A Look at NHL Central Scouting’s Final Draft Ranking

So, I am not going to break down NHL Central Scouting’s rankings in its entirety, just those Ontario Hockey League players ranked (or not ranked). After all, this sight is all about the OHL, right?

Let’s begin in the blue paint. One name that we have been pushing on OHL Writers for most of the season is Patrick Leaver of the Oshawa Generals. We selected Leaver as our Draft Eligible Goaltender of the Year at the end of the regular season. Central scouting showed him a lot of love on their final list as Leaver had the highest jump among ranked OHL netminders climbing 13 spots from 29 on the midterm rankings to 16 on the final rankings.

Leaver wasn’t the only netminder with a massive jump. Niagara IceDogs Josh Rosenzweig went from unranked on the midterm list to 22 on the final list.

Of course, when you have risers, they must be accompanied by fallers and the OHL had their share. Brett Brochu of the London Knights dropped 15 spots from 16 to 31. Dom DiVincentiis of the North Bay Battalion dropped 10 spots from 14 to 24.  

When it comes to skaters, we have been big fans of Christian Kyrou of the Erie Otters since about the drop of the puck this season. We gave him serious consideration as our Draft Eligible Defenceman of the Year. In the annual OHL Coach’s Poll he was voted the most improved player in the Western Conference and the Most Underrated Player in the Western Conference as well as the second-best Offensive Defenceman in the Western Conference. Among draft eligible defencemen, he finished first in goals, second in points and third in assists. Central Scouting (finally) moved him up a whopping 131 spots from 179 to 48.

But that wasn’t the biggest jump. Matthew Maggio of the Windsor Spitfires jumped 149 spots from being not ranked (there were 251 players ranked on the midterm rankings so we used 252 as Maggio was not ranked) all the way up to 103 on the final rankings. Among draft eligible players, Maggio finished second in goals, assists and points. He was our runner up to Draft Eligible Forward of the Year. In the Coach’s Poll, he finished just ahead of Kyrou as the most improved player in the Western Conference and tied for third as the Hardest Worker in the Western Conference.

But the highest jump belonged to Amadeus Lombardi of the Flint Firebirds who moved up from not being ranked all the way to 94 on the final rankings. I can’t understand how he was not ranked on their midterm ranking, but they got this right.

Another player that deserves mentioning is David Goyette of the Sudbury Wolves who moved up 22 spots from 35 to 13. It’s a massive jump in its own right as that puts Goyette in the bottom third of the first round instead of middle second. And that’s a much-deserved spot for him. He deserves first round consideration.

Two of the biggest fallers are Ruslan Gazizov and Colton Smith, both of the London Knights who dropped from 62 to 149 and 129 to being not ranked respectively. For Comparison’s sake, Bob McKenzie had Gazizov at 15 and Smith as an honorable mention on his midterm rankings (only 80 players were ranked).

I do think that Central Scouting got a couple of Guelph Storm prospects correctly. For most of the season, Matthew Poitras was ranked ahead of Danny Zhilkin on a lot of lists. Poitras was ranked 23 on the midterm rankings and drops to 45 while Zhilkin was ranked 27 and drops to 35. We’re not saying we agree with the overall ranking, but that Zhilkin is rightfully ranked ahead of Poitras and we’ve been saying that for some time.

Vsevolod Gaidamak of the Ottawa 67’s was the highest ranked player on Central Scouting’s midterm rankings to fall off the chart on their final ranking. He went from 121 to being not ranked.

Nice to see a little love for James Hardie of the Mississauga Steelheads who moved up 56 spots from 204 to 148. But we are also surprised to see Tucker Robertson drop 53 spots from 109 to 162.

If you are looking for our final list, it usually comes out after the Memorial Cup. Until then, here is NHL Central Scouting’s rankings with their midterm and final ranking shown:

PLAYERTEAMNHL MIDNHL FIN
Shane WrightKingston11
Pavel MintyukovSaginaw56
Luca Del Bel BelluzMississauga118
Owen BeckMississauga1910
David GoyetteSudbury3513
Matyas SapovalivSaginaw1323
Michael BuchingerGuelph3630
Ty NelsonNorth Bay2532
Bryce McConnell-BarkerSoo2834
Danny ZhilkinGuelph2735
Vinzenz RohrerOttawa4642
Hunter HaightBarrie4744
Matthew PoitrasGuelph2345
Christian KyrouErie17948
Paul LudwinskiKingston2949
Gavin HayesFlint6851
Isiah GeorgeLondon4253
Servac PetrovskyOwen Sound5258
Cedrick GuindonOwen Sound7659
Jake KarabelaGuelph6162
Pano FimisNiagara7775
Spencer SovaErie2880
Jorian DonovanHamilton3981
Evan KonyenSudbury8885
Beau JelsmaBarrie13788
Amadeus LombardiFlint25294
Matthew MaggioWindsor252103
Lucas EdmondsKingston107104
Kiriil KudryavtsevSoo103108
Liam ArnsbyNorth Bay66115
Rodwin DionicioNiagara132118
Kocha DelicSudbury200122
Jackson EdwardLondon75123
Tnias MathurinNorth Bay152126
Zakary LavoieMississauga124134
Samuel MayerPeterborough120139
James HardieMississauga204148
Ruslan GazizovLondon62149
Aidan CastleOwen Sound155151
Brady StonehouseOttawa138152
Nolan CollinsSudbury252153
Kyle JacksonNorth Bay182158
Tucker RobertsonPeterborough109162
Gavin BryantOwen Sound160179
Bryce CookNiagara163183
Braeden BowmanGuelph217194
Kai SchwindtMississauga252196
Sam AlfanoPeterborough190207
Max NamestnikovSarnia219211
Landon SimLondon213215
Kasper LarsenMississauga252220
Kirill SteklovLondon196221
Roberto ManciniSaginaw195222
Caeden CarlisleSoo252223
Vsevolod GaidamakOttawa121225
Colton SmithLondon129225
Stuart RolofsOshawa142225
Bryce CookNiagara163225
Tyler SavardSoo183225
Brody CraneLondon188225
Ryan AbrahamWindsor210225
Nolan DannSarnia225225
Simon SlavicekFlintLV225
GOALIESNHL MIDNHL  FIN
Andrew OkeSaginaw89
Nolan LalondeErie1014
Patrick LeaverOshawa2916
Charlie SchenkelSoo1217
Jacob OsterGuelph1518
Josh RosenzweigNiagara3322
Domenic DiVincentiisNorth Bay1424
Marco CostantiniHamilton3329

Danny Zhilkin – Guelph Storm – Player Profile

HTWTDOBPOSSHOOTSOHL DRAFTNHLCSCOUNTRY
6’2”18512-19-2003CL14th 201927th MidCANADA
SEASONLEAGUETEAMGPGAPTS
2018-19U-16 AAAToronto Marlboros69322557
2018-19GTHL U-16Toronto Marlboros33111223
2019-20OHLGuelph Storm607815
2019-20WHC U-17Canada Black5426
2020-21WJC U-18Canada U187022
2020-21OHLDID NOT PLAY    
Danny Zhilkin of the Guelph Storm. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images

While Guelph Storm forward Danny Zhilkin (Daniil) has both Russian and Canadian citizenship, we list him as Canadian because he has already represented Canada at IIHF tournaments, and under their rules, once you make a decision and represent one country, that designation follows you throughout your career.

A handful of the independent scouting services available have Zhilkin ranked in the 41 to 43 range, so there is some consistency there. However, others like Craig Button (30th), Sportsnet (25th) and Consolidated Ranking (32nd) have him inside the first round. NHL Central Scouting has him 27th among North American skaters in their mid-term rankings. But opinions of those that follow the OHL closely are very split.

So, what are you getting with Zhilkin? Here’s my thoughts.

Well, you’re getting a player with good size at 6’2” that will need to add some mass to his 185-pound frame for one. You’re getting a player that plays with pace when he’s on. You’re getting a player that can bring you to your feet with electrifying moves – when he’s on.

Let’s start with some positives: Zhilkin certainly has all the skills and the tools to dominate in the OHL. He can beat defenders one-on-one almost with relative ease. He can keep possession of the puck. He can set up teammates. He can pass. He will go to the dirty areas to clean up rebounds or set himself in position to receive a pass and fire off a superb shot.

The negative to all that is ‘when he wants to’. At times he is too lackadaisical for me. Other times, he’s trying to beat everyone on the ice himself rather than utilizing his teammates.

Somewhat surprisingly, Zhilkin is a very good three zone player. He at least puts in the effort through the neutral zone and the defensive zone to disrupt the opposition and when he, or his teammates do and the puck is on his stick, his ability to transition is matched by few.

Zhilkin has gotten better as the season has progressed after a somewhat slow start. He has 10 goals and 14 helpers through 27 games at this point of the season, good for second among point getters on his squad. At this point, I expected him to be at least a point-per-game player and it is likely he will get there by the end of the season.

As I said earlier, the tools and the skillset are all there. If he can put it all together, he will be a fine addition to a team’s prospect stable.

Here’s just a sample of what he’s capable of, picking up the rebound in front of his net and going end to end.

13 OHL PLAYERS CAPTURE U18 WORLDS GOLD AS CANADA DEFEATS RUSSIA 5-3

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League is pleased to congratulate 13 OHL players who will return from the Lone Star State with gold medals after defeating Russia by a score of 5-3 in the IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship gold medal game on Thursday in Frisco, Texas.

Kingston Frontenacs star Shane Wright found the back of the net twice as Canada’s National Under-18 Team completed a perfect 7-0 tournament, outscoring opponents 51-12 in the process to claim their first U18 Worlds gold since 2013.

“It means the world to this country, to the guys in our dressing room, all of the coaches and all of the staff,” said Wright after the win. “Just the effort we put in, how hard everyone has worked since day one. I couldn’t be prouder of the work everyone has put in and all the sacrifices that have been made.”

Russia presented a new challenge to Canada in the early going, with tournament scoring leader Matvei Michkov netting his 12th of the U18 Worlds 5:13 in, marking the first time Canada had surrendered the first goal in the event.

“We had scored first every single time, which is a great thing, but we knew it was going to happen,” said Canadian coach Dave Barr, who was OHL Coach of the Year with the Guelph Storm in 2006. “We talked about it in the first intermission about playing from behind and how we aren’t going to change the way we play the game. We just did what we needed to do to work our way back into the game.”

Just over a minute after a denied penalty shot, exceptional talent Connor Bedard (Regina Pats) beat Sergei Ivanov on the backhand with 4:01 remaining in the first to tie things up as Chase Stillman (Sudbury Wolves) picked up a secondary assist. Russia quickly responded with a goal from Dmitri Buchelnikov before Wright ripped home a wrist shot on the power play to make it 2-2 after one.

A shot from a tight angle off the stick of Brennan Othmann (Flint Firebirds) put Canada in the lead 3-2 off a feed from Ethan Del Mastro (Mississauga Steelheads) 4:42 into the second. Logan Stankoven (Kamloops Blazers) delivered a wrist shot to double the Canadian lead near the period’s end as Brandt Clarke (Barrie Colts) and Wright pitched in with assists.

Following a scoreless nine minutes to start the third, Vladimir Grudinin brought Russia back within one on the power play. Wright ultimately struck on the empty net with 40 seconds remaining off an impressive pass from Bedard to seal an undefeated tournament for Team Canada. With his ninth goal, Wright surpassed Connor McDavid‘s 2013 mark of eight to set a Canadian record at the U18 Worlds.

Ben Gaudreau (Sarnia Sting) amassed 31 saves in net to improve to 5-0 for Canada as the shots ended an even 34-34.

“It was really exciting, the last minute felt about as long as the entire game,” said Gaudreau after the buzzer. “Once Shaner (Wright) put the icing on the cake there with 40 seconds left it really set in. The feelings can’t really be described. I couldn’t have done this with a better group of guys.”

Wright finished the tournament tied for second in scoring with fellow exceptional status forward Bedard, racking up 14 points (9-5–14) in just five games, two back of tournament-leader Michkov of Russia who wound up with 16 points.

Brandt Clarke finished tied for second in tournament scoring by defencemen with seven points (2-5–7) in as many games, being named to the event’s media all-star team.

Between the pipes, Gaudreau paced all goaltenders with five wins, a 2.20 goals-against average and .919 save percentage over five games to be recognized as the tournament’s top goaltender by the IIHF directorate.

“I have had a great time coaching this team,” said Barr. “It was a lot of fun to be able to bring the gold medal back to Canada, and I was very fortunate to have two great assistant coaches in Mike Stothers and Gordie Dwyer. Ultimately you are trying to win the gold medal and you never know how a game like tonight’s is going to go, but we focused on what we were able to control and that gave us a great chance to win.”

Since 2002, Canada has won four gold medals at the IIHF U18 World Championship (2003, 2008, 2013, 2021), in addition to one silver (2005) and three bronze (2012, 2014, 2015).

13 OHL players winning gold with Canada at the U18 Worlds:

Goaltender:
Ben Gaudreau (Sarnia Sting)

Defence:
Brandt Clarke (Barrie Colts), Ethan Del Mastro (Mississauga Steelheads), Jack Matier (Ottawa 67’s)

Forwards:
Brett Harrison (Oshawa Generals), Wyatt Johnston (Windsor Spitfires), Mason McTavish (Peterborough Petes), Brennan Othmann (Flint Firebirds), Francesco Pinelli (Kitchener Rangers), Chase Stillman (Sudbury Wolves), Ryan Winterton (Hamilton Bulldogs), Shane Wright (Kingston Frontenacs), Danny Zhilkin (Guelph Storm)

About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league.

13 OHL PLAYERS NAMED TO CANADA’S NATIONAL MEN’S UNDER-18 TEAM

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League is proud to recognize 13 OHL players named to Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team that will compete in the 2021 IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship set to take place from April 26 to May 6 in Frisco and Plano, Texas.

The 13 OHL players are part of a 25-man Canadian roster consisting of three goaltenders, eight defencemen and 14 forwards to be coached by former OHL Coach of the Year Dave Barr (Guelph Storm, 2003-08) along with assistant Mike Stothers (Owen Sound Attack, 2002-07).

The Canadian roster was assembled by Hockey Canada director of player personnel Alan Millar along with manager of national teams Benoit Roy.

OHL PLAYERS NAMED TO CANADA’S NATIONAL UNDER-18 TEAM:

Goaltender: Benjamin Gaudreau (Sarnia Sting)

Defence: Brandt Clarke (Barrie Colts), Ethan Del Mastro (Mississauga Steelheads), Jack Matier (Ottawa 67’s)

Forwards: Brett Harrison (Oshawa Generals), Wyatt Johnston (Windsor Spitfires), Mason McTavish (Peterborough Petes), Brennan Othmann (Flint Firebirds), Francesco Pinelli (Kitchener Rangers), Chase Stillman (Sudbury Wolves), Ryan Winterton (Hamilton Bulldogs), Shane Wright (Kingston Frontenacs), Danny Zhilkin (Guelph Storm)

“We are excited to announce the 25 players that have been selected to wear the Maple Leaf at the 2021 IIHF U18 World Championship. Despite a difficult year for our players and staff, we are confident this group will represent our country with pride while giving us a chance to compete for a gold medal in Texas,” said Millar. “We are also pleased to have Dave (Barr), Mike (Stothers) and Gordie (Dwyer) as a part of our coaching staff, and to welcome a number of excellent support staff who bring unique skills to our team. We know the extensive experience of our coaching staff and the dedication of our support staff will greatly benefit our team at the world championship.”

Barr most recently served as an assistant coach with the San Jose Sharks (2017-19). Prior to joining the Sharks, he was an associate coach with the Florida Panthers (2016-17), as well as an assistant coach with the Buffalo Sabres (2015-16), New Jersey Devils (2011-15), Minnesota Wild (2009-11) and Colorado Avalanche (2008-09). Barr spent five seasons (2003-08) as the general manager and head coach of the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), leading the Storm to an OHL championship in 2004. He also held various positions with the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League (AHL) and International Hockey League (IHL) from 1997-2003, including assistant coach, head coach, director of hockey operations, vice-president, general manager and president. He has represented Canada once as a head coach, leading Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team to a gold medal at the 2008 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.

Dwyerwas the head coach of the Shawinigan Cataractes of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) last season. Prior to joining the Cataractes, he spent two seasons as head coach of Dinamo Minsk (2017-19) and two seasons as head coach of Medvescak Zagreb (2015-17) of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), as well as part of one season as head coach of HC Ambrì-Piotta (2016-17) of National League A (NLA). Dwyer also served two seasons as head coach of the Charlottetown Islanders (2013-15) and two seasons as head coach of the Prince Edward Island Rocket (2011-13) of the QMJHL, as well as two seasons as head coach and director of player personnel with the Summerside Western Capitals of the Maritime Junior Hockey League (MHL). He won bronze medals as the head coach of Team Canada at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games and as an assistant coach at the 2012 IIHF U18 World Championship and was an assistant coach at two Spengler Cups (2016, 2018).

Stothersmost recently served as head coach of the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League (AHL) for five seasons (2015-20). He has held various coaching positions in the NHL, AHL, OHL and Western Hockey League (WHL), including one season as an assistant coach with the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers (2010-11) and two seasons as an assistant with the Philadelphia Flyers (2000-02). Stothers was also the head coach of the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs (2014-15), winning a Calder Cup and Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as AHL coach of the year, as well as the Grand Rapids Griffins (2007-08). He also served as an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Phantoms (1996-2000) and Hershey Bears (1991-96). His Canadian Hockey League (CHL) experience includes three seasons as head coach of the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors (2011-14) and five seasons as head coach of the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack (2002-07). Stothers had a 10-year professional playing career in the NHL and AHL, winning the Calder Cup with the Maine Mariners in 1984.

The support staff that will work with Team Canada at the IIHF U18 World Championship includes:

  • Senior vice-president of national teams Scott Salmond
  • Video coach Travis Crickard
  • Goaltending coach Matt Weninger (Moose Jaw Warriors)
  • Athletic therapists Kevin Elliott (Charlottetown Islanders) and Doug Stacey
  • Equipment manager A.J. Murley
  • Mental performance consultant Ashwin Patel (Guelph Storm)
  • Team physician Dr. Ben Cameron (Lethbridge Hurricanes)
  • Education consultant Dave Tennant (Kitchener Rangers)
  • Coordinator of national teams Kurt Keats

Prior to travelling to Frisco on April 17, players and staff will self-isolate at home starting April 12 and will be tested for COVID-19 three times. Upon arrival in Texas, all team personnel will enter a four-day quarantine at the hotel before starting a pre-tournament camp on April 21. The team will take on Finland in its lone pre-tournament game on April 24 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.

Canada will open the 2021 IIHF U18 World Championship against Sweden on April 26 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, and will also take on Latvia, Switzerland and Belarus in preliminary-round action. TSN and RDS, the official broadcast partners of Hockey Canada, will broadcast select games throughout the tournament and will announce details at a later date.

Since 2002, Canada has won three gold medals at the IIHF U18 World Championship (2003, 2008, 2013), in addition to one silver (2005) and three bronze (2012, 2014, 2015).

For more information on Hockey Canada and Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along via social media on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league.