ISS Draft Rankings: Reinhart, Ekblad tighten hold on top slots

By ISS

Sam Reinhart - Kootenay Ice

Photo: Kootenay Ice captain and 2014 prospect Sam Reinhart will likely enter the 2014 NHL Draft as the top-ranked prospect according to ISS Hockey (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

The calendar has flipped over to May, but the top 10 in the ISS Hockey ranking of the 2014 NHL Draft prospects looks an awful lot like the top of the order in April's rankings.

Leading the way once again is Kootenay Ice center Sam Reinhart. The Ice's season has ended, but not from a lack of effort on Reinhart's part. The Vancouver native scored six goals and added 17 assists for 23 points in 13 postseason games, numbers certainly befitting a top-ranked prospect.

Holding down the second position for the second consecutive month is Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad. As was the case with Reinhart, Ekblad's season ended in the second round of the playoffs where the all-purpose defender notched two goals and four assists in nine games. The Belle River, ON native is the second-ranked North American skater by the NHL's Central Scouting Services (CSS), one place in front of Reinhart but behind Kingston Frontenacs' left wing Sam Bennett.

Sitting at third overall for the second straight month is Oshawa Generals left winger Michael Dal Colle. Dal Colle is another 2014 prospect that turned in a strong showing in the postseason, where he posted eight goals and 12 assists in 12 OHL playoff games. Dal Colle is ranked fifth among North American skaters by CSS.

As they did in April, holding down the fourth and fifth slots in the ISS rankings are Sam Bennett and MODO center William Nylander. Bennett's season ended after the Frontenacs squandered a 3-0 series lead over the Peterborough Petes on their way to dropping the series, 4-3. Despite his team's collapse, Bennett produced in the series, netting five goals and adding four assists in the seven games. Meanwhile, Nylander made the 2014 U18 World Championship his personal proving ground as he led the tournament in scoring with six goals and 10 assists in seven games.

The remainder of the ISS top 10 looks exactly the same as last month's 6-10 grouping, the exception being the inclusion of Guelph Storm center Robby Fabbri. Fabbri replaces U.S. NTDP forward Alex Tuch in the eighth slot, with Tuch falling back to #14. Fabbri is another top 10 prospect who has turned in a stellar postseason showing, as he and his Storm teammates are now preparing for a run at the Memorial Cup. The Mississauga, ON native was third in scoring in the OHL playoffs, netting 13 goals and tacking on 15 assists for 28 points in 16 games.

There was mostly minor movement up or down, or no movement at all, among the remaining 20 players in the ISS top 30. One player benefiting from a strong showing at the U18 tournament was Swiss-born forward Kevin Fiala. Fiala, who played in Sweden for HV71, was the scoring star for Switzerland at the U18, scoring four goals and chipping in five assists in five games.

Another player seeing a bump up the ranks after a good U18 showing, and also making his debut in the ISS top 30, is Calgary Hitmen defenseman Travis Sanheim. The Brandon, MB native was named one of Canada's best players after posting six assists in seven games for the bronze medalists.

Sanheim was the only new entrant in this month's ISS top 30, with the other 29 players having appeared in last month's top 30 rankings.

As he has for much of the 2013-14 season, leading the goaltender rankings is Boston College freshman Thatcher Demko. Demko was unable to lead the Eagles to a national championship, but still turned in a strong showing in his first season of NCAA hockey. The goaltenders in the second and third slots of the ISS rankings, Mason McDonald of the Charlottetown Islanders and Alex Nedeljkovic of the Plymouth Whalers, swapped places from April to May.

ISS Hockey will publish their 2014 NHL Draft Guide on May 30th, in advance of this year's draft which takes place on June 27th and 28th at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. The draft guide will include detailed information on the top 220 prospects as ranked by ISS Hockey, and can be purchased through this link – http://ISShockey.com/nhldraftguide .

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

Rank Player Position Birth Shot H W Team League

Last Rank

CSS Rank
1 Sam Reinhart C 11/6/95 R 6.00.75 185 Kootenay WHL 1 3NA
2 Aaron Ekblad RD 2/7/96

R

6.03.5 216 Barrie OHL 2 2NA
3 Michael Dal Colle C 6/20/96 L 6.01.5 179 Oshawa OHL 3 5NA
4 Sam Bennett LW 6/20/96 L 6.00.25 178 Kingston OHL 4 1NA
5 Willie Nylander F 5/1/96 R 5.11 169 Rogle SweAl 5 2EU
6 Leon Draisaitl C 10/27/95 L 6.00.5 199 Prince Albert WHL 6 4NA
7 Brendan Perlini LW 4/27/96 L 6.02.75 205 Niagara OHL 7 8NA
8 Robby Fabbri C 1/22/96 L 5.10.25 170 Guelph OHL 16 21NA
9 Nick Ritchie LW 12/5/95 L 6.02.25 226 Peterborough OHL 9 7NA
10 Jake Virtanen LW 8/17/96 R 6.00.75 208 Calgary WHL 10 6NA
11 Nikolaj Ehlers LW 2/13/96 L 5.11 162 Halifax QMJHL 11 13NA
12 Haydn Fleury LD 7/8/96 L 6.02.5 207 Red Deer WHL 12 9NA
13 Kasperi Kapanen RW 7/23/96 L 6.00 180 Kuopio FinE 13 1EU
14 Alex Tuch RW 5/10/96 R 6.03.5 213 USA Under-18 NTDP 8 12NA
15 Dylan Larkin LW 7/30/96 L 6.00.75 190 USA Under-18 NTDP 14 17NA
16 Sonny Milano LW 5/12/96 L 5.11.5 183 USA Under-18 NTDP 18 16NA
17 Jared McCann C 5/31/96 L 6.00.25 179 S.S. Marie OHL 15 10NA
18 Josh Ho-Sang RW 1/22/96 R 5.11 175 Windsor OHL 17 22NA
19 Ivan Barbashev C 12/14/95 L 6.00 181 Moncton QMJHL 20 18NA
20 Kevin Fiala LW 7/22/96 L 5.10 180 HV71 SweJE 29 3EU
21 Jakub Vrana RW 2/28/96 L 6.00 187 Linkoping SweE 40 4EU
22 Adrian Kempe C 9/13/96 L 6.01.5 187 Modo SweE 23 6EU
23 Roland McKeown RD 1/20/96 R 6.00.75 195 Kingston OHL 20 27NA
24 Nick Schmaltz RW 2/23/96 R 5.11.5 172 Green Bay USHL 21 19NA
25 Ryan MacInnis LW 2/14/96 L 6.03.5 185 Kitchener OHL 22 20NA
26 Connor Bleackley C/RW 2/7/96 R 6.00.25 192 Red Deer WHL 24 35NA
27 Nikita Scherbak LW 12/30/95 L 6.01 175 Saskatoon WHL 25 15NA
28 Nikolai Goldobin RW 10/7/95 L 5.11.5 178 Sarnia OHL 26 24NA
29 Vladislav Kamenev C 8/12/96 L 6.02 185 Magnitogorsk Stalnye Lisy RusJr 29 13EU
30 Travis Sanheim LD 3/29/96 L 6.03 181 Calgary WHL 39 53NA