Thursday, May 5, 2022

2022 NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings

NHL Central Scouting has released their final rankings for the 2022 NHL Draft. You can find the midseason rankings here. Below is a breakdown of how OHL players were ranked. 

1. Shane Wright (1)
2. Pavel Mintyukov (6)
3. Luca DelBelBelluz (8)
4. Owen Beck (10)
5. David Goyette (13)
6. Matyas Sapovaliv (23)
7. Michael Buchinger (30)
8. Ty Nelson (32)
9. Bryce McConnell-Barker (34)
10. Danny Zhilkin (35)
11. Vinzenz Rohrer (42)
12. Hunter Haight (44)
13. Matthew Poitras (45)
14. Christian Kyrou (48)
15. Paul Ludwinski (49)
16. Gavin Hayes (51)
17. Isaiah George (53)
18. Servac Petrovsky (58)
19. Cedrick Guindon (59)
20. Jake Karabela (62)
21. Pano Fimis (75)
22. Spencer Sova (80)
23. Jorian Donovan (81)
24. Evan Konyen (85)
25. Beau Jelsma (88)
26. Amadeus Lombardi (94)
27. Matthew Maggio (103)
28. Lucas Edmonds (104)
29. Kirill Kudryavtsev (108)
30. Liam Arnsby (115)
31. Rodwin Dionicio (118)
32. Kocha Delic (122)
33. Jackson Edward (123)
34. Tnias Mathurin (126)
35. Zak Lavoie (134)
36. Samuel Mayer (139)
37. James Hardie (148)
38. Ruslan Gazizov (149)
39. Aidan Castle (151)
40. Brady Stonehouse (152)
41. Nolan Collins (153)
42. Kyle Jackson (158)
43. Tucker Robertson (162)
44. Gavin Bryant (179)
45. Brice Cooke (183)
46. Braeden Bowman (194)
47. Kai Schwindt (196)
48. Sam Alfano (207)
49. Max Namestnikov (211)
50. Landon Sim (215)
51. Kasper Larsen (220)
52. Kirill Steklov (221)
53. Roberto Mancini (222)
54. Caeden Carlisle (223)

1. Andrew Oke (9)
2. Nolan Lalonde (14)
3. Patrick Leaver (16)
4. Jacob Oster (18)
5. Josh Rosenzweig (22)
6. Domenic Divincentiis (24)
7. Marco Costantini (29)
8. Brett Brochu (31)

Differences Between Midterm and Final Rankings:

Biggest Risers:
Christian Kyrou (from 179 to 48)
David Goyette (from 35 to 13)
Beau Jelsma (137 to 88)
Amadeus Lombardi (from not ranked to 94)
Matthew Maggio (from not ranked to 103)
Kocha Delic (from 200 to 122)
Tnias Mathurin (from 152 to 126)
James Hardie (from 204 to 148)
Nolan Collins (from not ranked to 153) 
Patrick Leaver (from 29 to 16 among goalies)

Biggest Fallers:
Vsevolod Gaidamak (from 121 to not ranked)
Colton Smith (from 129 to not ranked)
Stuart Rolofs (from 142 to not ranked)
Ruslan Gazizov (from 62 to 149)
Liam Arnsby (from 66 to 115)
Tucker Robertson (from 109 to 162)
Jackson Edward (from 75 to 123)
Jorian Donovan (from 39 to 81)
Spencer Sova (from 38 to 80)
Tyler Savard (from 183 to not ranked)
Brody Crane (from 188 to not ranked)
Matthew Poitras (from 23 to 45)
General Comments
Barring some outlandish playoff performances, I believe my own final rankings are close to being set. I plan to get those written and published after I finish work on the McKeen's Draft Guide. When we look at my rankings versus NHL Central Scouting, there are certainly some differences. The big ones will be Michael Buchinger, Bryce McConnell-Barker, Christian Kyrou, Brady Stonehouse, and the unranked Owen Van Steensel.

I just can't fathom how Van Steensel is left off this list. He's basically Brady Stonehouse (who is also criminally under-ranked). One is 152 and the other is not listed? Van Steensel worked his way up North Bay's lineup this year and was a very versatile and effective player for them. It is easy to see him becoming a long time bottom six NHL player. Many similar (and less effective) players are ranked. He is not.
Props to Central Scouting for moving Goyette and Beck into that first round range. Both players deserve to be there IMO. They are my third and fourth ranked OHL'ers this year behind Wright and Mintyukov (who are a real tier above).
Some people might be shocked to see Ty Nelson ranked where he is, but remember a) Central Scouting had him 25th at midseason and b) he struggled in the second half. He's a second round graded prospect for me now too.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Sunday Top 10 - 2022 NHL Draft Re-Entries


It's that time of the year for my annual (2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015201420132012201120102009) list of the top second and third year eligible OHL players for the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. NHL teams continue to draft re-entry players in increasing number. This is mostly because drafting a second or third year eligible player gives NHL teams a lot of flexibility in their development under the CBA. Plus, a lot of these guys have been having success in recent years (Andrew Mangiapane, Tanner Pearson, Sean Durzi, and Colin Miller as legitimate NHL players are great examples from the OHL), which basic psychology tells us that other NHL teams will try to mimic.

Just to clarify, yet again, for those with limited understanding of the NHL draft system; North American players have either two or three years to get drafted, depending on their birth date. For those born from January 1 to September 15, they will go through three NHL drafts. For those born from September 16 to December 31, they will go through two NHL drafts. The players on this list are a mix of those having been passed over once or twice already.

Also, do not confuse this list with players drafted in 2020 who will re-enter the draft should they fail to come to a contractual agreement with their NHL team by June 1 (and whose birth date still allows them to be eligible). Quite often those too are referred to as draft re-entries. But this list does not contain them because it is not yet known who those players will be.

Because we haven't done this in two years, let's look at the last two seasons of re-entries. Two years ago, four re-entries from the OHL were drafted (Daws, Solovyov, Oksentyuk, and Yetman). Last year, only one (Ethan Cardwell) was. But, as you know, without the OHL playing last year, it would have been tough for players to show that their growth warranted a selection. This year, I think that number will be significantly higher. I am going to guess that we'll see 6-7 of these guys drafted. It's a very strong group led by Tucker Robertson and Lucas Edmonds, who should be top 100 selections.


Without further rambling, here's my list:
1. Tucker Robertson - Center - Peterborough Petes
After a strong showing at the Erie showcase before last year's draft, the signs were there that Robertson had taken some great steps forward. But without an OHL season, an NHL team just wasn't willing to take a chance on Robertson, who was only a high energy fourth liner for the Petes as a 16/17 year old. Fast forward to this season and he's become one of the best two-way centers in the OHL. His 41 goals were third most among 2003 born players and his 81 points were fourth. That's ahead of a few high NHL draft picks. Robertson is just such a well rounded player. He works his ass off without the puck. He uses his speed well to be relentless on the forecheck. He is aggressive physically and works hard to earn his touches. However, he also has underrated skill with the puck and a laser of a wrist shot. It is very easy to see Robertson becoming a middle six option at the NHL level who can have a long career as a penalty killer and high energy support player. IMO, he should be a top 75 selection this year.

2. Lucas Edmonds - Wing - Kingston Frontenacs
I've seen some rankings with Edmonds as a first round pick. Personally, I think that's a bit of a stretch considering some of his limitations physically. However, there's no doubting that he is a worthy NHL draft selection. Some may be confused by Edmonds' eligibility, given that he is a 2001 born, OHL overager. However, NHL Central Scouting considers him a "Euro" prospect for eligibility purposes and thus he receives an extra year of eligibility for the draft. Edmonds stands out because of his creativity and IQ. His hands are among the best in the OHL. He makes defenders miss routinely with subtle fakes and moves, which work to give him extra time to survey the ice for options. He's also the kind of player that the puck gravitates to magnetically in the offensive zone, which points to how intelligent he is. He just consistently finds those soft spots and times his cuts perfectly. A late bloomer physically, Edmonds still has room to add bulk and that should help him bring the best out of his skill set at the next level. His skating is not likely to ever be an asset for him. His explosiveness and top speed are average for the OHL level, meaning that they would be below average for the AHL and NHL levels. Hopefully adding more strength and power to his lower half helps him gain quickness, because he will need that moving forward to continue to succeed as a scorer. However, his skill and sense impresses greatly. You have to take a chance on him to see what your development team can do with him.

3. Samuel Mayer - Defense - Peterborough Petes
There's lots to like about this 6'3 defender who was initially passed over in his OHL draft year. A U18 pick, Mayer came into Petes camp anything but a lock to crack the team. However, it was obvious right from the get go that he would play a prominent role. Emerging as Peterborough's top defender, Mayer is a true minute eater at this level. He anchors the penalty kill, closing gaps quickly with his reach, physicality, and more than adequate four way mobility. He also quarterbacks the powerplay well, armed with a big point shot and improving instincts/vision with the puck. He can lead the breakout. He can be on the ice in any situation. Mayer has quickly emerged as one of the top 2003 born defenders in the OHL. I do believe that there may be some skill limitations. He can struggle with turnovers when pressured or when lanes close off on him. He doesn't have the hands or creativity to have truly elite escapability. However, he has a well rounded enough profile to be a longtime NHL defender. This is another guy who should be a lock to be selected this year.

4. Patrick Leaver - Goaltender - Oshawa Generals
Leaver missed being first time eligible this year by only a few weeks (with a September 4 birth date). He forced his way into Oshawa's plans this year with his play early on while overager Paputsakis was attempting to make a pro roster/battling injury. While Leaver certainly faded later in the year, his overall body of work was fantastic. He's not big (6'0), but he's extremely athletic and has shown an ability to steal games with how quick he is and how well he reads the play. There are components of his game that will need work in order for him to become more consistent (his tendency to overcommit/rely on his athleticism and his rebound control), but he looks like someone who should be selected to me, especially in such a weak year for netminders. But...we know how size bias for goaltenders impacts draft odds.

5. Matt Maggio - Wing - Windsor Spitfires
Maggio has had an absolutely fantastic year for the Spits, as the former highly touted HEO prospect finally broke out. Playing alongside fellow breakout star Wyatt Johnston, Maggio proved that he can play between the dots and do the dirty work. This shift in focus by Maggio has made him one of the best goal scorers in the OHL. Maggio's edgework and agility are also among the best of any forward in the OHL, which makes him so difficult to pin down, with or without the puck. Armed with great hands, elusiveness, a high end wrist shot, and an improved ability to play through traffic, Maggio has emerged as an NHL draft prospect. I would actually be shocked to see him go unselected late in the draft this year. 

6. Logan Morrison - Center - Hamilton Bulldogs
You have to give it up to Morrison. He put in the work during the extended OHL hiatus to really improve some of the things that were holding him back from being an elite player in this league. He looks stronger on the puck. He's made his off puck play and physical engagement level more consistent. And, most importantly, he looks quicker. That has resulted in him being one of the highest scoring players in the league on a downright dominant Bulldogs team. His bread and butter will always be his vision and IQ, but other tools have caught up a bit. He'd still be a below average skater in the NHL, so there's more work to be done. This year's OHL playoffs will be key for him. If he can continue his dominance into the postseason and help Hamilton capture an OHL title, I think he gets drafted late.
*EDIT - I have moved Morrison up on this list after his remarkable playoff performance for Hamilton. He proved that he can put this team on his back and on a lot of nights, he was better than Mason McTavish. 
7. Amadeus Lombardi - Center - Flint Firebirds
Easily one of the league's most underrated players. He had barely played above the AAA level before this year, but came into Flint, locked down a top six role and finished as the team's second leading scorer. Really love how he sees the ice. Just so calm and composed in the offensive zone. As he gets stronger, I think he has a chance to be one of the league's best playmaking centers. His vision and poise with the puck is a standout quality. His playoff performance likely dictates whether he gets drafted and thus far, he's been excellent.

8. Gavin White - Defense - Hamilton Bulldogs
One of the best skating defenders in the OHL, White has been a standout for the Bulldogs this year. Believe it or not, it was White's first full year in the OHL, even as an '02. His footwork is phenomenal and a true standout quality. While his top speed is probably only a little above average, his lateral quickness and confidence on his edges makes him nearly impossible to pin in the defensive zone. Similarly, he walks the offensive blueline so well and really helps to breakdown coverage with his ability to force help defenders to him. His ability to defend remains a bit of a work in progress, but it has made strides. I think he's going to have a tremendous overage year next year when the keys to the defense are fully his. Better jump on him now.

9. Kyle Jackson - Center - North Bay Battalion
Like Maggio, Jackson is a former highly touted HEO prospect who had yet to live up to the hype. However, like Maggio, he's had a real breakout season in North Bay, even though he's battled some injuries. Jackson has become the typical Battalion pivot. He is responsible at both ends. He has improved his physical engagement. He makes great decisions with the puck and slides in and out of coverage well. Only thing missing is high end skating ability. If he could get just a little quicker, it would help with his NHL upside. As is, you have to be encouraged by the progress he has made.

10. Kirill Steklov - Defense - London Knights
Steklov returned to the Knights following the halted WJC's a completely different player than the one we saw a few years ago that struggled as a rookie in his original draft year.  His skating ability looks more powerful, crisp, and balanced. He had that baby deer thing going on at times as a rookie, but now looks completely in control at all times. His ability to protect the puck through rushes is very impressive. He's still not the most creative player, but he doesn't have to be with his size and quickness. Defensively, he's dialed in physically and his combination of reach and mobility makes him very difficult to beat one on one. I'm still not entirely sure the upside is significant, but I could see him being a third pairing defender for a long stretch in the NHL. I think he gets a look this time, pending teams aren't scared off by his heritage (what happens with all Russian players at this draft remains to be seen).

Honorable Mentions:

Max Donoso - Ottawa 67's
Donoso was absolutely fantastic for the 67's in the final months of the season. He absolutely looks like the starter of this franchise moving forward and has proven himself capable of stealing games. But, was that smaller sample enough to see him drafted? 

Matteo Drobac - Hamilton Bulldogs
Tough to really evaulate Drobac this year. The Bulldogs back-up was fantastic when called upon, but was also sheltered a bit. Drobac was once thought to be one of the best '03 goaltenders in this Ontario crop, so the potential is there. He's exceptionally quick in the crease. One had to wonder if the Bulldogs move Costantini next year in order to hand the starting gig to Drobac. 

Brett Brochu - London Knights
There's no question that Brochu is one of the best goaltenders in the OHL. There is a reason he was named to the Canadian WJC team. However, he had a pretty up and down year where he struggled with injuries and consistency. When he's on his game, he's nearly unbeatable with how well he tracks the play and how quick he is. 

Mitchell Smith- Saginaw Spirit
I'm not sure Smith gets a look this year considering how bad Saginaw was, however he's an impressive player. He impacts the game on so many different levels because of his high-end mobility. His confidence with the puck seems to grow with each season. When he returns as an OA next year (likely, whether drafted or not), I think he could be a sneaky candidate for the Max Kaminsky.
Nikita Parfenyuk- Oshawa Generals
Another Generals player who narrowly missed being first time eligible this year (with an early September birthday). The offensive upside isn't high, but the defensive upside is. Good combination of size and mobility on the back-end. Really like how aggressive he is defensively. As he gets stronger, he is going to be a tough player to match up against.

Sam Sedley - Owen Sound Attack 
From start of the year to the end, Sedley was one of the most improved defenders in the OHL. He was, simply put, an anchor for the Attack, especially on the powerplay. A confident mover, Sedley has terrific vision and poise with the puck. He's really filled out to better handle battles in the defensive zone too. He was in serious contention for a spot in the Top 10.

Kasper Larsen - Mississauga Steelheads
A first year defender from Denmark, Larsen was terrific for the Steelheads this year. He formed a great partnership with Ethan Del Mastro on Mississauga's top pairing and also quarterbacked the powerplay. The 6'6 Dane has good offensive instincts, which is what makes him a capable powerplay QB. His footwork really improved over the course of the year too. While he's a big guy and can play a physical game, he's truly more of a puck mover and stronger in the offensive zone currently. Which would probably surprise people given his profile. Wouldn't shock me at all to see him selected this year and I'd approve of that.

James Hardie - Wing - Mississauga Steelheads
Every internet scout's favourite re-entry. Hardie has his strengths. His shot and scoring instincts are great. He's worked hard to improve his skating and his engagement away from the puck. I'm still not sure his skill set translates. Even as a 20 year old, he remains a pretty impulsive player with the puck and I'd still like to see him take over games more often, rather than be a passenger. I think back to Pavel Gogolev's final draft eligible season and how he completely took over games and still didn't get drafted. 

Vsevolod Gaidamak - Center/Wing - Ottawa 67's
A first year import, Gaidamak was solid in a variety of different situations for the 67's this year. He has a real well rounded skill profile. However, he also fell down the lineup a bit as the year went on. What he is at the next level is a bit of a question mark.

Nolan Dann - Wing - Sarnia Sting
Quick strike offensive player who can be a real difference maker on the counter attack. Dann manuevres through space really well because of his quick hands and quick feet. He will be a big part of this team moving forward and I'd probably wait to see how his game fills out next year, when Sarnia could be a sneaky contender for the West.

Braeden Bowman - Wing - Guelph Storm
Bowman is a big winger who scored 27 goals this year on the strength of being a solid net front and slot presence. He has a quick release and does possess solid goal scoring potential. I think I'd want to see how the skating and skill components of his game continue to improve as his role with Guelph increases in the future.

Avery Hayes - Wing/Center - Hamilton Bulldogs
Hayes took great steps forward this year with Hamilton. It actually looks like he grew a bit and most definitely added strength that helped him play through contact more effectively. One of the few OHL'ers who relies heavily on that mohawking, 10/2 stride (along with Stranges and Ryan Abraham). I'm still not sure how his skill set translates, but you can't say he didn't progress in areas that he needed to.

Joseph Serpa - Center/Wing - Kitchener Rangers
After how good he looked at the Erie showcase late last year, I don't think anyone was surprised with how good Serpa looked this year for Kitchener. His intensity and motor are always noticeable, even if he's not hitting the scoresheet. I think there is probably a place in pro hockey for Serpa in the future. He could easily be groomed as a PK'er at the NHL/AHL level. If he returns to the OHL as an overager next year, he could be a candidate for a contract with a great offensive season.

Deni Goure - Center - Owen Sound Attack
The leading scorer of the Attack this year, Goure really took positive steps forward this season. Unquestionably, he looked a little quicker and it allowed him to really use his high end sense more effectively. Goure is sneaky skilled too and manipulates traffic well. He's not big, but he makes a living through the middle. Would he be a classic tweener moving forward though? 

Ryan Humphrey - Wing - Hamilton Bulldogs
One of the hardest working players in the OHL, Humphrey is just a relentless player in all three zones. He will play through you to make a play and his finishing ability and confidence with the puck really grew this year. He was the perfect complementary player for Hamilton. Not much offensive potential at the NHL level, but there's a chance he could carve out a career as a high energy guy. He has a lot of the characteristics that teams look for.
Stuart Rolofs - Center/Wing - Oshawa Generals
Started out his Generals career like gangbusters. He looked great early on for Oshawa and was playing with the pace and energy we expected out of him in London, but never truly got consistently. But, much like the rest of the Generals, Rolofs' play dipped significantly in the final months. He really seemed to be gripping the stick and turnovers became a bit of an issue. That said, I think he might have done enough to get a look from an NHL team. His skating ability is a major plus and I still think he has significant goal scoring upside. Whether it's this year, next year, or after his OA year, I think Rolofs eventually gets a look from an NHL team. His weaker second half pushed him just outside the top ten of this list for me. 

Dean Loukus - Wing/Center - Saginaw Spirit
The Spirit pulled Loukus out of Michigan high school hockey this year and man was he a bright spot for the team in an otherwise miserable year. He is a really skilled player with the puck. Consistently makes his first defender miss, but occasionally gets himself in trouble by overhandling or failing to identify lanes. There's just something about Loukus. I think the offensive potential is really high. He's someone to keep an eye on moving forward.