TLN’s First and Final 2015 NHL Draft Rankings

We’ve been getting a lot of texts, emails, and phone calls over the last month or so from people who simply need to know “What does your top thirty look like? You folks have been doing all this research for prospect profiles and such, where are TLN’s rankings, huh?”

Well, the wait is over. It’s time to tip the hockey world on its head. [Not really. We actually put a lot of thought into these rankings, and they should be a good reference for the draft. I just wanted to sound tough.]

TLN has collected lists from our writers and, using some spreadsheet wizardry, compiled a prospect ranking that trumps all others. There were some interesting moments: Jon yelled at Justin for putting Strome ahead of Marner, Justin retaliated by kicking Jon off the site for a week, and then Shawn threw a lawnmower over a fence for seemingly no reason at all.

Things were tense, but we got through, perhaps even the better for it.

Close but didn’t make the cut

Here are some players who received top thirty votes but didn’t quite make the cut for our final list: Filip Chlapik (Charlottetown, QMJHL), Jacob Larsson (Frolunda, SHL), Nicolas Meloche (Baie-Comeau, QMJHL), Mitchell Vande Sompel (Oshawa, OHL), Mitchell Stephens (Saginaw, OHL), Blake Speers (Sault Ste. Marie, OHL), Jens Looke (Brynas, SHL), Paul Bittner (Portland, WHL), Aleksi Saarela (Assat, SM-Liiga), Noah Juulsen (Everett, WHL), Brandon Carlo (Tri-City, WHL), Ilya Samsonov (Magnitogorsk, KHL). 

Keep in mind this isn’t a mock draft, we just asked our writers to provide their top thirty prospect rankings and five of them (Reis, Fisher, Capp, Steitzer, and yours truly) responded to have their lists merged into this beautiful ranking below. TLN will have a mock draft to follow in the days leading up to the draft, where things could look a little differently since speculation on team needs and preferences will start to come into play. 

The List


As you can see, some interesting range in the high/low for a lot of the prospects, and don’t worry, everyone will be following up to defend their own rankings. The comments section might even get a little out of hand.

A few notes:

  • Mitch Marner, perhaps the most-talked-about potential target for the Leafs, didn’t receive a vote below 4th.
  • Colin White had the biggest range of votes, from 14th on one list to being left off another.
  • Crouse somewhat predictably had a wide range of votes, from 11th to 25th.
  • Of the players left off our list, none had a vote higher than 25th overall besides goaltender Ilya Samsonov, who received a vote for 24th. 
  • Only three players who didn’t make the list received more than one top thirty vote, Paul Bittner, Filip Chlapik, and Jacob Larsson (two apiece).
  • Matthew Barzal is an interesting case, ranging from 3rd to 7th overall, and surely providing more fuel for debate around that first Leafs selection and/or potential trade-down scenarios. Ivan Provorov is nearly in the same camp, with a high of 4th. Seems like Leafs’ management aren’t the only ones who are big fans of his game.

Let us hear it

There’s no doubt this list will spark some more discussion among our own staff, and we definitely want to hear what you have to say as well. 

Don’t like these rankings? Think someone is rated too high or low? Want to move Crouse into the top three? Let us know in the comments section. Heck, drop your own top thirty in there and let us see how it stacks up. We love to talk prospects, and we’ll continue to do plenty of it over the next 14 days.

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  • Quinten Smids

    All in all, the list looks good to me. One highly ranked player on this list who I haven’t heard much about is Kyle Connor.. Given his age and plateu’ish numbers, I’m a little surprised to see him so highly rated.

    The top part of my draft would definitely be:
    1. McDavid
    2. Eichel
    3. Marner
    4. Strome
    5. Hanifin
    6. Barzal
    7. Provorov
    8. Werenski
    9. Zacha

    But after that it begins to get murky. At 10, I really don’t know who I’d pick between Rantanen (probably would be the choice), Meier, Svechnikov, Konecny or Connor. All have upside, yet all have their question marks. I’m really hoping Beauvillier falls to us at 24.

    • Going to assume this is directed at me since I’m the guy who ranked him third. For me, it comes down to the strength of his pre-draft years, speed, and hockey sense which put him ahead of Strome for me. The fact that he’s an established center makes me like him more than Marner. Really, if you were to smash Strome and Marner together I think you’d get Barzal, so why not draft Barzal?

      • Brooksterman

        I completely agree with your assessment of where you have Barzal ranked and I think Hunter has him high on the list as well. He has said in interviews that if it wasn’t for Barzal missing significant time do to his knee injury then everyone would have Barzal ranked at the same level as Marner and Strome. I would be very shocked if Barzal isn’t picked by the time Philadelphia is up picking. There is speculation that New Jersey want’s him at 6th overall. Though Hunter did also say he didn’t think there was a difference in skill level between the guys ranked 3-5 and the guys ranked 6-10 which leads me to believe that Hunter would have no problem moving down to where Philly or Columbus is.

  • FlareKnight

    Seems ok to me. I think you can make arguments for Hanifin/Strome/Marner to finish in any order within 3-5. Not sure how I’d break it down and divide them, but that seems like a solid list to me.

  • Very excited to see who the Leafs draft at 4th.

    I really wish the Leafs somehow were able to nab two of Marner, Strome and Hanifin.

    Marner is said to be the best purely skilled, outside Eichel and McDavid. Size being the knock on him.

    Strome is that big centre teams need, I’ve also heard that ideally he is a “Elite 2nd” in the NHL, not a 1st liner because of his speed and possibly the “McDavid effect” this year.

    Hanifin is often compared to Keith or Doughty and already knows defence leads to offense which most young D have trouble with.

    Tough decision ahead.

  • Brooksterman

    It wouldn’t surprise me if we do end up drafting some players with size as Babcock tends to like having size on his teams as I was re-watching past NHL draft coverage and they mentioned when Detroit drafted Mantha that Babcock does like to have size on his team. That also suggests that Babcock will end up liking and using Leivo and Gauthier a lot and probably starting with Leivo next year.

  • Brooksterman

    The only thing with Marner, is to avoid becoming muscle-bound, otherwise, he and Hanifin are top four. Strome has big-man syndrome. Barzal makes me think of Reinhart, for size, skating, pass-first, hockey IQ, but also Bennett, and Vertanen, for playing a style that leads to injury. The defenceman who’s 6’0 and offence-minded will succeed, but won’t excel. I want the Leafs to get Zboril 11th (or Hanifin) White 16th, Guryanov 21st and Andersson 24th/41st, all of them, so good to see you have all of them available at 24th.