GUELPH, Ont. — As far as Sarnia Sting head coach Derian Hatcher is concerned, Jordan Kyrou is meeting his expectations. And Hatcher set that bar as high as possible.
"Going into the year we knew he would potentially be the best player in the league," Hatcher said. "That's what we feel about him and I think that as of now, he's held up to that.
"I think that's sums it up. We feel we have the best player in the league."
The 19-year-old Kyrou leads the Ontario Hockey League with 29 assists and is tied for second with 18 goals. He leads the league with 47 points, seven more than Windsor's Aaron Luchuk.
Kyrou had 94 points (30-64) in 66 games in the 2016-17 campaign — his highest total in three OHL seasons — and is well on his way to surpassing that.
As captain and the focal point of Sarnia's offence, Kyrou was a key part of the Sting's recent 14-game win streak that helped them to an OHL-best record of 18-4-1. Sarnia is also No. 1 on the Canadian Hockey League's weekly power rankings.
"I just try to play my game every night," Kyrou said in a recent interview. "Just try to do the little things right, like winning my battles, getting on pucks quicker.
"Try to help my team win every game. That's my mindset: just help my team win."
His play this season — and as a participant at Hockey Canada's Summer Showcase in August — has made him a likely candidate for selection to Canada's world junior team next month.
Kyrou can also draw on some international experience. He had five goals and three assists in seven games at the 2016-17 under-18 world championships, where Canada placed fourth.
"He's a player that anywhere, any roster that he makes for the rest of his life he has the possibility to be an offensive guy," said Joel Bouchard, Hockey Canada's team lead for this year's world junior squad. "He has a flair, he has the ability and he understands the offensive side of the game.
"He can be a 200-foot player, that's the way the game is played these days, but he has a toolbox that allows him to play with offensive players."
Kyrou, who was selected in the second round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the St. Louis Blues, will be attending Canada's world junior selection camp in St. Catharines, Ont., from Dec. 12-15.
The camp will include two exhibition games against an all-star team from Canadian universities on Dec. 13 and 14 and a pre-tournament matchup against Denmark on Dec. 15. Unsurprisingly, Kyrou would love to pull on Canada's red and white sweater again.
"That would be unbelievable," said Kyrou. "It's a thing you dream of growing up, watching that tournament. I'm excited."
Bouchard has managed Kyrou before. The GM of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Blainville-Boisbriand Armada also worked with Hockey Canada in 2015-16 as manager of the country's under-17 program.
"(Kyrou) is a guy that's impressed because he keeps progressing in his style of play," Bouchard said. "He's a dynamic player with offensive ability and he's interested in getting better all the time. It's a good characteristic."
Hatcher certainly expects Kyrou will not only make Canada's roster, but be an impact player at the Dec. 26-Jan. 5 world junior tournament in Buffalo, N.Y.
"You're playing against the best, right?" Hatcher said. "Honestly, I would expect Jordan would go there and have a great tournament, nothing less."
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John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press