Being in the spotlight is nothing new to Oshawa Generals rookie forward Danil Antropov. Growing up around Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, Danil spent much of his childhood surrounded by NHL players, often tagging along with his father Nikolai Antropov – a former member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“I had the opportunity to be around him, watch him every game and go to an NHL game every couple of days when my Dad was playing,” said Danil after an early-season tilt against the Windsor Spitfires. “I got to look at what he was doing and what all the other players were doing at a young age and I’m bringing that to my game now.”
The younger Antropov credits his father for much of his on-ice ability. Nikolai, a physically imposing player at 6′ 6″, was known for using his size, skill, and reach, in combination with his quick hands, to wear down opponents in a grinding fashion.
“It’s a big part of who I am now, I’ve got to work on my skating, that’s what he lacked I guess,” Danil said. “If I work on my skating that will make me a much better player.”
The Oshawa Generals are a storied OHL franchise, heading into their 80th season. As a rookie, Antropov is determined to work himself into that history, already playing big minutes as a 15-year-old with the club. The Generals all-time leading scorer Marc Savard, in attendance for the game against Windsor, piped in about Danil’s size advantage.
“The game’s a lot faster, the kids are big. I don’t know if a lot of these guys would even fit in the old [Oshawa] Civic Auditorium,” joked Savard. “The junior game is definitely headed in the right direction.”
Due to his size and skill, the transition to the OHL has been a smooth one for Antropov – something that hasn’t surprised any of his coaches.
“He’s very mature for his age, he comes to work everyday in a good mood. He’s a heck of a kid to be around, a great teammate and he’s going to be a great player,” said Generals head coach Bob Jones. “His hockey IQ is extremely high for a boy his age.”
As a forward for the Toronto Marlboros Minor Midget AAA squad last season, Danil credits his time in the GTHL for helping him develop into a top OHL prospect and eventual top ten pick.
“It’s one of the top leagues in the world and I was on a top team, the competition was always good, it definitely prepared me for the OHL.”
While playing with the Marlboros, Danil finished off his Minor Midget year with 43 goals and 39 assists in 63 games, prompting the Generals to take him sixth overall in the OHL Priority Selection Draft this past spring.
Now a few games into his first season with the Generals, Danil is focused on trying to improve his game at the junior level.
“It’s going good so far, as the games go along I feel like I keep getting better and better,” said Danil. “I’m trying to do what the coaches ask; get in on the forecheck, get pucks to the net, get my body in front of the net. The points will come eventually, I just need to do all the little things right.”
Looking ahead at the schedule, Danil is excited for the chance to play against some of his former Marlboros teammates in the near future.
“I’m playing against [Allan] McShane on Erie soon, so I’m looking forward to that. It’ll be fun, we’ll get to see each other again and it’ll be a good game.”