1. D Aaron Ekblad
He was just the second player — and first blueliner — to be granted ‘exceptional player’ status by the OHL. The 6-4, 213-pound defenceman had 10 goals and 29 points in 63 games with the Barrie Colts and was named the 2012 OHL rookie of the year.
2. C Sam Reinhart
The 6-0, 182-pound centre put up 62 points in 67 games in 2011/12 with the Ice and was named WHL rookie of the year. He upped those totals to 35 goals and 85 points in 72 games last season and seems certain to hit triple digits in his third campaign.
3. RW Anton Karlsson
The younger brother of Ottawa Senators star D-man Erik Karlsson, Anton is set to make a name for himself. The smooth-skating 6-0, 170-pounder had four points in five games at the U-18 world championship.
4. F Willie Nylander
Another youngster looking to follow in his father’s footsteps, Nylander has the potential to put up bigger numbers than pops. Michael had 209 goals in 920 games with seven NHL teams. His son has all the tools to excel.
5. LW Jake Virtanen
He scored 16 goals and 34 points during his freshman campaign, the best production by a 16-year-old Calgary Hitmen in at least 15 years. But Virtanen’s game is more than just flashy numbers. The 6-0, 190-pounder is developing into the kind of power forward scouts will covet in a year’s time.
6. F Michael Dal Colle
A finalist for OHL rookie of the year honours, Dal Colle possesses slick playmaking skills. While he makes his linemates look good, he’s also got a rocket of a shot and could fill the net if he shoots more.
7. RW Oskar Lindblom
One of very few underagers on the Swedish team, Lindblom scored twice and added a pair of assists at the U-18 world championship in April. He uses his size and strength to protect the puck.
8. C Jared McCann
The lanky pivot showed poise under pressure during his freshman campaign with the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. McCann posted 16 points over his final nine games as the ’Hounds geared up for the playoffs.
9. LW Blake Clarke
The 6-1, 190-pounder is an American playing for the OHL’s Brampton Battalion. He had 51 points in 68 games during his rookie campaign and is solid at both ends of the rink.
10. RW Kaspar Kapanen
The Finnish star’s poise with the puck is beyond his years. Kapanen played with his father Sami, who played a dozen seasons with three NHL clubs, in a SM-liiga game this season.
11. LW Sonny Milano
The talented American isn’t the biggest guy in the game, but his talent is huge. His quickness and puck skills are similar to fellow U.S. standout Johnny Gaudreau, a star at the last world juniors.
12. LW Nicholas Ritchie
The Peterborough Petes winger may be the most physically mature player in the draft, especially among forwards. Ritchie is already 6-2 and nearly 220-pounds and plays with a physical edge.
13. C Leon Draisaitl
The 6-0, 200-pounder has the potential to be the finest hockey player Germany has ever produced. Draisaitl was a consistent offensive threat in his first season with the Prince Albert Raiders, putting up 58 points in 64 games.
14. RW Jakub Vrana
The highest-ranked Czech prospect, Vrana was named one of the top three players on his team at the U-18 world championship and was the youngest player at the world junior tourney in Russia. His superior speed and vision make him an attractive prospect.
15. D Brycen Martin
The solid Swift Current Broncos defenceman played regular minutes during his rookie campaign in the WHL. He also saw significant time on both special teams.Back to Top
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2) Summer is coming to a close, and that’s great news for WHL fans
3) Former pro lacrosse player Matt Carroll getting set for first season as Panthers bench boss
4) Offseason moves pave way for intriguing OHL season
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