ISS Draft Rankings: Top 5 remains unchanged as Ekblad tightens grip on top ranking

By ISS

Thatcher Demko - Boston College

Photo: Boston College goaltender and 2014 prospect Thatcher Demko has turned in a stellar freshman season between the pipes for the Eagles, a season that he and his teammates hope will end with a national championship (courtesy of Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

As the 2013-14 season progresses, the order at the top of the ISS Hockey 2014 NHL Draft rankings seems to have further solidified. Case in point: the top five prospects in the March rankings is the same order as the top five from the February rankings.

Sitting on top once again is Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad. In the eyes of the scouts at ISS, at least, Ekblad seems to have secured a strong hold on the top ranking as he is now in his third straight month in that lofty position. And the player that he has been dueling with for all of the 2013-14 season, Kootenay Ice center Sam Reinhart, remains in the second slot for the third consecutive month.

Rounding out the top five is Kingston Frontenacs left wing Sam Bennett, Oshawa Generals center Michael Dal Colle, and MODO center William Nylander. All three players held the same rankings in this month's rankings as they did in February.

Re-entering the top 10 in the sixth slot in this month's rankings is Prince Albert Raiders center Leon Draisaitl. Draisaitl had dropped to 11th in the February rankings after holding down the seventh slot in January, but a recent surge that was capped off with a WHL Player of the Week honor this past Monday no doubt helped improve Draisaitl's draft position.

One new entrant to the ISS top 10 is U.S. NTDP forward Alex Tuch. Tuch, a Boston College recruit, climbed five places to the ninth ranking from #14 in the February rankings. The big winger was ranked 23rd by ISS back in October, so he has made a steady climb up the charts the past five months. Cracking the top five might be more difficult for Tuch, but a player with his size and skill set might be tempting for a bottom five club in need of a player with Tuch's qualities.

While there was some minor upward and downward movement in the 11-25 range, the 26-30 area features three names that did not appear among the top 30 in the February rankings. Magnitogorsk center Vladislav Kamenev is ranked 26th in the March rankings after ISS placed him in the 39th slot in February. Two OHL players, Plymouth Whalers right winger Connor Chatham and Kitchener Rangers left winger Ryan MacInnis, slotted in at numbers 28 and 29 respectively this month after sitting outside the top 30 in February.

In goal, it appears that Boston College freshman Thatcher Demko has tightened his grip on the top ranking at that position after turning in a strong first season in NCAA hockey, a season that is not yet over as BC appears to be a strong contender for the national title. As to where Demko actually falls among the top 2014 prospects is hard to gauge since neither ISS nor Central Scouting rank the goaltenders with the skaters, but Demko seems to have the look of a definite first round selection.

The ISS Hockey draft rankings for March of 2014 are presented below.

RankPlayerPositionBirthShotHWTeamLeague

Last Rank

1Aaron EkbladD2/7/96R6.03.5216BarrieOHL1
2Sam ReinhartC11/6/95

R

6.00.75185KootenayWHL2
3Sam BennettLW6/20/96L6.00.25178KingstonOHL3
4Michael Dal ColleC6/20/96L6.01.5179OshawaOHL4
5Willie NylanderF5/1/96R5.11169RogleSweAl5
6Leon DraisaitlC10/27/95R6.01.5204Prince AlbertWHL11
7Brendan PerliniLW4/27/96L6.02.75205NiagaraOHL6
8Jake VirtanenLW8/17/96R6.00.75207CalgaryWHL7
9Alex TuchRW5/10/96R6.03.5213USA Under-18NTDP14
10Haydn FleuryLD7/8/96L6.02.5207Red DeerWHL8
11Josh Ho-SangRW11/22/96R5.11175WindsorOHL9
12Nick RitchieLW12/5/95L6.02.25226PeterboroughOHL10
13Kasperi KapanenRW7/23/96L6.00180KuopioFinE12
14Nikolaj EhlersLW2/13/96L5.11.5162HalifaxQMJHL20
15Jared McCannC5/31/96L6.00.25179S.S. MarieOHL17
16Dylan LarkinLW7/30/96L6.00.75190USA Under-18NTDP23
17Roland McKeownD1/20/96R6.00.75195KingstonOHL15
18Sonny MilanoLW5/12/96L5.11.5183USA Under-18NTDP18
19Nikolay GoldobinRW10/7/95L5.11.75178SarniaOHL13
20Ivan BarbashevC12/14/95L6.00180MonctonQMJHL19
21Robby FabbriC1/22/96L5.10166GuelphOHL27
22Conner BleackleyC/RW2/7/96R6.00.25192Red DeerWHL16
23Adrian KempeC9/13/96L6.01.5187MODOSweE22
24Nikita ScherbakLW12/30/95L6.01175SaskatoonWHL24
25Anton KarlssonLW8/3/96L6.01187MoraSweAl21
26Vladislav KamenevC8/12/96L6.02198MagnitogorskRusJr39
27David PastrnakLW5/25/96R6.00167SodertaljeSweAl29
28Connor ChathamRW10/30/95R6.02222PlymouthOHL41
29Ryan MacInnisLW2/14/96L6.03.25183KitchenerOHL33
30Alex PetersD7/2/96L6.03.25207PlymouthOHL26