The Memorial Cup tournament brings together the top talent in the junior hockey world. Of course, that means it is stacked with NHL prospects. While Connor McDavid and his Erie Otters didn’t advance, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other elite prospects that professional teams have their eyes on.
Mitchel Van Sompel
The Oshawa Generals defenseman was a huge reason they got past the Otters in the OHL championship. His 63 points in 58 regular season games earned him the 34th spot in the NHL Central Scouting list.
“His improvement has been gradual but I think he’s always been a very good player,” Oshawa coach D.J. Smith said to NHL.com. “He was a first-round pick in our league, was highly regarded. Some even thought he would have went higher in the OHL draft as a forward.”
His defensive talents helped shut down McDavid, holding scoreless in two games.
The 23rd ranked man on the NHL Central Scouting list is a right wing for the Kelowna Rockets. He is the top ranked forward in the Memorial Cup. Merkley led his Rockets with 92 points in 70 regular season games as he led them to a WHL championship past the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Merkley was a star in the WHL playoffs, scoring 27 points in his 19 post season contests.
“He’s a highly competitive player with excellent skill and offensive hockey sense,” NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr said on NHL.com. “He’s more of a playmaker than a goal scorer, but he has the ability to score big goals at the right time.”
Those are the two top prospects who will get drafted this season, but what about current NHL prospects?
Anthony Duclair is playing with the Quebec Ramparts, the hosts of the tournament. Duclair was recently traded from the New York Rangers, the team who drafted him, to the Arizona Coyotes. He is expected to play in the AHL last season and is their second ranked prospect at forward.
Samuel Morin, a Philadelphia Flyers prospect, is with the Rimouski Oceanic. He was the 11th overall pick in last year’s draft and is the top defenseman prospect in the Flyers system. The Oceanic also host a former first rounder with the Toronto Maple Leafs, forward Frederik Gauthier.
Micheal Dal Colle is the top prospect with the Generals as the 5th overall pick of the New York Islanders in 2014. He had 31 points in the OHL playoffs as he helped lead the team to the league’s title. They also have Michael McCarron, the first rounder of the Montreal Canadiens from 2013.
Lastly, defenseman Joshua Morrissey of the Kelowna Rockets was the first round pick of the Winnipeg Jets in 2013. Leon Draisitl, the third overall pick of the Oilers last year, is the offensive leader for the Rockets.