Cats Pick Hoffman Out of Alberta
The University of Vermont has their goalie of the future in 6’3”, 210 lb. Brody Hoffman of the Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL).
A 2/18/91 birthdate from Wilkie, Sask., Hoffman has a 20-3-2 record thus far with the Oil Barons. His goals against average of 1.91 is third in the league, and his save percentage of .928 is tops in the league. In addition to his size and his ability to use it to keep the puck out of the net, Hoffman also handles the biscuit adroitly.
Hoffman played the last two seasons for the Nipawin Hawks (SJHL) before his trade to the Oil Barons this season.
In 2008-09, while with the Notre Dame Hounds, Hoffman split duties with Finnish goaltender Christopher Gibson, a second round pick of the LA Kings last June now playing with Chicoutimi. The Hounds won the Telus Cup – the Canadian national midget championship -- that season.
Other schools involved with Hoffman were Notre Dame, Clarkson, Alaska, and Bemidji State.
Hoffman will be at Vermont this fall.
Top BCHL’er to North Dakota
6’2”, 171 lb. Vernon Vipers (BCHL) forward Adam Tambellini has committed to the University of North Dakota for the fall of ’13. In 41 games played this season the 11/1/94 DOB has a 20-18-38 scoring line.
The son of Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini and brother of former University of Michigan star forward Jeff Tambellini made his final decision between Michigan, Minnesota and of course North Dakota. The Port Moody, BC native is described by Vipers head coach Jason Williamson as “a high-end offensive talent. He is going to score if he gets the puck in a scoring area.”
Tambellini is in his first year with the Vipers. Last season he put up a 29-25-54 scoring line in only 34 games played for the SSAC Athletics of the Alberta Midget Hockey League (AMHL). The natural goal scorer is not NHL draft-eligible until 2013. He projects to go in the top three rounds.
Two Wildcats Commit
6’5”, 220 lb. Kimball Union junior LD Doyle Somerby has committed to Boston University for the fall of ’13.
Somerby, a 7/4/94 birthdate from Marblehead, Mass., played at St. Mary’s of Lynn before heading up to Kimball Union, where he is now in his second year.
Somerby, ranked #127 among North American skaters for this June’s draft by Central Scouting on their recent mid-term ranking, has played 20 games for the 17-2-2 Wildcats and has a 1-9-10 line. His defensive partner is freshman John MacLeod, who also just committed to Boston University.
The five schools that Somerby considered were BU, Penn State, Maine, UNH, and St. Lawrence.
“He skates very well for a big kid,” says Kimball Union head coach Mike Levine, “and has the potential to be a pro. He can handle the puck, uses his stick well, and knows the game really well.
Committing to St. Lawrence for the fall of ’14 is Kimball Union’s 6’0”, 180 lb. LW Gregg Burmaster.
A 10/27/94 from Clinton, NY, Burmaster is in his first year at KUA, coming from the Syracuse Junior Stars (Empire) squad where he was the team’s leading scorer with 72 points in 38 games.
At Kimball Union, he has a 8-5-13 line in 20 games played.
“He’s a big power forward who can really shoot it,” says Levine. “I got to know his family well when I was coaching at Utica College. He’s a central New York kid who wanted to play fairly close to home so it came down to Colgate and St. Lawrence. He’ll play a year of juniors after graduating from here. Burmaster and Somerby are both great kids with great upside.”
Nobles #1 Again
The Noble & Greenough School (16-1-1) remains atop the USHR Prep Poll for the fourth straight week.
The Bulldogs haven't lost since Dec. 3 at Belmont Hill. The only other 'blemish' is a Jan. 20 tie against Lawrence Academy.
There are two new teams in this week's poll, which means that two teams -- Choate (11-5-1) and Cushing (12-6-2) -- got the boot.
USHR Prep Poll: Week of Jan. 30, 2012
Harvard Lands a Sniper
Harvard has a received a commitment from Salisbury’s leading scorer, senior forward Philip Zielonka. The Montreal, Quebec native is scheduled to arrive in Cambridge in the fall of 2013.
In 16 games played thus far, the 1/28/93 birthdate has a 15-10-25 scoring line. This is a significant get for Harvard as Zielonka has the ability to be an immediate contributor. On a very deep team he is the offensive catalyst and a threat to score every shift. The 5’11”, 180 lb. forward possesses a deadly accurate shot to go along with excellent speed. The Zielonka-John Stevens-Zach Pryzbek line is as good as any trio in prep hockey, and possibly the best. Salisbury is 9-1 in their last 10 games and the deepest team prep school hockey has seen in several years.
NTDP Final 40 Camp: Our Predictions
Before long, USA Hockey will be naming its NTDP Final 40 Camp roster. Since the best of the best – at least ostensibly – will be invited, we thought it would be fun to predict how it will play out. Our list is in no way indicative of what USA Hockey will actually do, nor did we receive input from anybody working within USA Hockey. That said, the recent Youth Olympic roster is a good starting point as we would imagine all of the players on that team will get an invite to camp. However, with an underwhelming performance at the tournament (a fourth place finish in a five-team tournament) it’s quite possible that some of those players worked their way off of the list. We will see.
*Indicates a dual citizen
**Indicates a ’97 DOB
Forwards (24): *Daniel Audette (College Esther-Blondin-QMAAA), Anderson Bjork (Chicago Mission U16), Blake Clarke (Fargo-USHL), Kyle Connor (Belle Tire U16), Jack Eichel (Junior Bruins-Empire), Jared Fiegl (Colorado Rampage U16), Shane Gersich (Holy Family Catholic HS), Marcel Godbout (Shattuck-St. Mary’s), Ryan Hitchcock (NJ Rockets-MET), Keegan Iverson (Breck HS), Laythe Jadallah (Gunnery), Dylan Larkin (Belle Tire U16), Ryan MacInnis (St. Louis Blues U16), Nick Magyar (Cleveland Barons U16), Seamus Malone (Chicago Mission U16), Sonny Milano (Cleveland Barons U16), Liam Pecararo (Boston Advantage U18), Nick Schmaltz (Chicago Mission U16), Nolan Stevens (LA Jr. Kings U16), Ryan Tait (Shattuck St. Mary’s U16), Alex Tuch (Syracuse-Empire), Joe Wegwerth (Brewster-Empire), Christopher Wilkie (Omaha U16), Brian Williams (LA Selects U16).
Defensemen (16): Adam Baughman (Chicago Mission U16), Ryan Bliss (St. Paul’s School), Nathan Billitier (Rochester-EJHL), *Santino Centorame (Mississauga Rebels-GTHL), Ryan Collins (St. Louis Park HS), Alex Copa (Blaine HS), Brandon Fortunato (Long Island Royals U16), Jack Glover (Benilde-St. Margaret’s), **Noah Hanifin (St. Sebastian’s), Joshua Jacobs (Honeybaked U16), Kevin Kerr (Team Comcast U16), Jake Linhart (Chicago Mission U16), Jonathan MacLeod (Kimball Union), Jack Walker (Edina HS), Daniel Willett (NJ Rockets-MET), **Zach Werenski (Belle Tire U16).
Goaltenders (4): Cody Gibson (Belle Tire U16), Logan Halladay (Carolina Jr. Hurricanes U16), Edwin Minney (DC Capitals U16), Sam Tucker (Choate).
Alternates: Forward: Christian Dvorak (Chicago Misson U16), Defense: Matt Berkovitz (Team Wisconsin U16). Goal: Joe Staely (St. Louis Blues U16)
We have included two ‘97s on our list: defensemen Noah Hanifin and Zach Werenski. We have no idea as to whether or not Peter Ward and USA Hockey have any intention of inviting two ‘97’s into camp. It could be a can of worms they would rather not open (re-open, actually, as there have been a half dozen or so underagers in the program in the past, the last being Philip McRae in ’05-06). However, Hanifin and Werenski are elite players deserving of the invite. We feel both would be among the top eight defensemen in camp, with Hanifin likely being the best of the entire bunch. At the end of the day this team will be expected to beat the Canadians, Russian, Swedes, etc. in international tournaments – and Hanifin and Werenski give them the best chance to do that.
On another note, there is a strong chance that dual citizen Daniel Audette will be a no-show. The son of long time NHLer Donald Audette is expected to be the #1 overall selection in the in the QMJHL draft, a route which he is rumored to be taking. Is he one of the top 24 American-born forwards? You bet. Thus, he makes our camp roster.
Finally, it was very difficult to pick the goalies. If there was one major issue at the Youth Olympics it was between the pipes. Logan Halladay and Edwin Minney are both pro prospects and have a lot of potential, but they clearly are not there yet. Who is next in line? Our guess would have to be Sam Tucker. He is the starting goaltender at Choate and sports a .932 save percentage—impressive numbers for a 15 year old. We look forward to seeing how this plays out -- and how close we come to nailing the camp roster.
Seth Jones Narrowing Choices
It appears that U.S. Under-18 Team star defenseman Seth Jones won’t be taking his game east of the Mississippi.
As of a week or two ago, Jones had narrowed his choices for next season to Boston University, North Dakota, or major junior (the WHL’s Everett Silvertips own his rights).
Now, it's reportedly been narrowed down further -- to North Dakota or major junior.
A late ’94, Jones is not eligible for the NHL draft until the summer of ’13 hence, if he takes the college route, he’d be an undrafted freshman, a rare thing – and rarer yet in that he could be the #1 overall pick.
Avon Old Farms 6’1” senior RD Colin Sullivan has decommitted from Yale.
Sullivan, who committed to Yale three years ago, when he was still at Fairfield Prep, had expected to play at Yale next season, feels he is ready, and was unhappy that Yale wanted him to take another year, play in the USHL, and come in for the fall of ’13.
A native of Milford, Conn. (15 minutes from New Haven) and a seventh round draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens last June, Sullivan is a co-captain of the Winged Beavers this season. In 15 games, he has a 7-3-10 line.
Fitzgerald Heading to the Heights
5’9”, 165 lb. Malden Catholic RD Casey Fitzgerald has committed to Boston College for the fall of ’15 or ’16.
A 2/25/97 birthdate and a ninth grader, Fitzgerald, a North Reading, Mass. native, is the younger brother of Malden Catholic senior Ryan Fitzgerald, who will be playing for BC starting in the fall of ’13. The boys’ father is former Providence College and 17-year-NHL forward Tom Fitzgerald, now the Pittsburgh Penguins assistant GM.
Like his brother, Casey is a smart hockey player, with great awareness. He possesses a good stick and likes to join the rush.
Fitzgerald also plays for the Valley Warriors ’97 Team.
USHL Prospects Game Tonight
The USHL Prospects games faces off tonight (7:15 pm EST) at the L.S. Walker Arena in Muskegon, Michigan.
Of the 43 players named, 31 will be first-year draft eligible; nine will be going through the draft for the second time; and three will not become eligible until 2013. (A fourth player who is eligible for the 2013 draft, Dubuque’s ’95 d-man Michael Downing, was named but will not be in the lineup tonight.)
First Time Draft Eligibles:
Ray Pigozzi, F, Chicago
Jeff Kubiak, F, Chicago
Cody Bradley, F, Dubuque
Zemgus Girgensons, F, Dubuque
Nate Arentz, F, Fargo
Austin Farley, F, Fargo
Alex Kile, F, Green Bay
Nick Schilkey, F, Green Bay
Robbie Baillargeon, F, Indiana
Robert Polesello, F, Indiana
Zach Aston-Reese, F, Lincoln
Adam Chlapik, F, Muskegon
Matt DeBlouw, F, Muskegon
Jordan Masters, F, Muskegon
Justin Selman, F, Sioux Falls
Austyn Young, F, Sioux Falls
Tim Lappin, F, Tri-City Storm
Vince Hinostroza, F, Waterloo
A.J. Michaelson, F, Waterloo
Austin Cangelosi, F, Youngstown
Richard Zehnal, F, Youngstown
Ian Brady, D, Chicago
Jaccob Slavin, D, Chicago
Mike Matheson, D, Dubuque
Brian Cooper, D, Fargo
Justin Wade, D, Fargo
Dakota Mermis, D, Green Bay
Jordan Schmaltz, D, Green Bay
Mark Yanis, D, Muskegon
Cliff Watson, D, Sioux City
Jon Gillies, G, Indiana
Second-year Draft Eligibles:
Kevin Irwin, F, Des Moines
Zach Saar, F, Des Moines
Kevin Roy, F, Lincoln
Matt Caito, D, Dubuque
Mike McKee, D, Lincoln
Chris Bradley, D, Youngstown
Alex Lyon, G, Omaha
Stephon Williams, G, Sioux Falls
Jay Williams, G, Waterloo
Eligible in 2013:
Taylor Cammarata, F, Waterloo
Luke Johnson, F, Lincoln
Ian McCoshen, D, Waterloo
Michael Downing, D, Dubuque
Looking to the Future: The Top Freshmen
If we had assembled a list of top freshman ten years ago it would have been unheard of for any of the players to be college committed but, as you know, times have changed. Three of the below players have college commitments, and a bunch of others could if they were anxious enough about it.
Bear in mind that, although many of the top 14 and 15 year olds are still playing bantam and midget hockey, we are restricting this particular list to prep and high school players. It’s a short list – just 15 players – but there just aren’t a lot of freshman playing varsity hockey in prep school. There are probably a handful of freshmen emerging out there somewhere whom we haven’t seen yet. They won’t be secrets for long, though. Just look for them on next year’s sophomore list.
We have also included eighth graders, of whom there are two, each identified by an asterisk.
1. Noah Hanifin, D, ’97 (St. Sebastian’s/BC) 6-3/180—The top young high school/prep player the state of Massachusetts has seen since Ryan Whitney (Edmonton/BU/Thayer). If Hanifin was a ’94 DOB – with his game where it is at right now -- he would probably be taken in the 2nd or 3rd round of NHL draft. Players like this do not come along very often. Has the potential to be a franchise defenseman in the NHL.
2. *Cam Askew, F, ’97 (St. Sebastian’s/Northeastern) 6-3/175—There is so much to like about the Northeastern recruit. The repeat 8th grader has size, hands, grit, and is a natural goal scorer. Still has some physical maturing to do, but projects very nicely. The South Boston native is not draft eligible until 2015, but if we had to take a guess we’d say he will go in the top two rounds when the time comes.
3. John MacLeod, D, ’96 (Kimball Union/BU) 6-2/165—The recent BU commit is a pro prospect with all the assets to be an impact player at higher levels. The Cardigan Mountain alum is a strong candidate to make the NTDP. He will play at Nationals this spring for the Cleveland Barons U-16 team.
4. Casey Fitzgerald, D, ’97 (Malden Catholic/Uncommitted) 5-10/155—Son of former NHL veteran Tom Fitzgerald and brother of BC recruit Ryan Fitzgerald. The MC freshman will be an impact player at the D-I level. His on ice intelligence is far ahead of most freshman and sophomores. Is a natural leader who brings a lot of intangibles into the dressing room. Has an offer from BC sitting on the table.
5. *Colin White, F, ’97 (Nobles/Uncommitted) 6-0/155—8th grader is playing on the first line of the #1 team in prep hockey and does not look out of place. Can really skate and will be a force at the high school level as early as next season. Has already visited BU and BC.
6. Sam Tucker, G, ’96 (Choate/Uncommitted) 6-0/155—The Wilton, Conn. native has taken the reins as the starting goaltender of the 12-4 Wild Boars. Has extremely impressive numbers (.932 save %) and is getting a lot of D-I interest. Is only going to get better. Will be a hot commodity, especially among the Ivies.
7. Cal Burke, F, ’97 (Nobles/Uncommitted) 5-10/160—Is loaded with skill and is a very smart player. Has not had the offensive impact as Askew or White, but his opportunities have been limited. Plays on Nobles’ third line while White is on the ice with Adam Gilmour and Chris Calnan—two potential NHL draft picks. Burke is still physically immature (5-10 is probably inflated), but once he grows and fills out the center is going to be a good one and will probably produce more points than White.
8. Ryan Donato, F, ’96 (Dexter/Uncommitted) 5-8/160—The son of Harvard head coach and former NHLer Ted Donato. A well-rounded player who you can tell is a coach’s son. Is producing at a point-a-game pace. Harvard bound?
9. Liam Darcy, D, ’97 (Berwick/Uncommitted) 5-11/160—Intelligent player who processes the game quickly. Keeps his head up and makes plays. UNH has the inside track on the South Berwick native as the former Seacoast Spartan has been a lifelong UNH Hockey fan.
10. Ara Nazarian, F, ’96 (Malden Catholic/Uncommitted) 5-9/170—Has scored goals everywhere he has played and surely will find a way to do the same at the D-I level. Is on the smaller side and is not a burner, which is probably why a school has not jumped on him yet (can’t believe we’re saying that about a kid in 9th grade!). As he continues to score goals at higher levels his stock will rise.
11. Lincoln Griffin, F, ’97 (Thayer/Uncommitted) 5-10/160—A coaches dream—someone you want on your team. A very complete player who flies under the radar because he is not flashy. Takes a workman-like approach and gets the job done on a consistent basis. Does all the small things that go unnoticed, and thrives in the tough areas of the ice. Will be heavily recruited in the coming years.
12. Austin Rook, D, ’97 (Rivers/Uncommitted) 6-3/190—Is second on a young Rivers team in scoring with 13 points in 14 games played—an impressive feat for a freshman defenseman. There is a good chance that Sean McEachern will mold the youngster into a top-end recruit.
13. Jeremy Bracco, F, ’97 (Portledge/Uncommitted) 5-7/135—The full-time Long Island Gull has excellent vision and sees plays developing before they happen. Produces a lot of points—has 21 in 12 games this season at the Portledge School and was also a top scorer at last summer’s Select 14 Festival. Skating needs to improve in order to continue to be a top scorer at higher levels.
14. Bobby Wurster, D, ’97 (Choate/Uncommitted) 6-2/160—Tall, lanky defenseman is raw, but has a lot to work with. Has a good idea what to do with the puck and does not appear to get himself into too much trouble. He plays a safe game. Skating is just OK right now. Has a long way to go, but has a good chance of developing into a top prospect.
15. Austin Ricci, F, ’96 (St. Paul’s/Uncommited)—Is always around the puck and has a knack for scoring goals. Will be someone to track over the next couple years, but is not ready for immediate attention like some of the above-mentioned players.
Nobles Remains at #1 in USHR Prep Poll
Noble & Greenough (14-1-1), tied at home by Lawrence Academy on Friday, saw their 13-game winning streak come to an end. However, the Bulldogs are still #1 in this week's USHR poll. But Exeter (14-1-1) is hot on their heels -- and there is not much to separate those two.
Two schools -- St. Paul's and Avon Old Farms -- have gotten the boot this week.
An interesting week is coming up, with a lot of key matchups that could change things significantly by next Sunday night. Stay tuned. We are getting down to the nitty-gritty.
USHR Prep Poll: Week of Jan. 23, 2012
U.S. Youth Olympic Team Settles for Fourth
Innsbruck, Austria -- The U.S. lost to Canada, 7-5, in the bronze-medal game at the 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games here today.
The U.S., which outshot Canada 40-19, finishes the five-team tournament with two wins and four losses. All players in the tournament were '96 birthdates.
“I’m proud of the this team and the way they battled,” said head coach Ben Smith. “In our last two games, we trailed in the third period, but we never gave up. We gave ourselves a chance at the end of both games.”
Jack Eichel, Team USA’s player of the game, Ryan MacInnis and Nick Schmaltz each had a goal and an assist for team USA. For Canada, Reid Gardiner, who plays for the Saskatoon Contacts Midget AAA, had five points (1g,4a), and Ryan Gropp, from the Okanagan Hockey Academy Midget AAA squad, notched a hat trick.
Canada’s goaltender, Kevin Bouchard, who plays for Jonquière (Quebec Midget AAA) kicked out 35 of 40 shots for the win. Logan Halladay (Carolina Junior Hurricanes) stopped 12 of 19 shots in the loss.
U.S. leading scorers at the tournament were MacInnis (4-2-6), Eichel (2-4-6), and Schmaltz (2-4-6). Leading the tournament in scoring were Canada's Gardiner (4-8-12) and Russia's Ivan Nikolishin (6-6-12).
Goaltending wasn't a strong point for the U.S. Minney finished with an .833 save percentage and 4.65 gaa; Halladay had a .743 save percentage and a 5.09 gaa.
Russia and Finland will meet in the gold medal game tomorrow.
U.S. Under-16 Roster:
Goaltenders (2): Logan Halladay (Carolina Jr. Hurricanes); Edwin Minney (DC Capitals).
Defensemen (6): Adam Baughman (Chicago Mission); Nathan Billitier (Rochester – EJHL); Ryan Bliss (St. Paul’s School); Jack Glover (Benilde-St. Margaret’s); Joshua Jacobs (Honeybaked), Kevin Kerr (Team Comcast).
Forwards (9): Blake Clarke (Fargo – USHL); Jack Eichel (Junior Bruins - Empire); Jared Fiegl (Col. Rampage); Shane Gersich (Holy Family Catholic HS); Marcel Godbout (Shattuck); Ryan MacInnis (St. Louis Amateur Blues); Nick Magyar (Cleveland Barons); Nick Schmaltz (Chicago Mission); Joe Wegwerth (Brewster – Empire).
Sat. Jan. 14 – US 7, Austria 2
Sun. Jan. 15 – Canada 5, US 1
Tues. Jan. 17 – US 5, Finland 4
Wed. Jan. 18 – Russia 7, US 1
Fri. Jan. 20 – Semifinal -- Russia 5, US 2
Sat. Jan. 21 – Bronze – Canada 7, U.S. 5
Fidler Makes His Pick
5’8”, 165 lb. Dexter School LC Trevor Fidler has committed to Harvard for either ’13 or ’14.
An 11th grader and a ’95 birthdate, Fidler is Dexter’s leading scorer with a 14-21-35 line in 13 games played.
A Watertown, Mass. native and the son of former Boston University forward Mark Fidler (’77-81), the younger Fidler made a name for himself at the BU Showcase over the summer and has carried that over to the regular season.
Fidler is offensively gifted, with both finishing and playmaking abilities. He’s extremely competitive --- battles for pucks, blocks shots – and is very physical. He’s a small player who plays with an edge, kind of a prep school version of Brad Marchand. Like the Bruins forward, Fidler walks that line between getting under a player’s skin and simply going too far, and will likely have to tone it down in college and concentrate on playing hockey. He certainly has the skill.
Other schools that were interested were BC, BU, Northeastern, UMass, and UNH, though none had made formal offers.
Rosenthal to Catamounts
6’1”, 180 lb. Kent senior RW Ryan Rosenthal has committed to the University of Vermont for either ’12 or ’13.
A 4/30/93 birthdate from Montvale, NJ, Rosenthal played for the North Jersey Avalanche before coming to Kent as a sophomore.
Playing wing on a line centered by Boo Nieves, Rosenthal is Kent’s leading scorer with an 11-10-21 line in 13 games played.
“I like that he has developed all aspects of his game while he has been here,” says Kent head coach Matt Herr. “He was originally a speed guy but filled in all the other parts of his game. UVM is very lucky to get a player like him this late in the game.”
Rosenthal also played three games in September at the USHL Fall Classic with the Green Bay Gamblers, notching a goal and an assist. Rosenthal was drafted last spring by the Gamblers.
Tier I U-16 Elites Impress in Hingham
Checked in this weekend at the U-16 Tier 1 Elite League Showcase in Hingham, Mass. hosted by the Boston Advantage. Quality hockey abounded, and high-end talent walked hand-in-hand. All 24 league teams made the trip to Boston, providing an excellent opportunity to see teams we do not normally get an opportunity to observe. Bushels of NCAA coaches were on hand – including all the heavy hitters. Some of the leagues finest players did not make the trip for various reasons, mostly due to the fact that they had been chosen for the U.S. Junior Olympic Team competing in Innsbruck, Austria. Nick Magyar (Cleveland Barons), Kevin Kerr (Team Comcast), Edwin Minney (DC Capitals), Jared Feigl (Colorado Rampage), and Ryan MacInnis (St. Louis Blues) were all overseas. Belle Tire’s Dylan Larkin was also MIA, but injury can be blamed for that.
Anyway, we did our best to see every team play, but would have liked to see some teams more (e.g., Colorado Rampage, Russell Stover, Dallas Stars and Oakland). Here, then are the players who stood out for us:
1. Nolan Stevens, F, ’96 (LA Jr. Kings) 6-2/165—The tournament buzz was generated by the big, smooth center who is in his first season out in LA (he has played the majority of his youth hockey in Philadelphia for Team Comcast). The son of John Stevens (LA Kings asst. coach) and brother of John Stevens (Salisbury senior forward) is a good one. Will not single handedly take over games, but he dominates his shifts in a quiet manner. Makes a lot of good decisions on a consistent basis and every now and then makes an eye-popping play. Just a very intelligent center who can make average players look good- - and good players look great. Not many negative things happen when he is on the ice. Should be a lock to make the NTDP. If he can add a step to his skating he will have a long career in hockey.
2. Zach Werenski, D, ’97 (Belle Tire) 6-2/190—An elite defender with pro potential. Does everything extremely well and does not have any holes in his game. We are not ready to place him in the same category as Noah Hanifin (St. Sebastian’s), but many feel they are comparable. He very well could be close to -- or as good as -- Hanifin right now as the under-ager’s game is very polished. However, we prefer Hanifin’s upside. Werenski is certainly good enough to make the NTDP next season, but probably would not be in the top two—thus if we were USA Hockey we would probably not make the exception for him. Having said that, Hanifin is the clear cut #1 spanning both the ’96 and ’97 age group. If we were with the NTDP, we would make an exception and take him, though staying at St. Seb’s and working for another year with Sean McCann, a former Hobey Baker Award finalist as a defenseman at Harvard, won’t exactly hold him back.
3. Troy Henley, D, ’97 (Team Comcast) 6-0/178—We have seen Comcast before and have noticed Henley, but we were unaware he was only a ’97—which puts him in a new light. Henley did not look out of place at all playing a year up, in fact he was Team Comcast’s best defenseman this weekend as they were missing Kevin Kerr. Plays a well-rounded game in that he handles the puck with confidence, makes good decisions, defends well, and even has an edge to his game. Is rumored to be entertaining the idea of playing midget minor in Ontario next season, leading one to think that the OHL may be in his plans. Perhaps, the NTDP will try to alter his current state of mind, even if he does eventually wind up in the O.
4. Kyle Connor, F, ’96 (Belle Tire) 6-0/150—We have written about Connor before, but he is a player you like more and more every time you see him. Does a lot of things well. and knows how to play the game right: he’s a hockey player. Can make plays and bury the puck, but is also not afraid to get his nose dirty in the corners and the tough areas of the ice. Possesses the puck nicely down low and makes a lot of plays with his back to defenders. A solid candidate for the NTDP, he has recently committed to the University of Michigan.
5. Brian Williams, F, ’96 (LA Selects) 5-10/170—Fell in love with the Tri-City (WHL) draftee’s game over the weekend. Does not have the same upside as the above-mentioned players, but man does he play the game hard. If you had a whole team of players like Brian Williams your team would be very difficult to play against, and would not lose many games. Williams is an absolute dog on loose pucks and will go through a wall to score a goal. While he has playmaking and finishing abilities, he is also not very big and thus not someone we see as being a high NHL draft pick. We feel it would be a wise move for him to play NCAA hockey. Williams would be a slam dunk for an NCAA school. As for the worst case scenario, you would be getting a third line winger who plays with a ton of energy and will become a fan favorite.
6. Sonny Milano, F, ’96 (Cleveland Barons) 5-10/154—The former Long Island Gull plays with a ton of pace and really puts defenders on their heels. Was dominant at times over the weekend. Makes a lot of plays and eats defenseman alive at this level. Will be an exciting player in the USHL/NCAA. In order to be a pro, he will have to learn to possess the puck against bigger and stronger players. Right now he is able to stickhandle through traffic with ease. At the next level he will need to play with his back to defenders and make plays. Seems like he is still growing and played this weekend like he had something to prove. Milano is leading the league in scoring with 58 points in 32 games played. Will be in the mix for the NTDP.
7. Jason Cotton, F, ’95 (Colorado Thunderbirds) 6-3/190—A tall, lanky forward with a good skill set. Looked creative and confident on the point of the power play. Skates well for a big player and projects nicely. A Div. I prospect.
8. Brendan Perlini, F, ’96 (Belle Tire) 6-0/165—Has a ton of skill. Very creative with the puck. Has the ability to undress defenders. The Ontario native will be a high OHL draft pick. If he learns to play with an edge he will shoot up the list of top ’96 forwards. His father, Fred Perlini, is a former pro player who had a cup of coffee in the NHL (eight games).
9. William Harrison, F, ’96 (DC Capitals) 5-10/185—Does everything very well, but nothing exceptionally. Generates a lot of scoring opportunities and gets the puck to the front of the net with authority. Does not have a ton of help, but you can tell he is going to be a good player at higher levels.
10. Max Rasberg, F, ’96 (Cleveland Barons) 5-9/152—A slippery player with excellent offensive instincts. He does skate awkwardly, though we don’t see that as being a problem. Makes plays and is a constant threat — especially on the PP.
11. Garret Gamez, F, ’95 (LA Jr. Kings) 5-11/160—The LA Jr. Kings’ leading scorer. Always seems to be around the puck. The Gamez/Stevens combo generates a ton of offense. Has good stick skills and an ability to finish.
12. Dominic Turgeon, F, ’96 (Colorado Thunderbirds) 6-1/188—The son of Pierre Turgeon has some tools: he is big and has the ability to make plays. Tends to play a finesse game when he projects to be a better power forward. Uses a short stick for a player of his height. Third round draft pick of the Portland Winterhawks (WHL).
13. Ryan Cusin, F, ’95 (Belle Tire) 5-7/165—Small, skilled playmaker that just buzzes around the puck. Was on a line with Kyle Conner and Brendan Perlini and the trio was difficult to keep under wraps. Size could become an issue in the future as he is not ultra-dynamic. But he is a smart hockey player.
14. Grant Meyer, F, ’96 (Cleveland Barons) 5-10/175—The Barons’ captain is a complete player who plays hard in all three zones. Does not have the same high-end skill set as a Sonny Milano or a Nolan Stevens, but can complement players of that nature. Gets a lot of pucks back and regularly wins loose puck battles. Plays rarely die on his stick. He’s a player you want on your team.
15. Justin Gutierrez, F, ’95 (LA Selects) 6-2/170—Alaska native has already played a game with Tri-City (WHL) and thus is off the slate of NCAA recruiters. Too bad, as he would have made a nice NCAA player. However, he’s still a nice prospect who could be an NHL draft pick when he fills out.
16. Dylan Fouts, F, ’96 (Pittsburgh Hornets) 6-0/165—Big forward skates well and works hard in all three zones. Is a player who could be on the bubble of being invited to the NTDP 40 man camp.
17. Christian Meike, D, ’96 (DC Capitals) 5-9/140—Mobile, puck-moving defender who has good offensive instincts. Once he gets bigger and stronger he will pop on to D-I recruiters’ radars. Going to Selects Hockey Academy next year.
18. Keanu Yamamoto, F, ’96 (LA Jr. Kings) 5-3/120—Fun to watch. Is crafty and makes plays. Is not physically intimidated. We are not certain where this goes as he is very small and not as dynamic as, for example, a Cason Hohmann (freshman at BU) at the same age. A good comparable would be former USHL/BCHL player KC Stahlberg.
19. Danny Kiraly, D, ’95 (Phoenix Jr. Coyotes) 6-0/165—Has played forward his whole life, so he is adjusting to the new position. Has decent size, and is really light on his feet. Good offensive abilities and is capable of breaking pucks out on his own.
20. Alex Jasiek, F, ’96 (St. Louis Blues) 5-8/145—Dangerous stick skills. Plays with an edge and will take a hit to score a goal. Father is the former CFO of the St. Louis Blues (NHL).
21. Kevin Wolf, D, ’96 (Chicago Fury) 6-5/186—A very interesting player who is raw, but could really turn into something. Certainly has the size to be a pro, and he thinks the game well in the sense that he doesn’t try to do too much. He really plays within himself. The St. Paul, Minnesota native is a tenth round selection in the 2011 WHL bantam draft by the Seattle Thunderbirds – and on Nov. 11 he signed a contract with the club.
22. Scott Fisher, D, ’95 (Chicago Fury) 6-1/195— Fisher can handle a puck with his head up and make good, crisp passes. Gets the puck to the middle of the ice in the offensive zone and puts it to the front of the net.
23. Shawn Brennan, D, ’96 (Cleveland Barons) 5-10/172—Runs an effective Barons PP. Distributes the puck and is not afraid to pull the trigger. Is solid and well put together. Defends effectively.
24. Josh Gabriel, F, ’96 (Buffalo Junior Sabres) 6-0/180—A solid hockey player in all aspects of the game. Gives a good effort and appears to be quite consistent. Is versatile in that he can score goals, but he can also serve as a checking line forward if need be.
25. Eric Carreras, F, ’95 (Philadelphia Junior Flyers) 5-6/130—Quick forward – and as tenacious as they come. He does not give up on pucks, and he makes plays in tight spaces.
26. Brandon Fushimi, F, ’96 (Rocky Mountain Roughriders) 5-11/160—Fascinating player who we would like to have spent a little more time dissecting. Fushimi is a fluid skater who uses a nice long stick and seems to handle the puck well. Creates offense and has the upside you look for in a sleeper. Is worth looking into.
27. Carson Vance, D, ’96 (Phoenix Jr. Coyotes) 5-8/163—Small defenseman who handles the puck with confidence and moves it up ice with ease—on his stick, off his stick. Can never have enough D-men who fit this bill.
28. Nathan Sucese, F, ’96 (Buffalo Jr. Sabres) 5-6/141—Small, skilled forward who plays with a lot of jump. Is shifty, which enables him to make his way through traffic areas with the puck on his stick.
29. Ryan Siroky, F, ’95 (LA Jr. Kings) 6-0/195—Skilled and dangerous when given time and space. Offensively gifted and knows what to do with the puck in scoring areas.
30. Bobby Hall, F, ’95 (Boston Advantage) 6-0/168—Fast, agile forward with puck skills. Needs to add weight to his thin frame. When he does, he will get the attention of D1 coaches.
31. Brandon Carlo, D, ’96 (Colorado Thunderbirds) 6-2/156—Late ’96 is a draft pick of the Tri-City Americans (WHL). Handles the puck with confidence and is effective on the PP. Is a D-I prospect.
32. Aaron Hayden, D, ’96 (Belle Tire) 6-3/190— Very raw right now, but has a lot of potential. Physically imposing and tough to beat in 1x1 situations.
33. Mike Coyne, F, ’95 (Buffalo Jr. Sabres) 6-0/170— Good hockey sense, and a nice set of hands. Talented offensively.
From U-16 to Div. I
Here’s something rarer than hens’ teeth: today, a ’94 will enroll as a freshman at an NCAA school. Not only will he be the only ‘94 in Div. I college hockey this season (though there are a few late ‘93s), but last season he was a midget minor – and he hasn’t played since. Not in an official game, anyway.
That’s quite a jump: U16s to Hockey East.
The player’s name is Dima Sinitsyn and he’s a 6’2”, 190 lb. defenseman from Moscow, Russia. He arrived at Logan Airport from his native Moscow, Russia Friday and, after going through the enrollment process today, will begin practicing with the UMass-Lowell River Hawks immediately. When Norm Bazin and his staff at UMass-Lowell feel Sinitsyn is ready, he will be put in the lineup.
Sinitsyn’s last official game came late last March when, as a member of the Dallas Stars U16 Team, he played in Nationals. With the Stars, Sinitsyn was the team’s leading scorer – and not just from the blueline, but overall. In 36 Tier I Elite League games, he posted an 11-20-31 line with 18 pims.
Excellent with the puck, Sinitsyn is a strong skater with size, has obvious offensive skills, and also really likes to step up and hit guys. An NHL scout we spoke with who saw him in U16 play last season believes Sinitsyn, a 6/17/94 birthdate, to be a strong candidate for this June’s NHL draft.
Sinitsyn’s road to Lowell has been very unusual, to put it mildly. If you’re looking to connect the dots, look to Colorado College. Sinitsyn was taken in last spring’s USHL Draft by the Green Bay Gamblers, whose coach/GM at the time was Eric Rud, a Colorado College alum now back at alma mater for his second stint as an assistant. In the transfer between Rud and current Gamblers head coach Derek Lalonde, Sinitsyn, who had a very strong camp this summer and expected to play for the Gamblers this season, got caught in a numbers game when, due to various circumstances, Green Bay found themselves with more imports than allowed. Lalonde worked out a trade for Sinitsyn with the Sioux Falls Stampede but the deal fell through when the big defenseman was unable to get a visa. (His student visa had run out when he graduated from high school in Dallas last spring.)
Rud returned to Colorado College over the summer, taking the place of Jason Lammers. Lammers moved on to take an assistant’s position at Lowell. And, of course, Bazin is a former Colorado College assistant himself.
Lammers realized that the only way Sinitsyn was going to play hockey in the US this season was on a student visa, and he really worked that angle hard. It helped that Sinitsyn’s mother is a teacher of English and that she was determined that her son to go to college in the United States. And both she and her son stuck with the plan even though Sinitsyn had to cool his heels all fall in Russia while waiting to find out when he could get his visa and leave for North America. After a lot of back and forth with the US Consulate in Moscow, Sinitsyn got his visa last week -- and made a beeline for the next plane to Boston.
Terriers Make a Move for the Future
Kimball Union Academy right shot defenseman John MacLeod, a 6’2”, 165 lb. freshman from Dracut, Mass., committed to Boston University today.
A 6/2/96 birthdate and a repeat freshman out of the Cardigan Mountain School, MacLeod was one of the top defensemen at this past summer’s Select 15 Festival in Rochester, NY. This year at Kimball Union, currently the #3-ranked team in prep hockey, MacLeod has played 16 games and has an 0-9-9 line.
Mike Levine, his coach at KUA, says MacLeod “is a special talent because at 6’2” he can really skate, shoot the puck, and think the game at a high level, plus he’s tough and the loves the physical aspect of the game at such a young age – and that’s unique. He’s actually the toughest kid I have ever coached – and that includes the college level.”
MacLeod, who you can look for at the U.S. NTDP 40-man camp in March, stands a good chance of making that team, hence may or may not be back at Kimball Union next year. If he does go to Ann Arbor. MacLeod will probably jump forward to his regular class and arrive at Agganis Arena in the fall of ’14, otherwise he’ll likely be a ’15.
A Massachusetts kid whose main desire was to go to a Beanpot school, MacLeod also visited the University of Michigan. Penn State was also pushing to get involved. Other schools were poised to get into the mix.
By the way, given that we are on the subject of KUA d-men, look for the Wildcats’ 6’4”, 210 lb. junior Doyle Somerby to commit somewhere soon. Somerby already has offers from Maine, UNH, UMass, and St. Lawrence. Boston University has been up to Meriden, NH to watch him and will be watching him again this week. Somerby will be making a visit to BU on Thursday.
Nobles Remains at #1 in USHR Prep Poll
Nobles, which knocked off Lawrence Academy on the road Friday night, has tightened their grip on the top spot in this week's USHR.
The Bulldogs (13-1-0) have been perfect since a Dec. 3 loss at Belmont Hill.
Only one team has been kicked out of the Top 10 this week, and that is the aforementioned Belmont Hill (7-4-3). Check to see who has taken their place.
USHR Prep Poll: Week of Jan. 16, 2012
Top Prep Sophomores
Here are USHR’s top prep sophomores as of right now. There are a handful of others we are tracking, and they could easily work their way onto this list – or next year’s junior list. Stay tuned.
1. Shane Eiserman, F, ’95 (Cushing/UNH) 6-2/196—The future Wildcat is an NHL prospect who possesses all the tools to be successful at higher levels. A West Newbury, Mass. native, Eiserman can play a physical or finesse game. Reminiscent of BC sophomore Billy Arnold, with better size.
2. Wiley Sherman, D, ’95 (Hotchkiss/Harvard) 6-5/175—Crimson recruit from Greenwich, Conn. will be ranked high in his NHL draft year. Has size, can skate and is savvy with the puck on his stick.
3. Ryan Bliss, D, ’96 (St. Paul’s/Cornell) 6-2/185—Is a conservative pick to make the NTDP next season. The Big Red recruit and Bedford, NH native is solid in all facets and projects to be an impact defenseman at the next level.
4. Tyler Hill, F, ’95 (Hotchkiss/Uncommitted) 6-6/225—There is a whole lot to like about the big, uncommitted forward’s game. The Ontario native can skate and make plays — and with his size he could turn into a high-end recruit.
5. Will Toffey, D, ’94 (Salisbury/Uncommitted) 6-1/185—The younger brother of Salisbury assistant coach John Toffey has the dreaded 12/31 birth date—just a day away from being a ’95. The big defender can really skate. Will be on NHL draft lists next season.
6. Brandon Fortunato, D, ’96 (Portledge/Uncommitted) 5-8/140—Talented puck-moving defender from Long Island will likely not be back at Portledge next season. Has a rare mind for the game. Will run a D-I power play in the future.
7. Sam Lafferty, F, ’95 (Deerfield/Uncommitted) 5-10/160—Put himself on the map at the Flood-Marr Tournament. Centers Deerfield’s top line. Pennsylvania native has a lot of jump and creates a lot of offense using his speed.
8. Laythe Jadallah, F, ’96 (Gunnery/Uncommitted) 6-0/165—Is registering a point per game as a ’96 forward. Has a lot of potential, but needs to learn to play a full 60 minutes. Raleigh, NC native could be in the mix for the NTDP.
9. Merrick Madsen, G, ’95 (Proctor/Uncommitted) 6-4—California native has the look of a big-time goalie. Moves well for a big kid and takes up a lot of net. Is facing an awful lot of shots this season.
10. RJ Gicewicz, D, ’95 (Nichols/Uncommitted) 5-10/168—Made the gold-medal winning Five Nations team this past summer. Late ’95 from Buffalo area handles the puck on an elite level. Projects to be a PP/puck-moving defender as he moves up through the ranks.
11. Corey Ronan, F, ’95 (St. Sebastians/Uncommitted) 5-7/145—The speedy forward is discovering the offensive side of his game as he has 12 points through 11 games this season. Plays a similar game to former St. Seb’s star Joe Rooney.
12. Andrew Gaus, F, ’95 (Taft/Uncommitted) 6-0/160—The former Pittsburgh Hornet has a nice skill set. Once he fills out he will be an impact player. Is Taft’s leading scorer.
13. Jake McCarthy, D, ’96 (St. Sebastians/Uncommitted) 6-0/170—Elite defender remains hidden in the shadow of freshman sensation Noah Hanifin. McCarthy has the ability to bring a lot of offense from the backend. Will be highly touted as he gets bigger/stronger and more positionally sound.
14. James Winkler, F, ’96 (Berwick/Uncommitted) 6-2/175—Tall, lanky forward from York, Maine has a 7-6-13 scoring line through seven games this season. A power forward with a scoring touch.
15. Connor Brassard, D, ’95 (Cushing/Uncommitted) 6-1/175— Leading-scoring defenseman this summer at the Select 16 festival. Has not found the offensive side of his game at Cushing, but is also not running their powerplay -- yet.
16. Mitchell Allen, F, ’95 (Kent/Uncommitted) 6-2/170—Project forward from Clifton Park, NY (north of Albany) is intriguing. Could be a completely different player when he is 6-2/200. Look for the sophomore, with the departures of Boo Nieves and Ryan Rosenthal, to move into a more offensive role next season.
17. Robert Labonte, G, ’95 (St. Marks/Uncommitted) 6-3—Big goaltender has led St. Mark’s to a 9-4-1 record thus far. Takes up a lot of net and stops a lot of pucks. Definitely worth checking out.
18. Shane Kavanagh, F, ’95 (Cushing/Uncommitted) 5-11/185—Productive forward has 15 points in 14 games to date. Has the ability to make plays, and is an excellent support player.
19. Richie Boyd, D, ’95 (Cushing/Uncommitted) 6-2/178—Tall defender has a long wingspan. Thinks the game at faster pace than his older brother RJ (Michigan State recruit now with the Indiana Ice-USHL). Still needs to fill out and add a step to his skating.
20. Robert Klein, D, ’95 (Lawrence/Uncommitted) 6-3/200—Massive defender is very raw right now, but shows flashes that he could be a pro prospect. Feet need a lot of work.
NHL Central Scouting Midterm Rankings
NHL Central Scouting released its Midterm Rankings today, and Russian RW Nail Yakupov (Sarnia-OHL) is #1 overall. The top-ranked American, at #9 overall, is U.S. Under-18 Team defenseman Jacob Trouba. It’s looking like a strong draft for defensemen, as seven of the top 11, and 11 of the top 18 slots, go to blueliners. The top-ranked goaltender is Malcolm Subban (Belleville-OHL). The top-ranked U.S. goalie, at #4 overall, is Jon Gillies (Indiana Ice.).
EJHL All-Star Rosters
The 2012 EJHL All-Star game will be played on Mon. Jan. 16 at the Tri-Town Ice Arena, the home of the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, in Hooksett, NH. Faceoff is at noon.
Forwards (12): Zach Luczyk (Junior Bruins), K.J. Tiefenwerth (Junior Bruins), Vinny Scotti (Junior Bruins), Thane Heller (Junior Bruins), Kyle Smith (Junior Bruins), Cody Learned (Junior Bruins), Brian Morgan (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Cam Brown (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Conor MacPhee (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Trevor Braun (Valley Jr. Warriors), Ian McGilvrey (New England Huskies), Dylan Shapiro (Rochester Stars).
Defensemen (8): Cody Smith (Junior Bruins), Connor Doherty (Junior Bruins), Brian Harris (Junior Bruins), Tom Parisi (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Kyle Williams (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Brock McGinn (Green Mountain Glades), Brett Mason (Valley Jr. Warriors), Conor Riley (Valley Jr. Warriors).
Goaltenders (3): Derek Metcalfe (Junior Bruins), Gordon Ceasar (Rochester Stars), Fabian Sivnert (Valley Jr. Warriors).
Alternates: Connor Gorman (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), John Jackson (Valley Jr. Warriors), Dominic Trento (Green Mountain Glades), Michael Washington (New England Huskies).
Forwards (13): Collin MacDonald (Jersey Hitmen), T.J. O’Brien (Bay State Breakers), Peter MacIntyre (Boston Bandits), Tyler Bouchard (Springfield Pics), Jon DeFeo (New York Apple Core), Nick Cruice (South Shore Kings), Steven Swavely (Jersey Hitmen), Matt Vidal (Bay State Breakers), Joe Prescott (South Shore Kings), Nick Bligh (South Shore Kings), Jimmy Vesey (South Shore Kings), Jesse Petito (Jersey Hitmen), Zach Lynch (Bay State Breakers).
Defensemen (6): Nate Brown (Bay State Breakers), Mike Reardon (South Shore Kings), Cody vonReuden (Jersey Hitmen), Matt Solomon (Boston Bandits), Eli Riddle (Jersey Hitmen), Harry Quast (Bay State Breakers).
Goaltenders (2): Tyler Kapp (Boston Bandits), Jamie Regan (Philadelphia Revolution).
Add Schoenborn to the List
6’2”, 195 lb. Omaha Lancers U-16 RW Alex Schoenborn has turned away NCAA interest and will instead go major junior next season with the Portland Winterhawks (WHL).
Schoenborn, one of our top-ranked forwards (#12 overall) at last June’s Select 16 Festival in Rochester, NY, is a 12/12/95 birthdate from Minot, ND who played last year for Minor High School. At the end of the season, in March, Schoenborn was invited to the NTDP 40-man camp in Ann Arbor. In August, he was a member of the United States U-17 Select Team that won the Five Nations Tournament in Ann Arbor.
In addition to playing for the Lancers’ 16 Team this season – he has a 10-17-27 line in 13 games played – Schoenborn has also played three games for the Lancers’ USHL team (0-0-0).
Hynes a Dutchman
5’11”, 190 lb. Albany Academy senior RW Tyler Hynes has committed to Union College for the fall of ’13.
An 11/23/93 birthdate from Guilderland, NY, Hynes, now in his second year at Albany Academy, has a 16-14-30 line in 14 games. He’s not the smoothest player around, but he’s on the ice constantly and is one of those types who’s just hungry to get the puck – and create offense.
He’ll play a year in the USHL or BCHL before going on to Union, where he will matriculate with his Albany Academy teammate, defenseman Jeff Taylor, who committed to the Dutchmen last spring, also for the fall of '13.
Other schools recruiting Hynes included Providence College, West Point, and UConn.
We’re used to critiquing other peoples’ tournaments. It feels strange to write about our own. That said, we feel that the First Annual USHR International Showcase – held at Boston University’s Walter Brown Arena on Friday, and at Northeastern on Sunday – was a great success.
First off, we really want to thank Boston University's staff – Jack Parker, Mike Bavis, and Buddy Powers – and Northeastern's, too – Jim Madigan, Patrick Foley, and Jerry Keefe – for making it all possible. They were great.
We also wish to thank Joe Bracken of the Boston Advantage, for pitching in and helping with details such as printing up programs and hiring refs. You can tell he’s put on tournaments before.
Here are the scores of the games:
Friday Jan. 6 (@ BU’s Walter Brown Arena):
Vaughan Kings 5, Boston Advantage 4 (2-OT)
Toronto Marlboros 12, Selects Hockey Academy 2
Sun. Jan. 8 (@ Northeastern’s Matthew’s Arena)
Toronto Marlboros 3, Boston Advantage 2
Vaughan Kings 2, Junior Bruins (Empire) 1 (shootout win)
As you can see, three of the four games were very tight affairs. The Boston Advantage, which lost a double-OT game to Vaughan and a one-goal game to the Marlies, carried the flag – and did it very well -- for Eastern Mass. Nice to see.
The two best forwards were – no surprise here -- Marlies ’96 forward Josh Ho-Sang, who is sensational and compares favorably with Sidney Crosby at the same age; and Marlies ’97 forward Connor McDavid, who is playing up, just as Ho-Sang did last year, and is a special player himself. For our money, Junior Bruins ’96 forward Jack Eichel looked to be the third best forward prospect, and #1 among the U.S. kids. After Eichel, we'd go with Vaughan’s power forward Michael Dal Colle (’96), Vaughan’s Dylan Sadowy (’96), the Boston Advantage’s Liam Pecararo (’96), the Marlies’ Jaden Lindo (’96), and Vaughan forward Robert DeMontis (’96). Of the visitors from Toronto, Dal Colle is a top college prospect – BU and others were watching like hawks – but Dal Colle, a strong student, will also be getting a ton of pressure from the OHL. He could be at the center of a real recruiting battle. Sadowy and DeMontis, the latter an excellent student who hopes to become a lawyer, are both likely to go the NCAA route, and were watched closely by all the colleges in attendance.
The best d-man at the showcase -- hands-down -- was Marlies ’96 Roland McKeown (’96), an excellent skater with a great stick. We also liked Vaughan’s Jonathan Duchesne (’96), the Marlies’ Jared Walsh (’96), Vaughan’s Brandon Lukezic (’96), and the Empire Bruins’ Nick Centauro (’95). Walsh, who is interested in New England prep schools, is a college prospect. Lukezic we're not so sure about. On his questionaire, asked what future occupation (other than hockey player) he would be interested in, the d-man wrote 'Canadian Tire Dealer.' We like kids who operate with such a high degree of specificity.
The best goalies in the showcase were Vaughan’s Cameron Hackett (’96), and the Marlies' ’96 Matt Robson. Both are students – and said to be interested in the NCAA route.
All Tier I U-16 Teams Coming to Town
The Boston Advantage will be hosting the Tier I Elite Hockey League Midget Minor Super Showcase this upcoming weekend --Fri. to Mon. Jan. 13-16 – at the Pilgrim Arena in Hingham, Mass. This will be a very good take for all college recruiters as all 24 U-16 teams from the league are in town. Make a point of watching Belle Tire (25-1-6), the Cleveland Barons (20-4-4), The Pittsburgh Hornets (17-5-4), The Chicago Fury (24-4-4), the LA Jr. Kings (15-7-5), the Colorado Thunderbirds (20-2-2), and Russell Stover (16-6-2). Zach Werenski, who is neck-and-neck with Noah Hanafin as the top ’97 d-man in the land, plays up with Belle Tire who, by the way, are loaded: one loss in 32 games is impressive at any level.
Here’s the schedule:
Tier I U6 Showcase
Nobles Takes Over Top Spot in USHR Poll
Noble & Greenough, winners of every game they have played since Dec. 3 (a 3-1 loss at Belmont Hill) have taken over the top spot in the USHR poll, the first poll we have done since right after the pre-Christmas tournaments.
Two team have been unceremoniously booted out of the Top 10 this time around: St. Paul's and St. Sebastian's.
Click below to see who has taken their place.
USHR Prep Poll: Week of Jan. 9, 2012
Berkshire D Picks Red Raiders
Berkshire School PG defenseman Jake Kulevich has committed to Colgate for the fall of 2013.
A 6’2”, 195 lb. native of Marblehead, Mass., Kulevich is a 2/13/93 birthdate. A defensive defenseman, he has skating ability to go with his size and ability to see the ice. He also has excellent leadership qualities, having captained Marblehead High School to the Massachusetts Div. III championship last March.
He will play a year of juniors before matriculating at Colgate. In 12 games at Berkshire, he has a 0-4-4 line.
NTDP’s Matteau Decommits; Chooses the Q
6’1”, 209 lb. U.S. Under-18 Team LW Stefan Matteau has decommitted from the University of North Dakota and will play next season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.
Matteau’s father, Stéphane Matteau, who played 13 years in the NHL, is currently an assistant coach with the Armada (previously the Montreal Junior and, before that, the St. John’s Fog Devils). The Armada’s head coach is former Clarkson forward -- and, later, assistant coach -- Jean-Francois Houle.
A power forward who came to Ann Arbor from the Notre Dame Hounds, Matteau leads the Under-18 team in assists (11), points (20), and penalty minutes (106 minutes). He is expected to go in the top couple rounds of June’s NHL draft.
Matteau’s rights in the Q had been owned by the Chicoutimi Sagueneens. Chicoutimi gave up Matteau and a third round pick in 2013; in return the Armada gave up a first round pick in 2013, a second round pick in 2014, and a third round pick in 2012.
Matteau will finish out the season with the U.S. Under-18 Team and represent the U.S. in the U-18 World Championships.
A dual citizen, Matteau is a 2/23/94 who was born in Chicago, just weeks before his father was traded to the New York Rangers, where his two OT goals in the Eastern Conference Final vs. the New Jersey Devils propelled the Rangers into the Stanley Cup finals against Vancouver, which, of course, the Rangers won in seven games.
The U.S. Under-18 Team is in Boston this weekend, playing tonight at Northeastern and on Sunday at Boston University.
Boyle a Dutchman
Noble & Greenough 6’2”, 190 lb. senior defenseman Tim Boyle has committed to Union College for this coming fall.
Boyle, the younger brother of former St. Seb’s, Boston College, and current New York Rangers forward Brian Boyle (and one of 13 siblings), has come on nicely this year and is Nobles’ top d-man.
Boyle, a 3/21/93 birthdate from Hingham, Mass., has a 3-7-10 line in 11 games played thus far this season. He notched a nice goal in the Fenway game yesterday, converting a pinpoint pass from Brown recruit Andrew Doane.
There has been a change in the starting time for the Fenway Park high school/college doubleheader on Sat. Jan. 14, with both games being moved up two hours. The game between BC High and Catholic Memorial will now start at 1:00 pm and the game between Northeastern and Boston College has been moved to 4:00 pm.
The change allows fans plenty of time to get ready for the Patriots playoff game, scheduled that night for 8:00 pm at Foxboro. It’s fair to assume Tom Brady wants the fans to have plenty of time to get ‘nice and rowdy’ and ‘lubed up.’ Of course, you will remember that the Patriots front office, back in September, helped us out by translating Brady’s comments, pointing out that the quarterback simply meant that he wanted the fans to ‘stay hydrated, drink a lot of water.’ Of course, that's exactly what we thought he meant all along. And we'll be grabbing a six-pack of Poland Springs on the way out of the rink.
Beattie Commits; Gets Concussed
6’3”, 186 lb. Phillips Exeter PG forward Matt Beattie has committed to Yale for next fall.
Beattie is also going to be out of action for an indeterminate amount of time due to a concussion he suffered when he took a brutal elbow from Governor's Bryan Sullivan in yesterday’s 4-4 tie between the two teams. Beattie, who scored his 17th and 18th goals of the season in the game, has an 18-20-38 line in 11 games played.
A 12/14/92 birthdate from White House Station, NJ, Beattie played at the Pingry School in New Jersey before coming to Exeter this fall.
Beattie made his choice from between Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.
Another Exeter player has just made his commitment for next fall. 5'9", 178 lb. Michael St. Denis, a senior from Auburn, Maine, has committed to West Point. St. Denis, who has an 8-11-19 line in 11 games will be -- along with Brian Hart, Matt Rubinoff, and John Cross -- one of the guys to pick up the slack with Beattie on the shelf.
Don’t You Dare Miss It!
The First Annual U.S. Hockey Report International Showcase faces off starting Friday at Boston University’s Walter Brown Arena. There will be five teams: the Toronto Marlboros, Vaughan Kings, Selects Hockey Academy, Boston Advantage and the Junior Bruins (Empire). You won’t want to miss this! Josh Ho-Sang (Marlies), Connor McDavid (Marlies), Michael Dal Colle (Vaughan), Roland McKeown (Marlies) and Jack Eichel (Little Bruins) are potential first round NHL draft picks down the line but, just as importantly, there will be a slew of potential Division I college players, some of whom are also interested in attending New England prep schools.
The Marlies and Vaughan are, in our opinion, the best midget minor teams in the province of Ontario. It’s going to be a great weekend to have them in town as they will also be getting to watch college hockey in its finest form as, on Friday night Jan. 6th, Boston University will be hosting Merrimack at 7:00 pm at Agganis Arena, and, on Saturday the 7th, a few blocks from Agannis, the Fenway spectacle will be going on, with Vermont facing UMass at 4:00 pm and UNH facing Maine at 7:30 pm.
The USHR International Showcase is a not-for-profit event which, in future years, we hope to grow slightly. Ideally, we’d like to have the top four teams from Ontario come down and play four of the top teams from the US—sort of a Can/Am format. So feel free to contact us concerning next season. Below is the schedule for this weekend. We hope to see a lot of you in the rinks. Admission is free. Coffee and doughnuts are on us, something you might really appreciate given the early start times on Sunday morning. Please let us know if you would prefer artisanal blueberry muffins with free-trade coffee, or a Box of Joe from Dunkin’ Donuts. Hope for the former, but expect the latter!
Note: We had originally scheduled the Marlies vs. Vaughan on Saturday, January 7th, but because they play regularly against each other in the GTHL, and faced off against each other last weekend in the finals of the Marlies Holiday Tournament, they declined the rematch. We’d like to get this game back on the schedule, so if some college coaches want to put in a call and nudge the two teams, it could pay off in a potential barnburner. Regardless, there will be great games, but that would be a good one for the open day on Saturday. It beats sightseeing, right?
Fri. Jan. 6 at BU (Walter Brown Arena)
1:00 pm -- Vaughan Kings vs. Boston Advantage
3:00 pm -- Toronto Marlies vs. Selects Hockey Academy
Sun. Jan. 8 (at Matthews Arena; Northeastern University)
7:45 am -- Toronto Marlies vs. Boston Advantage
9:30 am -- Vaughan Kings vs. Junior Bruins (Empire)
Ho-Sang Clear #1 at Marlies Tournament
After Christmas, The US Hockey Report headed north of the border to witness the top Midget Minor (all ‘96s) teams in Ontario faceoff at the Toronto Marlboro Holiday Classic in Etobicoke. This is an event that is truly a pleasure to attend due to the amount of high-end talent on display. On top of that, there is just a great atmosphere, with all eyes also keeping an eye on the events at the World Junior Championship. There is nothing like watching hockey in Canada at his time of year. There’s just a different feel to the games. It’s not just a sport to those kids, it’s a life style.
Like any tournament with a lot of teams on hand there was little parity until the playoffs, but once those games started the pace really picked up—and the best players rose to the occasion. The tournament was won by the host team, the Toronto Marlies, who topped the Vaughan Kings, 8-2. The most entertaining game of the weekend was the semi-final matchup between Vaughan and the Mississauga Rebels. This was a battle, and a game this typist would have paid good money to watch. Vaughan won in double overtime through a fortunate bounce after the Rebels took a too many men on the ice penalty. The game was simply hockey at its finest—just a real pleasure to watch.
As previously mentioned, there was a lot, and we mean a lot, of high-end talent here. A good number of these kids have a real chance to play in the NHL. You will find this article to be a long one(!), and perhaps of greater interest to scouts, as well as college and junior – and US prep school – recruiters.
Hopefully, a good number of these players will be opting for the NCAA route. Time will tell.
Here, then, are the players we liked:
1. Joshua Ho-Sang, F (Toronto Marlies)—Back in October, we took our best shot at predicting how the first round of this coming spring’s OHL Draft would play out and placed Ho-Sang in a tie for the top spot with Marlies’ teammate Connor McDavid. We have now changed our mind, and feel that Ho-Sang is clearly the top player available -- and by a wide margin. His talent level is higher than any 15-year-old we have seen in years. Quite simply, players like Ho-Sang do not come along that often; it’s a joy to see him play. The lifelong Marlie has grown to about 6-0/160 and is not shy physically, often initiating contact more than receiving it. Last season, Ho-Sang played up with the ’95 Marlies squad and put up 157 points, which he will surpass this year. His playmaking ability is off the charts, similar to Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, Claude Giroux, Pavel Datsyuk, Steven Stamkos, etc. at the same age. Because he is so very skilled, scouts tend to look for weaknesses in his game. “He has bad body language…gets frustrated easily…has bad habits, etc.” Our take on all that is that the phenom is bored. Instead of making the easy play, he tends to challenge himself and, more often than not, try to make the difficult play. Having said that, when the game is a big one, the rink rat is all business -- and pretty much untouchable. We did not get a look at the score sheets, but we’re told he broke a tournament record and had a 12-point game during round-robin play. Ho-Sang could be having success in the OHL right now, but elected not to apply for exceptional player status as his advisor, Ian Pulver, felt that the OHL is a man’s league and that Ho-Sang, who weighed 135 pounds last season, would be better off waiting until he was more physically mature, a good move in our opinion and one that will pay off in the long run. At any rate, it would not be unrealistic for Ho-Sang to put up 75-100 points in his OHL rookie season next year. The future NHLer will be in Boston this coming weekend and we recommend that local hockey fans take the opportunity to see him.
2. Robert Fabbri, F (Mississauga Rebels)—The second-best player available for the OHL. If we were at the draft table we would consider taking Fabbri #1 overall as he will likely play four years in the OHL vs. two -- maybe three -- for Ho-Sang. The Rebels’ star player is not very big (5-9/5-10), but he makes an impact every shift and is all over the puck. He’s very difficult to defend. We would not be surprised to see him surpass the 100-point plateau on more than one occasion during his time in the OHL. Fabbri is committed to playing major junior hockey, which is too bad. If he played NCAA hockey, he would be Hobey Baker material. A likely first round NHL draft pick in 2014.
3. Connor McDavid, F (Toronto Marlies)—The top ’97 forward in Ontario, maybe in the world. Is an elite-level talent who makes plays every time the puck touches his stick. Is applying for exceptional player status, but we do not feel he will get it as he is not physically mature. Right now, the super-skilled center is probably only 5-9/145, not the ideal weight for an OHL rookie. Very similar in his development to where Ho-Sang was one year ago, but he is a different player. Ho-Sang is all skill and will be a finisher at the next level, whereas McDavid projects to be an intelligent center who makes the players around him better. When combined with Ho-Sang, the two are just great fun to watch. McDavid is another player we can almost guarantee will be playing in the NHL one day.
4. Roland McKeown, D (Toronto Marlies)—The big defender is the best skater we have seen in the ’96 birth year. Has size and defends well, which will make him a high OHL/NHL draft pick. The Marlie captain has polished his game up quite a bit since we last saw him. A couple of years ago he was a wild stallion who was all over the ice. McKeown has the look of a pro and will likely be one.
5. Michael Dal Colle, F (Vaughan Kings)—In the first game we saw him this weekend he was invisible as his team trounced some helpless crew. We were really down on his game – that is, until we saw him play the Rebels in the semis, a game in which he was the best player on the ice. While it is fair to say he is not consistent, he really shows up to play when it matters most. The big center (6-2/190) is strong in all areas. He wins faceoffs, skates well for his size, and can really fire the puck. The Rebels are a very good team and they really struggled to keep the Vaughan captain under control. Dal Colle has expressed an interest in college and is rumored to be entertaining the thought of going to Boston University. Terriers’ recruiting coordinator Mike Bavis will have to fight the good fight to land him as he is a likely top 10 pick in the OHL draft this spring.
6. Jake Evans, F (Mississauga Rebels)—Good news college hockey fans: Evans is almost sure to land in the NCAA, having stated his intentions to do so. He plays on a line with Fabbri and the two are dynamite. While not very big (5-9/140), Evans probably still has some physical maturation in his future. He will make for an electric college player. While not a burner, Evans has great vision and a skill set that enables him to make high-end plays on a regular basis. If he opts out of the OHL, a USHL team should take him high in the draft. He could be an impact player there as a 16-year-old.
7. Jared McCann, F (London Knights)—Shoots the puck like an NHLer right now. We had heard that McCann was one of the top forwards in the province and were able to see why – and that was before warm-ups had even ended. McCann will score a lot of goals at every level he plays. The rest of his game is pretty solid. He is big, skates well, and plays a fairly intelligent game. However, he is not someone who creates plays out of thin air à la Ho-Sang, McDavid, Fabbri, and Evans. What McCann will do is set up shop at the top of the circles on the PP and score goals in bunches as he moves up through the ranks. Will be a top 10 pick in the OHL draft.
8. Nikki Petti, F (Southern Tier Admirals)— There is no shortage in skill from the former Toronto Marlie. Petti has pretty good size, about 5-11 or so, and can turn on a dime. Very shifty and creative, especially with the man advantage. Displayed that he has the ability to score goals in bunches when he is on his game. A likely first round pick in the OHL draft.
9. Damian Bourne, F (Mississauga Rebels)—The epitome of what you look for in an NHL prospect. Size? Check. Can he skate? Check. Can he make plays? Check. Is he soft? Nope. Bourne is a well-rounded prospect who projects very nicely — a lot of upside. He will not put up the numbers at the next level as some of the above-mentioned players, but he has more upside than most. Is also capable of playing anywhere in your line up. He could be a first line power winger or a third line physical presence who can chip in offensively.
10. Liam Herbst, G (Mississauga Rebels) — Plays on a very good team and does not get challenged often, but when he does, he comes up big. Was excellent in the semi-finals against Vaughan. Dal Colle had quite a few point-blank opportunities and Herbst, the top goalie of his age group in Ontario, robbed him. Is the type of player you can build a team around as he has that combination of size (6-3) and athleticism that we have not seen in any ’96 goalie thus far. The Rebels will challenge the Marlies for the OHL Cup and if Herbst gets hot at the right time it will be difficult for anyone to beat him.
11. Cameron Hackett, G (Vaughan Kings)—A gamer who really rose to the challenge against the Rebels, but ran out of gas in the finals against the Marlies. Has decent size (6-0) and a good understanding of the game. He can read plays and position himself properly. He is also very aware. With :05 left on the clock in the semis, the Rebels shot a puck on net from the red line and pressured for a rebound. Instead of freezing the puck, Hackett rushed behind the net and avoided the in-zone faceoff with seconds remaining. Just a very intelligent play most goalies would not have thought of.
12. Jared Walsh, D (Toronto Marlies)—Can really skate and consistently makes heads-up plays. Is not big, about 5-10, but defends well and is rarely caught out of position. We felt he was the Marlies #2 d-man behind McKeown. Is reminiscent of former Marlie and current BU Terrier Adam Clendening. We are told that he is as good or better at baseball. Would be an excellent addition to any prep school, where he could pursue both sports.
13. Kyle Petit, F (London Knights)—A big (6-3/190) center who plays the position well and is excellent on draws. Petit is not someone who we had heard about prior to the tournament, but he certainly looks like a potential first round OHL pick in our books. Does not project to be a goal scorer at the next level, but certainly has some finishing abilities. Drove to the front of the net several times and protects the puck like a pro. Plays a similar game to that of former UNH Wildcat and current Colorado Avalanche forward Daniel Winnik.
14. Matt Schmalz, F (Southern Tier Admirals)—A lot to like here and also a lot to work with. Certainly has size (6-4/200) to go along with a nice feel for the game. Could develop into a John LeClair type, i.e a big power forward with a hard shot and soft hands around the net.
15. Dyllan Sadowy, F (Vaughan Kings)—Average-sized forward with a very dangerous stick. Can pick apart unprepared defenseman and make them look silly. Possesses an excellent shot and makes no mistakes in scoring areas. Scored the double-OT winner in the semi-finals as Vaughan defeated Mississauga. Would like to see him play with more urgency without the puck.
16. Santino Centorame, D (Mississauga Rebels)—Solid player in all areas. One of those guys who doesn’t do any one thing great, but does everything very well. Good skater who does not get caught out of position. Skates with his head up and makes plays. Is a dual citizen and someone who we feel could have a shot at making the NTDP.
17. Jacob Middleton, D (Huron-Perth Lakers)—If there is one player who we wish we could have spent more time watching it was Middleton. Is being touted as a potential top five pick in the OHL draft. Certainly has obvious potential, as he is a monster (6-4) who can skate and makes a good first pass. Did not see him make a ton of plays, take off on any end-to-end rushes, or run the PP. But, as mentioned, we also didn’t get to watch him as much as we would have liked. That said, Middleton showed enough for us to know he is a player. We just do not have a strong enough read on his potential or his feel for the game, though.
18. Kyle Wood, D (Waterloo Wolves)—Was a pleasant surprise as we had not heard much about Wood prior to this tournament. Is a big kid (6-2) with a nice long stick who has the ability to make plays under pressure. Feet are a little heavy, but perhaps that can be ironed out over time. Some nice tools to work with here.
19. Dante Salituro, F (Don Mills Flyers)—Really enjoyed the small, stocky forward’s game. He’s a hockey player, plain and simple. Plays the game hard, has skill, can score goals, and is persistent on the puck. Does not shy away from traffic, but actually thrives in the heavy going.
20. CJ Garccia, D (Don Mills Flyers)—A very athletic defenseman with an explosive first step. Is positionally sound and smooth with the puck. Could develop into a PK Subban-type defender.
21. Brendan Lemieux, F (Toronto Red Wings)—Shocking that the son of Claude Lemieux would be a goal scorer, eh? While he’s well put-together and explosive, he also does not seem to have a ton of support on the Red Wings. We would like to see how he would fare if he were playing with another high-end forward. Lemieux projects as a probable first round pick in the OHL draft.
22. Robert Demontis, F (Vaughan Kings)—Really stepped up his game in the playoffs and, with the exception of Dal Colle, was the Kings most noticeable forward. Makes a difference every shift. Has a lot of speed and some skill with the puck. Difficult to handle down low as he uses cut backs very effectively. Not very big (5-9), but more than makes up for his lack of size by playing an aggressive game.
23. Dylan Di Perna, D (Mississauga Rebels)—At times, Di Perna is the Rebels top defenseman. Has good size (6-2) and is a natural skater. Is difficult to beat because he has excellent speed. Nothing flashy with the puck—just makes the simple play on a consistent basis.
24. Brook Hiddink, F (Elgin Middlesex Chiefs)— A smart hockey player who knows where to be at all times. Has a real knack for finding the scoring area, and it is no mistake that he scores a lot of goals. Does not play in the GTHL, but nonetheless led his league in scoring as an underager last season. A pure finisher with a deadly accurate shot. If he is surrounded by players who can get him the puck, he will score a lot of goals at the next level.
25. David Miller, F (Mississauga Rebels)—Small forward (5-8) who plays a complete game and has a very high compete level. Is always around the puck, and makes a lot of plays. The Rebels captain would make for an excellent college player. It is very obvious why he wears the “C”: he’s the hardest-working player on the ice, but also creates a lot of offense. Will likely go in the top two rounds of the OHL draft.
26. Alex Campbell, D (Toronto Jr. Canadians)—Big kid (6-2) who plays a conservative game and appears to be very reliable. Was clearly the top defenseman on the Junior Canadians. Has a nice long stick and an effective poke check. Makes plays and brings a little offense to the table.
27. Trevor Abbott, D (London Knights)—We had predicted Abbott to be a late first round OHL draft pick back in October. Now, after watching him some more, we see him more as a second or third round pick. Abbott is a very consistent defender who impacts the game in subtle ways. You have to put in the time and watch his game to appreciate what he brings to the table. Does not have the high-end flashy skills or the upside that most first round picks have, but he is a safe pick and someone who will surely contribute at the next level.
28. Daniel Desousa, D (Toronto Marlies)—Puck-moving defender who has an excellent stick and good playmaking abilities. The defensive side of his game is pretty average, but he projects to be someone capable of running a power play at the higher levels. Could develop into a niche player and become a hot commodity for a team in need of a PP quarterback.
29. Jaden Lindo, F (Toronto Marlies)—Has been regarded as one of the top ’96 forwards in Ontario for quite some time. Played up last season in the OHL Cup for the ’95 Marlie team that won the championship. Is a power forward who hits everything that moves and plays with a nasty edge. His skill set is not high-end and we are curious as to how much better he will get. Is physically mature and may have topped out around 6-1. Seems to enjoy fighting and will probably settle into the role of a fighter who is difficult to play against and can chip in the odd goal.
30. Dennis Yan, F (Lambton Jr. Sting)—Do not let the name fool you: Yan is a Russian playing in his first season in North America. The ’97 born forward scores a lot of goals at the ’96 level. Is not a dominant player at the midget minor level, but once we found out he was only a ’97 our perception of him changed quite a bit. Would enjoy watching him with kids his own age.
31. Justin Felker, D (Southern Tier Admirals)—Tall, lanky defenseman with a good head on his shoulders. Makes plays and brings offense from the back end. Has a lot of upside and is someone who could shoot up scouts’ charts as he fills out.
32. Connor Cobbold, F (Ottawa Valley Titans)—The top player on a very strong team. Really intelligent and has the puck on his stick a lot. Is shifty and has a soft set of hands enabling him to get into scoring areas where he appears to finish more often than not. Is not an elite skater, but if he were he would be a first round OHL draft pick. As of right now we see him as a second or third rounder.
33. Patrick Grasso, F (NPI Leafs)—Small and physically immature (5-6/140), but he can play the game. Is tenacious and makes a lot of plays. Will surely grow, and when he does he could be a difference maker. From Iowa.
34. Michael Prapavessis, D (Mississauga Rebels)—There are three very good d-men on the Rebels—Di Perna, Centorame and Prapavessis. There is not much that separates the three of them, and it would be very difficult to rank them 1-2-3. Prapavessis is a clear step behind in the skating department, but he is also the most savvy with the puck on his stick. He’s the obvious choice to run their power play, which he does in an effective manner.
35. Jonathan Duchesne, D (Vaughan Kings)—Two years ago Duchesne was regarded as the top defenseman in the province. He is a big kid (6-2/200) and was probably that same size two years ago. Was one of those players that got the “peaked early” label. We do not think that is fair as he is still a very strong defender. May not be the top guy anymore, but is still going to be pretty successful at the next level. Was excellent in the semi-final game against Mississauga and was probably the best defenseman in that particular game. Is very strong and does not get beat very often. On the Kings, he plays the point on the PP, probably not the role he will play in the future, but he looked very good setting up the winning goal in OT.
36. Kyle Locke, D (York Simcoe Express)—Smart defenseman who makes a lot of heads-up plays. Is well-rounded in that he defends well and is very effective offensively. Does not try to do too much, just gets the puck on his stick and moves it. Makes a lot of hard, tape-to-tape passes. Is not very big (5-11), but is still someone who we would consider a quality OHL/NCAA prospect.
37. Trevor Dulong, F (London Knights)—The Knights captain is a quality player who does a lot of things well. Is not very tall (5-10/5-11), but is well put together and plays the game with an edge. Has a solid skill set and is a complimentary player to his line mates.
38. Jerimiah Addison, F (Toronto Marlies)—Nothing flashy, just knows how to play game and tends to be in the right place at the right time. Finishes his opportunities, as evidenced by his four goals in the championship game.
39. Joseph Berton, F (Don Mills Flyers)—Energy player who creates a lot of offense through pure tenacity and hard work. Is slick with the puck, and can make plays in tight spaces.
40. Brett Hargrave, F (Mississauga Rebels)—Had a quiet weekend and was not very effective in the games we saw. Has some obvious potential as he is big (6-3), skates well, and can handle the puck. We would have liked to see him be more assertive and compete a little harder. Could develop into a really nice player, but still has a way to go.