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The 15th overall pick in the 2015 OHL Priority draft, Isaac Ratcliffe is blossoming into a power forward with the rebuilding Guelph Storm. Despite playing on one of the weakest teams in the OHL, he still put up 28 goals and 54 points in 67 games this year. It has been a big improvement over the five goals and 13 points he scored as an OHL rookie. Ratcliffe recently joined Team Canada that the Under 18 World Championships, and has put up two goals so far in the tournament. He also played in the CHL Top Prospects game in January, and picked up a first period goal.
Isaac Ratcliffe Scouting Report: 2017 NHL Draft #22
Left Wing — shoots Left
Born February 15 1999 — London, Ontario
Height 6’5″ — Weight 203 lbs [196 cm / 92 kg]
Ratcliffe combines great size, with excellent skating ability. He has very good footwork for his size, with a powerful stride that gives him good speed and acceleration. He can drive to the net and creates havoc when he gets there. Ratcliffe has decent edge work and agility, especially given his size. He can be elusive in the offensive zone. He also has very good balance and is difficult to knock off the puck when playing in the cycle, or battling for loose pucks in the corners. Ratcliffe is good at establishing his position in front of the net and maintaining that spot.
Ratcliffe protects the puck well, and has good stick handling ability. He is strong down low, and works well in the cycle. While he is not a huge play maker, he does make smart plays with the puck and keeps it moving to open teammates. He could stand to add muscle to his frame and play a more physical game. This would make him even more effective going forward. He is not one to throw a lot of big hits, but he does use his frame to protect the puck and win battles. Ratcliffe does have the hockey sense to find open spaces to take a pass from a teammate on the cycle. If he sees an opportunity, he is willing to take the puck to the net.
He gets most of his points in close to the net, as he is willing to get to the tough areas in order to put the puck in the net. Ratcliffe has good hand-eye co-ordination and can make tip-in plays or bury rebounds in tight to the net. He also has a good wrist shot with a strong release to score from further out. He is not the most creative player, but plays an effective North-South game that gets results.
Ratcliffe shows his willingness to battle along the boards in the defensive end as well, supporting his defenders down low, and applying back pressure when checking. He also uses his frame well to cut down passing and shooting lanes. Ratcliffe’s defensive game has really improved in the last year, and he is one of the more reliable forwards on the Storm, trusted by his coaches in big situations.
Projection and Comparison
Ratcliffe has the potential to be a top six winger in the NHL, and be the type of power forward that teams covet. With his size, skill, and hockey sense he presents an intriguing package come draft day. Ratcliffe is still a bit of an unpolished player though, he will need time to add the muscle on his frame to play at the pro level, as well as to further refine his skills. In terms of a stylistic comparison, Ratcliffe is reminiscent of Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers.
The following is a compilation of highlights, assembled from Youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the #23 Prospect available on our draft board.