Rossy’s Prospect Ramblings – March 27th, 2015

Dean Youngblood

2015-03-27

 

OHL draft eligible stars shine heading into playoffs, NCAA tourney kicks off, Jimmy Vesey, OHL Cup, college free-agent signings and Toronto Maple Leafs thoughts

 

Friday, March 27th, 2015

 

 

The Canadian Hockey League regular seasons have been completed and the playoff matchups dictated. On Thursday, playoffs throughout the CHL began as teams vie for their respective league championships and hopefully earn a berth into the illustrious CHL Memorial Cup that will be held in Quebec City.

 

Austin touched on the incredible finish to the OHL scoring race down the stretch as Erie’s Dylan Strome posted a four goal, six point final game to overtake London’s Mitch Marner, who held the lead for quite some time. It was a remarkable season for 2015 NHL Draft eligibles in the OHL.

 

There’s obviously Connor McDavid, the prized gem of the draft. Mitch Marner (126 points in 63 games) and Dylan Strome (129 points in 68 games) continue to be heavily debated as the next best prospect from the OHL. Both players own tantalizing upside but play two very different games. Dylan Strome is a visionary with the puck and has the size, strength and plays the center position that NHL teams covet. Mitch Marner is a slick creative winger (who can also play down the middle) that dictates pace of the game but doesn’t come packaged in the “ideal” 6-foot-plus frame that scouts look for. At this point in time, it’s a coin flip and no one can say for certain who the better NHL prospect is.

BONUS READ: “Otters scoring champ Strome a humble kid

 

“Strome-Marner-McDavid marks 1st time #OHL Top-3 scorers are 17-year-old NHLDraft prospects. 2010 Top-2 were Hall/Seguin ahead of OA Pither” (via Paul Krotz on Twitter)

Beyond Strome, Marner and McDavid who finished 1-2-3 in regular season OHL scoring, Lawson Crouse is a two-way forward that possesses the physical size and strength, solid offensive skills and astute defensive awareness that comes with a high NHL certainty level. Former Elgin-Middlesex line-mate, Travis Konecny, has regained his form and is creeping up the draft rankings. He’s a natural competitor who plays at a high pace and owns an outstanding shot off the rush.

 

Rasmus Andersson had an excellent first year in North America scoring at a near point-per-game pace (64 points in 67 games) excelling as a puck moving defenseman for the Barrie Colts. Oshawa’s Mitchell Vande Sompel was in and out of the lineup but still managed to rack up 63 points in 58 games making him one of the best offensive defensemen in the draft. Niagara defenseman Vince Dunn entered his draft season as one of my hidden gems and despite a slow start, he has hit his stride finishing with 18 goals and 56 points in 68 games.

 

The draft eligibles from the OHL are certainly doing their part, especially down the stretch, to make decisions very tough. It’s a rather light year in the OHL outside of their top guys (McDavid, Marner, Strome, Crouse, Konecny, Pavel Zacha) but the second and third round depth from the ‘O’ will provide good value for NHL teams (Andersson, Vande Sompel, Dunn, Matt Spencer, Graham Knott, Mackenzie Blackwood, Kyle Capobianco, Nikita Korostelev, etc).

 

The opening night of OHL Playoffs was littered with strong performances from the OHL draft eligibles. Ottawa’s Dante Salituro posted a 5-point game, Travis Konecny had one goal and an assist, Jeremiah Addison added two goals and four points of his own, Vince Dunn’s four goals were impressive, and Pavel Zacha picked up his first OHL Playoffs points (one goal, one assist).

If you are looking for more information on the OHL Playoffs including players to watch and predictions, please feel free to give my newest YOUNGBLOOD article a read.

 

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Your weekly Connor McDavid read – “Believe the hype: 2015 NHL Draft prodigy is tank-worthy

 

“He wants to be the best,” Knoblauch said. “Maybe he’s the best right now. But he also wants to make sure he