Sunday, November 23, 2014

Preliminary Media/Scout Top 10 for 2015

It's time for the first media/scout top 10 for 2015. While top of the list seems pretty cut and dry at this point in time, the bottom definitely is not. Twenty different players received consideration (votes) for the Top 10.

For those unfamiliar with how this works, I poll many of the OHL's brightest minds; those who cover the league incredibly well and know their stuff. These contributors supply me with their top 10 available players from the OHL, in addition to some comments. I then put it all together and provide you with a cumulative list. Call it "the consensus."

As always, this list involves contributions from a rather colourful cast of characters. Contributing their rankings and thoughts to this preliminary list for 2015 were:

Corey Pronman - ESPN writer (@coreypronman)
Dominic Tiano - Writer for The OHL Writers (@dominictiano)
Nathan Fournier - Writer for Maine Hockey Journal/Contributor to The Hockey News (@jrhockeywriter)
Dan Stewart - Director of Scouting for Future Considerations (@StewartFC)
Brendan Ross - Co-Manager of DobberProspects, scout for McKeens Hockey & (@RossyYoungblood)
Peter Kneulman - Writer for the OHL Writers and In the O Radio (@PeterKneulman)
Carl Maloney - OHL correspondent for TheHockeyWriters (@carlTHW)
Brandon Sudeyko - Host/Producer of the In the O Radio Show (@intheoradio)
Matt Grainda - Scout for ISS Hockey (@graindaiv)
Tony Ambrogio - PA Announcer for the Mississauga Steelheads & TSN editor/producer (@Tony_Ambrogio)
Mike Morreale - Staff writer for (@mikemorrealeNHL)
Anthony Mauro - Director/Founder of Draft Buzz Hockey (@draftbuzzhockey)
Manny Paiva - Play by Play voice of the Owen Sound Attack (@paivatheway)
Stephen Clark - Play by Play Announcer for the Niagara IceDogs (@SteveClarkMedia)
Ryan Kennedy - Associate senior writer for The Hockey News (@THNRyanKennedy)

and of course...myself (@BrockOtten)

Here's the Top 10 with several honorable mentions:

10. Graham Knott - Forward - Niagara IceDogs
Total Votes: 6
Highest Placement/Lowest Placement: 9th (2x)/Outside of the Top 10 (10x)
"When I first watched him he really didn't stand out. But the last few times, he has as he gets more comfortable in his draft year. Best way to describe him is this way: A solid all-around player. There is nothing flashy just consistency. " - Ambrogio

"Uses size effectively, high energy player who does the little things well." - Maloney

"Playing with Josh Ho-Sang will only improve his stock. Showed great chemestry wtih him during his Ice Dogs Debut. Has size to create space and capitilize on scoring chances in close and in tight spaces. What he lacks in foot speed he makes up for him smarts and ability to read the play which gives him a step on his opponents." - Kneulman

"Fairly consistent on a team that has not been that.   Two way player, whose totals should increase with acquisition of Josh Ho Sang, size is enticing." - Clark

"One of those guys you just know is going to make a good pro. He uses his size very well, especially on the forecheck and the backcheck. He's already a very good two way player and penalty killer. As he continues to make improvements to his skating, the offensive game will improve too, as the hands and instincts are there." - Otten

"A clever forward who can back off defenders by shifting speeds with the puck. Has a pretty good shot, too." - Kennedy

9. Mitchell Vande Sompel - Defense - Oshawa Generals
Total Votes: 9
Highest Placement/Lowest Placement: 5th (1x)/Outside of the Top 10 (7x)
The Scoop:
"Ranking defensemen at the top of the lists is going to be somewhat of a challenge this year. It seems to change daily. Vande Sompel has exceeded expectations so far. He leads all OHL defenders in scoring, but most surprisingly, his defensive game is two steps ahead of a year ago. He’s an excellent skater with excellent speed and can transition the puck with an excellent first pass or use his skating to rush the puck." - Tiano

"Already matching last year’s output in 30 less games puts this puck rushing phenomin 1st round territory. Fitting the Julius Honka profile to a tee, Vande Sompel is even more explosive and dangerous gearing up through the neutral zone. He’s so dangerous, he is flexed as a forward on special teams and doesn’t look out of place. His versatility, which looked suspicious in terms of his defensive ability last year, has now become a persuasive statement on his pure hockey ability this year." - Mauro

"Oshawa Generals sophomore defender, Mitchell Vande Sompel, continues to log impressive minutes and he’s earned every second of them. Heres one of the most intelligent defenders in the draft and with his skating ability and instinctual ability to read the ice, he projects as a an attractive puck-moving offensive defender. He can escape pressure with his high-end skating  ability but also displays smart decision making, choosing when to pick his offensive rushes. In myopinion, he’s hasn’t been getting the recognition he deserves in this draft class but after coming off a strong offensive month where he earned OHL Top Defenseman honours, I am sure the tideswill turn in the scouting world." - Ross

"Have to admit that I've been super impressed by his defensive play this year so far. He's looking more poised and confident and he's making a lot of good reads in his own end. Everyone knows how good the offensive side of his game is, so it's great to see the evolution of his defensive game. That said, you have to question how much size will hurt his draft position. But if Anthony DeAngelo can be a first rounder, so can Vande Sompel." - Otten

8. Matt Spencer - Defense - Peterborough Petes
Total Votes: 13
Highest Placement/Lowest Placement: 6th (1x)/Outside of the Top 10 (3x)
The Scoop:
"He's used in all situations and has proven to have good mobility; an all-around good skater. He's got good puck movement on the power-play and a good shot." - Morreale

"A strong solid defenceman who does his job and while he and his Petes have had their struggles this year, Spencer is still the best blueliner in the OHL eligible for the NHL draft." - Ambrogio

"It’s all about potential with Spencer as he works his way to being a two-way defender. His defense will define his game at the next level. He has size, very good skating abilities and a very good hitter. He continues to improve offensively. His skating, vision and passing abilities should give him success – but again it’s all about potential." - Tiano

"His game has grown on me the more I have seen him. His physical play has improved throughout the short season and he is contributing more to the offensive play as well. He is making smart plays with the puck and still has the other aspects that I have always liked such as impressive skating ability, defensive awareness and good size." - Stewart

"With Peterborough being so inconsistent this year, it's been relatively tough to get a read on Spencer. How much will scouts criticize him for being part of a pretty disappointing team (thus far anyway). While it might be early to say this, Spencer seems like a good candidate to have a lot riding on his performance at the Under 18's at the end of the year, where his size and mobility on the back end could make him Canada's go to shutdown guy at the event." - Otten 

7. Nikita Korostelev - Forward - Sarnia Sting
Total Votes: 16
Highest Placement/Lowest Placement: 6th (1x)/10th (1x)
The Scoop:
"Scouts love his outstanding wrist shot. He is a high-energy guy with a great compete level. He has been a fantastic complementary piece on Sarnia's top line with Zacha.  He likes to get involved and makes that line go." - Morreale

"He needs to develop his defensive side more but has improved early on after a full season last year. His shot is top notch. Has it been measured for quickest wrist shot? It has to be up there." - Sudeyko

"As a sniper, Nikita Korostelev needed to bury the puck this season in order to receive first round consideration for the NHL Draft and he’s done that (and more) with 11 goals on the season. He isan opportunistic scorer who has a knack for sliding into scoring areas and unleashing an extremely quick shot. The puck comes off his blade extremely quickly and he can make opponents pay before they realize it. His skating remains a work in progress and might scare away some teams from using a first round selection but his ability to find the net is rare. Korostelev shows flashes of good puck skills but because he isn’t the swiftest skater, his ability to maintain possession is short-lived once pressure closes in on him. As a result, he’s best playing the give-and-go puck rather than attempting individual rushes and then getting himself into position to score. Playing to his strengths (shooting) and improving his top-end speed will help him solidify a first round selection moving forward." - Ross

"Korostelev is a well mannered Russian who relies on quick strikes to make his impact. As soon as you wish he were more consistent and noticeable, he will pull off a jaw dropping deke or rip a laser through a hole no one else could see. His feet are abit heavy, which completely contradicts his one-on-one ability, but he is sneaky elusive with the puck. If he brings back his power game to where it was at the end of last season, he has a shot at being top 5 in the OHL in my book." - Mauro

6. Travis Konecny - Forward - Ottawa 67's
Total Votes: 16
Highest Placement/Lowest Placement: 4th (3x)/8th (1x)
The Scoop:
"He competes bigger than he is, and is already a natural at puck distribution with a free flowing skating motion that is like melted butter on a frying pan… I am trying to say smooth here." - Sudeyko

"Every year a player doesn’t live up to the lofty expectations set out on his sophomore season and this year, Travis Konecny hasn’t quite had the start that he’s probably envisioned. Battling through a concussion and taking on more responsibility as captain, Konecny may be putting too much pressure on himself. Eventually, the 2014 OHL Rookie of the Year will find his way out of it. Konecny continues to show an unmatched work ethic and drive to succeed and his elite level shooting ability continues to shine but the pucks aren’t finding their way as frequent as last year (three goals vs. 26 last year).  Travis started slowly in the goal department during his freshman season so let’s see if he can replicate his strong second half showing from last year." - Ross

"He's a very interesting prospect for the draft and, I think, a hard guy to peg right now. He plays the game hard and his leadership potential is through the roof. But, hockey is a game of production and Konecny hasn't even been the best player on his team on a lot of nights. He doesn't seem to have that same confidence in his shot that he showed last year as a rookie. You're looking at a 5'10 forward who's on pace for under 20 goals this year. As complete and tantalizing player he is, that type of offensive output just doesn't get you drafted in the first round, especially when you're undersized. That said, I still like him a lot as a prospect and I think he'll turn things around in the second half of the season." - Otten

"Terrific skater with high level skill and compete level, also shows leadership skills…captain of Ottawa and Canada at U-18’s." - Maloney

"Has high-end offensive skills and speed. Can both finish and make plays. Kind of disappointed in his play this season as he looks to be letting the pressure get to him. Looked better, more engaged last year in my opinion. His size was not a factor last year but this year he is getting pushed off puck and giving up on the play, something he did not do last season. Kid needs to get back some of that ‘get back up again’ mojo." - Stewart

"I love Konecny's skill set. Great skater, skill, vision and work ethic. On talent, he seems like a sure top 10 pick, but wow has his production underwhelmed that's it's really tough to justify him in that range especially for a smaller player. I hope it's a sample thing, but it's rare for a player who goes under a PPG over ~ 20 games to just tear the league up in the second half (at like 1.5PPG rate)." - Pronman

"Heart-and-soul kid with some great offensive moves. My only concern is his undersized frame, which has taken a beating so far in his OHL career." - Kennedy

5. Lawson Crouse - Forward - Kingston Frontenacs
Total Votes: 16
Highest Placement/Lowest Placement: 2nd (1x)/10th (1x)
The Scoop:
"He might be one of the toughest forwards in the O to knock off his skates when going to the net; very similar to Jack Eichel in that way. He's a big bodied guy, protects the puck and is solid on his skates. He can see the ice well and is able to move the puck to open areas despite his 6-foot-4, 211-pound frame." - Morreale

"Elite size and shows tentalizing skill. Everytime I see him though I am lefting wanting more. Not sure if it is because he is missing something or if I get so excited watching him play that I have unrealistic expectations. Defenitly a player who could move up on my list by the end of the year." - Kneulman

"Crouse is a player I absolutely love. I had a hard time knocking him down to fourth in my rankings because he’s the player that every coach wants on his team because you can throw him out in every situation and know he’s going to make an impact. One of the smartest two-way forwards in the draft, Crouse has the size and strength that makes him a low-risk selection as he can play up and down the lineup. He’s shown impressive gains in his offensive gains and there’s no reason to think he won’t be a top-six winger at the next level. Every time he hits the ice, he does something – whether it’s dominating the cycle game or stripping an attacking player of possession – that makes you go, “wow, he’s going to be good." - Ross

"Intriguing power forward with very good size. He’s a very good skater with a very good burst of speed. He’s hard to contain on the rush, in front of the net or battling along the boards. Positionally smart and knows where to be without the puck. Crouse will probably translate to a secondary scorer but it’s his ability to take over a game physically that is intriguing." - Tiano

"The more I see him play, the more he does to make an impression. A solid skater with good puck skills. Strikes me as a smart player. He rarely is out of position." - Ambrogio

"He’s huge at 6’4 215lbs at 17 years old and skates very well…still raw though, but a hard combination to pass up." - Maloney

"Crouse is one of those players that will be a better pro play than a junior player as a power forward." - Fournier

"I have seen a lot of Lawson Crouse from his minor hockey days and now in the OHL and I think he still has another level to reach. Very high hockey IQ. A big man at 6 foot 3 who has excellent skating ability is not easy to find. He uses his frame well to win battles along the boards and forecheck. Strong on the puck, can take contact and drive the net. Would like to see him finish more." - Paiva

"A big, physical power forward who undoubtedly will get better as the years go on. Scouts loved him at the CHL-Russia Super Series." - Kennedy

4. Pavel Zacha - Forward - Sarnia Sting
Total Votes: 16
Highest Placement/Lowest Placement: 2nd (1x)/7th (1x)
The Scoop:
"I've definitely been impressed. He's been way more physical and aggressive in attacking the net than I thought he would be. At the beginning of the season, I felt like he was passing up scoring opportunities and not being aggressive enough with the puck. But, he's getting better and better each week and has a ton of potential due to his size, skating ability, skill level, and blossoming power game. Sometimes Import players come in with such high expectations that it can be hard for them to meet or exceed them, but Zacha has been one of the rare ones thus far." - Otten

"The thing with Pavel is the potential he has. Being on a struggling squd he won't put the points up as McDavid and Strome. Instead you just think of what he will becoming in five years down the road." - Fournier

“Scoring just under a PPG on a below .500 team just reinforces the fact that stats need context in Pavel Zacha’s case. A brick house on skates, Zacha has been a pillar down the middle and shown individual explosiveness in open ice. Always dialed in as he supports the play, Zacha is relied on to lug the puck in transition and has a small man’s touch. This thoroughbred power center is about as much of a lock for top ten in the 2015 NHL Draft as there is with 3 S’s.” - Mauro

"It took the big Czech a few games to get comfortable but Pavel Zacha’s pro upside is extremely high and that alone edges out challengers Marner, Crouse, Strome and Konecny (all of whom areworthy candidates for the second spot). The left-shooting pivot owns an intelligent processor and outstanding vision, displaying advanced creativity and the ability to play as a shooter as well.He is capable of playing a power game, shaking off of pressure easily with his first few powerful strides and as he steps into a scoring area, he can unleash an array of deceptive shots. The scary part – Zacha is still finding his way in the OHL and we have yet to see him play the buzzer-to-buzzer dominant game that he’s capable of." - Ross

"The Czech import certainly has been impressive offensively this season but more so as a two-way threat IMO. I love how he uses his size to engage deep in his own zone, stripping the puck and then skating it back up ice. Possesses all the tools you want in a complete player, now just need to sharpen them up. I have really been impressed by his intelligence with the puck as well." - Stewart

"Comes as advertised, but foolish slew foot penalty and 2 game suspension from it, another major for charging shows lack of discipline." - Clark

3. Mitch Marner - Forward - London Knights
Total Votes: 16
Highest Placement/Lowest Placement: 2nd (5x)/5th (3x)
The Scoop:
"Mitchell Marner can dance on skates. He is tremendously exciting and energetic with the puck. He can make some truly spectacular plays with his creativity and confidence. He’s got excellent mobility and lateral agility. He’s also got some impressive puck skills and a quick shot release. He does need to pack onthe pounds and start drinking more protein shakes. Marner has some of the hottest hands in the league right now with his recent point-scoring barrage." - Grainda

"So have people settled on his nickname… little magician? Marvelous one? Merlin… anything else that starts with M. Sure he is now 5’11” which means a guess turned out to be true a few years ago. His brother is over 6’ so there was a it of a fear that hemay not grow considering he was 5’7.5” as a Minor Midget player. That all aside, takethe puck off him, I dare you. He doesn’t have to be a one man band. He is in a great development system and he has shown that he is ready for that next step. Almost a point per game last year wasn’t a fluke. He had 46 assists! It isn’t as easy as passing to Domi and letting him score ya know. He can skate better than most, great puck control, grew into his frame, or grew his frame and has already passed last years goal totals from last year in a third of the time… If he isn’t in the top 10 at the NHL draft I will be shocked." - Sudeyko

"No doubt he got off to a slow start, but consider this: In their last nine games, Marner has out-produced Connor McDavid. And it’s no surprise that his London Knights have climbed up the standings in that time. As Marner goes, so do the Knights. His hockey smarts and vision set him apart from most others. He can seemingly make a pass that not many can see. He makes everyone around him better and he can create for himself as well. His vision and playmaking ability makes him excellent on either point on the powerplay." - Tiano

"The thing that really resonates for me about Marner is his ability to make his teammates better. He's such a well rounded offensive player who thinks the game on another level. He forces a lot of turnovers off the forecheck because of how well he reads the situation. Whether it's off the rush, coming off the half-wall, or working behind the net, he's able to slow the game down and dictate the pace for his linemates." - Otten

"Playing with a bunch of vets last season, Marner stood out for me. That hasn't changed this year. I'm impressed with his ability to play a 200 foot game." - Ambrogio

2. Dylan Strome - Forward - Erie Otters
Total Votes: 16
Highest Placement/Lowest Placement: 1st (from the panelist who chose not to rank Connor McDavid in order to highlight other players)/5th (1x)
The Scoop: 
"Dylan Strome has some impressive professional qualities in his game. He’s a very strong player with great size and strength. His hockey intelligence is really good. He makes plays with his quality passing, smart possession game and solid hockey sense. His footwork and skating stride still need some improvements. Right now he has to be the second best prospect because the numbers he is putting up this season are really impressive.” - Grainda

"Speed, shot, creativity, smarts. Dylan Strome certainly has it all and on top of that he has NHL bloodlines as his brother Ryan is showing he belongs in the NHL right now. Equally adept at helping out on D when back checking and starting the break out." - Kneulman

"He was the other Otters star to be last year… and now… he is the star. Again, take McDavid out of the equation and Strome would still lead this team. Would he be leading the league in scoring? Tough to say. However, it wouldn’t take away from his overall package. I didn’t want to look up the pace of his older brother, but if you likedRyan in his draft year, I would say Dylan is better. With a quick pass he is off to the races. Scoring is in his blood. And he knows how to get to open space to either receive the puck or draw defenders away from teammates. If you want a flaw, he can be a one man show a little too much. Although I am sure the same thing was said of some great players before him. Defensively needs to get better but what pure scorer doesn’t need that entering their draft year. I wouldn’t be worried about his growth, but straight talent compared to everyone else not named McDavid… Strome is the best of the bunch. Strome has been around McDavid for many seasons now, going back to the minors. If he needs any help, he not only had a great coaching staff, but a mini mentor who has a wealth of experience… despite being the same age." - Sudeyko

"McDavid’s teammate in Erie, Dylan Strome could’ve easily been ranked second on this list and come draft day, it will come down to personal preference. He plays the game at a high-pace and is always pushing the pace of the game. He is a creative passer with elite level vision and his crafty puck skills allows him to a strong possession game. His skating is improving from what used to be somewhat wild and heavy footed. With an elongated stride, Strome propels himself up the ice with ease erasing any of those previous concerns. Strome is a confident offensive player but at times he tries to do too much and it leads to some unnecessary turnovers but it’s this individual skill that is what makes him a special talent with intriguing upside." - Ross

"Dylan Strome presents the obvious dilemma for scouts: McDavid beneficiary or starin his own right? Signs are pointing him to growing into a budding star who can function on his own. Last year, Strome was a raw product as a gangly, tall guy whose coordination was challenged daily. Add in the fact that Erie boasted Burakovsky, Fox, Brown, and McDavid ahead of him, and his impact was likely blunted. His skating needs some polishing, but Strome is developing into a brilliant two way center with surreal sense of the ice and very soft handle on the puck." - Mauro

"With McDavid on the shelf, the focus is on Dylan Strome and yet he continues to produce. Strome has a great pro shot, love his wrist shot. He knows how to find open space too. Sometimes he holds onto the puck too much, but he can distribute the puck well and when he does, he makes other teammates better. He's got the height at 6 foot 3, and needs to pack on a few more pounds." - Paiva

1. Connor McDavid - Forward - Erie Otters
Total Votes: 15 (one panelist chose to leave him off in order to highlight the accomplishments of others)
Highest Placement/Lowest Placement: 1st (14x)
The Scoop:
"The injury in no way should or will change anyone's opinion of this world class talent. I remember a conversation I had with Windsor Spitfires forward Joshua Ho Sang last spring before he was chosen late in the first round by the New York Islanders. I asked Ho Sang about his time spent with McDavid with the Toronto Marlboros minor midget AAA team in 2011-12. Ho Sang told me that everyone knows how gifted a player he is but no one ever seems to talk about his work ethic. Ho Sang said McDavid didn't drop onto the Earth with all this talent, he truly worked at it. Ho Sang said he's known McDavid since the age of 9 and feels his work ethic is what has gotten him this far and will take him to even greater heights in the future." - Morreale

"Playing under the critical eye of everyone, Connor McDavid has somehow exceeded the impossible expectations created by the hoopla of the draft. Racking up 51 points in just 18 games lauching his Erie Otters to the top of the CHL standings (before getting hurt in a fight), McDavid has the hockey world drooling over his pro future. Poised, professional and humble throughout the process, McDavid continues to stick to playing his game. Elite in every skill, McDavid has proved to be not only “exceptional” but extraordinary in the face of adversity." - Ross

"2015’s #1 has done everything in his power to maintain his lead on the star American, Jack Eichel. After coming up one point shy of 100 in his pre-draft year in the OHL, we all knew McDavid would be this successful. What wasn’t so concrete was how well rounded he would present both on and off ice. An exhausting forward to defend against, he is a star athlete who can pull off amazing movements at seemingly half speed. Scouting McDavid is now about understanding every detail that makes him tick to use him as the gold standard for rating other prospects.” - Mauro

"Kid just has too much talent and intelligence to not be the top pick, not only out of the OHL but hands down overall best talent I have seen in major junior since Crosby. His impressive speed and how he uses it in combination with his slick hands and vision when carrying the puck makes him so intimidating for OHL defenders to face. The way he anticipates his opponents next move as well as what his line mates will do and his creativity with the puck all wrapped up into one neat package are traits that are not common. Prospects like this, they just don't come around very often." - Stewart

"There is nothing more to add than what others have said. I remember a conversation I had with an OHL GM last season who raved about McDavid's skating ability and that explosive first step. That more than anything is the first thing you notice, when he turns it up a notch." - Ambrogio

"The boy genius. One scout told me he has the best hockey IQ he's ever seen, others are saying he's better than Crosby at the same age. An offensive juggernaut who makes insane plays at high speeds." - Kennedy

Others Receiving Consideration (Honorable Mentions):

Thomas Schemitsch - Defense - Owen Sound Attack (4 votes)
Highest Placement: 9th (2x)
"I wrote this about his brother Geoffrey in 2010...
 "No player on this list raised his stock as much as Schemitsch. From the major midget land of draft obscurity to the Under 18's and the potential to be selected in the top 100 of the NHL draft. Schemitsch had a very strong rookie season in the OHL for a very disappointing team. In a way, he was one of the few bright spots for the Attack. Schemitsch has OK size, but he's already a very capable two way defender. He played in all situations for the Attack this year and has the mobility to defend off the rush, as well as the intelligence to read and react to situation in the defensive zone. Offensively he runs the point really well and can make a strong first pass. He has good vision on the ice and does a good job of finding his teammates in transition. A few negatives I want to mention though. Whether it was a conditioning thing or something else, Schemitsch's play really slipped towards the end of the season and he was a lot better in the first half of the year in comparison to the second. Also, for a more offensive defenseman, he can be somewhat timid in rushing the puck up ice. At the World Under 18's, I felt like he struggled with this in particular. Teams with a strong forecheck, who don't give him the time to bring the puck up, can often force him into turnovers. But you have to think that Schemitsch will improve and will gain the confidence necessary to take his game to that next level." take all the negatives I mentioned there (size, aggressiveness with the puck, conditioning) and turn them into positives and you've got Thomas. One of the most underrated prospects eligible for this draft IMO." - Otten

"Kid has really turned his game up this season as he looks more comfortable both defending and going on the attack (no pun intended). His decision making and ability to move the puck are traits that have NHL scouts excited for his future." - Stewart

"Probably underrated in some circles, but I make the drive to Owen Sound quite a bit and admit every time I’ve seen him, he has surprised and impressed me. He’s a very good skater, intelligent player, and has very good size which he uses to punish opponents. Add to that his willingness to (intelligently) jump into the offense and you have a well rounded defender. If he can continue that throughout the season, he’ll continue to climb." - Tiano

 10. Blake Speers - Forward - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (4 votes)
Highest Placement: 5th (1x)
"One of my favorite draft eligibles from the OHL. He's an all-around player and does all the little things right. It will be fun to watch him grow the next few years." - Fournier

"Kid has really blossomed this year as he is getting the minutes and showing what he can do when given the opportunity. The line of Miller, Bunting, and Speers is quickly becoming the Hounds go to line for offence." - Stewart

"There are a lot of slick moving players on this list and in this draft class. You want to talk North South skaters you put Speers at the top of the list. Add in a lightning fast shot and he is a threat if you give him an inch of space. He has filled out but may need a few more pounds. Last season he earned his ice time and unlike a few others on this list, will not be a major go to player on his team. Speers has the benefit of playing behind some talented veterans that will allow him to still develop without the heavy push that some get." - Sudeyko

Rasmus Andersson - Defense - Barrie Colts (3 votes)
Highest Placement: 6th (1x)
"Andersson is a player I'm divided on. When he came over from Sweden, I talked to scouts who varied from first rounder to not a prospect, probably due to his wildly inconsistent play at times. Very talented puck mover with high-end upside but lot of holes in his game." - Pronman

Mitchell Stephens - Forward - Saginaw Spirit (3 votes)
Highest Placement: 9th (1x)
"He plays a high energy, two way game. He sees the ice well and is able to use his quickness to get himself open. Scouts tell me he has very good hands and good puck-handling ability." - Morreale

Mackenzie Blackwood - Goaltender - Barrie Colts (2 votes)
Highest Placement: 8th (1x)
"Tall goaltender at 6 foot 4 and 200 pounds who covers the net very well. Aggressive in the goal. Loves to challenge shooters. Moves well side to side. Barrie missed him when he was injured. Can win hockey games on his own. Coming off an injury, the question is his durability." - Paiva

"At 6’4” he is a big boy in the pipes and it may surprise you to see how acrobatic he can be. Speedy legs and solid positioning makes him appear ready for that jump to the next level. He went from the out house to the penthouse so to speak as he hasn’t been playing the position for as long as his counterparts. Size, speed and strength gives a solid base for further development." - Sudeyko

Travis Dermott - Defense - Erie Otters (1 vote)
Highest Placement: 9th (1x)
"Dealing with foot and hand injuries to open the year kept Dermott sidelined for 7 out of the Otters’ first 20GP. With fractured comfort and inability to participate in more than 1/3 of the Otters’ high scoring games leaves him with the tough task of earning 2015 NHL Draft praise. Dermott is an intelligent, enabling puck mover who makes confidently crisp passes across every inch of the ice. He emits no fear with opponents barreling down him showing NHL grade poise, mobility, and vision. Dermott is one of those high IQ players you can’t count out as riser once the meat of the season hits." - Mauro

Dante Salituro - Forward - Ottawa 67's (1 vote)
Highest Placement: 7th (1x)
"The third year player benefitted from having a late birthday.  Moves at full speed, all the time, has gotten better and better up the middle as the years has gone on and learned to distribute the puck really well. Works really hard to take the puck away and doesn’t view himself as a small guy, which reminds you that it isn’t the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the… well I don’t know how it ends, but it ends with Salituro winning the puck battle." - Sudeyko

Matt Luff - Forward - Belleville Bulls (1 vote)
Highest Placement: 7th (1x)
"A big wing (6-1, 179) who is starting to earn more ice time. He likes to use his size, fights through checks and has a real good wrist shot with a quick release. He's starting to get some special teams play and he could be a sleeper in the draft." - Morreale

Brett McKenzie - Forward - North Bay Battalion (1 vote)
Highest Placement: 10th (1x)
"When you look at what he accomplished in his Minor Midget season and his OHL rookie season, you see that there is still much to be desired. Don’t get me wrong he still possesses strong legs and some great speed, and a decent shot. His overall package has developed playing under Stan Butler and it will continue to shape him over the next few seasons." - Sudeyko

Vince Dunn - Defense - Niagara IceDogs (1 vote)
Highest Placement: 9th (1x)
"Undersized D man?   Doesn't apply.  Moves the puck well, QB's a PP that was dynamite last year, but struggling this year." - Clark

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