As we continue to roll out our monthly updates to our respective birth-year rankings, the month of April had some key events that played a role in our changes. Two of which being the USA Hockey Nationals, along with the OHL Draft coupled with the accompanying events and fine tuning before the big day.
Movement in the top 10
After much deliberation, Matt Schaefer emerges as our season-ending #1 Ontario-born player. There was plenty of chatter among the team after the Canada Winter Games that Matt could win this spot. After an outstanding OMHA Championship and OHL Cup, Matthew has earned the placement. The Erie Otters' 1st overall selection has moved up our ranking month after month all season, and this update was no different.
It will be a constant theme that the OHL Cup significantly impacted our rankings, and Soo Greyhound Brady Martin fits into that group. Brady was sensational, tallying 12 points in 6 games, including a hattrick in the Waterloo Wolves quarterfinal victory over the Toronto Marlboros.
New 5 Stars
Jacob Cloutier has climbed into 5-star status. The recent Saginaw Spirit signee (selected 36th overall in the 2023 OHL Draft) has been one of our scouting staff’s favorite players to watch throughout the year and after a strong USA Hockey Nationals in the 15O Division he has continued to flaunt his evasion and high hockey IQ whilst setting up plays to convince us he’s a player who will soon be capable, if not already, ready to leave an impact at the major-junior level.
Mateo Nobert of Lac St. Louis has also been added to 5-star status. The two-way centerman has been an incredibly reliable and trustworthy piece for his team. His hockey sense and defensive ability coupled with some soft puck skills make him an integral player through the middle of the ice and gives him some nice projectability to be a safe pick at the major-junior level.
New 4.5 Stars
As we worked on fine-tuning our final OHL Draft rankings with additional viewings, Quinn Beauchesne and Cameron Reid both moved higher into our first round and, in Quinn’s case, into our top 10. As a result of these changes, the defence duo saw similar upticks on our 2007 birth-year rankings, moving them from the 4-star to the 4.5-star ranks. The recent Guelph Storm and Kitchener Rangers 1st-round selections will play prominent roles on their respective club's bluelines for seasons to come.
New 4 Stars
Three Ontario players enter the four-star ranks after standout performances at the OHL Cup. Saginaw Spirit first-rounder Aiden Young was the bright spot on a London Knights squad that struggled to create offence. Young showed his creativity, playmaking ability, and deception, all in conjunction to create offence. The 5th overall Niagara IceDog selection, Ethan Czata, had a solid showing at the OHL Cup as almost all of the Mississauga Rebels' offence and transition flowed through him. Czata was the star of the show at the OHL Combine, with a dominant performance showcasing his offensive talent. And finally, Jake O'Brien, who led the OHL Cup in scoring and was a significant reason why the Toronto Jr Canadiens hoisted the OHL Cup Trophy. The Brantford Bulldog 8th overall selection notched 17 points over 7 games at the OHL Cup.
USA Hockey Nationals Additions
From the 15O USA Hockey Nationals we have picked out a small handful of players we felt had a significant enough impact from the event to be added to the rankings despite the small sample size. The players in question being Brendan DeFeo, Easton Pace, Griffin Davey, and Max Wright. There were several minor changes across the rankings as a result of the USA Hockey Nationals on top of these newer additions. We had plenty of notes on players who hadn’t made the rankings, yet with some more strong performance in the future, they can be expected to be added on in due time.