By: Kyle Watson
Last Monday, NHL Central Scouting released their midterm rankings of players eligible for the upcoming 2020 NHL Draft. Knights forwards Antonio Stranges and Luke Evangelista were listed, as well as defenseman Kirill Steklov.
The scouting bureau separates the players into four categories: North American Skaters, North American Goalies, International Skaters, and International Goalies.
Antonio Stranges – 39th Ranked North American Skater
Left Wing | February 5, 2002 | 5-foot-10 | 170 pounds
In terms of raw skill, few players in this draft can match Antonio Stranges. The Plymouth, MI native has continued to be a human highlight reel this season after his shootout antics went viral last year. His unique skating style and high-level puck-handling ability make him one of the most intriguing players to watch in junior.
Stranges hails from the famed Detroit Little Caesars AAA program that has produced a number of NHL stars including Zach Werenski, Mike Modano and former Knight Tyler Parsons.
The sophomore forward represented London at the 2020 CHL Kutbota Top Prospects Game on January 16th in Hamilton.
Luke Evangelista – 58th Ranked North American Skater
Right Wing | February 21, 2002 | 5-foot-11 | 165 pounds
After a quiet rookie season, Luke Evangelista has exploded to a point-per-game pace this year. He has played wing on Connor McMichael’s line for most of the season, forming an effective duo with the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship gold medalist. Although the Capitals’ first round pick has stolen most of the headlines this year, Evangelista has made himself no stranger to catching eyes. His first OHL goal sparked his first career hat trick in October vs. Kingston.
Evangelista joined Stranges at the CHL Kubota Top Prospects Game where both players collected a point.
Kirill Steklov – 69th Ranked North American Skater
Defence | March 30, 2002 | 6-foot-4 | 185 pounds
Kirill Steklov has impressed in a smaller sample size so far for the Knights. The defenceman, who moved to Russia at age 10 after being born in Estonia, has been impressive on the back-end through the first half of the season. He scored his first goal in November to go with his four assists.
The rookie has drawn comparisons to former Knight Olli Maatta from Assistant Coach Dylan Hunter. Speaking to Ryan Pyette of the London Free Press, Hunter said, “To me, Kirill is like an Olli Maatta. He believes in what we’re doing and he shows his character. He could go up and down the ice in a race car and get as many points as he can, but he understands for us to win right now, he has to play as good defensively as he is able.”
Steklov has represented Russia at the U16, U17, and U18 level, recently competing in the World Junior A Challenge in British Columbia, where Russia won their first ever gold medal.