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.

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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


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

  1. Connor McDavid 82gp, 22-44-66
  2. Jack Eichel 82gp, 82gp, 19-39-58
  3. 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). 

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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.


  • OilersDynasty

    I wonder why there’s so little talk of Dylan Strome.
    You could say that he’s getting alot of his points due to playing with McDavid.
    False..he plays on a different line.

    You could then say he’s getting secondary opposition..
    Well his Pts/game never suffered while McDavid was gone for about 5 weeks.

    He’s already bigger than his brother (Ryan is about Taylor Halls size)..and seems to have even a higher offensive upside.

  • Wax Man Riley

    Hmmmmm….. I bet he would look great in a fLames jersey playing alongside Johnny Hockey…

    Then hopefully we can watch Nurse and Draisiatl crush those 2 pint-sized danglers in the corners for the next decade or so.

    • Bean-counting cowboy

      You mean like when Johnny played the “big bad Kings” and scored a naturally hat trick to bring the Flames back from 3-0 and win the game?

      Kid is greased lightning – has only took 2 or 3 good hits all season (and I watch most every game)… the most recent from Pavel Datsyuk (takes a shifty player to hit a shifty player)

      I was worried about the exact thing you describe, but it has actually been quite impressive to watch how hard it is for guys to hit him.

      • Bean-counting cowboy

        Andrew Cogliano had a hat trick over Shane Doan’s line in 2012.

        I’m not saying what John did wasn’t meaningful, just that one game in this league isn’t a sign of dominance.

        He has been incredible this year. It’s yet to be seen what he can be over a few seasons.

        • Bean-counting cowboy

          Sure. One game isn’t.. but the kid drives the bus offensively on many a night. It’s quite fun to watch actually.

          Let’s look at this objectively: He’s 3rd in Flames scoring (2nd among forwards); 2nd in rookie scoring behind Forsberg. He’s one of the best in the league at takeaways, has more zone carry-ins than any other Flames player, draws more penalties than any other Flames player, he’s on our top PP unit and is also on the ice at the end of the game in tied, trailing or leading situations (meaning Hartley trusts him), other teams D are keying in on him. He was also just appointed to the skills comp at All-star game. All this while being 5’9 and 150 lbs and a rookie to boot. You have to watch him on a nightly basis to appreciate what he brings.

          He’s won a National championship, World Juniors (leading scorer), Hobey Baker award, one of the leading team scorers at the World Championship this past summer for USA, tied Paul Kariya’s NCAA point streak record and scored more in College Hockey than what the NCAA had seen in years. He just keeps proving people wrong everywhere he goes. Not sure what else it will take for the kid to get a little respect.

          • Bean-counting cowboy

            Some respect? He is fawned over constantly. I think he’s been great.

            I think he needs all that speed to make plays. I think one unlucky fall/dirty hit that damages his knee will sap a bit of that amazing speed. When he is a half step slower he may have lost the edge that allows him to dominate. Then he will be a guy who is too small to be effective in the NHL and his career will fizzle.

            I wish no harm on him. He has earned everything he has. That being said, I don’t think my forecast is unreasonable.

            Enjoy the kid while he’s there.

          • Bean-counting cowboy

            The fawning comes from the fact that from the day he was signed, the Flames gained found money in a 4th round pick. To get a high end offensive contributor there in the draft (as was also TJ Brodie) speeds up the rebuild. You expect the fawning over top picks, but this is pure Gold!

            Any player could be done if they blow a knee – not sure what his size has to do with that. You talk about him slowing down like it is an inevitable certainty. So far he has popped right up from every hit he has taken… I hope that continues.

            Could he fizzle… not impossible. But what if he improves… he’s only 21.

          • toprightcorner

            Obviously you didn’t read what you responded to. Read it over again and it may make more sense.

            I don’t want to get into an optimism vs pessimism debate. Today he is a legitimate NHL player. His production is beyond reasonable criticism. Maybe he is able to maintain his production and have a stellar NHL career. Maybe he regresses due to injury or other circumstance.

            If he were an Oiler I would be loving every second of his play. I would also be trepidatious towards his long-term production.