These rankings take into account the pending exceptional status of Sean Day, the Ontario-born defenseman currently playing in Detroit with Compuware. Day’s raw physical tools are unmatched in this draft and his exceptional skating and acceleration could see him play in the OHL today without issue. Day is a rover on the ice who can skate the puck through defenders on an inkling and really change the complexion of a game with an end-to-end rush. He’s a solid defender but the mental side of his game does leave some room to desire as his decision making can be questionable at times. Also prone to take shifts off, which is something he will not be able to do at the OHL level.
In the eyes of many, Werenski was not all that far off from Connor McDavid last year in Minor Midget circles. Playing up with the Belle Tire 96′s, Werenski was often the star of the show much like Day is now. This year Werenski is playing in the U18 circuit with his older brother where he has once again had an impressive season. The big defenseman has good feet and a strong compete level. His offensive tools are above average and his presence in all 3-zones makes him a franchise calibre player at the OHL level. Expect Werenski to be selective with the teams he’ll report too, with the border cities close to his home in Detroit being preferred destinations.
Konecny is the top forward in the draft and has done nothing short of live up to the lofty expectations many had placed on him heading into the 2012-13 season. Standing only around 5-foot-9, 150 lbs, Konecny’s motor and compete level are astounding given his lack of size. Despite being arguably the most skilled player in the draft, he’s also one of the grittiest and has no fear of finishing checks and engaging in puck battles against bigger players. Konecny should play a Top 6 role in the OHL next year and develop into a top scorer at the OHL level.
Spencer serves as the captain of the vaunted Oakville Rangers squad and has seen strong development over the past season. Already possessing pro size at 6-foot-2, 190 lbs, Spencer will have no issues adjusting to the OHL from a physical standpoint. His game is a little rough around the edges, but the potential ceiling is extremely high for this player. He’s got great feet and exceptional skating ability for a defenseman, allowing him to be a catalyst offensively as well as a difficult player to beat in his home end. Spencer’s game has drawn some parallels to last year’s #2 pick Roland McKeown, and the comparison is likely apt in a number of ways.
Average feet, and quietly effective may not scream “Top 5 Pick” to you, but make no mistake, Dylan Strome is exactly that. Strome’s game is predicated on his ability to slow the game down and use his elite vision to make plays that other players in this draft are incapable of making. His passing ability and vision are at the top of the crop and allow him to find the scoresheet nearly every game even if he comes away with a neutral reaction beyond that. Think of Strome as being like a poor-man’s John Tavares when he once donned the Marlboros’ sweater in Minor Midget, which is still pretty darn good.
Kirwin won’t be eligible for the NHL Entry Draft until 2016 but this forward is already garnering considerable attention. At 6-foot-2 and nearly 210lbs, Kirwin is a man amongst boys and plays like it. Currently playing in the Eastern Junior Hockey League with players as old as 20, Kirwin has established himself as a solid power forward with a north/south playing style. Kirwin isn’t the most creative player, but he’s a powerful skater with a heavy shot and a pro calibre release. The word is the OHL will be heavily in play for Kirwin, who could be the next Zach Kassian type prospect from the O.
McKenzie is a rangy centre who projects as a very solid two-way centre at the OHL level and beyond. It may take several viewings before you realize just how good McKenzie is, but after continued viewings you can really appreciate the nuances of his game that make him so effective. Offensively he’s more of a playmaker than a shooter and does a good job of using his size and skill to buy time and find open teammates. He is good on faceoffs and is a competitive player with good shutdown centre capabilities. McKenzie has a similar skill-set to that of Jordan Staal and should be a very good 3rd line centre as a 16-year-old.
From a strictly offensive standpoint, Yan has to be considered one of the most dynamic players in the age group as a result of his exceptional skating, vision, and sheer sniper’s mentality. Currently playing up with the U18 group, Yan is a Top 5 scorer in the Midget Major loop with Belle Tire after a tremendous season with the Lambton Jr. Sting as an underage player last year. Yan’s finishing ability would allow him to be a goal scorer as early as 16, but it appears that Yan may be destined for Ann Arbor and the US National Team program.
Korostolev is a Russian born forward who has spent the last 2 seasons playing in the GTHL in Toronto. This year with the Jr. Canadiens, Korostolev has emerged as a legitimate Top 10 prospect in the OHL Draft and after factoring in American picks, could very well be a Top 5 pick. Korostolev’s physical talents are gaudy as the winger has one of the best releases in the draft and simply loves to shoot the puck. While his shooting ability is unquestioned, his finish and shot selection are not without concern. Lacking a complete game, scouts will have to question how well his scoring ability will translate to the next level as Korostolev will not be getting 8-10 shots per game at the OHL level.
Speers may be under appreciated playing in Sault Ste. Marie but the 5-foot-9 forward is a Top 10 contender by our judgment. Speers rarely takes a shift off, yet alone a game, and is one of the most dangerous offensive forwards in the draft. A wizard with the puck, Speers makes those around him better and is also a very capable scorer himself. Size and strength will be an issue in his transition, but his ability to fight through checks and use his speed and elusiveness should see him have an offensive impact at 16.
Greenaway’s size is the first thing that will jump out at you, but there’s more than just size to the Potsdam, N.Y. native. Greenaway does a great job of using his size in his offensive game by protecting the puck and buying time to generate offensive chances. He is a good puck handler with above average finishing skills and his overall skill level is very enticing to OHL and NCAA teams. It’s been fairly mum on what Greenaway’s next steps will be, but expect several OHL teams to heavily court him in an attempt to lure him to the Major Junior route.
Crouse is a big winger who has some versatility to his game. One of the better scorers in the Minor Midget circuit, Crouse moves well for a big player and shows glimpses of being a dynamic player each game which hint at the type of upside he has if everything goes well. While Crouse benefits from playing on a strong team, his offensive upside is high and he has shown that he can be effective against the most stout defenses in the age group. While he’s a little bit of a project, his combination of size and skill should see him go in the Top 15 to a team that is confident they can develop him into a top line forward.
The Michigan commit is one of the better two-way forwards in the age group and a player that continues to show an emerging offensive game. Warren has good size at 6-foot, 175lbs, and is an extremely smart player with a very strong understanding of the game. Much like Strome, Warren is at his best when he can handle the puck and slow the pace of the game down in the offensive zone. A strong skater, Warren also projects as an effective shut-down centre capable of logging heavy minutes against the other team’s top line while still being a legitimate offensive threat. At this point it appears that Warren is a firm contender to be with the USNTDP.
Flying under the radar this year, Szypula is one of the most dynamic players in the age group as well as being one of the most naturally skilled players. Szypula has a commanding presence on the ice and loves to have the puck on his stick. He is an explosive skater with some of the quickest first few steps in the draft, allowing him to skate the puck at will. His hands, shot, and playmaking vision are all high-end and when he’s on, he’s an impressive player to watch. Consistency and decision making are areas of his game that need to improve, however. Szypula competes hard but is prone to taking himself out of a game with poor discipline.
Considered to be a surefire Top 10 pick by many, Capobianco is a promising offensive defenseman who is a very adept puck mover. Capobianco is a strong puck handler and has all of the qualities you look for in a puck mover such as the ability to buy time and making crisp passes on the breakout. He shows a strong ability to run a powerplay at the OHL level and has the skill to play in an umbrella or overload setup. The real concern for us comes down to his grit and ability to handle the physicality of the next level. Capobianco can be knocked off his game at the MM level by a physical forecheck and that will only be compounded at the next level.
The #1B centre on the Toronto Marlboros, Stephens is a competitive forward who is one of the most powerful skaters in the draft. Strong leg drive and impressive top-end speed define the 5-foot-9 centre’s game and allow him to be a menace on opposing defenses as well as when he has the puck on a rush. Stephens plays with a hard-nosed mentality but a lack of high-end offensive skill is the main concern surrounding his game, especially given the fact he lacks optimum size.
If we’re talking about versatility, the London Gold captain embodies the word as the natural forward has played most of the season on defense. Vande Sompel is undersized at 5-foot-10, but the stocky F/D is an effortless skater with exceptional edge-work and agility. OHL teams will probably look at him as more of a forward, as Vande Sompel has dynamic ability and strong puck skills. He has good vision and playmaking ability and does a good job of fighting through checks and playing in big games. Likely projects as a 2nd round pick come draft day but we believe he has Top 20 ability even including American players.
Lizotte is a physical specimen who played up with the 96 Age Group last year before returning to play with the 97′s this year. An on-ice leader, Lizotte is a very physical player who is an above average skater for his size. Plays with a natural tenacity that makes things very tough on opposing forwards as he constantly finishes checks and rarely lets a forward move around without a slash or cross check. He plays an offensive role at this level but he likely projects as more of a PK/defensive defenseman at the OHL level.
Like Lizotte, Tyler MacArthur is another large bodied defenseman who has an all-around skillset. MacArthur has above average feet and mobility and is an effective player in all 3 zones. Has a bit more offensive upside than Lizotte, but doesn’t quite have that high-end physical impact on the game. MacArthur will be able to log meaningful minutes in the OHL next year, but with good coaching and development he could develop into a very good two-way defenseman with pro upside.
Mayo’s season has been up and down but through it all, there’s no denying his offensive ability. One of the most gifted pure offensive defenseman in the draft, Mayo is the perfect point-man for an Elgin team that has no shortage of firepower up front. While the offensive game is impressive, Mayo’s defensive consistency leaves things to be desired at times. He’s prone to being beat by forwards and being caught cheating to his offensive game. This will be an important area of development as he makes the transition to the OHL next year.
Tags: Nikita Korostelev | ohl | 2013 OHL Draft | Blake Speers | 2013 ohl draft prospects | Brendan Warren | Brett McKenzie | Cameron Lizotte | Cole Mayo | Dennis Yan | Ethan Szypula | Jordan Greenaway | Kyle Capobianco | Lawson Crouse | Luke Kirwin | Matt Spencer | Mitchell Stephens | Mitchell Vande Sompel | Sean Day | Travis Konecny | Tyler MacArthur | Zach Werenski |
|1. C Sam Reinhart||Kootenay Ice|
|2. D Aaron Ekblad||Barrie Colts|
|3. C Michael Dal Colle||Oshawa Generals|
|4. C Leon Draisaitl||Prince Albert Raiders|
|5. C William Nylander||Rogle|
|6. LW Nick Ritchie||Peterborough Petes|
|7. D Haydn Fleury||Red Deer Rebels|
|8. D Roland McKeown||Kingston Frontenacs|
|9. LW Sam Bennett||Kingston Frontenacs|
|10. C Jared McCann||Soo Greyhounds|