Coming in at 18th, and making his debut in the 2021 top 25 under 25 rankings is the Toronto Maple Leafs’ fifth round pick in this past draft: Ty Voit. And I can tell you right now, he’s going to be divisive in these rankings, just like his NHL Entry Draft rankings were quite divisive.
If there are any prospects going into the draft who were highly affected by the pandemic, it was the OHL players who didn’t get to play any meaningful games. Some went to Europe, some to the USHL, but a lot of them did not get a chance to build any hype and their draft stock fell as a result.
So it was with Ty Voit. Voit is a small but speedy winger from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who chose to play in the OHL instead of the USHL. He was drafted by the Sarnia Sting and made his debut as a 16 year old rookie in the 2019/20 season that was cut short by the start of the pandemic. He finished 15th in the OHL in total points by rookies with 28 in 49 games. Being unable to play anywhere this past season, he was able to join the PBHH Invitational exhibition series that had several OHL players of all ages play some games. But from what I could see, it was glorified shinny. There wasn’t a lot of intensity to any of the games.
You can read more context and information about his rookie season and how it stacked up to other OHLers that were drafted this year, as well as a breakdown of his skills, in his post-draft profile here.
You can get a good idea of how missing a season impacted Voit’s draft stock by looking at how various public scouting outlets changed their assessment of him between their mid-season and final draft rankings.
These outlets are some who were higher on Voit than most, and it’s worth pointing out that Bob McKenzie never had him ranked on any of his lists through the season. But we heard plenty through the year how much uncertainty was going to hurt players in Voit’s position among NHL teams, and that was born out by how far he, Connor Lockhart (6th round), Francesco Arcuri (6th round), and Ryan Mast (6th round) all fell. They all had some hype going into the season that they could not build on at all.
How We Voted
So this is the question: how much did not playing hurt Voit’s draft position? If he had played somewhere like the USHL or in Europe, would he have played well enough to solidify his stock to be worthy of a draft pick a few rounds earlier where he was actually taken? The issue is that you are trying to project the future of a guy who last played meaningful hockey before he turned 17 years old, when there is a lot of growth and development in that time.
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For his growth, he started the 2019/20 season listed as 5’8” and is now at 5’10”. All jokes about the reliability of players’ height listings, he has clearly grown taller and stronger in the past two years. His playing ability, skills, and refinement would have also progressed, we just couldn’t see it because he didn’t play.
The assumption, or hope, of Leafs fans is that Voit would have killed it, been given more playing time as a top prospect, and put up a point per game pace or better in the OHL and played well at the Hlinka Gretzky tournament for Team USA, so he would have wound up being a 2nd or 3rd round pick. That means him being taken in the 5th round would make him a bit of a steal.
Of course, we don’t know that would be true. He could have struggled a bit due to his smaller size, and had bigger questions about his defense and lack of goals. Leafs fans have turned on Mitch Marner for (among other things) not being able to score goals when it counts, well those fans may raise an eyebrow at Voit’s profile of a playmaking passer who doesn’t necessarily score that much.
That uncertainty led to a very divisive spread in his T25U25 rankings among us as well. Everyone ranked him, but there was essentially three clusters for where he was voted:
- Those skeptical about him: Species (25th), Elseldo (24th), Omar (24th), and Katya (22nd)
- Those who think he’s more of a steal: Will Scouch (11th), AJ Gallardo (11th), Hardev (12th), Arjun (13th)
- Those who are more in the middle: Me (15th), Kevin Papetti (19th)
That led to his final ranking being put in the middle at 18th. I think, given all of the uncertainty around him and his situation, that’s about right. It takes all of the good and the bad and the question marks into account.
Here’s what some of the other voters had to say:
Katya: I think the ranking of Voit, a fifth round pick, says more about the Leafs prospect pool than about Voit. I know he has his fans, and sure, I’ll buy in on the volatility of a draft where players like Voit missed an entire year, and it’s cool the Leafs drafted him, but I tried very hard not to rank him. His 16-year-old first OHL season was good, but his scoring was mostly assists. His shooting location was very good, but the rate was very, very low. His own goals came almost entirely at 5-on-5, which is good, but his role was limited on a team where Ryan McGregor was a top player. Voit is not a stealth first rounder in my eyes, not even a late one, and yet I ended up ranking him 22nd.
Hardev: I think the combination of the Leafs having so few prospects of note, combined with the fact that Voit was one of only three picks from this year’s draft, and the fact that people were initially underwhelmed by the picking of Knies means he has more recognition and expectations placed on him than a normal fifth round pick would get. He’s a swing for high upside, which I like, so I hope it works.
What Should We Look For From Voit This Season?
This upcoming season will answer for us how much of a steal Voit really was.
He’ll return to Sarnia in the OHL, and he will likely be the offensive leader of the team. Without the pandemic, he’d likely get to play with a Jacob Perreault, a first round pick in 2020. But because there was no OHL season, he played 27 games in the AHL for the Ducks’ affiliate, and there is word that any OHL player drafted to the NHL in 2020 who played a certain amount of games in the AHL can return to the AHL in the upcoming season. The other top offensive players from Sarnia in 2019/20 will also be gone — of the eight players on Sarnia who had more points than Voit, all of them have aged out, will play in the AHL due to that exception, or have already committed to play next year in Europe.
So expect Voit to be given a ton of minutes at even strength, on the powerplay, and heck maybe even on the penalty kill. He’ll be given top offensive role, and his points will increase dramatically from his rookie year. I’ll be watching as many of his games as I can to see if he also stands out as a dominant player all over the ice.
Because if he really is a steal, and really would have been a top pick in the past NHL draft, he will need to be one of the more dominant players in the league. Nick Robertson was a second round pick who “fell” a bit, and what turned him into a legit prospect was being the most dominant goal scorer in the OHL in his D+1 season. Mikhail Abramov was taken in the fourth round, and we now consider him to be in a lower tier (or two) than Robertson after he was among the most dominant offensive players in the QMJHL with little support from his offensively-challenged team.
So we should hope, if not expect, Voit to be near the top of the OHL in points, and look like a dominant offensive force. Otherwise, we should consider him more like other late round picks, and next year his T25U25 ranking will be more in the 20’s.
Do think 18th is a fair ranking for Ty Voit as of now?
This poll is closed
I ranked him much better
I didn’t even rank him
Sounds about right