North Bay Battalion GM Adam Dennis proved today he is not afraid to take a risk that could pay off big time.
Today, the up and coming Battalion GM acquired the Ontario Hockey League rights to highly regarded centre Adam Fantilli in a trade with the Saginaw Spirit, the club announced Monday.
The Battalion sent Saginaw, which chose Fantilli in the first round, 18th overall, of the 2020 OHL Priority Selection, the Sarnia Sting’s sixth-round pick in the 2022 Priority Selection and four conditional choices, including two second-rounders.
See related: Tough choice for Battalion GM
Back in 2020, the rumours were swirling that Fantilli, who played for Battalion Assistant GM John Winstanley, was going to be taken first overall by the Troops ahead of Ty Nelson, who was their selection.
Sources told BayToday that the Battalion put together an impressive presentation to Fantilli to try and lure him north.
Fantilli also finished an amazing rookie season in the USHL, which is considered the Major Junior Hockey League in the U.S. He finished his rookie campaign being named the MVP of the USHL season as his Chicago Steel team captured the Clark Cup.
Fantilli has been called a generational player, turns 17 on Oct. 12 and is preparing for a second season with the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League, plans to attend the University of Michigan starting in 2022-23.
“Adam is an exceptional player and one whom most in the hockey world would know about by now,” said Battalion general manager Adam Dennis.
“We understand that he has a clear path for what he would like to do next but, if anything were to change, we feel we would be a great place for him to continue in his development.
“Adam and his family were great to speak to in advance of the draft, and we’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to acquire his rights.”
In an interview with The Hockey News this summer, Fantilli spoke about returning to Chicago this fall.
"I want to advance my game in every way possible," he said. "And Chicago is the best spot in the world for me to do that right now," Fantilli told The Hockey News' Ryan Kennedy.
The Battalion held the No. 1 spot in the 2020 Priority Selection, choosing defenceman Ty Nelson of the Toronto Jr. Canadiens minor midgets.
The four conditional picks are the Owen Sound Attack’s third-rounder in 2023, the Kingston Frontenacs’ second-rounder in 2024, Saginaw’s fourth-rounder in 2024 and North Bay’s second-round selection in 2025.
The Nobleton, Ontario product netted 18 goals and added as many assists for 36 points in 49 games with Chicago in 2020-21, adding eight goals and one assist for nine points in eight playoff games as the Steel won the Clark Cup. He was named the most valuable player in the playoffs.
Fantilli was selected by Saginaw after a 2019-20 season with Kimball Union Academy of Meriden, N.H., in which he scored 18 goals and added 18 assists for 36 points in 26 games.
He played two games to start the season with the Jr. Canadiens minor midgets, posting two goals and one assist, after scoring 26 goals and earning 15 assists for 41 points in 32 Greater Toronto Hockey League games with the Toronto Red Wings minor midgets in 2018-19.