The race to claim the mantle of first overall selection for the 2015 NHL Draft has officially begun in earnest with the start of the 2014-15 season. The main combatants for that honor, Erie Otters center Connor McDavid and Boston University forward Jack Eichel, have both seen game action within the past week and will be closely scrutinized by NHL scouts from now through April or May.
ISS Hockey, the largest independent scouting organization in North America, has just released their initial rankings for this year’s draft, with the names at the top being no surprise. McDavid, the odds-on favorite to be chosen first overall next June, is the top-ranked prospect in the ISS October rankings. Sitting in the second position is Eichel, who played in last week’s CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game and whose college playing schedule begins this coming weekend.
Rounding out the top three prospects in this first ranking of 2015 is Boston College defenseman Noah Hanifin. Hanifin also competed in last week’s USA prospects affair and will begin his college slate this weekend, as well.
Seattle Thunderbirds center Mathew Barzal sits in the fourth slot in the ISS rankings, while defenseman Oliver Kylington of Farjestad in Sweden comes in at fifth as the top-ranked European skater.
Finnish right winger Mikko Rantanen of TPS Turku is ranked sixth while U.S. NTDP forward Colin White is ranked seventh. A trio of OHL center prospects finishes off this first top 10 with the London Knights’ Mitchell Marner, the Erie Otters’ Dylan Strome, and the Sarnia Sting’s Pavel Zacha rounding out what should be a very strong upper third of the first round draft order.
A pair of NTDP players that impressed at the All-American Prospects Game last week are ranked among the top 30. Big forward Jordan Greenway, who notched a pair of assists for Team Grier last week, is ranked 13th by ISS. Forward Jeremy Bracco, a two-goal scorer for Team Grier, sits at #21 in the October rankings.
Two QMJHL players ranked among the 2015 top 30 also currently sit among the top 20 scorers in that league. Import right winger Evgeny Svechnikov, ranked 17th by ISS Hockey, has posted five goals and nine assists in seven games for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, while Charlottetown Islanders right wing Daniel Sprong, the 19th-ranked prospect according to ISS, has collected four goals and five assists in eight games.
The top goaltenders at this early stage of the season according to ISS Hockey are both competing in Europe. Daniel Vladar, competing for Kladno in the Czech Republic junior league, is the top-ranked netminder, while Russian Ilya Samsonov of the Magnitogorsk juniors is ranked second.
Below is the October edition of the top 30 prospects for the 2015 NHL Draft according to ISS Hockey.
|2||Jack Eichel||Center||10/28/1996||R||6.02||193||Boston Univ.||HE|
|3||Noah Hanifin||Left Defenseman||1/25/1997||L||6.03||185||Boston Coll.||HE|
|5||Oliver Kylington||Right Defenseman||5/19/1997||L||6.00||180||Farjestad||SweJr|
|6||Mikko Rantanen||Right Wing||10/29/1996||L||6.04||195||TPS Turku||FinE|
|7||Colin White||Right Wing||1/30/1997||R||5.11||170||US Under-18||NTDP|
|11||Zack Werenski||Right Defenseman||7/19/1997||L||6.02||214||Michigan||Big Ten|
|13||Jordan Greenway||Left Wing||2/16/1997||L||6.04||189||US Under-18||NTDP|
|14||Lawson Crouse||Left Wing||6/23/1997||L||6.04||211||Kingston||OHL|
|17||Evgeny Svechnikov||Right Wing||10/31/1996||L||6.02||199||Cape Breton||QMJHL|
|18||Paul Bittner||Left Wing||11/4/1996||L||6.04||206||Portland||WHL|
|19||Daniel Sprong||Right Wing||3/17/1997||R||6.00||189||Charlottetown||QMJHL|
|20||Ivan Provorov||Left Defenseman||1/13/1997||L||6.00||191||Brandon||WHL|
|21||Jeremy Bracco||Right Wing||3/17/1997||R||5.09||154||US Under-18||NTDP|
|22||Gabriel Carlsson||Left Defenseman||1/2/1997||L||6.04||183||Linkoping||SweJE|
|23||Jeremy Roy||Right Defenseman||5/14/1997||R||5.11.75||189||Sherbrooke||QMJHL|
|24||Gustaf Franzen||Left Wing||9/22/1996||R||5.11.5||165||Kitchener||OHL|
|25||Matthew Spencer||Right Defenseman||3/24/1997||R||6.01.5||200||Peterborough||OHL|
|26||Jansen Harkins||Center/Left Wing||5/23/1997||L||6.00.75||177||Prince George||WHL|
|27||Jakub Zboril||Left Defenseman||2/21/1997||L||6.00.75||184||Saint John||QMJHL|
|28||Ryan Gropp||Left Wing||9/16/1996||L||6.02||184||Seattle||WHL|
|29||Graham Knott||Left Wing||1/13/1997||L||6.03.5||192||Niagara||OHL|
In addition to providing a top 30 each month, ISS will also be providing Hockey’s Future with a top 10 for the 2016 NHL Draft and a top 5 for the 2017 NHL Draft.
Holding down the top postion among the 2016 hopefuls is Sarnia Sting defenseman, Jakob Chychrun. The 6’2″, 195-pound defender was the first overall selection by the Sting at the 2014 OHL Priority Selection. Chychrun, son of former NHL defenseman Jeff Chychrun, has notched two assists in two OHL games in the early going.
Luke Kirwan, an NTDP forward who has moved over to the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires for the 2014-15 season, is the second-ranked prospect for 2016 according to ISS. Kirwan has picked up an assist in two games to start the season.
Rounding out the top 3 is Finnish forward Jesse Puljujarvi. The 16-year-old, already competing in Finland‘s Liiga, has notched a goal and an assist in three games for Karpat this season.
Below is the top 10 for the 2016 NHL Draft according to ISS.
|Jakob Chychrun||03/31/98||Sarnia (OHL)||LD / L||6.02||195|
|Luke Kirwan||09/23/97||Windsor (OHL)||LW / L||6.01||201|
|Jesse Puljujarvi||05/07/98||Karpat (FinE)||RW / R||6.02||179|
|Max Jones||02/17/98||US Under-17 (NTDP)||LW / L||6.02||190|
|Auston Matthews||09/17/97||US Under-18 (NTDP)||RW / L||6.00||192|
|Sean Day||01/09/98||Mississauga (OHL)||LD / L||6.02||220|
|Adam Mascherin||06/06/98||Kitchener (OHL)||C / L||5.09||197|
|Logan Brown||03/05/98||Windsor (OHL)||C / L||6.04.5||210|
|Tyler Benson||03/15/98||Vancouver (WHL)||LW / L||5..11.5||198|
|Chad Krys||04/10/98||US Under-17 (NTDP)||LD / L||6.02||195|
Leading the pack for the 2017 draft is Nolan Patrick, a center/right wing who competes for the WHL‘s Brandon Wheat Kings. The 6’3″, 192-pound Patrick has picked up three assists in four games to go along with a +3 rating.
Below is the top 5 prospects for the 2017 NHL Draft according to ISS.
|Nolan Patrick||09/19/98||Brandon (WHL)||RW / R||6.01.5||188|
|Max Gildon||05/17/99||Dallas Stars (T1 Min)||LD / L||6.02||174|
|Jordy Bellerive||05/02/99||OHA MPrep White (CSSMP)||C / L||5.09||180|
|Patrick Khodorenko||10/13/98||US Under-17 (NTDP)||C / L||5.11||204|
|Michael Pastujov||08/23/99||Honeybaked (HPMinM) Mich ’16V||RW / L||5.11.5||193|
Follow ISS Hockey on Twitter via @ISShockey