By:Kathryn Jean The NHL regular season kicks off in just over a week. NHL teams have already made their evaluations and started to adjust their squads for opening night. Over 160 OHL players were invited to 2016 NHL training camps. Only 30 of those players remain at camp and some have a good chance to [...]
It’s finally here! No, not Christmas! I’m talking about the World Junior Championships – the best annual hockey competition on the planet. The World Juniors offers a time for people at all levels to invest in hope. The hope that their country’s youngsters lead their nation to hockey supremacy. The hope from players that they’ll [...]
Your resource to the 2015 NHL Draft and its midseason rankings - who's too high/low, Maple Leafs rant, Dylan Strome vs. Mitch Marner debate, Johnny Gaudreau and Max Domi post-WJC update...
As a draft enthusiast and one that follows its eligible players religiously, January/February is an extremely busy time of the year. Some of the world’s best prospects have just wrapped up competing in the illustrious World Junior tournament, league play resumes shortly after for them and then the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game (as well as USHL Top Prospects Game) unfolds. Following that busy stretch, it marks a time where new rankings are constructed based on first half play and those rankings are usually very close to the final lists that come out pre-draft. Of course, there’s always chance to elevate their stock down the final 20 game stretch in their schedules and a long standout playoff run can certainly help a draft stock but generally speaking, scouts have a good idea of where players will fall in the upcoming draft.
On Wednesday, I put out my updated 2015 NHL Draft rankings (Midseason version). It was the first time that I have included players outside of the OHL. I wanted to make sure that I’ve been able to catch most of the top prospects live (if possible) or through online viewing. The Top 30 ranked prospects have profiles attached to them.
Tuesday, August 19th
Congratulations to Team Canada on winning it’s seven consecutive Ivan Hlinka Memorial gold medal after defeating the Czech’s 6-2 last weekend! The Canadians remain a dominant force at the Hlinka tournament sending it’s best (well, nearly their best) to this event every year. With Hockey Canada’s established rules, Connor McDavid was not in the lineup despite being eligible because he has already played with the U20 squad. Imagine how silly he’d make the opposition look? Regardless, this event provides scouts with its first scouting outing of the 2015 NHL Draft season and there were certainly some standouts that came to the surface.
Matthew Barzal – Playing on a line with 2013 OHL 1st overall pick and Rookie of the Year, Travis Konecny, Barzal racked up two goals and six points to place second in Team Canada in scoring. The Seattle Thunderbird is a 2012 1st overall pick of the WHL’s Bantam Draft and has been a highly touted prospect for several years now. He’s in the discussion as a potential Top 5 pick for the upcoming 2015 draft because of his quick hands, creativity and lethal playmaking abilities.
Mitchell Marner – Anyone who follows my work, knows how much I raved about this undersized forward last year during his outstanding OHL rookie campaign. It took Marner some time to find the game sheet with consistency at the Hlinka tournament but he was a threat everytime he touched the ice and eventually launched himself to the top of Canada’s scoring charts (5-2-5-7). Slippery and creative, he enters the 2015 draft as one of the elite playmakers and his ability to create chances with astonishing consistency is very rare.
Travis Konecny – As mentioned about, Konecny is known for his dynamic skating abilities and weapon of a shot, that he unleashes in top flight. With five goals and six points, Konecny was among the leading scorers and should challenge for the 2nd OHL player selected at the draft (McDavid has #1 locked up).