Ontario-based amateur scouts are getting typer's cramp writing reports on the abundance of high-end prospects toiling in the OHL this fall.
"The OHL is loaded," said one crossover scout who has scouted all three CHL leagues. "Not much in the QMJHL after the top four or five guys, and it's pretty weak out west."
Six of the top ten prospects in McKeen's December rankings hail from the OHL, as well as nine of the top 20, including the second- and third-ranked prospects in Mississauga center Michael McLeod and Sarnia defenceman Jakob Chychrun.
McLeod has wowed scouts with his non-stop engine and all-around play since the first game of the season.
"He just keeps coming at you" noted one scout. "Defencemen have to really back off because of his speed. He brings it every shift... sees the ice well plays well defensively... he's strong, big, physical, smart, has good skill... there are no weaknesses in his game."
McLeod's powerful skating stride has drawn comparison to Nathan MacKinnon and Taylor Hall, while his all-around game elicits thoughts of Jonathan Toews.
"I don't see how you go wrong drafting this guy" said one scout who likes him first overall. "He checks off all of the boxes. He is going to help you win playoff games."
Chychrun is one of the more heralded draft eligible defencemen in recent years, being the first non-exceptional status player ever named to Team Ontario’s U17 program as an underage skater in 2013.
Last year the former first overall pick burst onto the OHL scene with 16 goals in just 42 games on the Sting blueline, and has long been considered one of the top two prospects for the 2016 draft along with Auston Matthews.
"He isn't off to the same start offensively this season," said one scout. "There are some game where you don't see elite offensive upside...but he's still just 17. There's a lot to like."
Matthews heads up a strong American presence in the top 30 (eight of the top 20) despite being seen by few North American scouts so far this season."
"That's one prospect who could rest on his laurels until the world juniors," said one scout who saw plenty of his dominant performance at the U-18 and U-20 level as an underager.
Matthews missed close to a month with a back injury before making his return last week for the Zurich Lions, yet remained top 6 in goals, and first overall in goals per game with ten through 14 games.
"Some say that he would have been in the running for first overall last season if he was two days older" said one scout. "That gives you an idea of his talent level."
|1||Auston Matthews||C||ZSC Zurich (Sui)||6-1/195||17-Sep-97||16-10-6-16|
|2||Michael McLeod||C||Mississauga (OHL)||6-2/190||3-Feb-98||28-10-22-32|
|3||Jakob Chychrun||D||Sarnia (OHL)||6-2/215||31-Mar-98||25-4-12-16|
|4||Patrik Laine||RW||Tappara (Fin)||6-4/210||19-Apr-98||20-8-5-13|
|5||Jesse Puljujarvi||RW||Karpat Oulu (Fin)||6-3/205||7-May-98||27-5-6-11|
|6||Charles McAvoy||D||Boston University (HE)||6-0/205||21-Dec-97||13-1-5-6|
|7||Alexander Nylander||C||Mississauga (OHL)||6-0/180||2-Mar-98||28-17-22-39|
|8||Mikhail Sergachev||D||Windsor (OHL)||6-2/205||25-Jun-98||27-7-9-16|
|9||Matthew Tkachuk||LW||London (OHL)||6-1/195||11-Dec-97||24-12-36-48|
|10||Olli Juolevi||D||London (OHL)||6-2/185||5-May-98||24-3-17-20|
|11||Julien Gauthier||RW||Val d'Or (QMJHL)||6-3/225||15-Oct-97||27-23-8-31|
|12||Pierre-Luc Dubois||LW||Cape Breton (QMJHL)||6-2/200||9-Apr-98||30-19-24-43|
|13||Logan Brown||C||Windsor (OHL)||6-6/225||5-Mar-98||19-5-19-24|
|14||Kieffer Bellows||LW||NTDP (USA)||6-0/195||10-Jun-98||23-18-12-30|
|15||Tyson Jost||C||Penticton (BCHL)||5-11/190||14-Mar-98||28-23-34-57|
|16||Jake Bean||D||Calgary (WHL)||6-0/175||6-Sep-98||26-11-12-23|
|17||Max Jones||LW||London (OHL)||6-3/205||17-Feb-98||20-10-7-17|
|18||German Rubtsov||C||Team Russia U18 (MHL)||6-2/180||27-Jun-98||17-9-11-20|
|19||Alex DeBrincat||RW||Erie (OHL)||5-7/165||18-Dec-97||25-31-21-52|
|20||Libor Hajek||D||Saskatoon (WHL)||6-2/185||4-Feb-98||25-3-11-14|
|21||Sam Steel||C||Regina (WHL)||5-11/180||2-Feb-98||25-7-17-24|
|22||William Bitten||C||Flint (OHL)||5-10/170||10-Jul-98||25-14-21-35|
|23||Tyler Benson||LW||Vancouver (WHL)||6-0/200||15-Mar-98||16-5-6-11|
|24||Dante Fabbro||D||Penticton (BCHL)||6-0/190||20-Jun-98||22-7-30-37|
|25||Tage Thompson||C||Connecticut (HE)||6-5/185||30-Oct-97||13-4-5-9|
|26||Dillon Dube||C||Kelowna (WHL)||5-10/180||20-Jul-98||19-10-14-24|
|27||Kale Clague||D||Brandon (WHL)||6-0/180||5-Jun-98||25-1-7-8|
|28||Luke Kunin||C||Wisconsin (B1G)||6-0/195||4-Dec-97||12-4-5-9|
|29||Rasmus Asplund||C||Farjestads (Swe)||5-11/175||3-Dec-97||23-3-1-4|
|30||Taylor Raddysh||RW||Erie (OHL)||6-2/205||18-Feb-98||26-12-28-40|