Scouting the OHL – TheOilKnight.ca
 

Category: Scouting the OHL

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The 2019 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup is now in the books and the Russians backstopped by the 17 yr old phenom Yaroslav Askarov, are the tournament Champions after defeating Team Canada 3-2 in the finals. It is their first victory in this tournament since 1995. 

#1 Yaroslav Askarov of Russia, courtesy of tsn.ca

It was a short but exciting tournament that gave many draft enthusiasts an opportunity to see how far a lot of these kids have progressed over the summer. All the prospects with late 2001 birthdates were not eligible to participate, but it was still a good preview of many of the top ranked players in their draft class.

In terms of rankings, there is still much debate among pundits whether this tournament should even really matter in the grand scheme of things. Vasili Podkolzin & Philip Broberg proved last year it certainly matters to some GM’s and scouts as both ended up Top 10 overall NHL draft picks thanks to outstanding performances at this tourney. First impressions can be lasting ones. If nothing else, this tournament should be considered a good starting point in tracking a prospect’s progression throughout the course of their draft year. A measuring stick if you will, where you can identify strengths & weaknesses of a player skill-set wise, and track their progression or regression in those specific areas. Typically, these kids develop fast at this age & many experience an offensive spike during their league play. We’ve seen glimpses of that already with a few players in particular who looked primed to explode in their draft year. This tournament was a small sample sure, but could also be a preview of big things to come. 

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The Top Performers

courtesy of TSN.ca

Yaroslav Askarov – If there was any doubt who the best goalie in the world was for this upcoming draft, that has evaporated. Askarov was the tournament’s best player hands down after limiting a loaded Canadian squad offensively and leading his team to the Gold Medal. His combination of athleticism & positioning combined with his ability to track the puck and limit rebounds makes him very difficult to beat. If you consider what he did against a loaded U.S. team last year at the U18’s & now this tourney, Askarov seems like a virtual Top 10 lock regardless of what happens the rest of the way. He posted a .960 SV% in 4 games started.

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courtesy of TSN.ca

Cole Perfetti – The leading goal scorer and point getter of the tournament, Perfetti was simply outstanding for Team Canada. He had 3 multiple goal games including a shootout thriller where he scored 3 times. He displayed tremendous hands & a variety of highly skilled moves in tight. Terrific offensive instincts, excellent vision and poise. His speed also looked like it improved a step from last year. He was however, held off the stat sheet in the Gold Medal game where he was just unable to beat Askarov despite multiple chances.  

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courtesy of TSN.ca

Hendrix Lapierre – You could argue, no one helped improve their draft stock and overall ranking more after this tourney than Lapierre. Paired with Perfetti the entire tournament, Lapierre showed off his tremendous hockey IQ and terrific 200 foot game by creating several turnovers with his smart positioning and great anticipation. He made several beautiful passes to setup his teammates, and his speed and puck control also looked much improved since last season. A real force the entire tournament, his game looks so reminiscent of a young Jonathan Toews

 

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courtesy of utv.ru

Alexander Pashin – Despite being only listed as 5’8″, 154lbs, Pashin proved to be a beast for his Russian squad by scoring 7 goals in 5 games including the game winner in the Gold Medal game. In fact, his whole line was terrific all tournament. Pashin has tremendous speed as he blew by defenders routinely this whole tourney. He also showed off his quick hands and deceptive shot and release. Ranked 89th overall by Future Considerations going into last week, you’ve got to think his stock has shot up dramatically. An explosive player with a little bite to his game, Pashin was the biggest surprise at this year’s Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. 

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Other Promising Prospects

Since we are quickly becoming your #1 trusted source for all CHL prospects, we’d be reminisced to not talk about some other European players who stood out & will be playing next season in the OHL, WHL or QMJHL.

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Vasili Ponomaryov (F)

Having just committed to Shawinigan of the QMJHL, Russian sniper Vasili Ponomaryov had an excellent tournament playing on a line with Alexander Pashin & Pavel Tyutnev. He created a ton of chances and flashed an excellent 2 way game. He finished the tournament tied for 5th in scoring with 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points. He should immediately contribute in a Top 6 offensive role and on the PP in for Shawinigan. 


Michal Gut (F)

One of the biggest surprises of this tournament, Michal Gut flashed tremendous skill and explosiveness. He showed off some sick mitts in the shootout and scored a variety of ways throughout the tournament. He finished the tourney with 3 goals & an assist to lead the Czech Republic. He will be playing for the Everett Silvertips of the WHL this upcoming season.  

 

Kasper Puutio (RD)

The 2nd leading scorer on Finland with 4 assists in 5 games, Kasper Puutio will be taking his talents to Swift Current of the WHL after being selected 1st overall the most recent Import draft. He is an excellent skater, has a big shot from the point and good leadership qualities. 


Keanu DeRungs (LW)

Tied for the team lead in points (2), Keanu Derungs flashed some high level skill with a highlight reel goal and a terrific setup for Switzerland. He’s a hard worker who shows excellent puck control and isn’t afraid to go hard to the net despite his light frame. He will be playing for Victoria of the WHL this upcoming season. 


Simon Knak (LW)

Though it didn’t show up on the scoresheet, Simon Knak was one of the most dangerous players for the Swiss team in this tournament. He forced several turnovers and created a lot of chances he just couldn’t find the back of the net so finished with a disappointing 1 assist. He has an excellent shot & release and can play in all situations. He should be a key contributor for the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL


Noah Delemont (D)

Noah Delemont is an excellent skater but can be classified as a “riverboat gambler.” He made some real questionable decisions and got caught in this tourney. But, the athletic skill-set is there he’ll just have to work on his decision making moving forward. Loves to join the rush. Very active stick. Should be entertaining to watch either way. He will be playing for Acadie-Bathurst of the QMJHL

 

Giancarlo Chanton (LD)

Giancarlo Chanton had a nice assist for Switzerland but was relatively quiet for the most part. He did struggle defensively quite a bit but has some nice tools. He will be playing for the Niagara Ice Dogs of the OHL this season. 

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Oleksii Myklukha

The talented Slovakian Oleksii Myklukha scored a couple of goals and left a lasting impression with his speed and playmaking ability. Also displayed excellent hockey sense and a strong 200 foot game. He’s actually not draft eligible till 2021 but recently committed to Rouyn-Nouranda of the QMJHL

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Other tournament notables:

Ivan Ivan (QMJHL – Cape Breton) – 1 goal in 4 games.

Ruben Rafkin (OHL – Windsor) – 1 assist in 3 games

Oliver Suni (OHL – Oshawa) – 3 assists in 3 games

Kirill Steklov (OHL – London) – 1 assist in 5 games

 

 

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To comment please do so via Twitter, @TheOilKnight

By the OilKnight 06/17/20

The 2020 OHL draft class is is one of the deepest OHL groups in years. Want proof? Since 2012-13, there have only been THREE OHL prospects who had 25 goals or more in their Draft -1 year – Connor McDavid, Alex DeBrincat & Arthur Kaliyev. Last season alone, there were FIVE players that surpassed that mark in the OHL. There were also EIGHT players who registered at least 40 points on the season which is an uncommon feat. This group is deep and they’re of high quality. Here’s a list of the Top 30 OHL‘ers going into next year’s draft:

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#1. Quinton Byfield (C)

Byfield has the size/speed/skill combination that makes scouts drool. The pace he plays with at his size is rare. He has terrific speed, agility and edge work. Combine that with his excellent hands and he is a real threat to opposing d-men to defend. He also possesses a real hard wrist shot with a deadly release. His sees the entire ice extremely well and is capable of pinpoint passes. 52.1 FO% as a 16 yr old is exceptional. While he does a good job of shielding opponents & has some physicality in his game, Byfield still needs to put on some more mass & use his big frame more to his advantage. No reason to think that doesn’t happen as he continues to grow and develop. He is a legit candidate to go 1st overall in the 2020 Draft.

courtesy of ALLSPORT mixtapes via Youtube


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#2. Jamie Drysdale (RD)

Drysdale is such a tremendous skater with blazing speed & acceleration, it makes him dangerous at both ends of the ice. He moves the puck around so effortlessly. His vision & passing ability are elite. Defensively, he is very aggressive; consistently challenging the puck carrier with his explosiveness. He excels at breakouts & transitional play. Offensively, he can quarterback the attack and also possesses an excellent wrist shot from the point. Drysdale skates a lot like Quinn Hughes and has the ability to be better all-round than Bowen Byram. Potential franchise #1 defenceman.

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courtesy of HSD prospects via Youtube

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#3. Cole Perfetti (C/LW)

Perfetti has tremendous offensive instincts reminiscent of a young Steven Stamkos. His numbers as a 16 yr old (37G, 37A, 72 Pts) weren’t that far off from a 16 yr old Stammer (42G, 50A, 92 Pts) either. Perfetti is such a strong skater who sees the ice extremely well. He has a very good shot & a knack for scoring big goals. He’s so smart and has a fantastic work ethic, he forces a lot of turnovers as he’s very solid in all 3 zones. Perfetti isn’t the flashiest player but he might be the most complete in this group. Potential Top 10 pick next season.

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#4. Marco Rossi (C)

Rossi is one of the oldest prospects in the 2020 draft as he just missed being eligible for the 2019 draft by just eight days. Regardless, he is still an extremely talented playmaker, and a fabolous skater. He’s not a burner but is so smooth & agile it makes him incredibly shifty and tough to contain. His vision and offensive instincts are top-notch. He has a deadly shot & release and some highlight reel passes. Rossi is also a PP specialist – he led rookies in PP points with 20. He plays a pro style game already. Solid in all 3 zones. +51 as a rookie. Excellent faceoff center too – 54.2 FO%. Due to his size, & age compared to his peers he may slide just outside the Top 10 come draft day but shouldn’t fall much further.

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#5. Antonio Stranges (LW)

Stranges is the most talented London Knight since Mitch Marner. His combination of skating, agility & stickhandling is incredible. Stranges “2 and 10” skating ability is extremely rare. It confuses defenders & makes him completely unpredictable as he is capable of shooting or passing from it. His shot and release are electric, his backhand is the also best in his class and maybe several years. Stranges has this keen ability to make tape to tape passes look easy. He has incredible offensive instincts & shows good commitment to defense. There’s no question he has Top 5 skill in this draft. His teammate Connor McMichael exploded for 72 points in his draft year after registering 16 points as a rookie. If Stranges gets anything close to that this year, he should be a Top 10 lock.

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#6. Jacob Perreault (RW)

Perreault is the son of former NHL‘er Yanic Perreault. He is not a speedster but is a powerful skater with a big shot and a dynamite release. Terrific one-timer. He also possesses good playmaking ability. Looks like another one of the new age power forwards. Not afraid to muck it up in the corners or finish a check. Battles hard along the boards. Defensive game needs a bit of work in his draft year but the willingness is there. Tough, determined, power forward who can rip the puck. He’ll be an intriguing option in the Top half of the 1st round. If improves his overall speed & quickness he could climb quickly. Trending better than Arthur Kaliyev at this point.

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#7. Will Cuylle (LW)

Cuylle is viewed as a shooter and a goal scorer, but there is more to his game than just that. Yes, he led all OHL rookies in SOG with 187. Yes, he has an elite shot and release already. But, Cuylle also has tremendous puck skills, and terrific awareness on the ice. He can beat you with his speed & shot from the wing but if you’re not careful he can walk around you too. He also has an excellent work ethic and was easily their best and more dangerous player in their short playoff run. Another prototypical power forward who just needs to work on his 200 ft game to be a complete player. Will be a hot commodity come draft day.

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Cuylle hat trick game

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#8. Jean-Luc Foudy (C)

Foudy is the brother of former 1st round pick Liam Foudy of the London Knights. Like his brother, he has blazing speed & acceleration. Unlike his brother, Jean-Luc is more of a playmaker than a shooter. In fact, he led all OHL rookies in assists with 41 (only 9 goals). He has terrific vision and a real knack for drawing defenders away with his speed, then setting up open teammates. He’s a breakaway threat & has some nice stickhandling but needs to bury it more. Hands haven’t caught up yet. Faceoffs are an issue (37.7%), and Foudy definitely needs to get stronger as he can be pushed off the puck quite easily at times. But, there is enough here to warrant a 1st round pick. A playmaking speedster with upside if hands improve.

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#9. Jaromir Pytlik (RW)

Pytlik is a bit of a Youtube sensation that has grown up in the Hockey Talent Academy in the Czech Republic. He has been filmed as early as age 5, performing hockey skills training. Last season, he joined the Soo in the 2nd half of the season and had immediate success registering 19 points in 26 games. Pytlik is a tall, lanky prospect with a long stick and excellent skill. He does a good job of shielding the puck and going hard to the net. Great hands in tight. Has some flashy moves. Speed is very good, nice edgework. Very creative center with good vision and playmaking ability. 41.7 FO%. Late 2001 birthday could explode offensively next season.

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#10. Logan Morrison (C)

The nephew of former NHL‘er John Cullen, Morrison might be one of the smartest players in the 2020 draft. He has excellent skill and a tremendous work ethic. His vision on the ice is exceptional. He has good speed and is very patient with the puck. Smart decisions in all 3 zones. Morrison has deceptive speed & a sneaky good shot and release. He started his OHL career slowly, then caught fire in the 2nd half where he registered 28 points in the final 31 games. He’ll have to work on faceoffs (40.6%) if he’s going to remain at center, but there is a lot to like Morrison. Smart, heady, well-rounded with some leadership qualities. If he continues to grow physically, he could be a dominant #1C in the OHL. Not flashy at all but very solid.

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Other 2020 Draft Eligibles on the radar

To Comment please do via Twitter @TheOilKnight

by TheOilKnight – Feb 12/2019

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This is the first installment of a 3 part series where I will breakdown every single draft eligible player in the CHL & rate the possibility of the Edmonton Oilers drafting them. I feel like by doing this it gives even the average fan an opportunity to learn more about Draft prospects without having to do the legwork of searching for them all online. Oilers fans in particular are extremely knowledgeable and I’ve found the more information you can provide them about their team at all levels the better. It is important to note, that while I am not a Professional Scout I do take this very seriously and have a system I have found that works well over the years. For more information on exactly what I look for please check out my Scouting Basics post.

The Oilers have done well the last few years drafting out of the OHL. Evan Bouchard (1st rd, ’18), Ryan McLeod (2nd rd, ’18), Dmitri Samorukov (3rd rd, ’17), & Kirill Maksimov (5th rd, ’17) have all blossomed and will head to the AHL next year after having successful OHL careers. Dylan Wells (5th rd, ’16) is also an OHL alum but Markus Niemelainen (3rd rd, ’16) has not panned out. There is a real need for speed and skill in the organization, along with guys who can makes plays with sheer determination. Keep that in mind when I project certain players as good fits for Edmonton. Also note, while I track all the prospect’s stats, I typically favour NHL translatable skills over Junior production assuming certain offensive thresholds are met. You don’t get to take your Junior points with you to the NHL. You start at zero. The reality is, some prospects games are just better tailored for the CHL rather than NHL so you can’t get too hung up on their stats alone. This is one of the biggest mistakes scouts continue to make when doing their evaluations.

Here is a list of all the Centers who are likely to be drafted this year. The first column is a general ranking based on where I think they should be rated roughly. Not every player is ranked by every system so I tried to list the most appropriate. I used a variety of resources: ISS (International Scouting Services), FC (Future Considerations), NCS (NHL Central Scouting) and my own rankings to determine where they could be drafted. The rankings will likely change by end of the year but this is a good measuring stick for now. I used hockeydb.com for the measurables and the player links all direct to eliteprospects.com.

Center

OVR RankShootsCENTERSSizeWeightGPGAP
NCS 18 L Ryan Suzuki 6’017161234871
FC 21 L Connor McMichael 6’017067363672
FC 27RPhilip Tomasino6’018067343872
NCS 30LJamieson Rees5’1017137102232
NCS 104LBlake Murray6’318566302050
NCS 113 L Mason Primeau 6’5 203 69 13 20 33
NCS 149L Keean Washkurak
5’10 184 66 16 31 47
NCS 152 L Petr Cajka
5’11 168 63 20 18 38
NCS 174LTyler Angle 5’9 168 58 20 24 44
FC 87RTag Bertuzzi6’119930459
NCS 217LDaniel D’Amico5’917867212546
NRRCody Morgan5’1118363152439
NRLDalton Duhart6’018064111223
NRLTye Kartye6’01846442024
NRRMitchell Russell6’018865131124

Who I like for the Oilers:

Philip Tomasino – A workhorse who is also a speedster, Tomasino is a dynamic player who makes plays all over the ice. He too can play center or wing and is an excellent 200 ft player. He passed McMichael as the #1 OHL forward this year as he continued to get better as the season went on. Tomasino is more of a east-west player than McMichael, and has more explosion in his game while still being able to beat you north-south. He has excellent agility with the puck and goes hard to the net with good hands in close. Terrific vision, knack for finding open ice. Aggressive forechecker, good at creating turnovers. 51.0 FO%. No one is more explosive and works harder in this group than Tomasino. Of his 34 goals, only 4 have come on the PP as he was buried behind guys like Jason Robertson, Akil Thomas, Jack Studnicka & Kirill Maksimov. Otherwise, he could easily have had 40+ goals. Speed, skill, smarts, work ethic, 200 ft game. He has it all. #1 in CHL in even strength Pts/60. Could ultimately be drafted as a RW. Reminds me a lot of Matthew Barzal. Should explode in Draft year +1.

Projected Round: Mid 1st round pick

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Connor McMichael – Blessed with terrific speed, vision, hands, and determination, McMichael was clocked as the fastest player with the puck at the CHL Prospects combine. He finished 2nd in the OHL for draft eligibles in shots (221). His shooting percentage was 16.2% which can be attributed to him going hard to the net looking for tips and rebounds. He had 36 goals playing mostly on the 2nd line in London with another 17 yr old (Guskov) & undrafted 19 yr Dunkley. He did hit a bit of a wall in the second half though, only scoring 4 goals in final 18 games which coincided with the return of Alex Formenton and addition of Kevin Hancock. Seemed to lose confidence & not play with as much intensity consistently which is a concern. He plays an excellent 200 ft game, wins faceoffs (55%) and can play center or the wing. He is also not afraid to battle along the boards or in front of the net to make a play. Overall, McMichael still needs to get bigger and stronger but he has the speed, skill, & hockey IQ to excel at the next level. Reminds me a lot of a young Ryan Smyth if he can keep his compete level high consistently.

Projected Round: Mid 1st round pick

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Jamieson Rees – Very similar to McMichael & Tomasino in that he is a fast player who is very responsible at both ends of the ice. Nice hands in close. Can dangle. Great vision, excellent passer. Aggressive forechecker who creates turnovers by outworking opponents. 51.5 FO%. Has had some injuries last couple seasons. Durability issues. Slight frame. Excellent value in 2nd round. Steal 3rd round or later. Performs well in tournaments. Dangerous penalty killer.

Projected Round: 2nd-3rd round pick

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Who I don’t like for the Oilers:

Ryan Suzuki – A talented playmaker, Suzuki can be described as a pass first player who doesn’t shoot enough and appears to not be willing to work hard enough in the dirty areas to succeed. Perimeter player type that shies away from contact. Gives up too easily on puck battles. Compete level an issue. Could be better in his own zone. 44.5 FO%. Highly skilled but probably better suited on a different team.

Projected Round: Mid 1st round pick

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Wildcard for the Oilers:

Blake Murray – Ranked as my #1 OHL Prospect going into the year, he struggled mightily with consistency early in the season. Was downright awful in a few showings first half of season. Looked lazy & disinterested. Subsequently he has dropped in the rankings. But, he started to heat up playing with 16 yr old phenom Quinton Byfield. Proceeded to score 12 goals in 12 games. Has subsequently cooled again. Murray is a big body but he doesn’t really play a physical game. His bread and butter is his shot & release. He’s got a cannon. He’s also a pretty good skater for his size. 4th most goals for draft eligibles behind Kaliyev, McMichael & Tomasino. 54.4 FO%. Performed relatively well in playoffs. His inconsistency continues and makes him a total wildcard in the draft. Late bloomer?

Projected Round: 2nd-4th round pick

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Left Wing

OVR RankShootsLeft WingSizeWeightGPGAP
FC 45LNick Robertson5’615254272855
FC 61
L Nick Porco
6’017567201636
NCS 74 L Ethan Keppen
6’221765302959
NCS 101R Joe Carroll
6’31956592231
NRLDanil Antropov
6’218363143549
NRLErik Cermak5’111546881725
NRLEmmett Sproule5’1016668132437
NRLJordan Frasca6’11766091423
NRLJacob Winterton5’1116167111021

Players I like for the Oilers:

Ethan Keppen – Probably the most underrated player in this draft crop at this point, Keppen is your prototypical power forward who goes hard to the net and has a big shot. Make no mistake though, he is a strong skater with good mobility. Also does a great job at shielding off opponents & fights through checks. He also has soft hands & is an excellent passer. He is so tough to stop at the OHL level right now based on his determination. His work ethic is off the charts, and he seemed to get better every time my Flint feed didn’t crap out on me. Had points in 16 of 17 games (14G’s, 8A, 22 pts) at one point for the worst team in the league, including goals in 5 straight games. This kid plays a pro game already & could skyrocket up draft boards. Reminds me a lot of Chris Kreider minus the top end speed. Currently, a steal in the 4th round. Worth a 3rd round selection.

Projected Round: 3rd-4th Round Pick

Highlights from last season (Only ones I could find)

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Players I don’t like for the Oilers:

Nick Robertson – There is plenty to like about Robertson. He’s a dynamic player who has a great motor and tremendous shot. He doesn’t have top end speed but is very quick in short bursts. He has great vision and playmaking ability. But, he’s very small and has had injury issues. Risky player with tiny frame. The Oilers already have Kailer Yamamoto who is a very similar player. Could be a nice NHL player but not the ideal prospect EDM should be looking for.

Projected Round: Late 1st-early 2nd round pick

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Wildcard for the Oilers:

Nicholas Porco – Speedster might be the fastest player in this draft crop. Can score too. Had 20 goals playing mainly on 3rd line in Saginaw. But, is considered a perimeter player who doesn’t go hard enough to dirty areas. Defensively responsible. Terrific penalty killer. Needs to get stronger but enough here to warrant a mid round pick. Reminds me a bit of Ryan McLeod.

Projected Round: 3rd-4th Round pick

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Right Wing

OVR RankShootsRight WingSizeWeightGPGAP
FC 28LArthur Kaliyev6’2185655151102
FC 97LMatvei Guskov6’117259121830
NCS 45Graeme Clarke5’1117255231134
FC 83Cole MacKay5’1118565273461
NCS 96Cole Schwindt6’317568193049
NCS 95LKeegan Stevenson6’117255191534
NCS 141Eric Uba6’019467192342
NRKyen Sopa5’918255191231
NRLBrayden Guy6’019460191332

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Who I like for the Oilers:

Matvei Guskov – A slow transition to the North American game hindered Guskov’s game earlier in the season. But, he has gradually improved and looks more comfortable than ever now playing with McMichael on the 2nd line. Guskov has a lot of nice traits; he’s a very good skater with excellent edge work, soft hands & good offensive instincts. He also plays a solid 200 ft game. Not sure he possesses any elite qualities yet but sneaky upside here. Type of player that could break out Draft+1 year. Wouldn’t take him in 1st two rounds but if he slips, then good value here.

Projected Round: 3rd-4th rd pick

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Players I don’t like for the Oilers:

Graeme Clarke – While he has some tantalizing offensive skill, I’d stay away from Clarke if I were the Oilers because of too many red flags. His game reminds me of Robbie Schremp back in the day minus the big production. Not the fastest skater & questionable work ethic. Offensive player who struggles with consistency & defensive responsibilities. Plays a too cute game, doesn’t go hard enough to the net. Only 116 shots in 55 games. Plays a selfish game, turns the puck over too much. Only 11 assists in 55 games for the best team in the OHL? Think that’s telling. Will likely drop in draft despite skill. Hard pass.

Projected Round: 4th-6th Round Pick

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Wildcard for the Oilers:

Arthur Kaliyev – How can a guy who has 50 goals & over 100 points be a MAYBE for the Oilers? Great question. Kaliyev is the type of player scouts fall in love with because of his skill and inflated numbers, while totally dismissing the weaknesses in his game. Oilers fans could use Nail Yakupov as a perfect example of why you should look past just numbers alone. Not saying Kaliyev will be a bust, but there are red flags anyone drafting him should be aware of.

For one, he struggles with consistency especially in his own zone and away from the puck. When the puck is not on his stick, he looks like an average player who is disinterested at times. Secondly, he doesn’t have the greatest speed in the world and is guilty of not moving his feet enough. He gives up on puck battles too much. Also, he has 20 goals & 44 points on the Powerplay. He likes to score and play on the PP but 5 on 5 he’s not dominant or always engaged. Kaliyev plays a ton of minutes for Hamilton on the Top line so he gets all the offensive zone starts & Top PP time. He is an elite shooter with great vision but you have to question his desire. Again, you don’t get to take your Junior points with you to the NHL. If he doesn’t get Top PP time in the NHL to start, how effective of a player will he be if his speed, work ethic & 200 ft game are all suspect? That’s the concern.

I’d still consider him late 1st round based on the high end skill but Kaliyev’s all-round game is nowhere near Andrei Svechnikov‘s was last year IMO. He will probably be drafted higher than he should as some team will overlook the red flags. Complimentary winger who relies on his teammates to do the heavy lifting while he floats to get open. Huge bust potential.

Projected Round: 1st Round pick

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Defencemen

OVR RankShootsDefencemenSizeWeightGPGAP
NCS 11LThomas Harley6’318364114758
NCS 31LVladi Kolyachonok6’21885442630
NCS 58RBilly Constantinou6’018566102333
NCS 55LMichael Vukojevic6’32066832629
NCS 125LMason Millman6’11756632225
NCS 148LLiam Ross6’21976872229
NCS 206LMitchell Brewer6’12056741418
NRRGrayson Ladd6’11714821618
NCS 182LNathan Staios5’81686492029
NRLSimon Rose6’01725731922
NRRAndrew Perrott6’02025331215

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Who I like for the Oilers:

Vladislav Kolyachonok – If you follow me on Twitter, you already know I am a big fan of this player. VK has tremendous agility & puck moving ability. He is a very smart and heady defenceman who is tough to beat one on one defensively. Has a very active stick & makes some tremendous defensive plays. Aggressive for his size, wins more than his share of puck battles along the boards. He always has his head up & is capable of transitioning from defence to offence quickly. Very adept at pinching in from the point. Not a big shot but quick hands. Smart, fast, 2 way defenceman on a bad team who is still underrated by many. Performed well at U18‘s in April where he was named Captain for Belarus. Huge upside. Doesn’t show enough offensively in Flint due to lack of talent around him but talent is there. Absolute steal if he somehow slipped to 2nd round.

Projected Round: Mid to late 1st rd pick

#7 Kolyachonok. Game 1 of the season vs. Erie

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Who I don’t like for the Oilers:

Thomas Harley – Probably one of the most overrated player in this year’s OHL crop. Harley is a great skater with good mobility, is excellent in transition & can make some great passes. Also very capable of running a Powerplay. However, his shot is just average which doesn’t make him a true PP quarterback at the next level, and his defensive game is very much a work in progress. He’s not physical at all & frankly can be a liability in his zone at times. Looks very tentative and unsure defensively. Plays very soft coverage. Turns the puck over a lot to avoid a hit. I see Harley with a lot of the same strengths and weaknesses as Evan Bouchard minus the big shot which is a huge part of Evan’s game. Good puck mover, fluid skater but offensively limited & a defensive liability. Not worth a 1st rd pick in my opinion but some team will likely reach.

Projected Round: 1st-2nd Round pick

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Wildcard for the Oilers:

Billy Constantinou – One of the more riskier players in this year’s crop, Constantinou first and foremost is a tremendous skater on the back end. His wonderful agility & effortless skating will attract teams. He also has very good offensive instincts. Loves to jump in the rush and does a good job running the powerplay. His achilles will be his defensive game where his decision making needs to improve. Turns the puck over too much, needs to be more patient. Skill-set is intriguing but book still out on him. Consistency and maturity should help him improve not sure if he is just a good OHL‘er or has legit NHL potential yet.

Projected Round: 3rd-5th Round pick

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7 Round Mock Draft (OHL only)

1st rd – C/RW Philip Tomasino

2nd rd – D Vladislav Kolyachonok

3rd rd – C Jamieson Rees

4th rd – LW Ethan Keppen

5th rd – RW Cole Schwindt

6th rd – D Mitchell Brewer

7th rd – D Nathan Staios

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RECAP:

The OHL draft crop may not have as much high end skill as last year’s group, but there are plenty of quality prospects that could have impact at the NHL level. Kaliyev, Suzuki, McMichael, Tomasino, Harley, Kolyachonok could all be 1st round picks. Guys like Rees, Murray, Guskov, Keppen, Porco, and Constantinou all offer great value in the middle rounds. There are also a few sleepers in later rounds that I will offer up later in the season. Goaltenders are voodoo so I will also update those later as well.

But for now, I’ve highlighted who I think are good fits for the Edmonton Oilers out of the OHL for this upcoming draft. They need more speed & skill but also guys who play a determined game. Guys who can chop wood and carry water sort of speak while also keeping up to today’s NHL. Next up, I will touch on the QMJHL in the second installment coming out soon.

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