CALGARY -- The Canadian Hockey League -- a collection of the major junior hockey leagues in Canada (QMJHL, OHL and WHL) -- staged its Top Prospects game this week, and I was on hand to take in the event, as well as connect with scouts and executives. Going back to my top 30 draft prospects column from the preseason, 21 of those 30 play in the CHL, so this was a good chance to get an update on many of the top players that will be on the board this summer.
I tend to give a slight emphasis to puck possession skill in my evaluations, based on numerous studies that show it is the single best predictive measure of team-level success at higher levels. Performance is taken into account as another factor, adjusted appropriately for team strength, league quality and other contextual elements.
This contest featured a game-winning goal by Sault-Ste. Marie’s Jared McCann, but Kootenay’s Sam Reinhart really jumped off the ice. Here’s a deeper look at the top draft prospects that appeared in this game:
Anthony DeAngelo, D, Sarnia (OHL)
DeAngelo flashes his great offensive tools, which is the strength of his game as evidenced by his OHL scoring totals. He's a very skilled puck mover, who is dangerous on the mad advantage. The reason I may hold back from tagging him as a first-round prospect is his play on the defensive end. DeAngelo is undersized, and regularly on the wrong end of scoring chances. It would be one thing if he was making good plays but being out-muscled, however he's not making the proper defensive reads on some occasions.