By Tom Hunter (@)
It’s September, so you know what that mean – NHL draft talk.
I know, I know, NHL fans aren’t worried about next year’s draft – unless you’ve already decided to jump ship to become a Las Vegas fan – but the start of OHL preseason has me in prospect mode.
We may hear talk as the season goes on that Timothy Liljegren is Erik Karlsson 2.0, and while he is a very good prospect that any team would like to have on their blue line, Nolan Patrick is the best player in the draft and will be the first overall pick next June regardless of who holds the picks.
As elite as Auston Matthews is, had Patrick been born a week earlier, Matthews would be a Winnipeg Jet today and Nolan Patrick would be the one on the cover of every hockey pre-season preview magazine wearing a Leafs jersey.
After the top-2, things get interesting. There are a couple high-end OHL forwards, a couple monstrous defenseman who are good enough that their size shouldn’t even be referenced in a scouting report, and then there is Scott Reedy – the University of Minnesota commit that will spend this season with the USND Team. I’ve only seen him play once or twice, but I have a strong suspicion, Reedy is a guy who you will see fly up draft boards this season.
With that said, here are my top-30 for September. I know there is bound to be some OHL bias as those are the guys I’ve seen a lot and most of the other rankings might be heavily swayed by performances in the international tournaments this past summer.
|1.||Nolan Patrick||C||Brandon (WHL)|
|2.||Timothy Liljegren||D||Rogle BK (SWE)|
|3.||Gabriel Vilardi||C||Windsor (OHL)|
|5.||Owen Tippett||RW||Mississauga (OHL)|
|6.||Callen Foote||D||Kelowna (WHL)|
|7.||Maxime Comtois||F||Victoriaville (QMJHL)|
|8.||Nic Hague||D||Mississauga (OHL)|
|9.||Kailer Yamamoto||F||Spokane (WHL)|
|10.||Kristian Vesalainen||W||Frolunda (SWE)|
|11.||Eeli Tolvanen||LW||Sioux City (USHL)|
|12.||Casey Mittelstadt||F||Green Bay (USHL)|
|13.||Klim Kostin||RW||Balashikha (RUS)|
|14.||Nico Hischier||C||Halifax (QMJHL)|
|15.||Dmitri Samorukov||D||Guelph (OHL)|
|16.||Antoine Morand||C||Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)|
|17.||Urho Vaakanainen||D||Blues (FIN)|
|18.||Jacob Paquette||D||Kingston (OHL)|
|19.||Elias Pettersson||C||Timra IK (SWE)|
|20.||Nikita Popugayev||RW||Moose Jaw (WHL)|
|21.||Austen Keating||F||Ottawa (OHL)|
|22.||Adam Ruzicka||C||Sarnia (OHL)|
|24.||Matthew Strome||LW||Hamilton (OHL)|
|25.||Lias Andersson||F||HV71 (SWE)|
|26.||Michael Rasmussen||C||Tri-City (WHL)|
|27.||Jake Oettinger||G||Boston University|
|28.||Adam Capannelli||F||Moncton (QMJHL)|
|29.||Morgan Frost||C||Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)|
|30.||Juuso Valimaki||D||Tri-City (WHL)|