Despite being passed over for exceptional status to be eligible for the 2016 OHL Priority Selection, Jack Hughes remains very much in the lead to be the first pick in 2017 after a very impressive season playing with the '00 Mississauga Rebels.
Hughes, who probably would have a very compelling case for early entry into the OHL if he had more than a 5-foot-7 frame, is rumoured to be heading to the Toronto Marlboros for the minor midget season next year. Regardless of where he lands, all eyes will be on his development as he'll be widely favoured to be the top pick in next year's Priority Selection.
That's not to say options on the other side of the border won't be in play as well as Michigan and Boston University will be very much in the mix to secure his commitment - with the US National Team Development Program in Plymouth being a very real possibility before any college career starts.
Marshall Warren and Case McCarthy remain locked into the two and three spots, respectively, and represent the top tier of defensemen available in the draft. Warren has a bit of a higher ceiling at this point - albeit with a little more risk in his game - whereas McCarthy can be more cerebral at times and his style of play may actually be more appreciated in the OHL or NTDP than it does in minor hockey.
Despite a loss in the finals of the GTHL, Jamieson Rees really elevated his game in the second half of the season with more competitiveness, tenacity, and physical play. We're largely splitting hairs between him, Farinacci, and Mastrosimone, but we feel like his game is probably the most versatile of the three at this point. Mastrosimone, who is coming off a national championship with the Shattuck U14 team, is a notable mover in our updated top-10 as he makes a climb from 10 to 6.
While it wasn't the storybook ending Belle Tire was looking for, Davis Pennington and Andrew Perrott remain as very attractive options on the back-end and players who should receive no shortage of interest from both routes next season. Both players are uncommitted at this point and while they'll surely be lured by colleges, they would both shape up in the top 5-10 of the OHL draft if that's the route they choose.
Graeme Clarke - the Ottawa native who shifted to the GTHL this season - remains inside the top-10 despite a bit of a lukewarm showing in the OHL Cup. He struggled at times with the physicality of minor midget this season but there's no denying the calibre of his shot and offensive instincts. Returning to his own birth year next season, it will be interesting to see if he can take that next step and become more of a dominant possession player.
Rounding out the top-10 is a new addition with Tag Bertuzzi making the climb from #17 in our recent top-100 ranking. While we still have some persistent concerns about his effort level throughout the course of a game and his level of natural hockey sense - his play in the OHL Cup was quite impressive and a lot of the elements of his game really came together for him on the biggest stage. With his father - former NHL'er, Todd - maintaining an owernship in Guelph, the OHL route could certainly be in the cards for the younger Bertuzzi where he would shape up as a top-10 pick.
As a reminder, our top-200 ranking will be available to subscribers on May 1st
Top 10 Rankings | 2017 OHL Draft | Top-100 ($)
|1.||Jack Hughes||LC||86||Mississauga Rebels '00||GTHL|
|2.||Marshall Warren||LD||77||New Jersey Colonials '01||AYHL|
|3.||Case McCarthy||RD||77||Mississauga Rebels '01||GTHL|
|4.||Jamieson Rees||LC||19||Mississauga Reps '01||GTHL|
|5.||John Farinacci||RC||87||New Jersey Colonials '01||AYHL|
|6.||Robert Mastrosimone||LC||14||Shattuck-St. Mary's '01||Indep.|
|7.||Davis Pennington||LD||18||Belle Tire '01||Tier 1|
|8.||Graeme Clarke||RW||92||Toronto Marlboros '00||GTHL|
|9.||Andrew Perrott||RD||24||Belle Tire '01||Tier 1|
|10.||Tag Bertuzzi||LW||84||Oakland Jr. Grizzlies U15||Tier 1|