CHL Key in Upcoming Draft


As we all prepare for the upcoming National Hockey League draft on Friday, the importance of the CHL cannot be understated. Here, we’ll take a look at just how important those leagues (WHL, OHL, QMJHL) are and take a particular glance at some of the t0p prospects as ranked by

Of the top 100 North American Skaters (as listed here), 63 spent last season with a team in one of the Canadian Hockey Leagues.

How it breaks down, you ask?

  • 29 players spent last season with the OHL, including 21 of the top fifty ranked.
  • 25 spent last season in the WHL, including 12 of the top fifty.
  • 9 spent last season in the QMJHL, including 3 of the top fifty.

The other 37 top ranked were skated over a number of leagues and levels. Eighteen come from the USHL, while eleven come from high schools across North America. The BCHL, CCHA, WCHA, OJHL and EJHL are also represented in that group.

The NHL’s site also ranked 35 North American goaltenders.

  • 11 spent last season with an OHL team.
  • 7 spent last season with a team in the QMJHL.
  • 5 spent last season in the WHL.

The USHL was also largely represented (six players), along with one player each from the NAHL, BCHL, USMAAAE, AJHL and high school.

Based on those statistics, it may be fair to say that the CHL plays quite a significant role in the upbringing of players to the NHL draft – at least North American players.

Last year’s top draft pick, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, was a member of the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL prior to being drafted. In fact, each of the past five #1 draft picks have been members of a CHL team upon being drafted – four from the OHL, with Nugent-Hopkins being the lone exception. (Those players? Kane, Stamkos, Tavares, Hall and Nugent-Hopkins.)

It’s nothing new that the CHL is so important. Looking back in history at the number one overall draft pick, since 1980:

  • 22 of the past 31 top draft picks have come from the CHL.
  • This includes 9 from the Ontario Hockey League, 7 from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and 6 from the Western Hockey League.
  • (Others represented: NAHL, CCHA, IHL, Sweden, Czechoslovakia, Russia, Hockey East and high school).

Will this year’s top pick once again be the face of a CHL team? We’ll find out shortly after 7 p.m. on Friday, but the record shows there’s a good chance – and nine of the top 10 North American skaters played with a team in one of the three CHL leagues this past season. This, combined with the potential hesitancy of teams to draft Russian players and possibly others due to the luring offers of the KHL, may end up proving once again how important the CHL is.