Friday, November 29, 2019

Preliminary Media/Scout Top 10 for the 2020 NHL Draft

It's time for the first media/scout poll for the 2020 NHL Draft.

After last year's poor crop, the OHL bounces back strong in 2020; much more in line with what is expected from such a top notch development league. We have a candidate for first overall in Quinton Byfield, who swept all first places votes in the poll. We have three other players who are candidates to be taken inside the Top 10 (Drysdale, Perfetti, and Rossi). And we have a handful of other players who look like potential first round picks. This group has star talent but also great depth.

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 2020 were:

Corey Pronman - NHL Prospects Writer for TheAthletic (@coreypronman)
Dominic Tiano - Writer for The 
OHL Writers (@dominictiano)
Dylan Galloway - OHL Scout for 
Future Considerations (@dylangalloway_)
Mike Morreale - Staff writer for (@mikemorrealeNHL)
Ryan Kennedy - Associate Senior Writer for 
The Hockey News(@THNRyanKennedy)
Scott Wheeler - NHL Prospects Writer for TheAthletic (@scottcwheeler)
Mark Scheig - OHL writer for 
The Hockey Writers (@THWMark)
Cam Robinson - Managing Editor for Dobber Prospects (@Hockey_Robinson)
Steve Kournianos - Founder of The Draft Analyst(@TheDraftAnalyst)  
Steve Clark - Play by play voice of the Niagara IceDogs (@ClarkPlaybyPlay)  
Dan Stewart - Director of DraftsProspects Hockey (@DStewartDP
Will Scouch – Founder of Scouching Draft Analytics (@Scouching)
Victor Findlay – Writer for Around the OHL and Mississauga Steelheads broadcaster (@Finder_24)
Tony Ferrari – OHL Scout for Future Considerations and NHL Draft Writer for Dobber Prospects (@theTonyFerrari)
Steven Ellis – Digital Content Producer for The Hockey News (@StevenEllisTHN)
Mark Seidel - Scouting Director for NACS Hockey (@MarkSeidel

and of course...myself (@BrockOtten)

Here's the List:

1. Quinton Byfield – Forward – Sudbury Wolves
Total Votes: 17
Highest Ranking: 1st (17x)
Lowest Ranking: -
He's a powerful skater, has breakaway speed and is an excellent puck- possession player. He's got great vision and playmaking ability, and a real heavy shot. He has scored goals where his shot has overpowered goalies. He plays the right way and works hard. At this point in the season, and in my opinion, the best player in the OHL.” - Mike Morreale

Byfield has a great frame, but what excites me the most is the fact he still has room to get bigger and stronger. Considering how dominant he can be already, that's impressive. On top of the build, we're talking about a player with excellent offensive skills and mobility. As the top center in the entire draft class, Byfield has the chance to help turn around an NHL franchise.” - Ryan Kennedy

This one is a no-brainer. The combination of size, skill, creativity, scoring ability, and puck protection are extremely rare to find. I came into the season wondering if he’d be a more physically dominant junior player, or dominate with a more powerful skill game. The latter seems to be the case from my viewings, and the data on him is promising. Considering his age, Over 40+INV% and an NHLeS of over 40 is remarkable. The only knock I’d note is a bit of a lack of consistency as games wear on, and being a net negative defensive player on paper, but his offence more than outweighs whatever cons there may be. To me, it isn’t an outlandish discussion as of today that Byfield may be the first name called in June.” - Will Scouch

A combination of size, speed, and skill that is so rare it makes his ceiling almost scary. Taken steps forward throughout his game early this year. I love the way he sees the ice and can manipulate his body and puck to create and find lanes for himself and his mates. A kingmaker for whichever team lands him.” - Cam Robinson

The more I watch him play, the more I see shades of Eric Lindros with Oshawa in the early 1990s. Of course, Byfield isn’t as physical from a seek-and-destroy standpoint, but the way he uses his size, reach and lower body to protect the puck and drive into the heart of prime scoring areas is very reminiscent of No. 88. I still think he isn’t done growing, so you’re looking at a 6’5, 220-pound playmaking center with soft hands who can win draws and kill penalties. His skating has improved a lot since last year as well.” - Steve Kournianos

A couple things really stand out for me when it comes to Byfield. The first is how he drives time of possession for his team. He controls the zone entry, but does not relinquish the puck. His poise, strength, and skill on the puck, in combination with his agility, allows him to maintain control below the goal line for near entire shifts. And with his vision, he's consistently able to find those passing lanes when they eventually open up because teams send a second defender to him to try to separate him from the puck. The second thing is how much his defensive game has improved under Cory Stillman in Sudbury. He has truly become a force in all three zones. The scary thing? That there's still room for improvement as he gets even stronger. Byfield is a player who will be worth the price of admission in the NHL.” - Brock Otten

2. Jamie Drysdale – Defense – Erie Otters
Total Votes: 17
Highest Ranking: 2nd (12x)
Lowest Ranking: 4th (1x)
I've seen him a few times and you don't have to find him. He finds you. He QB'd their PP last year in his first year and will easily be a point per game guy this year. Smooth skating, great passing and rarely gets a shot blocked.” - Steve Clark

Drysdale is the top defenseman in this draft class and the gap is widening as the season wears on. His elite skating ability allows him to toy with opponents at times. His ability to transition the puck and exit his zone is impressive, whether it’s by skating the puck out or making a crisp first pass. His defensive game has shown growth this season and he should continue to excel as he learns to understand how to use his skating in the defensive zone.” - Tony Ferrari

Hands down the best defenseman in the OHL, and one of the finest of the 2020 NHL Draft class. He's calm, poised and confident. Once he gets 2-3 quick steps, he's gone from pressure. He's a two-way defenseman with great instincts.” - Mike Morreale

Most know how good of an offensive player Drysdale is. But many don't yet realize how good he is defensively despite being under 6-foot. He uses his speed and stick-handling to defend bigger players and usually has the upper hand. There hasn't been a true two-way defenseman in the OHL since Aaron Ekblad. If not for Byfield and Lafreniere, Drysdale's in the conversation to go first overall. “ - Mark Scheig

Any other year that didn’t have a physical beast blessed with high level skills at the top of this OHL list and Drysdale would be at the absolute top guy as he is the prototypical top pairing NHL defender. His elite mobility - agility, balance, quickness and recovery speed – plus his smarts, vision, hands, awareness both when he is carrying the puck as well as when defending make him a huge factor whenever his skates touch the ice. His game screams top pairing NHL defenseman to me.” - Dan Stewart

Highly skilled offensive defenceman who has an elite combination of smarts and agile skating ability. He reads the play incredibly well and he gets the puck to the right place at the right time through sharp passing. I’ve also found him to be quite good at reading the play on the defensive side of the puck and use instinctive positioning to shut down his opponents play through the neutral zone and break in at a high rate.” - Dylan Galloway

3. Cole Perfetti – Forward – Saginaw Spirit
Total Votes: 17
Highest Ranking: 2nd (4x)
Lowest Ranking: 4th (7x)
The hype surrounding Perfetti after the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup was well warranted but the Saginaw Spirit forward has taken his impressive play back with him to the OHL. Billed as a goalscorer, Perfetti has played the role of playmaker thus far this season racking up the assists while he’s dealt with an unusually low shooting percentage. His shot is too good for his shooting percentage to stay that low and the regression to the norm will likely lead to an uptick in his overall production.” - Tony Ferrari

I think his puck skills, vision and his execution are on another level for most prospects his age. There's a little bit of an unpredictability to his game and that's a good thing. He finds seams and has a shooter's mentality.” - Mike Morreale

I’m going to have to be a bit cautious here. I think Cole Perfetti’s creativity, his hands, and his intelligence in the offensive zone are very excellent. He’s had great production and I’d still argue there could be more considering the chances I’ve seen him get. He’s one of those players that isn’t dangerous until he is. That being said, my concern is about his projectability considering what I view as a lack of intensity and a lack of footspeed. I certainly think he’s a Top-10 player this year, but if I had to pick one of this top group to maybe fall short of what their metrics may indicate, Perfetti might be the one. From my viewings, Saginaw has used him at the wing, and that may be a more comfortable position for him moving forward, but if his skating can take a step, he could be a dangerous NHL player.” - Will Scouch

There aren’t too many players with the poise and decision-making of Perfetti. He sees the play develop ahead of most and takes advantage of it regularly. His shot is well known after the Hlinka, but his playmaking is high-end as well. The skating lacks explosion, but he’s a great bet to overcome it.” - Cam Robinson

I’m not concerned with the dip in goal-scoring production because his shot-release is too good to finish the year without reaching 35-40 goals. Perfetti’s starting to be more economical with his shot selection, but the fact that he is capable of making world-class set-ups is what separates him from every draft prospect not named Byfield or Lafreniere.” - Steve Kournianos

I think Perfetti was the type of player who was bound to have his game dissected over the course of this season. He had such a strong start at the Hlinka and was being hyped to the extreme by the major media. That's not to say that he didn't deserve it, far from it. But his lack of explosiveness, in combination with some inconsistencies away from the puck, was bound to be picked apart by scouts as the year went on. This is especially true considering he started slowly statistically (although anyone who saw him play during that stretch knows he was just unlucky). Truthfully, I'm not worried about his skating. He is elusive because his edgework and agility are good. His brain works quicker than anyone else and that makes up for a lack of explosiveness. What I do want to see is more urgency at times. He needs to have the puck on his stick more in order to truly be a game changer. As we saw at the Hlinka, when the offense is able to run through him, he is dynamic. But that means being better in the neutral zone, on the forecheck, and on retrievals. And eventually, I think he will be, which is why I still value him as a top prospect for this draft.” - Brock Otten

4. Marco Rossi – Forward – Ottawa 67's
Total Votes: 17
Highest Ranking: 2nd (1x)
Lowest Ranking: 5th (1x)
I've seen enough of Rossi this season to sell me on him being the best play-maker among draft eligible players in the OHL. Not far behind is Cole Perfetti, but I find Rossi creates more frequent chances and is able to make plays with his skating ability and hands just as much as his is with his passing and vision. Plus, I think he's stronger on pucks than people give him credit for. Rossi has as many career assists as Perfetti (64), but has done it in 15 less games. Rossi leads the league with 1.5 assists per game, and with Rossi now staying with Ottawa throughout the world junior period, I don't think a 70 assist season is off the table for him at all. There have been times when Ottawa's first line of Garreffa, Rossi, and Keating have looked unstoppable lately.” - Victor Findlay

“I’d like to put Rossi higher then at number 4 but I can’t just yet. A year ago, it was tough to pick the top-10 in what was the worst OHL draft class ever. This year is the exact opposite as there are a legitimate 10 that could go in the first round. What Rossi lacks in top-end speed, he makes up for with superb edgework and agility on his blades and that helps him with a strong puck possession game. Like Perfetti, Rossi can beat you with elite playmaking abilities or with his shot, although I wouldn’t put his shot at Perfetti’s level. His ability to dissect defences with pinpoint passing abilities is a treat to watch. Yet, he can beat you off the rush with the same ease.” - Dominic Tiano

Love this kid! Love him! People who are worried about his size, or whether he can stick at centre, either haven’t watched him play enough or don’t recognize how strong he is on the puck, or how responsible he is away from it.” - Anonymous

I’m a big, big Rossi fan. His two way game, speed, sneaky ability to apply pressure, and his well rounded offensive game is extremely desirable. He can weave and cut through defenders, he can play with an edge (to a fault at times), and I’ve found him impressive in almost every shift I’ve watched and tracked. He boosts goal differentials by 87% relative to a talented 67s team, and while he isn’t the best case of primary involvement at even strength (a goal or A1 on just 40% of goals scored on the ice), he’s still producing very well in all situations. I’ll go to bat for him for a long time.” - Will Scouch

I would say Rossi is the second most exciting player to watch after Lafreniere, and for different reasons. Rossi makes those difficult plays look so effortless and natural, but he is probably the only player in the entire league, let alone among his draft peers, who cleanly execute precision plays — shots or passes — while motoring at top speed or in traffic. I think he has big time point-producing potential in the NHL.” - Steve Kournianos

5. Jacob Perreault – Forward – Sarnia Sting
Total Votes: 16
Highest Ranking: 5th (6x)
Lowest Ranking: Outside of the Top 10 (1x)
He can score there is no doubt about that and now that Sarnia is playing much better after a miserable start the points will come in bunches for Perreault. I always give an intangible point to a player with NHL bloodlines and his dad was a very intelligent player. Sarnia gives up a ton of goals so his 200 foot game is one to keep an eye on.” - Steve Clark

Last season I was a big fan of Perreault after watching him some twenty times as an OHL rookie but after watching him this season I get it. He is a tweener, something between a play driver and a complimentary winger. He has the heavy shot for sure, skates very well and displays good sense of where to be for a prime scoring chance. What he lacks is consistency or the willingness to assert himself offensively, only taking what is given, not forcing the play himself. For me he projects as a future top six NHL goal scorer, especially if playing with a playmaker.” - Dan Stewart

Speedy and agile skater, Perreault can be hell for defenders to try and contain in the offensive and neutral zones. Perreault uses his quick feet expertly to create space for himself and then uses his high end vision to move the puck around the offensive zone through highly intelligent passing and vision. Perreault can be really dangerous in transition, utilizing his speed and nice puck skills to quickly navigate from d zone to o zone, however he can sometimes get too focused on beating his opponents one on one try more complicated plays when a simple one would have been more effective. Perreault looks like he could be a really solid middle 6 playmaker at the next level. He possesses the smarts and skill to potentially reach even higher than even that, but will need to mature his game a bit before that potential will be realized.” - Dylan Galloway

He skates well, has a good top speed level and is creative with the puck. He can make plays at top speed and is a prospect with a ton of upside.” - Mike Morreale

He is averaging over a point a game but I feel like Jacob hasn't had a great start to the year. His torrid offensive pace last year had us thinking he might score 50 this year but Sarnia's slow start had him sputtering. Like the Sting, he has been much better over the last month so we will see if he can become an offensive catalyst again.” - Mark Seidel

6. Antonio Stranges – Forward – London Knights
Total Votes: 15
Highest Ranking: 5th (2x)
Lowest Ranking: Outside of the Top 10 (2x)
A shifty and dynamic skater, Stranges has seemed to split the prospect world. Some evaluators believe that his unique skating and tendency to resort to “fancy footwork” such as the ‘10-2’ skating style won’t translate at the next level, citing examples from the past (ie: Jeremy Bracco). I am not in that camp. His puck skills are undeniable, his skating is elite and when he does use some more advanced skating techniques such as the ‘10-2’, he uses it to generate speed in the neutral zone and open himself up to the play rather than for purely elusive purposes as past players have. He also attacks the net and center of the ice with it which is where he can be a major difference-maker.” - Tony Ferrari

Ah, Antonio… Another one where I may need to select my words carefully. The 10-2 skating is what everyone has noted, but there is a lot more to the game that results in positive results, especially at even strength - just ask anyone who follows the Toronto Marlies. Stranges certainly has the ability to be dangerous off the wings and getting to dangerous areas. His skill in tight is solid and he drove possession well in the game I watched. So much so that the game was likely an outlier (London had 96% of the shot attempts with him on the ice). The issues start with a not-so-good game in transition moving the puck on his stick or passing it to others. In the offensive zone, he’s dangerous. He has primary points on 78% of London’s goals at even strength with him on the ice, but he relinquishes transitions against him a bit too much to my eye. He has been scored on 24% more with him on the ice relative to his team, and his goal rate for is also below that of the team. His goals for rate is 7th of the 10 listed, and his goals against rate is 2nd worst behind Perreault. I have him here because of his ability to be dangerous offensively, and his skating is notable, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him slip in June unless things improve on paper.” - Will Scouch

One of the truly elite skaters in the OHL, he blends strong vision, ultra skilled hands, creativity with the puck and a solid shot with his impressive mobility to become a dangerous offensive package. He has so much upside, however, I think he floats around looking for an offensive chance and ignoring the 200-foot game far too often to be rated high on my list. NHL teams want guys who are focused on contributing to team success and Stranges’ game does not demonstrate that.” - Dan Stewart

The obvious 10-2 skating style aside, Stranges has shown he can be an effective quick strike forward and really excels at creating scoring chances off the rush. His vision on the offensive side of the puck allows him to find skating and passing lanes and get to the coveted middle of the ice with the puck. I’m a bit concerned his skating style won’t translate as well to the next level.” - Dylan Galloway

He’s one of the flashiest players you’ll find, and I give London coach Dale Hunter credit for reeling these types of players in from being loose cannons and adding structure to their games. On skill alone, Stranges could be a top-10 pick. But there are times when he is somewhat invisible and stays to the outside while a kid like Luke Evangelista shows more of a willingness to get dirty and battle. Much like Noel Gunler, I see Stranges in that top tier of boom or bust types who could crack the late first round but are too risky to go higher.” - Steve Kournianos

It’s tough to find a player that can skate as well as Stranges, but recent benchings have raised some eyebrows. Like Foudy, Stranges sees the game at such a high pace, but he doesn’t do it enough to push him higher in the rankings.” - Steven Ellis

7. Jean Luc Foudy – Forward – Windsor Spitfires
Total Votes: 15
Highest Ranking: 5th (2x)
Lowest Ranking: Outside of the Top 10 (2x)
I thought I would be more impressed with him than I was, but make no mistake he's a wonderful prospect with good offensive instincts. Paired with Will Cuylle they will form a dangerous combination for Windsor. Skates really, really well, but I found that at times he over handled the puck.” - Steve Clark

He’ll be better than his brother. Has the speed and the athleticism but he’s also a better playmaker. Has decent middle-six forward written all over him.” - Anonymous

A player I had high hopes for who seems to have had a rough patch to start the year. I love Foudy’s speed and puck protection getting up the ice, and he’s getting primary points on 71% of the goals scored with him on the ice, but he may suffer from the same usage issues that Jacob Perreault suffers from. When on the ice, he’s a net negative offensive and defesive impact player, but considering his individual involvement, that may get better as time goes on. At time of writing, he’s on a 13 point over 9 game stretch. Still, being on the ice for 50% more goals against at even strength relative to your team isn’t ideal, especially for a player listed as a centre. He’ll be a guy I take a closer look at, but right now I have a hard time keeping him into the 1st round in such a deep year. Maybe later in the year if things keep improving, but right now he’s still in a bit of a state of limbo.” - Will Scouch

I love cocky players when they can back it up, and Foudy seems to be one of the more confident players I’ve seen among draft eligibles. His speed is the first thing you notice, but you need soft hands to execute as many accurate shots off the pass as he can. I think he’s more controlled under pressure than his brother and should be considered a strong candidate to rise into the top 10 once we get closer to the scouting combine.” - Steve Kournianos

Electric feet that he can use to back down defenders and an ability to distribute the puck but he stays on the perimeter too much. As he matures he will figure it out but he has NHL tools.” - Mark Seidel

Slick, smooth and speedy, Foudy is one of the best kids his age at creating his own chances. He plays at such a high pace that makes him tough to contain.” - Steven Ellis

8. Jaromir Pytlik – Forward – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Total Votes: 12
Highest Ranking: 5th (2x)
Lowest Ranking: Outside of the Top 10 (5x)
I’m not sure that Pytlik is garnering the attention he deserves in some circles. In fact, I question myself here thinking I may have him too low. He may just be the most complete player in my top-10, already playing an accomplished 200-foot game. He’s been moves around from wing to center and back and has shown he can handle both positions. He’s accepted and met the challenge of being one of the offensive go-to guys on the Greyhounds offence. At the same time, the coaches trust him in key defensive matchups and to take key faceoffs –although faceoffs need some working on.” - Dominic Tiano

In his first full season in the OHL and taking on a top line role for the Greyhounds this season after some roster shuffling, the big forward who can play both center and wing has found success. He is strong, skates well for a big man and is more than capable at protecting the puck, drives the net, works the wall and can make a skilled play with the puck to beat a defender or fire off a quick shot using them as a screen. He also is an underrated playmaker and aggressive forechecker. NHL teams love the well-rounded aspects of his game although his NHL offensive upside is still a question.” - Dan Stewart

I’ve been high on this kid for well over a year, and he’s given me no reason to ding him in the rankings. He isn’t flashy and could stand to improve his foot speed, but I have a hard time finding a smarter player around the goal than Pytlik. The OHL may be run and gun this season, but NHL teams needs guys like Pytlik to win the wars in the trenches and let opposing defensemen know that if they want to control the low slot, they’ll have to fight for it.” - Steve Kournianos

Pytlik is one of the most complete players available in this draft. He has size, speed, skill and can play in all situations. He is excelling even on a young Greyhounds team. He has the tools to be an excellent pro assuming he continues to develop at center.” - Mark Scheig

I see Pytlik as the type of kid who is going to draw more interest from NHL scouts than armchair ones. He plays a very heavy, pro style game. Most of his work is done below the hash marks and he has great control of his body and an understanding of how to use his size. Pytlik is also a strong three zone player who is versatile because he has shown an ability to play both center and wing. As he continues to improve his skating (I think he looks more explosive this year), I think we'll see him become more of a consistent factor in transition and show an ability to be a little more creative. There are probably several players, even on this list, who have a higher ceiling as an NHL player. In order to stay in conversation for the first round, he's going to need to improve his production though, even on an inconsistent Soo team.” - Brock Otten

9. Ryan O'Rourke – Defense – Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Total Votes: 11
Highest Ranking: 4th (1x)
Lowest Ranking: Outside of the Top 10 (6x)
I remember Ryan O'Rourke's first OHL game against Cole Perfetti's Saginaw Spirit. I couldn't believe how good he looked for a guy that was one pick away from falling into the 2nd round of the OHL Priority selection. What another great pick by the Soo! I don't see him falling out of the 1st round of the NHL draft either. His aggression and old-school style of hockey stands out easily on the ice, and I think he'll be able to find at least some element of his game that pushes the needle forward at the NHL level. His offensive game appears to be improving, which is great and will only continue to improve his draft stock throughout the year. Also worth noting, he's just 17 years old and is already the captain of his OHL team, you don't see that everyday.” - Victor Findlay

O’Rourke doesn’t have the flair of a Drysdale but he plays a complete game and he doesn’t turn 18 until the middle of May, plus he has NHL size and room to grow. He’s going to be good.” - Anonymous

I might be higher on O'Rourke than most, but I just see so much potential in a kid with great mobility who also plays with an edge and has decent size. The fact O'Rourke was named captain of the Hounds as a 17-year-old when there are NHL picks already on the team speaks volumes.” - Ryan Kennedy

O'Rourke is one of my favorite prospects in this entire draft and I am notably higher on him than most. He's a first rounder for me. While he doesn't have some of the elite skills Jamie Drysdale has, it's pretty good. But he's not afraid to play in your face. He's an excellent defender and very strong for his size. He can block shots on one end and bring creativity on the other end. But what stands out is his maturity. He plays like a 19-year old but is still 17.” - Mark Scheig

The recently named captain of the Greyhounds is a workhorse. He is their top rearguard, depended upon by both his coaches and teammates, and is playing like it. While he possesses teenage strength and will need to bulk up, he is ultra aggressive and physically in the face of whomever he needs to defend his zone. His skating looks more fluid than last season and he has no trouble keeping up unlike some nights last year. His shot is dangerous, but he looks way more comfortable with the puck on his stick this season. Moving up my list and aspects of his game remind me of a young Kevin Bieksa.” - Dan Stewart

10. Will Cuylle – Forward – Windsor Spitfires
Highest Ranking: 5th (3x)
Lowest Ranking: Outside of the Top 10 (9x)
A power forward that has struggled to start the season. His nasty side has shown up a bit more this season but the production hasn’t quite yet. He isn’t the best skater with acceleration being the primary issue. He has good top speed, using it to drive to the front of the net. His shot is really high-end, but he hasn’t used it nearly as much this year as in the past.” - Tony Ferrari

The first of two Windsor Spitfires to make my top-10 (Jean-Luc Foudy is the other) Cuylle is to Foudy what jam is to peanut butter. Cuylle has an uncanny ability to elude defences and find open areas of the ice, and once the puck is on his stick, he converts more often than not with a superb shot. Although he is not known as a playmaker, he has shown to possess some playmaking abilities. He’s strong on the forecheck and creates turnovers but is also strong defensively and once he disrupts the opposition, transitions to offence quickly.” - Dominic Tiano

He's a big winger with skill and a fantastic shot. He can play in the tough areas and can score from a distance making him tough to check. Foot speed is average though.” - Anonymous

Hasn't had the best start to his year but has all the tools to become a good NHL player. A pro shot that will be an asset in the NHL but he has to start to produce.” - Mark Seidel

Cuylle hasn't exploded offensively like expected, but his strong wrist shot and big frame makes him a solid secondary scoring option at the next level.” - Steven Ellis

Honorable Mentions

Jack Quinn – Forward – Ottawa 67's (8 Votes)
Total Votes: 8
Highest Ranking: 7th (3x)
In Quinn’s case, it’s easy to say “what a difference a year makes.” He’s really worked on his skating and attention to detail in the defensive zone and coming back hard on the backcheck. That’s just a plus as it’s his offensive game that is his biggest asset. His skills with the puck match up with anyone on this list. His improved skating has allowed him to find separation where it previously lacked. He can stop on a dime, twist and turn to avoid the defence, all while maintaining control of the puck.” - Dominic Tiano

Quinn’s a stud and the more I watch him or the more I talk to 67’s staff, the more he rises up my list. Not only can he play in all situations, he has also excelled at all three forward positions this year. Jack’s one of the more underrated players in the draft.” - Anonymous

Goes about his business quietly but is very effective and is a sneaky finisher. He has taken a while to develop into the player that I thought he would be but is always getting better.” - Mark Seidel

It seems like every time I see the 67's, Quinn's game has reached another level. He's getting better and better as he gains more confidence with the puck. I know that the skill level has always been high, but he's a lot more explosive this year, in addition to being stronger, and that's helping him be a facilitator and leader of Ottawa's second line with Mitchell Hoelscher. I've also really come to appreciate how intelligent he is away from the puck and how strong of a defensive player he is. The 67's are using Quinn when they need a goal or need to protect a lead late in games. I know that late birthdays can be tough for some to evaluate, but Quinn is deserving of a first round ranking right now.” - Brock Otten

Tyson Foerster – Forward – Barrie Colts (6 Votes)
Highest Ranking: 6th (1x)
Impossible for me to ignore the breakout season that Tyson Foerster has had for the Barrie Colts so far. But I don't really have a great sense as to where his range is for the NHL Draft. NHL Central Scouting has him listed as a 'C-list' prospect, and I tend to think that's probably the floor for him. Is he a guy that puts up big numbers but doesn't go until the 5th round or later? Or does he develop a part of his game that shows an ability to not just put up big numbers in the OHL, but an ability to score at the next level too. 21 games is too small a sample size for me to make a concrete evaluation of what kind of player he projects to be post-OHL, but it's certainly enough to grab my full attention.” - Victor Findlay

I'm still not quite sure what to make of Foerster yet. The production is there. He's among the league leaders in points per game. He already has more goals, assists and points this season in just one-third of the games. I need to see if he can sustain this pace especially when the games get tougher. But he's definitely on the radar as a fast riser.” - Mark Scheig

Can rip it with the best of them. Has taken noticeable steps forward in the past 16 months and is a clear riser for this crop. Sound decision-making. I would still like to see him explode into holes more.” - Cam Robinson

Foerster is quietly rising in rankings. Foerster shows really good vision and smart positioning, constantly around the play, giving his teammates good outlet options during battles along the boards. Foerster uses his solid hockey IQ to lose his coverage and get open to be able to unleash a dangerous shot. He has a sharp shot on the rush and can get some good velocity on it. Foerster’s straight away skating is solid and he was able to build some good speed through transition, though I felt he keeps his feet planted more often than he should.” - Dylan Galloway

Tyler Tullio – Forward – Oshawa Generals (4 Votes)
Highest Ranking: 9th (2x)
Small, skilled player who has a heck of a motor. What impressed me was his toughness. He took a heck of a beating at times in the playoffs but missed minimal time. He's got a heck of a motor on him and plays with a chip on his shoulder at times.” - Steve Clark

Tenacious, hard-working, aggressive and skilled. Those are the traits that Tullio has brought to the Generals this season. His relentless forecheck and puck hound tendencies often lead to the puck being on his stick more than the opponents and Tullio has the skill to make a difference offensively. A very good scorer on the powerplay and five-on-five, Tullio’s shot plays up because of his excellent release.” - Tony Ferrari

I've seen a lot of growth in Tullio since his days with the minor midget Vaughan Kings and it's all positive. Here's a kid with a great motor and a lot of offensive talent who is willing to put in the work.” - Ryan Kennedy

Jack Thompson – Defense – Sudbury Wolves (4 Votes)
Highest Ranking: 7th (1x)
On a Sudbury blueline that doesn't have a single overage player, they're already relying on Thompson for leadership, big minutes, and offensive contribution. In the games I've watched him, I've been impressed with how much ice he covers in all three zones. He's a decent skater with good hustle, and gets back defensively just as quickly as he jumps into the rush. He looks like a stronger player this year, which is helping him with board battles and his net-front presence. Those are both still areas with room to improve, but if they keep coming along I think he's one of the most versatile defence in this draft class.” - Victor Findlay

Loves to engage in the rush and push the pace of play. Has looked more than competent working on the top unit in Sudbury. His shot is a real weapon.” - Cam Robinson

Very cerebral defender that always makes the right decision. Finds a way to always get shots through & makes excellent decisions on the PP. Overall game is very good & although he won't be an NHL star, he will be a very good piece.” - Mark Seidel

Oliver Suni – Forward – Oshawa Generals (2 Votes)
Highest Ranking: 6th (1x)
I've been so impressed by Oliver Suni and his adjustment to the North American ice. Right away, even in preseason, he seemed right at home playing with Ty Tulio and Alan McShane at the time. He brings a powerful element to his game, which is what sticks out the most to me. He's a power skater, unafraid to drive the net and get involved physically, but he's also got top-end vision and passing ability. He still leads OHL rookies in points, has been lethal on the power play, and if he keeps up this pace throughout the entire OHL season I say he makes a case to be a first round draft pick.” - Victor Findlay

Really underrated in the grand scheme of things. Good mix of speed and skill, but he needs to add a bit of physicality to his game to prevent from being locked to the perimeter.” - Steven Ellis

Nico Daws – Goaltender – Guelph Storm (1 Vote)
Highest Ranking: 10th (1x)
I loved Daws at the CHL-Russia series and with his size and quick feet, I believe he'll be one of the top Canadian goalies available. Not his fault the Storm played the veteran Popovich so much in his original draft year.” - Ryan Kennedy