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- Created: Wednesday, 01 March 2017 15:08
Written by Brendan Ross
OHL Mock Draft 1.0 - Way Too Early 1st Round Mock
We've been approached over and over in the rinks with people and scouts asking, "Have you done an OHL Mock Draft yet?"
In terms of projecting how the OHL Draft will unfold, it is very early to accurately and confidently guess at how it will unfold. With that said, everyone likes a mock draft and they're fun to produce so we are giving our followers what they asked for - a Way Too Early 1st Round Mock.
Every mock draft needs to be prefaced with some things to consider and understand and that’s especially true with the 2017 OHL Draft class. Unlike the National Hockey League Draft, the OHL’s Priority Selection is often impacted by several significant factors. First, we are dealing with young teenagers who are undergoing schooling while competing in major junior so families have a vested interest in making sure their children are looked after. As a result, players can often decide if there’s a more favourable place to play or not and this is especially true with the top talent - which this mock draft is focused on. Some teams will be handcuffed with information that Player X and Y are not interested in playing for them which will shorten their draft lists in the first few rounds. For example, our second/third ranked player could easily slide to 7th based on the fact that he prefers a specific destination. It’s out of team’s control and makes this process even more difficult as a forecaster.
Secondly, the NCAA/collegiate commitments drastically influence the draft, often eliminating most of the top American talent until mid to late rounds. Teams with intel can take a gamble on some of the top talent but 1st and 2nd round selections are all too valuable to be taking “shots in the dark” so it’s important that teams have received some reassurances about possible interest in playing in the OHL. Committed players selected in the mid to late rounds are often players who may change their development path in a few seasons after receiving advice from NHL teams who may have selected them.
Lastly, projecting teenagers is extremely difficult to do and from the scouts we’ve talked to this season, the 2001-age group is especially unique in the sense that some teams will have Player Z ranked in the first round while others will have him slotted in the 8th round. As a result, we’re definitely going to see some players drafted higher and lower than expected. With 40 days until the draft takes place, excitement is building and this is the first of several mock drafts we will feature on TheScout.ca heading towards the 2017 OHL Priority Selection Draft.
- The 2016-17 OHL Regular Season has not yet completed so the draft order is based on reverse standings as of the date below. Mississauga is awarded the 8th overall selection after Kirill Nizhnikov (7th overall, 2016) failed to report to the Steelheads club.
- Please take this mock draft as a fun exercise because, like every season, we’re pretty much taking guesses this early in the process (as the title suggests) based off our viewings and little intel - particularly true this season.
- The following Mock Draft is not a reflection of THESCOUT.CA’s player rankings for the 2017 OHL Draft.
- The four (4) non-playoff teams are slotted at the top of the draft. Please be aware that because all playoff positions have not yet been confirmed, we used reverse order (for this mock) without considering four non-playoff teams.
Draft order reflected by the OHL standings as of Tuesday, February 28, 2017
1st Barrie Colts (37P) – Jack Hughes, C, Toronto Marlboros
As the season nears it’s end, Barrie has almost locked up the 1st overall selection in the 2017 Priority Selection draft and all eyes will be on them come Friday, April 7th when teams traditionally announce their first pick. While Jack Hughes remains the top ranked player for the upcoming draft, it’s not as cut and dry as it appears. He’s receiving a strong push from top players like Ryan Suzuki, Jamieson Rees and Philip Tomasino down the stretch and without Hughes publicly declaring his OHL intentions, Barrie might have to make a difficult selection. The Colts have seen several top selections decide to play elsewhere so landing a player who can step into their lineup is vital for next season. Hughes does have options south of the border and will consider the USA NTDP route like his older brother Quinn Hughes chose a few years back. If it’s not Jack Hughes, we feel Ryan Suzuki may be a great fit as well.
2nd Guelph Storm (45P) – Tag Bertuzzi, C/LW, Oakland Jr. Grizzlies
With GM Mike Kelly stepping down from his duties (once a replacement is found), there are a lot of questions to be answered in Guelph. While the Storm have had good success with Bertuzzi’s in their lineup (cousin Tyler Bertuzzi and father Todd Bertuzzi were great Storm players), it will be interesting to see if Guelph opts to go in a that direction? Tag Bertuzzi is a power forward with sharp shooting skills and owns the potential to be a star in the league, like his family lineage was before him.
3rd North Bay Battalion (48P) – Philip Tomasino, C, Mississauga Rebels
Traditionally known to take larger players with good skill, we witnessed the Battalion shift their 1st round approach last season when they took fleet-footed Adam McMaster, a player who can change the game with his quickness and shooting abilities. Tomasino is a high compete player who has great offensive timing to his game - setting up as a playmaker but also showing good finishing abilities as well. He’s a player who can take over a game and coaches know that he is committed to playing a 200-foot game as well. Tomasino has enjoyed a late surge of excellent play down the stretch and will be a top performer to watch at the upcoming OHL Cup.
4th Niagara IceDogs (50P) – Ryan Suzuki, C, London Jr. Knights
Landing Suzuki at 4th overall would be great value for the IceDogs as this highly skilled player would give them a star in the making. Ryan Suzuki is a player who has a great feel for the game and is arguably the top playmaker in the draft - a nice option to slot alongside Akil Thomas for the next few seasons. If it’s not the cerebral attacking Suzuki, Rees is another forward who the fit the IceDogs’ style - offering high skill, a relentless motor and good grit in his attacks.
5th Ottawa 67’s (50P) – Graeme Clarke, RW, Toronto Marlboros
The 67’s being able to land a hometown product in Graeme Clarke would be a dream scenario for them. Clarke has had an up-and-down draft season but when he’s ‘on’, his skill and shooting ability rank among the elite of this 2001 crop. There’s no better trigger man in the draft and he owns the potential to threaten 50+ goals in the OHL on an annual basis. He’s a player who will need to iron out his inconsistencies and learn to play with more fire in his game but the sky's the limit for this Ottawa native.
6th Saginaw Spirit (53P) ....
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