Prep Players Seeking Lord Stanley's Cup
When a Stanley Cup winner is eventually crowned a New England Prep School graduate will have their name engraved on the cup, as each of the four remaining teams has at least one former prep player. Chris Kreider (NY Rangers/Phillips Andover), Brian Boyle (NY Rangers/St. Sebastian’s), Mark Fayne (New Jersey Devils/Nobles), Keith Yandle (Phoenix Coyotes/Cushing), and Jonathan Quick (LA Kings/Avon Old Farms) all remain in the hunt for hockey’s holy grail. As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, this is not the first time Yandle and Quick have squared off for a championship. In the 2005 Prep Championship Game, Quick led Avon to a 3-0 win over Yandle’s Cushing Penguins. With the Kings up 2-0 over Phoenix it would appear Quick has Yandle’s – and Phoenix’s -- number.
By the way, all of the above players had the option to play in the USHL or head north of the border to the QMJHL, but all stayed in prep school and still managed to make it to the show. With all of the “options” and different “routes” in today’s game it is nice to see players make it to the NHL the old-fashioned way, i.e high school, college, and then, if you’re good enough, on to the pros. [We should mention that Yandle, an '05 Cushing grad, did go to Moncton (QMJHL), but only after he failed to get admitted to UNH and, right after that, to Maine.]
We should also mention that we counted the number of Americans on the rosters of the four remaining teams, and can report that New Jersey has seven, the Rangers have six, the Kings have six, and Phoenix only has one, which we assume means the folks in Arizona are not particularly concerned about immigration from points north.
At any rate, that’s a total of 21 Americans, 14 of whom played college hockey. In addition to the five prep players mentioned above, an additional four played for Shattuck or Minnesota high schools. Four played in the USHL, two in the NAHL, and one in the EJHL. Seven played major junior.
New Jersey is a particularly interesting team when it comes to Americans, and an object lesson – important to keep in mind with the draft coming up – toward understanding that what league you played in or whether or not you were drafted means very little in one’s chances of making a living playing pro hockey. What matters most is simply staying in the fight by any means necessary, and continually improving. We’ve long pointed out that college is a real plus for players – especially those who are not seen as high-end prospects going into their draft year – as it allows extra time for developing and offers the possibility of landing in an advantageous situation as a free agent.
With that in mind, let’s look closer at the Devils. They have seven Americans who have played in this spring’s Stanley Cup playoffs. One, Tim Sestito, who bypassed the college route for major junior, has played in one post-season game for the Devils. But the remaining six Americans on the Devils all played college hockey -- and only two of them, Zach Parise (first round, 2003) and Mark Fayne (fifth round, 2005), were drafted. The other four collegians -- Stephen Gionta, Ryan Carter, Peter Harrold and Andy Greene -- on the Devils were all undrafted. (So, too, was Sestito, who played in the OHL, as well as Ontario native David Clarkson, last night's hero, who also played in the OHL). That’s a total of seven undrafted players on one team – and an extremely good team at that. On the other side of the coin, the Devils also have eight first round NHL draft picks. That means that the middle ground between the undrafted and the elite prospects is close to non-existent on the Devils, who only have three players drafted below the third round. We’d certainly need to do a more extensive study to draw any further conclusions, but the Devils, in building their roster, have done very well through selecting elite players in the draft and via trades and then surrounding them with a cast of largely unheralded college free agents. There’s no dust on Lou Lamoriello, and there never has been.
The Rangers, on the other hand, have seven Americans – and all were drafted in the top three rounds except Ryan Callahan (4th round). All of the Los Angeles Kings' U.S. born players were drafted in the top five rounds. And Phoenix’s lone American, Keith Yandle, was a fourth round pick.
One other interesting tidbit: out of the 21 Americans remaining in the Stanley Cup playoffs, only two played in the National Team Development Program, and neither of those two – New Jersey’s Stephen Gionta and LA’s Matt Greene -- made the NTDP out of the overly-hyped March tryouts. Gionta was actually the very last player added to the 2000-01 U.S. Under 17 team, notified that he had made the team after the last game on the last day of the 2000 Select 16 Festival, just as everyone was packing up to leave St. Cloud. Greene didn’t make the NTDP’s Under-17 Team at all but the Little Caesar’s product had a strong Select 17 Festival -- also in the summer of 2000 -- and at the close of that tournament was added to the U.S. Under-18 Team, where he played for one year before going on to refine his skills further with the Green Bay Gamblers. What does all this mean? Just that if it’s wicked hard to project NHLers at age 18 it’s exponentially harder at age 16. Oh yes, and the race doesn’t always go to the swiftest.
Prep Commitment List
What follows is an updated, though not necessarily complete, list of incoming prep hockey players (and transfers, too) for the 2012-13 academic year. Please send us relevant information, as we will be updating the list occasionally.
James Anderson, F, ’96 (Taft/Suffolk PAL-MET); Cam Askew, F, ’97 (Cushing/St. Sebastian’s) Transfer; Cam Bando, D, ’95 (St. Paul’s/Cardigan Mountain); Derek Barach, F, ’95 (Salisbury/Albany Academy) Transfer; Griffin Bennetti, F, ’96 (Kent/California Titans U16); Christian Blais, F, ’95 (Loomis Chaffee/Newtown HS); Charley Borek, F, ’96 (Choate/Cardigan Mountain); Mark Bowen, F, ’95 (Canterbury/North Jersey Avalanche U16); Michael Brown, F, ’97 (Groton/St. John’s Shrewsbury); Joey Caffrey, F, ’95 (Choate/North Jersey Avalanche U16); Jason Cahoon, F/D, ’96 (Groton/Cardigan Mountain); Richie Cardillo, D, ’96 (Lawrence Academy/Cardigan Mountain); Connor Collier, D, ’95 (Canterbury/NJ Devils U16); Spencer Cookson, G, ’96 (Berkshire School/Cardigan Mountain); Ace Cowans, F, ’96 (Groton/Cardigan Mountain); Colby Cretella, F, ’94 (Phillips Exeter/Notre Dame-West Haven); Joel Daccord, G, ’96 (Cushing/North Andover HS); Will D’Orsi, F, ’97 (St. Sebastian’s/Belmont Hill) Transfer; Bobby Dray, F, ’96 (St. Mark’s/Cardigan Mountain); Joey Dudek, F, ’96 (Kimball Union Academy/Pinkerton Academy); Alex Esposito, F, ’96 (Loomis Chaffee/Notre Dame-West Haven); Dan Eruzione, F, ’95 (Cushing/Winthrop HS); Joey Fallon, F, ’95 (Gunnery/Long Island Royals U16); Ben Freeman, F, ’96 (NMH/Falmouth HS); Jeremy Germain, F, ’96 (Choate/Hamden HS); James Gobetz, D, ’96 (Salisbury/Long Island Royals U16); AJ Greer, F, ’96 (Kimball Union Academy/College Esther Blondin-QMAAA); Lucas Habich, F, ’95 (Canterbury/NJ Titans U16); Ethan Holdaway, F, ’94 (Westminster/Glastonbury); Dylan Holze, D, ’95 (Salisbury/Long Island Royals U16); Nicholas Hutchinson, F, ’95 (Avon Old Farms/Long Island Royals U16); PJ Johnson, D, ’95 (Groton/BC High); Josh Jordan, F, ’95 (NMH/Cardigan Mountain); Jordan Klotz, F, ’94 (Canterbury/NJ Devils U19); Daniel LaFontaine, F, ’95 (Avon Old Farms/Long Island Royals U16); Anthony Langevin, F, ’93 (Canterbury/Albany Academy) Transfer; John Laurito, F, ’96 (St. Paul’s/Rectory School); Cam Lee, D, ’97 (Northwood/Cardigan Mountain); Mike Lee, D, ’96 (Gunnery/Hamden HS); Vincent Lima, F, ’96 (St. Paul’s/NJ Devils U16); Joe Lissak, G, ’96 (Taft/NY Saints U16); Kevin Maldonato, D, ’95 (Groton/John Rennie HS-Quebec); Cole Maher, F, ’95 (Taft-New York Saints U16); Henry Marshall, F, ’97 (Choate/Mid-Fairfield U14); Stephen Marsico, F, ’96 (Loomis Chaffee/East Haven); Sean McCarthy, F, ’96 (Salisbury/Cardigan Mountain); Trevor McGee, D, ’95 (Taft/NY Saints U16); Eric Megnia, F, ’96 (Kimball Union Academy/Bay State Breakers-Empire); Giacomo Messina, D, ’97 (St. Paul’s/Patriotes de Laval-Quebec); Drew Michaels, G, ’95 (Lawrence Academy/Junior Bruins-Empire); Marcus Mitchell, G, ’96 (Vermont Academy/Cardigan Mountain); Connor Moore, D, ’97 (Brooks/Atlanta Fire); Jake Pelton, G, ’95 (Philips Andover/West Genesee HS); Greg Pezza, F, ’96 (Hotchkiss/Rectory School); Neil Robinson, F, ’95 (Salisbury/Lac St. Louis-QMAAA); Brandon Russ, D, ’96 (Choate/Eaglebrook); Aiden Salerno, D, ’95 (Avon Old Farms/Long Island Royals U16); Nicholas Sanchez, F, ’96 (Choate/Brunswick) Transfer; Shane Sellar, F, ’97 (Canterbury/Hershey Bears U16); Brendan Shane, F, ’96 (Gunnery/Toronto Nationals-GTHL); Will Somers, F, ’97 (Hotchkiss/Westchester Express U14); Kyle St. Denis, G, ’96 (Hotchkiss/Brewster U16); David Storto, F, ’95 (St. Paul’s/College Esther Blondin-QMAAA); Frank Sullivan, D, ’96 (Westminster/Notre Dame-Fairfield); Adam Tracey, F, ’95 (Berkshire School/Long Island Royals U16); Carlin Testa, G, ’96 (Pomfret/Rectory School); AJ Unker, F, ’94 (Williston Northampton/Fairfield Prep); Jon Venter, F, ’96 (Canterbury/CT Bobcats U16); Brendan White, D, ’94 (Kimball Union Academy/Malden Catholic); Steven Windt, D, ’95 (Cushing/NJ Devils U16); Miles Wood, F, ’95 (Nobles/Salem Ice Dogs-Empire); Eric Wurman, G, ’96 (Philips Andover/Acton Boxboro HS).
Miami Recruit Sieloff Opts for the O
6’0”, 196 lb. U.S. Under-18 LD Patrick Sieloff, a Miami University recruit projected to go in the low first round/high second round of next month’s NHL draft, has decommitted from the RedHawks and will go major junior with the Windsor Spitfires (OHL).
A 5/15/94 birthdate from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Sieloff has been in the NTDP for the past two seasons. Prior to joining them he played for the Compuware Midget Minor squad.
Windsor acquired his rights in a trade last fall with the Soo Greyhounds.
Mayotte Back in the ECAC
There will be a new face in the rinks as St. Lawrence University has hired Kris Mayotte as their new assistant coach. The Pittsburgh, PA native was a four-year starting goaltender at Union College. Prior to arriving in Schenectady, NY he was the starting goaltender for Sioux City (USHL), where he led the Musketeers to a Clark Cup championship.
Mayotte, 29, played five seasons of pro hockey in both the AHL and ECHL. Last year, the former ECAC All-League goalie served as the goaltending coach at Cornell where his student, Andy Iles, went 19-9-7 with a .919 save percentage. Mayotte will join Mike Hurlbut as a full-time assistant on new head coach Greg Carvel’s staff at St. Lawrence. Mayotte will also serve as goaltending coach for the Saints.
Kurker Coming In Early
6’1”, 195 lb. forward Sam Kurker, originally scheduled to arrive at Boston University in the fall of 2013, will in fact enroll this fall—making it official via twitter where “skurker9” tweeted, “It's official! Heading to BU next year. Cannot wait to get started.”
With Indiana Ice (USHL) forward Robert Polesello out of the picture, it created room for the St. John’s Prep star. The 4/8/94 birthdate will not be the first to jump directly from St. John’s to D-I level recently as former teammate Colin Blackwell did the same, making an immediate impact as a Harvard freshman this past season. Kurker was ranked #36 on NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings—making him the 2nd highest rated forward in New England, behind only Kent’s Boo Nieves.
OHL Takes Two More From Salisbury
Juniors Justin Nichols and Anthony DiFruscia have both decided to leave the Salisbury School in favor of the Ontario Hockey League. They join fellow junior teammate Aaron Berisha (see: 3/27/12, Berisha Leaves Salisbury for the OHL) as Ontario natives who have decided on Major Junior over NCAA Hockey.
Nichols, a 5’9”, 150 lb. goaltender was a 3rd round (45th overall) draft pick of the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds in the 2011 OHL draft. At Salisbury the St. Catherine’s, Ontario native was one of the top goalies in all of prep hockey. A 6/25/95 birthdate, Nichols posted a .946 save percentage en route to leading Salisbury to a 24-4 record before bowing out in the semi-finals to the eventual champs Lawrence Academy.
DiFruscia, a 5’11”, 197 lb. power forward, was a 2nd round (40th overall) draft pick of the Niagara IceDogs in the 2011 OHL draft. This season the 4/20/95 birthdate compiled a 10-11-21 scoring line through 24 games played—good for sixth on the team scoring list.
While these are significant losses for Andrew Will and his squad we do not doubt even for a second that Salisbury will be in the hunt for another title. Penn State recruit Thomas Welsh, UMass-Amherst recruit Mark Hamilton, Will Toffey and Ryan Segalla are the foundation for arguably the top D-core in the Founders’ League. UNH recruit Jason Kalinowski and big, underrated Ontario native Jacob Hand are the top returning scoring threats. Look for Neil Robinson, a ’95 born forward from Lac St. Louis (QMAAA) to provide immediate offense. Finally, senior-to-be Tim Ernst, an Ajax, Ontario native, was excellent in the 435 minutes he played this past winter, sporting a .926 save percentage.
USHL Draft Results
The 2012 USHL Draft was held yesterday, with 210 players ranging from ‘92s to ‘97s being selected.
Click here for full results:
2012 USHL Draft
Don't forget that the fifth and deciding game of the Clark Cup finals is tonight, as the Green Bay Gamblers host the Waterloo Black Hawks. Thus far, each team has managed to win a game in the other's building.
Polesello and BU Part Ways
5’7”, 160 lb. Indiana Ice (USHL) forward Robert Polesello has decommitted from Boston University and will look to play college hockey next fall at another school. The Bolton, Ont. native’s admittance to BU was in jeopardy due to an off-ice incident, and he has thus decided to withdraw his application.
The incident, which led to Polesello being suspended by the Ice for one game, an April 25th first round playoff matchup at Dubuque, led in turn to the BU coaching staff asking the former OJHL Rookie of the Year to hold off on coming to the school until the fall of 2013, a time period during which there were to be no more incidents. Polesello didn’t wish to accept those terms. He wants to play college hockey now.
As most readers know, BU president Robert A. Brown convened a task force last February to examine the culture surrounding the men’s hockey program after two Terrier players were charged with sexual assault. Terriers' head coach Jack Parker also supported a full investigation.
As a result, the BU coaching can’t afford even the appearance of impropriety, meaning any off-ice incidents involving hockey recruits will be closely scrutinized.
Polesello, a 3/27/94 birthdate, committed to the Terriers in the summer of 2009, when he was 15. This past season in Indiana Polesello compiled a 15-16-31 scoring line in 58 games played. The Kingston Frontenacs (OHL) 2009 draft pick has a number of suitors interested in his services, with Michigan State and UVM being two that we’ve heard of to date.
Scouting the Atlantic District
Over the past weekend, USHR attended the Atlantic District Select Festival tryout camp at the Ice Vault in Wayne, NJ. Right up front, we want to tip our caps to John Riley and Jim Hunt, the long-time directors of the Atlantic District, for their considerable body of work. Back in the ‘90s, when Riley and Hunt started their jobs, the Atlantic District was always in the bottom half of the entries at the National Select Festivals. Every summer it was the same, with Massachusetts, Michigan and Minnkota (Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota) running the table, and New York, Central, and New England making up a second tier. Now, all across the country, the picture has changed, and if USA Hockey were to return to the old district format (something we hope to see, by the way), the Atlantic District would be competing for titles every year -- and Riley and Hunt are very much responsible for that. This typist played for the Atlantic District and vividly remembers that each year anywhere from two to six players per birth year would be considered DI prospects and pro prospects from the district were very rare. Now the district regularly churns out around eight to ten DI prospects at each age level, with one or two of them being legit pro prospects. Fifteen years ago, the thought of DI scouts and NHL agents lining the glass at an Atlantic District tryout camp would have been unheard of, but it is very much a reality now. Not only has the talent been vastly improved, but the format is as good as you will find in terms of convenience for scouting an event. The tryouts are in one rink, there is a perfect number of kids who advance to the final camp, and rosters and schedules are readily available. Conceivably a scout could come on Saturday only and be able to see the ‘97, ‘96 and ‘95 age groups all play two games. Players from the ‘99, ‘98, ’97, ‘96 and ‘95 birth years were on hand this weekend, though this typist chose to focus strictly on the ‘97, ‘96 and ‘95s. Below are the players we felt stood out, roughly 15 players from each of the three age groups.
*Note: Our report is in no way indicative of who will make the teams headed out to Rochester, NY and is not swayed by camp evaluators. USHR is an independent scouting service and has no affiliation with USA Hockey.
1. Joseph Masonius, D—We saw the defender from the NJ Rockets organization for the first time two weeks ago at the Pre-Draft Showcase and were impressed with his overall level of play. Playing with his own age group he was even more impressive and may have established himself as the top ’97 in the district. Has elite puck skills and enjoys jumping in the rush and pushing the pace offensively. Scored a brilliant goal in overtime over the weekend, which really put an exclamation mark on his performance. Masonius will be watched closely over the next twelve months. He is a prime candidate for the NTDP.
2. Donovan Ott, F—Played for the Junior Flyers this past season and will be headed to Selects Hockey Academy next fall. Has good size at 6’1” and a wide frame which he uses to his advantage. Is a powerful skater who has the ability to drive to the front of the net with authority. Shoots the puck hard and has a soft set of hands. Is another player who will likely be an NTDP candidate. Ott’s size and skill level make him a big time prospect.
3. Troy Henley, D—The Team Comcast U16 defender is incredibly powerful and is polished for his age. Makes good decisions with the puck and is offensively involved. Is about 5’11” 190 and physically mature, but there is a chance that he will not grow much more. If we had to pick a team right this second, Henley may be the best player available, but when projecting out Ott and Masonius may have a touch more potential. Regardless, all three are elite players. Henley will be heading up to Ontario to play for long time Toronto Marlies coach Ken Strong who will be at the helm of the Oakville Rangers next season. All signs point to Henley playing in the OHL.
4. Conor Tierney, F—Small (5’7”, 140 lbs.), dynamic forward possesses an excellent stick and plays the game with a lot of pace. The NJ Rockets star forward is constantly around the puck and is dangerous in transition. Has all the earmarks of a top DI prospect. Also suits up for Christian Brothers Academy.
5. Grant Jozefek, F—Long Island Gulls forward has great wheels and makes plays at top speed. Generates a lot of offense and has always been a productive player. Has a good shot release and a knack for scoring goals. Is a two-way player who plays hard and is defensively aware. Is not very big, but certainly has enough skill to make him a prospect worth tracking.
6. Bradon Crawley, D—NJ Rockets/Bergen Catholic defenseman is intelligent and smooth with the puck. Makes sound decisions and has a lot of poise. Is not very big or dynamic, but his intelligence will ensure that he succeeds at higher levels.
7. Michael Ufberg, D—Smart defenseman who is slick with the puck and makes a great first pass. Has a knack for finding the open man. Is not very big or a graceful skater, but is productive and projects as a power play quarterback.
8. Shane Sellar, F—Productive offensive player from the Hershey Bears organization. Knows how to score goals. At last summer’s Select 14 Festival Sellar put up more points than any other player from the Atlantic District, registering a 4-4-8 scoring line in five games played.
9. Jordan Kaplan, F—Another top player from the NJ Rockets organization. Is on the smaller side, but has an extremely quick stick and is dangerous in tight spaces. Has a high skill level to go along with good vision. Plays on the perimeter a little too much for a player with his size; will have to play harder in the tough ice to succeed at higher levels.
10. Mikey Dephillips, G—Athletic goalie who is very quick moving side to side. Is not very big, but plays his angles well. Has the ability to make jaw-dropping saves. Was the starting goalie for the Long Island Gulls that lost in the quarterfinals at Nationals this spring.
11. Jordin Holmes, D—Team Comcast defender is offensive minded and has above average puck skills. Decent size (5’10”/5’11”) and has an effective poke check. Would like to see him play with more of an edge.
12. Teddy Simson, F—Works hard and plays with a ton of energy. Is a pest to play against and strips a lot of pucks away from the opposition. Played for the NJ Devils Youth this past season.
13. Tyler Kobryn, F—Big, tall forward has potential. Is not there yet and has a long way to go, but skates well for a big kid and is strong on the puck. Plays for the NJ Rockets.
14. Brian Boylan, D—5’4” defenseman plays for Team Comcast. Will fight a size battle for the remainder of his career, but has a good mind for the game and makes a lot of good plays. Is evasive and does not put himself in vulnerable positions. Will certainly be a good prep school player.
1. JJ Piccinich, F—It is no surprise that Piccinich is the top ’96 in the district right now. The stock of the NJ Avalanche star forward is continuing to rise as he is being pursued by many top NCAA programs. Will play in the USHL next season as he was tendered by Youngstown. We think he will have some success making the jump because he is such a versatile player, one capable of playing nearly every role. Piccinich is also a top student who will likely choose an Ivy League school.
2. Eric Shaw, F—The surprise of the camp. Played Tier II hockey prior to enrolling at Middlesex School as a freshman. Keeps getting better and better and could be the top pro prospect here in the ’96 age group. The 6’2”, 185 lb. forward skates very well and has a heavy shot. This past season he put up a 10-10-20 scoring line in 22 games played, impressive numbers for a freshman. We did not have the opportunity to see Middlesex play this year, thus did not rank Shaw in our list of top freshman—that will change as there is no doubt in our mind that he is a DI prospect. Look him to make a big splash at the Select Festival this summer and have a breakout campaign at Middlesex next winter.
3. Chris Birdsall, G—We have seen him play better than he did this past weekend. Nonetheless, we feel he is a top goalie and a winner. Is explosive and a good skater, which enables him to quickly get into position and square up to shooters. Reads the game well and has excellent anticipation. When he is playing his best he can steal a game on his own. Was tendered by Cedar Rapids (USHL) and will attempt to succeed in the USHL as a 16-year-old goalie, no small challenge.
4. Kevin Kerr, D—Penn State made a statement by landing the top ’96 defender in the Atlantic District, something that we think will become a trend as many of the top Atlantic District players are right in the Nittany Lions back yard. At 5’10” Kerr’s pro potential may be limited, but we think he will be great at Penn State and will likely quarterback the PP. The dynamic defender likes to jump in the rush and regularly beats back checkers into the offensive zone. Is a fluid skater, which allows him to take chances offensively and still get back in position to defend. Will play U18 for Comcast next season.
5. Edwin Minney, G—Was recently named a goalie for the NTDP (along with Blake Weyrick from Shattuck). Let in a lot of goals over the weekend and really struggled here. If we were evaluating solely off of his performance over the weekend he would not make it out to Rochester, NY. That being said, his pro potential is very high. The 6’4” goaltender takes up a lot of net and under Mike Ayers’s tutelage we think he will flourish. Minney is a project, but we understand the NTDP’s thinking in bringing him on board.
6. Robby Marsanico, F—Dynamic forward has great feet and plays with a ton of pace. Tough to contain in 1x1 situations. Is all over loose pucks. Is small at 5’7”, but fast and gritty enough to succeed at higher levels. Led the NJ Hitmen’s Empire team in scoring last season.
7. Anthony Siderio, F—Two years ago Siderio, who plays for Selects Hockey Academy, was regarded as the consensus #1 forward in the district. Since that time his stock may have dropped off a bit, but we think his game is evolving and he will reestablish himself as a player who deserves strong DI consideration. In the past Siderio may have relied solely on skill, but this weekend we saw him hunting pucks down and playing with a little jam. Has a dangerous stick and when he plays with energy and pace he is most effective.
8. Paul Vella, F—Played for the NJ Devils U16 team last season. Has a lot of skill and is very dangerous with the puck. Strong 1x1 player knows what to do in scoring areas. Needs to get his teammates involved more as he is a bit of an individual, which leads one to think he may lack vision.
9. Kevin Charyszyn, F—Not flashy, but the more you watch him the more you like him. The puck seems to follow him around the ice, a result of the NJ Rockets’ forward always being in the right position. Creates offense and makes a lot of good plays on a consistent basis.
10. Dylan Stephanik, F—The brother of NJ Hitmen (EJHL) forward and Quinnipiac recruit Jason Stephanik. Tall, lanky forward has a slick set of hands and an elite shot release. Plays on the perimeter too much right now, but when he fills out he will be more equipped to succeed in the tough ice. Stephanik has the body of a classic late bloomer.
11. Drew Hotte, G—5’10” goaltender is athletic and extremely quick moving post-to-post. Was the most consistent goalie this weekend and outplayed both Birdsall and Minney. Plays for the Philadelphia Little Flyers.
12. Ryan O’Connor, D—Shattuck-St. Mary’s U16 defender is an elite skater. His feet allow him to have strong gap control, making him difficult to beat. Makes some questionable puck decisions and gets running around at times in the defensive zone.
13. Ross Colton, F—Plays for Princeton Day School and was named Freshman Player of the Year in New Jersey. Is small and has yet to physically mature, but makes a lot of plays and has a creative mind for offense. Will be a much different player one or two years from now.
14. Bobby Wurster, D—6’3” defenseman from Choate has a lot of filling out to do, but once he does we think he will be very effective. His form while skating is good, but he lacks explosiveness, something we think will come with added leg strength. Wurster makes simple and smart decisions with the puck and we think he has DI potential.
15. Jeremy Brodeur, G—Son of future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur is a lot like his father in the sense that he lacks sound technique, but finds a way to make saves. Plays for Shattuck-St. Mary’s.
16. Brendan VanRiemsdyk, F—Looks like a spitting image of his older brother, Philadelphia Flyers forward James VanRiemsdyk. Has yet to gain his coordination and lacks speed coming out of the gates. Because he has a hard time getting up and down the ice he does not get many touches on the puck, but he is smart player who is good around the net. In our opinion it is only a matter of time before he breaks out of his shell, but some critics are beginning to think it may never happen.
1. Drew Melanson, F—RPI recruit is an absolute stud and someone who has All-American college potential. The Delbarton star forward is a beautiful skater with superb puck skills. Was nursing an injury over the weekend, but was still in a league of his own. The 5’11” speedster projects to have a strong season next year, and we think he stands a good chance to be selected in the 2013 NHL draft.
2. Connor Clifton, D—Quinnipiac recruit was the top ’95 defender on hand. Has a high skill level and plays the game with a nasty edge. Plays for the NJ Hitmen (EJHL) and will be someone who will have an immediate impact once he gets to the NCAA level.
3. John Baiocco, F—Yale recruit is smart and makes a lot of plays. When he has the puck on his stick you know something is about to happen. Threatening with the man advantage. Our only gripe with the Delbarton forward is that he is not a go-getter. He tends to wait for the puck to come to him.
4. Joey Caffrey, F—Keeps getting better and is growing on us as a player. Is not someone who jumps out at you right away, but has top end pucks skills and plays the game with a lot of speed and creativity. Is thin and slight right now but when he gets to be in the 180-190 lb. range he will begin to catch the eye of DI recruiters. Caffrey was a top scorer for the NJ Avalanche U16 team last year and is headed to Choate next fall where he is slotted in as the team’s first line center with Cornell recruit Alex Rauter on his wing.
5. Alec Marsh, F—NJ Rockets forward has good puck skills and is a strong player in the corners and in front of the net. Protects the puck well and has poise in scoring areas. The Penn State recruit is not very quick which may limit his ability to get to pucks at the next level.
6. Max Gottlieb, D—NJ Rockets defenseman has a heavy shot and likes to get involved in the offense. Has a good stick and is physically strong. At 5’11” we question whether his game is dynamic enough to translate to higher levels.
7. Josh Melnick, F—Delbarton forward was third on team scoring (behind Melanson and Baiocco), compiling a 22-25-47 scoring line in 28 games played. Has a quick stick and the ability to make plays in high-traffic areas. Is flying under the radar right now, but is someone who deserves some recognition.
8. Connor Collier, D—Above average in all facets of the game. Makes a good first pass, defends well, is a pretty good skater, and is positionally sound. Will be a reliable defenseman at Canterbury next season, but lacks a lot of upside; his game is what it is.
9. Steven Windt, D—Good stick and thinks the game well on the offensive side of the puck. Needs to defend better and improve his foot speed to gain traction with college recruiters. Played for the NJ Devils U16 last year and is headed to Cushing in the fall.
10. Kyle Fargesen, F—Has DI skill. Fast skater with good puck skills has the ability to make defenders look silly. The knock on him is that he disappears for long stretches at a time, sometimes even whole games. Played for Selects Hockey Academy last season and is set to play for the NJ Rockets (AJHL) this coming year.
11. Daniel Vaysberg, D—Heady, intelligent defenseman. Smooth with the puck and gets it up ice quickly to his forwards. Is on the small side, but skilled, puck-moving defensemen are not easy to find. Will play for the New Jersey Rockets (AJHL) this season.
12. Zachary Diamantoni, F—Works hard and plays the game with a lot of energy. Has gotten bigger and stronger. Was drafted by Dubuque in the 2011 Futures Draft and will look to earn a roster spot in the USHL.
13. Brian Singmaster, D—Had a strong camp and put himself on the map here. Played for the Philadelphia Revolution (Empire League).
14. Ron Greco, F—Led Team Comcast U16 team in scoring last season. Is not very big or fast, but has a hard shot with a quick release and has a knack for scoring goals.
Gillies to Stay In Hockey East
6’5”, 216 lb. goaltender Jon Gillies of the Indiana Ice (USHL), who decommitted from Northeastern in early March, committed to Providence College this afternoon.
Gillies visited the Quebec Remparts (QMJHL) last Thursday and followed it up with a visit to Providence on Friday.
A 1/22/94 birthdate from Portland, Maine, Gillies is the son of former UNH goalie Bruce Gillies. He was the #6 rated North American goalie on Central’s Final Rankings, released last month. He finished the regular season at Indiana with a 2.77 gaa and a .915 save percentage in 53 games played. In six playoff games, he posted a 2.84 gaa and a .915 save percentage.
Originally recruited to Northeastern in the spring of 2010 when Greg Cronin was head coach, Gillies was playing his second year at Indiana after leaving the Salisbury School at the end of the ’09-10 season.
Providence’s other recruit, fellow ’94 born Nick Ellis, will be leaving the Pomfret School to play in the USHL next season. He is expected to arrive at Providence in the fall of ’13, though with Gillies arriving that could become ’14.
Pryzbek to Brown
Salisbury School senior forward Zack Pryzbek has committed to Brown University for the fall of 2013. The 6’4”, 205 lb. power forward put up a 7-10-17 scoring line in 26 games played last season.
While the Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario native is not an elite scorer, there are also not many recruits who are better than Pryzbek along the walls and in the corners. The 4/25/94 birthdate is the sort of player every team desires. With his size and work ethic, he’s just very difficult to play against. Pryzbek will bring a presence to the Brown Bears lineup, an area the coaching staff feels needs to be addressed.
Prior to playing at Salisbury, Pryzbek skated for Hill Academy (Toronto, Ont.). This fall, he will refine his game in the BCHL with either Coquitlam or Merritt. Harvard, Clarkson, Dartmouth, Michigan State and Northern Michigan all expressed interest in the powerful winger, but Brown was his first choice all along. Pryzbek is the final player ranked (#210) on NHL Central Scouting’s Final Rankings, a bit low in our opinion.
East Coast Futures Showcase
The East Coast Futures Showcase, run by Vinnie Montalbano and Peter Alden, takes place this weekend (Fri. May 18-Sun. May 20) in Cromwell and Newington, Conn.
There are three divisions: a ten team U17 division (‘95s, ‘96s, and ‘97s); an eight team ’98 Division; and a six team ’99 Division.
Here’s a link to the schedule (it’s an Excel Document):
East Coast Futures Showcase Schedule
Here’s a link to the Tournament website:
East Coast Futures Showcase
EJHL Spring Showcase Overview
USHR headed into ultra-familiar territory last weekend, making the trip to Marlboro, Mass. to take in the EJHL Spring Showcase. There were 56 teams in attendance, with many EJHL teams bringing multiple teams to the tournament in order to get a look at as many kids as possible. Our primary focus, however, was on the “A” division. With that in mind, what follows is a look at some of the players who stood out, along with some very early commentary on how we see some of the traditional top teams in the EJ shaping up for the 2012-13 season.
Note: As we spent Friday and Sunday at the showcase, we were unable to get a good handle on those teams that failed to qualify for the playoffs.
Middlesex Islanders: If we had to put a dollar – or a hundred dollars -- right now on which team will win the EJHL crown next season it would be on the Islanders. We wrote about this a couple of weeks ago, so we’re really reiterating things a bit, but Sean Tremblay has not missed a beat. In fact he has picked up some momentum since leaving the “Live Free or Die” state. And who will he be counting on? For starters, ’93 born former Lawrence Academy forward Tyler Whitney. The younger brother of Joe and Steven Whitney has taken his game to another level and is playing with a lot of confidence. For a small forward he is strong on the puck and has a great mind for the game. Whitney and ’92 born Westminster graduate – and Florida native -- Chris Izmirlian exhibited some great chemistry, with the latter’s stick and goal scoring ability really coming to the forefront. It will be interesting to see if those two remain linemates throughout the season. We also really liked Zach Sanford, a ’94 senior to be out of Pinkerton Academy. The 6’3” forward has never had to play the game with a lot of pace or urgency, but we think when pushed he will elevate his game. Sanford, in addition to his size, is a very smooth skater with a slick set of hands. If he can learn to play a big man’s game, NHL teams will begin to watch him closely. Another player who will be watched very closely by top NCAA teams will be late ’97 forward Luke Kirwan. The former Syracuse Star (Empire) has good size – he’s listed at 6’1”, 200 lbs. -- and a laser of a shot. Right now, he is in the top tier of players in his age group. Having said that he does appear to be physically mature already, thus may not have the same high-end upside as some of his less mature peers. But averaging over two points a game in the Empire League is very impressive indeed.
Junior Bruins: Head coach Peter Masters is going to have to do some serious retooling as he lost a lot of the older and talented players who made up the core of his team last season. The Junior Bruins will thus go from having one of the older teams in the league to one of the youngest. They will not be without talent though, and this group could surprise a lot of people. Judging on this past weekend, Boston Advantage forward Ryan Cloonan appears to be the top newcomer up front. The ’95 born University of Maine recruit has a lot of skill and is crafty with the puck. He will have to get stronger to be a dominant player in the EJHL, but he will get an opportunity to play a key role. ’95 born Chris Miller, who will be making the jump to the EJ from the Junior Bruins Empire team, is a 5’6” forward with the ability to play in all situations. He gives maximum effort each shift, too. Another ’95 from the Empire team who will have an immediate impact is Josh Couturier. The 6’2” defender has a lot of tools and is a good bet to be a D-I defenseman in the future. His feet need to improve to handle the pace at higher levels, but he has a good stick and makes consistently good decisions with the puck. An underrated defenseman who looks to garner some D-I interest this season is ’94 born Kevin McKernan. The 6’0”, 180 lb. defenseman is a calming presence on the blue line and the more you watch him the more you begin to appreciate his game. The top recruit on the back end this season will be 5’8”, 140 lb. Brandon Fortunato. However, the Harvard commit was not in attendance this past weekend, and the ultra-savvy puck mover will take some time to adjust to the size and speed of junior hockey. When he does, though, he will make an impact.
NH Jr. Monarchs- It’s unrealistic and unfair to think that newly appointed GM/Head Coach Ryan Frew will easily refill the cupboard after nearly the entire 2011-2012 championship roster has either moved on to college, headed west to the USHL, or followed former GM/Head Coach Sean Tremblay down the road. This past weekend the only returning players on the roster were ’93 born Ryan Ferrill who put up a 10-5-15 scoring line in 41 games played last season; and 6’3”, 195 lb. Steven McKenna, a ’93 who compiled a 6-16-22 scoring line in 35 games played. The Monarchs won the showcase but, having said that, they only brought one team while others split their players up on multiple teams. Nonetheless, the Monarchs have enough to be very competitive. The team looks to be built from the net out as ’93 born Northwood alum Zac Rondeau is a solid netminder capable of giving his team an opportunity to win, and LA Jr. Kings goaltender David Jacobson led his team to a second place finish at Nationals this past season. At 6’1”, 195 lbs. Jacobsen, a ’94, has good size to go along with his athleticism. He looked sharp over the weekend. Durham, NH native and EJHL journeyman Evan Shultz will provide the Monarchs with some skill and experience up front. The 5’7”, 165 lb. ’93 forward played last season for the Green Mountain Glades and finished second in team scoring with a 13-18-31 line in 40 games played. The small forward has a good stick and has always been offensively productive, but lacks the explosiveness and dynamic element needed to attract D-I schools at his size. Dzmitry Daniliuk from Suffolk PAL (MET) is a defenseman worth tracking.
New Jersey Hitmen- We were unable to get a good handle on the Hitmen. They brought a couple teams, both of which advanced to the quarterfinals. However, we were only able to catch the “Jersey Hitmen White” in action. From the looks of things, Toby Harris’s squad will be in the upper echelon of the league and will once again be a force to contend with come playoff time. Quinnipiac recruit Jason Stephanik will be relied upon to move into the spotlight and carry the load offensively. The 6’2”, 177 lb. ’94 has some upside as his best hockey is ahead of him. A player who really stood out this weekend was ’92 born forward Matt Szmatula. The 5’9”, 170 lb. Commerce Township, Michigan native played last season for the Summerside Capitals (MJAHL) and led the league in scoring with a 31-56-87 line in 52 games played. He was hard to miss here as he was very productive with the puck and did nothing but create offense all weekend long. We look for him to put up a lot of points next season. Playing on Szmatula’s line was Ben Torchia, a ’93 from Belle Tire U18’s. The 5’11”, 160 lb. Sylvania, Ohio native is a nice complimentary player capable of playing in all situations.
Valley Junior Warriors- 2012 EJHL Coach of the Year Andy Heinze is looking to contend for a championship this season after landing three prized recruits in Ryan Fitzgerald (Malden Catholic/BC), Brendan Collier (Malden Catholic/BU) and Devin Tringale (Lawrence Academy/Harvard). The trio played as a unit this fall with GBL Bruins U18 team and will likely form the top line in the league. None of those players were on hand this weekend, but a couple quality players look to be injected into the mix. BB&N star forward Matt Pugh has the ability to make an immediate impact. The 6’2”, 190 lb. workhorse plays the game hard and with a lot of passion. A ’94 birthdate, Pugh could find a D-I home as a role player if he can refine his skill set. This past season, Pugh notched a 17-23-40 scoring line in 28 games played. Another player who will fit in nicely on the top two lines is Governor’s graduate Alex Minter, a ‘92. The 5’10”, 185 lb. Peabody, Mass. native produced a 10-17-27 scoring line in 26 games played for the Govs.
EJHL Spring Showcase Teams & Schedule
The Eastern Junior Hockey League is bringing in 56 teams for the 2012 EJHL Spring Showcase, which starts tomorrow (Fri. May 11) and runs through Sunday at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, Mass. Admission is free for all college and pro scouts.
Below are the competing teams and coaches, as well as a link to the schedule (Excel document).
Junior Bruins 1 -- Peter Masters
Junior Bruins 2 -- Mike Anderson
NH Monarchs -- Ryan Frew
Rochester Stars -- Tony Maksymiu
Middlesex Islanders -- Sean Tremblay
Middlesex Islanders Futures -- Sean Tremblay
Valley Warriors -- Andy Heinze
Portland Junior Pirates -- Brad Church
Jersey Hitmen White -- Toby Harris
Jersey Hitmen Blue -- Toby Harris
South Shore Kings -- Scott Harlow
NY Apple Core -- Frank Bretti
Baystate Breakers -- Dave McCauley
Philadelphia Revolution -- Chris Kenney
Boston Bandits -- Todd Stirling
NJ Rockets -- Bob Thornton
Philadelphia Jr. Flyers -- Jerry Domish
Walpole Express -- Mark Kumpel
Northern Cyclones -- Bill Flanagan
Hartford Wolfpack -- Chris Cerrella
Washington Junior Nationals -- Anthony DiPalma
Boston Bulldogs -- Mike Addesa
High End Hockey -- Jon Hutcheon
Mass Maple Leafs -- Tony DeSilva
Team Ohio -- Pat Metzger
TPH Prospects -- Nate Bowen, Jay Leach
Florida Eels -- Frank Scarpaci
Space Coast Junior Hurricanes -- Shawn Ray
Palm Beach Junior Hawks -- Tim Kyrkostas
HOA (Canada) -- Jack Finlay
South East Nationals -- Jason Dawe
Kick Ice Coyotes -- Justin Martin
Junior Bruins B -- Mike Anderson
Jersey Hitmen B (Barling) -- Chris Barling
Jersey Hitmen B (Clifton) -- Tim Clifton
Jersey Hitmen U16 -- Bill Thompson
South Shore Kings B -- John Gurskis
St Francis Xavier (Alberta Can.) -- Bryan Keller
Space Coast Hurricanes -- Shawn Ray
Hartford Wolfpack B -- Chris Cerrella
Tampa Bay Juniors B -- Brett Strot
Team Ohio B -- Pat Metzger
Boston Shamrocks B -- Sean Meisenhiemer
Mass Maple Leafs B -- Tony DeSilva
Rochester Stars B -- Tony Maksymiu
Middlesex Islanders B -- Mike Tenney
NH Monarchs B1 -- Ryan Frew
NH Monarchs B2 -- Ryan Frew
NY Apple Core 1 -- Henry Lazar
NY Apple Core 2 -- Henry Lazar
Brewster Bulldogs B -- Steve Santini
Florida Eels B -- Frank Scarpaci
Syracuse Stars B -- Scott Montagna
Jersey Wildcats -- Justin Stanlick
Valley Warriors -- Andy Heinze
Springfield Pics -- Pat Tabb
2012 EJHL Spring Showcase Schedule
We are going to try something new this spring by maintaining and publishing a list of some of the top players to commit to New England prep schools for this coming fall. Below are some of those we have heard of thus far. Keep in mind that this is a work in progress as many schools are still recruiting players. We hope to update this list in the near future, so email us and let us know if we are missing anyone. Also, please keep in mind that we are not just looking for players who are going to prep school and have hockey equipment. We are looking for players who will make contributions as early as next season. Lack of space and time prohibits us from being more democratic.
James Anderson, F, ’96 (Taft/Suffolk PAL-MET)
Cam Askew, F, ’97 (Cushing/St. Sebastian’s) Transfer
Cam Bando, D, ’95 (St. Paul’s/Cardigan Mountain)
Charley Borek, F, ’96 (Choate/Cardigan Mountain)
Dan Bowen, F, ’95 (Canterbury/North Jersey Avalanche U16)
Joey Caffrey, F, ’95 (Choate/North Jersey Avalanche U16)
Jason Cahoon, F/D, ’96 (Groton/Cardigan Mountain)
Richie Cardillo, D, ’96 (Lawrence Academy/Cardigan Mountain)
Connor Collier, D, ’95 (Canterbury/NJ Devils U16)
Spencer Cookson, G, ’96 (Berkshire School/Cardigan Mountain)
Ace Cowans, F, ’96 (Groton/Cardigan Mountain)
Joel Daccord, G, ’96 (Cushing/North Andover HS)
Will D’Orsi, F, ’97 (St. Sebastian’s/Belmont Hill) Transfer
Bobby Dray, F, ’96 (St. Mark’s/Cardigan Mountain)
Joey Dudek, F, ’96 (Kimball Union/Pinkerton Academy)
Dan Eruzione, F, ’95 (Cushing/Winthrop HS)
Joey Fallon, F, ’95 (Gunnery/Long Island Royals U16)
AJ Greer, F, ’96 (Kimball Union/College Esther Blondin-QMAAA)
Dylan Holze, D, ’95 (Salisbury/Long Island Royals U16)
Nicholas Hutchinson, F, ’95 (Avon Old Farms/Long Island Royals U16)
Josh Jordan, F, ’95 (NMH/Cardigan Mountain)
Daniel LaFontaine, F, ’95 (Avon Old Farms/Long Island Royals U16)
Cam Lee, D, ’97 (Northwood/Cardigan Mountain)
Chad Malinowski, D, ’95 (Milton Academy/Brewster Bulldogs-Empire)
Cole Maher, F, ’95 (Taft/New York Saints U16)
Sean McCarthy, F, ’96 (Salisbury/Cardigan Mountain)
Eric Megnia, F, ’96 (Kimball Union/Bay State Breakers-Empire)
Drew Michaels, G, ’95 (Lawrence Academy/Junior Bruins-Empire)
Marcus Mitchell, G, ’96 (Vermont Academy/Cardigan Mountain)
Jake Munroe, D,’97 (Milton Academy/LA Selects U14)
Jake Pelton, G, ’95 (Philips Andover/West Genesee HS)
Neil Robinson, F, ’95 (Salisbury/Lac St. Louis-QMAAA)
Brandon Russ, D, ’96 (Choate/Eaglebrook)
Aiden Salerno, D, ’95 (Avon Old Farms/Long Island Royals U16)
Nicholas Sanchez, F, ’96 (Choate/Brunswick) Transfer
David Storto, F, ’95 (St. Paul’s/College Esther Blondin-QMAAA)
Adam Tracey, F, ’95 (Berkshire School/Long Island Royals U16)
Brendan White, D, ’94 (Kimball Union/Malden Catholic)
Steven Windt, D, ’95 (Cushing/NJ Devils U16)
Miles Wood, F, ’95 (Nobles/Salem Ice Dogs-Empire)
Connor Wynne, D, ’95 (Milton Academy/North Jersey Avalanche U16)
Eric Wurman, G, ’96 (Philips Andover/Acton Boxboro HS)
2012 WHL Bantam Draft Results
The annual WHL Bantam Draft, an odd exercise in which dozens of scouts from the league’s 22 clubs come up with the names of over 300 ’97 birthdates – i.e. 14 and 15 year olds – who might someday be able to play major junior, was held late last week.
The #1 overall pick was center Mathew Barzal of the Burnaby Winter Club, who went to the Seattle Thunderbirds. He’s a Canadian, however. The top American – a dual citizen, actually – went #2 overall. That would be 5’11”, 160 lb. left shot center Jansen Harkins of the North Shore Winter Club who was selected by Prince George Cougars. Harkins, who posted a 68-54-122 line in 61 regular season games, is the son of Todd Harkins, a Cleveland, Ohio native who went on to play forward at Miami-Ohio in the late ‘80s before reaching the NHL, where he played 48 games over three years. The senior Harkins is the head coach of the Vancouver NW Giants of the BC Midget League.
2. Prince George -- Jansen Harkins, C, North Shore Winter Club Bantams
26. Portland – Keoni Texeira, D, LA Selects ‘97
57. Everett – Auston Matthews, RW, Arizona Bobcats ‘97
61. Tri-City -- Ty Comrie, C, LA Selects Bantam
64. Portland -- Caleb Jones, D, Dallas Stars U16
75. Kelowna -- Christian Cakebread, RW, Arizona Bobcats ‘97
87. Lethbridge -- Zachary Goberis, C, Colorado Thunderbirds U14
100. Brandon – Jesse Gabrielle, F, Osseo/Maple Grove (Minn.) Bantam
106. Moose Jaw -- Tyler Brown, D, POE Hockey Academy (Kelowna, BC) Bantam
115. Victoria -- Keith Anderson, RW, Arizona Bobcats ’97
125. Medicine Hat -- Mendell Dubuisson, RW, Arizona Bobcats ‘97
130. Portland -- Ethan Price, F, Omaha U16
133. Vancouver -- Chase Jungels, F, Benilde-St. Margaret’s HS
136. Everett -- Daniel Woolfenden, D, Seattle Sno-Kings Bantam
140. Red Deer -- Bo Hanson, D, Arizona Bobcats ‘97
153. Tri-City -- Robby Jackson, C, LA Selects Bantam
161. Seattle -- Luke Osterman, D, Stillwater (Minn.) Bantam
165. Regina -- Angus Scott, C, Notre Dame Hounds Bantam
169. Vancouver -- Jordan Klehr, D, Shattuck-St. Mary’s Bantam
172. Moose Jaw -- Christos Zinis, D, Colorado Thunderbirds U14
180. Everett -- Jake Durflinger, RW, Arizona Bobcats U14
196. Portland -- Michael Bullion, G, Philadelphia Jr. Flyers U14
200. Prince George – Tristin Phillips, D, Alaska All-Stars Bantam
201. Seattle -- Zak Galambos, D, Compuware ‘97
204. Lethbridge -- Logan Fauber, D, Colorado Thunderbirds U14
222. Prince George -- Rem Pitlick, F, Shattuck-St. Mary’s Bantam
240. Portland -- Alex Overhardt, C, Colorado Thunderbirds U14
246. Everett – Alec Mehr, F, LA Selects Bantam
262. Portland -- Blake Heinrich, D, Hill-Murray (Minn.) HS ’95 birthdate
284. Portland -- Evan Weinger, RW, LA Selects Bantam
Not quite sure what rule allows a ’95 – see Blake Heinrich above – to be taken in the Dub’s Bantam Draft, but there he is. Heinrich, a standout blueliner with Hill-Murray, the runner-up at the Minnesota State High School Tournament, committed to Minnesota-Duluth just a couple of weeks ago.
Trade Delivers Seth Jones to Portland
6’3”, 201 lb. US Under-18 RD Seth Jones, the top player in the U.S. in his age group, has decided to pass on the NCAA and has signed to play next season for the Portland Winterhawks (WHL).
Jones, a native of Plano, Texas, and a likely #1 overall pick for the 2013 NHL Draft, had narrowed his final choice to the University of North Dakota or the WHL. However, the NCAA option may have been leverage, given that he was traded from Everett, the team which had drafted him 11th overall in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft, to Portland for four players. Five really, because earlier Portland had sent a conditional draft pick to Everett just for the right to talk to Jones.
Portland also selected Jones’ younger brother Caleb, also a defenseman, in last week’s WHL Bantam Draft.
Snively Picks Yale
5’5”, 130 lb. Selects Hockey Academy U16 C/LW Joseph Snively has committed to Yale University for the fall of ’14 or ’15.
A 1/1/96 birthdate from Herndon, Virginia, Snively is a small, highly skilled, electric player who can make plays at a high tempo and possesses a hard, accurate shot.
Snively, who will be an 11th grader at South Kent in the upcoming season, played for the Washington Little Caps ’96 team before heading off to Selects Academy at South Kent last fall.
One of the top forwards at last summer’s Select 15 Festival, Snively visited UNH, Harvard, Providence, Boston College and Yale.
Pro-Am Pre-Draft Showcase
USHR spent a couple of days this past weekend at the New England Pro-Am Pre-Draft Showcase. We did not come close to seeing every team play as there were over 60 teams (!) on hand playing in three different rinks (Foxboro Sports Center, Iorio Arena, and the Canton Sportsplex). Adding to the confusion was the fact that for many players their jersey numbers did not coincide with the numbers in the program. Nonetheless, what follows here are reports on some of the players who caught our eye, with a specific emphasis on players we have not covered extensively in the past. That means we passed over some of the stars, e.g. guys like Malden Catholic forward – and BC recruit -- Ryan Fitzgerald, who put on a clinic while we were watching, scoring six of his teams eight goals in a single game.
Joseph Masonius, D, ’97 (Hockey Essentials-Futures) 5-11/160—The youngest player here this weekend was quite impressive. A puck-moving defenseman, Masonius has a high skill level coupled with natural abilities. Is in the top group of ’97 defenseman that we have seen thus far. The smooth skating defender did not look out of place playing against much older competition. We look forward to seeing him with his own age group this summer at the Select Festival. The New Jersey native plays in the NJ Hitmen organization and plans to play U18 hockey this coming season.
Rob Marsanico, F,’96 (Hockey Essentials-Futures) 5-8/165—Played midget hockey this past season for the NJ Hitmen, but grew up playing for the Long Island Gulls with the likes of Sonny Milano, Ryan Hitchcock, Daniel Williett and Brandon Fortunato. The diminutive forward is very dynamic and plays the game with a lot of pace. Is ultra shifty and has some sandpaper to his game. Is rumored to be a bit of a concern off the ice, but with his skill level he could be a player worth taking the time to mold and mentor.
Joe Young, G, ’94 (East Coast Kings) 6-2/165—The Boston Advantage netminder has been on display for us all season long and for whatever reason we have never really honed in on him. An intriguing prospect who has popped up on NHL Central Scouting’s Final Rankings, Young appears to be very athletic, with a long, narrow frame which he uses to his advantage. Is technically sound and will likely be a high draft pick in the USHL later this month---with an outside chance of being drafted into the NHL next month. A number of D-I schools are tracking him closely.
Jake Schechter, D, ’93 (East Coast Kings) 5-11/185—The Lawrence Academy grad and Florida native came on strong this season, overcoming a mid-season injury and establishing himself as one of the top defensemen in prep hockey. The undersized blueliner is reliable with the puck on his stick and is an explosive skater who defends with an edge. When all is said and done we think he will be a D-I defenseman. He was wooed by EJHL teams, but look for him in the USHL this fall.
Craig Skudalski, F,’95 (East Coast Kings) 6-6/208—Huge winger is someone who piqued our interest. Played in the AJHL for Wilkes-Barre last season and is undecided as to where he will play next. Like most players with his stature his feet need a lot of work, but if he can become quicker and more coordinated he will be a prospect to watch. Has a smooth set of hands and can shoot the puck. Does not shy away from traffic and is an imposing figure in front of the opposition’s goalie.
Matt Salhany, F, ’93 (New England Nordiques-Blue) 5-11/175—Led Tabor in scoring this past season, producing a 16-23-39 scoring line in only 25 games played. Is one of, if not the most underrated player in prep hockey. Has a slight frame, but is elusive in traffic and has an explosive first step. Is a significant get for the Boston Bandits (EJHL) as he will be an impact player from Day 1 in the EJHL.
Alex Poulin, F,’93 (New England Nordiques-Blue) 5-11/170—A player who we were previously unfamiliar with was impressive over the weekend. Led South Kent in scoring this season producing over two points a game with a 16-15-31 scoring line in 15 games played. Does not have the speed you would desire in a 5’11” forward, but is excellent with the puck and has a D-I mind for the game. If he can add some strength/explosiveness in his legs he will find himself on the radar of D-I schools. Has not decided on a home yet for next season, but we feel any EJHL team would be fortunate to have him.
Mitch Doell, F, ’93 (Firstar Canada West-Black) 5-11/160—Plays in the SJHL for Nipawin where we feel he will be a top player next season. Needs to add some bulk to his frame as he is pretty light for a 19 year old. Having said that, he can play the game. Possesses a slick set of hands and makes a play nearly every time he has the opportunity to do so.
Filip Wallin, D, ’93 (Euro Hockey) 5-11/187—Swedish defenseman plays for Brynas during the regular season. Is a good skater who can really move the puck. Displayed a lot of poise and is someone who is comfortable running the power play. Not sure what his intentions are, but if an NCAA school could land him he would be a nice player to have in the stable.
Jakob Knoph, D, ’93 (Euro Hockey) 6-0/181—Another Swedish defenseman who impressed us. Wallin may have a little more sizzle with the puck, but we felt Knoph was the better all around prospect. Makes a good first pass and defends well. Is an excellent skater who displayed elite gap control. Another player who would make for a solid NCAA prospect if someone could get him across the Atlantic.
Paul Geiger, D, ’92 (Eurocan) 6-3/200—The Clarkson recruit had a monster season playing for the Stouffville Spirit (OJHL), amassing a 13-41-54 scoring line in only 43 games played -- and another 42 points over the course of a long playoff run. The big, rangy defenseman clearly has offensive upside and is confident making plays with the puck. Is ready to take his game to the next level and is mature enough to make an impact next season in the ECAC. His skating still has a ways to go, but he could develop into a pro during his tenure in Potsdam, NY.
Mark Friedman, D, ’95 (Eurocan) 5-11/185—The North York Rangers (OJHL) defenseman is almost a ‘96 (12/25/95) and has been committed to Bowling Green for a year and a half already. The former Don Mills Flyer is a great skater, thus difficult to beat in open ice. Is a good all-around player who keeps things simple. Is set to enroll at BGSU in the fall of 2013, meaning he will play the first half of his freshman season as a 17 year old.
Troy Donnay, D, ’94 (East Coast Kings) 6-7/185—Quite a few major junior players participated this weekend, but the one who we felt progressed the most was Donnay. For his size he is a smooth skater and his decision-making has improved significantly. The Erie Otters (OHL) defender only weighs 185 lbs. right now and will likely add another 40 pounds before he embarks on a pro career. Should be drafted in the mid to late rounds of this summer’s NHL draft.
Cooper Rush, D, ’93 (Aurora) 6-8/220—An absolute monster. For a 6’8” defenseman he gets around the ice quite well. Possesses a cannon of a shot and is someone D-I schools should keep an eye on next season. His game does need work, though, specifically with lateral movement and pivoting. We could see him struggling at a higher level where the pace is much faster. Having said that, there is an awful lot to work with here and his size is hard to ignore.
Jason Argue, G, ’93 (Firstar Canada West-White) 6-0/180—Was the top goaltender in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League this past season, posting a 2.61 GAA and a .923 save percentage. This was not the best event to judge a goalie, but based on what we saw and his resume he is someone schools should be tracking. Plays for the Swan Valley Stampeders.
Anthony Stolarz, G, ’94 (Hockey Essentials-White) 6-5/210— We watched the imposing goaltender stonewall a pretty good Eurocan team. Plays his angles well, leaving few holes to shoot at. The Jackson, NJ native played this past season for the Corpus Christi IceRays (NAHL) where he posted a 2.84 GAA and a .920 save percentage. Stolarz has ascended very quickly. Just one year ago he finished up playing for the NJ Hitmen (Empire) and could not find a home in the USHL. Now, 12 months later, he has a scholarship to the University of Nebraska--Omaha and is the 4th ranked North American goaltender for the NHL draft.
Brent Beaudoin, F, ’96 (New England Prospects)—young forward will likely be playing for the NH Junior Monarchs (EJHL) next season. Good offensive instincts and makes plays in tight spaces.
BU’s Big Get
Forgive us for being a little late on this but, in case you haven’t heard, Junior Bruins (Empire) 6’1”, 175 lb. right-shot center Jack Eichel has committed to Boston University for the fall of ’14.
About 20 NCAA schools called the Eichel household, hoping to get involved, but in the end the 15 year old from Chelmsford, Mass. made his final pick from between BU and BC.
Eichel was USHR’s top-ranked forward at last summer’s Select 15 Festival in Rochester, NY (see USHR News, 7/28/11). He was also USHR’s top-ranked forward in the Pre-Draft Division of this spring’s Beantown Classic (see USHR News, 3/19/12).
Eichel, who has played in the Junior Bruins organization since he was eight years old, had Chris Masters as his coach the last two years with Empire League team. Masters, a former BC forward, reports that Eichel really exploded over the last third of his first year in the Empire League, topping things off with a big OT goal in the national semis against a Long Island Royals team comprised mainly of ’92s and ‘93s. And he has just kept going from there.
“In my opinion, of all the players who have been through the Junior Bruins organization, he has the potential to be the best of all,” Masters says. “He does everything so well. He shoots it better than everyone. He thinks it better than everyone. He’s an effortless skater who seems to get up and down the ice in three strides. He’s tall, lanky, and plays long – he’s just so good at protecting the puck with players on him. He holds it away from defenders so well, and always with his feet moving.”
“He also scores great goals,” Masters continued. “He has a great release. And he beats you 1-on-1. He’s great in the locker room, too. He was our captain – as a 14 year old. He’s a big time player who is mature beyond his years. The sky’s the limit. I’d be very surprised if he’s not a first round NHL pick.”
A 10/28/96 birthdate, Eichel will matriculate at BU as a 17 year old. He won’t be eligible for the NHL draft until the summer of 2015, after his freshman year.
This past season, Eichel finished fourth in Empire League scoring with a 39-47-86 line in 36 games played.
Eichel will take his game to Ann Arbor in the fall, where he will join the U.S. National Team Development Program. He will be a junior in high school.
USHL Futures Draft
The USHL held their annual Futures Draft last night, and 78 players – all ’96 birthdates -- were selected.
There was a new wrinkle to the Futures Draft this year. For the first time, teams were allowed to sign up to two tenders before the draft, and eight of the league’s 15 teams did so. Teams that signed one tender – Fargo, Indiana, Omaha, and Sioux City – were not allowed to make a pick in the second round. Teams that signed two tenders – Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Green Bay, and Youngstown – had to sit out both the second and third rounds.
Under USHL rules, teams hold the rights of players selected in the Futures Draft for three years.
Cedar Rapids -- Paul O’Connor, D, St. Louis Jr. Blues (NA3PHL)
Cedar Rapids -- Chris Birdsall, G, North Jersey Avalanche U16
Dubuque -- Keegan Ford, D, Waunakee HS (Wisc.)
Dubuque -- Seamus Malone, F, Chicago Mission U16
Fargo -- Butrus Ghafari, D, Compuware U16
Green Bay -- Brendan Lemieux, F, Toronto Red Wings Midget Minor
Green Bay -- Jake Linhart, D, Chicago Mission U16
Indiana-- Josh Jacobs, D, Honeybaked U16
Omaha -- Ryan Tait, F, Shattuck-St. Mary’s U16
Sioux City -- Ryan Mantha, F, Belle Tire U16
Youngstown -- Kyle Connor, F, Belle Tire U16
Youngstown -- J.J. Piccinich, F, North Jersey Avalanche U16
2012 Futures Draft:
1. Omaha -- Shane Gersich, F, Holy Family Catholic HS (Minn.)
2. Waterloo -- Liam Pecararo, LW, Boston Advantage Major Midget
3. Fargo -- Mason Morelli, LW, Minot HS (N. Dak.)
4. Sioux City -- Nick Magyar, C/RW, Cleveland Barons Minor Midget
5. Indiana -- Adam Baughman, LD, Chicago Mission Minor Midget
6. Chicago -- Christian Dvorak, LW, Chicago Mission Minor Midget
7. Tri-City -- Kevin Kerr, LD, Team Comcast Minor Midget
8. Sioux City -- Robert Nardella, LD, Chicago Mission Minor Midget
9. Sioux Falls -- Cody Milan, C/RW, St. Mary's Prep HS (Mich.)
10. Muskegon -- Dylan Malmquist, RW, Edina HS (Minn.)
11. Dubuque -- Dylan Gambrell, C, Colorado Thunderbirds Minor Midget
12. Youngstown -- Brandon Carlo, RD, Col. Thunderbirds Minor Midget
13. Lincoln -- Ryan Norman, LW, Shattuck-St. Mary's U16
14. Green Bay -- Brandon Fortunato, LD, Long Island Royals U16
15. Tri-City -- Dylan Pavelek, C, Detroit Belle Tire Minor Midget
1. Tri-City -- Joshua Gabriel, W, Buffalo Jr. Sabres Minor Midget
2. Green Bay -- No Pick - Used Tender
3. Lincoln -- Daniel Willett, LD, New Jersey Rockets Jr. B
4. Youngstown -- No Pick - Used Tender
5. Dubuque -- No Pick - Used Tender
6. Muskegon -- Chase Phelps, LW, Shattuck-St. Mary's U16
7. Sioux Falls -- Mitchell Lundholm, LW, Selects Hockey Academy
8. Indiana -- Blake Siebenaler, RD, Cleveland Barons Minor Midget
9. Fargo -- No Pick - Used Tender
10. Chicago -- Luke Davison, RD, Notre Dame Academy (Wisc.)
11. Indiana -- No Pick - Used Tender
12. Cedar Rapids -- No Pick - Used Tender (via Sioux City)
13. Des Moines -- Peter Tischke, LD, Chicago Mission Minor Midget
14. Fargo -- Michael Booth, C/RW, Team Illinois Minor Midget
15. Omaha -- No Pick - Used Tender
1. Omaha -- Scott Eansor, C, Culver Military Academy U16
2. Waterloo -- Charlie Manley, LD, Selects Hockey Academy
3. Des Moines -- Alex Jasiek, LW, St. Louis Blues Minor Midget
4. Sioux City -- No Pick - Used Tender
5. Indiana -- Jake Evans, C/RW, Mississauga Rebels Minor Midget AAA
6. Chicago -- Chris Dodero, C/LW, CYA Minor Midget
7. Waterloo -- Logan Halladay, G, Carolina Jr. Hurricanes U16
8. Cedar Rapids -- No Pick - Used Tender
9. Sioux Falls -- Dakota Joshua, C, Detroit Honeybaked Minor Midget
10. Muskegon -- Conor Garland, F, Boston Junior Bruins Jr. B
11. Dubuque -- No Pick - Used Tender
12. Youngstown -- No Pick - Used Tender
13. Lincoln -- Tyler Nanne, C, Edina HS (Minn.)
14. Green Bay -- No Pick - Used Tender
15. Des Moines -- Marcel Godbout, RW, Shattuck-St. Mary's U16
1. Cedar Rapids -- Johnny Walker, RD, Culver Military Academy U16
2. Green Bay -- Sam Kauppila, C, Team Illinois Minor Midget
3. Lincoln -- Gordon Helmuth, LW, Detroit Little Caesars Minor Midget
4. Youngstown -- Bryan Lemos, LW, Rhode Island Saints U16
5. Tri-City -- William Harrison, C, DC Capitals Minor Midget
6. Muskegon -- Raphael Maheux, LD, Team Ulysse U19
7. Sioux Falls -- Stefano Lekkas, G, Chicago Mission Minor Midget
8. Cedar Rapids -- Ryan Wagner, F, Chicago Mission Minor Midget
9. Fargo -- Sal Filice, LD, Don Mills Flyers Minor Midget AAA
10. Chicago -- Roman Gaudet, C, Detroit Compuware Minor Midget
11. Indiana -- Edwin Minney, G, DC Capitals Minor Midget
12. Sioux City -- Joseph Snively, LW, Selects Hockey Academy
13. Dubuque -- Anthony Petrella, LW, Detroit Belle Tire Minor Midget
14. Waterloo -- Andrew Zerban, RW, Elk River/Zimmerman HS (Minn.)
15. Omaha -- Brian Williams, C/RW, Los Angeles Selects Minor Midget
1. Omaha -- Jake Cass, RD, Stillwater Area HS (Minn.)
2. Waterloo -- Alex Copa, LD, Blaine HS (Minn.)
3. Tri-City -- Travis Brown, RD, Rogers HS (Minn.)
4. Cedar Rapids -- Austin Kamer, RW, Detroit Belle Tire Minor Midget
5. Sioux City -- Bradley Johnson, RD, St. Louis Blues Minor Midget
6. Chicago -- Max Kalter, C, Chicago Young Americans Minor Midget
7. Fargo -- River Rymsha, LW, St. Mary's Prep HS (Mich.)
8. Des Moines -- Brendan Smith, RD, Col. Thunderbirds Minor Midget
9. Sioux Falls -- Corey Hoffman, C/LW, Long Island Gulls U16N
10. Muskegon -- Tristan Rostagno, LD, Arrowhead HS (Wisc.)
11. Dubuque -- Jacob Benson, RW, Grand Forks Red River HS (N. Dak.)
12. Youngstown -- Shawn Brennan, RD, Cleveland Barons Minor Midget
13. Lincoln -- Jack Walker, LD, Edina HS (Minn.)
14. Green Bay -- Fredrik Olofsson, LW, Col. Thunderbirds 15AAA
15. Des Moines -- Jake Wahlin, C/LW, White Bear Lake HS (Minn.)
1. Des Moines -- Ara Nazarian, C, Malden Catholic HS (Mass.)
2. Green Bay -- Cameron Hackett, G, Vaughan Kings Minor Midget AAA
3. Lincoln -- Micheal Prapavessis, LD, Mississauga Rebels Minor Midget
4. Youngstown -- Anthony Siderio, C, Selects Hockey Academy
5. Dubuque -- Luke Forfar, RW, Team Illinois Minor Midget
6. Muskegon -- John Peterson, RW, Holy Family Catholic HS (Minn.)
7. Sioux Falls -- Andrew Blumer, LD, Fargo South/Shanley HS (N. Dak.)
8. Cedar Rapids -- Mitch Reinke, RD, Stillwater Area HS (Minn.)
9. Fargo -- Steven Quagliata, RD, Chicago Bruins Midget
10. Chicago -- Willie Nylander, RW, Sodertalje SK Jr. 18
11. Indiana -- Luca Leone, F, Shattuck-St. Mary's U16
12. Sioux City -- Cullen Munson, C, Edina HS (Minn.)
13. Tri-City -- Jake Kielly, G, Eden Prairie Bantam
14. Waterloo -- Michael Sauer, C, Bemidji HS
15. Omaha -- Ryan Donato, F, Dexter School (Mass.)
Denver Lands Gamez
The University of Denver has received a verbal commitment from Garrett Gamez of the LA Junior Kings U16 team. The 6’0”, 170 lb. forward led the Kings in scoring this season posting a 27-28-55 scoring line in only 40 games played, good for 4th overall in the Tier 1 Elite League.
The 2/17/95 birthdate is a bit of a late bloomer having played Tier II for the LA Hockey Club up until this past season. The California native had a strong showing at Nationals, and here’s what we had to say about him: “Quick release to his shot. Finds a way to be successful in the dirty areas of the ice. Plays with some jam and is effective at finding his way to loose pucks. Showed a lot of heart here as he played the final day of the tournament with a fractured wrist. Compiled a 2-3-5 scoring line through five games.”
Gamez made unofficial visits to Colorado College, Northeastern, UNH and obviously Denver. Look for him to matriculate to the Mile High City in the fall of 2014, though if he's ready he could go in '13.
Gamez will play in the USHL next season. He is currently undrafted, but that will change when the USHL holds their 2012 primary draft in three weeks -- Tues. May 22nd to be exact.