ONTARIO LEAGUE FORWARDS

There’s a chance the Edmonton Oilers choose a player from the OHL at No 4 overall. I looked at three defensemen who offer strong resume’s in the first look at the Ontario league, and now we take a good long look at five forwards who have been mentioned a time or two in discussions about that high draft pick.

FIVE FROM THE OHL

  • L Matthew Tkachuk, London Knights (OHL): Big forward, playmaker.
  • R Alex DeBrincat, Erie Otters (OHL): Small super sniper.
  • R Alexander Nylander, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL): Brilliant scorer, fast hands.
  • C Logan Brown, Windsor Spitfires (OHL): Impressive offensive skills.
  • C Michael McLeod, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL): Playmaking PF, great skater. Gritty.

Tkachuk’s numbers are so impressive the mind boggles. If Edmonton chooses him, I imagine the appeal of having him play alongside Connor McDavid for a decade will have been to strong to resist. DeBrincat and Nylander are undersized skill players—I don’t think either man will be Edmonton’s choice—and are certainly worthy of consideration in the top 15 overall. Logan Brown is getting a lot of play since Craig Button posted his mock draft on Saturday, putting Brown well inside the top 5 overall. Source

Michael McLeod has also been mentioned from time to time, although his offensive ability seems a little shy of the others.

EVEN-STRENGTH POINTS-PER-GAME

  1. L Matthew Tkachuk, London Knights (OHL): 1.10
  2. R Alex DeBrincat, Erie Otters (OHL): 1.06 
  3. R Alexander Nylander, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL): 0.807
  4. C Logan Brown, Windsor Spitfires (OHL): 0.763
  5. C Michael McLeod, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL): 0.737

Connor McDavid (1.60) delivered an outstanding year in 2014-15 at even strength, his teammate Dylan Strome (1.16) also posted a tremendous year. Tkachuk is in the range with Strome of a year ago—this is a terrific number.

Alex DeBrincat is a name I have followed since McDavid’s draft year, and despite a lack of size—he is 5.07, 160—I believe he will go inside the top 20 overall. Brown and McLeod trail here, but are clearly talented offensive prospects based on their even-strength numbers.

POWER PLAY POINTS-PER-GAME

  1. L Matthew Tkachuk, London Knights (OHL): 0.737
  2. R Alex DeBrincat, Erie Otters (OHL): 0.57
  3. C Logan Brown, Windsor Spitfires (OHL): 0.492
  4. R Alexander Nylander, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL): 0.491
  5. C Michael McLeod, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL): 0.263

Tkachuk towers over the others, and McLeod trails the group—although one wonders how much PP time the Mississauga center received this year. A year ago, Strome (.735) posted a season almost identical to Tkachuk this season, and that does offer us some insight into the current level of offensive ability for Tkachuk. McDavid a year ago? .872 power play points-per-game.

SUMMARY

I would give money to find out the TOI totals for these kids, because in my opinion that does skew the results. There is an estimate available via the good people at OHLProspect.com (link below). The even-strength TOI estimates go like this:

  1. R Alex DeBrincat, Erie Otters (OHL): 18:27
  2. C Michael McLeod, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL): 17:18
  3. R Alexander Nylander, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL): 16:54
  4. L Matthew Tkachuk, London Knights (OHL): 15:39
  5. C Logan Brown, Windsor Spitfires (OHL): 15:11

Very surprising to me, Tkachuk’s even-strength time ranks No. 4 on the list. If true (and we have no way to know for certain) then Tkachuk’s even-strength points-per-60 would tower over the rest:

  1. L Matthew Tkachuk, London Knights (OHL): 4.24
  2. R Alex DeBrincat, Erie Otters (OHL): 3.47
  3. R Alexander Nylander, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL): 2.86
  4. C Logan Brown, Windsor Spitfires (OHL): 2.72
  5. C Michael McLeod, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL): 2.56

Tkachuk is going to be drafted in the 4-6 range, with Edmonton, Vancouver and Calgary all (possibly) getting a shot at him. It would be extremely valuable to have a reliable TOI total, and I hope the Edmonton Oilers have that information.

Information on even-strength boxcars via OHL.Prospect.com.

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