As promised last week, today's top 10 serves as the second part of a pre-draft look at the biggest movers and shakers this season from the OHL.
Today is the top 10 draft risers. These are the guys who really shot up the charts in one way or another. Some were already considered excellent draft prospects, who only increased their draft ranking with a great season. Others came out of nowhere to be ranked.
Let's take a look...
10. Andrew Crescenzi - Kitchener Rangers
In his first OHL season, Crescenzi got better and better as the season went along. He began the year as a sparingly used 4th liner, only to gain more and more minutes from Steve Spott...and increased responsibility (like PK time). He's very big, a solid two way player and seems to have some offensive upside that may be unlocked next year. While his skating isn't amazing, the fact that he improved so much over the season means he could probably improve even more. I'd be surprised if an NHL team doesn't take a chance on him...even if it's late.
9. Cameron Wind - Brampton Battalion
Wind played sparingly last year for Brampton, but earned a much larger role this season out of training camp. His solid play to start the season immediately garnered the attention of NHL Central Scouting (who has been a very large supporter all season long). Has that combination of skills that NHL teams look for in defenseman; size, mobility, and potential to develop into a two way player. Could be a real wild card on draft day.
8. Austin Levi - Plymouth Whalers
Perhaps an interesting one to include on this list (because he's always had some form of attention surrounding him), Levi does deserve some credit for the improvements he has made from last year to the end of this season. Again, we're looking at a defenseman NHL teams could covet due to the fact that he's got plus size, good mobility, and is physically aggressive. It wouldn't surprise me at all if an NHL team took Levi in the top 60.
7. Jared Knight - London Knights
Criminally underrated to start the season, Knight earned his way back on to the scouting radar with a great second half and OHL playoffs. He battled a diabetes diagnosis all season, which may factor into his problems with consistency, but he's proven to be a name to take notice of. The rankings for him are across the board, with those that like him placing him in the top 45, while those that are not sold have him considerably lower. At this point, he probably profiles as a pick inside the 50-90 range, which is more than we could have guessed when he was fighting to gain respect in the first half of the year.
6. Dalton Smith - Ottawa 67's
Smith played little with Ottawa last year, but gained exposure in the OHL playoffs as an energy player. This year he worked his way on to a scoring line and didn't look back. He had a very good season and showed himself to be a budding power forward. Smith is a throwback player and has a lot of qualities NHL scouting staffs like in their future 3rd line wingers. As such, I'd almost be surprised if he lasts past the 4th round next weekend.
5. Mark Visentin - Niagara IceDogs
Visentin had a pretty bad rookie season in the OHL last year and often looked over-matched in the league. Thanks to a lot of hard work in the offseason and during the course of this season, Visentin has been one of the most improved players in the OHL this past season. And thanks to the improvements he has made, he's worked himself into contention to be the third goaltender taken in the NHL draft behind Jack Campbell and Calvin Pickard.
4. Greg McKegg - Erie Otters
A lot of people had all but written off the second overall pick from the 2008 priority draft after a very poor first season in the OHL last year. But McKegg proved them all wrong and had a 67 point improvement, giving us only a glimpse of the offensive capability he possesses. To top it all off, McKegg was one of the few players who had a good Under 18's for Canada, again proving that he belongs up near the top of this draft class from the OHL. Truthfully, McKegg is a massive wild card for the NHL Draft. Is there an NHL team that falls in love with him, more so than the rankings would suggest. Don't be surprised if he goes in the early second.
3. Geoffrey Schemitsch - Owen Sound Attack
From undrafted OHL walk on, to member of Team Canada at the Under 18's, Schemitsch has had himself quite the season. While he faded a bit in the second half, he showed enough skill and poise from the back end to suggest he could develop into an NHL defenseman. A lot of scouting agencies seem to have him pegged for the 3-5 round range, which I'm sure is higher than Schemitsch figured he'd go when he started his rookie OHL season.
2. Jeff Skinner - Kitchener Rangers
Jeff Skinner had an absolutely sensational season. Between the regular season and playoffs, he scored 70 goals. Despite some size issues (and perceived skating issues which I disagree with), there has to be an NHL team out there convinced that he can carry this over to the next level. From day one, right to the end of the playoffs, it seemed like his value did not but grow. Has it grown all the way to a top 10 selection on Friday? Time will tell.
1. Tyler Seguin - Plymouth Whalers
Truthfully, Seguin's spot on this list should come as no surprise. While it happened early in the season, Seguin's stock has soared to a level where no one quite expected this season. Taylor Hall was to be the locked in first overall selection for 2010, and Seguin was considered just a solid first round talent after a great rookie season. But Seguin exploded out of the gate in Plymouth, pushing Hall for the scoring title all year long. As such, Seguin created the Tyler vs. Taylor debate that has raged for several months now...and continues to rage on. Who will go first? Taylor Hall, who seemingly had first overall locked up as early as two years ago? Or Tyler Seguin, the highest riser for the draft this year?
So how about folks, who's Edmonton going to take?