OHL Writer’s Final Draft Ranking

It’s not your typical National Hockey League Draft. At least not compared to the last few seasons where fans and teams were spoiled.

After Nolan Patrick (Brandon Wheat Kings – WHL) and Nico Hischier (Halifax Mooseheads – QMJHL) who are the consensus top two picks – although there are those including yours truly that would have Hischier at the top, you could break the draft class down into segments of five or ten, shuffle the deck, and it would still be a reasonable ranking.

It’s not as strong or as deep as we’ve seen lately at forward and defence, but it is a strong goaltending class where two goaltenders could go in the first round. If they make it to the second round, there could be as many as five go on the second day.

As we’ve always done in the past, we look only at the players eligible for the first time. Players re-entering the draft or passed over in previous drafts are not included. So, you won’t see the likes of Kevin Hancock, Drake Rymsha, Trenton Bourque or Stephen Dhillon on the rankings.

With our list, you will also see where the player ranked on NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings in January and their final ranking sits overall among North American skaters and goaltenders.

Three OHL players made Central Scouting list that didn’t make my top 44 skaters, Fedor Gordeev, Liam Hawel and Jacob Golden. Taking their place on my list are Matthew Philip, Ben Jones and Macauley Carson, the latter not making Central Scouting’s final list at all.

Here is our final list. You can click on most player’s names for a profile on them written throughout the OHL season. Again, as always, it’s open to criticism.

Gabriel Vilardi of the Windsor Spitfires. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Gabriel Vilardi of the Windsor Spitfires. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Rk Player Pos Team CS-Mid CS-FINAL
1 Gabriel Vilardi C/W Windsor 3 4
2 Owen Tippett RW Mississauga 4 7
3 Nick Suzuki C Owen Sound 16 10
4 Jason Robertson LW Kingston 34 14
5 Conor Timmins D Sault Ste Marie 26 18
6 Isaac Ratcliffe LW Guelph 20 15
7 Robert Thomas  C London 28 22
8 Morgan Frost C Sault Ste Marie 29 31
9 Nicolas Hague D Mississauga 11 20
10 Matthew Strome LW Hamilton 19 33
11 Eemeli Rasanen D Kingston 57 32
12 Jonah Gadjovich LW Owen Sound 60 39
13 Adam Ruzicka C Sarnia 27 37
14 Alex Formenton LW London 24 29
15 Mackenzie Entwistle RW Hamilton 35 44
16 Jack Studnicka C Oshawa 80 120
17 Ivan Lodnia RW Erie 37 36
18 Dmitri Samorukov D Guelph 122 69
19 Zach Gallant C Peterborough 71 64
20 Nate Schnarr C Guelph 32 47
21 Kirill Maksimov RW Niagara 185 66
22 Markus Phillips D Owen Sound 62 50
23 Brady Lyle D North Bay 53 48
24 Maksim Sushko RW Owen Sound 73 72
25 Greg Meireles C Kitchener 39 93
26 Linus Nyman RW Kingston 102 100
27 Marian Studenic RW Hamilton 86 101
28 Noel Hoefenmayer D Ottawa 41 75
29 Jacob Paquette D Kingston 90 105
30 Adam Thilander D North Bay 59 96
31 Austen Keating LW Ottawa 92 115
32 Sean Durzi D Owen Sound 139 124
33 Macauley Carson LW Sudbury 183 NR
34 Sasha Chmelevski C Ottawa 38 43
35 Shaw Boomhower C Mississauga 123 112
36 Zachary Roberts LW Owen Sound 180 113
37 Nicholas McHugh LW Kitchener 176 145
38 German Poddubnyi C Erie NR 130
39 Nick Isaacson LW Peterborough 168 148
40 Matthew Philip C Niagara 173 152
41 Ryan McGregor C Sarnia 79 107
42 Dylan Seitz C Kitchener 100 123
43 Cole Coskey RW Saginaw 96 150
44 Ben Jones C Niagara 99 170
Goaltenders
1 Michael DiPietro G Windsor 7 4
2 Matthew Villalta G Sault Ste Marie 14 16
3 Kyle Keyser G Oshawa 10 11
4 Jake McGrath G Sudbury 23 19
5 Kaden Fulcher G Hamilton 12 18
Michael DiPietro of the Windsor Spitfires. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Michael DiPietro of the Windsor Spitfires. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
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Shaw Boomhower – Mississauga Steelheads – Player Profile

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 185 pounds

Date of birth: October 31, 1998

Hometown: Belleville, Ontario

Position: Center

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Free agent signing, 2016

During the 2015-2016 season, Mississauga Steelheads center Shaw Boomhower played for the Wellington Dukes of the Ontario Junior Hockey League where he scored 9 goals to go along with 14 assists in 51 games in the Ontario Junior A circuit.

The Steelheads were impressed enough to invite Boomhower to camp as a free agent in the fall of 2016 and he did his part, making the Steelheads roster. He would finish the regular season with 7 goals and 10 assists in 60 games, and to date, has 1 assist in 13 playoff games.

Shaw Boomhower of the Mississauga Steelheads. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Shaw Boomhower of the Mississauga Steelheads. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Boomhower was also recognized by the National Hockey League’s Central Scouting. The scouting group ranked Boomhower at 123 among North American Skaters on their mid-term ranking and rising 11 spots to 112 on the final list.

Despite not having huge size at 6’ and 185 pounds, Boomhower knows how to throw his body around, and was recognized by coaches around the Ontario Hockey League as they voted him the third best body checker in the Eastern Conference.

Boomhower brings that sheer determination, work ethic and will to the rest of his game as he does in the hitting department. It is what Steelheads General Manager James Boyd saw when he signed Boomhower.

“Shaw Boomhower is a player who impressed us with his determination and effort level. He is a player who has really improved since his draft year.”

With the Steelheads’ depth, it’s hard to judge Boomhower’s offensive upside. That said, we project him as a player who can be solid defensively, provide energy, and chip in with a little offense as a bottom 6 forward.

Shaw Boomhower

This is the stat page of Shaw Boomhower at Elite Prospects

 

Maksim Sushko – Owen Sound Attack – Player Profile

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 185 pounds

Date of birth: February 10, 1999

Hometown: Brest, Belarus

Position: Right Wing

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 1, 29th overall, 2016 CHL Import Draft

The Owen Sound Attack selected Maksim Sushko (Maxim Sushko) in the first round of the 2016 Canadian Hockey League Import Draft, twenty-ninth overall, after he put up 9 goals and 21 assists in 21 games for Shakhter Soligorsk-2 of the Belarus-2 League. He added 3 goals and 10 assists in 16 games in helping his squad to the league championship.

Sushko was also selected in the first round, 11th overall, by Dynamo Minsk at the 2016 Kontinental Hockey League Draft.

Maksim Sushko of the Owen Sound Attack. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Maksim Sushko of the Owen Sound Attack. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Sushko has represented his native Belarus on two occasions. Last season he played for his country at the World Junior Championships Under-18 Division 1 (qualifying), scoring 2 goals and 4 assists in 5 games and wining gold. He was named his squads top player in the tournament. This season, he represented Belarus at the World Junior Championships Under 20 Division 1 scoring once in 5 games and again winning gold.

Putting up points has come somewhat easily for Sushko to date. During the 2014-2015 season, he scored 37 goals and 29 assists in 17 games for DYUSSH Shakhter Under-18. In this his Ontario Hockey League rookie season, he appeared in 54 games and put up a very respectable 17 goals and 15 assists. As is usually the case with Sushko, as the games begin to matter more, he rises to the occasion and has 3 goals and 8 assists in 16 playoff games for the Attack. (at the time of this article, Owen Sound is set to face the Erie Otters in game 6 of the Western Conference Championship which Erie leads 3-2).

We say this a lot about players at this level, and Sushko is no different: He does need to work on his complete game. He doesn’t always put the effort in his own zone as he does the offensive zone, and sometimes waits for someone else to do the leg work and head the other way.

For Sushko, that is the complete opposite of his work ethic in the offensive zone. His pursuit of the puck is almost non-stop. He possesses good speed, gets on top of defenders quickly and rarely gives up until he gains possession. He has good size but won’t overpower defenders physically. His work ethic and will make him successful on the forecheck.

Sushko has a deceptively quick release on his shot and he gets a lot on it with an ability to beat goaltenders cleanly. As good a goal scorer as he is, he’s just as good a playmaker. He sees the ice extremely well, makes the right decisions, thinks the game at a high level and quickly and can deliver a crisp, clean pass. He has shown a strong ability to run the powerplay from the half-wall, whether getting into position for a shot, or more likely, set up teammates for opportunities.

Sushko was ranked 73 among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings. He remained relatively unchanged on their final rankings, ending up at 72.

Sushko is one of eight Owen Sound teammates ranked by Central Scouting. He ranks fourth among his teammates.

Maxim Sushko

This is the profile page of Maxim Sushko at Elite Prospects

Kyle Keyser – Oshawa Generals – Player Profile

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 186 pounds

Date of birth: March 8, 1999

Hometown: Coral Springs, Florida

Position: Goaltender

Catches:

OHL Draft: Round 4, 74th overall, 2015 Priority Selection (Flint Firebirds)

Oshawa Generals’ goaltender and native of Coral Springs, Florida, Kyle Keyser, played Tier 1 hockey during the 2014-2015 season for the Victory Honda Under-16 of the Elite Hockey League. There he posted a 2.27 goals against average and .916 save percentage in 19 games. Even more impressively, he posted a 1.38 goals against average and .942 save percentage in the playoffs.

The Flint Firebirds would select Keyser with the 74th overall pick at the 2015 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.

During his rookie season, Keyser would post a 4-10-0 record in 19 appearances with a 4.37 goals against average and .880 save percentage.

As this season approached, an unexpected trade request by Keyser caught the Firebirds off guard. General Manager George Burnett granted Keyser his wish and he was dealt to the Oshawa Generals for a second-round pick.

For Generals’ General Manager Roger Hunt however, he could say he finally got his goalkeeper. Hunt had not made it a secret that the Generals were eyeing Keyser at the draft, but the Firebirds pounced on him before Hunt could call his name.

Kyle Keyser of the Oshawa Generals. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Kyle Keyser of the Oshawa Generals. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

The acquisition was both a move for the now, and for the future. Keyser would back up incumbent number one goaltender Jeremy Brodeur for this season with an eye as the unquestioned starter for the 2017-2018 season.

Keyser would finish the season with a 7-9-2 record in 26 appearances while posting a 3.40 goals against average and .891 save percentage.

Keyser has good size for a goaltender. He is in control of his movements in his crease and his demeanor comes across as very calm although there are a few times he can over commit. He has quick movement from post to post and gets to the top of the paint in the blink of an eye. He has very good reflexes that allow him to react to second chance opportunities quickly. His athleticism is top notch. His rebound control improved at a steady pace as the season progressed as did his puck handling skills.

Off the ice, and this is a testament to his commitment and work ethic, Keyser received the Ivan Tennant Memorial Award as the top academic high school student. Keyser achieved a 95% average in high school during his rookie season.

Keyser was ranked 10th among North American goaltenders on NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings. He ended up 11th on their final rankings.

Kyle Keyser

This is the stat page of Kyle Keyser at Elite Prospects

 

Jake McGrath – Sudbury Wolves – Player Profile

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 158 pounds

Date of birth: January 7, 1999

Hometown: Mississauga Ontario

Position: Goaltender

Catches: Left

OHL Draft: Round 8, 142nd overall, 2015 Priority Selection

Ranked 23rd among North American goaltenders on the National Hockey League Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings in January, Sudbury Wolves’ goaltender Jake McGrath came in at number 19 on their final rankings this month.

Jake McGrath of the Sudbury Wolves. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Jake McGrath of the Sudbury Wolves. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

McGrath played his minor midget AAA hockey for the Toronto Marlboros during the 2014-2015 season where he posted a 1.34 goals against average in 37 games and leading the way to a GTMMHL championship. He also led the way for the Marlboros in capturing the OHL Cup with a 1.43 goals against average in 4 games. However, the championships didn’t end there as Team GTHL Blue won the OHL Gold Cup Championship where McGrath posted a 2.33 goals against average in 3 games.

The Wolves would select McGrath 142nd overall at the 2015 Ontario Hockey League’s Priority Selection. Despite an impressive camp with the Wolves, he was assigned to the St Michael’s Buzzers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League. He appeared in 30 games for the Buzzers and posted a goals against average of 3.37 and a save percentage of .908. He would be named to the OJHL Second Team All-Prospects.

McGrath was invited to participate in the Hockey Canada Program of Excellence Goaltending Camp as an Under-17. He also took part in Hockey Canada’s Development camp for the World Hockey Challenge Under-17. He played in 3 games for Canada Black and posted a 4.36 goals against average and .851 save percentage.

McGrath finished this season with the Wolves appearing in 45 games with a 17-18-6 record, 3.77 goals against average and an .896 save percentage. He went 2-4 in 6 playoff games as the Wolves were eliminated by the Oshawa Generals. He posted a 3.00 goals against average and .902 save percentage.

McGrath is currently with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships Under-18.

What McGrath doesn’t have is the big size NHL scouts seem to covet with goaltenders and he is one of the smaller goaltenders in his draft class. But what he does “lack in size”, he makes up with other assets. Don’t misinterpret that, there are holes in his game but nothing that can’t be correct with further coaching and development.

Finding consistency in his game is at the top of that list – from game to game or shot to shot. He can go from being spectacular to average from game-to-game, but it’s something that I think he can improve on in time. But you should be impressed by his ability to have a bounce back game following a sub-par performance. It’s a strength he possesses.

McGrath does well at making the first save, challenging the shooter and remaining square and tall, but he needs to improve on his second-chance opportunities and chances in close. His puck handling skills also continue to be a work in progress and should improve in that department as he gains more experience.

McGrath certainly has the tools to be a solid goaltender. Now, it’s up to NHL scouts to determine whether the few issues he has are correctable. I wouldn’t bet against him and he could certainly end up being a good value pick for whoever chooses him in June.

Jacob McGrath

Stat page of Jacob McGrath at Elite Prospects

 

157 CHL Players in Final 2017 NHL Central Scouting Draft Rankings

Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League today announced that 157 CHL players have been listed by NHL Central Scouting in their Final Rankings for the 2017 NHL Draft which takes place June 23-24 in Chicago, Illinois.

The 157 players includes 142 skaters of the 217 ranked by NHL Central Scouting in North America while 15 of the 31 goaltenders ranked are also from the CHL.  In total, 63% of all players ranked by NHL Central Scouting are currently competing in the CHL.

21 of the top 31 ranked North American prospects are from the CHL led by Nolan Patrick of the Brandon Wheat Kings at first overall followed by Nico Hischier of the Halifax Mooseheads at number two.  Another five CHL players are listed within the top 10 including Gabriel Vilardi of the Windsor Spitfires at four, Michael Rasmussen of the Tri-City Americans at five, Cody Glass of the Portland Winterhawks is ranked sixth, Owen Tippett of the Mississauga Steelheads is listed seventh, and Nick Suzuki of the Owen Sound Attack is at 10.

The CHL’s top ranked defencemen are Juuso Valimaki of Tri-City at 11, followed by Cal Foote of the Kelowna Rockets at 12.  Three other blueliners are listed within the top 20 including Conor Timmins of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds at 18, Portland’s Henri Jokiharju at 19, and Mississauga’s Nicolas Hague at 20.

In goal, five of the top 10 North American prospects are also from the CHL led by Ian Scott of the Prince Albert Raiders at number three, Windsor’s Michael DiPietro at four, Stuart Skinner of the Lethbridge Hurricanes at five, Dylan Ferguson of the Kamloops Blazers is ranked eighth, and Dereck Baribeau of the Quebec Remparts is listed at 10.

The Ontario Hockey League has a total of 70 players ranked, followed by the Western Hockey League with 58 players, and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with 29 players.

All 40 players that competed in the 2017 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Quebec appear in the rankings including 34 of the top 62 ranked skaters.

153 CHL players were listed in NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings released in January, while 96 players from the CHL were selected in the 2016 NHL Draft including 15 players selected in the first round.

CHL North American Skaters:

North American rank, name, CHL club, league, position

1 PATRICK NOLAN BRANDON WHL C
2 HISCHIER NICO HALIFAX QMJHL C
4 VILARDI GABRIEL WINDSOR OHL C
5 RASMUSSEN MICHAEL TRI-CITY WHL C
6 GLASS CODY PORTLAND WHL C
7 TIPPETT OWEN MISSISSAUGA OHL RW
10 SUZUKI NICK OWEN SOUND OHL C
11 VALIMAKI JUUSO TRI-CITY WHL D
12 FOOTE CALLAN KELOWNA WHL D
14 ROBERTSON JASON KINGSTON OHL LW
15 RATCLIFFE ISAAC GUELPH OHL LW
17 YAMAMOTO KAILER SPOKANE WHL RW
18 TIMMINS CONOR SAULT STE. MARIE OHL D
19 JOKIHARJU HENRI PORTLAND WHL D
20 HAGUE NICOLAS MISSISSAUGA OHL D
21 ANDERSON-DOLAN JARET SPOKANE WHL C
22 THOMAS ROBERT LONDON OHL C
23 LIND KOLE KELOWNA WHL RW
25 HENRY NICK REGINA WHL RW
26 HEPONIEMI ALEKSI SWIFT CURRENT WHL C
27 JOSEPH PIERRE-OLIVIER CHARLOTTETOWN QMJHL D
28 POPUGAEV NIKITA PRINCE GEORGE WHL LW
29 FORMENTON ALEX LONDON OHL LW
30 COMTOIS MAXIME VICTORIAVILLE QMJHL LW
31 FROST MORGAN SAULT STE. MARIE OHL C
32 RASANEN EEMELI KINGSTON OHL D
33 STROME MATTHEW HAMILTON OHL LW
36 LODNIA IVAN ERIE OHL RW
37 RUZICKA ADAM SARNIA OHL C
38 MATTHEOS STELIO BRANDON WHL RW
39 GADJOVICH JONAH OWEN SOUND OHL LW
41 TYSZKA JARRET SEATTLE WHL D
42 LESCHYSHYN JAKE REGINA WHL C
43 CHMELEVSKI ALEXANDER OTTAWA OHL C
44 ENTWISTLE MACKENZIE HAMILTON OHL RW
45 GEEKIE MORGAN TRI-CITY WHL C
47 SCHNARR NATE GUELPH OHL C
48 LYLE BRADY NORTH BAY OHL D
49 BROOK JOSH MOOSE JAW WHL D
50 PHILLIPS MARKUS OWEN SOUND OHL D
52 ZABLOCKI LANE RED DEER WHL RW
53 MORAND ANTOINE ACADIE-BATHURST QMJHL C
55 SHAW MASON MEDICINE HAT WHL C
56 OLSON KYLE TRI-CITY WHL RW
58 MINULIN ARTYOM SWIFT CURRENT WHL D
59 LEWIS TY BRANDON WHL LW
62 FLEURY CALE KOOTENAY WHL D
64 GALLANT ZACH PETERBOROUGH OHL C
66 MAKSIMOV KIRILL NIAGARA OHL RW
69 SAMORUKOV DMITRI GUELPH OHL D
70 STEENBERGEN TYLER SWIFT CURRENT WHL C
71 CHEKHOVICH IVAN BAIE-COMEAU QMJHL LW
72 SUSHKO MAKSIM OWEN SOUND OHL RW
75 HOEFENMAYER NOEL OTTAWA OHL D
76 CRETE-BELZILE ANTOINE BLAINVILLE-BOISBRIAND QMJHL D
77 COGHLAN DYLAN TRI-CITY WHL D
82 BELLERIVE JORDAN LETHBRIDGE WHL C
83 KOLTYGIN PAVEL DRUMMONDVILLE QMJHL C
84 TEASDALE JOEL BLAINVILLE-BOISBRIAND QMJHL LW
86 PECKFORD RYAN VICTORIA WHL LW
87 DE JONG BRENDAN PORTLAND WHL D
90 WALFORD SCOTT VICTORIA WHL D
91 HANCOCK KEVIN OWEN SOUND OHL LW
93 MEIRELES GREG KITCHENER OHL C
95 YERYOMENKO VLADISLAV CALGARY WHL D
96 THILANDER ADAM NORTH BAY OHL D
100 NYMAN LINUS KINGSTON OHL RW
101 STUDENIC MARIAN HAMILTON OHL RW
102 JOLY D’ARTAGNAN BAIE-COMEAU QMJHL RW
103 PRATT AUSTIN RED DEER WHL RW
104 GORDEEV FEDOR FLINT OHL D
105 PAQUETTE JACOB KINGSTON OHL D
107 MCGREGOR RYAN SARNIA OHL C
110 MOILANEN SAMI SEATTLE WHL RW
112 BOOMHOWER SHAW MISSISSAUGA OHL LW
113 ROBERTS ZACHARY OWEN SOUND OHL LW
114 ALEXEYEV YAROSLAV SHERBROOKE QMJHL RW
115 KEATING AUSTEN OTTAWA OHL LW
117 BATHERSON DRAKE CAPE BRETON QMJHL C
118 RYMSHA DRAKE SARNIA OHL C
120 STUDNICKA JACK OSHAWA OHL C
123 SEITZ DYLAN KITCHENER OHL C
124 DURZI SEAN OWEN SOUND OHL D
126 CHAINEY JOCKTAN HALIFAX QMJHL D
130 PODDUBNYI GERMAN ERIE OHL C
132 MCINDOE ETHAN SPOKANE WHL LW
133 LEASON BRETT TRI-CITY WHL C
134 WARM WILL EDMONTON WHL D
135 PLOUFFE DYLAN VANCOUVER WHL D
136 NOEL DAVID VAL-D’OR QMJHL D
137 BRASSARD MATT OSHAWA OHL D
140 RUBINCHIK MARK SASKATOON WHL D
141 HAWEL LIAM GUELPH OHL C
142 DAVIS BRETT KOOTENAY WHL RW
143 LAUZON ZACHARY ROUYN-NORANDA QMJHL D
144 GOLDEN JACOB LONDON OHL D
145 MCHUGH NICHOLAS KITCHENER OHL LW
146 PARE CEDRIC SAINT JOHN QMJHL C
147 GORDA BRAYDEN EDMONTON WHL D
148 ISAACSON NICK PETERBOROUGH OHL

 

 

Nate Schnarr – Guelph Storm – Player Profile

Height:  6’3”

Weight: 180 pounds

Date of birth: February 25, 1999

Hometown: Waterloo, Ontario

Position: Center

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 3, 58th overall, 2015 Priority Selection

Guelph Storm center Nate Schnarr played his midget hockey for the Waterloo Wolves Minor Midgets where he captained the squad during the 2014-2015 season and scored 31 goals and added 43 assists in 51 games. Schnarr would win Silver with Team Alliance at the OHL Gold Cup where he contributed 3 goals and 2 assists in 5 games. He would also register 3 assists with the Wolves in 5 OHL Cup games.

The Storm would select Schnarr in the third round, fifty-eighth overall at the 2015 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.

Nate Schnarr of the Guelph Storm. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL  Images.
Nate Schnarr of the Guelph Storm. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

A season ago, Schnarr had, by all accounts, an impressive rookie camp with the Storm and was one of the last cuts at training camp. At the time, Storm General Manager Mike Kelly had this to say:

“We knew that if we didn’t think he was going to be ready for major junior, he was going to have a really good opportunity. He was probably as qualified to stay with the Storm as a couple of kids we kept, but because his option was so good, it was an easy decision for us to make.”

That option was to play Junior B with the Waterloo Siskins of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, and Schnarr made the most of it. He was named the Midwestern Conference Rookie of the Year and was named to the First All-Star Team after scoring 26 goals and 28 assists in 45 games while helping Waterloo to the Cherry Cup Finals and the semi-finals of the Sutherland Cup.

Schnarr would appear in 6 games for the Storm scoring once and adding 3 assists while continuing to practice with the OHL team throughout the season.

Schnarr would finish this season with 18 goals and 18 assists in 54 games for the Storm playing in many different situations. He did damage on the powerplay with 8 goals and 6 assists and added a shorthanded marker.

The first thing to notice about Schnarr is that he has the size NHL teams more and more are putting an emphasis on down the middle of the ice. He uses his 6’3”, 180-pound frame effectively at both ends and with just 27 minutes in penalties on the season, does it within the rules.

The second thing you notice is how intelligent Schnarr is. He thinks the game at a high level. He sees plays develop and understands where he needs to be on the ice and when he has the puck on his stick, immediately recognizes what the best options are. Most importantly, he uses those assets in all three zones.

Finally, Schnarr’s commitment and work ethic stand out. He’s a player who never gives up, works as hard in the defensive zone as the offensive zone and his mistakes are few and far between. He’s very coachable and combined with his smarts, commitment and work ethic, should find success.

Schnarr projects as a solid third line, two-way pivot at the NHL level who can play defensively and provide some offense.

Schnarr was ranked 32nd on NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings in January.

Nathan Schnarr

This is the profile page of Nathan Schnarr at Elite Prospects

 

Gabriel Vilardi – Windsor Spitfires – Player Profile

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 200 pounds

Date of birth: August 16, 1999

Hometown: Kingston, Ontario

Position: Center/Wing

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 1, 2nd overall, 2015 Priority Selection

Windsor Spitfires forward Gabriel Vilardi played his Minor Midget AAA hockey for the CIHA Voyageurs during the 2014-2015 season in which he scored 18 goals and 21 assists in 21 games. The CIHA is the Canadian International Hockey Academy, a premier hockey prep school in Eastern Ontario. He was named the Hockey Eastern Ontario (HEO) Player of the Year.

Gabriel Vilardi of the Windsor Spitfires. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Gabriel Vilardi of the Windsor Spitfires. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

At the OHL Gold Cup, Vilardi appeared in 5 games scoring 4 goals and adding 5 assists. He would win gold at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17 with Team Canada White. In 6 games at the tournament, he scored 4 goals and added 3 assists. Windsor would make Vilardi the second overall pick at the 2015 Ontario Hockey League’s Priority Selection.

Last season, his rookie year with Windsor, Vilardi appeared in 62 games and scored 17 goals while adding 21 assists. He received some quality powerplay time and scored 4 goals while adding 7 assists on the PP. He was named to the OHL Second All-Rookie Team.

Everything pointed to an excellent draft year for Vilardi. But a knee injury he suffered at Team Canada’s camp kept him out of the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and delayed the start of his OHL season. On November 21, 2016, he underwent an emergency appendectomy and would miss the next 5 weeks.

Despite the time missed, Vilardi still managed to put up 29 goals and 32 assists in 49 regular season games and finished among the top ten among draft eligible players in goals, points and faceoff winning percentage. Despite being a natural center, he spent a lot of time on the wing for the Spitfires.

If he isn’t already, Vilardi is the closest draft eligible player in the OHL to being NHL ready. There are issues with his skating, but it isn’t a huge issue that can prevent him from success at the NHL level. Overall and first step speed is lacking, but if he puts in the necessary work, it’s an area that he can certainly improve.

Vilardi’s game is solid in all three zones. He puts the effort required in the defensive zone and puts himself in position to defend. In the neutral zone, he anticipates well and can create turnovers. Despite being above average defensively, his bread and butter comes from offense.

Vilardi’s vision and hockey sense is above average. He’s at his best with the puck on his stick as he can control the play in the o-zone. He has the size and strength to be able to keep control in battles along the wall or down low. And he has both the playmaking abilities to set up teammates or to score on his own. Simply, he makes everyone around him better.

The question that pops up most regarding Vilardi is: Is his game better suited for wing or center? There is no question he has the size, playmaking skills, vision and smarts to be a center in the NHL. If he can improve his foot speed, he’ll be successful at the position. I wouldn’t bet against him at any position.

Vilardi represented Canada at the Canada/Russia Super Series and participated at the Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

On NHL Central scouting’s mid-term rankings, Vilardi was ranked third among North American Skaters. On Bob McKenzie’s mid-term rankings, Vilardi was ranked 4th overall.

Gabriel Vilardi

This is the profile page of Gabriel Vilardi at Elite Prospects

 

Owen Tippett – Mississauga Steelheads – Player Profile

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 204 pounds

Date of birth: February 16, 1999

Hometown: Peterborough, Ontario

Position: Right Wing

Shoots: Right

OHL Draft: Round 1, 4th overall, 2015 Priority Selection

Mississauga Steelheads’ right winger Owen Tippett played his minor midget hockey during the 2014-2015 season and captained the Toronto Red Wings while potting 52 goals and 35 assists in 50 games. He represented Team GTHL at the OHL-Gold Cup where he provided 3 helpers in 5 games. The Steelheads would select Tippett fourth overall at the 2015 Ontario Hockey League’s Priority Selection.

Last season, Tippett’s rookie season in the OHL, he scored 15 goals and 5 assists in 48 games. He was named to the OHL’s First All-Rookie Team at the end of the season. He also represented Canada White at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17. His 5 goals and 3 assists in 6 games helped Canada win gold and he was named to the tournament’s all-star team. He would also represent Canada at the World Junior Championships Under-18 and in 7 games scored once and added 2 assists.

Owen Tippett of the Mississauga Steelheads. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
Owen Tippett of the Mississauga Steelheads. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Tippett’s 2016-2017 began last August representing Canada once again at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. He scored one goal and one assist in 4 games. He would add to his international experience during the season as he represented the OHL at the Canada/Russia Super Series where he had 2 assists in the game.

Tippett also participated in the Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects game and scored a goal and an assist for Team Cherry as his squad beat Team Orr 7-5.

Tippett would finish this season with 44 goals and 31 assists in 60 games for the Steelheads. Among the OHL’s draft eligible players, his 44 goals and 75 points were good enough for third in each category. He also finished eighth in plus/minus, had the longest goal scoring streak with 11 goals in 6 games as well as the longest point streak with 21 points in 12 games, and finished second in shots on goal.

In a recent nhl.com article, Tippett compared himself to Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel.

Tippett may just be the hardest player to defend against when talking about the OHL’s draft eligible players. And there are some similarities to Kessel. His shot is elite level and he gets it off with an explosive release. He has power and velocity behind his shot with an ability to beat goaltenders cleanly.

Tippett is also an excellent skater possessing both an excellent first step and top end speed. He uses his speed effectively to force defenders back on their heels, beat them one-on-one, and then drive to the net. He also can release his lethal shot while at top speed. Without the puck, he uses his speed to separate himself from defenders and get himself into open ice allowing his teammates an option.

Pure goal scorers like Tippett are few and far between. And like most players at this stage, he doesn’t come without things he can improve on. While he has all the tools, and the size to go with it which makes him a force all over the ice, he doesn’t always make the right decisions. He could certainly use his teammates more effectively, and once he does that he could become an even greater offensive force. I think in some circles, his hockey IQ comes into question because of that, but I think he just needs to learn that he doesn’t always have to be the “go-to” guy, especially at the NHL level when he’s surrounded by talented players.

Throughout the season on various rankings, Tippett has been in a see-saw battle with Windsor Spitfires’ Gabriel Vilardi on who will be the first player chosen from the OHL. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Tippett was ranked fourth on NHL Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings among North American skaters in January. On Bob McKenzie’s mid-term rankings, Tippett was ranked sixth overall.

On January 19, 2017, Tippett appeared on OHL News – Radio Edition with Terry Doyle. You can listen to that here:

Owen Tippett

This is the profile page of Owen Tippett at Elite Prospects

 

OHL Writers Draft Eligible Player of the Month for March

Yes, it’s April 1st, but this is no April Fools joke. My Ontario Hockey League’s draft eligible player of the month for March is Kingston Frontenac’s Jason Robertson.

This was a close one, and one thing tipped the scales in Robertson’s favor: The amount of the Frontenac’s offense he provided.

Jason Robertson of the Kingston Frontenacs. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
Jason Robertson of the Kingston Frontenacs. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

Robertson finished the regular season with 9 goals and 9 assists in 9 games for the month of March. He tallied a total of 42 goals and 39 assists while playing in all 68 regular season games. He was far and away the leader in goals and points for the Frontenacs while being tied for tops in assists.

What is truly amazing is that Robertson scored 23.5% of the Frontenacs’ regular season goals and he has been in on 45.3% of his club’s goals.

Robertson has carried on where he left off in the playoffs as the Frontenacs currently lead the Hamilton Bulldogs 3 games to two in the opening round. Robertson leads his squad with 3 goals and 5 assists through 5 games, leaving him tied for fourth in the OHL.

Robertson led the way in March with 12 goals and 14 assists through 14 games.

Not to be outdone however was Owen Sound Attack top prospect Nick Suzuki.

In the 9 games in the month of March to finish out the regular season, Suzuki found the back of the net 11 times while setting up his teammates for 6 tallies. He would finish the regular season with 45 goals and 51 assists. His 96 points were second only to Petrus Palmu (98 points) for the Attack.

Like Robertson, Suzuki continued where he left off during the Attack’s 5 game elimination of the Kitchener Rangers. Suzuki notched 4 goals and 6 assists and his 10 points are once again second on the club to Palmu.

Suzuki finished the month of March with 15 goals and 12 assists in 14 games.

Previously

February – Nick Suzuki – Owen Sound Attack

January – Owen Tippett – Mississauga Steelheads

December – Michael DiPietro, Windsor Spitfires

November – Nick Suzuki, Owen Sound Attack

October – Gabriel Vilardi – Windsor Spitfires

September – Greg Meireles – Kitchener Rangers