TORONTO, ONT. -- It seems like just yesterday that the Titans Tournament was kicking off, but yet here we are, just a day away from the calendar turning to December. And with that, we're pleased to unveil our first set of rankings for the '02 class as they continue to push closer towards the 2018 OHL Priority Selection next April.
Our Top-100 comes complete with slot-by-slot commentary on each player, which will be further expanded in our Mid-Term Top-200 and Final Top-200 rankings which are still yet to come this season.
So what have we learned about this group thus far?
Well, for starter's, there's been a lot less volatility year-over-year than what we saw with the '01 crop just a year ago. While the 01's saw far more fluctuation from bantam to minor midget, by and large we haven't seen that with the '02 crop. Sure, there's players that have trended up - and down - but outside of a few outliers, there hasn't been the same level of unpredictability that there was with the 2017 OHL Draft crop.
What else? As expected, this is shaping up to be an excellent draft crop, regardless of position. Easily the best collection of Ontario players in some time, a top-40 pick in this draft will hold extra weight as you could make a strong argument that players going in the 30's could have easily been first round picks in last year's draft. To that extent, the pressure is going to be on OHL scouting staff's to make their picks count, as it's all but a guarantee that the hindsight draft in a few years will be rather unforgiving if you wind up passing on one or more players who go on to be a star, which is a very real probability.
South of the border, it's not exactly a banner age group for Americans, especially coming on the heels of an '01 age group that was very, very good. While the NCAA commitments are starting to come at a more feverish pace, the composition of next year's NTDP U-17 team is going to be a very intriguing storyline as there's only one certainty right now: there's a lot of uncertainty about who's going to be in the mix.
While several major tournaments on both sides of the border are already in the rear-view mirror, it still is a season that has a lot of hockey left to be played, and we expect the next several months to go a long way towards determining how this age group's story ultimately plays out in advance of the draft.
Stay Tuned | Goaltenders
Once again this year, we'll be releasing two (2) separate sets of rankings for the '02-born goaltenders. Release dates will be formally announced in the near future, but they'll allign with the ranking release dates of the Mid-Term and Final draft rankings.