(UPDATE: He’s gone. Mississauga’s press release includes this quote from Bryson: “I am really glad to be joining the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL, I think it is a great opportunity and cannot wait to start with the coaching staff.”)
— OHLSteelheads (@OHLSteelheads) September 14, 2013
Per Mississauga’s Twitter account, 2013-turned-2014 commit Bryson Cianfrone had his OHL rights traded to the Steelheads today and he is expected to sign. Cianfrone has since retweeted the tweet, indicating he’s well aware of what’s going on and seems to be good as gone.
Cianfrone had played in all four of Cedar Rapids’ preseason games, but per Scott Herbst on Twitter, he’s not in the lineup today.
Bryson committed to Michigan back in 2011 right around the day of the OHL Draft. He was considered one of the top talents in the ’95 draft class and a first round OHL pick, but he fell on draft day because, as we soon found out, he committed to the Wolverines. Since then, he has failed to live up to that OHL first round hype.
Bryson spent his 16-17 year old season in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, where he had seven points in 14 games with Oakville, then posted 21 points in 29 games with Toronto. I believe he also spent part of that season injured. His 28 points in 43 games averaged to .651 points per game. By comparison, at the same age in the league, current Wolverine Phil Di Giuseppe had 47 points in 56 games (.839 points per game). If you take Bryson’s average and boost the games up to 56 to match PDG, it’s still only 36 points, so he didn’t necessarily set the league on fire.
Cianfrone jumped to Cedar Rapids of the USHL last season, where he suffered a concussion and emergency appendectomy that caused him to miss some games early in the season. He finished the season with six goals and 15 assists in 52 games. Again, not the numbers one would expect. Herbst noted to me early in the season that Cianfrone, at a listed 5-foot-8, 169 pounds, seemed to get knocked off the puck too easily, but by the end of the season was centering the second line and playing with a bit more fire. Over the summer, Cianfrone went undrafted at the NHL Entry Draft.
Despite signing his Letter of Intent, with Michigan already stacked in the 2013 recruiting class and due to his apparent need for another year of seasoning before making the college transition, Cianfrone reclassified to the 2014 recruiting class. As previously noted, he was expected to play this season with Cedar Rapids and even played in four preseason games, so it’s a bit of a surprise this move comes so close to the start of the season.
At the same time, if and when he signs with the OHL, it’s hard to call this a huge loss for Michigan’s 2014 recruiting class. His production hasn’t measured up to the hype, and this appears to be a last attempt to jump start his once promising career, so perhaps it’s best for both parties.