Ronning’s biggest booster, his head coach Lorne Molleken, lauds his heart and passion, going as far as to proclaim Ronning the Giants’ “best player” of the year over projected first-rounder (and team captain) Tyler Benson.
Despite that endorsement, many notable mock draft boards have left the Burnaby native entirely off their 2016 prospects list, and he won’t play in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects game at the Pacific Coliseum on Jan. 28.
“I’m very surprised Ronning was excluded. He has been the team MVP this season,” said Marshall Mackinder, a scout for the Red Line Report whose subscribers include the majority of NHL teams. “With Benson missing the first 10 games of the season and only contributing at what he says is 75 per cent, Ronning sure picked up the slack.”
In fact, it wasn’t until the latest NHL Central Scouting Bureau board — released in November — that Ronning was even included among the draft-eligible players to watch. He’s been given a C rating for now as a projected fourth-, fifth- or sixth-rounder.
The general consensus among scouts is that Ronning can get hot quick but he can also cool off fast. Two injury-plagued seasons — 56 games in 2013-14 and 24 games in his infamous 2014-15 campaign — also didn’t help his cause, Mackinder said.
The other concern about Ronning will always be his size, at a mere 5-9 and 165 pounds.