Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.
Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Sam Bennett of the Kingston Frontenacs has vaulted to the top of the McKeen’s March rankings for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

Bennett’s game has grown steadily during a breakout sophomore season highlighted by a 25-game consecutive point streak from November to late January, the longest of the OHL season so far (17-29-46).

The Holland Landing, Ontario native sits sixth in league scoring and is now the one to catch in the race for the coveted first-overall pick.

There’s nothing sewn up just yet, however, as Bennett’s lead is certainly a modest one with no clear-cut consensus among the top group of three including Barrie Colts’ blueliner Aaron Ekblad and Kootenay centre Sam Reinhart.

Reinhart has kept pace with his ‘Sam’ counterpart by posting the WHL’s longest consecutive point streak of the season – a 22-game run (18-30-48).

The Kootenay Ice captain and Vancouver native saw his streak come to an end at the start of this month – in a game against Prince Albert and Leon Draisaitl, who trails closely behind Reinhart in the draft rankings in the No. 4 slot.

The German-born Draisaitl has also been scorching hot since disappointing showings at the World Juniors and Top Prospects Game. After going nine straight games without a goal in January, Draisaitl has 17 goals in his past 18 games (17-22-39) and has nudged past Reinhart into fourth among WHL scorers with 99 points.

The top four haven’t pulled away from the pack either. If anything, the gap has been closed by the likes of Danish roadrunner Nikolaj Ehlers of the Halifax Mooseheads.

Like Draisaitl, Ehlers never got the engines ignited at the Top Prospects Game, but has been sensational otherwise in an incredible rookie year.

The native of Aalborg, Denmark is in the midst of an 11-game points streak in which he has scored 17 times including six multi-goal games (17-12-29). Ehlers has climbed up to third overall in QMJHL scoring with 100 points including 47 goals, fifth-most in the league. In fact, after an initial transition period, he has hit the back of the net 39 times in his last 41 games.

Ehlers is shooting to become the highest-drafted Danish-born NHLer in history, the honour currently belonging to Mikkel Boedker of the Phoenix Coyotes who was selected eighth overall in 2008.ehlers, Nik Halifax

The balance of an impressive top 10 are highlighted by a quartet of OHL forwards with Michael Dal Colle of the Oshawa Generals holding down the sixth spot, and followed closely by Jared McCann (Sault Ste Marie), Nick Ritchie (Peterborough), and Brendan Perlini (Niagara).

Haydn Fleury of the Red Deer Rebels fills out the top 10 – sitting in the No. 9 spot – and remains the only other defenceman besides Ekblad to hold down a top-ten place.

Other significant risers in the March rankings include William Nylander, the son of former NHLer Michael Nylander, and Czech-born forward David Pastrnak, playing together for Sodertalje in Sweden’s second division Allsvenskan.

NHL scouts have seen a pair of 17-year-old’s often standing out as the best players on their team – with Nylander flashing dominant form at times – and rebounding from a dreadful start to the season.

Kasperi Kapanen (KalPa), Jakub Vrana (Linkopings), Robby Fabbri (Guelph), and Roland McKeown (Kingston) also made noteworthy gains in the March rankings.

Despite plenty of movement among the top 30 however, it remained a rather exclusive group with the only new entrant being Swiss-born forward Kevin Fiala, playing for HV 71 in the Swedish J20 League, who makes his debut at No. 28.

 

RANK LAST PLAYER POS TEAM HT/WT DOB
1 3 Sam Bennett C Kingston (OHL) 6-0/180 20-Jun-96
2 2 Aaron Ekblad D Barrie (OHL) 6-3/215 7-Feb-96
3 1 Sam Reinhart C Kootenay (WHL) 6-1/185 6-Nov-95
4 5 Leon Draisaitl C Prince Albert (WHL) 6-2/210 27-Oct-95
5 8 Nikolaj Ehlers LW Halifax (QMJHL) 5-11/165 13-Feb-96
6 4 Michael Dal Colle LW Oshawa (OHL) 6-2/180 20-Jun-96
7 7 Jared McCann C Sault Ste Marie (OHL) 6-0/180 31-May-96
8 6 Nick Ritchie LW Peterborough (OHL) 6-2/230 5-Dec-95
9 10 Haydn Fleury D Red Deer (WHL) 6-2/200 8-Jul-96
10 9 Brendan Perlini LW Niagara (OHL) 6-2/205 27-Apr-96
11 11 Jake Virtanen RW Calgary (WHL) 6-1/205 17-Aug-96
12 16 William Nylander C Sodertalje (Swe) 5-11/175 1-May-96
13 12 Julius Honka D Swift Current (WHL) 5-10/180 3-Dec-95
14 22 David Pastrnak RW Sodertalje (Swe) 6-0/170 25-May-96
15 25 Kasperi Kapanen RW KalPa (Fin) 6-0/180 23-Jul-96
16 13 Ivan Barbashev C Moncton (QMJHL) 6-1/185 14-Dec-95
17 23 Jakub Vrana RW Linkopings (Swe) 5-11/185 28-Feb-96
18 14 Adrian Kempe LW MoDo (Swe) 6-1/185 13-Sep-96
19 21 Alex Tuch RW NTDP (USA) 6-3/215 10-May-96
20 18 Joshua Ho-Sang C Windsor (OHL) 5-11/165 22-Jan-96
21 17 Dylan Larkin C NTDP (USA) 6-1/190 30-Jul-96
22 15 Nick Schmaltz C Green Bay (USHL) 5-11/175 23-Feb-96
23 28 Robert Fabbri C Guelph (OHL) 5-10/170 22-Jan-96
24 30 Roland McKeown D Kingston (OHL) 6-1/195 20-Jan-96
25 19 Sonny Milano LW NTDP (USA) 5-11/185 12-May-96
26 24 Nikolai Goldobin RW Sarnia (OHL) 5-11/180 7-Oct-95
27 27 Jack Glover D NTDP (USA) 6-3/195 17-May-96
28 NR Kevin Fiala LW HV 71 (Swe) 5-10/185 22-Jul-96
29 29 Jack Dougherty D NTDP (USA) 6-1/185 25-May-96
30 20 Anton Karlsson LW Frolunda (Swe) 6-1/190 3-Aug-96
Share →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>