It’s been quite a while since I last released a consolidated industry rankings in this space, and I apologize for that – I’ve been a bit preoccupied setting up a new prospect-driven entity over at NextGen Hockey.
I toyed with the idea of publishing consolidated rankings over there. I would leave them unlocked of course; it didn’t feel right charging money for compiling the work of others. In the end I felt it was best to leave NextGen Hockey with original scouting reports and rankings only, allowing me to continue the trend of consolidated rankings here at CanucskArmy, where I’ve been doing it for the past several years.
This is just the third consolidated rankings published here this season, following December and October, so we’ve got a lot of ground to make up. First off, here’s the list of services used in this month’s big list:
|Service||Sportsnet||The Athletic||ESPN||ISS Hockey||Dobber Prospects||Elite Prospects||Sporting News||McKeen’s Hockey||TSN Craig’s List||Future Considerations||Hockey Prospect||The Hockey News||TSN Industry Poll|
|Author||Sam Cosentino||Scott Wheeler||Chris Peters||Staff||Cam Robinson||J.D. Burke||Steve Kournianos||Ryan Wagman||Craig Button||Staff||Staff||Ryan Kennedy||Bob McKenzie|
|Date||May 8||May 6||May 6||May 1||April 18||April 17||April 14||April 4||March 25||March 5||February 28||February 1||January 24|
Altogether, there are 13 lists considered, and, unsurprisingly, all 13 have released new lists since the last edition in this series (most have released several in that time frame). Four released new lists this month alone, and I suspect that many others will do so between now and the draft, which is just six weeks away at this point.
Just like last time, I’ve linked to the original lists for each provider, so that you can go ahead and peruse the individual lists at your leisure. Fair warning, some of them are partially behind paywalls, and some of them are fully behind paywalls. The groupings are as follows:
|Free||Sportsnet, ISS, Dobber Prospects, TSN Craig’s List, Future Considerations, The Hockey News, Sporting News, TSN Industry Poll|
(e.g. first 31 names are free)
|McKeen’s, Hockey Prospect|
|Full Paywall||The Athletic, ESPN (Insider), Elite Prospects|
The most outdated ranking at this point is the TSN Industry Poll from Bob McKenzie, dating back to late-January. That’s a ways back, but there’s no way am I axing the Bobfather here, so it is what it is.
I think that’s enough preamble, so let’s get into the list itself.
Given that it’s been so long since the last edition, I’m primarily going to focus on the risers and fallers over that large segment of time, rather than just the movement in the last month (I do in fact keep tabs on the rankings each and every month, even though I haven’t been publishing records of them). For the sake of this exercise, I have included on the table above the movement since both last month and since December, the last published super list.
Ville Heinola was a relatively unheralded defenceman until he secured himself a spot on Finlands Under-20 squad for the World Junior Championship. The young defender had already been plying his trade in the professional ranks back home in Finland, and producing at an impressive rate. In fact, his point rate equates to the best SEAL adjusted scoring rate among all defencemen in his draft class.
Few prospects have risen as fast as Bobby Brink this season, as the Sioux City winger has torn apart the USHL. With 68 points in only 43 games, no non-Development Program prospect put up a better scoring rate in the USHL this season. In on nearly half of Sioux City’s goals, Brink trails only Alex Newhook of the BCHL in involvement percentage of team offence. Involvement goes well beyond the stats as well: the feisty winger is abuzz in all three zones, hounding puck carriers, forcing turnovers, effecting transitions and creating scoring chances.
Two Ontario Hockey League risers to take note of: Philip Tomasino and Nicholas Robertson, of the Niagara IceDogs and Peterborough Petes respectively. Both players have played both the middle and the wing this season, both are a little on the small side, and both are absolutely overflowing with skill. Each was a regular on league highlight reels this season, and while they’ve been shooting up the rankings, I honestly think both ought to go even higher than their consolidated ranking here (being 28th for Tomasino and 33rd for Robertson). The profiles for both of these players should appear on NextGen Hockey in the coming days, so you can get a taste of what they’re all about, but to say the least they are a couple of exciting first round wildcards.
The biggest outright jumper on this list Prince Albert’s Brett Leason, war general behind the destruction of the WHL this season. Leason cooled off to a certain extent over the course of the season, ending up with a more reasonable production line for a draft-plus-two forward. That likely means that while he’s still a sure bet to get picked next month, being on the edge of the first round is probably a little rich. If you didn’t catch Leason yet this year, don’t worry: you’ll get another chance this weekend as the Raiders begin their quest for the Memorial Cup in Halifax.
Here are two interesting names to keep an eye out for on draft day: Ryan Suzuki and Raphael Lavoie. These two forwards, Suzuki with the OHL’s Barrie Colts and Lavoie with the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads, have both flirted with top ten status at points in the season, though the now find themselves in the late teens. They were both fully on the radar of scouts early on, have played with top 2018 picks Andrei Svechnikov and Filip Zadina, respectively, last season. Both had impressive seasons from a production standpoint, and Suzuki in particular had an incredibly strong start before cooling off in the latter two-thirds of the campaign. Still, both are well over a point per game.
So why the drop? Suzuki and Lavoie are not necessarily perpetrators of their own backslides, but victims of hot prospects rising past them. The likes of Cole Caufield, Cam York, Alex Newhook, and Victor Soderstrom were each consistently ranked behind Suzuki and Lavoie back in the fall, but have now all but locked up the 10-15 range. This happens every year, and I’d wager that Suzuki and Lavoie are going to be a pair of picks that end up outperforming their draft slot in over the next couple of years.
Anttoni Honka was once considered the top defenceman of the 2019 draft class, back when he was producing at nearly a half-point per game Finland’s top professional league. During his draft campaign, Honka has faced doubters at every turn, routinely left out of the first round on industry lists. He’s one of those high risk-high reward type defenders, equipped with dynamic offensive ability coupled with a pretty raw defensive game. Being undersized, as well a penchant for eye-catching giveaways (that honestly comprise a small portion of his dazzling rushes) have scouts exercising extreme caution. Honka’s drop in the rankings has plenty to do with safer players moving up around him.
While Honka has clung on to a spot in our pseudo-first round, U.S. Development Program defenceman Alex Vlasic hasn’t been so lucky. The 6-foot-6 Illinoisan rearguard peaked in the rankings between October and December (ranked 24th in each month) before down to 36th, which, coincidentally, is roughly where he started the season. Vlasic rode the Program wave that many of the others did, but as many dove deeper, it became evident that, while a steady player, he was not a driver on the squad, and his offensive upside is limited.