April 11, 2024, Mississauga, ON – …. Jonathan Morello of Toronto’s St. Michael’s Buzzers is the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Hudl InStat Top Prospect for 2023-24, the league announced today.

The award, presented in conjunction with National Hockey League Central Scouting, is given annually to the highest-ranked OJHL player for the NHL Draft.

Named to the OJHL’s Second Prospect Team a year ago, Morello is on the First Team for 2023-24.

“Jonathan had a great playoff and demonstrated that his upside curve is in motion,” St. Michael’s Head Coach and General Manager Rich Ricci told the OJHL. “He has the size and speed of a pro already. His development offensively is key for his progression. Time is on his side to round out as a complete player. His faceoffs are elite and his defensive zone reads are good.”

“Jonathan is driven to be a pro and time bodes well with several development years ahead. I believe his playoff performance enhanced his draft status for sure.”

Committed to NCAA Division I Clarkson for 2025, Morello  tallied 57 points (25 goals/32 assists) in 50 games. Seven of his goals were game-winners. The 6-foot-2 forward was the top-ranked OJHL player in NHL Scouting’s mid-term rankings for the 2024 NHL Draft.

Throughout the season, the 17-year-old has been in touch with 16 NHL teams via Zoom, in-person interviews or questionnaires.

“At the beginning of the season, it was definitely a goal of mine to be ranked and to be drafted, as well,” Morello told the OJHL. “I tried throughout the year to not focus too much on it. Just play my game. I just wanted to win.”

The 2024 NHL Draft will be held at Sphere in Las Vegas on June 28 and 29,

Morello was a member of Team Canada East that won silver at the World Junior A Challenge in December.

“That was an amazing experience,” he said. “Being selected to the team and being able to wear the maple leaf was one of the happiest moments I’ve had. I never thought I’d be able to do something like that.”

Morello signed with the Buzzers from the Toronto Red Wings U16 squad in the GTHL.

“Coming out of minor midget I wasn’t sure what my path would be,” Morello said, “whether it was the OHL or the college route. I know Rich and Vic (Criscuolo, the Buzzers Assistant Coach/GM) gave me a great opportunity. They really helped me develop and grow as a player. I wasn’t sure where I’d be in the lineup but by the end of the first year I was on the first line, which was great. They really changed the path of my career.”

A perennial honour roll student since entering St. Michael’s College School in Grade 7, Morello had an average of over 90 per cent in three of his first four years at the school.

Jonathan Morello  will be honoured along with the other OJHL award recipients at a ceremony during the OJHL Nutrafarms Championship Series later this month.

He’ll be joined on the red carpet by St. Michael’s teammates David Green (Top Defenceman) and David Elmy (Most Improved Player).