The OHL regular season is winding down. That means that NHL Draft prospects only have a few more weeks to strut their stuff. Some may get lucky and get the chance to play into late April or even May, and others can represent their country at the Under 18s.
Up and down the rankings, some have made the most of their seasons. Evan Bouchard has consistently topped the list with an outstanding campaign for the London Knights. Andrei Svechnikov has come back from a November injury and hasn’t missed a beat the past few months. Aidan Dudas and Nathan Dunkley have also been pleasant, consistent surprises.
So with just a handful of games left on the OHL schedule, how have things shaken out in the Power Rankings? Well, to those paying attention, the name at the top isn’t a surprise.
OHL Prospect Power Rankings for the 2018 NHL Draft: February
1. Evan Bouchard, London Knights – TI Score: 106.5
January Rank: 1st, 84.5 points
Evan Bouchard continues to, unsurprisingly, hold on to the top spot. Outside of a slow-start in October when number one belonged to Svechnikov, Bouchard has been number one. It goes beyond just dominating draft eligibles too. Last week it was announced that Bouchard had been named the OHL’s Top Defenceman for the third time this season. The last player to win the award three times was Dougie Hamilton, who did it in 2011/12. Bouchard had three points in the first game of February, went scoreless for two, and recorded a point in each of the eight remaining games. He’s logging big minutes in London, and rightfully so.
2. Akil Thomas, Niagara IceDogs – TI Score: 87
January Rank: 2nd, 73.5 points
Akil Thomas also holds on to his spot from last month, after four-straight months in fourth place. Thomas scored six goals in February, adding six assists in 12 games. The IceDogs have struggled down the stretch, going 2-5-3 in their last ten, and won just twice in February (12 games). Thomas will likely end up doubling last year’s assist total (he has 51 to last year’s 27) and is one goal shy of tying his rookie total (21-20).
Akil Thomas (2018 Draft-Eligible, ISS #21) pic.twitter.com/kilQZtQ6KW
— Ian Fleming (@imfleming16) March 1, 2018
3. Andrei Svechnikov, Barrie Colts – TI Score: 79
January Rank: 7th, 53.5 points
The race for first would have been very interesting if Svechnikov had stayed healthy. Producing at a 1.55 point-per-game clip, a full 68 games for Svechnikov would have been dominant. Leaving to join Russia mid-month for the U-18 Five Nations Tournament, he put up eight points in three games. In just nine OHL games, he scored eight goals and added nine assists. There isn’t much that’s unknown about Svechnikov at this point. We’re just waiting to find out which team gets to call his name come draft time.
About to head to the rink for the final day of the U18 Five Nations Tournament. Russia, Finland and USA all still have a shot at the title in the round-robin format. RUS-SWE, USA-FIN are last 2 games. Andrei Svechnikov currently leads the tournament with 8 points. #NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/1Y9NnJkcHf
— Chris Peters (@chrismpeters) February 17, 2018
4. Barrett Hayton, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – TI Score: 77.5
January Rank: 5th, 60 points
Ho-hum, the Barrett Hayton and the Greyhounds just keep chugging along. The fact that Hayton is seventh in scoring on a team THAT deep tells you something. Hayton had a five-game point streak bridge the end of January and the beginning of February (six points). After a scoreless breather, he mixed in another six points over four games. If you’re looking for early candidates to lead the league in scoring next year, Hayton may be a pretty good bet.
Surprise, surprise. Andrei Svechnikov still leads the way on the Midseason media/scout Top 10 for 2018. Evan Bouchard & Barrett Hayton round out the top 3. https://t.co/ohrOsyWus3
— OHL Prospects (@BrockOtten) February 21, 2018
5. Aidan Dudas, Owen Sound Attack – TI Score: 72.5
January Rank: 6th, 57.5 points
Another player who doesn’t seem to get the level of love he deserves is Dudas. Dudas has been around the rankings all season. He just snuck in during October, was seventh for two months, moved up a spot in January, and now sits fifth. He’s second among draft eligibles in goals and is one of ten with 30 or more assists. He’s hit a little bit of a cold spell (one point in eight games) but had a great start to February. He recorded a point in six-straight, which included a five-point game against Peterborough.
6. Ryan McLeod, Mississauga Steelheads – TI Score: 67.5
January Rank: 4th, 64.5 points
After a solid performance in January, and really all year long, McLeod hit a speed bump in February. In the five games to open the month, he managed just one goal. The eight games after that, he added another goal and three assists. In his rookie year, McLeod put up 20 points. It was 42 the year after that. This year, with seven games to go, McLeod has 59 points, so the standard 20+ point improvement seems attainable.
Coldest ❄️ 2018 NHL Draft Eligible Prospect in February IMO :
1. Ryan Merkley
2. Ryan McLeod
3. Alexis Gravel
4. Yegor Sokolov
5. Anderson MacDonald
— Andy Lehoux (@Andylehoux1) March 2, 2018
7. Allan McShane, Oshawa Generals – TI Score: 67.5
January Rank: 10th, 45.5 points
McShane has had some ups and downs in the rankings. He started off at third, and has settled in at fifth, eighth and tenth since. This month McShane was electric. The Generals second-leading scorer enjoyed an 11-game point streak that spanned January and February. He put up 19 points, closing it off with four multi-point games (seven goals and 12 assists). McShane has been one of the most consistent producers in his time with the Generals, and despite the ups and downs this year looks like he’ll finish close to a point-per game (59 points in 61 games).
8. Ryan Merkley, Guelph Storm – TI Score: 65
January Rank: 3rd, 65.5 points
The biggest fall of the month belonged to Ryan Merkley. Things started off with a league-mandated three-game suspension. They only got worse from there.
Ryan Merkley gets a 3 game suspension for Sunday's slashing major. He won't be back in the lineup @Storm_City until the home game Friday Feb. 16 vs Ottawa
— Larry Mellott (@stormradioguy) February 6, 2018
George Burnett admitted Ryan Merkley was a healthy scratch today: "he understands why and that will stay between Ryan and I."
Said he is still a huge part of the team and the team needs him at the top of his game.
Merkley politely declined to comment.
— Tony Saxon (@SaxonOnTheStorm) February 25, 2018
Merkley ultimately played seven games in February, recording two points. A minus-four rating ended up in the rare half-point decline. How the uber-talented defenceman rebounds from this will go a long way in determining where he gets selected come June. So far so good in March though, as he’s got two assists in three games.
9. Rasmus Sandin, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – TI Score: 64.5
January Rank: 9th, 51.5 points
Another fixture on the rankings since coming to North America, Sandin’s another draft eligible who has had an impact with the league-favourite Greyhounds. His 0.89 points-per-game is ninth-best among defenceman, and best among rookie blueliners. Without Conor Timmins since (essentially) the World Juniors, the Soo has gotten big contributions out of the import. In nine February games alone, he recorded nine points with three multi-point games. With Timmins expected back before the playoffs, the ‘Hounds have one stacked blueline.
NSH traded their 1st (29th overall) to CHI. Although they have a plethora of D prospects it's hard to pass up on Rasmus Sandin in this spot. Skilled puck mover, good in his own zone and in transition.#Preds #Blackhawks
— Dylan Galloway (@dylangalloway_) February 27, 2018
10. Nathan Dunkley, London Knights – TI Score: 64
January Rank: 8th, 52.5
Dunkley was a point-a-game player in Kingston, and he’s just under that pace in London. After two scoreless games to start the month, Dunkley came up with a three-point game. Then he went on a six-game point streak (it reached seven in March) where he came up with seven points to close the month. While they’re still a playoff team, and a top-five team in the West, there are those looking towards next year for the Knights. There could be some interesting names wearing Green and Gold, and with Dunkley and Liam Foudy already in the fold, the Knights could go back to being conference favourites.
TotCat% leaders (Sum of both)
1) Akil Thomas – 129%
2) Travis Mitchell – 125.2%
3) Ty Smith – 124.8%
4) Jacob Semik – 94.8%
5) Riley Sutter – 83.9%
6) Alex Khovanov – 80.8%
7) Chase Wouters – 79.3%
8) Tyler Madden – 78.9%
9) Nathan Dunkley – 74.8%
10) Jackson Leppard – 71.78%
— Will Scouch (@Scouching) February 25, 2018
Missing the Cut
While Ryan Merkley struggled, Cam Hillis had a big month for Guelph. He hasn’t played since February 24th, but he started the month with a two-point game and added four later on against Saginaw. Curtis Douglas is one point off of the team-lead in Windsor and has a better points-per-game average in Windsor (0.84) than he did in Barrie (0.64). He had a pair of multi-point efforts in February. Ty Dellandrea had a seven-game point streak bridge January and February. He started the month with five points in four games and had points in back-to-back games twice. He remains one of Flint’s lone bright spots and is two points off of the team lead.
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