ISS Draft Rankings: Ekblad, Reinhart still 1-2 in the 2014 draft rankings

By ISS

Aaron Ekblad - Barrie Colts

Photo: Barrie Colts defenseman and 2014 prospect Aaron Ekblad is scoring at a point-per-game pace so far in the 2013-14 season, posting 19 goals and 24 assists in 43 games (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

ISS Hockey has released their February rankings for the 2014 NHL Draft, with the upper portion of those rankings looking very familiar.

The top six prospects from last month's rankings are the same six players holding down those slots in this month's list. And in fact, the players are ranked exactly as they were in January, so the ISS view of the draft's top prospects seems to be more settled as the 2013-14 regular season heads towards its conclusion.

Leading the pack is Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad, his second consecutive month being ranked as the top prospect after spending the previous four months as the second-ranked prospect. Ekblad is performing at the level that was expected of him when he was granted exceptional player status in 2011, and he may well step directly into NHL duty in 2014-15.

Ekblad has switched places with Kootenary Ice center Sam Reinhart, the player that held down the top spot in the four months that Ekblad placed second. Reinhart just turned in a strong showing this past week, posting 11 points in three games and earning both WHL and CHL Player of the Week honors. So, while Ekblad seems to be solidifying his hold on #1, Reinhart is still very much in the running to have his name called first at this year's draft.

Rounding out the top five prospects in this month's rankings are Kingston Frontenacs left wing Sam Bennett, Oshawa Generals forward Michael Dal Colle, and center Willie Nylander of Sodertalje in Sweden's Allsvenskan.

The other top prospect holding the same position as he did in last month's ISS rankings is Niagara IceDogs left wing Brendan Perlini, who holds down the sixth slot for a second consecutive month.

Making his first appearance in the ISS top 10 is Windsor Spitfires right wing Josh Ho-Sang, who made an impressive jump from #19 in January to #9 this month. Another player making a big jump this month is Nikolay Goldobin of the Sarnia Sting. Goldobin turned in a strong performance at the 2014 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, which in part helped the Moscow, Russia native climb from #25 in January up to #13 this month.

Taking a noticable plunge in this month's rankings is Mora left wing Anton Karlsson, who dropped from the tenth position in January to #21 in this month's rankings.

Entering the ISS Hockey top 30 for the first time this season are left wing Nikita Scherbak of the Saskatoon Blades, who climbed from #45 last month to #24 in February, and Plymouth Whalers defenseman Alex Peters, who moved up from #48 to #26.

Boston College freshman Thatcher Demko remained the top-ranked goaltender according to ISS, with the Plymouth Whalers' Alex Nedeljkovic moving up one slot to #2, and Niagara IceDogs netminder Brent Moran rising to the third position.

Below is the ISS Hockey February ranking of the the top 30 prospects for the 2014 NHL Draft.

Rank Player Position Birth Shot H W Team League

Last Rank

1 Aaron Ekblad D 2/7/96 R 6.03.5 216 Barrie OHL 1
2 Sam Reinhart C 11/6/95

R

6.00.75 185 Kootenay WHL 2
3 Sam Bennett LW 6/20/96 L 6.00.25 178 Kingston OHL 3
4 Michael Dal Colle C 6/20/96 L 6.01.5 179 Oshawa OHL 4
5 Willie Nylander F 5/1/96 R 5.11 169 Rogle SweAl 5
6 Brendan Perlini LW 4/27/96 L 6.02.5 205 Niagara OHL 6
7 Jake Virtanen LW 8/17/96 R 6.00.75 208 Calgary WHL 9
8 Haydn Fleury LD 7/8/96 L 6.02.5 207 Red Deer WHL 8
9 Josh Ho-Sang RW 1/22/96 R 5.11 175 Windsor OHL 19
10 Nick Ritchie LW 12/5/95 L 6.02.25 218 Peterborough OHL 13
11 Leon Draisaitl C 10/27/95 R 6.01.5 204 Prince Albert WHL 7
12 Kasperi Kapanen RW 7/23/96 L 6.00 180 Kuopio FinE 12
13 Nikolay Goldobin RW 10/7/95 L 5.11.75 178 Sarnia OHL 25
14 Alex Tuch RW 5/10/96 R 6.03.5 213 USA Under-18 NTDP 16
15 Roland McKeown D 1/20/96 R 6.00.75 195 Kingston OHL 11
16 Conner Bleackley C/RW 2/7/96 R 6.00.25 192 Red Deer WHL 14
17 Jared McCann C 5/31/96 L 6.00.25 179 S.S. Marie OHL 15
18 Sonny Milano LW 5/12/96 L 5.11.5 183 USA Under-18 NTDP 17
19 Ivan Barbashev C 12/14/95 L 6.00 180 Moncton QMJHL 18
20 Nikolaj Ehlers LW 2/13/96 L 5.11.5 162 Halifax QMJHL 25
21 Anton Karlsson LW 8/3/96 L 6.01 187 Mora SweAl 10
22 Adrian Kempe C 9/13/96 L 6.01.5 187 Modo SweE 21
23 Dylan Larkin LW 7/30/96 L 6.00.75 190 USA Under-18 NTDP 22
24 Nikita Scherbak LW 12/30/95 L 6.01 175 Saskatoon WHL 45
25 Anthony Deangelo RD 10/24/95 R 5.10.5 175 Sarnia OHL 23
26 Alex Peters D 7/2/96 L 6.03.25 207 Plymouth OHL 48
27 Robby Fabbri C 1/22/96 L 5.10 166 Guelph OHL 24
28 Oskar Lindblom RW 8/15/96 L 6.01.25 191 Brynas SweJE 26
29 David Pastrnak LW 5/25/96 R 6.00 167 Sodertalje SweAl 31
30 Jack Dougherty RD 5/25/96 R 6.01 186 USA Under-18 NTDP 35

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