OHL Prospects: Midseason Top 50 for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft The start of the 2019 calendar year is nearly upon us and that means it is time for me to re-evaluate my rankings for the 2019 Draft. The OHL season is at the half way mark which gives us a great indication of how certain players have developed in their draft season. Many players have stepped up to assume large roles on their club, while others have disappointed and find themselves on the outside looking in. While this is unquestionably a down year for the OHL, I do think that several players are starting to emerge as better talents than people gave them credit for. In October, I suggested that only a couple OHL'ers were likely to be first round selections come June. And while that still may be the case, the guys ranked inside the top 10 (or hovering around it) have all performed well and are making a strong case to seriously push up draft rankings in the second half. Tomasino has caught fire. Robertson and Rees are healthy. McMichael and Jones have kept the pace from their strong starts. Like I said, things are shaping up to be better than originally thought. For those unfamiliar with my lists, I only include first time eligible players. So a guy like Nando Eggenberger isn't listed despite the fact that I'd expect him to receive draft consideration. I do a list of "re-entries" or second/third year eligible players prior to the draft. And for comparison's sake, here's my preliminary top 50 from October. Here's the list: 1. Ryan Suzuki - Forward - Barrie Colts Even though Suzuki has struggled a bit in the last few months, he's still my top rated OHL player. I continue to be amazed by some of his reads and passes in the offensive end. He possesses upper echelon vision and playmaking ability. And he can create plays in a variety of different contexts. He's effective off the rush because of his skating ability and understanding of spacing. He's effective working the cycle and coming off the wall. And he's effective working the powerplay, where the extra time and space really allows his vision to be spotlighted. But he seems hesitant to shoot the puck lately and defenses are challenging him to beat them this way, taking away passing lanes. He has only four goals in his last 18 games, with Barrie mired in a standings slump during this time as well. He certainly has the ability, but his game won't hit that next level until he becomes more aggressive looking for his own scoring chances. Another area that needs improvement is his faceoff ability. He's only winning 44% of his draws currently. 2. Arthur Kaliyev - Forward - Hamilton Bulldogs Continues to light up opposing defenses and hasn't slowed down one iota. His blend of size, skill, and smarts are just too much on most nights. Especially on the powerplay where the trio of Saigeon, Strome, and Kaliyev has been absolutely dominant. The real challenge for Kaliyev will be after the OHL trade deadline, as Hamilton could be in a position to deal off some veteran players, leaving Kaliyev with less support. If it happens, how he responds to that will go a long way as to whether he's a lottery selection or a later first/early second round pick. I do think that his game gets over-evaluated at times though. His skating draws mixed reviews. IMO, his power game is complemented by a good enough top speed, but could benefit from better start ups. And his play away from the puck is definitely inconsistent, but few 17/18 year old offensive stars are consistently engaged in this regard. It is important to remember that Kaliyev is far from the polished product that he will eventually become. His innate offensive abilities (hands, shot, vision off the rush) are top notch. 3. Philip Tomasino - Forward - Niagara IceDogs Aggressive ranking jump for Tomasino following a strong last couple of months. I had him pretty high coming into the season, so it's no surprise to see how well he has performed following a promotion to Niagara's top line. Since the beginning of November, Tomasino has 34 points (17 goals, 17 assists) in 23 games. That's some of the best production of any draft eligible player in the CHL during that time period. And sure, it's great to play with two players as talented as Jason Robertson and Akil Thomas. But if you watch him play, Tomasino isn't just along for the ride, he's driving the play with those two. His speed and play with the puck is electric. His pace of attack consistently opens ups scoring lanes for Robertson and Thomas. But he's also not afraid to attack the middle of the ice or the crease. He's excelled by crashing the net as part of that trio, and just seems to have an infectious energy level. It's uncertain as to whether NHL scouts will view him as a winger or as a center (he has played both), but this is one talented young player. I can honestly say that I heavily debated putting Tomasino at #1 on this list. Playing for a Niagara team that could be loading up, he is going to get his time to shine and should sky rocket up draft lists in the second half if he keeps up this rate of production. 4. Connor McMichael - Forward - London Knights Let's be real here. It's not too often that we have a draft eligible player leading London in scoring (discounting Hancock), and he's not considered a consensus first round pick. I feel like that might be about to change pretty soon. McMichael isn't slowing down after his hot start, he's actually getting better. 12 goals and 11 assists in his last 14 games. McMichael offers a pretty complete package; he checks a lot of boxes. Skating ability. Check. Ability to play in all three zones. Check. Hockey sense. Check. Goal scoring ability. Check. He's also a tenacious player in the offensive zone who does a very good job controlling the boards despite not being the biggest kid (6'0, 170lbs). Sure he may not be the flashiest or most dynamic player with the puck. But his efficiency is through the roof. Much like Hayton and Dellandrea last year (similar types of players), McMichael should climb draft rankings in the second half and be in consideration for the Top 20 by June. 5. Thomas Harley - Defense - Mississauga Steelheads Harley really hasn't done too much to fall in these rankings, it's more about what Tomasino and McMichael have done to pass him. I continue to love what Harley brings to the table offensively. Really love his aggressiveness running the point of the powerplay. Not afraid to use his size and reach to step out into the slot, or pinch down deeper to keep plays alive. Doesn't yet possess the elite point shot that you like to see from a top notch QB, but that could come given his size. But 6'3 defenders with his type of mobility can impact the game on so many different levels. He's so difficult to separate from the puck as he glides through the neutral zone. Not only does he do a good job of leading the breakout, his rushes are impactful because he's able to extend them deep and establish o-zone time. Defensively, I do think he needs to be more aggressive though. The last few times I've seen Mississauga, I've noticed some passiveness defending off the rush. Needs to step up and be more aggressive in using his size, especially his reach. I'm not an analytics expert, but his controlled entry prevention stats are probably pretty poor. But it's important to remember how much progression this kid has already shown this year. Baby steps. Rome wasn't built in a day. 6. Nick Robertson 7. Jamieson Ree 8. Hunter Jones 9. Blake Murray 10. Billy Constantinou 11. Vladislav Kolyachonok 12. Nicholas Porco 13. Graeme Clarke 14. Matvey Guskov 15. Mitchell Brewer 16. Mike Vukojevic 17. Joe Carroll 18. Keean Washkurak 19. Cole Mackay 20. Petr Cajka 21. Cole Schwindt 22. Ethan Keppen 23. Jacob LeGuerrier 24. Daniil Antropov 25. Kari Piiroinen 26. Daniel D'Amico 27. Nikita Okhotyuk 28. Tag Bertuzzi 29. Lucas Peric 30. Mason Primeau 31. Keegan Stevenson 32. Liam Ross 33. Eric Uba 34. Kyen Sopa 35. Mason Millman 36. Jack York 37. Mack Guzda 38. Andrew Perrott 39. Nathan Allensen 40. Brayden Guy 41. Grayson Ladd 42. Nathan Staois 43. Jordan Frasca 44. Luke Cavallin 45. Andrew MacLean 46. Tim Fleischer 47. Navrin Mutter 48. Cullen McLean 49. Mitchell Russell 50. Ashton Reesor See the link above for the full write ups on all 50 players, plus some honorable mentions. Happy to answer any questions/comments.