The Edmonton Oilers are up next.
Daniil Zharkov - Belleville Bulls
Zharkov continues to be an enigma. Lots of flash and dash, not a ton of substance or production. He creates time for himself in the offensive zone because his agility and puck control ability is so strong. He can definitely make defenders miss. But he hangs on to the puck too long and is prone to turnovers in the offensive end. This makes me question his vision and overall hockey sense. He's got one heck of a shot, both a hard slapper and a quick wrister, but doesn't work hard enough to get himself in scoring positions consistently. His play away from the puck didn't take any massive steps forward this year either. Zharkov remains someone who is not the sum of all his pieces. It's already been announced that he's leaving the OHL for the KHL next year. I have to wonder if this is the last time we see Zharkov in North America.
Darnell Nurse - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
As I'm sure Oilers fans have figured out, I'm a huge fan of their selection in the first round this year. His progression this year into a top flight OHL defenseman leads me to believe that he has top pairing potential at the NHL level. His offensive game grew leaps and bounds over the course of the year, as he gained confidence in his ability to skate the puck up ice and run the second powerplay unit. As he gets stronger and fills out his massive frame, his physical game will also improve (it's already pretty good). I don't think he's quite ready yet (and I don't see too many people penciling him into next year's line-up) and would greatly benefit from another year in the OHL. He's already been named the captain for the Hounds next year and with Ryan Sproul and Colin Miller gone, the blueline will be his show to run. He'll be the number one powerplay quarterback and I expect his offensive numbers to grow even more. I'd be very surprised if he's not one of the highest scoring defenseman in the league next year.
Kyle Platzer - London Knights
Platzer was a guy that was asked to do everything for London this year (including play some defense). Call him the ultimate utility man. For that reason, he was able to avoid the 3rd/4th line carousel that existed in London this year. Too many talented bodies for too few spots. But Platzer was a mainstay in the line-up because he showed the Hunters he could adapt his game to whatever role they wanted him to play. Usually that role was as a dump and chase, grind it out 4th liner. He may not be big, but he's effective in puck retrieval and does a good job working the boards. He's got great hockey sense and acknowledges and takes advantage of openings when they occur in the offensive end. He's got a shot to have a larger offensive role with the club next year and it'll be interesting to see how he reacts. If he's given a chance to show more of his creative side and plays with higher skilled players, I think we'll get a sense of just how skilled he is. I certainly wouldn't be surprised to see him put up a 20-20 season next year.