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Prospects Unlimited: Dellandrea learning from experience in Flint before he heads to next stop

Ty Dellandrea has faced adversity in Flint, but the Firebirds captain is using it to grow his game and become a major junior star before moving to the Lone Star State.
Terry Wilson / OHL Images

Terry Wilson / OHL Images

When Ty Dellandrea was drafted fifth overall by OHL Flint in 2016, many would have forgiven him if he balked at joining the team.

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The Firebirds were in shambles, and Flint was making headlines for all the wrong reasons. But the native of Port Perry, Ont., was honored to be Flint’s first-round pick and dutifully skated off to Michigan. He had an ‘A’ on his sweater by his second year and took over the captaincy last season. The Firebirds haven’t won a playoff series since moving from Plymouth in 2015, and last season started with a 17-game losing streak, but Dellandrea is unbowed. “It’s definitely been a tough couple of years in Flint, but there’s only one way to look at it,” he said. “You have to take it as a positive and say, ‘I’m going to learn from this and take everything I can out of it.’ It’s been a lot of adversity, but I think it’s going to pay off in the long run.”

That attitude has enamored Dellandrea to the Stars, who picked him 13th overall in 2018 at the Dallas-hosted draft. “In hockey and life, you’re going to go through adversity,” said Stars GM Jim Nill. “We all go through it in different phases, and he’s going through it now. He’s been the consummate leader for them. He hasn’t complained, he hasn’t called us, he hasn’t called his agent and said, ‘Get me out of here,’ and that’s what is special about him. He understands they can get better and learn from it, and that’s what he does.”

This season, the Firebirds got off to a much better start, winning four of their first six contests. Dellandrea has a lot more weapons around him, including Florida pick Vladislav Kolyachonok and Vancouver prospect Ethan Keppen. But Dellandrea is the guy who brings it all together. His 200-foot game down the middle gives the Firebirds a crucial piece of the puzzle. “He plays the right way, every shift,” Nill said. “He plays hard, he’s responsible, he’s got the skills to go with it. He’s the total package. He’s the type of guy every team wants and the other team doesn’t want to play. And high-end character. He’s captain material.” – Ryan Kennedy

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