2019 NHL Draft: Preseason OHL Player Power Rankings

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Arthur Kaliyev 2019 NHL Draft
REGINA, SK - MAY 25: Arthur Kaliyev #34 of Hamilton Bulldogs warms up with a shot on net against the Regina Pats at Brandt Centre - Evraz Place on May 25, 2018 in Regina, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

With the 2018-19 Ontario Hockey League right around the corner, that means that 2019 NHL Draft coverage officially kicks off. And another edition of the NHL Prospect Power Rankings.

Last year, Andrei Svechnikov lit the world on fire for the Barrie Colts. He likely would have run away with the Power Rankings each month if it wasn’t for an early season injury. Instead, that honour belonged to Evan Bouchard, while Akil Thomas and Ryan McLeod spent plenty of time among the top five.

This year there’s a new crop of players jockeying for position and attention. Will it be the same face at number one each and every month? Or will we cycle through a slew of draft eligibles?

As usual, these power rankings aren’t the be all, end all. They’re purely based on statistics and don’t factor goalies in. But it’s a good base that helps NHL and junior hockey fans alike get accustomed to this season’s draft class.

2019 NHL Draft: Preseason OHL Player Power Rankings

Player 2017/18 Games Played 2017/18 Points TI Score
Arthur Kaliyev, RW, HAM 68 48 61.5
Ryan Suzuki, C, BAR 64 44 56
Blake Murray, C, SUD 57 44 46.5
Danil Antropov, RW, OSH 59 31 31.5
Nicholas Robertson, C, PBO 62 33 25
Jamieson Rees, C, SAR 46 20 24.5
Graeme Clarke, RW, OTT 63 25 22.5
Jacob LeGuerrier, D, SSM 62 11 22
Cody Morgan, C, WSR 63 21 20
Nikita Okhotyuk, D, OTT 53 11 19

1) Arthur Kaliyev, LW, Hamilton Bulldogs – GP: 68, G: 31, A: 17 – TI Score: 61.5
2) Ryan Suzuki, C, Barrie Colts – GP: 64, G: 14, A: 30 – TI Score: 56
3) Blake Murray, C, Sudbury Wolves – GP: 57, G: 21, A: 23 – TI Score: 46.5

These three will be battling it out all season long, all playing key roles for their teams.

Kaliyev was a pleasant surprise for the Bulldogs last year. He was one of three 30 goal scorers for the OHL Champs, and chipped in with 11 points in 21 playoff games. If it wasn’t for draft eligibles Svechnikov and Cam Hills, Kaliyev would have led all rookies in scoring.

Suzuki, last year’s first overall pick, had a solid year on a stacked Barrie team. With Svechnikov, Aaron Luchuk and Dmitry Sokolov gone Suzuki will have plenty of ice time to work with. Especially after an eye-opening Hlinka Gretzky cup.

Murray finished fifth in rookie scoring, but second among actual rookies. He was also second in goals among first-year players and would’ve passed Suzuki if it wasn’t for his -17.

4) Danil Antropov, RW, Oshawa Generals – GP: 59, G: 15, A: 16 – TI Score: 31.5
5) Nicholas Robertson, C, Peterborough Petes – GP: 62, G: 15, A: 18 – TI Score: 25
6) Jamieson Rees, C, Sarnia Sting – GP: 46, G: 5, A: 15 – TI Score: 24.5

While not as towering as his dad, Antropov has a good frame to work with. After an eight-goal rookie season, he bumped it up to 15 last year. As a late birthday, there are big expectations for Antropov, especially playing on a talented Oshawa roster.

Robertson will be very interesting to watch. In his draft-eligible season, his brother Jason was dominant, but also one of the most under-rated players that year. Coming off a 15-goal season, Robertson will be eyeing a jump like his brother. He went from an 18-goal rookie year to back-to-back seasons of 40+ goals.

After loading up last year, Rees will get his chance with the Sting this year. He was solid in spurts during his rookie season, and also had a solid showing at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup with four points in five games.

7) Graeme Clarke, RW, Ottawa 67’s – GP: 63, G: 14, A: 11 – TI Score: 22.5
8) Jacob LeGuerrier, D, SSM Greyhounds – GP: 62, G: 0, A: 11 – TI Score: 22
9) Cody Morgan, C, Windsor Spitfires – GP: 63, G: 10, A: 11 – TI Score: 20
10) Nikita Okhotyuk, D, Ottawa 67’s – GP: 53, G: 5, A: 6 – TI Score: 19

With the way he produced in minor midget, Graeme Clarke could be in for a big jump when it comes to year two. Morgan seemed to find his stride last year following a deadline deal from Kingston. With Windsor, he had 14 points in 32 games after seven points in his first 31.

On the blueline, LeGuerrier and Okhotyuk both notched 11-point seasons. LeGuerrier was a part of a deep blueline with plenty of talent in the Soo last year. Another late birthday, odds are he won’t spend too many months in the Power Rankings as he’s more of a shutdown presence. Okhotyuk is in a similar boat. A late birthday, he was adjusting to the league in his first OHL season. His offensive numbers should climb a bit in year two.

Honourable Mentions

A lot of players’ TI Scores were hurt by their plus/minus in their rookie years. Philip Tomasino was one of those players. Following a 24-point rookie year, Tomasino finished just outside the pre-season rankings. Ethan Keppen was in the same boat as Tomasino. Michael Vukojevic evolved into a top-four defenceman for the Kitchener Rangers by the end of his rookie year. Expect to hear his name a lot, even if he doesn’t log high-end production. Tim Fleischer in Hamilton and Matvei Guskov and Vladislav Kolyachonok in London are entering their first years in the OHL after they were picked in the CHL Import Draft.

Main Photo:
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