Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

18-year-old forward Anthony Romani of the Ontario Hockey Leagues North Bay Battalion has proved to be a bit of a late bloomer, but it was to no fault of his own. Romani was technically draft-eligible last season, but due to him being forced down on his team’s depth chart, which had a wealth of older talent on the roster, Anthony was provided with limited ice time to prove his worth and, therefore, only scored 23 goals and 20 assists for 43 points in 66 games played.

This year, however, has been a different story. In this, his third season with the Battalion Romani has finally been given the green light to showcase his talents to the masses.

And oh, the talents this young player has. Romani’s play has proven that he will not allow himself to be labeled as a one trick pony in the way most are categorized as either a goal scorer or a playmaker. This is because Anthony can do both equally well.

Romani is a heads-up player who allows himself to make precision cross-ice passes without even breaking his stride. And, when no breakout pass is there, the videos provided in this article will show that he is more than capable of keeping the puck himself and skating through all five of the opposition’s players in order to land in the high-scoring areas to create chances all on his own.

But trust me, Anthony is capable of producing more than just his nightly highlight reel bottle rockets goals. He can also quarterback a power play. When on the man advance, Romani can be found circling the puck around the zone from up by the blue line, where he has shown time and time again that he is more than capable of unloading long-range heat-seeking missiles to the back of the net.

To prove this player is not only a dual threat but an impact player, all you need to do is glance at the OHL’s stats leaderboard. where you’ll find that Romani’s 47 goals and 48 assists, which total 95 points, have him currently atop a lot of NHL clubs prospects that have already drafted and signed. Such as players like the Flyers’ Denver Barkey and the Krakens’ Carson Rehkopf.

But what really sets this talented young player apart from others his age is the fact that to go along with his gifted offensive abilities, Anthony has been working hard to improve upon his defensive game as well as his current +31 average would allude to.

If Romani (who is expected to be selected in the third round this year) can keep up this pace, he will finish the regular season with 54 goals and 55 assists for 109 points. And if that doesn’t get some NHL scouts’ attention, I don’t know what will.

So many teams nowadays are reluctant to draft players who could be considered late bloomers. But why? If an undrafted prospect who is playing in the same league and is the same age as the player you just stood on stage giving a jersey to last summer and is now outperforming your star athlete, then why not give them a chance? They may be a year older than the other players you take an opportunity on this off-season, but they could prove to be ready to play for your big club that much sooner.