Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Preliminary Media/Scout Poll for 2024

Time for the first media/scout poll for the 2024 NHL Draft!

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."

Views on the quality of this OHL crop vary depending on who you ask. I’ve heard everything from, “this is the worst group from the OHL that I can remember,” to, “it’s on the average side of things.” Where do I stand? I don’t think it’s a strong crop, but I also wouldn’t call it among the worst I’ve seen. Overall, I’m not particularly enamored with this draft class outside of Celebrini, and I think the OHL simply mimics this. But we’re still only half way through the draft season, so let’s see how things finish out.

As always, this list involves contributions from a rather colourful cast of characters. Contributing their rankings and thoughts to this preliminary list for 2024 were:

Corey Pronman - NHL Prospects Writer for TheAthletic (@coreypronman)

Dominic Tiano - Creator of The OHL Writers (@dominictiano)

Ryan Kennedy - Editor in Chief for The Hockey News (@THNRyanKennedy)

Scott Wheeler - NHL Prospects Writer for TheAthletic (@scottcwheeler)

Peter Baracchini - Draft Content at The Hockey Writers (@PBaracchini)

Mike Morreale - Staff writer for NHL.com (@mikemorrealeNHL)

Josh Tessler - Director of Scouting for Smaht Scouting (@JoshTessler_)

Tony Ferrari – NHL Draft Content for The Hockey News (@theTonyFerrari)

Joely Stockl – OHL Content for The Hockey News (@joelystockl04)

Josh Bell - Head of Video Scouting for McKeen's Hockey (@JoshuaBell31)

Chase Rochon - OHL Regional Scout for McKeen's Hockey (@chaserochon18)

and of course...myself (@BrockOtten)


Here's the List:

1. Sam Dickinson - Defense - London Knights
Highest Ranking: 1st (12x)
Lowest Ranking: -
Total Votes: 12 
“You just don't find many defenders like Dickinson anymore. He's big, physical and defensively advanced for his age, plus he has some offense to go with it as well. London's development program for him turned out to be perfect and his NHL impact is easy to project. Can't see him needing too much more time to get there, either.” - Ryan Kennedy

“London Knights’ defender Sam Dickinson might just be the top defender available in this draft class. Compared to the other defenders in the OHL (and the first round of the NHL Draft altogether), he’s arguably the best in his own end. His processing under pressure stands out, often making the best decision even when forced to make a choice. He can make some mistakes, but his processing and intelligence are a tier above the rest. His offensive ceiling likely isn’t as high as others available, but his overall impact is very intriguing.” - Josh Bell

“He's a very powerful skater but very elusive, too. He can beat opponents in a lot of ways and he recognizes opportunities. He's going to be a big producer from the back end. It's impressive that he's playing top-pair minutes, top power play on a team that's pretty loaded with drafted players. The other thing is he's really improved his D-zone exits and when that passing opportunity is there, he does it and he does it on the backhand as good as anyone.” - Mike Morreale

“Dickinson is a do-it-all defenseman who hasn’t quite figured out exactly what it is that he wants to be elite at as of yet. In one game, he’s an offensive transition machine, skating the puck up ice and creating off the rush. In another game, he’s reserved and plays steady and stable defense, forcing play to the outside and killing cycles along the wall. In his next game, he will be a creative offensive activator who can make some really impressive things happen in the offensive zone. The issue is that he hasn’t been able to put everything together at once. The potential is there but he needs to bring everything together.” - Tony Ferrari

“Sam Dickinson is not just the top defender coming out of the OHL, but he’s my top defender overall in this draft class that can thrive at the next level. He already has the mobility and smooth skating stride for his size to be a factor in transition and lead an attack. He excels at scanning and identifying lanes to carry the play forward or even make crisp, strong and clean breakout passes. He has a booming one-timer from the point and does a great job of knowing when to activate and engage in the offensive zone. The big thing for him is to continue to find consistency with his production, but he’s already showing progress and becoming more of a factor with the minutes and power play time he’s earning. Even without the puck, the awareness he possesses is strong. He can quickly cut down lanes, showing great gap control and get into the passing lanes and break plays up. Given his size, he knows when to engage physically, overpowering players in the corners and in front of the net. That edge and the smarts on both sides of the puck will generate a lot of interest from teams looking for a defender that can have the foundations of a steady two-way defenseman.” - Peter Baracchini

“I don’t think we’ve seen a more complete defenceman come out of the OHL at the age of seventeen in a long time. Dickinson’s poise and maturity make him easily projectable to the next level.” - Joely Stockl

“It’s the year of the defenceman and Dickinson is the best of the class in my opinion. Great NHL size already, but can move well north-south and east west. Defensively, he just kills plays, stays in position and more than capable of riding opponents out. He is excellent when transitioning with a good pass or skating it himself. He reads the plays extremely well and times his joining the rush perfectly. Others are providing more offence than he is right now, but he’s not getting the prime powerplay time or the prime offensive opportunities.” - Dominic Tiano

“I think that Dickinson is unquestionably the top draft prospect out of the OHL this year. He’s by far the safest bet to be an impact NHL player. I have zero doubts about his defensive ability transitioning. The size, reach, and mobility combination is rare. The physicality and assertiveness are inconsistent, but I also have little doubt that as he matures, this becomes a non issue. I really appreciate how consistently Dickinson starts the breakout effectively. He handles the forecheck so well and trusts his feet to help him escape pressure. His scanning habits are great too. That poise is going to treat him well at the next level. I think what I’m most concerned about is the offensive upside. I’m just not particularly confident that Dickinson is innately creative or skilled enough to be a primetime offensive play creator at the NHL level. He can get boxed in, inside the offensive zone, and he can struggle to navigate the neutral zone; turnovers have been a bit of an issue. I’ve seen comparisons to the likes of Alex Pietrangelo or Noah Dobson thrown around, but I saw more skill from those two as junior aged players. I think Dickinson profiles more as a Darnell Nurse, Brady Skjei type. That’s not a terrible thing at all. But it’s more in line with those #2-3 prototypes, rather than a perennial Norris candidate.” - Brock Otten

2. Zayne Parekh - Defense - Saginaw Spirit
Highest Ranking: 2nd (7x)
Lowest Ranking: 4th (3x)
Total Votes: 12
“Zayne Parekh looks to be slightly polarizing in this draft class but perhaps we forget: putting up points in junior as a defender, more often than not, leads to NHL success. And Parekh knows how to put up points - he’s on pace for 95 points this season. He’s second in the league among defenders in points. He’s just so fun to watch. He can burn teams with his ability to create offense, both with his feet and with his playmaking. His mobility is borderline elite and he can dance along the blue line or zoom down the ice. His decision-making is the big red flag for some, which is valid as he can make some questionable plays and does turn the puck over. That comes with how much he carries the puck though and the freedom he’s been given. The rewards outweigh the risks here.” - Josh Bell

“The confusing case of Zayne Parekh has been one of the more fascinating things to track this year. He scores a boatload of goals and racks up points but the way he does it just isn’t translatable. His game is so predicated on his team giving him the green light to fully activate as a fourth forward. Parekh has a great shot and his skill is solid. He gets plenty of his assists from firing shots on net and rebounds being buried. There isn’t a player in the NHL that plays the way Parekh does. His defensive game is reluctant and timid, avoiding contact and lacking any awareness. Is he Shayne Gostisbehere/Tony DeAngelo or is he TJ Brennan/Ryan Merkley?” - Tony Ferrari

“A lot of times offensive defencemen are very one-dimensional, but Parekh’s improved defensive ability and edge provides some complexity to his game. Players hate playing against him, he has this sort of confidence and swag that gets into other player’s heads, and that has proven to be such a valuable attribute in today’s NHL.” - Joely Stockl

“Started off his career as a high risk/high reward kind of player, but it feels like the "reward" part has really taken over. Parekh is a deadly offensive defenseman who continues to work on the defensive side of things and the fact Saginaw is hosting the Memorial Cup means guaranteed high-pressure experience this spring.” - Ryan Kennedy

“When he's on the ice, everything flows through him. He controls the game.  A real good skater, good edge work that he can use to be very elusive. He's an excellent passer. If a teammate is open, he'll find him with the puck. He's got great hockey sense, elite puck skills, and he can rush it up and pass it up, but it's going the other way pretty quick once it's on his stick.” - Mike Morreale

“I think my contemporaries have done a great job of painting the picture on Parekh. If he hits, he’s going to hit big; he’s a unique player. The creativity is truly elite. I think he’s better defensively than people give him credit for. He has a good stick and defensive instincts. You can see that in the offensive zone and neutral zone when he’s trying to disrupt the breakout (to earn touches). In the defensive zone, it’s been more erratic, but I do think that it has been trending up in recent months. Given Saginaw’s unique structure and the freedoms that they provide defenders, scouts can have a difficult time determining likelihood of translation. We saw this with Pavel Mintyukov to a certain extent. Yet, I don’t see anyone complaining about Mintyukov now that he’s in the NHL with Anaheim and playing extremely well. Maybe the Spirit are onto something from a development perspective; prioritizing and fostering creativity. NHL teams can alter the player’s perception of systems and structure, the way Anaheim has with Mintyukov. But, they need junior programs to develop skill and build confidence the way Saginaw has. I think what ultimately works against Parekh is the fact that there are so many impressively built defensive prospects in this draft with well rounded profiles. It’s easy to see why they would be prioritized because there’s similar upside in terms of true NHL impact (at both ends), but with safer floors.” - Brock Otten

3. Liam Greentree - Wing - Windsor Spitfires
Highest Ranking: 2nd (2x)
Lowest Ranking: 8th (1x)
Total Votes: 12
“I think a lot of parallels can be made between Greentree and Jason Robertson at the same age. Scouts undervalued Robertson at that age because of perceived skating weaknesses, but I don’t think they’ll do the same with Greentree. Do I wish he were a more explosive skater? Absolutely. Do I wish his off puck play and physicality were more consistent? Definitely. But, this is a big winger that oozes skill and creativity. He’s tough to box in and he plays through the middle of the ice. As he builds strength, he’s going to be a load to handle with his hands and finishing ability. Even more importantly, he’s also a highly intelligent offensive player who can play a supporting role when it is called for. Recently named captain of the Spitfires as an 18 year old, I have a ton of time for Greentree as a potential lottery selection.” - Brock Otten

“A big, skilled winger who has insane puck control and a diverse offensive tool set is a valuable player. Greentree plays with power, skill, and his ability to act as a facilitator or goal scorer is impressive, especially on a putrid Windsor Spitfires team. He certainly has a tendency to float a bit defensively which can be an issue but when he’s being relied upon so heavily offensively, it’s not uncommon at the junior level. Greentree is strong along the boards and when he is in a puck battle, he comes out with it or finds a way to get the puck to a teammate with regularity. Greentree can absolutely rip it. If he can do this with a terrible supporting cast, imagine what this guy could do with a better environment.” - Tony Ferrari

“Arguably one of the biggest risers early this season, Liam Greentree has just about matched his 2022-23 output in just half the games this year. What might be the most impressive is that the winger is doing it on the lowly Windsor Spitfires team. He’s been a huge bright spot in a rough season for the team, currently tied for the lead in points. Greentree brings that coveted combination of size and skill that NHL teams drool over. He’s truly found how to use his size to his advantage this season, with his puck protection and strength in puck battles. He seems to always win puck battles and then with the puck on his stick - watch out. He has confidence, vision, and a great shot. His skating needs to improve, but I’ve always said that skating can be worked on. The foundation that Greentree has is worth it.” - Josh Bell

“It’s tough to find a goal-scorer that can utilize their size consistently at a young age. Liam Greentree continues to do just that in his draft year. He led all rookies in scoring last season with 25 goals and he’s once again in the thick of things being one of the more dangerous goal scorers in this class. As mentioned, Greentree uses his size to his advantage, both in puck protection and engaging physically to win puck battles constantly. Although his speed isn’t the best, he does move well for his 6-foot-2, 198-pound frame. He shows a great work ethic consistently and displays good habits when on the attack. The way he reads a situation as it unfolds is evident. He’s quick to take advantage of situations and turnovers, leading him to make himself open and use his quick release when getting to the middle of the ice.” - Peter Baracchini

"Greentree always seems to be well engaged on the forecheck and has excellent north - south speed to get himself into position to apply pressure. When he has the puck on his stick, he does an excellent job of managing pace and incorporates delays as he looks to push play to the interior. Greentree has shown to be dynamic on the rush and mid-cycle. Plus, he's got a cannon of a shot." - Josh Tessler

4. Beckett Sennecke - Wing - Oshawa Generals
Highest Ranking: 3rd (1x)
Lowest Ranking: 8th (2x)
Total Votes: 12
“I might be a little higher on Beckett Sennecke than most, but since his rookie season he continues to take steps with his game. As the Oshawa Generals remain a middle of the pack team this season, he continues to show great value with his skillset and IQ, despite average production. He sees the ice very well and thinks quickly adapting to situations in an instant. He has great hands in tight spaces and can disrupt plays effectively on the defensive side of the puck. He’s strong on the puck to maintain possession, allowing him to scan the ice and start a play. He can make crisp tape-to-tape passes, working quick give-and-go’s along with executing cross ice passes quickly. When he has an opportunity, he isn’t afraid to shoot it as he has great power behind his release. If he can add more speed, he could be extremely valuable as a prospect.” - Peter Barrachini

“Beckett Sennecke hasn’t received much love this season, which is understandable. He hasn’t truly taken a step forward that was hoped for him this season, on pace for a similar total to last year’s results. But the potential is very much here for the young winger. He battles hard in both ends, always diving into fights for the puck. He has some offensive talent, although it may be limited if he doesn’t become a little more consistent in his ability to create offense. There have been times when he drifts into the background, so this would need to improve. It will be interesting to see if he can trend up in the back half of the season. If he just maintains this current trajectory, he may slide down rankings.” - Josh Bell

“With expectations high for Sennecke, he has only met them in flashes. He generally isn’t ever actively making poor plays, he just seemingly finds a way to play even hockey. Every once in a while though, he has the ability to pop off and make a play that has you say “Oh damn, there it is”. Whether it’s a rush up ice where he dekes a defender en route to a scoring chance or a silky pass through traffic to a teammate, he has flashes of intrigue. Unfortunately, there haven’t been many games where he puts it together for a full 60 minutes.” - Tony Ferrari

“There aren’t many that work has hard. Tenacious on the forecheck and in board battles, winning the majority of pucks even when he is on the wrong end of 50-50 battles. He can stick handle in a phone booth with an uncanny ability to draw defenders in and then beat them one-on-one. The offence isn’t where it was expected this season, but I’m not worried.” - Dominic Tiano

“The consistency issues are definitely real. There’s no doubting that. But, what I rarely see mentioned is the huge growth spurt that Sennecke has experienced. Two years ago he was 5’10. Now he’s listed at 6’3. It’s had a negative impact on his strength and conditioning as he grows into this new frame. I think that really helps to explain why he disappears for stretches. You need to project Sennecke a few years from now when he’s playing at 6’3 (or even taller) and 200+. The hands are there. The shot is heavy. He has those power forward tendencies. That length/reach and the high IQ give him a chance of developing into a quality two-way asset. I think he’s scratching the surface of what he’s capable of. Also of note, mom was a national volleyball player for Canada so the pedigree is there too. He’s still a first rounder for me.” - Brock Otten

5. Henry Mews - Defense - Ottawa 67’s
Highest Ranking: 2nd (1x)
Lowest Ranking: 9th (1x)
Total Votes: 12
“He's taken a lot of flak this year, but he's still putting up nearly a point per game from the blueline. There's time to work out the kinks elsewhere.” - Ryan Kennedy

“Mews had a slow start to the season, looking a bit lost and struggling to find his footing but he’s been improving over the last couple of months. While raw strength is certainly an issue that can lead to some struggles in the defensive zone, Mews has learned to work around it and he tries to kill plays on the rush and in space with excellent mobility and a steady stick. His passing on the breakout can be lethal, threading the needle and hitting teammates in stride. Mews’ offensive game has always been a strength but he’s beginning to refine it and take some of the wild habits out of it.” - Tony Ferrari

“Another polarizing prospect this season, Henry Mews’ biggest issue has been his consistency. When he’s on, he looks like a top-15 prospect in this class. He can drive play from his own end out, he pushes the pace, stretches the ice, and can create offense and shut it down in his own end. He can be truly excellent. But there’s another side of him where his timing is off, he loses his coverage, and just seems not confident in his play. This has significantly limited him this season. If he can find some consistency and confidence, he has excellent, high-end potential. But if he continues this up-and-down, unpredictable play, he’s a risky selection. He can go either way on this list before the draft.” - Josh Bell

“Is a great skater who can handle the puck with the best of them (except maybe Parekh). He’s a skilled passer in transition first finding his intended target and then making a tape-to-tape pass. In his own zone he is quick to retrieve pucks and has shown the ability to escape the forecheck and pressure. His defensive game is a work in progress but I have little doubt he will get there.” - Dominic Tiano

“Mews has been heavily overlooked and underrated in this year's class. He hasn't produced the high offensive numbers everyone has expected this season, and being an offensive defenseman, that has turned off some people. This comes from Henry's focus on the defensive side of his game and learning to become more of a dual threat on the backend, which can make him more effective at the pro level. Mews is the best skater in the entire draft and has a great head on his shoulders. The rest of his game can be rounded out, and he has the highest offensive upside of defenders in the class.” - Chase Rochon

“There’s a lot of give-and-take in Mews’ game, and his play can be sporadic as a result, but he’s still a first-round talent for me and has tightened things up and played well when the games matter.” - Anonymous

6. Luke Misa - Center/Wing - Mississauga Steelheads
Highest Ranking: 2nd (2x)
Lowest Ranking: Outside of the Top 10 (2x)
Total Votes: 10
“Misa has been a driving force for the young Mississauga Steelheads, leading the team in scoring as a draft-eligible. Misa is a shifty forward who has some impressive awareness and an understanding of how to advance the play. He is a steady puck carrier who plays a bit bigger than he is when the puck is on his stick. His passing is excellent, coming from an impressive amount of patience and poise. He baits defenders one way and then passes against the grain or understands how to manipulate space with movement and area passes. Misa can burst into space and weave through defensive structure.” - Tony Ferrari

“Can't mess with results. Misa has been a devastating weapon for the Steelheads and one of the top scorers in the league. Cool to see a talented kid really take the reins in his draft year.” - Ryan Kennedy

“Another early riser this season, Luke Misa easily catches viewers' eyes thanks to his skating ability. He’s also fearless and relentless, making him a very dangerous player. He’s typically the first player on pucks, and if not, he’s going to give it his all to get the puck back. The players that show that competitiveness combines with other high-end traits tend to be fairly safe bets to make it. There are times when he looks to be a bit of a passenger on the rush, leaning on his teammates too much to get into the high-danger areas, but with some additional size, he may be more likely to cut into the middle himself. Still, bet on Misa to continue to work on his shortcomings and continue to impress in his development.” - Josh Bell

“Luke Misa had a lot of potential, but it took a while to develop and he has continued to increase his value as a dynamic playmaking centre with the Mississauga Steelheads. Sitting eighth in OHL scoring with 48 points, his torrid start to his draft year has vaulted him into a top-20 spot and it’s easy to see why. Misa constantly plays with pace, given his swiftness in his skating and foot speed. He can make impossible plays with the puck even when he has nothing to work with. He can open lanes up easily, make accurate cross seam passes, quick passing plays and be in the open ice to receive those pucks with ease. He protects the puck very well and has the edgework to evade pressure in tight spaces. He continues to elevate his value as a prospect and his IQ and puck skills are a big reason why.” - Peter Baracchini

“I think what has really taken Misa’s game to another level this year is the improvement of his shot and the alteration to have more of a shooter’s mentality. It’s made him more of a dual threat in transition and it’s made him a more valuable player off the puck. He’s never going to be able to shoot the puck as well as his brother does (honestly, not many can), but this was a necessary adjustment for Luke. As impressive as he has been this year, I guess my question is, how high is the offensive upside for the NHL level? Ultimately, I see Luke profiling more as a high end bottom six guy, maybe even on the wing (where he has played a lot this season). However, that still has a ton of value inside the top 50, so I’m not sure I get NHL Central Scouting’s low ranking of him.” - Brock Otten

"Misa capitalizes off the rush quite a bit for the Mississauga Steelheads. He will identify and take advantage of tight passing lanes while pushing the puck north. Misa's speed makes him a pain to deal with for his opponents on and off the puck. When off of the puck, he does an excellent job of activating, quickly getting up to full speed and going after the puck carrier. On top of his speed, Misa has an excellent shot with a quick release." - Josh Tessler

7. Jett Luchanko - Center - Guelph Storm
Highest Ranking: 3rd (1x)
Lowest Ranking: Outside of the Top 10 (3x)
Total Votes: 9
“Quickly becoming one of my favourites in this OHL class. Loved him as a U16 player on that London Jr. Knights team. Loved the energy he brought as an OHL rookie last year. And have loved the progression he has shown this season as a sophomore, filling the shoes of Matt Poitras as Guelph’s go-to offensive guy. He has speed for days. He’s a tireless worker. He has great playmaking instincts. I really like how he plays through traffic with a game predicated on quick touches and consistent movement. It’s easy to see him translating well to the pro level. Only thing missing from his game is a high end shot. Reminds me a lot of watching Vincent Trocheck as an OHL player and I think Luchanko can be a similar kind of impact NHL player. He’s also one of the youngest available in this class, something that is evident with how easy he can be to push off stride/off the puck at times. Lots of physical development left. Luchanko is a first rounder for me currently.” - Brock Otten

“Love his speed, love his skill. Another kid that's probably not getting enough love right now, especially with the points he's putting up.” - Ryan Kennedy

“A bit of a powerplay merchant with just over half of his points coming with the man advantage, Luchanko is a very intriguing player in that he plays the game at a high pace, with decent skill, and some creative passing. He loves to pop up around the net and bury rebounds or send a pass into the slot for a teammate. He shoots at the goalies pads to create a rebound on the rush. He plays with a bit of chaos and it’s fun to watch but he will need to be a bit more organized and structured as he advances levels.” - Tony Ferrari

“If there’s one player that I think is flying under the radar, it’s Jett Luchanko. He possesses a smart two-way game, but is still able to play at a quick pace offensively. He displays a strong IQ with and without the puck as well as a highly competitive nature and work ethic. He isn’t flashy but he’s simple and effective and sometimes that’s always a good thing to have with players that can play a responsible game. He still needs to add more strength, but he’s always engaging and is involved in plays along the boards to battle for the puck and is always driving hard to the middle of the ice. Defensively, he displays great awareness on the backcheck and to be in position to break up plays effectively. He provides great pressure on attacking forwards and support for his teammates down low and on zone exits. There are similarities to Matthew Poitras and if he can reach the same level, watch out.” - Peter Baracchini

“Jett is a player I didn't expect to be my highest OHL forward going into the season, but he has only climbed up my rankings. Low production with minimal opportunity last season has been a turn-off for public scouts as Jett hasn't received even close to enough attention as he deserves. High explosive speed, confidence and skill are what Luchenkos's game is all about. Knowing how to balance safe hockey plays and highlight-reel solo efforts is extremely impressive for a 17-year-old in the OHL. I don't see many other forwards in the class possessing offensive upside like Jett.” - Chase Rochon

8. Cole Beaudoin - Center/Wing - Barrie Colts
Highest Ranking: 4th (1x)
Lowest Ranking: Outside of the Top 10 (4x)
Total Votes: 8
“Sure there are some concerns with his skating, but Beaudoin’s hockey sense and all-round vision are off the charts, and one of the strongest in this group.” - Joely Stockl

“It could be argued that Cole Beaudoin already plays a pro game. He has good size at 6-foot-2, 209 pounds, plays hard, and brings some impressive skill. He was stellar at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and while that didn’t immediately translate into OHL success, he’s since found his offensive touch and after going his first five games without a point is up to 28 points in the 25 games since. His skating looks like the biggest hole in his game but again, this can be worked on and improved as he continues to develop. He’s strong in his own end, is relentless on the forecheck, and has started to show some play-driving success. Keep an eye on him down the stretch.” - Josh Bell

“A strong power forward that shows a great compete level, Cole Beaudoin has been extremely consistent in that regard. From the Hlinka Gretzky Cup to the OHL, he continues to show his strength in the tough areas. It’s hard for players with his size that can utilize that to their advantage and he knows how to do just that. Given his 6-foot-2, 201-pound frame, Beaudoin is always a factor in the tough areas on the ice, showing great confidence and dominance down below the goal line, in the corners or creating havoc in front of the net. He’s always a factor on the forecheck, being the first one in to establish an attack. The way he even pressures players on the defensive side of things and provides support is a great sign for his development. That determination is why he continues to get attention.” - Peter Baracchini

“Beaudoin is one of the most physically advanced players in the draft and his strength and pro frame are complemented by a detail-oriented, well-rounded game that coaches can trust. If he can pick up half a step, he’ll be a useful NHL player.” - Anonymous

9. Ryerson Leenders - Goaltender - Mississauga Steelheads
Highest Ranking: 5th (1x)
Lowest Ranking: Outside of the Top 10 (6x)
Total Votes: 6
“Helping lead the youngest team in the OHL to one of the best records in the OHL’s Eastern Conference, Leenders has dealt with everything thrown at him. From the pressure of being the lead dog in net as a 17-year-old to knowing that the Steelheads drafted a goalie in the top-10 at the draft last year, Leenders has been simply fantastic to start the season. He is a bit undersized which will give some teams pause but this kid is a gamer. He has shown a good base of athleticism and solid technique in the crease. He has been a fixture near the top of the goalie stats in the OHL all year. Aside from his size, there isn’t much to harp on.” - Tony Ferrari

“The first and only OHL goalie in my top 10, Ryerson Leenders, has been stellar this season. Granted, being on the stellar Mississauga Steelheads team certainly helps, but I’d argue that Leenders has been more of a contributor to that success versus a benefactor of that success. His athleticism is excellent, regularly showing off the ability to stretch out and make a huge save. He can tend to rely on this ability too often, at the expense of his technical game. But in his first season as a starter, he’s been stellar. He’s in the conversation to be the first netminder selected in the draft.” - Josh Bell

“Very rare that you find a goaltender on my list at this point. The fact is, I could have gone with two goaltenders and that could speak to the goaltending this year or the draft class itself. But I went with Leenders here because I love his compete level and “never give up on a puck” mentality. Has it been perfect? No. There are things to clean up but the basics are there and he just needs further coaching. You’ll find him to be a regular on the saves of the week videos. Lot’s of upside here.” - Dominic Tiano

“Provides hope for an increase in the quality of Canadian goaltending prospects, Leenders’ athleticism is incredible, and he has that undeniable ability to make game-changing saves.” - Joely Stockl

“The athleticism gives him a really high upside. I think unquestionably, at this point, he and Carter George are the top two netminders available this year…and that’s not even being biased. Technically, he’s a work in progress (part of the reason why I prefer George). The rebound control, especially, stands out as an area that needs to drastically improve. But it’s hard to ignore what he’s been able to do this year in helping Mississauga push to the top of the standings.” - Brock Otten

"Leenders is a highly-athletic goaltender, who can shut the door quickly when the threat goes from post to post on a dime. He does a great job of timing his pad extension to make the toe pad stop at just the right moment. He does an excellent job of tracking, quickly shifting over and resetting to pressure as the puck goes around the zone." - Josh Tessler

10. Lukas Fischer - Defense - Sarnia Sting
Highest Ranking: 6th (1x)
Lowest Ranking: Outside of the Top 10 (8x)
Total Votes: 4
“Admittedly, he has struggled at times of late on a rebuilding Sarnia team. He started the season so well, but his decision making has left some to be desired at both ends in my last few viewings. Yet, I find myself magnetically drawn to Fischer and the upside he possesses. It’s rare to find big defenders who can skate like he does. He flashes so many different skills too. He can be a physically imposing defender. He can be a puck transporter. He can quarterback the powerplay. His projection has so many different branches depending on his development. But what I love is the bloodlines. I have faith that he will be able to figure it out and I think he’d be standing out a lot more on a stronger team. One of the youngest players in this class, the runway to improve is huge here.” - Brock Otten

“The son of former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jiri Fischer, Lukas’ competitive drive and confidence is what makes me a big fan of his. This season, he’s continuing to thrive with more responsibilities on the Sarnia Sting with his physical, two-way game. He has great mobility for his size, leading breakouts with great confidence and control along with making long stretch passes. When he has an open lane, he’ll walk in and unleash his bullet of a slap shot, but has the mindset to not force anything when there’s nothing there, showing great patience and smarts with the puck. He has great patience to make plays and walk the line and free things up. Defensively, he has strong gap control and doesn’t cheat with his positioning. He excels at keeping players to the outside, defends the rush very well and can disrupt plays with his long reach. He has the size to be physical, but needs to use it more and when he does, he can be an intimidating presence.” - Peter Baracchini

“Has shown marked improvement and that can’t be ignored. Big body who isn’t afraid to use his frame. Has shown to be a solid lock it down defender who will play physically. Moves extremely well for a big body and has a lot of confidence in his abilities to be able to skate the puck in transition.” - Dominic Tiano

“Fischer has a very intriguing pro toolkit with his size and mobility. Offense is a question.” - Anonymous

Honorable Mentions

Carter George - Goaltender - Owen Sound Attack
Highest Ranking: 7th (1x)
Total Votes: 4
“My top goaltender in the class. He’s not as quick or as naturally athletic as Leenders, but I think he tracks the play better and is generally more composed and consistent. As he works to improve his strength and conditioning, he should get quicker and it will really take his game to that next level. I’m going to guess that he ends up as Canada’s starter at the U18’s this year (just as he was at the Hlinka/Gretzky) and he’ll have the opportunity to make a late season push.” - Brock Otten

“Another undersized netminder, George has been the backbone of the Owen Sound Attack. When he hasn’t been in net, the team is almost scheduled for a loss. George moves well in net and does everything he can to keep the Attack in games. He’s been forced to make a boatload of saves and he’s done just that while sitting in the top-five league-wide among most goalie stats. George is a hot name who could rise up the board among OHL draft eligibles.” - Tony Ferrari

“A very positionally and technically sound goaltender, very poised and rarely ever getting himself out of position. Has saved many games for the Attack this season.” - Joely Stockl

Anthony Cristoforo - Defense - Windsor Spitfires
Highest Ranking: 7th (1x)
Total Votes: 3
“Is undersized, but I like his skill set if it can translate to the pro game. He is a good skater with excellent hands and vision. He’s a great passer who has a well-rounded offensive game. His size raises questions about whether he can defend at the next level. One thing is for certain: He sure puts in the effort into defending and that’s all you can ask for.” - Dominic Tiano

“Although he’s just on-pace to surpass his 41 points last season, Anthony Cristoforo still possesses a strong skillset in regards to being an efficient play driver from the backend. He’s constantly having his head up to scan lanes when in transition, displaying great confidence and doing so quickly. His playmaking is always at the forefront, displaying great patience with the puck and putting it in a spot where a teammate can receive or retrieve it. He walks the line effectively to get into a great spot to open things up– making a timely pass or even getting a shot off. While nothing he does stands out, it’s always effective and his creativity to find the open ice is what makes him a great asset on the backend.” - Peter Baracchini

“Cristoforo hasn’t followed a very good 16-year-old season with a step forward as a 17-year-old, but he still does well if he has been downgraded from a second-rounder to more of a mid-round guy. Could see him making it in the Travis Dermott/Sean Walker mold.” - Anonymous

Ben Danford - Defense - Oshawa Generals
Highest Ranking: 6th (1x)
Total Votes: 3
“Maybe I put too much emphasis on the fact that he’s already a leader at 17, but I find that impressive. You can tell that he thinks defence first. He has good size, moves well, has a very active and effective stick and most importantly, keeps his gaps very tight. Despite thinking defence first, he is capable offensively. He keeps his feet moving in the O-zone, makes himself an option and isn’t afraid to shoot the puck, usually with a purpose. He sees the ice extremely well and is an above average passer.” - Dominic Tiano

“A two-way defenseman with good skating and hockey sense. He's got a great work ethic and can pass the puck with authority exiting his own end. Danford is pretty consistent in what he does; might just need to determine better shooting lanes at times. I like his size (6-1, 193) and he's also a right-handed shot.” - Mike Morreale

Kieron Walton - Wing - Sudbury Wolves
Highest Ranking: 7th (2x)
Total Votes: 3
“A big forward with a good shot and some slick passing ability that skates well, Walton may be higher up this list if were in a situation where he had more opportunity. His decision-making can be a bit questionable at times but the tools are all intriguing. He could be a player who really pops off after his draft year. Walton is more of a playmaker than his stat line would indicate and he leverages his size quite well to get some power behind his shot. Walton could be the sleeper of the OHL class.” - Tony Ferrari

“Walton has a very high skill level for a big man. Skating is a concern.” - Anonymous

"Walton does a good job of using delays and cut-backs when pushing the puck up the ice to net separation to the inside. He has lengthy reach and excellent puck security. In transition, It allows him to capture pucks off of stretch passes while enduring pressure at his side and quickly re-distributes them to an open teammate. Walton understands time and spacing quite well and always seems to make the most of whatever little space pops up." - Josh Tessler

Gabriel Frasca - Center - Kingston Frontenacs
Highest Ranking: 6th (1x)
Total Votes: 2
“Flying under the radar right now because he got a late start to the season. I think he’s still trying to find his footing, but I do expect more people will take notice in the second half. Strong skating base. Shoots the puck extremely well. High IQ, two-way player. Very well rounded profile. I think that’s why he could make a really strong pro player.” - Brock Otten

“Maybe I'm buying high on Frasca, but he's definitely got skill and was basically forgotten when he was on the shelf. Comes from a big hockey family, too.” - Ryan Kennedy

Marek Vanacker - Wing - Brantford Bulldogs
Highest Ranking: 6th (1x)
Total Votes: 2
“A 2-way forward who is very strong-willed. He has great speed and intelligence to complement his 200-foot game.” - Mike Morreale

“Vanacker is a highly offensively skilled player who, if used properly can become an elite player at the pro level. Great hands and deception make Vanacker a weapon with the puck, and his tenacity and effort also make him valuable on the defensive side.  Consistency will be something scouts will be looking for in Merek's game to make him a higher pick on draft day.” - Chase Rochon

Jakub Fibigr - Defense - Mississauga Steelheads
Highest Ranking: 8th (1x)
Total Votes: 2
“The complete mobility, defensive stick, and spatial awareness in all three zones is what makes Fibigr special. His defensive stick has to be one of the best in the league, but this combined with his activations offensively make him a very unique prospect.” - Joely Stockl

“Fibigr always finds ways to impress me. A Very intelligent defender who always finds a way to make the best play available. No panic in Jakub's game. He plays a very poised style of defence that makes him a multidimensional tool on the backend for the Steelheads.” - Chase Rochon

Sam O’Reilly - Center/Wing - London Knights
Highest Ranking: 8th (2x)
Total Votes: 2
“O'Reilly is a skilled hard working two way center, developing well on a strong London team. Wish he was a bit faster.” - Anonymous

“Sam's growth in development has been very impressive and should continue under the London staff. Dominant in GOJHL play last season led to Sam transitioning into the OHL smoothly this year. He has slowly worked his way up the lineup and has now earned his spot playing more minutes for the Knights, and the points are coming with him. Sam is a very strong player, and if he finds his identity and can unlock some elite traits, he will be an exciting prospect to watch.” - Chase Rochon

Chris Thibodeau - Wing - Kingston Frontenacs
Highest Ranking: 10th (2x)
Total Votes: 2
“I went back and forth on who to include in this last spot but found myself coming back to Chris Thibodeau. What he’s been doing with the Kingston Frontenacs this season has been very impressive. He’s at a point per game with 33 points and leads the team in assists. He’s likely a late draft pick due to his 5-foot-9, 143-pound frame, but the skill that he brings to the ice is worth it. He consistently pushes play to the high-danger areas of the ice, whether that means carrying it himself or feeding a teammate. He skates well, can control the pace of the game, and shows off some excellent creativity. That size is a little concerning, but the talent is undeniable.” - Josh Bell

"Thibodeau does an excellent job of extending play in order to create high percentage scoring chances. Instead of immediately taking a shot on net when pressure intensifies, he will drop back to extend play and wait for a teammate to enter into an optimal passing lane. When the pressure is extremely tight and Thibodeau is working the boards, he usually manages to shake free with well timed pivots. Quickly nets space and passes the puck to the slot. When the opposition has possession of the puck, Thibodeau is puck hungry and he can be tough to dodge. He can match speed quite often with his edges and activation." - Josh Tessler

Kevin He - Wing - Niagara IceDogs
Highest Ranking: 9th (1x)
Total Votes: 1
“Possibly the most interesting prospect in the OHL this year. A high-end motor with flashes of skill, Kevin He is always a stand-out player at Icedogs games. With his relentless forechecking ability and the stamina of a marathon runner, Kevin has a unique skill set that, if used correctly, can make him a steal on draft day.” - Chase Rochon


Pineda said...

Awesome article dude! This was an extremely nice post. A top notch article

Palmer said...

I learned a lot in this blog. Thank you very much for sharing good content.

Carmen said...

Useful blog info. Keep blogging! thank you for this excellent read!! Keep it up!