2015 NHL Draft: Otters’ McDavid remains the top prospect in ISS Hockey rankings

Connor McDavid - Erie Otters

Photo: Erie Otters forward and 2015 prospect Connor McDavid has played as advertised so far in the 2014-15 season, generating offense at a rate of three points per game (courtesy of Aaron Bel/OHL Images)


The competition to become the top selection at the 2015 NHL Draft is almost assuredly a two-horse race between Erie Otters forward Connor McDavid and Boston University forward Jack Eichel. But one of those thoroughbreds already appears to be separating from his main challenger at this early stage of the 2014-15 season.

McDavid has started the season on an offensive tear, racking up 42 points (14G, 28A) in 14 games, a scoring pace of three points per game. He along with teammate and fellow 2015 prospect Dylan Strome have led the Otters to a 13-0-0-1 record and a tie at the top of the OHL with the Oshawa Generals. The top independent scouting organization, ISS Hockey, has taken notice of both McDavid and Strome’s strong start, ranking McDavid first and Strome fifth in their November rankings for the 2015 draft. McDavid was ranked first in the October rankings, as well, but Strome has moved up from the ninth position into the top five.

This isn’t to say that McDavid’s main challenger for first overall hasn’t played well as Eichel has been as good as advertised to start the 2014-15 season. Eichel is among the scoring leaders in the NCAA to start the season and was just named the Hockey East Player of the Month for October, which comes on the heels of his having been named the Player of the Game at the 2014 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game back in late September. ISS has again ranked Eichel second in their monthly rankings.

Both the third and fourth positions in this month’s top 30 are held by the same players that held those slots in October. Boston College defenseman Noah Hanifin is ranked third overall by ISS while Seattle Thunderbirds forward Mathew Barzal is ranked fourth. Hanifin has posted two assists in two games while Barzal leads his team in scoring with 17 points (7G, 10A) in 15 WHL contests.

As mentioned above, the Otters’ Strome rounds out this month’s ISS top five. He is second in scoring in the OHL behind McDavid with 33 points (12G, 21A) in 14 games.

The remainder of the ISS top 10 has shown some change from the October rankings, with three new names appearing among the top prospects.

University of Michigan defenseman Zach Werenski moved up from the 11th slot last month to the sixth position in this month’s rankings. The Wolverines have struggled out of the gate with a 2-5-0 record, but Werenski has shown well despite the team’s slow start. He has posted two goals and four assists in seven games to date despite being just 17 years of age.

The next two players in ISS Hockey’s top 10, Farjestad defenseman Oliver Kylington and Sarnia Sting forward Pavel Zacha, both appeared in last month’s top 10. Kylington dropped from fifth to seventh on this list while Zacha moved up to the eighth slot after being ranked 10th last month. Kylington is a 17-year-old competing in the SHL, Sweden‘s top hockey league. He has put up five points (2G, 3A) in 17 games this season. Czech Republic native Zacha is second in rookie scoring in the OHL with 13 points (7G, 6A) in 15 games.

Rounding out the November top 10 are two risers, OHL forwards Lawson Crouse of the Kingston Frontenacs and the Ottawa 67’s Travis Konecny. Krouse was ranked 14th in last month’s rankings, while Konecny was ranked 12th.

There was some minor movement among the remainder of the top 30, but nothing overly significant. The biggest risers among those players on last month’s ISS list were Werenski and Crouse, who each moved up five places, while U.S. NTDP forward Colin White had the biggest drop, going from seventh to 16th.

Newcomers to the list include Sarnia Sting forward Nikita Korostelev (24), U.S. NTDP forward Christian Fischer (29), and Waterloo Black Hawks forward Brock Boeser (30)

Among the goaltenders ISS hockey again ranks Czech netminder Daniel Vladar as the top goaltending prospect. Sitting in second is Callum Booth, who plays for the Quebec Remparts in the QMJHL.

Below is the November ranking of the top 30 prospects for the 2015 NHL Draft according to ISS Hockey.

Rank PlayerPositionBirthShot HeightWeight Team League
 1Connor McDavid Center 1/13/1997 L 6.00 185 Erie OHL
 2Jack Eichel Center 10/28/1996 R 6.02 193 Boston Univ. HE
 3Noah Hanifin Left Defenseman 1/25/1997 L 6.03 185 Boston Coll. HE
 4Mathew Barzal Center 5/26/1997 R 5.11.25 175 Seattle WHL
 5Dylan Strome Center 3/7/1997 L 6.03 187 Erie OHL
 6Zack Werenski Right Defenseman
 7/19/1997 L 6.02 214 Michigan
 Big Ten
 7Oliver Kylington Right Defenseman 5/19/1997 L 6.00 180 Farjestad SHL
 8Pavel Zacha Center 4/6/1997 L 6.02.75 200 Sarnia OHL
 9Lawson Crouse Left Wing 6/23/1997 L 6.04 211 Kingston OHL
 10Travis Konecny Center 3/11/1997 R 5.09.75 173 Ottawa OHL
 11Kyle Connor Center 12/9/1996 L 6.01 170 Youngstown USHL
 12Mikko Rantanen
 Right Wing
 10/29/1996 L 6.04 195 TPS Turku
 13Mitchell Marner Center 5/5/1997 R 5.11 155 London OHL
 14Jordan Greenway Left Wing 2/16/1997 L 6.04 189 US Under-18
 15Paul Bittner Left Wing 11/4/1996 L 6.04 206 Portland WHL
 16Colin White
 right Wing
 1/30/1997 R 6.00 183 US Under-18
 17Jeremy Bracco Right Wing 3/17/1997 R 5.09 154 US Under-18 NTDP
 18Daniel Sprong
 Right Wing 3/17/1997 R 6.00 189 Charlottetown QMJHL
 19Evgeny Svechnikov Right Wing 10/31/1996 L 6.02 199 Cape Breton QMJHL
 20Ivan Provorov Left Defenseman 1/13/1997 L 6.00 191 Brandon WHL
 21Gabriel Carlsson Left Defenseman 1/2/1997 L 6.04 183 Linkoping SweJE
 22Matthew Spencer Right Defenseman 3/24/1997 R 6.01.5 200 Peterborough OHL
 23Nicolas RoyCenter 2/5/1997 R 6.04 199 Chicoutimi QMJHL
 24Nikita Korostelev
 Right Wing 2/8/1997 R 6.01.25 195 Sarnia OHL
 25Jansen HarkinsCenter/Left Wing 5/23/1997 L 6.00.75 177Prince George WHL
 26Ryan Gropp Left Wing 9/16/1996 L 6.02 184Seattle
 27Jeremy Roy Right Defenseman 5/14/1997 R 5.11.75 189 Sherbrooke QMJHL
 28Graham Knott
 Left Wing 1/13/1997 L 6.03.5192 Niagara OHL
 29Christian Fischer Center 4/15/1997 R 6.01 212 USA Under-18 NTDP
 30Brock Boeser
 Center 2/25/1997 R 6.00.5 192 Waterloo USHL

Ken McKenna contributed to this article

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