Before you go and slam the rankings, keep a few things in mind.
1. Historically, NHL Central Scouting, is the last to catch on to a scouting "trend." For instance, you may look at all the other independent scouting agencies (ISS, Redline, McKeens, etc), and see a player rising up the rankings (for instance Jeff Skinner), but then look on Central Scouting and see them much lower. Just to give you an example from last year, at midterm they had Matt Hackett as the 8th highest rated NA goalie for 2009, when many agencies had him as the top one. Then, the final rankings roll around and BOOM!, Hackett is number one. Some people like to say they're behind the eight ball, while I like to think they're just more patient. It generally takes a lot to really sway them in favor of really jumping a player in their rankings.
2. It's only one ranking. This list isn't the be all and end all of rankings. For whatever reason, Central Scouting can seem to be down on certain players, or very high on certain players that other scouting agencies aren't. For example, every other scouting agency was high on Kyle Clifford by the end of last season. Central Scouting...not so much. Despite rave reviews and high rankings from everyone else, they had Clifford at 182 on their final ranking. He ended up being the 26th North American player chosen (35th overall to LA). Just because they've got a player ranked low does not mean he won't go high and conversely just because they like a player doesn't mean that he'll get drafted (see Eric Doyle from the WHL).
3. In saying, Central Scouting does a great job and they shouldn't be used to print off and become toilet paper. A lot of NHL teams use these ranking as a way to target certain players they may not have seen play yet.
If you're still with me after the rant, here's how the OHL players stack up. You can find the official list here.
1. Taylor Hall: NA Ranking = 1
2. Tyler Seguin: NA Ranking = 2
3. Cam Fowler: NA Ranking = 3
4. Erik Gudbranson: NA Ranking = 6
5. Alexander Burmistrov: NA Ranking = 7
6. John McFarland: NA Ranking = 10
7. Tyler Toffoli: NA Ranking = 22
8. Ryan Martindale: NA Ranking = 24
9. Austin Watson: NA Ranking = 25
10. Ivan Telegin: NA Ranking = 26
11. Ryan Spooner: NA Ranking = 38
12. Steven Shipley: NA Ranking = 44
13. Joey Hishon: NA Ranking = 46
14. Jeff Skinner: NA Ranking = 47
15. Stephen Silas: NA Ranking = 51
16. Brandon Archibald: NA Ranking = 58
17. Justin Shugg: NA Ranking = 62
18. Brock Beukeboom: NA Ranking = 63
19. Josh Shalla: NA Ranking = 64
20. Andrew Yogan: NA Ranking = 65
21. Dalton Smith: NA Ranking = 66
22. Devante Smith-Pelly: NA Ranking = 67
23. Cameron Wind: NA Ranking = 80
24. Sam Carrick: NA Ranking = 87
25. Greg Mckegg: NA Ranking = 94
26. Freddie Hamilton: NA Ranking = 102
27. Christian Thomas: NA Ranking = 114
28. Gregg Sutch: NA Ranking = 115
29. Austin Levi: NA Ranking = 117
30. Jared Knight: NA Ranking = 123
31. Philip Lane: NA Ranking = 124
32. Joe Rogalski: NA Ranking = 142
33. Adam Sedlak: NA Ranking = 145
34. Myles McCauley: NA Ranking = 162
35. Brandon Alderson: NA Ranking = 167
36. Geoffrey Schemitsch: NA Ranking = 169
37. Reid McNeill: NA Ranking = 171
38. Michael Sgarbossa: NA Ranking = 183
39. Derek Froats: NA Ranking = 189
40. Alex Cord: NA Ranking = 194
1. Mark Visentin: NA Ranking = 8
2. Philip Grubauer: NA Ranking = 9
3. Ramis Sadikov: NA Ranking = 11
4. Scott Wedgewood: NA Ranking = 13
5. Dalton McGrath: NA Ranking = 16
6. Michael Houser: NA Ranking = 18
7. J.P. Anderson: NA Ranking = 20
8. Petr Mrazek: NA Ranking = 26
9. Kevin Bailie: NA Ranking = 28
10. Bryce O'Hagan: NA Ranking = 30
Just as a reminder, here was my midterm Top 30.
- If you compare my rankings with theirs, I think you'll notice the biggest differences being the rankings of Jeff Skinner and Jared Knight. 9 and 12 spot differences respectively. I gotta disagree with Central Scouting here. With Knight, I think I understand the reasoning. Basically it comes back to what I was saying about them being behind the eight ball sometimes. Knight has only recently (the last month or so) been rolling on all cylinders (correlated with his Diabetes diagnosis and treatment). I think it comes down to them taking into consideration his poor performance to start the year. By the end of the season, I'd expect him a lot higher. As for Skinner, well this one I just don't get. Here is the OHL's leading goal scorer, a dynamic offensive player and yet he's ranked 47th. Sure Skinner is undersized at 5'10, but he's stocky and he's a very good skater. I want to compare Skinner to former OHL'er Bryan Little. Little was the same size in the OHL, just as good offensively (similar skill set IMO), but not as good a skater as Skinner. Yet Little was ranked 7th in 2006 by Central Scouting (both midterm and final). What makes them different?
- I don't really get the Myles McCauley addition. Maybe in the preliminary rankings, when he was playing some good hockey for Plymouth. But he hasn't scored a goal in 16 games. He's only got 2 assists in that time too. As a draft re-entry 1991, I just don't see him as being good enough to crack this list. Especially true considering there are a whole host of draft re-entry's having better seasons like Taylor Carnevale, Alex Friesen, and Darren Archibald.
- Alex Cord is a weird inclusion too, even if he's the last guy rated. It's an honor just to be included on this list, so I think it's worth talking about. A former high OHL draft pick, but Cord has played but three games with the Majors this season. When not with the Majors, he's been playing with the Oakville Blades of the OJAHL (Junior A). There he has 6 points in 24 games. I don't see the allure of adding him considering some of the quality players left off of this list (Corey Durocher, Matt Petgrave, Roman Berdnikov).
- Last thing I want to mention is the inclusion of Gregg Sutch...especially pretty high. I didn't even expect to see Sutch on this list, but it's a nice surprise. I like him a lot as a player and even more from what I've heard and read about his personality and character. But he's had a very tough year with injuries and hasn't been able to get his offensive game going. But he's a very physical player and a big guy who can skate too. I think he does have offensive talent, just needs to get back into a consistent groove. In case you want a very good read, check out Sutch's blog entry from The Hockey News where he discusses the difficulties he's had this season. You can find it here.