Top-60 2024 OHL Draft Rankings Released

Posted on Jordan Malette

With the passing of another month comes a new OHL Draft rankings. My OHL Draft rankings have been updated and expanded to a top 60 and can be accessed via the 2024 OHL Draft Center.

The focus of this month has mainly been on continued widespread coverage of all teams, with the goal in mind to trim down my watchlist of players I've previously deemed worthy of a potential spot on my final top 100. Now that we're crossing the halfway point, my theme will shift to hyperfocusing on the 60 players I've included on my rankings and the ~60 remaining on my watchlist. There will be occasional check-ins elsewhere, but I need to start trimming down the number of teams on my viewing rotation at some point.

A few unique elements to this iteration of the list are worth mentioning. The first is that when we start getting into this range of the draft, the margins between players start becoming incredibly thin. As such, the difference between the players I chose to include versus those I just left off is nearly negligible. The main difference that led to their inclusion is that I am confident they are players I will not regret including as months pass. The last thing I want to do is add a player and then remove them at a later release, and with these twenty, I deemed the risk of that to be incredibly low. They likely will not stay where they are ranked, but they are all worthy players, and I am confident they are players I will want on my final top 100. 

The second aspect is this is where my list starts to differ more and more from what I expect to happen on draft day. For a multitude of reasons, if I was trying to "predict" what was going to happen, this is the range of my rankings that would look vastly different. The main element at play here is the teeter-totter between upside and certainty. Due to my draft philosophies (& someone without a roster to consider), I am more geared toward potential over "sure things," which is reflected in my rankings. There are many players who I omitted that I am relatively certain would fill a depth roster spot, but my list is more about identifying players who could develop into something that fills a more valuable role. These are all players I believe in and would be pitching for a team to select if I was in a draft room. It may be later than I have them ranked, but they would undoubtedly be players I'd recommend selecting at some point on draft day. 


New Entrant into the Top 5

In this month's rankings update, Nathan Amidovski jumps two spots from 7th to 5th. He was always in the top 5 conversation, but over my many viewings of the Colts in December, I became more and more confident that Nathan rightfully deserves a spot. I am always in awe at his ability to play in motion, under pressure, and solve any problem he faces. His small-area skill is remarkable and the key reason I am growing increasingly optimistic about his game. He's someone I think will just keep getting better as he matures and adds strength, and I believe there is a ton of potential, given his top-end tools. 

This whole range of the draft is very fluid to me, as after Wassilyn and Valentini, it's a bit of a jumble right now. There are about five or so players that I could order in almost any way, so expect more tweaks to come in future months as I start to fixate on this top end of the draft and add more confidence to my rankings.



High Risers

With the focus of this month mainly being on solidifying the twenty new faces to be added, there were only a few significant shifts to the existing 40, but there were a few notable ones worth highlighting. 

Tyler Challenger jumps back into the top 10, moving from 12th to 7th. There's nothing particular about Tyler's play that earned him the bump; it was mostly about increasing my sample on him and becoming more confident in my assessment. I came out of the Toronto Titans Tournament thinking the world of Tyler and his game, but as he wasn't a player I was familiar with over the summer months, my sample was small, so I was "skeptical" of my assessment. At the Silver Stick, he was slightly less impressive, so I let that initial doubt creep in and adjusted him down. Flash forward to the Marlies Tournament, and Tyler shined just as bright as he did in my views at the Titans Tournament. Now that I've seen the North York Rangers ten times, I am much more confident in my evaluation of Tyler, which made me more comfortable moving him back into the top 10. 

Alexander Bilecki and Sam Wathier climbed from the mid-second to early second range for many of the same reasons. A lot of it boils down to the pool of defenders I am confident in projecting to meaningful OHL roles being very shallow, and there is a sizeable gap between these two and the defenders you could select later in the draft. As time passes and I become more confident in my evaluation of players, this position scarcity has become ever so apparent and is the key component to why I pushed these two up my rankings ahead of some forwards.  


Addition of the Defenders

The theme of the new additions is undoubtedly defenders. My previous list was incredibly forward-heavy, and now we are getting in the range where I feel more comfortable adding defenders. Nine of the twenty new additions are defenders, almost perfectly doubling the number of defenders on my list as this month, the list went from 10 to 19 defencemen.

The underlying theme with many of the defenders I've added are players who are some of the most involved in transition and offensive-leaning defenders on their respective teams. All of these defenders love to play with the puck on their stick and are effective at chaining together plays to move the puck out of their zone and into the offensive third. Given this description, they all share a commonality in offering tremendous upside if everything goes right in their development, as they could develop into players who play meaningful roles in a lineup.

I would group five of the nine into this bucket of offensive contributing defenders that offer significant upside if all goes right. All of Jet Kwajah, Jude Bray, Patrick Babin, Nathan Gaitens and Dylan Rousselle fit this description and recently found their way onto my top 60 OHL Draft Rankings. While there are many similarities with the players in this group, each one has a unique element or two that offer something different. These unique elements make ranking them against one another challenging, so the ranking may not be perfect yet, and I expect this crop to shuffle and evolve over time.

I won't go into detail on the remaining four new defenders, but I want to highlight London Jr Knight Eric Frossard. If you've been following my work for the past two seasons, I'm sure you've realized I don't place much premium on a player merely having size. To me, it's all about how a player uses their tools, and someone just simply being big isn't a massive draw if they don't leverage their tools correctly. It took me a few viewings to appreciate Eric's game, but I've come to be fascinated by him. There is still some awkwardness to his mechanics at times, but I have come to adore his ambition. He plays exactly how I want defenders to play, in that he wants to play with control, navigating the neutral zone with confidence and seeking ways to advance play into the dangerous parts of the ice. Given how he plays and his physical tools, he's someone that I could easily see getting better and better as the years go by, and his mechanics get more and more refined, yielding tremendous potential.

The main events on my calendar for January will be the GTHL and Alliance All-Star Games to see those top players in a best-on-best setting. As well, I am overdue for a check-in on my local HEO talent, so look for some game reports on that circuit over the month. But as I mentioned in the opener, now that we've crossed the halfway point, my focus will shift to evaluating the top of the class as much as I can to help add more accuracy to my rankings over these final few months.

For more detailed scouting and game reports on each player in our top 60, visit the 2024 OHL Draft Rankings page.

Jordan Malette