On Monday, NHL Central Scouting released their Midterm Rankings for the 2018 NHL draft. Over 200 skaters and 31 goalies were rated for North America, with Barrie’s Andrei Svechnikov leading the way.
Five from the OHL cracked the top ten, and seven made the first 20. 61 players in total made the list, down from last year’s 68. 42 of those players heard their name called on draft weekend in 2017. Five went in the first round, down from nine in 2016.
With it looking like a rebound year for the OHL, lets jump into five quick thoughts.
Five OHL Thoughts on NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings
Top 10 Potential
It seems fairly likely that the OHL will have at least one player selected in the top 10 of the NHL Draft. As we said above, five cracked the top ten when it comes to North American skaters. Of the five players from the OHL that went in round one in 2017, Owen Tippett was tops. The Florida Panthers nabbed him at 10. In 2016, four ended up going within the first ten picks of the draft. While we’ll get to the top-rated North American skater in a second, London’s Evan Bouchard may be the best bet for home-grown Top 10 talent. The Knights captain has been named defenceman of the month twice, and was rated fifth by NHL CS; the best of Canadian-born OHLers. NHL Central Scouting seems to look upon the OHL a bit more favourably this season.
Svechnikov’s health didn’t hurt
Sidelined with a hand injury early on, Andrei Svechnikov’s promising start was derailed. Since coming back, the Russian has shown no lingering effects, while proving his hot start was no fluke. In January alone he has five goals, points in seven of eight games, and three-straight two-point games. He’s averaging 1.33 points-per-game, which would work out to 90 over a full season. A strong showing at the World Juniors only cemented that with five assists in five games. He’s a high-end talent who can only solidify his standing with NHL Central Scouting down the stretch.
McShane, McLeod slip and slide
Oshawa’s Allan McShane and Mississauga’s Ryan McLeod have been staples in our prospect power rankings. They’ve consistently earned their spots among the top ten. It’s worth noting our rankings are purely number-based with specific weightings. NHL Central Scouting, however, feels differently. They have McLeod at 16 and McShane at 33 in North America. The Steelheads have had an up-and-down season but McLeod has been one of their most consistent performers. He has 50 points in 45 games, and back-to-back three-point games ahead of the rankings getting released. McShane has had trouble balancing his goals and assists but is still top three in Generals scoring. Both are focal points of their teams’ offence and should have chances to improve their standing with scouts.
Rasmus Sandin was a bit of a mystery when he reported to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds at the end of October. Initially expected to be there from the start, injuries to his club team’s blue line kept him overseas a little longer. Since coming to Canada however, he has been a revelation. In December he was the OHL’s rookie of the month, and he played a pivotal role in the Greyhounds lengthy point and win streaks. Sandin has been reliable in all aspects of the game and is 15th in scoring by defensemen. His points-per-game rate is also ninth-highest among defenders. He currently sits 15th among North American skaters in the eyes of NHL Central Scouting but could rise even higher with a lengthy playoff run.
Try, Try Again
Just because you don’t get drafted on the first go-around, doesn’t mean you can’t be a successful re-entry candidate. While this draft centres around players born in late 1999 or 2000, 11 players that fell outside of that range cracked NHL Central Scouting’s midterm rankings. Among 1998s were Adam Thilander (North Bay), Luke Burghardt (North Bay), Brandon Saigeon (Hamilton), Renars Krastenbergs (Oshawa), Mac Hollowell (SSM), Albert Michnac (Mississauga) and Sean Durzi (Owen Sound). 1999s included Linus Nyman (Kingston), Hugo Leufvenius (Sarnia), Rickard Hugg (Kitchener), and Brady Lyle (Owen Sound).