Have you happened to check out the leading scorers through the first 5 games in the Ontario Hockey League? Yes, the league in which Connor McDavid is currently playing in with the Erie Otters. Well if you haven’t you may want to because there is an unusual name at the top in Joseph Blandisi.
The Barrie Colts forward is coming off a rookie tournament and training camp with the Buffalo Sabres and clearly wants to prove that teams should not forget about him this season. He has 7 goals and 7 assists for 14 points through the Colts first 5 games, two more points than that of Connor McDavid.
Blandisi was given the OHL’s player of the week honour last week after posting 9 points in 3 games to begin the year with the Colts. Clearly whatever the Buffalo Sabres told him when he was cut has stuck in his mind. While it’s only the first week of action in the OHL, Blandisi’s hot start is one that needs to watched as the 20 year-old free agent hopes to land an NHL teams attention.
“He’s got a good experience of the league, a real good skill set, good shot, and he works hard on and off the ice. That’s a good formula for success.” ~ Colts head coach Dale Hawerchuk
Joseph Blandisi is a native of Markham Ontario and was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the 6th round of the 2012 NHL draft. He didn’t stick with the Avalanche but was picked up by the Sabres this season as a free agent. He was invited to rookie camp where didn’t look all that bad but was cut shortly into actual camp and returned to the OHL.
He may not be the flashiest player out there but the 6 foot left winger is one of the hardest working guys on the ice every shift. He works hard in the corners to get the puck to his open teammates and his hard work this summer appears to be paying off.
After being traded from the Ottawa 67’s to the Barrie Colts, Blandisi was diagnosed with Coxsackievirus, a viral infection which put the end of his season in jeopardy. He suffered from dizziness and blurred vision. “It’s like I forgot how to play” Blandisi said when talking about his illness, one in which he couldn’t even stand on his skates on the ice without holding onto the boards. His agent at times thought he was drunk when he tried to play through the illness.
He’s back with the Colts this season and is healthy all around. He’s ready to be a leader on the Colts team and use his hard work from this summer to have an impact year in the OHL with the Colts. An impact year, another invite to training camp and next season maybe an AHL professional contract could be in the cards for Blandisi.
After brief stints with Winnipeg and Buffalo this preseason, Blandisi is hoping a solid overage season will get the attention of a few NHL teams. After having only 1 concerned with him last season and being let go as a free agent, Blandisi knows his future is in his own hands now. He’s looking good early on with 14 points in 5 games for the Barrie Colts and a season near the top of scoring could go a long way.