Colby Ambrosio is one of the more underrated prospects when talking about the 2020 NHL Draft. The Ontario born forward was selected in the fourth round #66 overall by Ottawa 67’s in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection. However, after much thought, Ambrosio decided he would take the USHL route to play with the Tri-City Storm and eventually go on to the collegiate level. While many teams were interested in Ambrosio, the Storm was exactly where he wanted to be.
Before the USHL he played with the Southern Tier Admirals U16 AAA, where he scored 19 goals and added nine assists in 36 games played. He then moved to the states to play with the Buffalo Jr. Sabres 16U AAA for the 2017/18 season. During his time with the Sabres, he played alongside fellow 2020 draft-eligible, Luke Tuch. There he led the team in points with 69, 36 goals and 33 assists, in 66 games played
He had a decent first 2018/19 season in the USHL. In 57 games he scored 12 goals and 12 assists for 24 total points. He was also able to represent Team Canada White at the 2018 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge, where he posted three assists in five games.
Ambrosio played this season as a center, but he can play wing if needed. He worked well with teammates Matthew Knies, Mitchell Miller, and Mike Koster. They all had lots of chemistry on both even-strength play and the power-play. He proved during his draft year that he has a natural scoring touch and ability to play physical.
He had a very productive draft year with the Storm, posting 26 goals and 24 assists in 48 games. He played on a line with 2021 draft-eligible Matthew Knies, forming one of the most dangerous duos in the USHL this season. Ambrosio ended up finishing the year leading the team in points with 50 in total. Next year Ambrosio is committed to Boston College.
Skating Abilities/Hockey IQ
Although undersized, Ambrosio is a great skater who has rapid first-few steps. With his speed, he usually is very successful on the zone entries and making plays off the rush. He is agile with strong sharp edgework and lateral movements, who can cut wide or cut back on a dime. His skating also helps him along the wall and in tight areas, as he maintains a strong balance and lower body. The biggest factor to take from his skating is that his feet are always moving. The only negative is because of his quick feet, he can mishandle the puck. His hands need to catch up with the speed of his skating.
Ambrosio possesses great vision, which makes him a top performer on the power-play. In the offensive zone, he can control the pace of play and open up passing or shooting lanes. He makes it difficult for the opposition to read what his next move will be. Another thing to add is that he has a knack for drawing penalties.
Puck Skills/Passing/ Shooting
Ambrosio is noted for having soft hands and good playmaking skills. He can quarterback a power-play, usually controlling the play along the half-boards or on the point. He makes difficult passes, lot’s of the time through traffic.
Ambrosio has an array of shots and can score from many areas on the ice. It doesn’t matter if the angle is covered or not, Ambrosio will do anything he can to try and score from where he is. He can also shoot in motion at high speeds and make a quick move to get to an open lane. Off the faceoff, he will not hesitate to take a sudden one-time shot. In front, he is gritty and has the ability to roof a puck from in tight. While he is skilled offensively, sometimes he won’t jump on a puck that could have been a solid scoring opportunity.
Physicality and Defending
Size does not phase Ambrosio. He works hard along the wall and in board battles. He attacks the opposition and applies pressure to force turnovers. While being able to play physical, he plays a smart positional game, taking away passing lanes, working well down low, and covering the cycle game. The only thing about his defensive game is that he does have a little temper and can get a little scrummy with other players, leading to penalties.
Projection & NHL Comparable
Ambrosio is projected to go in the third-fifth round range in the draft. I would compare his game to Travis Konecny of the Philadelphia Flyers because of his ability to bring a high motor offensively and a grittiness defensively. If a team is willing to wait, develop and allow Ambrosio to play to his strengths, there could be a solid NHL player in there.
For more on prospects and the draft, follow DobberProspects U.S. scout/analyst Clare McManus on Twitter.
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