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.
Initial impression is this is one of the thinnest draft crops for the OHL. Ryan Suzuki (BAR) & Arthur Kaliyev (HAM) are close to top-10 talents, but a stronger chance they go a little later. Could also be the 2nd time in 3 years where no OHL defenseman goes in the 1st round.
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) August 29, 2018
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.
Leaf fans ready to feel old ? Nik Antropov’s son Danil is slated to go in the top 62 of the upcoming 2019 draft. Good power forward with both goal scoring and playmaking ability. Really likes to use his size in the corners. #TMLtalk
— DRAFTDOGS (@DRAFTDOGS91) July 10, 2018
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.
I would like to thank @HC_Men for 2 amazing weeks of hockey with an amazing group of guys and coaching/support staff, couldn’t have ended any better way. I also want to thank everyone who has helped me get to this point, all my trainers and my family. pic.twitter.com/P5HqXMpyWP
— Jamieson Rees (@_jamiesonrees) August 15, 2018
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.
One last guy I wanted to mention is a 2019 eligible and that's Ottawa's Nikita Okhotyuk (late 2000). Took a while to really get used to the OHL, but man is he playing well the last month and a half.
— OHL Prospects (@BrockOtten) February 13, 2018
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.
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.
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