It's time for my first official ranking for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. I say official because I release a preseason ranking in the summer (which can be found here). Now that the 2018/19 season has started (well under way in fact), updating that list to reflect changes of opinion is a priority. That said, it's important to not over react to hot or cold starts. Some of those currently disappointing, will most definitely pick up their play. And some of those off to blazing starts won't be able to hold that production. At the end of the day, it is a cool exercise to go back and look at my first list of the season. For instance, here's last year's early season draft list.
The list includes detailed reports on the Top 30 and small snippets on the other 20 that make up the Top 50.
this point, Ryan Suzuki and Arthur Kaliyev seem neck and neck for that top spot from the OHL this year, a fact that surprises no one because it was expected to be that way. Even with both having terrific starts to the year, there's no guarantee that both are top 10 selections...or even lottery picks. This has many prompting (and perhaps rightfully so), that this is the weakest group of OHL players available for an NHL draft in some time. I still think that it's too early to make a remark like that. But it's not looking great.
also important to note (for those that aren't familiar with my lists),
that I don't include 2nd and 3rd year eligible players on the list (like North Bay's Matthew Struthers or Saginaw's Cole Coskey). I do a
list for those players.
Without further ado, here's my early season top 50.
1. Ryan Suzuki - Forward - Barrie Colts
As I said, it's neck and neck between Suzuki and Kaliyev but I'm still giving Ryan a slight edge because he plays the more coveted center position, and I think that his skill set is a little more well rounded. It's obviously tough not to compare Ryan to his brother Nick, and there are definitely some similarities. Terrific playmaking ability, puck possession poise, and the potential to be solid two-way players, for example. But Ryan is definitely the better skater and it gives him an electrifying quality off the rush that I'm not sure Nick truly possesses. Going back to his playmaking ability, for my money, Ryan might just be the best pure playmaker in the OHL and that includes Morgan Frost and his brother Nick. He consistently finds seams that don't appear to be there, and he just seems to be one step ahead of defenders out there. His decision making with the puck is truly terrific. The offensive production has been fantastic so far, but in order to truly break into the top 10, I think Suzuki's play away from the puck needs to be more consistent. Being that guy who is hungry on the forecheck and the backcheck, who can truly take charge in all three zones.
2. Arthur Kaliyev - Forward - Hamilton Bulldogs
Right there with Suzuki thanks to his electrifying start to the season. A totally different kind of player though and that, in part, makes it hard to compare them. Kaliyev plays a power game on the wing and is the type that can go through you with his size or puck skill. At 6'2, 185lbs, he's just so hard to stop once he gets a head of steam going and is so good at protecting the puck and putting defenders on his back. Of course, you have to talk about his shot and release which is top notch, part of the reason why he can work the point on the powerplay, or the slot. His skating is not elite, but he's a very intelligent player who seems to find those soft spots easily enough. And because of his puck protection ability, he's able to outwork opposing defenders to get his scoring chances. Additionally, heading into this year, the one area that really needed work was his playmaking ability and recognition in the offensive zone. That has improved leaps and bounds IMO. Saw a great stat the other day from the awesome Mitch Brown who said that Kaliyev has improved his scoring chance assist total exponentially this year. Like Suzuki, Kaliyev will need to continue to work on his play in all three zones to really elevate himself into the top 10. There are definitely times that he appears lazy away from the puck. If the physicality that he occasionally flashes, can become a truly consistent part of his game, it would make him a more attractive option.
3. Blake Murray - Forward - Sudbury Wolves
At this point, I'm sticking with Murray for the #3 spot. He's certainly not feeling the love of late from scouting agencies (like a 'C' rating from NHL Central Scouting), and his slow start is likely the reason for that. But I still believe that because of his size and skill down the middle, he needs to still be ranked pretty aggressively. Especially considering he seems to be turning things around lately. I've seen Sudbury twice this year. First game, early in the season, Murray was not great. He seemed to lack drive and tenacity without the puck, and was forcing plays in order to open up lanes to get his shot off. But in the second viewing (recently), he was terrific without the puck; completely engaged and dangerous on the forecheck, using his size and speed to push the pace and was making quicker decisions with the puck. If the peaks and valleys continue and consistency becomes an issue, then Murray will most definitely drop. Until then, I still like Murray's package of size and skill as a prototypical power center who could carve out a very successful pro career. There's just too much to like about his game.
4. Thomas Harley - Defense - Mississauga Steelheads
No doubt, this is an aggressive ranking; perhaps even against my better judgment. I wasn't incredibly impressed with him as an OHL rookie and had him ranked 28th coming into the year. So it's rare that you see me bump a guy up this much based on early season play. But Harley's pro potential and production this year can not be ignored. This is especially true in a down year for the OHL, where Harley looks like he could be one of the league's few potential first round picks. No question, he's been one of the most impressive draft eligibles that I've seen this year. Two things really stand out above the others. First is his skating ability given his size at 6'3. Extremely fluid skater who accelerates up ice effortlessly. Glides around and covers so much ice given his size and reach. Second is his ability to quarterback the powerplay. Looks extremely confident working the point, using his mobility to open up shooting/passing lanes. It's rare to see this much poise from a young kid who saw minimal powerplay action last year. Bottom line, Harley has the potential to be a mobile top three, two way defender at the NHL level, and given his late August birthday, we may just be scratching the surface of what he's capable of.
5. Billy Constantinou - Defense - Niagara IceDogs
If you read my preseason rankings (see above), you'd know that I'm a huge fan of this mobile offensive blueliner. His potential as a play creator is through the roof because of what he can do with his feet. His decision making with the puck has really taken a big step forward though. Among the highest point producers from the blueline 5 on 5 this year so far because he's evading the forecheck, consistently has his head up, and is looking to push the pace with stretch passes or his legs. He's really picking his spots well too, showing restraint when necessary and as such, has really limited his turnovers in the neutral zone from trying to force rushes. Still want to see more from him running the point on the powerplay. And with his size, his defense, specifically his ability to defend down low, will continue to be scrutinized. But Constantinou possesses really nice potential and is having a great start to the year.
6. Connor McMichael - Forward - London Knights
I really like the progression that McMichael has shown this year in London. A very intelligent center who is playing in all situations, using his speed to attack with, and without the puck. He's developed very nice chemistry with import (and fellow 2019 eligible) Matvey Guskov. He's just a very well rounded player. Can beat you multiple ways. Off the rush with speed. Working the corners and the cycle. He finds soft spots in the slot and near the crease really well and that's helped him be among the league's goal scoring leaders so far. As he continues to gain strength and confidence, he could be a very good two-way 2nd line center at the next level IMO. If the production continues, and the Knights end up making a run, he could continue to climb.
7. Michael Vukojevic - Defense - Kitchener Rangers
A preseason favourite of many, including myself, after a terrific rookie season and a solid Hlinka performance in the summer. Vukojevic is a beast in the defensive end. He blocks shots. He takes the body. His defensive positioning is terrific. Very rare to see Vukojevic to get beaten in the corners or to see him lose a battle for positioning in front of the net. Without question, he projects as a potential shut down defender at the next level, pending that he can continue to improve his mobility. The question has always been, what type of offensive potential does he have? In the playoffs last year and at the Hlinka this summer, I thought he showed signs of really developing that side of his game. But I don't think there has been a carry over to the start of this year. He keeps pucks in at the line well. And his breakout pass is pretty solid. But I'm just not sure I see the puck skill to be an offensive contributor at the next level. At least right now anyway. At this point, guys with more pro upside like Harley and Constantinou have passed him for me. Just how much separates Vukojevic and Ottawa's Nikita Okhotyuk?
8. Nick Robertson - Forward - Peterborough Petes
Tough start to the OHL season for Robertson. But he's only played a handful of games after missing a month or so with a wrist injury. Considering Robertson relies on his hands to make plays and his quick release to score goals, it could be a while before we see him in top form because of that injury. But he's a tremendous offensive player with great potential as a top 6 player at the next level and we need to still respect that in an early season ranking. Of course, casual fans will probably compare Nick to his brother Jason, but they are very different players. Jason relies on his size to protect the puck, playing a power game, working with defenders on his back and doing his damage mostly below the hash marks. Where as Nick is an undersized winger who's elusive in the o-zone because of his quick feet and hands. If the production still isn't there around the holidays, he'll have to drop, but given the injury, he has to be given the benefit of the doubt right now.
9. Nicholas Porco - Forward - Saginaw Spirit
Former 4th overall pick in the OHL priority selection, Porco has had a terrific start to his sophomore season after a bit of a rough rookie season. He's already surpassed his goal total from last year in only over a dozen games. Porco is at his best off the rush because of his explosive skating ability. He has to be considered one of the best skaters available from the OHL this year. His acceleration is just top notch and he creates separation with only a few steps. Combine that with his puck skill and he's made a few defenders look silly so far this year. Have liked his play on the penalty kill this year too, where he's using his speed to be a pain in the ass. Want to see how his game without the puck, 5 on 5, continues to improve. And as teams start to adjust to his speed and look to clog the neutral zone when he's on the ice, what kind of adjustments can he make to still produce offensively when the game slows down? Really like his potential and curious to see what his game looks like by season's end.
10. Matvey Guskov - Forward - London Knights
Not going to lie, Guskov has failed to live up to my high expectations thus far after being ranked inside Bob McKenzie's early first round to start the year. I think there are certainly some things to like. Really like how he plays in traffic and he seems to have a good head on his shoulders. One of those guys that the puck just seems to find in the slot or near the crease because he puts himself in good position to make plays. Skating ability, hands, and playmaking ability are all solid. I'm just not sure I see a guy with a massive amount of upside at the NHL level. Playing alongside McMichael, Guskov seems to defer to him to carry the puck and do most of the heavy lifting from what I've seen. But it's very early and as an Import, you just know that his game is going to improve. Until then, I feel good about having him just inside the Top 10, but I prefer McMichael as an NHL prospect right now.
11. Graeme Clarke - Forward - Ottawa 67's
Clarke has definitely emerged as a better NHL prospect than many people expected IMO. When he was drafted out of minor midget, there were concerns that he would be a Spencer Watson type of player, who had great skill, but lacked some of the physical skills and all around play that would make him a great player post OHL. But kudos to Clarke for really improving his game over his first year in a bit in the league. If anything, I would say he's actually a better player without the puck right now, than with it. Does a great job driving the net, with and without the puck. And he's really improved his effort level on the forecheck and along the wall, to make him a terrific complimentary piece. His shot and release are top notch, but I'm still not sure he's strong enough to truly create consistent scoring chances for himself alone. And while his skating has definitely improved from a year ago, it will need to continue to improve as I would classify it as average at this point. Clarke is a big part of a terrific young team moving forward
12. Philip Tomasino - Forward - Niagara IceDogs
Had very high expectations for Tomasino heading into this year, but he's been a bit disappointing so far. Part of that is a lack of ice time, as Niagara elected to keep him down the middle and has him centering the 3rd line with minimal special teams play. But part of that is also that I'm not sure he's been at his best. Tomasino IS at his best when he's using his speed to dictate pace, attacking the offensive zone and looking to attack the middle using his great puck skill. But from what I've seen so far, decision making with the puck has been a bit of an issue with him trying to force things. However, even when he's not at his best, he still makes a couple plays per game that make you say "wow." Truly believe that Tomasino's offensive potential, both in this league and as a pro, is very high. It can be tough for him to stand out consistently given his lack of key minutes on a good team, so he'll have to round out his game to truly be a difference maker on any given night.
13. Tag Bertuzzi - Forward - Guelph Storm
Obviously no surprise that Tag plays a power game similar to his Father Todd. He can be a real load to handle in one on one situations and he should eventually develop into a dominant player below the hash marks in this league. Really like how he protects the puck on his pushes down the wing. His hands are quite good, given the style of game he plays. But consistency is definitely an issue. Like a lot of young power forwards, Bertuzzi seems to be having a bit of difficulty balancing his physical play and tenaciousness, with being an offensive contributor. Have seen Guelph twice so far this year and Bertuzzi has had some very good shifts where he was great along the wall, or dominant as the first man in, using his size to create down low by prolonging possession. But then there were many other shifts where he was simply a passenger who looked a little befuddled without the puck. But let's not forget that Bertuzzi dealt with a lot of injuries in his rookie year, so he's still getting his feet wet in the league. Call him a work in progress.
14. Jamieson Rees - Forward - Sarnia Sting
Rees hasn't played in over a month after starting the season well from a production stand point. Thought he had a very solid Hlinka tournament in the summer, where he was able to show his skill level down low, in addition to some pest like qualities. Rees may lack elite size at 5'10, but he plays with a lot of heart and his speed/hustle makes him noticeable. But this injury that has kept him out isn't being talked about, which is never a great sign. Because I haven't seen him yet this year in the OHL, he's rated a little further down the list. Let's hope he can return to action soon and keep up his high level of play.
15. Nikita Okhotyuk - Defense - Ottawa 67's
Not a glamorous player and is comparable to Mike Vukojevic in that regard. But Okhotyuk is an extremely solid and dependable player in the defensive zone who projects as a stay at home type at the NHL level. Has good size, mobility, positioning and a mean streak that makes him a difficult player to match up against. The offensive production still hasn't been there, but he does make a solid first pass and flashes the occasional ability to lead or jump up into the rush. As he gains confidence in his puck skill, will we see gains in that department? The answer to that remains to be seen. But Okhotyuk remains a solid, relatively safe NHL prospect who is still adjusting in his second OHL season.
16. Joe Carroll - Forward - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Tools, tools, and more tools. The big 6'3 winger possesses a lot of the qualities that NHL scouts want to see. On top of his obvious size, the skating and skill package for such a big player makes him an alluring option (thus explaining his "B" rating from NHL Central Scouting). The only problem is the lack of production thus far. But the Hounds have experimented with Carroll (and Cole Mackay) flanking Morgan Frost lately and that will obviously help him develop. I also think that he's been better than the production shows. He really can make things happen off the rush, using his ability to protect the puck and his speed to back up opposing defenses, creating room for the Hounds offense to operate. Consistency is the issue though. Really want to see Carroll consistently working through the dirty areas without the puck, looking to grind it out a little, to go with his ability to work in transition. If he can turn it on, he's a potential top 50 pick. And if he doesn't, he'll likely be more of a mid-late round flyer for a team hoping to strike gold.
17. Cole Mackay - Forward - Sault Sre. Marie Greyhounds
Seems fitting to have these guys back to back. They really are the antithesis of each other though. Carroll, the big rangy winger who is still growing into his frame and his game. Mackay, a guy who lacks physical tools, but who brings it every night and plays such a composed, mature game in the offensive end. He does a bit of everything for the Hounds, and that's because his hockey IQ is terrific. Does such a good job operating without the puck and it's why he's become such a perfect linemate for Morgan Frost. Really like how Mackay has become aggressive in driving the net, even embracing a bit of a pest role. Has added another element to his game, in addition to his terrific hands and smarts. I guess the question is, will NHL scouts be able to look past his 5'11 frame and his average skating ability? He definitely looks like a top 90 pick to me though. At the end of the day, production is hard to ignore. I see a lot of current Leaf Connor Brown in Mackay.
18. Daniil Antropov - Forward - Oshawa Generals
Late 2000 born winger with great size and bloodlines (son of Nik). Has had a nice increase in production this year with more ice time and a chance to play the powerplay. Really like how he controls play down low at times. Great working the wall with defenders on his back, as he keeps the play alive and shows patience with the puck. But he needs to play with more urgency 5 on 5 to become a consistent threat. Has proven to be a load to handle when he drives the net, but that's just not a regular part of his game, from what I've seen. Too many instances of him just being there; a passenger rather than a driver. With late 2000 born players, I really like to see them consistently being a driving force with the puck as they should have the confidence by their 3rd season in the league. As Oshawa likely loads up for a deep playoff run, we'll see how Antropov can adjust to perhaps fluctuating ice time.
19. Hunter Jones - Goaltender - Peterborough Petes
Jones has easily been one of the better stories of the young OHL season. Not a ton was expected of the Petes this year, and part of that was the uncertainty surrounding their goaltending. Jones was not sharp last year. But he's been a totally different player this year. The late 2000 born goaltender has the elite size at 6'4 that NHL scouts want, but I've been very impressed with his movement in the crease this year. Looks much quicker post to post and is proving to be capable of stealing games with his athleticism and tracking. Hard to rank him higher at this point based on a small sample size, but if he can continue to be this good all season long, he could easily be in contention to be one of the first North American netminders off the board come June.
20. Keean Washkurak - Forward - Mississauga Steelheads
Slightly undersized center who has been a real workhorse for the Steelheads this year and has to be considered one of the main reasons for their hot start. As I write this, he's one of only a few first time draft eligibles averaging a point per game this year. Washkurak is a very well rounded player with a terrific compete level. Battles for every inch of ice. Shows great lower body strength working the wall, keeping pucks alive. Is also a good skater, which really helps him be a factor in all three zones and someone who can push the pace while leading the rush. I've liked his vision along the wall, but have noticed that he's a little turnover prone while driving the middle of the ice. But Washkurak is a bull who deserves praise for a great start and his versatility should make him a favourite of scouts if he can keep up his offensive production.
21. Mitchell Brewer - Defense - Oshawa Generals
The modern NHL shut down defender. Good size (6'1, 200lbs). Good mobility. Decent puck skill and an offensive game that shows potential. But most of all, terrific defensive awareness and positioning that allows him to excel and be one of Oshawa's key defenders already. He does show flashes of being able to use his skating ability to lead the rush and is also learning that he can create time and space with his feet to open up passing lanes to start the breakout. But his play in the defensive end is what will be his meal ticket, especially his intensity level in the defensive end (a shot blocking machine). Realistically, there probably isn't a ton separating Vukojevic, Okhotyuk, and Brewer at this point. But it's still early and I do feel that the former two may have a little more offensive ability. By season's end, it wouldn't shock me if all three are lumped closer together.
22. Vladislav Kolyachonok - Defense - Flint Firebirds
Immigration issues are holding up his ability to play, which is frustrating for a guy like me that still has not seen him play. Finally got the pass to play in Canada for Flint, but still can't play in Flint. His ranking at 22 is based solely on the fact that a few people that I trust, were extremely impressed with his play in the preseason and believe that he is a legitimate prospect. He did receive a "B" rating from NHL Central Scouting too. This is not something that I would normally do (rank a player that I haven't seen), but it just felt like the right thing to do given these rare circumstances. If he is as good as some say, 22 is probably quite low anyway. But I just couldn't put him any higher given that I haven't seen him.
23. Mack Guzda - Goaltender - Owen Sound Attack
Has had a very tough start to this OHL season. Really seems to be fighting the puck right now. Have noticed that he's giving up a lot of second chances and given his big frame (at 6'5), that lack of rebound control is really hurting him and putting a ton of pressure on the defense in front of him. But he's a very talented kid with the size and athleticism combination that teams look for. He moves well, it's just about refining that movement and learning how to really use his size more to his advantage. Getting his confidence back is obviously priority number one, especially if Owen Sound intends to compete in the Western Conference. Too early to drop him any further, but I do feel it is fair to say that Jones has passed him at this point.
24. Kari Piiroinen - Goaltender - Windsor Spitfires
Another guy that's tough for me to rank as I've only seen one of his starts so far. Super small sample size, but the numbers are solid (better than Dipietro's so far) and I know he has his fans. In that one game, I really liked his composure in the crease. Thought he tracked the play really well and showed great athleticism in his pushes. Not as big as Jones or Guzda, but 6'1 isn't small either. Definitely want to see more of him. Consider this a pretty cautious ranking as of right now too.
25. Cole Schwindt - Forward - Mississauga Steelheads
Big (6'3), rangy forward with the versatility to play center or wing and a very nice playmaking touch. Operates really effectively off the rush, where he uses his size to protect the puck, but has a very nice passing touch and the vision to find streaking teammates. Plays in all situations for the Steelheads too, where his size comes in handy in the slot on the powerplay, and his reach works well on the PK. Still learning to use his size consistently away from the puck, but he's clearly a hard worker on the ice and I think that part of his game could really develop, especially his effectiveness in tight as a goal scorer. His skating isn't extremely pretty, but it works for him and he does manage to beat players to loose pucks. Getting a little more explosiveness would definitely be a next step though. Definitely a nice prospect worth watching as the season progresses.
26. Jack York - Defense - Kitchener Rangers
Have really liked the progression of York, and he's built off his terrific playoff performance last year for the Rangers. He's really starting to gain confidence in his abilities offensively and he's becoming aggressive jumping up in the rush. Also really like how he controls the point. Shows great composure keeping pucks in and has a great little wrist shot, even though he needs to use it more. Defensively, I think the IQ is quite high and he obviously has the pedigree given his father's (Jason) long NHL career. Turnovers from the forecheck have been a bit of an issue, and he'll need to work on making quicker decisions in the defensive end. Have also seen him get caught flat footed a few times at the line while defending the rush. But York is a well rounded blueliner with the chance to develop further as an offensive player. With a late 2000 birthday, York looks like an NHL pick at this point.
27. Ethan Keppen - Forward - Flint Firebirds
Tough for anyone to really stand out for Flint this year given how bad they have been. But Keppen is a guy who I believe will garner NHL draft interest. Big, power forward who excels in that North/South game. Skates well for a player of this ilk and will drive through you to get to the net. Keppen also has a nice release. As of right now though, he's strictly a support/secondary option who looks like he needs that strong playmaker to create chances for him. Is he a guy who could play in the top 6 at the next level, or does he project as more of a Jamie McGinn type? Hard to tell, again, because Flint just isn't getting much of an opportunity to create plays in the offensive end. But big, physical wingers with a scoring touch like Keppen aren't exactly growing on trees these days.
28. Kyen Sopa - Forward - Niagara IceDogs
Have really liked Sopa's play both times that I've seen Niagara play this year. He's not a big guy at 5'9, but he plays much bigger than that. Sopa is a real greasy player who seems to enjoy getting his nose dirty in traffic. I certainly didn't expect him to possess that type of pest-like game. Creates a lot of room and scoring chances because of his hustle. But there's definitely good puck skill there too. Protects the puck well down low and possesses very good finishing ability in tight. Has proven to be very difficult to separate from the puck, especially for a guy his size. He's like the little engine that could. As he gains confidence in his offensive abilities, playing in a new country and league, I wonder how much more he is capable of.
29. Petr Cajka - Forward - Erie Otters
Cajka, like Sopa, is another late 2000 born forward who is having some nice success to start his OHL career. The Czech born center's skating ability is very noticeable. Very smooth and agile on his cuts, and that allows him to be terrific working the wall and prolonging possession in the offensive end. Despite being 5'11, he can be difficult to separate from the puck. Also like his work as a defensive forward. Brings a lot of effort without the puck. I've got Sopa just a spot higher right now because I've seen a little more out of him offensively thus far, but Cajka is still a nice looking player who could definitely be a pro. Like I said with Sopa, let's see how his confidence grows offensively, especially as a puck carrier/play creator off the rush.
30. Lucas Peric - Defense - Ottawa 67's
Group of similar defenders all ranked very closely here, but Peric has been the one that has impressed me the most this year. In fact, I've been very surprised with how much he has progressed this year, as I figured that he would be one of the odd men out with Ottawa's glut of talented, young defenders. Instead, he's flourished and become one of the team's most reliable defenders 5 on 5. Not a huge kid at 6'0, 174lbs, but he competes very hard in the defensive end. In fact, the physicality that he, Bahl, Rippon, Okhotyuk, and Wilson play with, has been one of the main reasons that Ottawa has been one of the best teams in the OHL thus far. But Peric also excels as a puck mover. Keeps his head up in the defensive end and uses his strong skating ability to create separation from the forecheck. Could really see him climbing draft boards as the season goes on.
31. Andrew Perrott - Defense - London Knights
If you recall, Perrott was one of my favourite 2001's in the OHL last year. Love his physicality and potential as a stay at home defender. But I have been disappointed in the lack of progression of his offensive game this year.
32. Nathan Allensen - Defense - Barrie Colts
Jack of all trades type of defender who shows well at both ends. Has upped his physical intensity this year. Starting to gain confidence in his offensive abilities. At 5'11, I do wonder how to project him as an NHL defender. What kind of role would he play?
33. Jordan Frasca - Forward - Windsor Spitfires
forward who is proving to be a versatile player for Windsor. Good sized
center at 6'1 who can also line up at the wing. Plays an up tempo game using his speed and I think possesses a fair amount of potential as an offensive player once he gains confidence with the puck.
34. Liam Ross - Defense - Sudbury Wolves
Another kid that I really like as an OHL defender. Playing big time key minutes for a much improved Sudbury team. Competes hard at both ends. Skating is only average and like Allensen, I wonder about his projection for the next level. Is at least a little bigger at 6'2.
35. Mason Primeau - Forward - Guelph Storm
Massive forward (6'5) who looks better on the wing than he does down the middle. Has a lot of potential as someone who can control play below the hash marks. Just needs to get stronger. Want to see him play more with the puck on his stick.
36. Keegan Stevenson - Forward - Guelph Storm
Late 2000 born winger with good size. Production doesn't jump off the page at you, but he's always noticeable when you watch him play. Drives the net hard, keeps things simple and I think he's got enough skill to eventually develop as an offensive player in this league.
37. Cullen McLean - Forward - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
round pick who has come into Sault camp this year and been a huge
revelation. Has locked down the 3rd line center spot behind Frost and
Hayton. Good size at 6'2 and shows some puck carrying potential given
his length and skating ability. Has been noticeable cutting through the
middle. Have the Soo found another hidden gem?
38. Brayden Guy - Forward - Sarnia Sting
Flying under the radar right now on a Sarnia Sting team that is going through a rebuild. But Guy is the type of player that coaches will love. Feisty, competitive winger who battles North/South for scoring chances. Competes in all three zones. Has shown some goal scoring ability so far, just wonder how much offensive potential he has.
39. Grayson Ladd - Defense - Windsor Spitfires
Very intelligent stay at home defender. Has among the best hockey IQ in the defensive end of any blueliner on this list. Rarely see him out of position. Makes a good first pass too. Mobility is also decent. Just not sure he has the offensive upside or elite size that will make him more than a later round option for NHL scouts.
40. Jet Greaves - Goaltender - Barrie Colts
Another guy that's tough to rank because I haven't seen him play yet. But I know a few guys who are big fans of him and his potential. And even though he's part of that goaltending carousel in Barrie (which needs to be resolved soon), he's had some good starts so far.
41. Lev Starikov - Defense - Windsor Spitfires
One of the more disappointing players on this list for me to start the season. Thought that he would be pushing for the Top 20 at this point and not battling to stay in the top 40. Has the elite size at 6'7 and is actually pretty mobile, but decision making has not been great and he's getting pushed down Windsor's depth chart.
42. Jacob LeGuerrier - Defense - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
The production has not been there yet, but this is a guy to definitely keep an eye on. I think it's only a matter of time. 6'3 defender with excellent mobility who is starting to become more aggressive offensively. Projects well at both ends. Late 2000 though, so production does need to increase a little bit.
43. Nathan Staios - Defense - Windsor Spitfires
Man, this is a tough one. Love watching this kid play. Plays with such a fire and intensity. His edgework, mobility, and ability to play that rover role is tailor made to the way that defenders have to play in today's game. Reminds me a ton of Red Wings prospect Joe Hicketts in many ways. One of which his size at 5'8. The game has changed, but it will be tough to rank a 5'8 defender high this year. But I am cheering loudly for him.
44. Liam Van Loon - Forward - Hamilton Bulldogs
Working his way into Hamilton's lineup as a role player. Van Loon is a competitive forward who battles hard along the wall and opens up space for his linemates. Have liked his energy in the defensive end too. Wonder how much high offensive potential there is.
45. Luke Cavallin - Goaltender - Flint Firebirds
is a tough place right now for a young goaltender hoping to be drafted.
He definitely oozes athleticism and has that ability to make a
highlight reel save. But with a porous defense in front of him, his
weaknesses in positioning are being exploited and he seemed to be all
over the place. Still ranking him inside my top 50 because of his
46. Ryan Dugas - Goaltender - Kingston Frontenacs
Goalie of the future in Kingston. Good size. Good athleticism. Just needs to continue getting his feet wet. Should be playing more IMO.
47. Mason Millman - Defense - Saginaw Spirit
time has fluctuated so far, but he's shown enough to be ranked. Smooth
skater from the back-end. Definitely has offensive upside. Was touted in
minor midget for his IQ. Wouldn't be surprised if he's higher on this
list come January/February.
48. Mason Howard - Defense - Niagara IceDogs
Huge defender at 6'3, 220lbs. An OHL rookie, Howard has looked good for the Dogs at both ends of the ice. Plays the game hard, but also has some nice puck skill. Skating is a work in progress though.
49. Luke Bignell - Forward - Barrie Colts
Good sized power center who plays a North/South game. Very competitive without the puck. Consistently the first man into the offensive zone on dump ins and very aggressive in attacking the net. With more ice time, he could blossom one day.
50. Jacob Winterton - Forward - Flint Firebirds
Not many bright spots for Flint so far this year. But the play of Winterton has to be one of them. OHL rookie who currently leads Flint with 5 goals. Not bad for a 10th round pick. Average sized, but he's got some speed to his game. Need to see more.
Tyler Angle - Forward - Windsor Spitfires
Daniel D'Amico - Forward - Windsor Spitfires
Emmett Sproule - Forward - Erie Otters
Mitchell Russell - Forward - Owen Sound Attack
Tim Fleischer - Forward - Hamilton Bulldogs
Ashton Reesor - Defense - Sarnia Sting
Mathew Hill - Defense - Barrie Colts
Cody Morgan - Forward - Windsor Spitfires