TORONTO, ONT. -- They're here. With the OHL Draft season turning the calendar into 2017, we're pleased to release our January Top-200 to subscribers. If you're already a member, you can log in here or register for a full 365 days worth of insider access for just $50.00 CAD.
Back to the rankings. Here's some commentary on where we're tracking with the latest top-10.
Jack Hughes has some contenders at his heels, but he continues to headline the '01 age group and is the definite favourite to be the top pick in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection, should he take that route. Don't consider it a slam dunk, as his older brother is a Michigan commit that is enjoying a nice season with the US Under-18 team, making Ann Arbor a potential option for the dynamic talent.
Forwards continue to dot the top of the chart as Oakland's Tag Bertuzzi narrowly edges Alex Turcotte from the Chicago Mission for the #2 spot. Frankly, it probably isn't even a popular opinion, but we've been impressed with the year-over-year progression from Bertuzzi and like how his size and skill makes for a unique combination. While you can expect Bertuzzi to probably fall no later than Guelph's draft slot in April, Turcotte looks like he'll stick with the NCAA path as the Wisconsin commit is all but a lock for the Under-17 team next year.
London's Ryan Suzuki might just be a dark-horse first overall candidate if Hughes doesn't commit to the league, as the uber-skilled forward oozes creativity and offensive production. While he still needs to fill out a bit, it would be nothing short of shocking if he doesn't go on to put up a boat-load of points in the OHL.
The first defenseman on the list is Marshall Warren, a Harvard commit currently plying his trade with the North Jersey Avalanche 16U squad that splits time between the AYHL and T1EHL. Warren is about everything you look for in a modern-day defenseman and will likely play a major role with the Under-17 team next season. Another American, Buffalo's Case McCarthy sits right behind him as a polished two-way player who already has a pro frame and should slide into the USHL next season without issue. His commitment to Boston University makes him another dicey proposition for OHL teams that will have to consider when to make a calculated risk on draft day.
Robert Mastrosimone's season may be cut fully short due to a knee injury, but the Shattuck forward and fellow Boston University commit is one of the most dangerous players in the draft from the blue-line in. His vision isn't far behind what you see with Ryan Suzuki and while the physical tools still need some development, he's every bit the part of a high-end player.
Fresh off several viewings in the Marlboros Holiday Classic, Grayson Ladd continues to be a player that we'll go to bat for at our #8 ranking. Yeah, he's slight. Yeah, there's some concern about how that'll play in the OHL. And yeah, he's not only very good now, he's also got a big-time ceiling to his game moving forward.
Rounding out the top-10 is a pair of prep school forwards with Trevor Zegras from Avon Old Farms and Johnny Beecher from Salisbury. Boston University is the thorn in the side of the OHL as Zegras also holds a commitment to the Hockey East school, while Beecher could be more in play for the OHL as he's still bypassed making any type of college commitment. While Beecher is a player that has always had the tools, we weren't fans of the compete level - or lack thereof - last season. Playing with Salisbury, his game seems to have matured in a more challenging environment, so expect to see no shortage of OHL teams coveting the raw potential he brings to the table.
That's it for us here. Stay tuned next Monday as we unveil our first look at the '02 age group with our January Top 200 for the bantams.
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