from Ottawa Junior 67’s Website
Steven is a junior hockey reporter for the Oakville Blades of the Ontario Junior Hockey League, and also focuses on international hockey for his website, TheHockeyHouse.net. You can follow Steven on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.