Mark’s prospect ramblings – Oct. 25, 2015

Mark Allan


Updating all 2015 NHL top-10 draft choices not named McDavid or Eichel, two Bruin prospects among the AHL scoring leaders, an early look at how Torts might affect the Columbus roster and a heads-up about the 2016 BMO CHL/NHL top prospects game.

The top two players in the 2015 NHL draft are understandably getting the lion's share of attention so far this season because top pick Connor McDavid is emerging as a dynamic, world-class talent for the Edmonton Oilers after a slow start and Jack Eichel is living up to his billing as a future franchise player for the Buffalo Sabres.

Dylan Strome, third overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft, succeeded Connor McDavid as captain of the OHL's Erie Otters.

Dylan Strome (third overall by Arizona) is not doing badly (a goal and 10 assists in just seven games for the Erie Otters), but is tied for 37th in Ontario Hockey League junior scoring. The younger brother of Islanders' forward Ryan Strome recently succeeded McDavid as Erie captain. It will be interesting to see how the loss of McDavid from the Otters will affect Strome, but the 2014-15 OHL and CHL scoring champion has enough skill to succeed in any situation. When he joins budding stars Max Domi and Anthony Duclair with the Coyotes, Arizona will have a formidable nucleus of skilled youngsters up front.

Continuing to distance themselves from former GM Brian Burke's fondness for truculent players, the Maple Leafs furthered their new smallish, ultra-skilled mandate by selecting Claude Giroux clone Mitch Marner fourth overall. Coming off a 126-point season with London of the OHL, the dynamic right winger totaled five goals and 11 points in his first eight games with the Knights this season. If you don't have him yet in your dynasty pool, it's probably too late.

Noah Hanifin, drafted fifth by Carolina, got his first NHL point with an assist in a 5-2 loss to the host San Jose Sharks. Hanifin, whose game has been compared to Drew Doughty's, has just that one point in seven games, but he played a solid 16:12 and looked good in all facets of the game. Mature for his age right out of Boston College, he could stick with the Hurricanes beyond a nine-game tryout, although significant NHL ice time and points are at least a season or two away.

The Devils could not resist acquiring Pavel Zacha's combination of size (6-3, 214) and skill sixth overall. Desperate for scoring, New Jersey landed a power forward who was prevented by injuries last season (16 goals and 34 points in 37 games for Sarnia of the OHL) from really showing what he can do. The young Czech center has five goals, eight points and 10 PIMs in his first seven games back with the OHL's Sting this season. Power forwards are notoriously slow to develop, but he's one to watch, especially since New Jersey needs all the help it can get to juice one of the NHL's lamest offenses.

Desperate to build a respectable defense to go with their usual productive forwards, the Flyers chose a blend of skill and physicality by nabbing Russian blueliner Ivan Provorov one pick after Zacha. After an eye-opening WHL rookie season (15 goals, 61 points and plus-36 in 60 games) with Brandon, the 201-pounder has two goals and 14 points in 11 games with the Wheat Kings. Philly can't wait to see him garbed in orange.

Considering the sadsack transition game that led to an 0-8 start, Columbus was on the right track by picking two-way defenseman Zach Werenski eighth overall. Not especially physical, he compensates with superior skating and awareness plus a strong stick. Following a nine-goal, 25-point, 35-game campaign with the University of Michigan, the husky 6-2 214-pounder has two assists in as many games this season for the Wolverines.

Sniping right winger Timo Meier fell to San Jose ninth overall at the 2015 NHL draft after a 61-game junior season in which he amassed 44 goals and 90 points for Halifax of the QMJHL. A scorer with a defensive consc