Wednesday, March 22, 2017

2017 OHL Playoff Predictions: Round One

As is the annual practice, it's time for my playoff previews to begin. The OHL regular season wrapped up yesterday (after Mississauga and Sudbury played a rescheduled game) and the match-ups are set. Round one is set to kick off Thursday.

Last year I went 10-5. Maybe this is the year I go a perfect 15-0?

Here are my thoughts on the opening round:

Eastern Conference

1. Peterborough Petes vs. 8. Niagara IceDogs
Season Series: 3-1, Peterborough
Analysis: As much as I hated to see Stan Butler's playoff streak come to an end in North Bay, I'm definitely happy to see the IceDogs make the playoffs. They're a young team who has done a fantastic job with their rebuild. The Dogs got better and better as the season went on and they are an exciting team to watch. Unfortunately for them though, they draw the Petes in a 1 vs. 8 matchup. Peterborough has the advantage in pretty much every facet of the game. The only area that's remotely close is in net where Stephen Dhillon has been a revelation for the team as the busiest man in the OHL. I can see him stealing a game for the Dogs on their home ice. Otherwise, the young Dogs will be overmatched by the depth and experience of Peterborough. In particular, I think Peterborough's strong team defense approach will play well in the playoffs. You know, the old adage "defense wins Championships." As an interesting side story, Christopher Paquette gets to go up against his former team in this one.
Prediction: Peterborough in 5

2. Mississauga Steelheads vs. 7. Ottawa 67's
Season Series: 2-2, Tie
Analysis: Season series was a tie, but it's deceiving and why head to head records can often be worth a grain of salt when trying to predict the playoffs. The Steelheads and 67's played 3 out of 4 before the new calendar year. The only one played after the deadline, a 6-1 Mississauga victory in late January. Like Niagara, I love what Ottawa has done with this rebuild. They will be a great team in a few years. In particular, that young defense is going to be one of the strongest in the league in two years. The problem's one of the weakest in the league right now and the Steelheads are an offensive juggernaut. The size, speed, skill, and experience of Mississauga's top three lines is going to pose a massive problem for an Ottawa defense that lacks experience and composure. The one wild card is obviously the Steelheads' goaltending situation, which started off the year very poorly. But the second half has seen improved play from rookie Jacob Ingham, and especially, overager Matt Mancina. While I'm not convinced it will hold up to the test in the later rounds, it will be good enough for them to put their foot down on the 67's.
Prediction: Mississauga in 4

3. Oshawa Generals vs. 6. Sudbury Wolves
Season Series: 2-2, Tie
Analysis: Another series where you can throw the season matchup stats out the window. These two teams last played on November 13, 2016. The Generals are a vastly different team since then, and to a certain degree, so are the Wolves. Let's start in goal where the Generals have the clear advantage. Jeremy Brodeur has consistently been one of the league's best this year and as an overager, he has the experience to not be overwhelmed by the increased pressure of the playoffs. Jake McGrath has flashed some pretty fantastic potential in this league, but he's not yet at that level. Defensively, I think the Generals also play more effectively. Their forwards are all committed two-way guys and I don't think you can say that about Sudbury. At forward, I think things are relatively equal. Sudbury does have the size advantage up front though, with guys like Sokolov, Carson, Pezzetta, Dunda, etc. So where does that leave us? I think the powerplay will really go a long way to deciding this series. Both team's excel on the penalty kill, but struggle with the man advantage. Whatever team can get their powerplay rolling might be the one who takes this series. I'll go with Oshawa here because I feel more confident that their experience and defensive advantages will give them the edge.
Prediction: Oshawa in 6

4. Kingston Frontenacs vs. 5. Hamilton Bulldogs
Season Series: 3-3, Tie
Analysis: This is the one series in the East that I'm most excited to see the outcome of. We've got the best defensive team in the Eastern Conference going up against one of the best offensive teams. Which will win out? For as good as Kingston has been as a defensive unit this year, I'm worried that their lack of ability to put the puck in the net will prevent them from taking this series. Kingston only had 3 forwards score more than 15 goals this year. Meanwhile, Hamilton had 6 20+ goal scorers. And their 3rd line ain't so bad either with Studenic and Entwistle. Hamilton's goaltending will have to be better, no doubt about it. Dawson Carty was brought in to handle these games as a guy with playoff experience and he needs to step up. Kingston, on the other hand, is going to need more from every forward not named Jason Robertson. At the end of the day, I like Hamilton's experience advantage and depth to help them win out here. When this team is firing on all cylinders, they've proven to be one of the best in the OHL and the playoffs should bring out the best in their game.
Prediction: Hamilton in 6

Western Conference

1. Erie Otters vs. 8. Sarnia Sting
Season Series: 3-1, Erie
Analysis: No offense meant to Sarnia, but I just can't see them climbing this mountain. The Sting bring a ton of energy and offensively, they're a solid team. But defensively, they don't have the guns to fight off a relentless Otters' attack. In order for a team to upset one of these Western Conference juggernauts, they're going to need a goaltender to steal the show. The Sting don't have that, no offense meant to Fazio and Hughes. And while I do worry about Erie's goaltending as we move into the later rounds (like Mississauga), they won't need Timpano to stand on his head here. Debrincat, Strome, and Raddysh could combine for 30+ points in the four games I expect this series to go.
Prediction: Erie in 4

2. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds vs. 7. Flint Firebirds
Season Series: 3-3, Tie
Analysis: The Greyhounds probably would have felt a lot more comfortable playing any of the other three lower seeds than the Firebirds in round one, who have played them exceptionally tough all year. Even though it isn't SSM's style, I think we're going to see a real shootout type of series with some seriously high scoring games. Expect a lot of 6-5, 5-4 type wins here. I'm really curious to see who the Hounds go with in net. Matt Villalta has played a lot lately, but I do wonder if they'll turn to Raaymakers because of his experience. I think two things ultimately tip this in SSM's favour. The first is the team's depth at forward. They can roll three terrific lines who bring speed, tenacity, and skill and Flint's young(ish) depth players could have trouble keeping up. And second, the Hounds have the advantage on special teams, which are crucial for success in the playoffs. I've got more confidence in the Hounds' ability to kill off that late game penalty than I do the Firebirds. But this one will be closer than people think IMO.
Prediction: Sault Ste. Marie in 6

3. Owen Sound Attack vs. 6. Kitchener Rangers
Season Series: 7-1, Owen Sound
Analysis: The Attack finally seem to be getting the respect they deserve of late from the main stream media. The 2nd half that they put together was absurd (can count their losses on one hand and best record in the league since the trade deadline). While a lot of people are pointing to the team's first line (Suzuki, Gadjovich, and Hancock) as the catalysts, I think it all starts in net. Michael McNiven is a shoe in for goaltender of the year (at least he should be) and he'll look to rebound after struggling mightily in last year's playoffs. He's been unbeatable lately and I don't think the Rangers have the depth or firepower to truly test him. Meanwhile, the Attack will be able to capitalize on a banged up and inexperienced Rangers' blueline and inconsistent goaltending. I expect this one to be about as close as the season series.
Prediction: Owen Sound in 4

4. London Knights vs. 5. Windsor Spitfires
Season Series: 3-3, Tie
Analysis: THE series of the first round as we've got the defending Memorial Cup champions against the current Memorial Cup hosts. Let's break this down by team. First London. I think that this team has been slightly disappointing since the big splashes made at the deadline. The Knights' just haven't gelled the way many expected they would and it almost appears that there are too many cooks in the kitchen some nights. In order for London to take home the West (they're 7-15 against the other top 4 teams in the Conference), they're going to need the veterans on the team to get everyone on the same page. The Knights also need to stay out of the box. Windsor has one of the top powerplays in the league and they operated at an astounding 30% against the Knights in the regular season. Alright, now Windsor. First and foremost, this team needs to be healthy. They've battled injuries all year and they need a guy like Logan Brown to be 100%. Secondly, they need more from veterans like Sergachev, Jeremy Bracco, Graham Knott, and the aforementioned Brown. No offense meant to Gabe Vilardi, but if he's the best player for Windsor in the series, I don't think they're likely to win. The real matchup here is in net. Parsons vs. Dipietro. Two kids who have the ability to steal games, and steal series' for their teams. A prediction...well I have this feeling that Windsor will finally show up as a team many felt were the best team in the league coming into the year. That said, I just can't rule out a Knights' team that has the edge in playoff experience and who has a goaltender who already stole a WJC Championship for his team this year. Dale Hunter has shown in the past to have a profound ability to get the most out of his team in the playoffs; an ability to get them to by in when it counts the most. I'm going with London in what should be one hell of a series.
Prediction: London in 7

So...what are you predictions for round one?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

2017 Coaches Poll Results

Today, the OHL released the results of the 2017 Coaches Poll.

Here are the results

Of course, (as is tradition), I made my own predictions/ballot last week. You can find that here.

For record keeping sake, here are the results of previous years' Coaches Polls.

2013 - East, 2013 - West
2012 - East, 2012 - West
2011 - East, 2011 - West

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sunday Top 10 - Most Impressive 2000 Born Players

One of the many annual traditions I have on this blog is to rank the new batch of OHL rookies in order of the impression they left on me. Only the "true" OHL rookies have been included, thus why it's labeled the "Most Impressive 2000 born players." 

I always like to note that this isn't an early ranking for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. This ranking isn't the order in which I believe these players should be ranked for the draft, but an order of which players impressed me most. It's not a draft prognostication, it's an acknowledgment of the significant impact these players have had on their teams this season.

As mentioned, this is a tradition, so here are the previous year's lists.  

1999's, 1998's1997's1996's1995's1994's1993's1992's.

Can we take a second to acknowledge the fact that we're currently about to talk about players born in the new millennium? Wow. Anyway, here's this year's list.

1. Akil Thomas - Forward - Niagara IceDogs
Probably a bit of a surprise that it isn't Ryan Merkley, but I'll explain my reasoning in Merkley's write up. For me, there hasn't been a better rookie in the league this year than Thomas. He's consistently been the straw that stirs the drink for the IceDogs and he has them in contention for a playoff spot in the East. He's proven to be exceptionally dangerous off the rush, using great speed, puck skill, and vision to be the team's top offensive catalyst (no offense meant to point leader Johnny Corneil). As early as next year, he could be one of the most exciting offensive players in the OHL. I'm excited to see what another year of offseason training can do for his game, as strength is about the only thing he's missing.

2. Ryan Merkley - Defense - Guelph Storm
Why Merkley could be number one: When he's playing well, there might not be a more dynamic offensive blueliner in the league. He's currently the rookie scoring leader in the league (for all players, not just defenders) and has consistently been one of the highest scoring blueliners in the league 5 on 5. His skating and his ability to keep the puck on a string are dazzling components to his game. Why Merkley isn't my number one: I've seen Merkley be the best player on the ice. But I've also seen him be the worst this year. Turnovers (due to poor decision making, tunnel vision, overhandling the puck) have been a big time issue. As have undisciplined penalties out of frustration. His game has some maturing to do before next year's NHL draft. But you simply can't ignore what he can bring to the table when he's on. At this point, you just have to hope that the weak parts of his game improve (which is likely given his age).

3. Giovanni Vallati - Defense - Kitchener Rangers
I've been so impressed with Vallati that I was actually considering placing him at #2 on this list above Merkley. The Rangers have had some brutal luck with injuries on the backend, losing Connor Hall and Doug Blaisdell, in addition to Frank Hora for less time. Without a guy like Vallati stepping up as one of the teams top defenders, there is no way they'd be sitting 6th in the West. First thing you notice about Vallati is his overall mobility and quickness. He skates with ease and does a great job leading the rush out of his own end. But his defensive game has been way better than anyone could have expected and he looks like a legit first round talent for next year's draft. 

4. Allan McShane - Forward - Oshawa Generals
The crown jewel of the Anthony Cirelli deal, McShane has been a consistent offensive contributor all season long, regardless of whether it's been with Erie or Oshawa. The former Toronto Marlboros captain has fit right in, in Oshawa and he's going to be a key player for them as they push for a Championship in the coming years. McShane definitely possesses elite hockey sense. He's one of those guys who the puck seems to find and he's got great vision for such a young kid. And while his first step quickness and top speed could use some work this offseason, he's definitely a shifty player who can excel in traffic by keeping his feet moving and anticipating scoring/passing lanes. In a lot of ways, he actually closely resembles that of the player he was traded for.

5. Jacob Ingham - Goaltender - Mississauga Steelheads
I say it every year because it's true, but it isn't easy being a 16/17 year old goaltender in this league. There's a reason why so few play at that age. Ingham's stats don't jump out at you, but he's been there when his team has needed him most. When Matthew Mancina was struggling through to the midpoint of the season, Ingham was helping the Steelheads climb out of the basement and his 14 wins thus far are a testament to that. He possesses the size and athleticism that pro teams covet nowadays and there's no denying that he's the goalie of the future in Mississauga. He'll take over the starting role permanently next year and it shouldn't be long before he's in the conversation as the league's best.

6. Dennis Busby - Defense - Flint Firebirds
Much like Vallati, Busby's impressive skating ability makes him a focal point when watching the Firebirds play. He consistently eludes the forecheck and has become more aggressive in leading the rush as the season has gone on. Again like Vallati, I've been impressed with his defensive game too. He's certainly not a strong physical combatant, but he always seems to find himself in good defensive position and doesn't chase the puck as much as most rookie defenders. Flint has been one of the biggest surprises this year. And while the new coaching staff and improvement from veteran players have been huge reasons for that, you can't undervalue the contribution from the team's rookies. There's a reason most experts were quick to hand out an "A" grade to the Firebirds after last year's Priority selection.

7. Danil Antropov - Forward - Oshawa Generals
Not eligible until 2019, Antropov is one of the youngest players in the OHL this year. The son of former Maple Leaf Nikolai, Danil is definitely an impressive physical specimen. The big winger is already pretty tough to stop off the rush, displaying great puck protection potential. He also has a very good shot, which has a lot of weight behind it. He's most definitely still a work in progress as a complete player, and as a skater, but the potential is definitely alluring and I think he's been a very impressive first year player this year.

8. Ty Dellandrea - Forward - Flint Firebirds
Another piece of evidence in regards to Flint's excellent draft in 2016. Dellandrea is a big center who has excelled in a scoring line role for the Firebirds this year. Hyped as one of the top puckhandlers and one on one players in the age group, Dellandrea has actually struggled in that regard because he doesn't yet possess the size/strength to consistently beat defenders. Where he has impressed is everywhere else though. Shows a willingness to fight in front of the net and in the corners and his hands are definitely top notch in close. He's also been a great presence at both ends for such a young player. At this point, I actually think Dellandrea could be the top challenger to Ryan Merkley for top OHL'er for next year's draft (given the NHL's infatuation with big, power centers).

9. Nathan Dunkley - Forward - Kingston Frontenacs
Dunkley is a high energy forward who has been a big part of Kingston's success this season. He's a terrific skater and I love his tenacity on the forecheck and in the corners, where he displays a great playmaking touch. One of those guys who always seems to be in the thick of things at both ends of the ice. As he gets stronger next year, I'm going to be really interested to see how his offensive game grows. There's definitely some Sam Bennett to his game.

10. Liam Foudy - Forward - London Knights
Tough to make an impression with such inconsistent ice time, but every time I watch the London Knights play, Foudy makes an impact in one way or another. And that's why he's on this list despite ranking 50th in rookie scoring. Like Dunkley, he plays with a lot of energy and is an impressively quick skater. He really gets after it on the forecheck and is aggressive in going to the net off the rush. You can just tell that he's got a ton of offensive skill in there waiting to come out when he gets the chance (like all London Knights prodigies from the past). 

Honorable Mentions (alphabetically)

Semyon Der-Arguchintsev - Forward - Peterborough Petes
Like Antropov, one of the youngest players in the league this year (he'll miss the 2019 draft by one day). Has incredibly slick mitts and is a noticeably impressive puckhandler and playmaker. Big part of Peterborough's future.

Aidan Dudas - Forward - Owen Sound Attack
Really impressed with Dudas' hockey sense at both ends of the ice. Occasionally dazzles with a really nice, creative play in the offensive end, but has played within the system in Owen Sound and knows his role.

Damien Giroux - Forward - Saginaw Spirit
Probably would have been number 11 on the list. Undersized guy who competes really hard and actually has had a lot of success in possession this year, despite lacking size. Has that low center of gravity that a guy like Max Domi had. Top notch playmaker.

Kirill Nizhnikov - Forward - Barrie Colts
Didn't report to Mississauga, was traded to Barrie and has had a tough go of it with injuries this year. But you can't deny the offensive talent that he possesses, which he has shown by scoring 10 goals in limited action. Elite shot and scoring instincts. He's going to be a player in this league.  

Connor Roberts - Forward - Hamilton Bulldogs
Hulking kid who impresses with his combination of size and skating ability. As a 17 year old, he has moments where he dominates coming off the wall, putting defenders on his back. A lot of things offensively do need refinement, but the offensive potential is sky high.

Tyler Tucker - Defense - Barrie Colts
Was the other guy who could have been #11 with Giroux. Barrie has been a relative train wreck defensively this year, but Tucker most definitely hasn't been. He's shown a real moxie on the back end, playing with a confidence and physical bravado that you rarely see in such a young defender. Definitely has the makings of being a top notch shut down guy. His skating has also improved a lot since September.

Monday, March 6, 2017

OHL Coaches Poll - My Ballot (2017)

Sometime in the next two weeks, the OHL will release the results of their annual Coaches Poll, where the league's bench bosses vote on a number of categories within their own Conference. As is the annual tradition, below you can find my own opinion on how the results should look.

One thing worth noting though. OHL teams are only allowed to submit the name of one player per category for the ballot, thus on the results you won't notice any teams having more than one player per category. On my ballot, you'll see that I don't follow that rule (and never have), as the intention of this from my end is to highlight the very best of the league without that restriction. So this works as both a prediction, and also a fake ballot if I were indeed an OHL coach (which I am obviously not).

It goes without saying that these are not the results and below is strictly my opinion. As mentioned, the results should be released this week or next.

One last thing. The Western Conference is so loaded with talent, a lot of these categories were really hard to trim down. Some of the guys that I haven't even listed in the West, might have been listed 2nd/3rd in categories of the East. The Western Conference is just that deep. So if your favourite player isn't apologies.

Most Underrated Player:

Eastern Conference
1. Matthew Timms
2. Domenic Commisso
3. Jason Robertson & Steve Harland

Western Conference
1. Petrus Palmu
2. Brandon Crawley
3. Nicholas Caamano

Most Improved Player:

Eastern Conference
1. Dylan Wells
2. Ryan Mantha
3. Dmitri Sokolov & Stephen Dhillon

Western Conference
1. Nick Suzuki, Jonah Gadjovich, & Kevin Hancock
2. Kole Sherwood & Ryan Moore
3. Conor Timmins

Smartest Player:

Eastern Conference
1. Spencer Watson
2. Steven Lorentz
3. Matthew Strome & Brett McKenzie

Western Conference
1. Taylor Raddysh
2. Petrus Palmu
3. Gabriel Vilardi, Dylan Strome & Janne Kuokkanen

Hardest Worker:

Eastern Conference
1. Michael McLeod
2. Jonathan Ang
3. Macauley Carson & Brett McKenzie

Western Conference
1. Alex Debrincat
2. Boris Katchouk
3. Jonah Gadjovich & Nick Suzuki

Best Playmaker:

Eastern Conference
1. Michael McLeod
2. Spencer Watson
3. Artur Tyanulin

Western Conference
1. Dylan Strome
2. Jeremy Bracco
3. Jordan Kyrou & Taylor Raddysh

Most Dangerous in the Goal Area:

Eastern Conference
1. Spencer Watson
2. Nikita Korostelev
3. Jason Robertson & Owen Tippett

Western Conference
1. Alex Debrincat
2. Jonah Gadjovich
3. Taylor Raddysh & Zach Senyshyn

Best Skater:

Eastern Conference
1. Michael McLeod
2. Jonathan Ang
3. Vili Saarijarvi

Western Conference
1. Victor Mete
2. Jordan Kyrou
3. Zach Senyshyn, Sean Day, Alex Formenton, & Mitchell Vande Sompel

Best Shot:

Eastern Conference
1. Owen Tippett
2. Dmitri Sokolov
3. Logan DeNoble

Western Conference
1. Alex Debrincat
2. Adam Mascherin
3. Mikhail Sergachev

Hardest Shot:

Eastern Conference
1. Nic Hague
2. Medric Mercier
3. Ryan Mantha & Stephen Desrocher

Western Conference
1. Mikhail Sergachev
2. Adam Mascherin
3. Kevin Spinozzi & Mitchell Vande Sompel

Best Stickhandler:

Eastern Conference
1. Artur Tyanulin
2. Dmitri Sokolov
3. Spencer Watson

Western Conference
1. Jeremy Bracco
2. Jordan Kyrou
3. Blake Speers, Dylan Strome, & Adam Mascherin

Best on Faceoffs:

Eastern Conference
1. Michael McLeod
2. Steven Lorentz
3. Sam Harding

Western Conference
1. Kyle Pettit
2. Cliff Pu
3. Drake Rymsha & Anthony Cirelli

Best Body Checker:

Eastern Conference
1. Zach Gallant
2. Sean Allen
3. Eemeli Rasanen & Nic Hague

Western Conference
1. Brandon Crawley
2. Givani Smith
3. Max Jones, Jacob Friend, & Cam Lizotte

Best Shot Blocker:

Eastern Conference
1. Justin Lemcke
2. Matt Spencer
3. Nic Hague

Western Conference
1. Darren Raddysh
2. Alex Peters
3. Brandon Crawley, & Cordell James

Best Defensive Forward:

Eastern Conference
1. Michael McLeod
2. Steven Lorentz
3. Jonathan Ang

Western Conference
1. Warren Foegele
2. Cordell James
3. Kyle Pettit, & Anthony Cirelli

Best Penalty Killer:

Eastern Conference
1. Brett McKenzie
2. Michael McLeod
3. Macauley Carson & Joe Manchurek

Western Conference
1. Nick Suzuki
2. Boris Katchouk
3. Darren Raddysh & Mitchell Stephens

Best Offensive Defenseman:

Eastern Conference
1. Vili Saarijarvi
2. Matthew Timms
3. Ryan Mantha

Western Conference
1. Mikhail Sergachev
2. Filip Hronek
3. Victor Mete & Darren Raddysh

Best Defensive Defenseman:

Eastern Conference
1. Matt Spencer
2. Justin Lemcke
3. Brandon Prophet, Nic Hague, & Jacob Moverare

Western Conference
1. Darren Raddysh
2. Victor Mete
3. Brandon Crawley, Frank Hora, & Conor Timmins

Best Puckhandling Goalie:

Eastern Conference
1. Jeremy Brodeur
2. Dylan Wells
3. Brent Moran & Dawson Carty

Western Conference
1. Tyler Parsons
2. Michael McNiven
3. Anthony Popovich

Best Shootout Shooter:

Eastern Conference
1. Nikita Korostelev
2. Will Bitten
3. Dmitri Sokolov

Western Conference
1. Anthony Cirelli
2. Janne Kuokkanen
3. Dylan Strome

Best Shootout Goalie:

Eastern Conference
1. Jeremy Brodeur
2. Dylan Wells
3. Jeremy Helvig

Western Conference
1. Michael Dipietro
2. Joseph Raaymakers
3. Justin Fazio

Stay tuned for the actual results. In the meantime, I'd love to see your predictions for certain categories.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Midseason Media/Scout Top 10 for 2017

It's time for an update to our media/scout list. There's still lots of meaningful hockey to be played (rest of the CHL regular season, CHL playoffs, U18's), but it's always great to see how opinions change over the course of a season.

Just so happens that things have changed quite a bit. We've got a switch at the top of the list. The guy who placed 10th (Greg Meireles) last time around didn't even get a vote this time. And a ton of other movement up and down has occurred. The OHL has a few top notch prospects available for this draft (Tippett and Vilardi), and quite a few guys who are emerging as potential first rounders. The depth of the league is looking very strong with the potential to occupy close to 40% of the players drafted in the first two rounds. Because of this, the variance of opinion is quite vast. Not only are the masses split on who the top player is (11 to 6), but twelve different players received votes for the top 5. In addition to that, only four players received votes from all 17 contributors.

As always, it's important to note the contributors, as without them and their terrific insight, this article does not exist. For the midseason list, the following helped out:

Corey Pronman - ESPN scout and writer (@coreypronman)
Dominic Tiano - Writer for The OHL Writers (@dominictiano)
Dan Stewart - Director of Scouting for Future Considerations(@StewartFC)
Brendan Ross - Director of Scouting for
Peter Kneulman - Provides OHL coverage at OHL Writer (@PeterKneulman)
Tony Ambrogio - PA Announcer for the Mississauga Steelheads & TSN editor (@Tony_Ambrogio)
Mike Morreale - Staff writer for (@mikemorrealeNHL)
Anthony Mauro - Director/Founder of Draft Buzz Hockey(@draftbuzzhockey)
Ryan Kennedy - Associate Senior Writer for The Hockey News (@THNRyanKennedy)

Peter Harling - Managing Editor of Dobber Prospects (@pharling) 
Scott Wheeler - OHL scout with Future ConsiderationsSite Manager of Pension Plan Puppets, and editor for the The AthleticTO (@scottcwheeler)
Mark Seidel - Scouting Director for NACS Hockey (@MarkSeidel
Steve Clark - Play by play voice of the Niagara IceDogs (@ClarkPlaybyPlay
Steve Kournianos - Founder of The Draft Analyst (@TheDraftAnalyst
Mark Scheig - OHL writer for The Hockey Writers (@THWMark)
Grant McCagg - President of Recrutes Hockey (@grantmccagg)
and of course...myself (@BrockOtten  

Now here's the list and HM's:

1. Owen Tippett - Forward - Mississauga Steelheads
Total Votes: 17
High/Low Ranking: 1st (11x)/2nd (6x)
"I just like his demeanor and mindset as a shooter. He plays the game hard and knows where to be to get himself in good scoring areas. Tippett, to me, has the best shot of this draft class; it's NHL caliber already. He can fire off a wrist, snap or slap shot very quickly and he gets a low of power behind it." - Morreale

"The unquestioned horse of the Steelheads has played a vital role in their current surge. Scouts are fighting wanting more consistency from him, but beware of having too high expectations - over a quarter of his games on the season have been multi-goal efforts. Size, speed, shot peppering forwards are always in high demand. Doesn't hurt that down the line, he has all the right ingredients to be one of the best players in the draft." - Mauro

"Tippett is one of the best shooters in the 2017 NHL Draft, someone who can cleanly beat goalies with his release. This season, he has unquestionably been Mississauga’s best player and a more dangerous offensive threat than captain and New Jersey Devils first rounder Michael McLeod." - Wheeler

"Tippett's games revolves around his lethal shot and scoring goals. His speed creates separation from defenders and allows him to get open, his size allows him to drive the net. He is able to release the puck with little to no warning as he disguises his shot effectively. While his whole game is in support of one aspect (scoring) it is a pretty sought after commodity in the pro level and I see his game transitioning well in higher levels." - Harling

"With goal scoring in the NHL at a premium snipers will always be coveted for the draft, and even if the Mississauga winger can be lax in his own zone at times or fail to find a linemate for a scoring opportunity far too often, he is going to score goals with his excellent release, accuracy and velocity." - McCagg

"Tippett is the most dynamic draft-eligible player I've seen in the OHL this season, and it's not that close. He has the rare combination of speed and lethal shot that will make him an offensive force at the next level. His defensive game is a work in progress, but there are signs of improvement. The reason he is first over Vilardi for me is higher upside at the next level. You can't teach what Tippett brings to the table." - Scheig

2. Gabriel Vilardi - Forward - Windsor Spitfires
Total Votes: 17
High/Low Ranking: 1st (6x)/2nd (11x)
"Injuries and an appendectomy have cost Vilardi a lot of time this season. Despite that, he still tops the list for me. But you should be intrigued by the big center who can be just as effective playing the wing as he is down the middle. He isn’t the fastest or most elegant skater, but he makes up for any downfall with his hockey smarts, vision and work ethic.Vilardi plays a solid three zone game. He’s at his best when he has the puck on his stick, seemingly always in control. Below the dots, he’s a force and tough to beat. He can create chances for himself or his teammates. Quite simply, he makes everyone on the ice better." - Tiano

"Though there are some minor concerns about his skating, I still have Vilardi up top because he's a big, talented center and that's what the NHL craves. His hockey smarts and great and he can create goals in traffic." - Kennedy

“Impactful on the wing or at center as a goal scorer/playmaker duel threat. Makes skilled plays with his head and his hands. Has the size, skills and smarts that make me believe he will have no problems translating his game to the NHL level." - Stewart

"The thing about Vilardi is that he's very close to being NHL ready. The injury issues have been more a case of bad luck IMO, and not necessarily a concerning trend. If he puts in the work this summer, he could be an NHL player next year IMO (much like Matthew Tkachuk). This is because he controls play below the hashmarks so well and has such a good head for the game at both ends of the ice. He plays a very "pro style" game. His first few steps and top speed will need to improve, but it will. Reminds me so much of Sean Monahan in his draft year." - Otten

"The Kingston native is a bit of a 'safe' pick in the OHL draft class this season because he is such a well-rounded prospect who can chip in across all three zones. His skating is a glaring weakness but his soft hands, vision and ability to use his size and strength deep in the offensive zone are worthy of the praises that he's receiving. He will have an opportunity to showcase his talents deep into the season with the Spitfires acting as Memorial Cup hosts and it will be interesting to see whether he grabs a hold of the reigns and solidifies his top 10 selection. He's a player that's easy to like because of his smarts but you wonder how much offensive upside he owns and whether he can be considered a true top line forward at the next level." - Ross

3. Nic Hague - Defense - Mississauga Steelheads
Total Votes: 17
High/Low Ranking: 3rd (8x)/6th (3x)
"I'm sure many will focus on his size and projection as a shut down type of defender. But I'd rather talk about the interesting progression of his offensive game. He's not your prototypical offensive defender. He's not a particularly dynamic player off the rush and I don't think he's got a natural feel as a puck carrier/distributor. But, he uses his size exceptionally well in the offensive end. Consistently pinches in deep to keep pucks in, and actually plays a lot below the hash marks, using his size to work the cycle. He's smart about it though and doesn't get caught up ice all that much. Then there's the big point shot. He does a great job of finding scoring lanes and he actually does a good job of using different releases to get it through to the net. I don't know how much that will translate to the next level, but the improvements and confidence in his ability to make things happen in the offensive end is worth noting." - Otten

"Started out slowly but his game continues to improve...Has the biggest shot from the point in the Draft." - Seidel

"The size and reach are great, but the scouts I talk to wonder about his next-level projection in terms of offence. Seems like he'll be a shutdown guy if he continues to improve his skating." - Kennedy

"He has the enviable size for a defensemen, but the offensive numbers put up in the OHL are curious.  He wasn't a scorer at all in minor midget, but has double digit goals in both his OHL seasons, and you do not often see that from a D man.   Took a vicious knee on knee from Chandler Yakimowicz, and while that won't affect his draft status, hopefully he will be able to showcase his skills in the post season." - Clark

"Hague should be the first defenceman taken from the OHL, he has a tremendous package of size, skating and offensive ability. His performance this season has not been as dominant as I had predicted but big defencemen sometimes develop a little slower. The point is he has developed this year and his ceiling is very high. To acquire defencemen of his abilities in the NHL you have to draft them so look for Hague to go off the board early in the first round." - Harling

4. Nick Suzuki - Forward - Owen Sound Attack
Total Votes: 17
High/Low Ranking: 3rd (4x)/10th (1x)
“Two-way center who has been a major component for the impressive Attack squad this season. His intelligence and drive are impressive but his size and how his game will translate because of it at the NHL level is still a question in my mind." - Stewart

"Suzuki is the 2017 NHL Draft’s everyman, a player who has quickly emerged as one of the most well-rounded prospects in the class. Were it not for a diminutive stature, Suzuki’s success this season would have made him a lock as a top-10 pick in 2017." - Wheeler

"Growing up in London, Suzuki has been a familiar prospect dating back to his Jr. Knights days and much is the same with this well-rounded, intelligent player. He continues to be one of the smartest and hardest working players in his age group but he's been able to take his production up to a level that wasn't entirely expected. Another safe prospect to become an NHL player given his "complete" game style, Suzuki can easily be slotted into a middle six role and thrive playing special teams. He processes the game intelligently and has great timing, allowing him to arrive on pucks in optimum locations for scoring chances. Suzuki may never be counted on to carry an NHL offence but, much like Bo Horvat, he'll become a great two-way player who produces more than people expect." - Ross

"One of the most likable players in this draft class because of his hustle and consistency. Dating back to last year, he's been one of the most impressive 99's in the OHL (I had him ranked as the 3rd most impressive rookie last year). Does everything for the Attack and projects as a very well rounded NHL player too. I think the scary thing about Suzuki though is that he's still pretty physically immature. He's one of the youngest players available in the draft, with room to grow in his puck protection ability and skating strength. Perhaps there's even a late growth spurt in there too. With a strong performance in the OHL playoffs and/or the Under 18's, Suzuki is a guy who I could see sneaking into the lottery." - Otten

"Exceptional two-way player who was a key part of the Attack’s 16 game winning streak. Among draft eligible players he’s second in points, first in assists, second in plus/minus, third in faceoff percentage, second longest goal scoring streak of the season, fourth in shot attempts and second in shots on goal. Suzuki is a superb skater with exceptional hockey sense. In my opinion, he’s been the most consistent forward from the start until now." - Tiano

5. Robert Thomas - Forward - London Knights
Total Votes: 15
High/Low Ranking: 3rd (1x)/Outside of the Top 10 (2x)
"The Aurora native has always landed high in my rankings even dating back to his OHL draft season with the York Simcoe Express. His emergence may have surprised many but it's been more of a "wait-and-see" approach for me because when a player of his smarts and skill comes along, you just know it's a matter of time before he's going to be turning heads. Thomas' is a cerebral attacker who's at his best with the puck on his stick allowing him to dictate the speed and direction of attack. He processes the game at a high level and can break down defences with quick timely passes or elusive in-control maneuver to create scoring lanes. His game reminds me of Robby Fabbri where he doesn't rely just on speed or pure dangles but rather a slick combination of the two. His size is less than ideal but he's a smart player who reads and reacts accordingly with confidence to leave his mark on every shift. Truthfully, he's right there with Suzuki and Hague on my list." - Ross

"His terrific smarts and speed helped make him a standout in most games...makes a ton of subtle little plays that may not always go noticed but buy him a bit more time or free up someone else for a nice pass.  He seems incapable of playing a poor game due to his work ethic, terrific sense and skating ability." - McCagg

"The kid does it all for London...Has more offense than some think but is smart all over the ice." - Seidel

"Well, he wasn’t on my list in your first poll early in the season, but he’s come up very quietly. One of the smartest players in the draft class who always seems to find himself in the right place at the right time. Thomas is an exceptional skater with blazing speed with or without the puck. His vision is superb and he is so smart. He could very well be the best playmaker available. He’s become a key player for Coach Hunter who uses him in all situations. He’s become a key pk’er and on the pp, if you don’t keep him close and in your vision, you’re going to get burned." - Tiano

6. Matthew Strome - Forward - Hamilton Bulldogs
Total Votes: 14
High/Low Ranking: 4th (1x)/Outside of the Top 10 (3x)
"Matthew is more grittier than his two older brothers. He'll move into the corners, make or take a hit and get to the front of the net for loose pucks. He's a prototypical power forward with good finishing ability. The one knock has been his skating but he's been working extremely hard to improve that area of his game." - Morreale

"There's no denying that Strome has next level abilities but I am slightly more hesitant on the Bulldogs forward. He's a very smart player who reads the ice very well but his skating leaves a lot to be desired and while it's an area that can be improved easier than others, it still concerns me heading into the next level. He's a player who excels as a playmaker and can execute highly difficult plays but whenever I watch him, he never has the puck as much as I'd want." - Ross

"The first thing that jumped out to me watching Strome was "Mark Stone"- the ability to score, be a power forward, create havoc out front, and he has a nice edge to his game.  Sure the skating needs work, but he knows that and has already committed to off season training." - Clark

"Strome fell a bit in my rankings, but it is more due to the play of others being elevated. However, the stretch in December when Matt Luff and Niki Petti were injured Strome showed he wasn't ready to carry an offense. Still there are bright spots to his game and signs to be optimistic. He is bigger and more willing to use his size than his brothers and has the versatility and the instincts to be a very solid 2 way player." - Kneulman

7. Isaac Ratcliffe - Forward - Guelph Storm
Total Votes: 11
High/Low Ranking: 3rd (3x)/Outside of the Top 10 (6x)
"Had a very impressive Top Prospects game performance where he stood out for his size, offensive ability and his defensive play. While the NHL is allowing smaller skill players more regularly into the league, there will always be a preference to bigger players if all things are equal. Ratcliffe may not have elite hands for the NHL but he is more than adequate and skating is not a liability either. Already at 6-5 at 18-years-old he should project as an ideal power forward." - Harling

"Towering kid comes from an athletic family and is really progressing well with the Storm. Combination of puck sense, size and physicality is tantalizing." - Kennedy

“Tall and gangly with lots of room to add muscle but his on-ice game is progressing at a very good clip this season. Skates better than you would expect a growing 6-6 kid too and has some real offensive potential. Dangerous anywhere around the crease." - Stewart

"The power forward who can skate and possesses very soft hands has been coming on lately. I think he’s underrated offensively in some circles. He’s a physical beast who can play a very mean game. Almost impossible to knock off the puck and uses his size and strength to maintain possession. Right now, he’s probably the best prospect in front of the goal, battling for space and loose pucks and banging in rebounds. We caught a glimpse of that in the Top Prospects game. The scary thought is he’s still going to grow and get stronger." - Tiano

8. Michael Dipietro - Goaltender - Windsor Spitfires
Total Votes: 12
High/Low Ranking: 4th (2x)/Outside of the Top 10 (5x)
"May be a little high for a goalie but there is no denying that DiPietro may be the best Ontario born goalie at this age in the last 10 years. When he is not setting team records for shutouts in a season or playing the Grinch and preventing children from getting teddy bears for Christmas he is using his size and elite positioning and anticipation skills to keep a Windsor team beset by injuries competitive. Sometimes I feel there is a bias towards Ontario born goalies and really with their minimal success at the next level I cant fault anyone for having that bias. DiPietro however should quell some of those thoughts even if NHL central scouting is slow to realize it." - Kneulman

"Where would Windsor be without DiPietro in net? He has been a workhorse for the Spitfires and has already won 20-plus games. He isn't the biggest goalie of this draft class and, because of that, his athleticism and high-end skills need to be high end and they are. He has an excellent glove hand and is very square to the shooters. He's a player you can't help but root for." - Morreale

"Any goaltender who has a chance of being selected in the first round deserves a lot of attention. DiPietro is the best goaltender I've seen in the league since perhaps Matt Murray. He's not big, but is very athletic and technically sound. He is excellent at anticipating a play and being ready to stop it. The extra time playing for the Memorial Cup hosts will only help him play in pressure situations. He has the upside of a number one in the NHL." - Scheig

"If goaltenders get better with age, it’ s downright scary to think how good Di:ietro will be by the time he reaches his mid-20’s. Poised, quick and cerebral, the Windsor Spitfire leads all OHL netminders in every major statistical category, including a mind-numbing six shutouts in 37 games. Want more? DiPietro has the best high-danger save percentage (.839) of any OHL goalie who has faced over 1000 shots." - Kournianos

9. Alex Formenton - Forward - London Knights
Total Votes: 8
High/Low Ranking: 6th (2x)/Outside of the Top 10 (9x)
" Considering Formenton was ranked 49th on my final OHL Draft ranking in 2015, it's safe to say that this high ranking should come at no surprise. The Knights grabbed the undersized forward with their 216th selection that season and are looking like geniuses less than two years later. He was a top performer at CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game testing and has had a great season with London drawing more minutes in his second season. He's sprouted up eight inches since his pre-OHL days and is now skating at 6-foot-1. His enthusiastic attack mixes good levels of grit and skill and he's a player who always seems to be around the puck. Deceptively slick hands in flight allow him to dance defenders with quick plays and good use of his wingspan. He's not afraid to stick his nose in and get dirty either, taking hits to make plays and driving the net hard for second chance opportunities. There's a lot to like about Formenton's game and I think the best is yet to come." - Ross

"Amazing set of physical skills, he won the on-ice combine at the Top Prospects Game. Also plays physical and has a nice scoring touch." - Kennedy

"Formenton possesses a lot of speed and is a very good skater. I wouldn’t hesitate in saying he’s one of the top ten fastest skaters in the OHL. He drives the puck wide with more confidence, often burning defenders very much like the way Zach Senyshyn does with the Soo Greyhounds. Like all Hunter teams, you must be able to play in all three zones and Formenton has come a long way. He has the same worth ethic in the defensive zone as he does in the offensive zone." - Tiano

"King City native has wheels and length right now after enduring a growth spurt and being one of the youngest in the draft. Boasts a truly unique and exciting development curve that hasn't even begun to take shape, really. Needs to be settle down offensively on the attack, but that will come. It's not often you find a kid with sky high potential who works his ass off and is this defensively aware." - Mauro

10. Ivan Lodnia - Forward - Erie Otters
Total Votes: 7
High/Low Ranking: 3rd (1x)/Outside of the Top 10 (10x)
"In terms of overall skill set, I haven't seen anyone all season bring more to the table than Lodnia. He is a threat every time he touches the puck and can beat you in so many ways. Whether he's driving the net and scoring, or dangling around another defender, Lodnia uses his creativity to get open and make plays. Size and skating seem to be a knock on him. He shot up to 5-foot-11 this season, but appears to have lost a step in his skating. His skating is still good and he's not done growing yet. He's also been buried in the Otters lineup at times, which explains why some of his numbers might be "down". He has the makings of being a day two bargain at the draft with day one talent." - Scheig

"Lodnia has played less of a roll since Erie’s trade deadline acquisitions of Anthony Cirelli and Warren Foegele, but he’s an offensive threat in his own right and a kid who can create as a shooter and as a passer." - Wheeler

"Another short, but not small player at 5-10. Lodnia has plenty of hockey strength and has shown his offensive ability consistently this season. While his offensive production is not at the top of the league, he brings the same compete level every time I see him. Scouts will like that." - Harling

"Lodnia is a very well rounded offensive player. Even though he's on the smaller side, I love his intensity in the offensive end. Makes a lot of plays within 5 feet of the crease. Also think he has high hockey sense and does well moving without the puck. That said, my concern is that he's an undersized scorer who isn't the world's greatest skater. He's not explosive, nor does he possess high end speed. Worth noting that he's hit a growth spurt and as such may be lacking in strength, but I do wonder if he's a Dante Salituro type of player who armchair scouts like a lot more than actual ones." - Otten

Honorable Mentions

Sasha Chmelevski - Forward - Ottawa 67's (7 Votes)
Highest Ranking: 4th (1x)
“A constant threat to score but does not always give a consistent effort. His skills are top 20 in the draft class but he has only displayed them in flashes. This ranking is based off what he can do and a hope that he will realize the kind of effort it will take to get to the NHL." - Stewart

"Inconsistency has been a problem this season for Chmelevski, he was great in a pre-season tournament, cooled off after the season started but was very good at the Top Prospects game. Perhaps he is struggling in Ottawa where he is missing elite level talent to play with. Elite players should not need to depend on teammates so that’s a red flag for me, but there is no denying his skill." - Harling

"Crafty American pivot who is a money player when his team needs a big play. Chmelevski was the critical piece Sarnia shipped to Ottawa in last year’s Travis Konecny trade, and he’s rewarded them with a team-best 10 power-play goals and is their best player at the dot (56%). Chmelevski has a deadly shot and takes high percentage shots, but his even strength production (15 ES points in 39 games) is a tad worrisome." - Kournianos

"Has hit some ruts with the 67s, but the high-end skill is obvious. He's very patience and crafty when the puck is on his stick and he can really wire it." - Kennedy

Conor Timmins - Defense - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (7 Votes)
Highest Ranking: 4th (1x)
"Timmins is a very smart defenseman; he has good vision and good offensive instincts. He can read the play well, and his passing ability allows him to be a constant threat in the transition game. I like his poise under pressure, something I feel extremely important in a young defenseman." - Morreale

"Has crept into my top 10 and is well deserving of it. With a lot of draft eligible players having up and down spurts this year, Timmins might just be the most consistent of the bunch. From the get go this year, he's been the Greyhounds' best defender (on a team with two 19 year old NHL drafted blueliners). Timmins is just an exceptionally well rounded player who is actually close to being pro ready IMO. Makes a great first pass, brings intensity to the defensive end and skates well." - Otten

"A prototypical new age defender who is an elite puck mover. Timmins was born to play in the system the greyhounds have and has thrived in it. With 2 NHL defenders ahead of him at the start of the season Timmins has seemingly passed them on the depth chart and has been an important offensive cog with the high scoring Greyhounds. Another late birthday who made his OHL debut last season Timmins thrived in protected minutes finishing 3rd among rookies in +/- ( I know it is flawed stat but impressive given his age). This season in more leveraged minutes against high quality competition he hasn't missed a beat and is currently 6th in the league in that category and first among Draft Eligibles. He also leads draft eligibles in assists." - Kneulman

"One of the big risers in my opinion. Timmins plays in any situation for the Greyhounds. Despite being “only” 6’1” he plays with the physical intensity of someone more like 6’5”. He does not shy away from the physical battles in corners, along the boards or in front of his own goal. He can and does throw open ice hits. Offensively, Timmins thinks the game very well and along with his vision makes him dangerous from the point. Whether its finding seams to set up teammates or getting a diversity of shots through to the goal, he is very proficient. He quarterbacks the powerplay exceptionally well. He leads all draft eligible defencemen points and plus/minus. By the time the season is over, he could be challenging Hague." - Tiano

Mackenzie Entwistle - Forward - Hamilton Bulldogs (7 Votes)
Highest Ranking: 7th (3x)
"Coming down with Mono this week will likely hurt him as his play has some what flat lined in the new year. Still he is a strong two-way winger with untapped offensive potential. Shows great drive and a willingness to go in the dirty areas but the skill to score outside of them. My only fear with him is a team drafts him and brings up to the NHL too so to cheaply fill a bottom 6 role thus stunting his development by having him play a more physical role similar to Tom Wilson. While I feel he could thrive in that role he has too much offensive potential and if he is given time to develop could be a real treat to watch in the coming years." - Kneulman

"While he may lack high-end puck skills and lateral mobility, he is a strong north-south skater with smarts who works hard at both ends of the ice.  He looks like a safe bet to one day play in the NHL...the question will be on what line?" - McCagg

"The offensive numbers have really declined in recent months and he's dropping like a stone on a lot of draft lists. But I've still got him at the back end of my top 10. The Top Prospect's Game was a great showcase for him. Still think he's got more offensive potential and better hands than people give him credit for. As he fills out, I think he could be a real force at both ends of the ice. If Hamilton falters in the OHL playoffs, I really hope he plays a large role for Canada at the U18's, where I think he could really shine." - Otten

"A big frame that understands the game as well as some coaches...Excellent on the PK and defensively while his offensive game is developing." - Seidel

Morgan Frost - Forward - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (6 Votes)
Highest Ranking: 7th (1x)
"There seems to be a theme in the OHL with less-heralded players spring boarding into top draft prospect discussions, and Frost is certainly one of them. Not only was he a fourth round pick in the 2015 Priority Selection, but he plays on a roster loaded with NHL draftees. But there he is, second in team scoring with 42 points and centering either of the Soo’s top two lines. Frost is an outstanding set-up man who can thread the needle, but he’s guilty of forcing passes while operation in the Greyhounds’ struggling power play." - Kournianos

"I thought Frost was a nice story last year. The son of a famous PA Announcer playing OHL hockey. I did not think more of him.  Then he showed the work ethic, skill set and a little bit of a jam to really differentiate himself as a player on an outstanding team.  A bit of a sleeper.  I don't think he gets drafted 1st round, but is great value in the 2nd round.  And yes, you can see elements of his dad Andy's voice when he talks!" - Clark

"Frost has been a very pleasant surprise for me. He's always had good hands and is great with puck possession. He's improved his speed and strength this season, allowing him to beat defenders in a variety of ways. He's an underrated play maker who is confident with the puck. If he gets a little more size, he becomes a player with intriguing upside at the next level." - Scheig

"Frost as the ability to score in a multitude of ways and that versatility has allowed him to work his way up the depth chart on a very deep Greyhounds team. His strong play helped the team overcome the loss of Blake Speers early in the season. He has a great shot and an ability to find open spaces on the ice that has allowed him to thrive on the power play. At times he has played the point on the power play for the Hounds this year only to come up with a great defensive play to prevent a short handed opportunity. Can affect the game even when he isn't scoring and has the upside of a 2nd line scoring winger at the next level." - Kneulman

Markus Phillips - Defense - Owen Sound Attack (3 Votes)
Highest Ranking: 8th (1x)
"Phillips has made real strides in his overall game this season. I wanted to see more offense in his game and he has started to bring that. He couples that with a very responsible game in his own end, making smart decisions. He's a little undersized, but strong. He has the kind of game that can translate well to the next level, once he fills out and continues to add offense." - Scheig

"Slightly undersized, but I don't think that hurts Phillips because he's got very good lower body strength and a wide base. While many seem to be touting Phillips as an offensive type of defender, I actually see him being more of a shut down type at the next level. He's one of the OHL's more agile defenders, moving exceptionally well backwards and laterally, and it makes him very difficult to beat one on one. His overall defensive awareness is strong too. And when you add in his great leadership potential and poise, I think you've got the makings of a Marc-Edouard Vlasic type of player." - Otten

Adam Ruzicka - Forward - Sarnia Sting (2 Votes)
Highest Ranking: 5th (1x)
"It’s been a grind-it-out kind of season for this towering Slovakian two-way center, who is putting together a solid rookie season when you consider 26 of his 32 points have come in the last 30 games. It took Ruzicka a few weeks to adapt to North American hockey, and a solid showing at the WJC as one of Slovakia’s younger forwards seems to have spring boarded him into a productive second half. He is prone to make odd decisions with the puck, but we chalk it up to trying to adapt to a new league and zip code." - Kournianos

"His hockey sense and vision allow him to have success playing all three forward positions. He's just as capable setting up plays as he is finishing them and possesses an excellent touch around the net. He moves very well for his size (6-3, 202) and has deceptive speed." - Morreale

Jason Robertson - Forward - Kingston Frontenacs (2 Votes)
Highest Ranking: 6th (2x)
"Despite strong size, Robertson isn’t an overwhelming on-ice presence. Still, he has been the brightest spot on a low-scoring Frontenacs team as its top offensive threat. Robertson has a number of transferable NHL tools — an exciting package." - Wheeler