Saturday, November 26, 2016

Preliminary Media/Scout Poll for 2017

It's time for the first consensus media/scout poll for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Even though there was a bit of deviation, it does seem like most people are set on who the top 3 players are from the OHL; Gabriel Vilardi, Owen Tippett, and Nic Hague. The order certainly isn't set but those three seem to have separated themselves from the pack right now. Outside of that, Matthew Strome seems to be on the fringe of making it a consistent top 4, but he still has some doubters. But when we're talking about the 5th best prospect from the OHL this year? Good luck finding a consensus. A remarkable 9 other players received votes for the Top 5. And an astonishing 22 players received consideration for the Top 10. Just shows how wide open this draft class is from the OHL. Definitely some quality depth, but also a lot of players with some question marks. Just how many first rounders will the OHL have this year? At this point, I could see that number being very low...or high, depending on how a lot of these players finish their seasons. 

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 the OHL inside, and out. 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 2017 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
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 (@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) 

Peter Harling - Managing Editor of Dobber Prospects (@pharling) 
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)
and of course...myself (@BrockOtten

Here's the list:

1. Gabriel Vilardi - Forward - Windsor Spitfires
Total Votes: 16
High/Low Ranking: 1st (12x)/2nd (4x)
"I see him regularly and he's been remarkably consistent despite returning from a knee injury. Stronger, bigger this year. Underrated passer with a great release, and is strong on the puck in the trenches. Appendectomy will sideline him until after Xmas. Shouldn't hurt his stock. Comparable: Corey Perry" - Todd Warriner

"Has really impressed after returning to the Spits lineup following an injury he sustained in the third game of Canada's inter-squad scrimmage just prior to the Ivan Hlinka. He does possess great hockey sense, great vision and puck moving abilities. He loves to have the puck on his stick, and can maneuver the puck effectively. He's really poised can influence the game in all three zones. He really excels below the dots in the offensive end and puts that 6-foot-3, 201-pound frame to good use in generating scoring opportunities for himself and teammates." - Mike Morreale

"Dating back to his OHL draft season where he was playing with the CIH Academy in Ottawa, Vilardi has always played and thought the game at a higher level than his peers. This intelligence remains his best asset heading into the NHL Draft because it allows him to see the ice better, anticipate plays more accurately and process the game quicker. His skating has come a long ways and it’s rounded him into a dangerous two-way pivot. His handling skills are top notch and he always seems to emit a sense of confidence and control when the puck is on his stick. Vilardi is a player who elevates the level of play of his teammates and given his well-rounded skills, he should be the first OHLer off the board. He will certainly benefit from an extra-long season playing on the Windsor Spitfires, who’ll host the Memorial Cup." - Brendan Ross

“Shows no signs of injury, and fits in real well with Windsor’s talented forward lineup. Like him more as a C due to current skating lag, but can hang on the wing and perform at a high clip. Really quick, reactive stick once he hits the offensive zone and can rip the puck.” - Anthony Mauro

“Impacts the game on a consistent basis. Has the creativity to make skilled plays with the puck and the power to push his way through traffic or battle for pucks along the wall. Has excellent vision and offensive instincts knowing where his line mates are on the ice and how to best utilize them. Finds open space and takes advantage of the smallest gaps to either place the puck on a teammates stick or to fire off a deadly shot. If he can stay healthy and improve his skating he looks like a potential high end offensive winger at the NHL level.” - Dan Stewart

"Vilardi is a center with good size at 6’2” that can dominate in all three zones. The thing is, he’s been playing wing for the Spits this season. He’s not a flashy skater and not overly speedy so he may be better suited on the wing. And to date, he’s overwhelmingly succeeded. Vilardi has excellent puck protection skills. He keeps his head on a swivel and has excellent vision. His extremely high hockey sense allows him to survey the situation and make decisions quickly and accurately. Vilardi has a powerful shot with a quick and deceptive release. His net front presents is above average and has excellent hand/eye coordination at deflecting shots. He cycles extremely well and is willing to drive the net." - Dominic Tiano

"It has been an injury plagued season for Vilardi. After missing the Ivan Hlinka tournament due to injury and a chance to make a strong impression at the first scouting opportunity in his draft season, he is now out indefinitely after undergoing an appendectomy operation. Limited to just 16 games, he has managed to produce 22 points while playing out of position. Vilardi is a natural center, but has been playing wing on a line with Logan Brown. Vilardi could have played his way into contention for a top three pick in the draft, but his injuries put that into question." - Peter Harling  

2. Owen Tippett - Forward - Mississauga Steelheads
Total Votes: 16
High/Low Ranking: 1st (4x)/5th (1x)
"I'm putting him first because his skating is so special and his hands are obviously pretty good, too. Tippett is burying tons of chances and that's a great harbinger for the future." - Ryan Kennedy

"NHL ready shot right now. Continues to work on other aspects of his game." - Tony Ambrogio

"Speed, speed, speed, though he has the size of an OHL power forward Owen Tippett has tremendous acceleration and top end speed that give his game a different dimension from most. Able to play physically and control the puck or beat defenders one on one there isn't much the Mississauga forward can't do. A natural goal scorer, Tippett is definitely a shoot first, shoot second, pass later kind of player and could use to diversify his game a little more to make himself more dangerous with and without the puck but having already surpassed his goal total from the 15-16 campaign (15 through 48 games last year to 16 through 21 this year) he will certainly have the eye of many around the NHL." - Reed Duthie

"If you’re looking for speed, he’s got it. Power? Check. Pure sniper? Probably the best available from the OHL. Tippet has an explosive first step and top end speed to go with it. He’s a possession monster once the puck is on his stick. He can slow up and survey or he can keep on driving towards the goal. He has an accurate, hard shot that he gets off his stick quickly. He plays with a shoot first mentality. He started off slowly but took off like gangbusters. His production has dropped a bit in November, but is still producing at a point per game. He’s made improvements in his own zone but continues to be a work in progress." - Dominic Tiano

“Ultra-fast skating winger with an absolutely lethal shot. Great power and balance to his stride. Drives down the wing, knows where the high percentage scoring areas are and gets to those areas. Has good size and a frame to continue to build upon. Works the wall, engages in battles, and gets his nose dirty. Has big time goal scoring potential with a firecracker release but there are some questions about his hockey sense.”  - Dan Stewart

“Pure shooter can blitz or lay back and find seams with good awareness of the field. Has really settled into his draft year this fall and taken a big step forward as far as being a consistent offensive presence. Has more room to develop into a dominant scorer than 2016 12th overall teammate McLeod.” - Anthony Mauro

"NHL shot and a scorers mentality. There is no doubt he will score at the next level but I do question how some of his other attributes will play at the next level. At the end of the day he has an elite skill that makes in intriguing." - Peter Kneulman 

"Best pure goal scorer in the Draft. Combines a pro shot with great feet to be able to beat guys wide. Defensive game still needs work but you aren't drafting him to be Bob Gainey." - Mark Seidel 

3. Nic Hague - Defense - Mississauga Steelheads
Total Votes: 16
High/Low Ranking: 2nd (4x)/5th (1x)
"Scouts drool over big defensemen who can skate and too often size becomes more of a factor than it should be. With Hague, already a hulking 6’6 and well over 200-pound defender, the fawning is well-earned because he’s also an excellent offensive option who can play the powerplay and contribute. While Hague could stand to improve his puck-handling, his heavy slapshot and above-average vision make him a dynamic presence with and without the puck." - Scott Wheeler

"The NHL is clearly trending towards a fast game, and favours defencemen that can move the puck in transition from the defensive zone. By looking at the tale of the tape, you may think Hague is a throwback to the old days where defencemen had to be big hulking physical defensive defencemen. At 6-6, 214 pounds it would be easy to see Hague fit that mould. However, skating is far from a deficiency in his game and he is equally adept offensively as he is defensively. He has a cannon of a shot from the point and can run the power play. Defencemen with his skill set are simply next to impossible to acquire outside of the draft, and as such he should be a top ten pick as the should be the second defenceman off the board come June." - Peter Harling

"The reach and size of Hague obviously stand out, but the offensive dimension really helps his stock. He can help a team at both ends of the ice." - Ryan Kennedy

“Has the type of point direction to lead as defender in offensive situations. Huge shot, knows how to position himself in prime areas, and even travels out of most D’s comfort zone to score. Gangly, and desperately needs to gain strength/coordination over this season and even past that.” - Anthony Mauro 

"I'm big on big mobile Dmen, and Hague has all the tools. 6'6' rangy, and still figuring out his body, he an excellent passer, plays physically with an edge, heavy shot and improved skater. A big part of Missy's transition game. Nothing missing from his game. Comparable: Brent Seabrook" - Todd Warriner

“Big, mobile, strong and flashes a little physically nasty side at times. Extremely difficult to get around for opponents and can really shut you down with his wingspan and positioning; getting his stick on the puck or his body on an attacker. Has a booming shot that makes goalies question their choice to play the position and solid vision. Kid has loads of upside but needs to improve his pivots and first step quickness to reach his potential of a top four NHL blueliner.” - Dan Stewart

"Something that isn't said about prospects enough...on top of all the skills that this guy brings to the ice, he's even more impressive off of it. Was the OHL's Bobby Smith Trophy (Scholastic Player of the Year) winner last year. Check the history of that award. Not a lot of duds on it. He's got leadership qualities moving forward and will no doubt interview extremely well come time for the combine. Just an impressive young man, on and off the ice." - Brock Otten

4. Matthew Strome - Forward - Hamilton Bulldogs
Total Votes: 16
High/Low Ranking: 2nd (1x)/9th (1x)
"A different player than his brothers Ryan and Dylan. The skating strides are similar, but Matthew is more of a rugged, power winger. Really utilizes his size well in the offensive end, protecting the puck in traffic and is aggressive in driving the net. Flashes a physical game too, that could most certainly grow with added strength and confidence. Like his brothers though, the hockey sense and vision with the puck is top notch. I will say that IMO, his skating has already come a long way since his last year and may even be better than Dylan's and Ryan's in their draft seasons." - Brock Otten

"I'm not as worried about his skating as some others – he's got time to work on that. What I see is a big, smart kid who can really produce offense." - Ryan Kennedy

"Describing Matt Strome as a poor skater would have been a compliment in his OHL draft season but his advancement in his skating has been damn impressive. While he’s not yet a strong skater, Strome has erased a lot of concerns as he finds success at the junior level. Kudos for his efforts. His skilled hands, smart awareness and ability to play and execute in tight spaces are his calling cards. His touch on the puck and playmaking acumen certainly allow him to exploit opponents’ weaknesses." - Brendan Ross

"An electric to the start has cooled off a bit of late for the Bulldogs but not for the 17 year old power forward. At 6'3'' and over 200 lbs, Strome combines power forward size with silky hands with a lightning quick release & heavy, accurate shot. Responsible at both ends of the rink Strome is a trusted member of the Bulldogs penalty kill group seeing frequent time on the ice in those situations. A staple of the first power play unit Strome can use his shot to play the perimeter or net front where he is very difficult for OHL defenders to move aside. Strome has also showed a continuing resolve to improve his skating game which will pay off as he moves towards the next level." - Reed Duthie

"He's the biggest in terms of size and strength of the three Strome siblings. The common bond among them is the fact they're e players who persevere and play with determination and grit. Matt is strong down low and at protecting the puck. He's very hard to check, and has excellent IQ. He's a proven finisher." - Mike Morreale

"As with both of his older brothers, Matthew Strome’s skating is largely the only major concerns have with the two-way forward. And while he may not be quite as gifted as his two older brothers are with the puck, Matthew is a dynamic scorer and passer who can create through the neutral zone into the slot and off the cycle. His strong possession style game, and his NHL size could make him a versatile top-six option at the next level." - Scott Wheeler    

5. Mackenzie Entwistle - Forward - Hamilton Bulldogs
Total Votes: 14
High/Low Ranking: 4th (2x)/Outside of the Top 10 (2x)
"Perhaps a bit of biased on this one but Hamilton's hulking centre may be the most improved player in the OHL from his debut in the 15-16 season opener until now. With tremendous offensive instincts and a willingness to get to high traffic areas Entwistle can create offence for himself and his linemates but his biggest contributions may come through his high hockey IQ. Able to think the game at a high level Entwistle made his initial impact with the Bulldogs (much as Matthew Strome did) as a 16 year old on penalty kill duty where he was able to thrive in the high intensity situation. Now learning to use his size to shield the puck and ward off defenders to help his offensive creativity, Entwistle's development curve points straight up." - Reed Duthie

“Versatile forward is a man’s man, period. Right now, does everything and looks like he’s gonna have a long NHL career. Bleeds intensity as he hits, passes, scores, defends, and dangles.” - Anthony Mauro

"He is a very versatile player who is perhaps a jack of all trades, but a master of none. He has size at 6-3, 181 and is can play either center or the wing. He can play up and down the lineup in either offensive or defensive situations because he is a smart two-way player. Hamilton uses him on the first penalty kill unit and he has a shorthanded goal to his credit. With his size, he can play the net presence as well and is effective on the powerplay. His skating skills are strong and he can drive the net with power. Projecting him to higher levels, he may be best suited as a third or fourth line center with offensive upside." - Peter Harling

"A high energy player who has really developed in the past year. Drives the net hard and isnt afraid to go into the dirty areas. Really intriguing projectability. His size and physicality mixed with his energy gives him a really high floor at the next level. If his development continues at the same rate it has the past season it makes his ceiling very exciting." - Peter Kneulman

"A blue-collar, hard-working, body banging power winger. Uses his size well to protect the puck, win battles or just to lay out a devastating hit. Hard to check off the puck. Plays a heavy game that will only grow as he adds more strength. Possesses a good shot release with high velocity; accuracy is a little iffy. Skating is just average. Makes good decisions. Shows flashes of high end puck skills where he dangles around an opponent but can also play the chip and chase game. Not a high end skill guy but can complement one in a secondary or supporting role.” - Dan Stewart

"Has a lot of Nick Paul in him. Can play really well in all 3 zones and is already a premiere pk guy. His offensive game is developing and he will score his share but Coaches will LOVE him." - Mark Seidel 
6. Nick Suzuki - Forward - Owen Sound Attack
Total Votes: 14
High/Low Ranking: 4th (1x)/Outside of the Top 10 (2x)
"The former London Jr. Knight is enjoying himself a great draft season to date as he impresses scouts with his outstanding two-way play. At the time of this writeup, Suzuki sits atop the leaders in short-handed goals (3) and is a key offensive part of the Owen Sound offence, chipping in on 37% of team goals. Much like Bo Horvat in his draft season, Suzuki owns good NHL certainty due to his work ethic, natural hockey sense and versatility." - Brendan Ross

"Good sense and vision and is versatile along the front line. A really good passes and poised with the puck; can execute skilled plays in traffic. Scouts tell me he's an under-rated finisher and anticipates well to get himself in prime scoring areas. He's as a complete a player as you'll find in the draft." - Mike Morreale

"A very underrated prospect right now IMO. Currently the leading scorer among draft eligible prospects in the OHL...and that includes an extremely slow start that had him put up only 1 goal and 1 assist in his first 5 games. While his skating ability is definitely an asset, I think his biggest strength is his hockey sense. Allows him to be an excellent 200 foot player and a constant offensive threat. The physical skills aren't great (which would help to explain his lack of hype), but the rest of his game is legit. He's one heck of a hockey player." - Brock Otten

“A skilled, well-rounded, hard-working and fluid skating playmaker. This always aware centre really has jumped out to a strong start this season for the Attack. Impressive ability to make quick decisions with the puck and put his line mates in situations to succeed with well-timed passes. Plays that two-way role well and I see him growing that aspect of his game where he will be a strong 200-foot player at the next level.” - Dan Stewart   

"A bit of a bowling ball type player, Suzuki can go around or through his opposition to set the play or hit the back of the net himself. High hockey IQ will also keep Suzuki on the rise in addition to a tremendous work ethic. Suzuki is the type of player who appears to get stronger as the games move along." - Reed Duthie 

7. Ivan Lodnia - Forward - Erie Otters
Total Votes: 11
High/Low Ranking: 3rd (1x)/Outside of the Top 10 (4x)
“A smallish but immensely skilled prospect. Impressive possession skills and slick hands. Always involved showing an attack mentality to his game. Despite his less than impressive size he can be strong, balanced and hard to take off the puck. Drives to the net and battles with bigger defenders when there. Skating and size combo are a question mark for me as he is shifty but not overly fast. I want to push him higher on my list after a view but he has just not convinced me to do so yet.”  - Dan Stewart

"Lodnia falls into that ever growing category of smallish forward that can skate and has skill which is a growing commodity in the NHL. Along with his high level skating, he possesses high end hockey IQ, vision and playmaking abilities. As long as he keeps his feet moving when he has the puck he’s an excellent puck possession guy. Despite his size, he’s not afraid to go to the net, He’s actually quite strong. He has a quick shot and release so he becomes a threat to score himself." - Dominic Tiano

"Undersized but skilled, speedy and crafty. Lodnia likely has some refining to do to his game to continue his development as a three zone player but may be the most dangerous of the OHL draft crop with the puck on his stick, with a great release, tremendous vision and moves to make defenders miss in a phone booth Lodnia can fire or distribute and render opposition helpless." - Reed Duthie

"Another skilled player on the smallish side but one who oozes upside. Great skater who is very creative with the puck and can succeed in a multitude of situations." - Peter Kneulman

"Seems to be a polarizing prospect, likely because of his lack of elite size. But he did hit a growth spurt and is about 5'10/5'11 now. I think one of the most important statistics to point out about Lodnia is that of his 10 goals, only one has been on the powerplay. He does a lot of damage 5 on 5 and is very strong for a kid his size. Navigates traffic extremely well and just seems to understand the game. High offensive upside IMO." - Brock Otten 

8. Sasha Chmelevski - Forward - Ottawa 67's
Total Votes: 12
High/Low Ranking: 5th (2x)/Outside of the Top 10 (3x)
"An extremely fast skater and difficult to contain 1-on-1. He's from Huntington Beach, Calif., and is really putting up the points for the 67's this season. He's all about offense; give him the puck and watch him go." - Mike Morreale

"A player I expect to continue to rise as the season goes along Chmelevski was moved as part of the Travis Konecny deal last season and looks like he will make the 67's very happy about that trade. Offensively dynamic and improving in other parts of his game, Chmelevski will be one of the smoothest player to be drafted in the '17 class overall. Looking effortless with the puck on his stick in the offensive zone I believe he has only begun to scratch the surface of what he could become." - Reed Duthie

"Despite lacking size, Chmelevski has proven himself again and again early on this season as an offensive threat, and someone who can score whenever he gets the puck in the slot. His line with Austen Keating and Artur Tyanulin has been even better than many expected it to be and his creativity with the puck is a major factor in their success. Few can score in tight like Chmelevski can." - Scott Wheeler

“A constant threat to put the puck in the net whenever his skates touch the ice. A magician with the puck on his stick. Utilizes explosive burst and strong protection skills to go where he wants on the ice.  A big time goal scorer with impressive shot release and escapability. Impressive natural instincts to know where to be on the ice. Sets up and can unload a wicked one-timer in a flash. Could improve the level of commitment in the defensive zone as well as his overall consistency shift to shift. Has some big NHL upside that pushes him higher up my list than most.” - Dan Stewart

"Chmelevski is another “undersized” speedy forward who is at his best when he has the puck on his stick. He had an excellent Hlinka tournament and has carried that over to the OHL this season. He has very good hockey smarts and thinks the game ahead of his peers. He has a good shot with a very good release but is also an above average playmaker. The downfall with Chmelevski is that he doesn’t always put the effort in defensively or when he doesn’t have the puck on his stick. He’s going to have to put in a better effort and find consistency in that effort." - Dominic Tiano

9. Michael Dipietro - Goaltender - Windsor Spitfires
Total Votes: 7
High/Low Ranking: 5th (1x)/Outside of the Top 10 (8x)
"Good athlete, competitor who's moving less in the net and stopping the puck more. Consistent this year, improved puck moving skills. Never quits on rebounds, and will be centrepiece in net for Mem Cup hosts. Comparable Jonathan Quick." - Todd Warriner

"Best goalie I have seen in the OHL in quite a few years. Anticipation, positioning and athleticism all make him elite. I would love to seem him make Team Canada as a 3rd goalie for the WJC as I feel he is the future of the team between the pipes for the next 2 seasons. Very projectable at the next level and is a treat to watch." - Peter Kneulman 

"I’m not a fan of ranking a goaltender this high but DiPietro is deserving, so far, of being the first OHL goaltender to be selected in the first round since the Boston Bruins chose Malcolm Subban 24th overall in 2012. Only two things that DiPietro needs to work on, size and rebound control. The latter he’s shown improvement on over last season and he continues to improve. The question now becomes: can NHL scouts get over the size question they covet so much for a goaltender with number one potential written all over him? If not, many teams will be sorry to have missed out on him and one team will be ecstatic that he dropped to them. If he is deserving of first round consideration though, I should have him number 5 on this list as I don’t see anymore than 4 or 5 OHL’ers being selected in the first round." - Dominic Tiano

“Athletic, quick and aggressive but sub monster sized puck stopper. Extremely talented at reading and reacting to the developing play. Very smart. Gets up high in his crease to close off angles but can also stand tall deep in his crease when the play gets greasy. His recovery and lateral movements are impressive. Can make flashy saves as well as look very efficient in his play similar to Carey Price. Has the calmness yet confidence to succeed at the next level.” - Dan Stewart

10. Greg Meireles - Forward - Kitchener Rangers
Total Votes: 6
High/Low Ranking: 5th (1x)/Outside the Top 10 (9x)
"There's tons of upside here. He has high-end speed and quickness and an ability to create separation with his first three strides. He's extremely elusive in the open ice and possesses very good hockey sense." - Mike Morreale

"Despite being 5’10 and 173 pounds, Meireles battles fiercely along the walls for pucks, often against bigger players, and comes away with the pucks in those battles more often than not.  He’s brought an element of physicality to his game that can only improve with added bulk to his frame. His speed, anticipation and work ethic make him relentless on the forecheck. Meireles is a very good skater with excellent speed and a first step that rockets him to top speed. Combined with his abilities to anticipate, he can get into lanes quickly often taking away attempted passes. He has very good vision and playmaking skills and while he projects as a playmaker first, he possesses an above average shot that can beat goaltenders. He has an extremely high hockey IQ and thinks the game one or two steps ahead." - Dominic Tiano

"After playing his 16 year old season in the CCHL Meireles has been as advertised in his first full season in the OHL. On the smallish side but his scrappy and fearless play in the dirty areas allows him to succeed inspite of this. High end skills and playmaking ability who can create offence and make those around him better." - Peter Kneulman

"Certainly not the biggest (a bit of a theme among many of the top forwards available from the OHL this year), but you can't help but notice Meireles when you watch Kitchener play. Plays with a ton of energy, grit, and heart, but also clearly possesses a lot of skill. His skating is definitely a top notch asset as he's got a terrific extra gear which he uses to win a lot of loose puck battles and push the pace cutting through the neutral zone. As he continues to get stronger, he could turn out to be a real beast. Let's not forget that it's his first year in the OHL." - Brock Otten

Honorable Mentions:

Jason Robertson - Forward - Kingston Frontenacs (5 votes)
Highest Ranking: 6th (1x)
"Robertson is a prospect on the rise. The Frontenacs second round pick raised some eyebrows when he cracked a loaded Kingston roster last year as a 16-year-old rookie. Robertson was invited to play in the All-American Prospect game where he scored a goal and turned some heads again. Robertson is very good at carrying the pace of the play using his size, puck skills and offensive instincts. At 6-2, 194 he could use his size more aggressively as he is a very calm and passive player. The knock on Robertson is his skating, he has heavy feet and is slow getting up to speed, but once he gets going he can move." - Peter Harling 

"Growing into a leadership role on a team having a down year can't be an easy task but Robertson is making it look fairly simple as he continues to grow his game in all three zones, serving as a leader at even strength, penalty kill and power play. Roberston is able to use his size at 6'2'' 194 lbs. to be a net front presence but has soft enough hands to cash in from the doorstep making him even harder to play against. Not afraid of the physical side nor commitments in his own zone, Robertson may not have the offensive upside of some on the list but projects as a good all around character player that teams will love to have." - Reed Duthie

"Was really interesting to see him in the top 10 of the ENTIRE draft in the latest Redline Report article. Definitely was a bit shocking (and this is coming from someone who likes Robertson). Drives the net well and has good hands, but I'm still wondering what his high end potential would be for the next level. Can he be a guy who is a driving force on an offensive line or is he more of a secondary option/complimentary piece?" - Brock Otten

" Kid has heavy boots but he is a pure scorer. Finds seams in the offensive end and seems to always capitalize. His skating has to improve but he his scoring will make teams happy." - Mark Seidel

Isaac Ratcliffe - Forward - Guelph Storm (4 votes)
Highest Ranking: 4th (1x)
“Big, lanky power winger in the making with good puck skills. Impressive skater for a big towering guy who is still growing. Has soft hands and is dangerous anywhere around the crease. Screens the goalie well and can clean up any rebounds with his long reach and strength. Fights for his space, is physical and plays with a mean streak. Finishes checks and is hard to contain along the wall. Consistency is what will define him going forward; right now he can look like a top prospect on one or two shifts but then comes the inevitable handful of shifts where he is disengaged. If he can sort that out he will be a riser on my list.” - Dan Stewart

“Big kid who thinks and acts like he’s 5’10 – giving him an offensive arsenal that makes you double take. More of a high-end winger than most probably label him, he has really soft hands and flexibility to make plays in all types of situations.” - Anthony Mauro

"Was hurt most of last year so he is a revelation for some guys. Big kid that will top out at 225 pounds and has soft hands and can make plays." - Mark Seidel

Markus Phillips - Defense - Owen Sound Attack (4 votes)
Highest Ranking: 7th (2x)
"He hasn't progressed as much as I thought he would by this point, but I still like his upside." - Tony Ambrogio

"I think he's a very solid prospect. Oozes leadership potential. Plays the game the right way in his own end. Doesn't have great size, but has a strong lower body that he uses to get leverage (think Travis Dermott). I think my concern is over his offensive potential at the next level. Shows flashes of being a solid offensive contributor, but can be prone to turnovers when he tries to push the pace of play. I don't know if he's a "naturally" gifted offensive player." - Brock Otten

Alex Formenton - Forward - London Knights (3 votes)
Highest Ranking: 4th (1x)
"Formenton is definitely high on my personal list and he’s always been one of my favourite prospects. After falling to the 11th round to the Knights (I personally I had ranked in Top 50), London criminally scooped up the tenacious, skilled winger and have reaped the rewards after he sprouted up 9 inches in half a year. Size is no longer a concern as the six-foot-one winger now his range well to hold onto pucks in possession and create off the rush. He’s owns a great sense of awareness and I really like how he leaves an impact each and every shift. He’s a sleeper of sorts but I’m fairly confident he will become an impact NHLer down the road." - Brendan Ross

"Slightly built and snake bit around the net but is a fantastic skater. Fearless driving net, good hands, good lateral movement. With strength should be able to make transition to speed of pro game." - Todd Warriner

Dmitri Samorukov - Defense - Guelph Storm (3 votes)
Highest Ranking: 8th (1x)
"Liked him a lot in my early season viewings, but have come away disappointed the last few times that I've seen Guelph. I think that just means we're looking at a kid that's very raw right now. Great physical gifts and an interesting skill set, but still trying to find a consistent role on an inconsistent (and young) Guelph team. Starting to look more like a 2nd/3rd rounder and not the 1st rounder many were hyping him as in the 1st month." - Brock Otten

"“Drew Sergachev comparisons in his pre-draft year, but the only thing that’s comparable really is the fall slump. Slender and more of a teen, less of a rusher, hasn’t used his bomb from the point to the same effect yet. Some have given up on him more, but you just don’t throw away the success he has had internationally.” - Anthony Mauro 

"The big defender from Guelph is slowly adapting to North America. Our job is to figure out who will be good in 5 years and this kid has all of the tools and will become a good NHL'er. He should soar in the 2nd half." - Mark Seidel

Austen Keating - Forward - Ottawa 67's (3 votes)
Highest Ranking: 6th (1x)
"If there is one player in this OHL class, one that is widely underhyped, who doesn’t get enough attention it’s Austen Keating. After the 67’s lost their three top offensive threats in Travis Konecny, Dante Salituro and Jeremiah Addison, Keating stepped up not only as a dynamic playmaker but also as a two-way option on an otherwise weak 67’s team. If he continues to progress as he has, he should be a lock for the first round." - Scott Wheeler

"Ive been a fan of his ever since his minor midget days with the Guelph Gryphons. Hockey IQ is through the roof and his elite anticipation gives him a leg up on his compeition. Always in the right spot it seems and he has the skills to take advange of that on the scoreboard." - Peter Kneulman

Adam Ruzicka - Forward - Sarnia Sting (2 votes)
Highest Ranking: 7th (1x)
"“Import horse has struggled with Sarnia in the early going despite showing flashes of his capability. Doesn’t look gelled, comfortable and has way more potential offensively than he’s showing. At his best when he’s the team’s focal point and the puck is glued to his stick.” - Anthony Mauro

Jacob Paquette - Defense - Kingston Frontenacs (2 votes)
Highest Ranking: 8th (1x)
"Another player I’ve liked since his minor midget playing days, when Paquette was playing with the Ottawa Jr. 67’s squad. He’s always processed the game at a high level, taking smart routes and applying his studious training abilities to the game. His low-maintenance style doesn’t always excite you but there’s an appreciation for his efficiency and ability to succeed in whatever role he’s thrusted into. A plus skater with good heads-up puck moving ability, Paquette has also shown good physical elements to his game and never makes the game easy for his attacking opponents." - Brendan Ross

"Paquette had such an impressive rookie season on the Kingston Frontenacs playing a top four role as a 16-year-old on a contending team and he looked like a seasoned veteran on most nights. Paquette does everything well, he is a very fluid skater both forwards and backwards with an efficient stride and top gear. He has missed the Ivan Hlinka and a good chunk of the start of the season recovering from an injury and had a slow start to the season. Despite a slow start he still is so calm under duress with the puck and a smart player who reads plays both defensively and offensively and reacts with quick smart decisions. Paquette could develop more of a physical presence and some offensive flair to his game, which should develop as he gains experience. He is still only 17-years-old despite looking like a veteran." - Peter Harling

Kaden Fulcher - Goaltender - Hamilton Bulldogs (2 votes)
Highest Ranking: 10th (2x)
"Late round pick, vastly improved this year since coming to Hamilton from Sarnia. Tall, stable, prototypical pro goalie. Strong work ethic with lots of upside. Comparable John Gibson." - Todd Warriner 

"The more I watch Fulcher the more excited I become about him. His ability to read the puck off of the shooters stick seems to always have him in position to make the save and make it look easy. Has NHL size at 6'3” and the athleticism that NHL teams are looking for. I expect him to continue his upward trend through the season and really cement himself as a top 3 goalie in the league by the end of the season." - Peter Kneulman

Nate Schnarr - Forward - Guelph Storm (1 vote)
Highest Ranking: 4th (1x)
"Right hand centre with good size, strong in all three zone, gaining confidence, plays the right way. Good shot, excellent on face offs. When he fills out will be a force. Adapted quickly and has a strong work ethic. Comparable: Travis Zajac" - Todd Warriner

Eemeli Rasanen - Defense - Kingston Frontenacs (1 vote)
Highest Ranking: 7th (1x)
"Big and mobile.  Qback's Frontenac PP. Smart, efficient and understands positioning in all three zones. Good stick, moves puck crisply, and has size to handle pro game. Comparable: Colton Parayko" - Todd Warriner

Morgan Frost - Forward - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (1 vote)
Highest Ranking: 10th (1x)
“It’s very easy to mix up #16 and #18, as the younger Greyhound plays exactly like Speers. Fantastic hands that aren’t just for show – he routinely slips his checks and fights through resistance while pulling off swift moves. Has instant appeal for the type of possessions he manages.”  - Anthony Mauro 

Robert Thomas - Forward - London Knights (1 vote)
Highest Ranking: 7th (1x)
"Kid is one of the smartest players in the Draft. Always in great positions and way more skilled offensively than anyone gives him credit for." - Mark Seidel