Montreal Canadiens 2017 NHL Draft: Isaac Ratcliffe – Size and Skill
We will begin our look at potential picks for the Montreal Canadiens in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft with Issac Ratcliffe of the Guelph Storm.
CSB: No. 15 (NA Skaters) | ISS: No. 20 | THN: No. 20 | HP: No. 13 | FC: No. 23
Ratcliffe was selected 15th overall by the Guelph Storm during the 2015 OHL Priority Selection Draft. During his rookie season Ratcliffe scored five goals, adding eight assists for 13 points in 46 games playing for a team that only managed to win 13 games, finishing last in the OHL standings that season.
This season, Guelph did not get much better, finishing second last in the OHL with 21 wins and 49 points, however Ratcliffe improved tremendously scoring 28 goals, adding 26 assists for 54 points in 67 games. Ratcliffe also played for Team Canada at the Under 18 World Championships, scoring two goals, and represented Team Cherry during the BMO Top Prospects Game, scoring one goal.
Ratcliffe protects the puck well amalgamating size with surprisingly good skating ability for a bigger player who hasn’t completed his growth spurt. His size permits him to set a screen, particularly on the power-play and he isn’t an easy player to move once he plants himself, contending for loose pucks and knocking in rebounds.
During his rookie season, he finished with a rating of minus-25, playing 46 games for the poorest team in the league. This season, playing on the second worst team in the league, he improved to a minus-2, developing into a dependable two-way player. Ratcliffe can get into shooting/passing lanes, battle along the boards, and finish his checks efficiently.
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) April 16, 2017
Ratcliffe will continue playing for the Guelph Storm next season alongside 2018 prospect, defenseman Ryan Merkley, who finished one point above Ratcliffe this season.
Isaac Ratcliffe has the aptitude to develop into an effective two-way power forward at the NHL level, something all teams would love to have on their roster. He may not be prepared to jump into the lineup right away, but with appropriate development and coaching he could blossom into a great young winger for the Montreal Canadiens, potentially becoming a steal at the 2017 NHL Draft. He is also still growing, at 6-foot-5-inches and 203 pounds already, he could undoubtedly add some mass and muscle, possibly approaching 220 pounds or more, becoming that much more of a force in front of the opponent’s net, and that much tougher to contain along the boards.
The Habs scouting staff should absolutely have their eyes on him when they step up to the podium with the 25th overall pick, if he’s still obtainable.
Need to catch up on potential draftees? You will find the All Habs draft archive here or use the quick links below to check out our most recent articles on the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
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