Jon Steitzer may be moving on from the Nations Network, but his consolidated draft rankings were such a useful little tool for looking at where exactly all of the top prospects stand in the eyes of the scouts that I knew I had to keep the tradition going. So I made my own.
To do this, I took seven different top 30 lists from prominent publications – Damien Cox of Sportsnet, Craig Button of TSN, International Scouting Services (ISS), Future Considerations (FC), McKeen’s Hockey, Draftbuzz Analytics (DB), and the Draft Analyst (DA) and looked at who was ranked where on their various lists. Then I put all the lists together by assigning a prospect ranked 1st 30 points, a prospect ranked 2nd 29 points, a prospect ranked 3rd 28 points, and so on. Naturally, a prospect ranked 30th received 1 point. A prospect not ranked received no points.
The method may not be totally perfect, but it still gives us a fairly good look at what the consensus opinion is on all of the top prospects for the draft.
I should also note that, in order to keep up with constantly-changing rankings, only lists published since the start of March were taken into consideration. That means the lists of Bob McKenzie, Corey Pronman, and Hockey Prospect have all been excluded, as none of them have released a new list consisting of at least 30 players since the start of March.
So without further ado, here’s the list:
Our list aligns closely with Bob McKenzie’s recent post-lottery top 15. This isn’t surprising given that McKenzie polls a range of scouts and puts the lists together – in other words, he uses a consensus draft rankings of his own.
Just for fun, here’s what our list would look like if we applied it to the top of the first round:
1. Auston Matthews – Toronto Maple Leafs
2. Patrik Laine – Winnipeg Jets
3. Jesse Puljujarvi – Columbus Blue Jackets
4. Matthew Tkachuk – Edmonton Oilers
5. Pierre-Luc Dubois – Vancouver Canucks
6. Alex Nylander – Calgary Flames
7. Jakob Chychrun – Arizona Coyotes
8. Olli Juolevi – Buffalo Sabres
9. Mikhail Sergachyov – Montreal Canadiens
10. Clayton Keller – Colorado Avalanche
11. Michael McLeod – New Jersey Devils
12. Tyson Jost – Ottawa Senators
13. Logan Brown – Carolina Hurricanes
14. Jake Bean – Boston Bruins
15. Luke Kunin – Minnesota Wild
16. Julien Gauthier – Detroit Red Wings
Here’s the specific breakdown of each publication’s list:
First and foremost, these rankings essentially back up the idea of a “top three” consisting of Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, and Jesse Puljujarvi. There also looks to be a second cluster of three right after them consisting of Matthew Tkachuk, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and Alex Nylander.
Also of note is the fact that there’s a fairly big drop-off after the 12th-ranked Tyson Jost, with a lot less consensus on which players belong where starting with Logan Brown (granted, Craig Button’s uncharacteristically low ranking of Brown skews this a bit).
We also see that, at this point, there only appears to be 20 or so real consensus first-rounders. The variance among the publications about who deserves to be seen as a top 30 players in this draft is wide, with 48 total players being ranked within the top 30 – and that’s using only seven lists.
Here are the players that didn’t crack the top 30 that were ranked at least once on these lists:
- Brett Howden (16 points, ranked two times)
- Sam Steel (15 points, ranked three times)
- Dillon Dube (14 points, ranked one time)
- Libor Hajek (14 points, ranked three times)
- Boris Katchouk (10 points, ranked two times)
- Taylor Raddysh (9 points, ranked two times)
- Jonathan Dahlen (7 points, ranked one time)
- Adam Mascherin (7 points, ranked one time)
- Mitchell Mattson (7 points, ranked one time)
- Nathan Bastian (6 points, ranked one time)
- Kale Clague (6 points, ranked two times)
- Tyler Benson (5 points, ranked two times)
- Carl Grundstrom (5 points, ranked two times)
- Ben Cholowski (4 points, ranked one time)
- Adam Fox (4 points, ranked one time)
- Lucas Johansen (3 points, ranked one time)
- Jacob Moverare (2 points, ranked one time)
- Cam Dineen (1 point, ranked one time)
It’ll certainly be interesting to see how these lists changes as the various publications prepare to release their final rankings with the NHL draft only a month and a half away. In particular, for better or for worse, things like the World Championships, the Memorial Cup, and the Draft Combine are all bound to shape various opinions in subtle ways.
Whatever the case, it should be a very fun few weeks leading up to arguably the most important two-day period on the NHL calendar.