Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Final Media/Scout Top 10 for 2016

The 2016 NHL Entry Draft is fast approaching (June 24-25) and that makes that it's time to complete this year's media/scout list.

Here are the previous editions:

Preliminary (from November)

Midseason (from February)

As always, this list involves contributions from some of the brightest minds covering junior hockey and the draft. Submitting this round were:

Corey Pronman - ESPN 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 TheScout.ca(@RossyYoungblood)
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 NHL.com (@mikemorrealeNHL)
Anthony Mauro - Director/Founder of Draft Buzz Hockey(@draftbuzzhockey)
Ryan Kennedy - Associate Senior Writer for The Hockey News(@THNRyanKennedy)
Matt Grainda - Scout for TheScoutca (@graindaiv)
Todd Warriner - CHL analyst for Sportsnet, Colour analyst for the Windsor Spitfires (@Todd_Warriner)
Mike Mackley - Writer at Prospects Hockey and Scout for the Powassan Voodoos (NOJHL) (@Macker61)
Peter Harling - Writer for the Kingston FrontenacsMcKeens Hockey, & Dobber Prospects (@pharling)

Grant McCagg - Scout for McKeens Hockey (@grantmccagg)
Scott Wheeler - OHL scout with Future ConsiderationsSite Manager of Pension Plan Puppets, and writer for the National Post/Toronto Sun (@scottcwheeler)
Reed Duthie - Play by Play voice of the Hamilton Bulldogs (@rcduthie)

Mark Seidel - Scouting Director for NACS Hockey (@MarkSeidel)
Allan Muir - Writer for Sports Illustrated (@almuirSI)

and of course...myself (@BrockOtten)  

Some interesting tidbits on the final list of the year.

1. This year, 20 players received at least one vote for the Top 10. That's a new record for this list and it definitely highlights the parity between many of the late 1st/2nd round options that the OHL has to offer this year. It's pretty clear that the top 8 are set, but 9 and 10 really depend on who you ask.

2. For the first time since 2013 (Monahan, Nurse, Horvat, Zadorov), four players received a 1st place vote. Six different players received a vote inside the top 1 or 2. Again parity. This 2016 draft is going to be fun!

3. Jakob Chychrun went from receiving over 50% of the votes for first place at midseason (February), to receiving only 2 votes total for first (about 10%) this time.

4. Meanwhile, Logan Brown went from receiving ZERO top 5 votes on the preliminary & midseason lists, to receiving 9 top 5 votes this time, or close to 50%. Talk about a major jump.

5. Since the defenseman race is the one that people seem to be the most generally interested in, here are some additional stats for how the three stacked up in these rankings.

Top 2 votes: Sergachev (6), Chychrun (5), Juolevi (2)
Top 3 votes: Sergachev (9), Chychrun (8), Juolevi (5)
Votes Outside the Top 5: Chychrun (3), Juolevi (4), Sergachev (6

Without further ado, here's the final media/scout top 10 for 2016 (with multiple HM's):

1. Matthew Tkachuk - Forward - London Knights
Total Votes: 19
High/Low: 1st (15x)/2nd (4x)
"What a draft eligible season this kid put together. He has the bloodlines, great character, exhibiting strong drive, determination and impressive on-ice senses. His offensive skills are not all that flashy but he is always in the mix around the net but also has the skilled hands to settle pucks and get a strong shot off all in a flash. He is a work horse battling and retrieving pucks in the corners or around the crease before dishing short passes out to open line mates for second and third scoring chances. This kids a winner and will bring that with him to the NHL level due to his sheer determination to succeed." - Stewart

"It's not just that he puts up so many points, but the manner in which he does it. Tkachuk has the smarts, the physicality and the devastating hands (especially on tip-ins) to be an impact NHLer sooner than later." - Kennedy

"He finds a way to produce even if he's not on his game, and he knows where to go on the ice to be the most effective for his linemates. The numbers he posted for London in the regular season and during the playoffs were phenomenal and I know he played with two exceptional linemates in Mitch Marner and Christian Dvorak, but it should also be noted that it takes a special kind of player to play alongside those players. Tkachuk is a very special player because he can do so many things so well. His hockey sense is really high-end and from the faceoff circles to the end line, he's one of the most dangerous players in the draft. He won't win a speed race but he'll earn his money in the offensive zone. To me, Tkachuk is skilled and physical, and he exhibits more jam in the big moments than any other OHL prospect. The fact he played on a sprained ankle for the entire Memorial Cup run, and scored two goals in the final against Rouyn-Noranda, speaks volumes to his determination and character." - Morreale

"There is not really any way Tkachuk could have had a better season. He dominated the regular season with a 107 points performance on the CHL’s top line from start to finish. He was an integral part of the Knights winning the OHL Championship and the Memorial Cup. He dominated at the World Junior with USA scoring 11 points in seven games and was impressive at the CHL Top Prospect game as well. He can score pretty goals and dirty goals. He can finesse with his puck control and he can play a physical game. He can get under opponents skin and be a pest, he is defensively responsible and has a high hockey IQ. Simply put, he can beat you any way you want to play the game." - Harling

"He's the NHL's next great power forward. Piled up ridiculous numbers playing on the best line in junior hockey, but he rode no one's coattails. Plays a heavy, pro-style game and thrives in the muck. Always seems to find a way to make an impact." - Muir

"A heart-and soul-competitor who owns the "it factor" - knowing how to come up big and spearheading a scoring chance when his team needs it the most. Tkachuk has improvements to make in his stride but his 10-foot attacking distance is as impactful as anyone. His ability to create scoring chances deep in the offensive zone - behind the net and from the corners - is a highly coveted skill set. Tkachuk is going to line up well alongside any skilled pivot and will inject energy and perkiness into a team's top six well." - Ross

2. Jakob Chychrun - Defence - Sarnia Sting
Total Votes: 19
High/Low: 1st (2x)/6th (3x)
"The draft's hot button prospect throughout the course of the season has handled the spotlight like a pro and that's not surprising given his maturity and confidence in his own abilities. Chychrun will tell you himself that he didn't have the draft season he expected but he was able to add an impressive stability to his defensive game. Coming off an shoulder surgery in the off-season and playing under a new coach in Darian Hatcher made for some serious adjustments, yet Jakob Chychrun was still the leader on the backend, improved his all-around game and finished the year off strong battling through up-and-down spurts. Don't forget, no defenseman in the draft possesses Chychrun's natural physical abilities and his mobility (despite showing a more reserved approach with it in 2015-16) will always be an elite weapon. It's close between Juolevi, Chychrun and Sergachev but I'm giving the slight edge to Chychrun as I believe he's got the best ultimate upside and is in for a huge rebound season." - Ross

"It’s close – and there’s a real argument to be made for both of Tkachuk and Nylander at No. 1 – but I still have Chychrun as the top option out of the OHL. Just as many looked for faults in Noah Hanifin’s game last year, many scouts have begun to sour on Chychrun as they search for flaws in his game – he tries to do too much, his shoulder as a concern, etc. But the truth is that Chychrun remains an exceptional athlete and shot-generating machine who will translate smoothly to the NHL level." - Wheeler

"A player who has fallen to some but Chychrun is the blueprint for a top pairing defenceman. Chychrun can skate with the fleetest of forwards, can hit with the heaviest of grinders and can jump into the play with a near sixth sense. Whether it's his positioning and disruptive ability in his own end or his incredible vision for passing or bomb of a shot in the offensive zone, Chychrun would be without a doubt my 1st defenceman off the board." - Duthie

"Once considered hands down the OHL's top draft eligible skater, Chychrun could now find himself as the third defensemen from the OHL to get selected. It's not so much a knock on Chychrun and his tremendous potential, as it is a compliment to how well Mikhail Sergachev and Olli Juolevi have played this season. Chychrun is such an intriguing prospect, a 6'2, 214 pound highly mobile, two-way defensemen with a tireless work ethic. After a season in which he tallied 49 points in 62 regular season games and another 8 in just 7 playoff games, there are still some question marks surrounding Chychrun. Chychrun's durability and decision making have been the most notable criticisms of his game as I find he often tries to do to much. Maybe it's just his competitive nature and his desire to make his team better, but Chychrun can over play his position and force plays, which lead to unforced turnovers. While I think Chychrun can be a dominate NHL defender within a handful of years, part of me wonders if Chychrun is plateauing." - Mackley

"Natural leader with a very thick physical frame, great stick control and positioning, has all the necessary defensive traits, plays a strong 2-way game, mobile skating stride, hard shot from up top, good smarts." - Grainda

"I stand by my ranking of having him 1st among that group of terrific defenders available from the OHL this year. Without question, he needs to cut down on the defensive zone turnovers that plagued his game this year, but I have faith that he will. Key to his development is the realization that he can use his skating ability to get him out of trouble, taking less chances with risky passes and more chances by driving up through the neutral zone with his + mobility." - Otten

3. Alex Nylander - Forward - Mississauga Steelheads
Total Votes: 19
High/Low: 2nd (5x)/6th (2x)
"Top end skill, good work ethic. Slightly built but quick and strong. Back in Europe next season?" - Warriner

"Electrifying talent, Nylander was a rookie to the OHL but had plied his craft in the Swedish professional ranks before joining Mississauga. Nylander can make plays and skate with the very best, never has to chase the game as it always seems to come to him. Perhaps even more then Tkachuk, can change the course of a shift, period or game with the puck on his stick. Fair bit of work to do when it comes to consistency and defensive effort however." - Duthie

"Nylander has all the talent in the world with elite puck skills, an elite shot and elite skating abilities. Combined, he’s dangerous in all offensive situations whether he’s rushing it up the ice himself for a scoring chance or drawing people towards him which opens up his teammates where he can deliver tape to tape passes for scoring chances. He’s made strides in battling for pucks this season, but his defensive game will continue to be a work in progress as he needs to make major strides on the other side of the puck. My biggest issue has been that from the Ivan Hlinka Tournament right through to the OHL playoffs is that Nylander, at times, does not play up to his competition level. During the OHL’s regular season, 29% of Nylander’s offense came against the four non-playoff teams. Is it something that can change? I don’t know the answer but it draws my attention." - Tiano

"A bit bigger than his brother William and a better playmaker. Always seems to have the puck. Is going to be a top line winger in the NHL. Makes the game look easy. Had a great playoff against Barrie, after struggling for the last couple of months when Michael McLeod got hurt." - Ambrogio

“A cornerstone offensive forward who has mastered every level of play immediately. Has a stranglehold on the puck and NHL ready shot power. William’s younger, bigger, baby bro registered the best Peak Power time in the last 8 years of the Wingate test. Who doesn’t like fit, elite bloodlined talent?" - Mauro

"Nylander’s elusiveness and otherworldly shooting accuracy are both unique traits. Add in that he’s one of the most gifted puck handlers in the class and you’ve got a package that oozes creativity and skill. He’s going to make an NHL fan base really happy for many years." - Wheeler

4. Mikhail Sergachev - Defence - Windsor Spitfires
Total Votes: 19
High/Low: 2nd (6x)/8th (1x)
"Powerful kid who made transition to culture and league with ease. Smart, competitive, heavy shot, great skater, tremendous upside Comparable Mark Howe." - Warriner

“Strapping beast sparked after November when he kicked his homesickness. Finished at a 1.05PTS/GP clip in the last third, and his explosive mannerisms with the puck validate the offensive uptick. His U18 was not as bad as made out. He’s an elite prospect who still needs to mold his physique and become a pro.” - Mauro

"Tremendous combination of size, skill & nastiness. Very smooth on his edges. Understands the game. Will only get better." - Seidel

"A 6'3, 206 pound two-way defender with impressive hockey sense and a tremendous work ethic, there's a lot to like about Mikhail Sergachev. A player who never failed to impressive in any of my viewings, Mikhail Sergachev boasts a very intriguing skill set with arguably the highest ceiling of any defensemen available in the 2016 NHL draft. What makes Sergachev so special is his ability to impact the game at a high level on both sides of the puck. Sergachev is tough to play against in his own zone, showing excellent contain, an active stick, a willingness to engage physically and a level of nastiness that most young defensemen simply don't have. At the offensive end of the rink Sergachev shows impressive poise an patience in possession, see's the ice extremely well allowing him to create offensively and an absolute bomb of a slap shot. Mix in his transition abilities, mobility and leadership qualities and I truly believe an NHL team has a franchise type defender in Mikhail Sergachev." - Mackley

"Pushes the play like no other defender in the draft. Explosive skater, excellent vision and creative with the puck. Has a heavy, accurate shot from the point and makes quick reads, positioning him as a future power play QB. Has the potential to be an impact player on the first pair. " - Muir

"Offensively, he has SO much potential at the next level. Combine Ryan Murphy and Ryan Ellis, but then put them in a 6'3, 220lbs frame. Extremely aggressive in pushing the pace of play and trying to gain entry into the offensive zone. Protects the puck extremely well (aka Murphy). But he's got an absolute bomb of a point shot that makes him one of the OHL's best on the powerplay (aka Ellis). Defensively, he's raw. But with that size, you hope you can iron out a few bad habits. Massive upside here." - Otten

5. Olli Juolevi - Defence - London Knights
Total Votes: 19
High/Low: 1st (1x)/8th (1x)
"He certainly has the potential to be a top-two defensemen for a long time in the NHL. He might be the most likeable defenseman on the board, but I feel he'll need to grow into his frame and mature a bit more. He'll have great offensive flair moving forward, and it's easy to make those comparisons with Olli Maatta and some of the other great Finnish defenseman to have played in the NHL. Scouts have told me that he's a better offensive player than Olli was at the same age. He's a team-first guy and was huge for the Knights in their OHL and Memorial Cup championships." - Morreale

"Just a real solid puck mover who pushes the play up ice with every chance he gets. Plays the point on the powerplay well as he can move to open a lane, make a strong pass down low or put a seeing eye shot on goal. He is mobile and gets himself into strong defensive position, reading the play quickly. Plays a safe and reliable game built around transitioning his team from a defensive posture to offense quickly. He continually makes his teammates better by getting them the puck in open space before supporting the rush." - Stewart

"Rock solid performer in high stress situations, awesome hockey sense & situational awareness, fantastic skating stride, fluid back-end puck movement, poised on the attack, may not put up high NHL numbers." - Grainda

"Olli Juolevi offers up the most efficient game and is by far the easiest defender to project. He owns extremely high-end hockey intelligence...and he knows it apparently... and his knack for kick starting the breakout under pressure is as good as anyone in the past few years. His feel for and ability to read the game is the best among any defender in this draft class and while his pure offensive upside remains a mystery, any team would be satisfied with a safe number two defenseman projection, who should be able to kick in 45-50 points in his prime. Of course, there's a chance that he could surge past those numbers and that's what teams are banking on if you choose him first. Juolevi is the safest pick and if I'm a betting man, he's likely the first one selected. " - Ross

"I've consistently had Juolevi ranked third behind Chychrun and Sergachev all season long, but don't assume that I don't like him as a prospect. His game is 100% built for the way the NHL is played today. His vision and poise with the puck in his own end allows teams to get up ice quickly, so that they can use their speed to attack (cough, London, cough, Finland at the WJC's). He just doesn't make many mistakes at all. I don't think his high end potential at either end will make him an NHL all star, but he's a sure bet to have a long NHL career and that's why he'll go in the top 10." - Otten

"So poised and reliable. Rarely see him make a mistake with his positioning or his passing. Elite vision and hockey sense. Probably the safest pick among the three top defenders, but probably the lowest ceiling as well." - Muir

6. Logan Brown - Forward - Windsor Spitfires
Total Votes: 19
High/Low: 1st (1x)/8th (3x)
"You've seen my rankings. You've read my mock draft. I feel pretty confident that Brown is going to go higher than people are expecting. In today's hockey world, players like him are the white unicorn. They're the hardest type to find. 6'6 (and maybe still growing) centers who can control the possession game in the offensive end and dominate defensively do not grow on trees. I was hard on him to start the season. But he earned his rise back up the draft rankings. I see a lot written about battling inconsistency. But I disagree with that to some extent. In the first half, sure. But once he got going in the 2nd half, consistency was not an issue. He flat out dominated every game he played down the stretch and into the Under 18's. Once the light bulb went on, it stayed on. And we can't act like he came out of nowhere either. This is a kid who came into the season as a likely top 10 pick (led the OHL in scoring among 1998's as a rookie). The majority of the teams who find success in the NHL today have a player like Brown (especially in the West). And the majority of the teams drafting in the top 7-8 don't have that type of player in their lineup yet." - Otten

"A player who has risen up the draft rankings throughout the season, early season consistency issues seem to be a thing of the past as Logan Brown was down right dominate at times through the second half of the OHL season. While Windsor's playoff run ended early it did allow Brown to join Team USA at the Under 18 Championships were he was dominate. Brown possesses the ability to take over games due to his size, strength, speed and skill. When he finds consistency there aren't many better then him coming out of the OHL this season. A 6'6, 220 pound centre who skates well, possesses high end vision and playmaking skills and a powerful and accurate shot, Brown could become that franchise centre NHL teams covet so desperately. While I would like to see Brown add more of a physical edge to his game and be less of a perimeter player at times, those are small fixes and with a ceiling so high, it would not shock me if Logan Brown ended up being a Top 5 pick at the end of June." - Mackley

"His 6-foot-6, 222-pound frame makes him one of the more intriguing prospects down the middle. This season his skating improved, his possession and movement with the puck was better, and he started to understand how to use that size as an asset to impact and take over games. So you can see the growth pattern; he can impact consistently and you have to like that. There's a high ceiling for Brown with the proper development and coaching, and that makes him an attractive prospect." - Morreale

"Hard not to look at Brown's big frame and under-18 numbers and get excited. Needs to get stronger, but in the long-term he could be a premier playmaker in the NHL, Joe Thornton style." - Kennedy

"Went back and forth about putting him on top, but ultimately was swayed by three elements: position, size and potential. He's a massive presence in the middle who's just starting to figure out how to make the best use of his physical gifts. The hockey sense is there. The intensity is there. And he has terrific wheels--and not just "for his size." I understand the questions about his finishing touch, but that's where I see the most potential. We saw his numbers improve after he started getting to the right areas and his shot--already above average-- is only going to get better as he gets stronger." - Muir

"There isn’t much not to like about Brown. The massive frame, his vision, puck skills and a much underrated shot – or maybe it’s not underrated as much as it is he doesn’t use it enough. What Brown learned most this season is that if he started to drive the net, he was virtually unstoppable. Once he began doing that, things all started to click for him offensively. With his size, he’s expected to win puck battles along the walls and he usually does. But that size, reach and inability to knock him off the puck also makes him one of the best players available at protecting the puck. The Under 18’s showed that Brown can dominate. Intensity level and play without the puck are a work in progress." - Tiano

7. Michael McLeod - Forward - Mississauga Steelheads
Total Votes: 19
High/Low: 3rd (2x)/10th (1x)
"I think he's the most underrated guy in the top 15, and don't understand why he dropped so precipitously, particularly after an outstanding playoff versus Barrie. I saw too many outstanding games to keep him out of the top ten.. I think he'll help you win playoff games with his non-stop engine and drive." - McCagg

"Not as sold on his offensive upside as other in the industry are but I love the speed and engagement. He often looks more like Boyd Devereaux than a top six contributor to me. With that said though he does have some very impressive skills to bring and projected two-way upside that will have NHL teams contemplating taking him earlier in the first round than I would." - Stewart

“Most improved OHL player at the top can surely convince teams he can hack it as a hard to handle #3C. What he won’t convince them of is his safety with the puck at top speed, his creativity quotient, and his god-awful shot.” - Mauro

"Elite speed while make him an asset at the next level. Overshadowed at times by Alexander Nylander whose name gives him a bit of an extra flair in the GTA. A stand out in the faceoff circle especially when you consider his age as most of the other leaders were 19 or 20. Missed the tail end of the season most of February with a knee injury but came back and nearly helped the Steelheads upset the Barrie Colts." - Kneulman

"I know some folks are down on him after the under-18s, but I can't help but defer back to the big picture. Which is that McLeod has uncanny speed and power and has just begun to become a force in 'Sauga." - Kennedy

"Speed is the name of his game, and it is the name of the game in the NHL today. The Pittsburgh Penguins are winning the Stanley Cup by virtue of their speed and McLeod will play that game to a tee. The only question is if he has the offensive skills to be an elite scorer? At 6-2 he can be a first line center, or can be a very effective second or third. He is already efficient at face-offs, and plays well in all three zones. No question he will be a NHL player, but how high is his ceiling?" - Harling

8. Max Jones - Forward - London Knights
Total Votes: 17
High/Low: 4th (1x)/Outside of the Top 10 (2x)
"Explosive both as a negative and positive. Fantastic skater with a wicked shot and release to go along with it. Few can play the straight ahead style with the physical edge of Max Jones. However the London forward's penchant for walking the line has seen him step over it too often. Jones can't take the edge away from his game but has to find a way to keep himself on the ice where he is an impact player and out of the hockey headlines for suspensions and questionable hits." - Duthie

"The Jump from the USNT U17 program to the OHL his a big one and while Jones may not have lived up to expectations he was one of the top '98 born players. Often over shadowed by the London top line Jones played some of his best hockey while everyone was away during the world juniors as he had a 12 game point streak in December and early January. Saying he plays with an edge is a definite understatement as he continues to cross the line every now and then but that edge should help him at the next level." - Kneulman

"Dating back to his pre-OHL days, Max Jones always seemed to jump out as a top performer. His non-stop motor and ability to get up the ice with an enthusiastic reckless-abandon adds tremendous value as a forechecker and defensive backchecker. His speed, physical brute and in-your-face pressure on the puck makes him a pest to play against. Add in an all-worldly shot (albeit one that needs to improve it's accuracy) and a nose for the net and you've got a prospect who'll carve out a valuable role at the next level as a top nine energy player capable of secondary production." - Ross

"Bull in a China shop. Big power forward that will go around you or through you. His suspensions caused his development to have fits and starts but he has a huge ceiling with his skating ability and nasty disposition." - Seidel

"Known primarily as a power forward and physical player who plays on the line, and often over it, Jones is a vastly underrated skater. He has explosive acceleration and a high end top gear. He is a high energy player that is relentless on the forecheck, dangerous on the penalty kill and is a more than capable scorer. Like most young men who play his style of game, he needs to learn to control the emotions that drive his game, but his game will play well at the NHL level." - Harling

9. Alex Debrincat - Forward - Erie Otters
Total Votes: 11
High/Low: 5th (1x)/Outside of the Top 10 (8x)
"I thought DeBrincat proved himself this year in Erie. He scored 50-plus goals and 100-plus points a second straight season in the OHL. He's feisty and elusive and difficult to defend. He has an underrated shot and the fact he impressed veteran coach Ron Wilson by earning a roster spot for the United States at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship is notable. He can play and have success with highly skilled centers, as he's done with Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews and Dylan Strome." - Morreale

"Pure sniper who put up 51 goals in back-to-back seasons.He's the right kind of selfish with the puck. Size makes him a risk, but he has the tools to overcome his small stature. Quick and creative with the puck, relentless without it. Uncanny knack for finding open ice." - Muir

"We don’t often see a 5-7 forward ranked as an unquestionable first round option. But back-to-back 50-goal seasons will do that for any player. If teams can treat his lacklustre World Juniors performance as the small sample size that it is, he’ll be a legitimate option in the late teens/early 20s of the first round." - Wheeler

"Goal scoring machine, tenacious on the attack, tough in the corners, smaller skater but plays way bigger than his height/weight, very good skater, speedy hands, elite hockey sense helps him play w/ the best." - Grainda

"Hard to ignore what he's done in the OHL the last few years. Dominant guy around the puck, big time hockey sense and shot. Size is obviously a problem but how many first-year draft eligible guys have the resume he does?" - Anonymous

10. Boris Katchouk - Forward - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Total Votes: 6
High/Low: 9th (3x)/Outside of the Top 10 (13x)
"I caught more of Katchouk as a 16yo as a call up with the Hounds and while playing with the Soo Thunderbirds in the NOJHL. In the games I did catch of him this year you could see huge strides especially as the season went on. He has a physical aspect of his game that he was able to get under control this year and use it in a way to compliment his style rather than make it the focal point. He can affect the game in multiple ways and has a level of projectability in his game that should give teams confidence him his ability to continue to grow." - Kneulman

"A high riser in this years draft after playing just 12 games with the Greyhounds throughout the 2014-2015 season, Boris Katchouk is quickly becoming a consensus first round pick. And for good reason as Katchouk boasts an intriguing and versatile skill set. Impressive on both sides of the puck with relentless forechecking abilities, Katchouk had a dominating playoff run with the Soo Greyhounds this season and ended up being a late add to Team Canada's U-18 team, were he continued to impress. A well rounded forward with an explosive first step and strong straight line speed, Katchouk can be tough to contain, has an agitating aspect to his game and a versatile offensive skill set. A player I've really enjoyed watching since his days with the Waterloo Wolves Minor Midget AAA team, the development in Katchouk's game from Minor Midget to the NOJHL to the OHL is extremely impressive and something I expect to continue as he continues his career." - Mackley

"When Boris Katchouk was skating with the Waterloo Wolves in his minor midget days, I remember walking away impressed each and every game. That didn't change in his first full OHL season. A diligent and intelligent two-way left-shot winger, Boris Katchouk is a glue-type of player who can find chemistry with any type of player. He's mastered the art positioning to provide offensive support and prepares himself smartly for defensive attacks as well. His versatile and smart approach will surely be an attractive option the once the Top 20 settles itself out. Katchouk defines a "plug-and-play" competitor and coaches love those types. " - Ross

"A hardworking, physical winger with underrated offensive abilities. I love that he can play any way you want and still dominate. Skilled hands, a nose for the net, dogged determination and never stop motor really stood out. His game in the Greyhounds first round series against Sarnia this OHL post season was enough to push him into the first round discussion for me." - Stewart

Honorable Mentions

Logan Stanley - Defence - Windsor Spitfires (5 votes)
Highest Placement: 9th (3x)
"Bit of a question mark, at nearly 6'8" Stanley can be a dominant force in his own zone with a long stride and tremendous reach to go along with a physical nature that makes opposing forwards cringe. However from his own blueline forward Stanley hasn't shown enough to be ranked any higher. Still developing a potential offensive style and better skating stride the giant Windsor defenceman has a ways to go but has the raw tools to be an NHL player." - Duthie

"The 6-foot-7, 225-pound left-hander might just be the most improved player in the OHL this season. He plays with a lot of confidence and is tough to beat 1-on-1 because he knows how to use his long reach to gap forwards on the transition. He was paired with Sergachev most of the season and, according to NHL Central Scouting, is considered a two-way defenseman. He will stick up for teammates, an asset never lost on scouts." - Morreale

"Another tower from Windsor, Stanley is still growing his game and that's a scary thought, because the kid is already big and increasingly mobile. Next year's Memorial Cup will be great for his continued development." - Kennedy

"Also a unique player, 6'7 mobile Dman, on impressive trajectory, healthy scratch in rookie year, most improved in OHL. Keeps improving at same rate could be a steal." - Warriner

Adam Mascherin - Forward - Kitchener Rangers (4 votes)
Highest Placement: 10th (4x)
"The more I watched Mascherin play this year, the more he reminds me of Mike Cammalleri. He is short, but very strong and legs like tree trunks. He is a sniper whit a deadly accurate shot and a deceptive release that he disguises very well and fools defenders and goalies. He has an explosive first step and top gear that give him the ability to create separation from defenders as well. I see Mascherin developing into a 30 goal scorer in the NHL within a few years and being one of the better value picks from the 2016 draft." - Harling

"If you give Adam Mascherin the puck in the high slot, with or without time to get it off, chances are he’ll beat the opposing goalie cleanly. You can’t teach a release like Mascherin’s and his ability to get into shooting areas and create space for himself is a special knack. The end." - Wheeler

"IMO he is the most criminally underrated player by NHLCS. Mascherin is an elite finisher with arguably the best shot in the league among draft eligible players. A point producer who has an adaptability to his game that will allow him to succeed at the next level." - Kneulman
Will Bitten - Forward - Flint Firebirds (3 votes)
Highest Placement: 9th (2x)
“Turbo charged, Fabbri type of scoring leader who does whatever it takes to make a positive impact on his shifts. Two way, and is undersold offensively. Lethal and unremitting in open ice, off the rush, and on the breakaway with the hands to finish or seek others.” - Mauro

"Nobody buzzes around a sheet of ice as erratically – yet effectively – as Bitten. If he doesn’t beat you to the puck the first time, he’ll beat you to the puck the second and third time. He’s got ample skill too, and beat defenders wide or finish around the net. The road hasn’t been easy either – Flint didn’t exactly impress in its first year as an OHL market – but Bitten has been outstanding every step of the way on and off the ice." - Wheeler

"Very explosive skater who can flat out FLY, brings a lot to the game through his very competitive nature, good puck handling traits, quality playmaker and finisher, works hard in all situations, creates turnovers." - Grainda

Cam Dineen - Defence - North Bay Battalion (3 votes)
Highest Placement: 8th (1x)
"Dineen started the season as a relative unknown and by mid-season he was becoming a popular sleeper pick. The undersized defenceman was at the top of the OHL scoring for defence all season long playing for the defence first Stan Butler in North Bay. His offensive vision is second to none for defence in this draft as he reads the play extremely well timing his opportunities to join the attack, and creating breakout opportunities. His steady play all season and his improving defence has seen his ranking rise to anywhere from a late first round to a mid-third." - Harling

"As I mentioned in my rankings...only four defenders in the last 10 years have finished in the top 2 of defenseman scoring in the OHL in their inaugural draft year (DeAngelo, Ceci, Murphy, Ellis) and all of them have been first round picks. Dineen is the 5th and you have to respect that. The physical tools aren't exceptional, but the hockey sense is. And he's already progressed so much at both ends of the ice. Also, did I mention that his coach (Stan Butler) is one of the best when it comes to improving a player's ability to play both ends?" - Otten

Nathan Bastian - Forward - Mississauga Steelheads (2 votes)
Highest Placement: 9th (2x)
"Versatility is the name of the game for Bastian. He can play both the right and left side and he can play center.  He was at his best when he played on one of the best lines in the OHL with Nylander and McLeod, but that wasn’t always the case with Bastian. So the question that needs to be asked is: how much did he benefit because of his linemates? Bastian has good size (after a huge growth spurt). He’s not afraid to use that added bulk and size as he gets into the opposition end and bangs people to take possession of the puck. And once he gets that possession, he has superb vision and playmaking abilities to set up mates. Like his teammate Michael McLeod, Bastian is a very good two-way player who uses his smarts, positioning and anticipation extremely well." - Tiano

"Extremely versatile player who I think should, and will intrigue NHL scouts. This is a kid who has grown a TON the last few years (was drafted into the OHL at 5'11). He's still adapting and adjusting as he grows into his frame completely. Yet...he's proven to be a highly effective player at both ends already. Showed very well at center with McLeod out, but was also highly effective as a playmaking winger most of the year. Plays extremely physical in the corners and when chasing the puck, but needs to transfer that aggressiveness to his offensive game. I expect a big jump next year." - Otten

Markus Niemelainen - Defence - Saginaw Spirit (2 votes)
Highest Placement: 7th (1x)
"Perhaps a head scratcher for most but the more and more I see of Neimelainen the more he has impressed me. Stands 6'5"+ but skates exceptionally well for a player of that size. Never shies away from physical confrontation and has a growing offensive game. Development will be the key for Neimelainen but if he takes as many steps forward in 16-17 as he did in 15-16 then whichever team takes him could have an incredible steal on their hands." - Duthie

"I’m higher on Niemelainen than most people are and that’s okay. Most are impressed with Logan Stanley because of his size and I struggled with going with Stanley or Niemelainen here. In the end, I think Niemelainen has showed to have greater offensive upside than Stanley, at least at this level. While Stanley is very good defensively and Markus has at times struggled, I don’t worry too much about it because defence can be taught. But don’t take that as a knock on Markus defensively. He’s hard to beat one on one, and he’s a good enough skater to close gaps. I would just like to see him use his size more often on the boards and in front of his goal." - Tiano

Cliff Pu - Forward - London Knights (2 votes)
Highest Placement: 9th (1x)
"While overshadowed by London's top line, Pu has been a huge driver on the second line thanks to his speed and vision. Has all the tools to be an impact player next year and his size makes him a tantalizing NHL prospect." - Kennedy

"Biggest riser in the entire draft. He has shed the label of being soft and become a very quick power forward that has just gotten exceptionally better under Dale Hunter. He uses his speed and size now to create opportunities and although he will never crush guys, he isn't scared." - Seidel

Jordan Kyrou - Forward - Sarnia Sting (1 vote)
Highest Placement: 9th (1x)
"Kyrou came up big whenever the scouts were out in numbers; whether it was the Ivan Hlinka, OHL Super Series, Top Prospects Game, OHL playoffs or U-18's. He was stuck behind some veteran offensive players in Sarnia this past season, but his strong ending to the season and upside bode well for an offensive breakthrough next season as his offensive opportunities and ice time increase. Seemed the fastest skater at the Top Prospects combine testing, Kyrou's versatility in playing both wing and center increase his chances of one day securing a top nine spot on an NHL team in the future, perhaps even top six if he reaches his full potential." - McCagg

Dimitri Sokolov - Forward - Sudbury Wolves (1 vote)
Highest Placement: 9th (1x)
"Weight is a problem, injuries were a problem, but the team he was on was also a problem. You watched Sudbury and he stood out a lot, especially in the second half once he got his act together. Big-time skill with great IQ and shooting ability but skating is ugly." - Anonymous

Sean Day - Defence - Mississauga Steelheads (1 vote)
Highest Placement: 10th (1x)
"No one in this draft is as intriguing as this guy. When you watch him you think, "there is NO way he is 18 years old." Then other times you watch him and you realize, "Yup, he IS 18" Shift to shift you just never know what you are going to get. But when he is on, look out! He has been through so much with family issues that it has hurt him. This is a risky pick, but if he can figure it out in a few years, could be a steal. Key word being....could!" - Ambrogio

1 comment:

Craven Morehead said...

Watched Nemo all year and he needs some good coaching as Jay Wells left the team early and was never replaced. Saginaw had problems all year getting the puck out of the zone. Hopefully new systems and strategies will help with the introduction of new coaching. That is if he even remains in Saginaw .