NHL Draft: OHL Countdown Prospects Final 5


Over the course of the week, Tyler Brenton will shared his Top 30 prospects eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft from the OHL. These are the final 5 from the OHL.

Well that’s all for now, thanks for following the countdown. I hope you enjoyed it.

5. Pavel Zacha – Sarnia Sting

Born: April, 6th 1997 From: Brno, Czech Republic
Height: 6’3” Weight: 212 lbs
Position: C/LW

After getting selected 1st in the 2014 CHL Import Draft by the Sting, Zacha scored 16 goals and 18 assists in 37 regular season games. In addition he scored 2 goals and 1 assist in 5 playoff games. These statistics were good enough for Zacha to be named on the 2014-15 OHL First All-Rookie Team.

Don’t be fooled by his height and weight, Zacha is big and fast. Zacha can explode past defenders, leaving them in his dust. He has a shoot first, ask questions later mentality. Zacha has one of the best shots out of the players in this draft. Zacha still needs to polish his game away from the puck. His decision making is questionable and he frequently misreads plays defensively.

Pavel Zacha has the makings of a top 6 power forward, likely on the wing. He didn’t blow people away with his offensive numbers in his first OHL season, but if he played a better two way game, he’d be ranked higher in the draft.

Future Considerations said this about Pavel Zacha

"“The top Czech prospect for the 2015 draft…a big boy who is pretty physical for his age…he will hit you because that’s what he does…goes hard to the net and is relentless on the forecheck, which can be a scary sight for the opposing defensemen…has a strong shot that is both hard and accurate… good one-timer…prefers a shot to a pass…willing, but immature game defensively…goes back to defend the crease and knows how to use the stick in the defensive zone…good on PK where he gets his frame into lanes and just clears the puck when he gets the chance…patient player with good vision, soft hands and the ability to make one-on-one dekes…strong skater with good balance, but needs to get faster.”"

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4. Lawson Crouse – Kingston Frontenacs
Born: June, 23rd 1997 From: London, ON
Height: 6’4” Weight: 212 lbs
Position: RW

The Frontenacs weren’t a high offense team this season and that strongly reflects upon Crouse’s statline. Crouse scored 29 goals and 22 assists in 56 regular season games. In 4 playoff games he scored 2 goals and 1 assist.

Most people will go ahead and question his stat-line, which is understandable due to the lack of production versus other draft eligible players around the CHL. Crouse excels in his defensive end and has been a standout on Kingston’s penalty kill. With his long reach he’s able to close the gap on players fast. It’s easy to see that he has the talent to develop into a dominant two-way power forward in the NHL. He’s a safe pick compared to many small skilled forwards in the draft, due to having a high floor, but to pick Crouse within the top 5 in this year’s draft is questionable.

Per Adam Kimelman of NHL.com

"“Any team could use a player with this kind of size (6-4, 215 pounds) and skill set. He protects the puck well and is strong on his skates. Fearless and has the size to skate through anything that gets in his path, he showed versatility by playing a fourth-line energy role for Canada at the 2015 WJC.”"

3. Dylan Strome – Erie Otters

Born: March, 7th 1997 From: Mississauga, ON
Height: 6’3” Weight: 185 lbs
Position: C

Strome led the OHL in scoring with 45 goals and 84 assists (129 points) in 68 regular season games. In the playoffs he scored 10 goals and 12 assists in 19 games. He was also named the Most Sportsmanlike Player in the OHL and onto the OHL Second All-Star Team.

The big playmaking center was often criticized for riding McDavid’s coattails. Well, it turns out he wasn’t. Strome has great vision and is able to find players with crisp passes. He’s patient with the puck and doesn’t rush the play. Strome needs to improve his skating to play at a higher level, he may get by with it in junior, but he won’t have the same amount of time to do what he does best in the NHL.

Strome projects to be a top 6 center if his skating improves.

Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting said this about Strome

"“He has that competitive edge and grittiness; he wants to succeed, wants the puck, wants to score and wants to win. He’s a skilled, driven player, a strong skater with the agility and reach that scouts love.”"

2. Mitch Marner – London Knights

Born: May, 5th 1997 From: Markham, ON
Height: 5’11” Weight: 163 lbs
Position: C/RW

Last season we knew Mitch Marner was good, but I’m willing to bet that we didn’t see Marner emerging to score 44 goals and 82 assists in 63 regular season games. He also put up 9 goals and 7 assists in only 7 playoff matches.

Marner will be an elite first line NHLer. He displays tremendous vision an playmaking abilities with the puck. Marner looks up to and admires former London Knight, Patrick Kane, and that is who he compares to most. He still needs to get bigger to be able to physically compete in the NHL, but the way he calmly handles the puck and controls the offensive side of the game will allow him to project as a solid NHL player. Marner is smart, gifted and highly talented, an overall treat to watch.

Brendan Ross of Dobber Sports said this about Marner

"Mitch Marner is a dynamic offensive forward and his innate playmaking skills that routinely features outstanding vision, deft touches and elite hockey sense make him a top prospect. He is a gifted passer who has an extraordinary sense of when to move the puck – an example of his impeccable timing.”"

View image | gettyimages.com

1. Connor McDavid – Erie Otters

Born: January, 13th 1997 From: Newmarket, ON
Height: 6’1” Weight: 194 lbs
Position: C

McDavid put up 44 goals and 76 assists (120 points) in only 47 regular season games. He also put up 49 points (21 goals and 28 assists) in only 19 playoff games. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough for the Erie Otters to defeat the Oshawa Generals, the future Memorial Cup champions.

Connor McDavid is the #1 prospect from the OHL and also the #1 prospect in general. He can do it all. Score, pass, stickhandle and skate at an elite speed. On top of that, McDavid is a two way, team first guy.

I’ve been fortunate to have seen McDavid play in Kingston a couple times since his rookie year. Even as a 15 year old, he showed the makings of a great player.

Craig Button said this about Connor McDavid

"“Has a ‘next generation’ processor and sees the game in a ‘parallel universe.’ Lightning quick in his head, hands and feet and what the minds directs the feet and hands can do. Exceptional ability to recognize both opportunity and danger at the same time and then exploit the opportunity and avoid the danger. Big time competitor albeit a ‘quiet’ one but lethal.”"

So that ends my top 30 prospects from the OHL. Feel free to leave a comment to let me know if you agree or disagree with my rankings.

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