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- Created: Thursday, 23 March 2017 21:29
With the OHL Playoffs set to kick off this evening, we’re here to provide an updated OHL Mock Draft. The four non-playoff teams have been confirmed and it’s Barrie who will officially hold the 1st overall selection, one that has received endless debate this season. Jack Hughes has yet to confirm his preferred route of development - OHL or NTDP - and it places the Barrie Colts’ staff in a very difficult decision on how to use the 1st overall selection.
Hughes’ decision will ultimately affect how the dominoes fall on draft day. As the consensus top ranked player, Hughes will be headed to the USA NTDP Evaluation Camp this upcoming weekend to perform alongside 40 other top American skaters. The rumour mill will surely be buzzing.
The Guelph Storm, who have yet to officially announce who will take over the vacant GM role, but they sit with the 2nd overall selection. North Bay and Saginaw round out the top four spots, respectively.
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 just over two weeks until the draft takes place, excitement is building. Enjoy our third mock draft that has been featured on TheScout.ca.
- Mississauga is awarded the 8th overall selection after Kirill Nizhnikov (7th overall, 2016) failed to report to the Steelheads club.
- The four teams who fail to make the playoffs are awarded the first four spots in the draft, ordered based on final points (reverse).
- Please take this mock draft as a fun exercise.
- The following Mock Draft is not a reflection of THESCOUT.CA’s player rankings for the 2017 OHL Draft.
- Draft order reflected by the OHL standings as of Monday, March 23, 2017
1st Barrie Colts – Ryan Suzuki, C, London Jr. Knights
Off the top, we’re clearly assuming that Barrie does not get a commitment from Jack Hughes so they turn to their next best player in London’s Ryan Suzuki. The swift-footed pivot with high-end playmaking abilities would give them a legitimate star prospect who they could build around.
2nd Guelph Storm – Jack Hughes, C, Toronto Marlboros
The Storm quickly snatch up Hughes, assuming they receive reassurances that he’d come, and add a potential super star pivot. Again, Hughes’ is the true wildcard and will dictate how the entire first round plays out but let’s, for now, assume that he is willing to report to Guelph.
3rd North Bay Battalion – Brandon Coe, C, Toronto Young Nationals
The Battalion could go a number of different ways here with Tomasino and Blake Murray on the board, but they opt to go with arguably the best pro prospect in Brandon Coe. The rangy pivot has shown excellent smarts and vision on the rush and while he could bury the biscuit more often, he’s a player who has loads of potential.
4th Saginaw Spirit– Tag Bertuzzi, C/LW, Oakland Jr. Grizzlies
Looking to add some bite to their offence, Tag Bertuzzi would be an excellent selection for the Spirit. When he’s on his game, he’s one of the top 2001-born prospects in the draft. He’s strong and aggressive while executing with good skill.
5th Niagara IceDogs - Philip Tomasino, C, Mississauga Rebels
Tomasino is one player that every OHL team will have high on their list. Book it. He’s a smart attacker who elevates his teammates’ play by pushing the pace and executing with impressive offensive timing.
6th Ottawa 67’s – Graeme Clarke, RW, Toronto Marlboros
Fans of the 67’s may be getting tired of us mocking the hometown Clarke to them in the 1st round. However, with the location that Ottawa will be selecting and Clarke being a legitimate Top 10 prospect with elite scoring abilities, it just makes too much sense. If you’re still upset with us, have a look at him scoring this lacrosse style goal last week. You’ll forgive us.
7th Sudbury Wolves - Cody Morgan, C, Toronto Jr. Canadiens
Sudbury is a difficult team to forecast come draft time and that is especially so with so many options in this spot - the feisty Jamieson Rees, sharp shooting Cody Morgan and Blake Murray, who’s likely been watched a ton by Whitby native Barclay Branch and his staff. In the end, we’re carefully slotting Morgan to the Wolves.
8th Mississauga Steelheads (Compensation Pick) - Blake Murray, C, Whitby Wildcats
We’ve mentioned it before - Mississauga tends to lean towards larger forwards. While they could fancy local winger in Ethan Keppen, it’s Blake Murray who’d be a great value selection with their compensation pick from last season.
9th Sarnia Sting – Jamieson Rees, C, Mississauga Reps
Sting GM Nick Sinclair holds his cards close to his chest and while we’d love for them to take a shot at Alex Turcotte, it’s more likely that they add their top ranked Ontario skater since they’re still working on getting 1st round pick Tyler Weiss to report from last season. Rees would be an outstanding get at 9th overall.
10th Flint Firebirds – Arthur Kaliyev, LW, Detroit Compuware 16U
While many top American prospects usually waver on their decision between a NCAA and OHL future, Compuware’s Kayilev is all-in when it comes to playing in the Ontario Hockey League. The highly intelligent, big winger owns first round skills and his impact would be immediately felt in the Firebirds lineup.
11th Hamilton Bulldogs – Ethan Keppen, LW, Toronto Young Nationals
Coming off a fantastic OHL Cup performance, Keppen is a strong burly winger whose complete offensive package features advanced elements. He possesses a lightning quick release yet displays a soft playmaking touch as well, and he’s also very adept at playing in the trenches as well. His style would do very well in the Eastern Conference.
12th Kingston Frontenacs – Connor McMichael, C, Ajax-Pickering Raiders
Playing in the Eastern loop, McMichael has been a consistent name thrown around when it comes to first round talk. The Fronts could add an all-around cerebral pivot who has shown flashes of brilliance throughout the season.
13th Kitchener Rangers – Johnny Beecher, C/LW, Salisbury School
Here we go! Kitchener has a long history of selecting high-profiled American talents and we’re thinking that John Beecher would be a worthy gamble in the 13th slot. He’s an elite player who skates and shoots like Jack Eichel. There’s room to improve his game off of the puck, but he’s a legitimate 1st overall candidate for when his NHL draft season comes due.
14th Mississauga Steelheads – Evan Brand, D, Mississauga Rebels
After nabbing centerman Murray a half-dozen spots before, Mississauga stays close to home and selects one of the most improved defensemen in the draft in Rebels Evan Brand. He’s a calm and steady defender who shows emerging offensive tools, and not too unlike current Steelheads’ defender Nic Hague.
15th Oshawa Generals – Nathan Staios, D, Vaughan Kings
With NHL roots, Vaughan Kings captain Nathan Staios’ game is all about upside. He’s a competitive blue liner with elusive feet and some nastiness in his game. While he hasn’t matured physically, his smarts and ability to run the powerplay would be smart additions to the Gens backend.
16th Peterborough Petes – Lucas Rowe, C, Mississauga Reps
One of our team’s favourite forwards and a player who doesn’t seem to get enough recognition, Lucas Rowe was brilliant on the national stage as his Reps defeated the Young Nats to take the OHL Cup Championship. Factor in that he played on one leg and still excelled, he should be considered a legitimate first round prospect.
17th Windsor Spitfires – Nick Wong, C, Mississauga Senators
Another player who has received a lot of praise from our scouting staff, Wong is an elite puck handler with dazzling offensive talent. He’s received some flack for his average skating ability but the Windsor Spitfires may have trouble passing on a player who could challenge for OHL scoring titles in the future.
18th London Knights – Alex Turcotte, C, Chicago Mission 16U
Our hunch hasn’t changed from our last mock draft and we’re keeping Alex Turcotte in the London Knights’ draft spot. There’s a good chance that other teams step up before and grab this Top 5 talent but we feel the Knights would have difficulty passing on Turcotte’s talent, regardless of his NCAA commitment to the University of Wisconsin.
19th Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – Anthony Tabak, LW, Mississauga Senators
Tabak is a player who’s been teetering between first and second round rankings for us this season but his upside and smarts may put him over the edge into first round selection. His tall, rangy game allows for a strong possession game, which the Greyhounds covet, and his finishing ability is among the best in the draft.
20th Owen Sound Attack – Luke Cavallin, G, Kemptville 73s
While 2nd round selections Dylan Wells and Michael DiPietro came close, there hasn’t been a goaltender selected in the opening round since 2012 when London took Liam Herbst. Owen Sound will clearly target a goaltender with one of their early selections and considering their sitting in the back-end of the opening round, there’s a good chance they jump on their top ranked puckstopper then. There are a half-dozen goaltenders in the mix, but after his impressive OHL Cup tournament, Luke Cavallin could be their target.
21st Erie Otters – Nicholas Robertson, LW, Toronto Red Wings
With the final selection in the 1st round, Erie could go a number of different ways but we feel it’d be a shame if the dynamic Nick Robertson slipped out of the opening round. He’s an electrifying player who could go much, much higher so Otters fans should be thrilled if he gets to them come draft day.
22nd Guelph Storm (f. BAR) ...