Call them the unexpected.
They are the ones who nine months ago weren’t exactly raising the roof.
With their play now, they’ve in the very least started to make scouts wonder just how high their ceiling actually is.
While Jamie Oleskiak is the most prominent display this season of a prospect who has done nothing but, the Northeastern defenseman certainly isn’t alone. OHL centres Mark Scheifele of Barrie and Shane Prince of the Ottawa 67s are certainly gathering momentum, while Sault Ste. Marie defenseman Ryan Sproul and Swede Max Friberg have attracted a lot more attention heading towards the draft.
C Mark Scheifele, Barrie OHL, 6’-1.5”, 175 Lbs
Started the year as a relative unknown commodity as the 2010-11 season was his rookie OHL season after playing a year of midget to keep his NCAA eligibility open. His upside was quickly noticed on a bad Barrie squad; with the big frame, intelligence in his overall play and offensive skills and awareness. He had gone from unknown to a perennial first round candidate.
C Shane Prince, Ottawa, OHL, 5’-10”, 180 Lbs
Small perimeter player was seen as a mid-round project coming into the season and even up until mid-December (67th overall in December rankings) the questions about whether the numbers he was putting up was more a result of his highly skilled linemates or based on his skill set. We still do not see Prince as a first round candidate but mid-to-late second round is where his value lies.
LW Max Friberg, Skovde, Sweden, 5’-11”, 185 Lbs
A World Junior Championship standout, Friberg was a guy who was out of the draft spotlight entirely before that as he was playing in a league where not many scouts venture on a regular basis. Friberg’s skilled and gritty WJC play brought the spotlight and scouts out to get another look to his club team as he is now firmly entrenched as a top 100 selection in the minds of most scouts, 69th overall on FC’s March ranking.
D Ryan Sproul, Sault Ste. Marie, OHL, 6’-4”, 185 Lbs
Another prospect that came in this year from playing Midget the year before and hence was not on the radars to start the year. Sproul didn’t really get a chance to take a regular shift until around December when some parts in SSM were moved and ice time on the backend opened up. He has put up impressive numbers over the last three months and moved up most scouting lists because of it. Despite still being very raw in physical development as well as his defensive game, he likely has enough upside to be selected in the drafts top 75 and sits at just #77 on FC’s master draft list.
Honorable mentions go to Niagara Ice Dog centre Ryan Strome who started the year as a late first rounder/ early second rounder and has shown the consistency all season in his offensive play to move into the top 10; Djurgardens centre Mika Zibanejad who has progresses by leaps and bounds and is on the verge of joining Strome in the top 10; and World Junior standout forwards Mikka Salomaki (FIN), Rickard Rakell (SWE) and Gregory Hofmann (SWI) who all represented their countries well and took that elevated play back to their club teams afterwards.
Aaron Vickers is the managing editor of Future Considerations and can be found on Twitter. For all the latest Future Considerations news and posts, follow FC’s Official Twitter Feed, on YouTube and on Facebook!