2019-20 Team: London Knights (OHL)
Date of Birth: Feb. 5, 2002
Place of Birth: Plymouth, Michigan
Ht: 5’10” Wt: 170 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2020 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 56th (among NA Skaters)
- Future Considerations: 25th
- THW Josh Bell’s Rankings: 44th
- THW Andrew Forbes’ Rankings: 38th
- THW Larry Fisher’s Rankings: 88th
It’s seems like a yearly ritual that we discuss the London Knights and their players heading into the NHL Draft season. And this time around it’s no different. We’ve already discussed Luke Evangelista and where he will likely land in the draft, but there’s another Knights forward that made noise this season as a draft-eligible prospect. Meet Antonio Stranges.
Originally speculated to be a higher-ranked prospect than Evangelista, Stranges fell significantly as the season progressed and in most final rankings it didn’t change. He is arguably one of the best skaters in the draft and one of the higher skilled prospects up for grabs this season, but it hasn’t translated to his all-around game just yet in London.
Related: 2020 NHL Draft Guide
In two seasons with the Knights, Stranges has 31 goals and 74 points in 127 regular season games – including 19 goals and 40 points in 61 games in 2019-20. That said, seeing him play, you’d expect his totals to be much higher than they are – especially playing for a junior team like the Knights under head coach Dale Hunter.
His smooth skating draws defenders in, but his 10-2 gives him even more space to work in the offensive and neutral zones. That, along with his ability to see the openings, spells disaster for opposing teams.
That said, Stranges has a lot of work to do when it comes to his defensive zone coverage. To date, he’s shown some inconsistent efforts in getting back and helping out in his own end, which could be part of the reason why we’re seeing him slip on so many of the draft rankings out there. That, and the fact that he saw less minutes with Evangelista stepping up and his consistency coming into question, it’s no wonder Stranges is being talked about as a late-second or early-third round pick.
He could still put all that together though and given the opportunity to learn and develop, Stranges could be a potential draft steal if he does go as late as the third round.
Related THW Draft Profiles
Antonio Stranges – NHL Draft Projection
From a potential first round pick at the beginning of the season to now sitting somewhere between the second and third round, Stranges’ inconsistent season might’ve landed him as a third-round selection in the upcoming NHL Draft. While some still see him going in the mid to late second round, the potential that he slid to the 70th to 80th overall selection is very much a possibility. He’s not a bad player, but his ability to own his lack of consistent play this season could be the defining factor on where he ends up at the draft.
“His skating has been very good, the 10-2 is outstanding but he hasn’t overused it. He’s a sneaky player in the o-zone. When he doesn’t have the puck he’s moving through traffic to find space.” – Tony Ferrari, Dobber Prospects
“Stranges has very good vision and playmaking abilities, and he can play patiently. He has the ability to slow things down, draw people to him and use his patience to allow a play to develop and dish the puck with accuracy.” – Dominic Tiano, OHL Writers
- Backhand shot
- Silky hands
- Puck Control
- Skating and edge work
- Defensive zone coverage
- Effort level
Skill-wise, Stranges has the ability to play in a top-six role at some point during his career. That said, to get there, he’s going to have to build on his 200-foot game and develop consistency in his play. Both effort and defensive zone coverage have been question marks in his junior career to this point. That’s not to say he can’t get to that ceiling, but it’ll take the right team drafting him to develop him into a player that can help in all aspects of the game – not just offensively.
Risk – 2.5/5, Reward – 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 7/10, Defense – 6/10
His accomplishments might be few and far between, but that won’t last forever – especially with his junior career being in London. That said, for now, Stranges can say he was an international all-star at the Silverstick Bantam AAA tournament.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.