In our continuing look at the draft eligible prospect for 2015, Mitchell Marner is making things happen in a big way for the London Knights. As an Oilers fan you may see ‘5.11, 164 Right Winger’ and balk but there’s a compelling story here. If anyone can dislodge big defender Noah Hanifin from the No. 3 overall slot it might be the whiz kid from Thornhill, Ontario.
Just another day for Mitch Marner, 3 more points after 2 periods, leads OHL in scoring by decent margin. Last 17 YO to do that was Seguin.
— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) January 11, 2015
The video above is compelling for sure but Oilers fans have seen prospects like Rob Schremp and Sam Gagner show their junior puck wizardry without being able to become complete NHLers. What makes Marner (possibly) different?
Brock Otten, OHL Prospects in ranking Marner No. 2 in the OHL for the 2015 draft: Really rising in my eyes. His play with London has been absolutely
exceptional the last few months. Such a high energy player who can
affect the game in a variety of ways. In puck pursuit, he’s quite
relentless and he forces a lot of turnovers on the forecheck. But he’s
got the vision and hockey sense to find teammates, while playing at a
high tempo. He makes such quick decisions and rarely turns the puck over
in the offensive end. His skill level is also incredibly high and I
think he’s the perfect type of player for today’s run and gun NHL. With
his tenacity, and as he continues to add strength, I don’t see his
average size being an issue. Source
ISS Hockey has Lawson Crouse 3rd in their rankings this month. They have Mitch Marner 9th. I would respectfully disagree. #2015NHLDraft
— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) January 10, 2015
The Gabriel Desjardins projection model has proven valuable over the years, as it’s a very cool ‘line in the sand’ for projecting players. It is NOT a guarantee but I’ve found (since about 2007) the equivalency gives us a solid guideline. Here are the current NHLE’s for the top forwards on my list this season. Source
- Connor McDavid 82gp, 22-44-66
- Jack Eichel 82gp, 82gp, 19-39-58
- Mitchell Marner 82gp, 20-30-50
These are all terrific prospects (the number one NHLE delivered by an Oilers No. 1 overall pick? Taylor Hall 82gp, 19-27-46).
Marner is definitely third best in this group, but I think you’ll agree it’s a helluva group. I can see Oilers fans discounting this player—small skilled OHL forward whose resume sounds like Sam Gagner—but there are important differences in Marner as a player.
For one, foot speed.
Christopher Ralph, NHL Writers: He kind of reminds me of Kyle Turris of the Ottawa Senators in his draft year – skinny as a beanpole but man can he play hockey. I
think Mitch may have even more offensive upside than Turris. Size is not
going to hold Mitch back due to his speed, vision, creativity,
defensive ability and all-around offensive skills. He is simply an elite
hockey player, something of a hybrid of Jonathan Drouin and Nikolaj Ehlers. Source
That’s far more dynamic than Sam Gagner.