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- Created: Sunday, 18 December 2016 02:06
It is with great pleasure that TheScout.ca team is proud to announce our Top 100 Mid-Season Rankings for the 2017 OHL Priority Selection. Entering into the Holiday season, we have had a handful of excellent tournaments for viewing purposes and been exposed to top talent across the 2001 age group. November was host to the Chicago Bauer Invite, Battle of the Border and Whitby International Silver Stick and December has afforded our team to gain valuable viewings at the ETA Showcase in Aurora, Alliance All-Star Weekend in Waterloo, GTHL Top Prospects in North Toronto, Waterloo Gold Puck and the T1EHL Showcase in Troy. Each one of these tournaments are part of the process in ranking the OHL draft prospect – a task that hasn’t been particularly easy this season.
Introducing our Top 10
For our mid-season rankings, Jack Hughes remains at the top of our list but the gap is closing on the high-end forward. Jamieson Rees and Alex Turcotte file into the number two and three spots, respectively, and both players have not only been dynamic but also play the game with the hunger/drive teams want in franchise style players. Tag Bertuzzi moves from second to fourth to round out a top tier that is very tightly ranked.
Ryan Suzuki is the fifth forward ranked in our Top 5 and a player we feel has the natural skill and hockey sense to develop into a high scoring OHLer. Our next two spots are reserved for two defenders we have virtually locked together in Buffalo’s Case McCarthy and Michael Vukojevic. McCarthy is a very polished defender with good pro tools to develop upon while Vukojevic is a blue liner we believe has some of the most intriguing potential of the defence position. John Beecher of Salisbury owns all of the tools of a pro prospect and as a result, he remains in our Top 10 at the eighth position. Toronto Nationals forward Brandon Coe has been received praise from each of our scouts and with his blend of size, skill and power, he is worthy of the ninth slot. Rounding out our Top 10 is a Hayden Fowler of the Kingston Jr. Frontenacs. His motor, puck creativity and high-end attacking speed work perfectly together as a player we feel has outstanding game-breaking ability.
Below is our Top 100 prospects at the mid-season mark. It’s important for us to explain that this draft is very unique in terms of the number of players vying for similar spots. While there are 100 players (plus 30+ others listed in the honourable mentions section), we debated long and hard about a number of other players as well. To give our readers a better understanding, we feel that the gap between a player ranked 40th and a player ranked 130th is minimal, especially in comparison to other years.
What does that mean? Basically, we’ve had intense debates about players listed outside of the Top 100 that could easily be slotted in the respective range. In that respect, it’s been a difficult year to slot players. Fortunately, when it comes to draft time in the Spring, OHL teams are going to be prepared for what they might considered “off the board picks”. It’s the type of draft class where teams may witness a glimpse of ‘potential’ and take a swing at that player in hopes of hitting a home run. As a result, we’ve been aggressive with a few prospects that have impressed us but haven’t necessary been overly consistent. In the end, there’s a distinct top group for this 2001 age group and then it’s fairly wide open. It is an age group that will require some time to assess properly.
While there may not be a sure-fire top goaltender talent, our team believes that the 2001 age group has excellent depth at its position – which is evident with the number of goaltenders we included. To put things into perspective, goaltenders like Ryan Dugas, Luke Cavallin, Logan Stein, Joel Rainville, Zack Paputsakis, Joseph Rowe or Ethan Taylor did not make this ranking but are not far behind and are considered excellent options.
New to this release are candid comments from Head Scout Brendan Ross (@RossyYoungblood) on each of the Top 100 prospects, plus another 30 honourable mentions who we felt deserved some commentary.
Message from the Director
“I want to thank our subscribers for their support this season and we have appreciated the positive feedback from many people within the hockey season. I personally would like to thank you all for your patience in waiting for these mid-season rankings. Unfortunately, the release date had to be pushed back twice and we’re releasing a few days late. Without going into detail, some non-hockey related ‘life’ situations needed attending to and my family appreciates it. On behalf of our team at TheScout.ca, we wish you all the happiest of holidays!”