It’s disappointing that the OHL delayed its season start this week, because watching Rees daily would have been one of the highlights of following the Carolina prospect pool. Last season, the former second-round pick had a breakout season offensively for Sarnia jumping from under a point-per-game in his draft year to 1.56 in 2019-20.
Rees should be one of the top scorers in the league during this campaign, assuming that they can move forward with the season at some point due to Ontario’s COVID restrictions. Unfortunately, he was one of the final cuts for a stacked Team Canada at this year’s World Juniors and would have been a easy fit into the team’s bottom six.
Offensively, Rees continues to round out his game. He’s a relentless worker who skates well, and has energy to burn. He’s skillful, using both his speed and hands to beat defenders in one-one-one situations and drive the net. Rees’ willingness to drive possession opens up a ton of space for his linemates, making whoever he plays with more dangerous.
Because of his physical game, Rees opens himself up to both injury risk and suspension risk. He has struggled with both over the course of his junior career, missing games for lengthy suspensions and serious injury. You never want to completely turn down the type of motor that Rees has, but as he learns to control what he brings physically, he will be a more effective player.
Rees has a skillset that is unique when it comes to Carolina’s prospect pool. Although they have many players who can score in the system, they don’t have a player who plays with the edge and skill that Rees does. He will likely follow the standard path of OHL to AHL to eventual NHL playing time. Rees is likely a middle-six forward in the future, and one of your favorite players to watch night in and night out.