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.


  • Spydyr

    If we’re picking third Marner is definitely who I’d take. The Oilers have some center depth organizationally. Nuge, Draisaitl, Yakimov, Chase and Roy although I think these two will end up on the wings.

    But with questions about Nail and Perron gone we actually aren’t all that loaded on the wings.

    We have a lot of size coming up the pipe, and size doesn’t automatically trump. How many of us would like Reider to still be part of our organization?

    Marner is going to be lights out good.

  • Spydyr

    The only name I care about after McDavid, Eichel and Hanifin is Pavel Zacha.

    He’s 6’3″ 210 lbs at 17. He is Czech, but is playing this year for Sarnia. He played last year in the Czech pro league with Petr Nedved. Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards said:

    “He’s got high-end skill and is an excellent competitor; he plays an excellent two-way game, In the game I saw him play he broke up a few rushes in his own end and transitioned up the ice really well. He’s physical and solid on his skates and can separate guys from the puck.”

    Zacha has 9 goals and 20 points in 24 games so far. I will keep track of him through the rest of the year. I would hope the Oilers will as well.

  • bwar

    I really think this draft will get interesting after the first 2 picks. I don’t think anyone has impressed enough to be a clear #3 in the draft yet. A guy like Marner could go as high as #3 but could also fall much closer to #10. Should be entertaining at least.