While the NHL Draft is still a couple of months away, the advent of April means that it is drafting season in the Canadian Hockey Leagues. The OHL, WHL, and QMJHL will hold their respective entry drafts over the course of the next two months, with the first of those drafts taking place this Saturday, April 6th.
That first draft out of the blocks is the 2013 OHL Priority Selection, which will take place online and can be followed in real-time at the OHL's website.
This year's OHL Draft seemed to have a bit of intrigue added back in March when it was announced that defenseman Sean Day of the Detroit Compuware was granted exceptional player status. History would seem to dictate that a player given that honor would be the presumptive first overall pick in the Priority Selection. Indeed, the previous three players granted that status – John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, and Connor McDavid – all were chosen first overall in the OHL Draft.
But the team holding this year's top pick, the Ottawa 67's, has removed all doubt as to who they'll choose once the draft gets underway on Saturday morning. The 67's have announced that they've decided to select Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs center Travis Konecny with that first pick. The speedy forward has good offensive skills and can play with a bit of a chip on his shoulder despite not having the ideal size to play a physical game.
Regardless, Day is sure to be chosen among the top players in this draft. ISS has Day ranked as the top prospect available for this year's Priority Selection. That scouting organization provides the following scouting report on the talented defender in their OHL Draft Guide:
1. SEAN DAY
Position: Left Defense
Born: Jan 1, 1998
Height: 6’01” Weight: 180
Team: Detroit Compuware
Shot/Scoring: Very Good
Hockey Sense: Very Good
Day is the fourth player to be granted exceptional status for the OHL draft. Sean is a 98-born player who excelled at the minor midget level this season against older players. A potential franchise player on any OHL club roster. His potential and ceiling are absolutely sky high. Effortless skating highlights his skill set….perfect form and posture you would teach any young player. He is strong on his skates with a long powerful, strong stride. He sits down in a powerful position and has elite balance on his skates. Sean is close to be being a better skater backwards than forwards. He has great burst, acceleration, and great pivot points. He has no equal in this draft in overall skating ability but especially lateral burst and recovery. The recent hype and media attention may be a factor in his less than stellar performance in the Michigan Minor Midget state playoffs to end his competitive playing season. His outstanding performance at the OHL combine testing and scrimmages will serve him well in terms of overall value to OHL clubs. He is the best skater in the draft as a 98-born player and one of the best skating prospects in years. He has explosive first two steps in any direction. A strong and smooth stride oozes Paul Coffey. He has high skill level hands and agility to match his skating. An early front runner for the NHL Draft in 2016. Unlimited potential and ceiling.
Weaknesses: Despite the raw tools he has plenty of room for developing his all-around game and decision making. Defense is still the most difficult position to master as you advance levels.
OHL Potential: Outstanding potential to be a franchise cornerstone and #1 defenseman.
In terms of the top players available for this draft, ISS provides this ranking of the top 10 prospects for this Priority Selection:
|1||Sean Day||Defense||1/9/98||6.01||180||Detroit Compuware||HFMin|
|3||Dylan Strome||Center||3/7/97||6.02||170||Toronto Marlboros||GTHLM|
|5||Zack Werenski||Defense||7/19/97||6.02||200||Little Ceasar's||HPMaj|
|6||Lawson Crouse||Left Wing||6/23/97||6.02.5||189||Elgin-Middlesex||AliMin|
|7||Luke Kirwan||Left Wing||9/23/97||6.01.25||216||Islanders||EJHL|
|8||Jordan Greenway||Forward||2/16/97||6.05||205||Shattuck U16||MinnM|
|10||Mitchell Stephens||Center||2/5/97||5.09.75||166||Toronto Marlboros||GTHLM|
ISS will be providing draft guides for all three CHL drafts, as well as one for the CHL Import Draft that will take place in early July. Their OHL Draft Guide features a ranking of the top 50 prospects; a mock draft; information on players available for the CHL Import Draft; and profiles of a number of the OHL draft eligibles, in the same format as the Day profile featured above. If you'd like to purchase the ISS OHL Draft Guide, you can do so by clicking on this link.
Follow ISS Hockey on Twitter via @ISShockey