With the regular season ending in most leagues, lets take a look at the consensus rankings for March. The 2015 draft is just a few months away.
March Consensus Rankings
With the Sharks playoff chances at close to zero, the reality of a top-10 pick and a small chance at Connor McDavid is finally sinking in. The Sharks could realistically get the 9th overall pick or possibly, but very unlikely, the 7th. But this team is still competing hard for a playoff spot and they have a pretty easy schedule so we'll slot them at 10th-13th for the time being. Who should the Sharks be looking at?
C/W Mikko Rantanen, TPS (Liiga)
Playing in the same league as Nikolay Goldobin, Rantanen has been nothing short of outstanding playing in a men's league at 18 years old. He plays on the first line on his team and has been on fire since the World Juniors. Rantanen is 6'4", 209lbs, can play center and wing and has no glaring weakness to his game. He is good defensively and offensively. He is a great skater for his size and isn't afraid to go to the dirty areas. He will need to improve his shot and muscle mass to succeed at the NHL level, but this is a player who projects to be a top-6 force on any team.
C/LW Pavel Zacha, Sarnia Sting (OHL)
His point totals are incredibly underwhelming on a Sarnia team that is better than last year when Goldobin put up 94pts, but Zacha has all the tools to become a very good NHLer. He has it all; size, skill, speed, athleticism, explosiveness, and an elite shot. He's also a very physical player who can sometimes who bulls his way wound the ice. The biggest knock on Zacha is the way he thinks the game, is inability to process plays quick enough may leave him a step behind at times and he struggles at sustaining offensive zone pressure. This is a player who has a little more risk than other guys in the 9-13 range, but he has all the qualities of a top-6er.
D Ivan Provorov, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
Provorov is a player that wasn't on anyone's radar prior to the start of the season. With his strong World Junior as a draft-eligible and improvement in the WHL, Provorov shot up the rankings. He is the epitome of a complete defenseman. A sturdy defenseman with great mobility, Provorov thinks the game just as well as he excels with his physical tools. His game has matured beyond his years, which makes some question his upside. However, Provorov is one of the safest picks in this draft and has all the tools, as well as the toolbox, to become at least a top-4 defenseman, likely top-2.
LW Lawson Crouse, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)
One of the most talked about/criticized prospects in this draft is Lawson Crouse. Along with Connor McDavid, he was the only 2015 draft-eligible player who made the Canadian World Junior team. Crouse is a 6'4" tenacious power forward with high hockey IQ. He reads the play very well making him a good player without the puck. He is a great skater for his size. The criticism comes when discussing his upside, as he isn't known for his point totals and playmaking/goal scoring abilities. Crouse is a guy with a lot of "intangibles" that many teams would love to have even if the fans disagree, which is why he will probably go high in the first round on draft day.