Select 16 Festival Review
USHR was back in Amherst, NY last week for USA Hockey’s Select 16 Festival. Before getting to the players, we have some general observations.
1) This birth year – the ’97s – features a strong group from Minnesota. Most are uncommitted, too, which is not unusual for Minnesota, where players don’t usually buy into the whole early commitment thing that Eastern – specifically Boston-area – kids appear to embrace. We asked a coach of a western school for his take on why that is. "They all grow up dreaming of playing for the Gophers,” he said. “And for the most part they won't commit anywhere until they know their dream of playing for the U is not going to come to fruition." What this means is that there is a large pool of extremely good uncommitted players who can be tracked deeper into their years of development. And that, in turn, means there will be fewer mistakes made in the whole decision-making process, by players and college coaches alike.
2) There were key players missing last week. For example, Massachusetts natives Noah Hanifin, Cam Askew, Colin White, and Ryan Fitzgerald – all terrific players -- were not on hand. Who takes their place? It's tough to take away numbers from a district because its top players don’t participate, but if it is those very players who earned the district a large representation in the first place, then maybe those spots should go to a deeper area like -- and here we loop back to the above -- Minnesota. We wouldn’t have minded seeing the sons of the Gopher State who didn’t make the cut.
3) At the Select 17 Festival our opinion of the players picked for the Ivan Hlinka team mirrored, for the most part, that of Bob Corkum and his staff. At the 16s, though, we felt differently. Yes, there was a handful of no-brainers, but, if we were picking, we definitely would have taken guys like Anthony Stillwell, Jack Ahcan, Christiano Versich, Charlie Kelleher, and Alec Mehr overseas with us.
At any rate, much as we did last week we have broken the players down into A, B, and C pools. With so many good players on hand, misses are inevitable. But the cream always rises to the top – and there’s always next year! Enjoy!
Brock Boeser (Burnsville High School/Kelly Green) 5-11/180 — A very solid prospect who possesses a nice mix of skill, grit, and hockey sense. The Wisconsin recruit was not at the NTDP Final 40 Camp nor was he on our radar prior to the 16 Festival. Here, he just crushed it statistically, posting a 4-8-12 scoring line in just six games played. Boeser, who was the 4th overall selection by Sioux City in the USHL Futures Draft, has decided to return to Burnsville for his junior season. If we were to compare him to a current NHL player we would say that he plays a Stephen Weiss (Detroit) type game.
Thomas Novak (St. Thomas Academy/Kelly Green) 6-0/170 — The University of Minnesota recruit has gotten a little bigger, a little longer, and a little stronger over the past 12 months. His skill level is through the roof and he has all the earmarks of a top NCAA prospect. He is still on the thin/weak side, but when he has the puck on his stick there is no taking it away. Handles the puck in traffic with the best of them. Has great vision coupled with the ability to make plays at top speed. Posted a 4-7-11 scoring line in six games played. Our only knock on him right now is that his shot is not very good; it’s very obvious that he is a pass first, shoot second type.
Jeremy Bracco (NJ Rockets-AJHL/Red) 5-10/150 — We will be the first to admit that through the years we have had reservations, feeling that some aspects of Bracco’s game would not work at the next level, where bigger, stronger defenders would shut him down. Yet year after year the Harvard recruit finds his name at the top of the scoring leaders board. The former Long Island Gull is a playmaking machine who simply understands how to play hockey. He had a great week here, posting a 3-9-12 scoring line in five games played. He’s headed to the NTDP in the fall,
Luke Kunin (St. Louis Blues U16/Grey) 5-11/170 — An unbelievable skater who can go from first to fifth gear in a matter of seconds. Beat defenders wide with ease here. Looked bigger and stronger than ever before. Posted a 3-3-6 scoring line in six games played. Headed to the NTDP.
Brendan Warren (Compuware U16/Black) 6-0/175 — Last year, we compared the flashy forward to Tyler Seguin (Dallas) and we’ll stick with the comparison. It is obvious from the moment he touches the puck that he is the most skilled player on the ice, but figuring out how to use his teammates in order to find time and space is not something that comes easily for him. The Michigan recruit is explosive, shifty, and has incredibly quick hands. Headed to the NTDP. Posted a 3-1-4 scoring line in four games played.
Jordan Greenway (Shattuck U16/Black) 6-5/215 — Does not dominate on a shift-to-shift basis like he probably could, but there is just so much to like about the Potsdam, New York native. For a kid who is 6’5” he is a very smooth skater with an explosive first couple of steps. We do not think he will ever be a top point producer at the pro level, but he will be a pro. Was selected in the 1st round of the OHL draft by Plymouth. Committed to the NTDP for next year. We are told that he is in no rush to commit to an NCAA school, but would rather wait and see where things are at in a couple of years.
Alec Mehr (LA Jr. Kings U16/Grey) 5-11/180 — Made a splash here and upped his stock significantly. The maturation process has taken hold and Mehr looks a lot stronger than he did last year. Posted a 6-3-9 scoring line in just six games played. Has a nose for the net and a strong, goal-scorer’s stick. Has decided to come east and play for the Gunnery this year, but after his performance here there could be a few suitors looking to alter his plans. A top uncommitted prospect.
Troy Terry (Colorado Thunderbirds U16/Columbia Blue) 5-10/145 — We have always liked Terry’s game, but he has consistently been the smallest guy who the ice. That, however, has changed. He has grown a couple of inches and with that his speed has improved. The Denver recruit is a complete player who will play in all situations for the Pioneers. Posted a 4-4-8 scoring line in five games played.
Charlie Kelleher (Boston Jr. Bruins U18/Orange) 5-9/145 — Did not have an overly productive week (1-1-2 in five GP), but the former Longmeadow High School star makes an impact each time he is on the ice. A UNH recruit, Kelleher is all over the puck and is incredibly frustrating to play against. Take-aways is not a stat kept here, but if it were Kelleher surely would be at the top of the list.
Christiano Versich (St. Thomas Academy/White) 5-7/160 — Is on the small side, but compensates via a low center of gravity and through strength on the puck. Has quick hands and makes a lot of things happen in the offensive zone. Was on one of the lowest-scoring teams here and only posted a 1-2-3 scoring in five games played. Fits the profile of the new-look Gophers, e.g. Taylor Cammarata, Gabe Guertler, Justin Kloos, Vinnie Letteri, and Louie Nanne, all of whom are under 5’10”, and feature a high skill level.
Brody Stevens (Compuware U16/Orange) 5-11/192 — A year ago we felt that while Stevens had good hands and a heavy shot, his skating was a weakness. His legs have either gotten a lot or stronger or he has been working on his skating a lot, because it is no longer a shortcoming — not even close to it. The uncommitted prospect led his team in scoring with a 3-4-7 stat line in five games played. Will suit up for the NTDP next year.
Jack Roslovic (Ohio Blue Jackets U16/Gold) 6-1/160 — Has an electric skill set and the ability to break a game wide open all by himself. The NTDP commit has not chosen an NCAA school, but it is safe to say that he will have no shortage of suitors. Still has to get stronger and up his compete level on a more consistent basis.
Samuel Miletic (Cranbrook Cranes/Kelly Green) 6-0/170 — Has a phenomenal first step and can really get his shot off in a hurry. Is a bit one-dimensional right now, but it is the most coveted dimension he possesses: the ability to strike quickly in transition. Posted a 1-5-6 scoring line in six games played. Drafted by the London Knights (OHL) and Green Bay (USHL).
Chase Jungles (Benilde St. Margaret’s/Kelly Green) 5-9/160 — Small, feisty, competitive, and a complete player. Has a better stick than he probably gets credit for. Posted a hat trick on the first day of competition. Does not have the high end upside that some of the players mentioned above possess, but Jungles is the type of player who helps you win a lot of hockey games. 4-3-7 in six games played. Uncommitted.
John Anderson (Pheonix Bobcats/Black) 6-3/205 — A big, thick kid who is tough to handle in front of the net. His feet are just average, but his hands are good and he’s really tough to get the puck from down low. 2-4-6 in five games played. Uncommitted.
Karch Bachman (Culver Academy/Black) 5-11/175 — Gritty, competitive. Does not give up on loose pucks and is always around the play. A pest to play against. Will be a great role player at the D-I level. Uncommitted.
Shane Sellar (Canterbury/Kelly Green) 6-1/169 — Not pretty to watch, but he’s productive and always has been. Tied for the lead in points here with 12 in just six games played. Is a bow-legged skater, but has good agility and is in the right place at the right time consistently. He reminds us of Evan Wax (Yale). How’s that for a name from the past? Uncommitted.
Matthew Freytag (Wayzata High School/Black) 6-0/180 — Smooth skater with a long reach. Can really shoot the puck. Has upside. Is uncommitted.
Tarek Baker (Omaha AAA U16/Royal Blue) 5-11/185 — For D-I programs, Baker is a tweener. You know he’d be a strong 3rd or 4th liner, but it’s tough to gauge whether or not he will be a top six guy right now. Does everything really well, but nothing high end. Had a great week, leading his team in scoring with a 3-6-9 scoring line and being named to the Five Nations team. Uncommitted.
Jacob Henderson (St. Louis Blues U16/Royal Blue) 6-2/190 — Big, strong, kid with a really heavy shot. Lumbers around a bit right now, but when his coordination comes around he could develop into a premier power forward. 3-1-4 in five games. Uncommitted.
Tanner Laczynski (Chicago Mission U16/Royal Blue) 5-11/165 — One of those players who does not jump out at you, but is always on the score sheet. Knows his way around the offensive zone; is a smart player who can make plays under duress. Uncommitted.
Nolan Aibel (NJ Rockets-AJHL/Columbia Blue) 5-10/158 — Yale recruit is a skilled center who is very smooth with both his hands and feet. Has constantly been put in a position where he has to keep pace with longtime teammate Jeremy Bracco and the two push each other to make one another better. The two will be Ivy League rivals in just a couple years. Made the Five Nations squad. 3-3-6 in five games.
Koby Bender (Cloquet High School/Forest Green) 6-0/168 — If there was a fastest skater competition here the Cloquet sophomore-to-be would be would be neck-and-neck with Luke Kunin. Creates scoring opportunity after scoring opportunity with his feet. With the last name “Bender” you better be a good skater. That said, his hands and play-making ability leave something to be desired. Uncommitted.
Michael Floodstrand (Chicago Mission U16/Forest Green) 5-9/152 — Put himself on the map at Nationals and followed that up with a strong performance here. Is small and skinny, but man is he pretty to watch. He makes skating look incredibly easy. Is puck savvy and can turn on a dime. Will be hard to contain when he bulks up. Made the Five Nations team and is uncommitted — for now, at least.
Jared Bethune (Warroad High School/Forest Green) 6-0/168 — Was only a freshman last year and he torched Minnesota high school hockey with a 22-23-45 scoring line in just 25 games played. Tall and skinny with an aptitude for the game, Bethune is only going to get better. Made the Five Nations team. Uncommitted.
Jacob Coleman (Pittsburgh Penguins U16/Royal Blue) 5-8/145—Was just OK here, but we are slightly impartial because we have seen Coleman at his best and we really enjoy his game. Works hard, doesn’t shy away from contact, hunts loose pucks, and can score highlight reel goals. How can you not like a player that fits that bill? Uncommitted.
Robert Jackson III (LA Jr. Kings U16/Forest Green) 5-10/170 — Usually scores tons of points, but does so quietly. Here he did not score a lot of points, but we noticed him often. Is small and limited, but very smart, never panics with the puck, and displayed a high compete level. Uncommitted.
Kevin Conley (Wausau West High School/Orange) 6-0/188 — Two-way forward is very good across the board. Has the puck a lot and is equally able to score or make a nice play. Was one of the top high school players in Wisconsin as a sophomore. Uncommitted.
Ethan Price (Omaha AAA U16/White) 5-11/190 — A bull in a china shop. Very tough to play against. As a defenseman he’s the last person you want to see chip a puck into your corner; he’ll hammer you as you attempt to make a play. Is more than just physical, though. He can shoot the puck and brings his team’s energy level up with his play. Youngstown (USHL) is his likely destination for next season. Uncommitted.
William D’Orsi (St. Sebastian’s/Orange) 5-11/170 — D’Orisi was a solid prep player last year, but nothing to really write home about. Here, the Yale commit either had the best week of his life -- or his game has really turned a corner. The first couple of days he was playing by far the best hockey we have ever seen him play. Indeed, he scored the nicest goal we saw here, taking the puck and skating through all five players as if they were pylons, and then making the goalie look like it was his first time using goalie skates. 4-1-5 in five games.
Troy Conzo (NJ Rockets U16/Orange) 5-10/170 — Had trouble finding the score sheet early in the week, but it surely wasn’t for lack of opportunities. Has always lurked in the shadows of Bracco and Aibel, but the UMass recruit is very good in his own right and is probably the most complete player of the three. Creates offense, plays hard in his own zone, kills penalties, and is good in the faceoff circle.
Brent Gates (Compuware U16/Orange) 6-2/180 — The Green Bay (USHL) prospect and Notre Dame commit is experiencing some growing pains as he establishes himself as a hard-working power forward. Was an early developer, but his peers have closed the gap and scoring goals is becoming a challenge (0-2-2 in five games). That said, he is physical, has some skill, and is still an awfully big boy. Will be effective once he creates a new identity.
Gordon Green (Compuware U16/Red) 5-8/154 — Dubuque’s top pick in the futures draft is as smart as a fox both with and without the puck. However, he has to get stronger and faster in order to have the puck more. Committed to Miami-Ohio and fits the mold of Red Hawk alums Andy Miele and Carter Camper. 5-1-6 in five games.
Aaron O’Neill (TPH Thunder U16/Red) 5-11/167 — Honest player does the little things that go unnoticed. Will probably never be a top scorer, but will be a great 2nd or 3rd line guy who can be effective in all situations. Green Bay (USHL) draft pick is uncommitted. 3-3-6.
Jason Dhooghe (Chicago Mission U16/Gold) 5-7/145 — Tiny, but he can absolutely fly and is not shy about mixing it up physically. Completely flattened 6’2”, 205 lb. Nick Heid, which led to Heid taking a retaliatory penalty. Will be a great energy guy who can pot 6-10 goals a year at the D-I level. Doesn’t hurt that his younger brother is one of the top offensive talents in the country at the ’99 birth year.
Carson Gicewicz (Nichols Prep/Gold) 6-2/200 — Kind of grew on us the more we watched him. The St. Lawrence recruit is big, thick, and strong on the puck. An ox in front of the net. Possesses the puck well. Did not put up a ton of points here, but was very noticeable. Has more pro upside than his brother RJ Gicewicz, also a SLU recruit.
Zachary Goebris (Colorado Thunderbirds U16/White) 5-11/190 — Is not overly fast, but he always seems to have the puck. Goes into a lot of traffic areas and seems to come out the other side and create a scoring opportunity. Sioux City (USHL) and Lethbridge (WHL) draft pick. 1-6-7 scoring line in five games played.
Ryan Moore (Belle Tire U16/White) 5-9/160 — Hasn’t grown much, but he can really skate and make plays at top speeds. Always has his head up. Headed to the OHL where he will suit up for the Windsor Spitfires. 1-4-5.
Ryan Dmowski (Gunnery/White) 6-1/190 — Listed at 6’1”, but 5’11” is probably more accurate. Has a great stick and a lot of poise in the offensive zone. Is being heavily recruited in the east; we are told that Providence College could be the favorite to land him. 1-3-4.
Lincoln Griffin (Thayer/Kelly Green) 5-10/160 — Competes, plays hard, and gets bigger and strong in the scoring area. Played on a highly explosive team here and finished with a 5-6-11 stat line in six games played. Northeastern recruit.
Sam McCormick (Notre Dame Academy/Kelly Green) 5-9/160 — Small and not a burner, but is slick and creative with the puck. Tied for the camp lead in scoring with 12 points in six games. Saved his best for the championship game, putting up a 2-1-3 line.
Colin Rutherford (Buffalo Regals U16/Black) 5-7/140 --- Small and less mature physically than his peers, but once his body catches up to his mind and skill set, his game is going to take off. Intelligent player makes a lot of plays. 12/29/97 birthdate. 3-3-6 line in five games played.
Devin Moore (Pinkerton Academy/Kelly Green) 5-6/130 — Tiny forward is as quick as they come. Can turn on a dime. Headed to Exeter.
Robert Hampton (NJ Rockets U16/Black) 5-11/165 — Played confidently; had a good week. A late ’97. Someone to keep tabs on.
Avery Steele (Colchester High School/Black) 5-7/160 — Gritty little energy guy with a good stick and the ability to make a play. Headed to Selects Hockey Academy.
George Sennott (Austin Prep/Royal Blue) 5-5/130 — Is very small, but actually looks a little bigger and stronger. Thinks the game well. Headed to KUA.
Will Garin (Holy Catholic Family/Columbia Blue) 5-10/168 — Has an excellent shot release and led the camp in goals with seven. Very good north and south, not so much east and west.
Alexander Debrincat (Victory Honda U16/Grey) 5-7/145 — Great offensive instincts. Plays hard and with some sandpaper. Competes for pucks. Had a hat trick in the championship game. A 12/18/97 birth date.
Tanner Polglaze (Beloit Memorial High School/Grey) 5-8/150 — Wirey player who is constantly involved. Greasy and annoying to play against. Will play for Omaha U16 AAA – it’s hard to miss those bright orange helmets -- next season.
Bailey Conger (Utah Regulators/Orange) 5-11/165 — Fantastic prep school prospect. Has great hockey sense. More than held his own here.
JC MacLean (Delbarton/Orange) 6-2/195 — Still very much a project, but he gets around the ice much better than he did a year ago.
David Cotton (Colorado Thunderbirds U16/Red) 6-2/180 — Had a strong week. Has a ton of potential and soft hands for a tall kid. Headed to Cushing.
Kip Hoffman (Chicago Mission U16/Red) 5-10/165 — Picked up by Green Bay (USHL) in the futures draft. Good stick. Puts up points.
Joshua Biasillo (Buffalo Jr. Sabres U16/White) 5-11/170 — Plays hard in all three zones and gives a consistent effort each shift. Character player.
Cal Burke (Nobles/White) 5-11/165 — Never the best player on the ice, but always in the upper echelon — no matter what game it is. Smart hockey player. Committed to Notre Dame immediately following the festival.
Vas Kolias (Chicago Mission U16/Black) 5-9/150 — Kolias, a top defenseman who we have been raving about for the last couple of years, is still somehow uncommitted. The positive on him is that he brings an offensive dimension that is incredibly hard to find. An effortless skater, he plays a very loose, stress-free game and is able to bring the puck up ice beautifully and create offense. The negative on him is that he plays a loose, care-free game which isn’t exactly what you want on the ice when protecting a one or two goal lead. Indiana Ice (USHL) draft pick. Made the Five Nations team.
Jack Ahcan (Burnsville High School/Royal Blue) 5-7/165 — Some might consider this a lofty ranking for such a small defender, but Ahcan is as sharp as a knife. He is cunning and witty with the puck on his stick and is unaffected by pressure. For a small guy he is actually pretty competitive and holds his own defensively. Uncommitted.
Tory Dello (Chicago Mission U16/Columbia Blue) 6-0/180 — A very solid defenseman who you want on your team. Will contribute in all situations. Skates well, moves pucks, and defends with an edge. Has a heavy shot and is useful on the PP. Will play for Tri-City (USHL) this year and is committed to Notre Dame. Made the Five Nations team.
Michael Davies (St. Louis Blues U16/Columbia Blue) 5-9/155 — Hasn’t grown much in the last year. If we were working for an NHL team we wouldn’t be too excited just yet, but NCAA schools should be. Davies has great feet and handles the puck with a ton of confidence. Will play for Dubuque (USHL) and remains uncommitted. Five Nations team member.
Joe Masonius (NJ Hitmen U18/Forest Green) 6-0/175 — A thoroughbred who can skate for days and log a lot of minutes. Gets up and down the ice with little to no effort in comparison to his peers. Loves to jump into the play and will be able to play 25-30 minutes a night when he gets to UNH without breaking much of a sweat. Is mistake-prone and his defensive game needs some refining. Headed to the NTDP next year.
Christian Evers (Omaha AAA U16/Orange) 6-3/200 — A pro prospect with all the upside in the world. With perhaps the exception of Greenway, we would say the North Dakota recruit will hear his name called before anyone else here during the 2015 NHL draft. Our guess is that he develops into a mean, shut-down defender capable of potting the odd goal with his heavy shot. Headed to the NTDP.
Anthony Stillwell (Notre Dame Academy/Red) 5-7/140 — It’s a tossup between Kolias or Stillwell in terms of who we enjoy watching more. The diminutive defender has his head up at all times and delivers laser passes that are tape-to-tape. Does not make errors with the puck on his stick. Is tiny, but so good with his stick that he rarely has to get into physical confrontations defensively. Uncommitted.
Collin Saccoman (Shattuck U16/White) 5-10/165 — Nothing too flashy, just confident and efficient. Very good with the puck. Some defenders scare the heck out of you when they touch the puck as you never know what they are going to do with it — Saccoman is the opposite of that. You know he’s not going complicate things. He just moves it to the open man — quickly and efficiently.
Adam Parsells (Wausau West High School) 6-5/190 — Is not being ranked an “A” defenseman on performance, but rather potential. It is quite rare that you see a defender who is 6’5” and skates with such a nice knee bend. He even has a little pop to his skating. A Green Bay (USHL) prospect who could end up being a pro some day.
Charles McAvoy Jr. (NJ Rockets-AJHL/Kelly Green) 6-0/190 — Has definitely grown a couple inches in the last 12 months; looked uber confident. We really like the Long Beach, New York native’s skating, and it catches your eye right away. However, his decision-making was questionable on a number of occasions. Will play for the NTDP and a number of top D-I schools have made overtures to him, but don’t count out the Kitchener Rangers (OHL) either.
Charles Raith (Chicago Young American U16/Kelly Green) 5-10/160 — Was pretty average last year at the Festival and because of that his stock took a small hit. We think he re-established himself here as a top defender in his age group. Has a reliable stick and makes great decisions on the offensive blue line. Uncommitted.
Grant Gabriele (Compuware U16/Black) 6-2/158 — Tall, lean kid who can really skate. Things have to happen a little quicker, but when he gets to Ann Arbor we feel his pace will increase significantly. Did not make it out to the Select 15 Festival a year ago and has since proved the evaluators in his district wrong. Could end up shooting up this list. Uncommitted.
Steven Ruggiero (Metro Moose-MET/Royal Blue) 6-3/180 — Saw the former Long Island Gull a few weeks ago and he looked very good. Here we felt he was a bit timid and was content with keeping things simple. Regardless, he made the Five Nations team. Has a nice upside and could develop into a smart, shut down defenseman. Uncommitted, but is being recruited by a number of D-I programs.
Ben Finkelstein (Cardigan Mountain/Grey) 5-7/160 — Smooth defender who is as cool as a cucumber with the puck on his stick. Needs to bulk up, as he gets muscled off pucks at times, but when it’s on his stick he is very good. Headed to KUA in the fall where he will play for one of the most experienced coaches in prep hockey, Tim Whitehead.
Michael Ufberg (Team Comcast U16/Grey) 5-9/170 — Niche defender who intelligently moves the puck and can assertively run a PP. Is small, not a fluid skater, but he has a strong stick and an effective poke check. Ivy League schools are watching him closely.
Sam Fuss (Edina High School/Orange) 5-10/155 — Played a significant role in Edina’s run to a state championship. Smooth-skating defender is slick with the puck and is a strong D-I prospect. Keeps his head up and has good hands.
Zachary Osburn (Honeybaked U16/Orange) 5-10/185 — Michigan State recruit is confident and assertive. Will join the rush or pinch in from the blue line without hesitation. Was an early developer, but his game has progressed nicely since. He will be a fine offensive defender in the Big Ten. Made the Five Nations team.
Logan Fauber (Colorado Thunderbirds U16/Red) 5-10/157—Was paired up with Stillwell most of the time and the two played very well together —pretty much playing keep-away from the opposition. Moves pucks and is reliable defensively.
Troy Henley (Oakville-GTHL/White) 6-0/195 — Is not dominant, as he was two years ago, but he’s still very good. Plays a tough, physical game and also is able to contribute offensively. Drafted and signed by the Ottawa 67’s (OHL). Made the Five Nations team.
Keith Muehlbauer (Eastview High School/Kelly Green) 6-2/195 — Big, strong defenseman is solid and reliable.
Ryan Shea (BC High/Kelly Green) 5-11/145 — PP quarterback in the making. Has a lot of sizzle with the puck on his stick, but needs to improve his defensive game. He’s a converted forward, so time will be an ally.
Liam Darcy (Berwick Academy/Black) 5-10/165 — Has some work to do in order to remain an elite-level defenseman. Does not appear to have grown or gotten much stronger in the last 12 months. That said, he’s awfully good with the puck on his stick, has a head for the game, and most certainly can get stronger. Headed to UNH.
McKay Flanagan (Connecticut Oilers/Columbia Blue) 6-1/200 — Had a very respectable performance here, unlike a year ago when he had a rough time at the 15s. A D-I prospect.
Nick Heid (Spring Lake Park High School/Columbia/Blue) 6-2/205 — Has a lot of physical tools, but will have to be a stay-at-home type to have success at higher levels. Here, he tried to do a little too much offensively.
Joseph Cecconi (Buffalo Jr. Sabres U16/Grey) 6-2/195 — Moves well for a big kid. An interesting player with nice potential. Looked good here.
Chaz Switzer (Compuware U16/Gold) 5-11/180 — Strong defender with some offensive ability. Nimble skater.
Ben Newhouse (Benilde St. Margaret’s/White) 5-8/160 — Small, but powerful and explosive. Is able to defend against bigger and stronger forwards because his feet are very good and he has a strong center of gravity.
Tyler Sensky (Compuware U16/Columbia Blue) 6-0/177 — Had a productive week. Good offensive instincts. Plymouth Whalers (OHL) draft pick.
Vaughan Ahrens (Wayzata High School/Orange) 6-2/190 — Big netminder was very good here. He fills the net and leaves little room to shoot at. Finished with a .917 save percentage — good numbers for a USA camp.
Luke Opilka (St. Louis Blues U16/Grey) 6-2/175 — Really looks the part and is technically sound. Is a bit robotic, but makes things look pretty easy. Headed to the NTDP.
Nicholas Vilardo (Wilkes Barre/Scranton U16/Black) 5-9/167 — Has always been a winner and one of the top goalies in the ’97 age group. Is small, but competes hard in the net and is athletic. Won a national title at the U14 level with the Superteam — i.e., the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Knights. Reminds us of Cornell goaltender Andy Iles. Made the Five Nations team.
Kris Oldham (Alaska Jr. Aces/Columbia Blue) 6-2/195 — Tall goaltender who has excellent net presence. Doesn’t give you much. Tailed off towards the end of the tournament, but was lights-out the first couple of days. Made the Five Nations team.
Evan Smith (Pikes Peak Miners U16/Kelly Green) 6-6/175 — That was not a typo, this kid is all of 6’6”. There is an awful lot to work with here and the young tender already has solid fundamentals.
Elijah Harris (Austin Prep/Gold) 5-9/150 — 5’9” is probably generous, but nonetheless we really enjoy watching Harris. A small goalie, he is ultra-athletic and competitive. Has the ability to make some eye-popping saves. Will be a difference-maker for Austin Prep next season.
Matthew Jurusik (Chicago Fury U16/Forest Green) 6-1/195 — Was the top statistical goalie here with a .938 save percentage. Stops pucks and gets side to side in a hurry.
Select 15 Festival Review
USHR spent yet another week in Amherst, NY, this time at the Select 15 Festival which, for our money, is always the most enjoyable of the three age groups to watch, primarily because it’s the first time the top US players in this age group get together in one place. It’s a coming out party of sorts.
So what did we learn about the ‘98s?
First, the strength of this group is in net. While the group of goalies on hand was not a particularly deep one, the top-end guys were excellent – better, in our view, than the ‘97s and ‘96s currently in Ann Arbor. In addition, a few of the best goalies in the age group were not even in Amherst, e.g. Tommy Mohs (Team Wisconsin), Tommy Nappier (St. Louis), Drew Speckman (Shattuck), and Tyler Johnson (Buffalo Regals). We are not sure why they were not on hand, but all are very talented and deserved to be here. There is little doubt in our minds that you will be hearing from all of them in the years to come.
Second, this is a very skilled group. It often amazes us how much better kids handle the puck and make flashy plays at top speed than they did, say, 15 years ago. With technology such as YouTube and nhl.com omnipresent, kids are constantly online and picking up the moves of their favorite players. Not too long ago, this embarrassment of riches was non-existent. Now, the most ambitious kids are able to see these plays over and over, break them down, and then go out and emulate them in practice, in the driveway, and in games. Those stick skills were much in evidence here. As for the players themselves, while there are certainly some in this group who are big, fast, and future high NHL draft picks, we feel the ’98s who move on to the NTDP will be on the smaller side. That said, this group’s skills will be highly evident in international play, on the Olympic sheets
Finally, while the usual complement of high-end talent was in Amherst, there were, in addition to the above-mentioned goalies, some top ‘98s we have seen over the past winter or two who did not make it to the Festival. Some may have been overlooked, some were cut because they hail from deep and talented districts, and some simply don’t care to play summer hockey. We’re thinking of guys like Keenan Suthers (Compuware), Cole Hults (Team Wisconsin), Blake Bargar (Arizona Bobcats), Carson Bergstrom (Arizona Bobcats), Jonathan Precopio (Compuware), Jack Kopacka (Compuware), Graham McPhee (Shattuck), Kenny Johnson (Shattuck), Noah Lalonde (Honeybaked), Brad Ingersoll (TPH Thunder), Zach Solow (St. Louis), and Justin Bloomfield (Compuware). All, in terms of talent and potential, would have been in the upper half here and we would not be surprised to see a number of them at the NTDP final tryouts in eight months.
Given that there is no overseas team selected -- or all-star game played -- here, we decided to pick the top 44 players in our opinion — 24 forwards, 16 defenseman, and four goalies. We also have an additional section, 'The Best of the Rest' which is comprised of 45 players who also strike us as excellent prospects who merit careful following. Our method is the same as it ever was: we balance potential and performance. This means a kid with loads of potential but who also didn’t really accomplish much could make our list, while a player with limited upside who put up big numbers might not. For the record, we were in attendance for the second half of the Festival, so some of our opinions may be skewed in favor of those who finished strong. Enjoy!
Our Top 24 Forwards:
Note: Top forward Logan Brown was injured after one game and thus we did not get to see him. If he was healthy we are all but certain he would have been a top four forward here. We also feel that after the three top players listed below – Jones, Keller, and Khodorenko – there is a drop-off.
Max Jones (Compuware U16/Grey) 6-2/180 — Played up this season on the Compuware U16 team, which was one of the top squads in the country. When we saw them back in November Jones did not really stand out for us as there were so many players on his team who were a year older and made more of an impact. When playing with his own age group, however, it was very evident that Jones is an absolute stud who has 1st round NHL draft pick written all over him. Listed at 6’2”, Jones is probably closer to 6’3” or 6’4”, can fire a puck, and is a very fluid skater for his size. What really stands out about him is his compete level. As one prominent scout said, “He plays hard and he’s hard to play against.” Jones is only going to get better, and he will be an impact player for USA Hockey at future international events. The NTDP will have their work cut out for them as OHL teams will be all over this kid. Led the Grey team in scoring with a 5-2-7 scoring line in five games played.
Clayton Keller (Shattuck U14/Royal) 5-10/144 — A really special player who is dangerous every time he is on the ice. Posted a 5-5-10 scoring line and created enough scoring opportunities to have 15-20 points. The Swansea, Illinois native will be heavily recruited by the OHL, the NTDP, and virtually every top D-I program in the country. Is not very big, but has enough speed, skill, and hockey sense to be a pro. Reminds us of a young Zach Parise.
Patrick Khodorenko (Honeybaked U14/Purple) 5-11/177 — Was our #1 ranked forward at Nationals back in April and, along with Jones and Keller, was in the mix for the #1 forward ranking here too. The San Jose, California native is of Russian descent and has the poise and stick skills of typical elite European talents. A powerful skater with near-perfect form, Khodorenko reminds us of Jaromir Jagr in that when he has the puck he has great vision, patience, and can protect it with the best of them. We are told that the Honeybaked star forward is leaning towards college, but Everett (WHL) drafted him with the 26th overall pick in the bantam draft this spring and will surely make a strong push for his services.
Justin Cmunt (Buffalo Regals U14/Orange) 5-8/147 — Isn’t the biggest, isn’t the fastest, and will not immediately catch your eye, but when the puck is on his stick he becomes a serious threat. His passes are hard and crisp, his shot release is exceptional, and he picks corners with serious accuracy. Is going to score a lot of goals in his career. Was quiet at the start of the week, but by the last couple of days he looked very confident and pucks started going in. Finished with a 4-2-6 line. Time will tell if he is going to be a pro, but we have no doubt that he will be a top D-I player.
Henry Crone (Dallas Stars Elite/Purple) 5-8/140 — A sensational playmaker. Fun to watch. Was the top scorer in camp with a 2-12-14 scoring line. Is not very big, but he plays strong on the puck and is thus effective against bigger and stronger defenders. Has elite hockey sense, understands how to create offense, and is very slippery in traffic. Was not drafted into the WHL, a blunder on their part because Crone has the potential to post 100 point seasons. Is a potential NTDP forward for whom there will be no shortage of D-I schools offering full scholarships.
Mitchell Lewandowski (Honeybaked U14/Orange) 5-8/152 — When players show up at the Festival, it’s generally a situation in which there is no established chemistry and they just hope they can gel with their linemates in order to have a productive week. In such a scenario, Lewandowski is the exact type of guy you’d want on your line. He makes the players around him better because he is quick, skilled, tenacious, gritty, and does all the dirty work needed to create success. A versatile player who could be effective as an energy/penalty kill forward, Lewandowski also has the intelligence and stick savvy to complement top six players. He is the type of forward needed to win championships; the NTDP and top D-I programs will be excited about him. 6-4-10 scoring line.
Luke Paterson (Wayzata Bantam AAA/Forest Green) 6-1/155 — Did not have a productive week statistically (0-2-2), but he has all the tools needed to be a top player. At 6’1” and growing, he is a really nice skater. Is only going to get better when he fills out.
Cameron Donaldson (Dallas Stars Elite/Royal) 5-6/126 — Was not on the same team here as Dallas Stars teammate Henry Crone, but our guess is that when they play together they are simply electric. Donaldson is certainly on the small side, but he is quick, competitive, and is able to keep the puck on his stick even darting through high-traffic areas. He’s like a receiver in football who doesn’t bat an eyelash at going through the middle of the field to make a play. Loved watching him. 6-1-7 scoring line.
Ben Lown (Shattuck U14/Red) 5-6/145 — Yet another small, skilled, and feisty forward. The California native was one of the top scorers on a very good Shattuck team this past season. Has a knack for hunting pucks and creating turnovers. Is not a burner, which could hamper his game as he progresses up through the ranks, but we have no doubt that top D-I programs will recruit him because of his stick and hockey sense. 4-4-8.
Logan Drevitch (Boston Bandits U16/Navy) 5-8/142 — The younger brother of Tyler Drevitch (Boston Bandits-EJHL) is similar to his brother in a lot of ways, but better. His confidence with the puck on his stick is pretty remarkable. He has great moxie. He knows when he gets the puck that he is a threat and the only thing on his mind is making plays. Will need to get stronger and more explosive, but he put himself on the map here. Finished with a 5-4-9 scoring line.
Kiefer Bellows (Edina Bantam AA/Purple) 6-0/194 — We were expecting a little more as we were told that Bellows was The Man among the ’98s in Minnesota. From that, we expected he’d be one of the top few forwards in camp. He wasn’t that, but Bellows is a great prospect and there is a lot to like about his game. The son of former NHL first round pick Brian Bellows is a moose who is very effective down low and in front of the net. He has a heavy shot, he will score -- a lot. Played on easily the top line in camp: Crone and Khodorenko were usually his linemates. 6-1-7.
Ethan Frank (Omaha U16 AAA/Black) 5-10/170 — A solid player who is explosive, tenacious, and can fire the puck. A very complete player who does everything well and can play in all situations. Played up at the U16 level this past season and did more than hold his own. Finished with a 4-0-4 scoring line.
Austen Long (Spring Lake Park High School/Navy) 5-10/165 — One of the few ‘98s from Minnesota who played varsity hockey last year, Long is a wrecking ball who hits everything in sight. He’s not merely an energy guy, however, as he can create turnovers and then transition to offense quickly. Only finished with a 1-1-2 scoring line, but he was very noticeable. He proved he can score during the winter, finishing with a 23-19-42 scoring line in just 25 games played.
Keeghan Howdshell (Compuware U14/Grey) 6-1/188 — A big, strong, complete player. Played on a line with Max Jones and the two worked very well together. The Grey team did not have a ton of success this week, but Howdshell was consistently a standout. Finished with a 1-2-3 scoring line. Could be a nice complementary player for the NTDP.
Patrick Harper (Connecticut Oilers U16/Grey) 5-6/134 — Another product of the Grey squad who was only able to muster up one assist over the week. Don’t let the numbers fool you, though, Harper can flat out play. He’s a rink rat and you can tell that he thoroughly enjoys playing hockey and loves having the puck on his stick. A quick skater who sees the game well, Harper can turn on a dime. Our only knock on him other than his stature is that he is a touch selfish, but with his skill level most kids would be.
Max Gerlach (Colorado Thunderbirds U14/Gold) 5-7/142 — Listed at 5’7”, but looks to be more like 5’9”. Gerlach has elite hands and vision. Was the top player on a very good Thunderbirds team this past season. We would be very surprised if he plays his college hockey outside the state of Colorado -- CC and Denver will be all over him. 4-0-4 scoring line.
Nick Pastujov (Honeybaked U14/Forest Green) 6-0/187 — Was pretty quiet here, finishing with a 2-1-3 scoring line. That said, the Honeybaked first line center showed flashes of how dominant he can be. Pastujov is a very powerful skater who plays hard on the puck and when he lowers his shoulder and takes it to the net there is little defenders can do to stop him. Our guess is that he will be pursued hard by the OHL.
Mitchell Mattson (Grand Rapids Bantam AA/Black) 6-2/165 — Has the look of baby deer on ice -- tall, gangly, and somewhat weak. There is a lot to like here, however, because the crafty center has good hands, vision, and solid skating form. Once he fills out and adds some power to his legs he will be a prospect with a lot of eyes on him. 1-3-4 scoring line.
Justin Brandt (Little Caesars U14/Black) 5-5/130 — Skilled forward with exceptionally quick hands. Is always moving and making plays. A shifty water bug who has the puck an awful lot. Led the Black team in scoring with a 2-4-6 scoring line.
Joey Anderson (Hill-Murray/Kelly Green) 5-11/175 — The Minnesota-Duluth recruit lumbers around the ice a bit, but becomes a man very quickly when he is in the scoring area. Has a strong stick and knows how to finish. Isn’t flashy, but is productive. Was only an 8th grader last season and started the year on the Hill-Murray JV squad, moving up to the varsity mid-year and making the most of the opportunity, posting 21 points in just 14 games. It’s very rare out in Minnesota for kids to commit so young. Finished with a 7-3-10 line.
RJ Murphy (St. Sebastian’s/Kelly Green) 6-2/165 — Played for the middle school team at St. Seb’s last year, but should make an immediate impact this coming season. Murphy is a big kid and a bit of a wild skater, but he processes the game quickly and makes a lot of plays. Had a great week, finishing with a 3-6-9 scoring line.
Trent Frederic (St. Louis U14/Grey) 6-1/180 — Did not have a great week (0-1-1), but his potential is obvious. The power forward in the making is a player that the NTDP will be watching closely next year. We have seen him play much better during the winter and are confident that, much like others on the Grey team, that he just had an off week.
Liam Murphy (Connecticut Wolfpack U14/Royal) 6-1/195 — Played very well here and posted a 2-8-10 stat line. Was on a line with Clayton Keller, so his numbers are likely inflated a touch. The Avon Old Farms recruit is a power forward who is at his best when playing north/south and grinding it out down low and in the corners. Has a nose for the net.
Shaun Bily (Honeybaked U14/Red) 5-11/166 — A versatile player who plays hard and competes in all three zones. The more you watch him the more you appreciate him because he does the little things, such as finishing his checks, stopping on loose pucks, winning faceoffs, and getting in front of shots. Projects as a solid role player who can complement skilled forwards.
Our Top 16 Defensemen:
Jakob Chychrun (Little Caesars U16/Purple) 6-2/192 — A total man-child who will be the foundation of the NTDP should they land him. You can nitpick his decision-making, but other than that there are no holes in this kid’s game. The son of NHL veteran Jeff Chychrun is big, strong, physical, and can skate. Has all the earmarks of a first round NHL draft pick. Finished with a 2-3-5 scoring line.
Ryan Lindgren (Shattuck U14/Black) 6-0/185 — The Minnesota recruit isn’t as tall as Chychrun, so a few years down the line NHL scouts probably won’t regard him as highly, but Lindgren is extremely talented and does it all. The assertive defender is great on the PP, commands the puck at all times, skates and defends well, and can play with an edge when needed. A no-brainer for the NTDP.
Chad Krys (Connecticut Oilers U16/Navy) 6-0/165 — Given his age, Krys has been in the spotlight for quite a long while, hence almost unrealistic expectations have landed on his shoulders. Finished as the tournament’s top-scoring defender with 10 points, yet some scouts still left saying, “Well, I expected a little more.” The son of former BU defenseman Mark Krys is a high-end skater who can take the puck coast-to-coast with ease. Some people forget that when you are bigger, stronger, faster and by the far the best player at a young age that the gap between you and your peers will inevitably close. Krys is a top prospect, and a shoe-in for the NTDP.
James Greenway (Shattuck U14/Kelly Green) 6-5/200 — Much like his older brother Jordan, James is a massive kid who pro scouts are going to love. Is able to get away with playing an offensive game right now, but we think he is going to develop into a mean, physical, shutdown, Chris Pronger type. Only played in the first three games here, but still managed to post a 2-4-6 line.
Nicholas McKeeby (Honeybaked U14/Columbia) 5-11/175 — If this typist were stuck in a foxhole, McKeeby -- figuratively speaking, of course -- is a guy I’d want next to me. The stocky defender is strong, aggressive, and does everything with a purpose. He makes the simple play and his passes are hard and tape-to-tape. The Honeybaked product does not get beat in 1x1 situations because his first couple of steps are highly explosive and his compete level is through the roof.
Luke Martin (St. Louis U14/Black) 6-2/195 — The younger brother of former Yale defenseman Jimmy Martin might have been the best pure defensive defenseman in camp. At 6’2” he skates really well, has good stick positioning, and his gap control is very good. It takes some kids a long time to learn how to control the gap and force the forward to make a decision in the neutral zone -- Martin already has that down.
Adam Fox (Long Island Gulls U14/White) 5-10/150 — All the defenders mentioned above are big-time prospects who play tough, defend really well, and have some offensive abilities, but not one can run a powerplay like Fox. The Harvard recruit is probably not going to grow much, but as of today he would be the best candidate for the NTDP in terms of a niche PP quarterback.
Cameron Dineen (Team Comcast U14/Grey) 5-9/150 — Because of how deep and strong this group of defensemen is it could be difficult for Dineen to make the NTDP. That said, he is a top D-I prospect. The smallish defender always has his head up, makes great plays with the puck, and is not shy about jumping into the play. Will be heavily recruited over the next 12 months.
Ty Farmer (St. Louis U14/Grey) 5-10/170 — Played with Dineen most of the time and the duo looked really, really good. The two blue-liners handled the puck with confidence, created offense, and played a lot of keep-away with each other. The Michigan State recruit is skilled, confident, and will eventually play a big role on the Spartan PP.
Alec Mahalak (Compuware U14/Red) 5-9/153 — For a smaller defenseman he does not bring the same level of offense as Fox, Dineen, or Farmer, but he is the best skater of the bunch and has a good, reliable stick. Keeps things pretty simple and is able to defend efficiently using his feet and stick. He’s the cousin of Plymouth Whalers alums Matt and RJ Mahalak.
Sam Rossini (Burnsville High School Varsity/Royal) 6-1/165 — Has really light feet for someone of his size. The offensive side of his game is pretty raw, but that will come as he gains confidence. Was a freshman last season on a talented team with a number of D-I prospects, so he was not relied upon to put up points. Will become a top-flight prospect with added experience and confidence.
Ben Gleason (Honeybaked U14/Gold) 6-0/150 — Took a number of dumb penalties, but we loved the intensity he brought over the week. Gleason is a mean defender who takes a lot of pride in not letting anyone beat him or out-compete him. Is a meat-and-potatoes defender who will make the good outlet pass.
Griffin Luce (Elgin Middlesex/Forest Green) 6-2/202 — A project, but a project with a very high upside. The son of Florida Panthers (NHL) Director of Scouting Scott Luce is headed to Salisbury this fall where he will develop into a mean, shutdown defender. Has a lot of athleticism for a big guy and does not lack for quick twitch. Just needs to be coached up and brought along.
Casey Staum (Hill-Murray Varsity/Columbia) 5-11/150 — Has a great head on his shoulders, sees the ice, and is able to confidently distribute the puck up ice. Another Minnesota defender who played a high level this past season and has not yet found his offensive confidence. Unlike Rossini, we think Staum will develop into a nice offensive threat. Will be capable of running a PP.
Mitch Eliot (Honeybaked U14/Purple) 5-11/165 — The Michigan State recruit does everything well and can play in all situations. He is not someone who will run a powerplay, but he can be in a support role. He skates well enough to play against other teams’ top lines and also moves pucks well enough to play with his team’s top offensive players. A very safe recruit for MSU.
Jack Kelly (OMGHA Bantam AA/White) 5-10/170 — Does a lot of things really well. Handles the puck with a lot of confidence and is able to get pucks through and on net. Is a late ’98, and at this age those few months really matter as these kids are in the thick of the maturation process.
Our Top Four Goalies:
Ryan Edquist (Shattuck U14/Grey) 6-0/160 — It doesn’t take a goalie expert to be able to pick up on the fact that Edquist can play. He makes himself as big as possible and looks much bigger in net than his listed height and weight. From a shooter’s perspective he doesn’t give you a whole lot to look at. Will be a top NCAA recruit as well as a candidate for the starting job on the NTDP.
Michael Latorella (Honeybaked U14/White) 6-1/180 — If someone is going to challenge Edquist at the top of the mountain our guess is that Latorella is the guy. Won a national title this past season and is a gamer who comes up with big saves when the game is on the line. From a technical point of view he is very sharp. A good skater who gets side to side in a hurry.
Jacob Burhans (Junior Monarchs/Kelly Green) 6-0/155 — A big netminder who put himself on the map here by out-playing other more “highly regarded” goaltenders. Was the top statistical goalie with a 1.44 GAA and a .958 save percentage. Because of his performance here we are certain that most every Hockey East and ECAC school will be paying very close attention to him in the coming months.
Joseph Woll (St. Louis U14/Kelly Green) 6-2/180 — Already has pro size and is pretty smooth for a 6’2”, 15-year-old goalie. His puck focus is very good and he is able to swallow up rebounds with his massive frame. Could have the most upside out of the bunch.
The Best of the Rest (45):
Zachary Walker, F (Colorado Thunderbirds U14/Red) 6-0/170 — One of the best skaters in camp. An early developer who has tapered off a bit, but his skating may still carry him to a high level.
Christian O’Neill, F (Belmont Hill/Red) 5-9/140 — Will be a freshman at Belmont Hill and should make the varsity team. A smart hockey player with a good stick.
Matt Kiersted, D (Elk River Bantam AA/Red) 5-10/150 —Offensive defender loves to join the rush; makes things happen from the offensive blue line.
Garrett Wait, F (Edina Bantam AA/Red) 5-11/160 — Shoots the puck a ton. Will score a lot of goals for Edina in the coming years.
Jon Russell, F (Traverse City Central HS/Red) 5-10/145 — A subtle player with a good mind for the game and a quick release on his shot.
Billy Overby, D (Connecticut Wolfpack U14/Purple) 5-8/140 — Did not have a great week as he struggled to find confidence. That said, we have seen him enough to know that his head and puck skills are top notch.
James Sanchez, F (CYA U14/Purple) 6-2/180 — Just an OK skater, but he is tall, lanky, and has slick hands and playmaking abilities.
Josh Vertentes, F (Portsmouth Abbey/Purple) 5-8/165 — Good hockey sense and nice mitts. At 5’8” he needs to become more dynamic to get Hockey East schools in the mix.
Bryant Gunn, D (Indiana Jr. Ice U14/White) 5-11/156 — Scored six goals to lead all defensemen in that regard. Knows when to jump into the play.
Davis Bunz, D (Team Wisconsin U14/White) 5-11/155 — Smooth skater. Brings skill from the backend.
Cooper Jones, D (Boston Bandits U16/White) 5-7/145 — Is small and doesn’t skate particularly well, but he is very nifty offensively. Sees the ice.
Marcus Dickerson, F (Team Comcast U14) 5-10/190 — Plays hard and is able to create offense by grinding down the opposition.
AJ Drobot (Team Comcast U14/White) 5-8/167 — Smart and skilled player. Good finishing abilities.
Drew Lennon, D (Dallas Stars Elite/Royal) 5-11/140 — Kept jumping out at us. We would have liked to have been able to watch him a little more, but feel that he is awfully close to cracking the top 16. A good skater with a high skill level.
Colin McCabe, D (Thayer/Royal) 5-10/155 — Will need to learn to defend better, but he loves joining the offense. Very active on the offensive blue line. Fun to watch.
Andrew Jackson, F (Little Caesars U14/Royal) 6-0/160 — An interesting player who reminds us a bit of a young Justin Bailey (Kitchener-OHL). Weak legs right now.
John Leonard, F (Springfield Cathedral/Royal) 5-9/155 — Did not notice him during the year, but he was very good here. Had the puck a lot, and he can shoot it.
Nick Alfieri, F (Buffalo Regals U14/Royal) 5-11/154 — Very good with the puck on his stick. Played better here than what we have seen out of him in the past.
Matt Hellickson, D (Rogers HS Varsity/Gold) 6-0/165 — All-around defender who contributed at the varsity level this year with 11 points in 25 games played for Rogers.
Harmon Sorenson, D (Wayzata Bantam AA/Gold) 6-0/170 — Tall defenseman with good feet. Played very well paired up with Hellickson.
Dennis Cesana, D (Hillside School/Gold) 5-8/160 — Good hands and the ability to make plays. Headed to KUA in the fall.
Patrick Cozzi, F (Connecticut Yankees/Gold) 5-6/160 — Tiny forward has quick hands made a lot of positive plays here.
Kailer Yamamoto, F (LA Jr. Kings U14/Gold) 5-6/130 — Smooth-skating forward has a great first step and pull-away speed.
Riley Tufte, F (Blaine HS JV/Gold) 6-3/185 — An interesting prospect who could shoot up this list. Is very uncoordinated right now and it takes him a while to do some things, but he could end up being a pro at the end of the day. Led the Gold team in scoring with a 4-1-5 line.
Carver Watson, D (Appleton United/Forest Green) 5-8/140 — Uses a really long stick which we love. Has good hands and an effective poke check.
Keegan Mantaro, D (Colorado Thunderbirds U14/Forest Green) 5-8/160 — Heady blueliner has elite vision. Has to be faster for a 5’8” defender, but he thinks the game really well and makes plays.
Dante Palecco, F (NJ Avalanche U16/Forest Green) 5-11/165 — Very close to making the top group. A highly-skilled forward who is going to be great on a D-I powerplay.
Kyle Wellar, F (Team Comcast U14) 6-0/150 — A couple times in a row now we have left wanting to see more out of Wellar. The tall forward has good speed and quick hands.
Chris Grando, F (Long Island Gulls U14/Forest Green) 5-8/145 — Is not high-end, but he is a smart player who makes the players around him better.
Callan Foote, D (Colorado Thunderbirds U14/Black) 5-11/160 — Was not on our radar here, but we know that he is a solid defender from previous viewings. The son of NHL veteran Adam Foote will get better and tougher as he gets older.
Billy Harris, D (Pittsburgh Penguins U14/Black) 5-7/145 — Very good with the puck. Finds the open man in transition.
Sam Sternschein, F (Long Island Gulls U14/Black) 6-2/170 — Tall and skilled forward showed flashes of his high upside, but also went long stretches during which we didn’t notice him. Struggled on the Olympic sheet.
Ryan Bogan, D (NJ Devils U14/Columbia) 6-0/170 — Attends Christian Brothers Academy in New Jersey. Big defender potted three goals here.
Michael Cali, F (Chicago Mission U14/Columbia) 5-8/140 — Always involved in the play. Has good hands and the puck is on his stick a lot. Led Columbia Blue in scoring with a 2-3-5 line.
Chris Conway, D (Pittsburgh Penguins U14/Columbia) 6-1/195 — A sleeper in that he was one of the better defensemen here and he is a 12/30/98 birthdate. If he were two days younger he’d be one of the top ‘99s in the country.
Gregory Hendrickson, F (Team Comcast U14/Columbia) 5-10/167 — Has to improve on a lot of things — like his skating and strength. That said, he is gritty, smart, and wills offense.
Kyle Moore, F (Charlotte Checkers U14/Columbia) 5-11/190 — Plays with intensity and can fire the puck. Creates turnovers on the forecheck.
Brendan Murphy, D (Long Island Gulls U14/Navy) 6-2/175 — Tall defenseman keeps things simple, hence doesn’t stand out much. That said, he makes simple decisions and gives his team reliable minutes.
Ryan Bederka, D (Honeybaked U14/Navy) 5-9/165 — Good stick. Tough. Plays a confident game.
Eric Esposito, F (Connecticut Wolfpack U14/Navy) 5-10/168 — Finished with seven points here. Will be a good player for Loomis-Chaffee next year.
Luke McInnis, D (Hingham HS/Orange) 5-10/165 — Best word to describe the son of former NHLer Marty McInnis would be ‘involved.’ Every shift he was on the ice you noticed him for one reason or another. Gets under the skin of the opposition.
Brian Hawkinson, F (Colorado Thunderbirds U14/Kelly Green) 5-10/150 — Makes good decisions with the puck, works hard, and skates well. Has a brother headed to Denver in the fall.
Matthew Jakubowski, F (Hamburg Hawks/Kelly Green) 5-10/150 — Has a lot of get up and go in his skating. Creates offense with his speed. 2-3-5 scoring line.
Brandon Puricelli, F (St. Louis U14/Kelly Green) 5-9/148 — Won’t jump out at you because he is on the small side and an average skater, but he can play the game. Is all over the puck and is able to make quick decisions. Finished tied for second in camp scoring with a 4-7-11 line.
Timmy Gettinger, F (Cleveland Barons U14/Grey) 6-4/185 — Still raw, but definitely a player to keep a close eye on. A lot of size, and a lot of potential.
Young Chooses PC
Phillips Exeter defenseman Spenser Young, a ’97 and a rising sophomore, has committed to Providence College, most likely for the fall of ’16.
Yale, Harvard, Merrimack, UMass, UNH, and Boston College were all schools that were either watching and/or recruiting him.
Friars head coach Nate Leaman had watched Young, a 5’10”, 165 lb. Brentwood, NH native, at the Exeter Invitational back in early December, and worked the case hard.
Young’s coach at Exeter, Dana Barbin, first became of aware of Young when the latter was a nine-year-old. Barbin was coaching his son’s baseball team and Young was his shortstop.
Barbin says Young, who played three sports – soccer, hockey, and baseball – at Exeter last season, is a terrific all-around athlete.
“His skating is outstanding, as is his poise with the puck,” Barbin says. “Those are the two things that you notice right away.”
“Last season, from the very first game, we had Spenser playing at the top on the power play. That’s pretty unusual for a ninth grader.”
“He loves to play the game, and he has this great optimism and enthusiasm. He loves practice. He loves games. He loves life. He’s just one of those kids who gets up every day and is ready to go. He loves the school too. He was asked if he’d come out to the NTDP but he said no, he wanted to stay at Exeter.”
On December 8th, in a game at Cushing Academy, Young hurt his shoulder and missed the next four weeks of action. After returning to the ice in early January, he had to play the rest of the season in a shoulder brace that restricted his movement.
Young had shoulder surgery in April, has been working hard in the weight room lately, and will be totally ready for the season.
“He’s one of those kids who loves working out,” Says Barbin. “He’ll pack on muscle because he’s willing to work at it.”
Between shedding the harness and his work in the weight room, Barbin says Young’s shot will be much improved. He also said Young, who is dropping soccer to concentrate more on hockey, will join the attack even more in the upcoming season.
Moore to Coach at Bridgton
Longtime college coach Stan Moore, most recently the head coach at Colby College, has accepted a position as Bridgton Academy’s new prep coach.
A PG-only boarding school in North Bridgton, Maine, the school has two teams, a junior team and a prep team. The latter team -- the school’s #2 team – was added several years ago, and that is the program Moore, who will be moving to the Bridgton campus from Waterville, Maine before the school year starts, will be taking over.
Bridgton, long a basketball and football power, appears to be beefing up its hockey program. Former Army and Alabama-Huntsville assistant Mike Warde was hired in the spring and will be entering his first year as director of hockey operations and coach of the junior team.
Warde, through a school press release, said, “When we began our search for the next prep hockey coach at Bridgton Academy, we desired three main criteria: unquestionable integrity, a great teacher, and a coach who will be a terrific role model for our young men both on and off the ice. In Stan Moore, we accomplished all three and then some.”
Moore’s coaching career stretches back nearly 30 years, to when he was an assistant at Brown before moving across town to Providence College. In 1996, he was named head coach at Union College and in his first year was named ECAC Coach of the Year. As an interim head coach at Colgate, he was again named ECAC Coach of the year, in ’03-04. After Colgate, Moore returned to PC in ’05 and served on Tim Army’s staff until he resigned just before the ’10-11 season, in order to be with his family full time after several years of semi-commuting between Providence and Maine, where his wife had been hired as an associate dean at Colby College. In the ’10-11 season, Moore worked as an assistant at Kents Hill School under head coach Larry Cockrell. He took over at Colby on an interim basis in the late summer of ’11, when Jim Tortorella departed for UNH.
Moore has also coached many USA Hockey teams, at summertime Select Festivals and in international competition.
Moore, now 56, was born to coach. His father, Stan Moore, Sr., is a legend in the North Country, where he coached Massena High School, a New York state powerhouse, for over three decades.
D’Orsi Replaces Bethune
St. Sebastian’s forward – and future Eli -- Will D’Orsi, coming off a strong performance at the Select 16 Festival last week in Amherst, NY, has been added to the U.S. Under-17 Select Team roster, taking the place of Warroad High’s Jared Bethune.
Bethune is being held off the squad because of a citizenship issue. While the talented forward holds a Canadian passport, he also has First Nation Status (and has a Secure Certificate of Indian Status). This essentially means, given that Indian tribes existed in North America long before the US and Canada were settled and formed countries, that members of those tribes are citizens of both countries. USA Hockey has ruled, since Bethune only holds a Canadian passport, that he is unable to represent the U.S. It’s an odd ruling, given that dual citizens can skate for the U.S. – or Canada, for that matter -- in IIHF competition. (However, once dual citizens choose a country, hockey-wise, it's permanent: they can't switch back.)
The U.S. Under-17 Select Team, coached by Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) assistant coach Pat Mikesch, will be competing in the Five Nations Tournament Aug. 14-18 in Trnava, Slovakia.
North to Alaska
Former University of New Hampshire captain Josh Ciocco, who has worked for USHR and also as an assistant coach at Milton Academy for the past two seasons, will be named as an assistant at the University of Alaska-Anchorage (WCHA) within the next week.
Ciocco will serve on the staff of new Seawolves head coach Matt Thomas, who was officially named to the Alaska-Anchorage position last week. Thomas, a 1998 RIT grad, spent two years as an assistant at the University of Maine before going on to coach in the ECHL for the last 11 years, nine as head coach. Ciocco played for Thomas on the ’07-08 Fresno Falcons.
Ciocco, who also interviewed for recent openings at UMass, UConn, and Brown, will join former Notre Dame forward T.J. Jindra on the Seawolves staff.
For USHR, Ciocco has been in charge of evaluating players at major tournaments across North America since the fall of 2011. And at Milton, the 29-year-old, working for head coach Paul Cannata, helped rebuild the Mustangs after pretty much the entire squad was lost to graduation following the 2011 championship season.
Ciocco, who was also in charge of selling ad space for USHR, will be missed, but this is a great opportunity. It’s also a major challenge. Alaska-Anchorage has never had a winning season since joining the WCHA for the ’93-94 season. Last season, the Seawolves were 4-25-7. Ciocco, who played three seasons in the BCHL before going to UNH, has contacts in that league which --- along with Saskatchewan, Alberta, and the USHL – has been the pool from which Alaska-Anchorage has traditionally drawn the bulk of their players.
As for USHR, Ciocco’s departure means we will be looking for someone to fill some important roles. We may wind up mixing and matching, which may mean work opportunities for more than one person. Most significantly, we need someone to evaluate players. Ideally, we’d like to have a former college player who is looking to make the move toward making a career in hockey. A keen eye, a willingness to travel and be in the rinks for long hours, a nose for news, and the ability to sit down and write are the prerequisites.
Those who are interested should email Chris Warner. The address is: cwarner(at)ushr.com.
We’re working on a number of different things here this off-season, including design and programming work that will result in USHR being optimized for smartphones, tablets, and whatever else comes down the technology turnpike.
Former Union defenseman Alex Todd, who took over a moribund Castleton State College program – they were 1-15-3 in ’05-06, his first season – and proceeded to turn the program into perennial winners, has been named as an assistant at the University of Nebraska-Omaha (NCHC).
Mavericks head coach Dean Blais had offered the job to former Ohio State head coach Mark Osiecki, who accepted but was then offered a position as an assistant with the Rockford IceHogs, the AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks. The position opened up again.
“I’ve gotten to know (Todd) the last couple of years,” Blais told the Omaha World-Herald. “When guys have left he’s shown interest and we’ve kept in touch. “We’re pretty lucky to get a guy like him.”
The EJHL Summer Showcase will be taking place from Thurs. July 18 through Sun. July 21 at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, Mass. The schedule for the event -- there will be 64 teams on hand -- can be found at www.easternjunior.com. The Jersey Hitmen, Junior Bruins, Middlesex Islanders, Bay State Breakers, South Shore Kings, Rochester Junior Stars, Valley Jr. Warrors, Springfield Pics will all be there with multiple teams. In addition, the Selects Hockey group is bringing in a team from Sweden, There will also be two teams from the Ontario Provincial League (Tigers Prospects) and three teams from the Quebec/Atlantic Provinces (Andrews Hockey Gold/White and HOA Aces). Also, the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, Hartford Wolfpack and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights will each have two teams in the event. As always, the event is free for all college and pro scouts who sign in at the door.
US Under-17 Select Team Named
This afternoon, USA Hockey released the 20-man roster for the US Under-17 Select Team that will compete in the Under-17 Five Nations Tournament Aug. 14-18 in Trnava, Slovakia.
All players were chosen from the just completed Select 16 Festival in Amherst, NY.
Goaltenders (2): Kris Oldham (Kenai River-NAHL), Nicholas Vilardo (Wilkes-Barre/ Scranton Jr. Knights --MJHL).
Defensemen (6): Michael Davies (St. Louis Jr. Blues 16U), Tory Dello (Chicago Mission 16U), Troy Henley (Oakville Rangers Midget AAAA), Vas Kolias (Chicago Mission 16U), Zachary Osburn (Honeybaked 16U), Steven Ruggiero (Cleveland Barons 16U).
Forwards (12): Nolan Aibel (NJ Rockets-MJHL), Austin Alger (Cranbrook-Kingswood School), Tarek Baker (Omaha Lancers 16U), Jared Bethune (Warroad HS), Brock Boeser (Burnsville HS), Michael Floodstrand (Chicago Mission 16U), Brent Gates (Compuware 16U), Lincoln Griffin (Thayer Academy), Jacob Henderson (St. Louis Blues 16U), Samuel Miletic (Cranbrook-Kingswood School), Thomas Novak (Saint Thomas Academy), Troy Terry (Colorado Thunderbirds 16U).
Head Coach: Pat Mikesch. Assistant Coach: Pat Boller. Video Coordinator: Andrew Whiteside.
Wed. Aug. 14 – Czech Republic
Thurs. Aug. 15 – Switzerland
Sat. Aug. 17 – Germany
Sun. Aug. 18 -- Slovakia
Select 17 Festival Review
USHR was on hand for the annual Select 17 Festival (’96 birthdates) June 28-July 3 in Amherst, NY. As usual, there was an abundance of talent on hand and a lot of names to sort through. What follows below is a comprehensive review of 87 players we liked. We have broken the forwards and defenseman up into three categories, A’s, B's, and C's. The A's are players we feel are as close to ‘sure things’ as possible -- i.e., a top NHL draft pick or an impact player at the D-I level. The B's are not that far behind, and the majority of them will end up being top players in the future. The C's are, well, we'll see. They are less firmly established, but a number of them will -- with time and dedication -- become excellent players. As you can imagine, the event is pretty overwhelming, with a lot of hockey crammed into a short time span. Please note that we were in attendance for the second half of the festival so our opinions may be slightly skewed in favor of the strong finishers. Enjoy.
Dylan Malmquist (Edina High School) 5-10/170 — The top forward here, hands down. Might not have “high NHL draft pick” written all over him, but if we were picking a team tomorrow, Malmquist would easily be the first to go. Has a high skill level, superb vision, and understands how to create offense. The uncommitted prospect will be a huge get when he chooses his school. Led the festival in scoring with a 5-6-11 scoring line. Was a key player for Edina on their run to the state championship.
Austin Poganski (St. Cloud Cathedral High School) 6-1/200 — North Dakota recruit catches your eye immediately. The most explosive skater here. Will be a top three round NHL draft pick next year.
Jake Wahlin (White Bear Lake) 5-10/170 — Played on a line with Malmquist and the two were dangerous each time they touched the ice. The UMass recruit does not skate particularly well, but his shot is lethal. He will score a ton of goals for the Minutemen.
Dominic Turgeon (Portland-WHL) 6-2/200 — Did not have a strong week statistically (1-1-2 in 5 games), but he has a ton of potential and has gotten exponentially better in the last year. All of the Winterhawk forwards on hand were well schooled and possessed excellent habits — likely a reason they all made the Ivan Hlinka team. The son of NHL veteran Pierre Turgeon played in a Memorial Cup this year and looks to be on the verge of a breakout year in the WHL.
Ryan Wagner (Chicago Mission ) 5-8/167 — Love watching him play. The Wisconsin recruit competes insanely hard. A character player with skill — a winning recipe. Was asked to join the NTDP at the conclusion of the tournament and he accepted the invitation. Was previously set to play in the USHL for Cedar Rapids.
Anthony Angello (Syracuse Stars Jr. B) 6-5/190 — This was our first viewing of the Cornell recruit and we were extremely impressed. Angello is a pro prospect who will fit in incredibly well with the Big Red. Scored a big-time goal on the last day of play. Will be playing for Omaha in the USHL.
Kyle Conner (Youngstown-USHL) 6-1/170 — Michigan recruit plays the game at a very fast pace and creates a lot of offense using his speed. Is solid in all three zones.
Keegan Iverson (Portland-WHL) 6-2/200 — A power forward in every sense. Plays his best hockey when he is angry. Is like a bull in a china shop when he is in the scoring area.
Nick Schmaltz (Green Bay-USHL) 6-0/170 — Only posted a 1-1-2 scoring line here, which is unproductive for a player with Schmaltz’s skill level. Seemed out of sync with his teammates. The North Dakota recruit has the ability to break a game open single-handedly.
Joey Dudek (Kimball Union Academy) 6-0/180 — Can be a frustrating player to watch because he is often invisible. That said, the Boston College recruit is as skilled as they come and has a level of poise that simply cannot be taught. There is no panic to his game. Was invited to join the NTDP at the end of the week, but declined in order to graduate from KUA, where he is co-captain.
Blake Clarke (Brampton-OHL) 6-2/196 — Power forward with a bomb of a shot. Big, strong kids who can bury the puck usually get drafted very high and that will likely be the case for the Chesterfield, Missouri native. Potted 51 points last year as a 16-year-old in the OHL.
Michael Eyssimont (Colorado Thunderbirds U16) 5-10/170 — The St. Cloud recruit torched the Tier 1 Elite League last season, posting 91 points in just 40 games played for the Colorado Thunderbirds U16 team. Does not jump out at you because he is not a particularly strong skater or very big, but his vision and stick skills are top shelf. Makes a ton of plays and will be a top player for the Huskies in the future.
Paul Bittner (Portland-WHL) 6-4/205 -- One year ago we felt the tall, lanky forward was just OK, but like most 6'4" 16-year-olds he has begun to gain coordination and, with that, his game is taking off. Will be an appealing NHL draft prospect. Can play a power forward's game and grind opponents down, but also has a missile of a shot and soft hands around the net. Outscored both Turgeon and Iverson in the WHL this past season.
Mitch Slattery (Hill-Murray) 5-11/177 -- Does not make the game look pretty, but is incredibly effective. Only had one assist here, but the puck was constantly on his stick. Competes hard and is someone who will put up a lot of points at the D-I level. Put up 52 points in just 24 games played last year. Uncommitted.
Ryan Donato (Dexter) 6-1/180 -- Never seemed to find offensive chemistry with his linemates, but stood out on a shift-to-shift basis. A top uncommitted D-I prospect who will be watched closely by NHL scouts this coming season.
Cody Milan (Sioux Falls-USHL) 6-2/175 -- The Michigan State recruit is long, tall, and very skilled. Has really quick hands for someone his size. Played on a line mostly with Malmquist and Wahlin and the three were easily the top line here. All three made the Ivan Hlinka team and it would not surprise us to see head coach Bob Corkum keep the trio together.
Ara Nazarian (Malden Catholic) 5-10/180 -- The UNH recruit has taken a huge leap forward in the last 12 months. The Malden Catholic star forward has found another gear in his skating and pulls away from defenders on a regular basis. He has always had a good stick and a nose for the net. Will return to MC for his junior year and look to win the school's fourth consecutive state title.
Patrick Grasso (Omaha AAA U16) 5-6/146 — A lot of fun to watch. The UNH recruit has excellent speed and is able to dart through traffic on a regular basis. Can turn on a dime and is tough to contain in tight spaces. Did not make the U18 team, but we think the waterbug would have been highly effective on the big sheet in Europe. Will play for Des Moines in the USHL this coming season.
Bobo Carpenter (Austin Prep) 5-11/175 -- We will admit that we were a little surprised when Boston University pulled the trigger on the son of NHL veteran Bobby Carpenter, but he validated their decision with a strong performance here. Will have to improve his skating to succeed with the Terriers, but he can shoot the puck a ton and he competes incredibly hard. Scored two very nice goals here in front of BU head coach David Quinn.
JJ Piccinich (Youngstown-USHL) 6-0/180 -- We have watched the NJ Avalanche product for years and each time we see him we walk away with the same scouting report, "Not flashy, but man is he productive." Is always around the puck, competes hard, and wills offense. A Boston University recruit.
Laythe Jadallah (Belle Tire U16) 6-0/180 -- The North Carolina native was a hot commodity after the 15 Festival two years ago, but has played on three different teams in the three years since -- and has seen his stock go down. However, the former Gunnery School forward had a resurgence here and put himself back on the map. The skilled forward combined with Joey Dudek to form a dangerous duo. Needs to add a little more sandpaper to his game, but we think he did enough here to grab the attention of D-I recruiters.
Taylor Vickerman (Vancouver-WHL) 6-1/189 -- Has grown, become leaner, and improved his skating in the last year. The Kennewick, Washington native played on a line with Blake Clarke and Patrick Grasso and the three were all over the score sheet. Put up nine points in a limited role last year, but we would expect to see his numbers increase as a 17 year old.
Bryan Sienerth (Pittsburgh Pens U16) 5-10/175 -- Was a standout at Nationals a couple of months ago and recently committed to Miami-Ohio. Does everything well and is someone you want on your team. Works hard, kills penalties, blocks shots, and can make a play.
Mason Appleton (Notre Dame Academy) 6-1/175 -- Was inconsistent here, but when he was at his best he was darn good. Has exceptional poise and never panics with the puck. Could certainly benefit from added speed and grit, but we do not doubt that he is going to be a very good D-I player. We really liked him when we saw him in the fall playing for Team Wisconsin. Uncommitted.
Alex Jasiek (St. Louis Blues U18) 5-9/155 -- Was very quiet the first half of the tournament, but came alive in the final two games. Has an elite stick and is very good with the puck. Has not grown much or improved his strength, which could be problems moving forward, but they are fixable problems. We would rather take a weak player than one without skill and vision. Jasiek just committed to Dartmouth and is a nice get for the Big Green.
Charlie Grasskamp (Eau Claire Memorial HS Old Abes) 6-2/175 -- There is something really interesting about Grasskamp. He has a long reach, very good hands, and he has the potential to really take off. We were expecting a little bit more out of him here. If he adds another gear to his skating top D-I programs will be all over him.
James Winkler (Berwick Academy) 6-3/192 -- The Northeastern recruit was just OK here, but his potential is through the roof. He seems to get bigger each time we see him, his skating has improved significantly, and his hands are soft for a big man. He is a player who is only going to get better. NHL teams will be filing reports on him for the next year. Will play for the Portland Pirates of the USPHL next year, which is questionable in our opinion -- we think dominating at Berwick would improve his draft status.
Patrick Newell (Indiana-USHL) 5-9/150 -- The St. Cloud recruit is small, weak, and not very fast, but his hockey sense is really impressive. The Thousand Oaks, California native understands how to play within himself and has a great feel for the game. Indiana picked him up halfway through the year and he finished with 15 points in just 20 games--impressive numbers for a 16-year-old.
Cooper Marody (Orchard Lake St. Mary's) 6-0/173 -- Michigan high school hockey all-state player put himself on the map here. A gifted offensive player with a quick release to his shot. Surely the Michigan schools are already onto him, but the junior-to-be had a strong showing, capping off his week by playing in the all-star game.
Chase Phelps (Shattuck-St. Mary's) 6-1/190 -- "Solid" is the best word to describe him. Gives you a little bit of everything. Made the Ivan Hlinka team and is a top uncommitted prospect.
Michael Booth (Fargo-USHL) 5-10/175 -- Quick, smart, and skilled. Low center of gravity. Cornell recruit.
Tyler Bird (St. John's Prep) 6-2/205 -- Power forward in the making. Struggled with the pace here, but the Brown recruit has upside. Headed to KUA.
Joseph Snively (Sioux City-USHL) 5-8/155 -- Tiny forward has quick feet and hands. Was really productive here with a 3-7-10 scoring line. Made the Ivan Hlinka team. Yale recruit.
Michael Ederer (Nichols School) 5-11/175 -- St. Lawrence recruit is inconsistent and sometimes disinterested, but shows flashes of being a dominant player.
Nick Magyar (Sioux City-USHL) 6-3/198 -- Power forward is consistent and strong in all areas. Ohio State recruit.
Cole Borchardt (Burnsville High School) 6-1/165 -- Skilled, heady, and slippery in traffic. Has upside. Uncommitted.
Dylan Pavelek (NTDP) 5-11/190 -- Powerful skater. Did not display a lot of vision or creativity here, but is extremely explosive and creates offense with his north/south play.
Mitch Fossier (TPH Thunder AAA U16) 5-10/170 -- Seems frail and weak, but he has a great head for the game and is sly with the puck. Someone to keep an eye on as he is almost a '97.
Brendan Van Riemsdyk (Christian Brothers Academy) 6-3/190 -- UNH recruit struggled to keep up here, but once his feet catch up to his head and hands he will be very good.
George Mika (Boston Junior Bruins U18) 5-11/172 -- The best we have seen the Florida native play. A smart hockey player. Will play for Waterloo (USHL) next year. Uncommitted.
Cullen Munson (Edina High School) 6-0/182 -- Someone you want on your team. An agitator who can make a play. Uncommitted.
Bryan Lemos (Boston Junior Bruins U18) 5-11/167 -- Quick stick. Always has his feet moving. Providence College recruit.
Liam Pecararo (Boston Advantage U18) 5-10/170 -- Incredibly skilled, but seems to march to the beat of his own drum. Maine recruit.
Chris Dodero (Chicago-USHL) 5-10/175 – A complete player. Shifty and can make a play. Colorado College bound.
Brett Gruber (Notre Dame Academy) 5-8/168 -- Is tough to watch because he is small and has an awkward stride. That said, he knows how to play the game and is always on the puck, especially in the tough ice.
Jacob Benson (Red River Roughriders) 6-0/185 -- St. Cloud recruit is tenacious and plays hard on the puck. Someone who will grind the opposition down at the next level.
Kevin Darrar (Gunnery) 6-0/175 -- Was very good here. The best we have seen out of him. Made the all-star game.
Lawton Courtnall (Omaha AAA U16) 6-0/180 -- Will be an effective role player at the D-I level. The son of NHL veteran Jeff Courtnall. Has great speed with a lot of bounce.
Peter Crinella (Springfield Cathedral) 6-2/180 -- Holy Cross recruit got better as the week went along and he was able to adjust to the pace. Has great control around the net. Knows how to score goals.
Brian Williams (Wenatchee-NAHL) 5-10/170 -- Has some skill, but is limited in terms of upside. Is at his best when being a pest and pursuing loose pucks.
Will Harrison (Washington Capitals U18) 6-0/200 -- Seems to come to the festival each summer and light it up. Posted a 4-5-9 scoring line in six games played. Doesn't stand out a lot, but is above average in all aspects.
Corey Hoffman (Odessa-NAHL) 5-8/160 -- Had a fantastic showing here. Is small and not very fast, but is very smart, has a good stick, and will be good on a small ice surface. Had a seven point game here en route to finishing the tournament with a 6-4-10 scoring line in six games played. Long Island native committed to Cornell right after the festival.
Dakota Joshua (Honeybaked U16) 6-2/190 -- Is only going to get better, and he's pretty darn good right now. Is strong on the puck and has slick hands.
Ben Scharf (Loomis-Chaffee) 6-0/180 -- Lives in Buffalo and was called in to replace an injured player. Made the most of the opportunity, finishing with a 2-5-7 scoring line in just four games played. Was productive at Nationals, too.
Ryan Tait (Omaha-USHL) 5-9/175 -- Quick stick and feet. Providence College recruit had a productive week and found some chemistry with JJ Piccinich and Joe Snively.
Jack Dougherty (Saint Thomas Academy) 6-2/185 -- Was the top defenseman here. He is tall, can skate, handles the puck with confidence, and defends well. Will be drafted in the top few rounds of next June’s NHL draft. Was committed to Ohio State, but decommitted when there was a coaching change – a huge loss for the Buckeyes. We heard rumblings that it is only a matter of time before Dougherty commits to the Gophers.
Robert Nardella (Chicago Mission U16) 5-9/180 – Puck-moving defender. Is short and stocky and knows how to defend using his limited size. Made the Ivan Hlinka team and will excel on the big sheet. The Notre Dame recruit will be a fixture on the Fighting Irish's PP, likely for his entire four years in college. His father, Bob Nardella, played at Ferris State and had a long and productive pro career in the AHL and Europe.
Aaron Haydon (Niagara-OHL) 6-4/195 -- There is a lot to like here. Haydon is big, moves well, and is assertive. That said, he needs to be reeled in and play a more composed game. NHL teams will like his upside, and he could go quite high in the draft.
Blake Siebenaler (Belle Tire U16) 6-1/190 -- Not quite sure why he is not yet committed to a top D-I program. His skating catches your eye immediately and he is hardly ever beaten in 1x1 situations. Has acquired a bit of an edge and defends with some grit. This coming season, he will be playing full-time for Indiana (USHL).
Kevin Kerr (Team Comcast U18) 5-11/175 -- An effortless skater who is going to be a big-time player for Penn State. Scored some very nice goals here. Has the ability to play in all situations and is pretty polished right now.
Luke Davison (Notre Dame Academy) 5-11/180 -- Smooth skating defender handles the puck with a ton of confidence and is great in transition. Has a mind for offense and will run a D-I powerplay. Is still uncommitted, but Wisconsin has to be homing in.
Ryan Mantha (Sioux City-USHL) 6-5/215 -- The North Dakota recruit is a project, but a fantastic project to have. NHL teams will like the nephew of former NHL defenseman Moe Mantha a lot. Reminds us of Matt Greene – a former Fighting Sioux player now with the LA Kings -- at them same age.
Jake Linhart (Green Bay-USHL) 5-11/170 -- The knock on Linhart is that he is a touch one-dimensional and could struggle in the Big Ten defending against bigger and stronger forwards. The upside, though, is that the Wisconsin recruit will have the PP cooking at all times. He is slick with the puck, confident, and delivers tape-to-tape passes with authority.
Mathew Berkovitz (Ashwaubenon High School) 6-1/175 -- Wisconsin recruit is an effortless skater with a lot of upside. NHL teams will like his potential, and we feel he will be selected next June. Was just OK here; we would have like to have seen him be more assertive on the offensive side of the puck.
Chase Priskie (Selects Hockey Academy) 5-11/183 -- The Quinnipiac recruit doesn't have a ton of upside, but he will be very good for the Bobcats. He is tough, competes hard, and defends with purpose. The Florida native will be molded into a shutdown defender.
Jake Cass (Indiana-USHL) 5-11/183 -- Is uncommitted right now, but probably not for long. The Stillwater, Minnesota native is constantly involved in the play and is aggressive at both ends of the ice. Is small, but he plays with a real edge. Will be a coveted prospect at the D-I level.
Bradley Johnson (St. Louis Blues U18) 5-10/183 -- Smart, heady defenseman who finds the open man with ease. Has no panic to his game, just gets the puck and calmly moves it up ice. Will probably not run a PP, but is capable of playing a support role. Would benefit from added explosiveness in his skating.
Joshua Jacobs (Indiana-USHL) 6-2/195 -- Michigan State recruit still has a way to go, but you have to like his upside. Big, strong, defenseman with some offensive abilities. Will play in all situations.
Adam Baugham (Chicago Young Americans U18) 6-3/20 -- A very good skater and defender. Quietly goes about his business on the ice and gives his team good, solid minutes. Does not have a home for the coming season. We are told he is thinking about heading east to Salisbury. Uncommitted.
Miles Gendron (Rivers School) 6-2/175 -- Started the tournament as a forward and finished as a defenseman. After his first day on the back end he was the buzz of the festival…well, the buzz of the eastern schools certainly. Gendron is totally raw and doesn’t understand the position much, but his skating is simply phenomenal. Doesn't have much finish around the net, but he can take the puck coast-to-coast with ease. We would not be surprised one bit if he were fielding D-I offers right now.
Jack Walker (Victoria-WHL) 5-11/170 – In one game we saw him we would have said he was an "A" defenseman, the next game he was a "C." Had a respectable year in the WHL, posting 22 points in 58 games as a 16-year-old rookie. Edina, Minn. native has quick feet and can zip the puck around, but he is turnover prone.
Travis Brown (Rogers MN High School) 6-1/195 -- Big, strong defender can really hammer the puck. Is raw, but there is a lot to work with.
Brandon Carlo (Colorado Thunderbirds U16) 6-4/192 -- Tall, slender defender with a ton of upside. Is a smooth skater for someone this tall. Played five playoff games for Tri-City (WHL) this spring.
Daniel Willet (Lincoln-USHL) 5-7/165 -- Was committed to Northeastern, but decommitted over the year and is now one of the top uncommitted defensemen at this age. There are some questions as to whether he will be an effective defender at the D-I level given the fact that he is only 5'7" and not a burner. That said, his ability to effectively run a PP makes him an attractive prospect. We do not think he will remain uncommitted for long.
Jared Rosburg (Ohio Bluejackets U18) 6-2/185 -- Slender defender with a great stick. Brings offense from the backend. Made the Ivan Hlinka team.
Andrew Cross (Austin Prep) 5-10/171 -- Small, but smart. Very good with the puck on his stick.
Tyler Nanne (Edina High School) 5-10/170 -- Skates well. Pushes the pace offensively.
Rhodes Dolan (Omaha AAA U16) 6-5/205 -- Massive defender with a huge upside. Is good with the puck on his stick. Has a long way to go, but could end up being a pro.
Carson Gatt (Catholic Central High School) 6-1/190 -- Michigan State recruit is unpolished, but he has a nasty edge and will develop into a difficult defender to play against.
Carson Vance (Kenai River-NAHL) 5-10/180 -- Phoenix native seems to have lost a bit of confidence, but is still a smart defender who moves pucks well.
Alex Copa (Blaine High School) 6-0/175 -- Does a bit of everything. Defends well and also brings some offensive punch.
Peter Tischke (Chicago Mission U18) 6-2/198 -- Wisconsin recruit is long, tall, and skates well. Will develop into a shutdown d-man for the Badgers. Limited offensively.
Brendan Halverson (Oakland Grizzlies) 6-4/180 -- A massive tender who takes up a lot of net, Halverson made things look very easy here. Was a 7th round pick of the Soo Greyhounds (OHL) and has signed with the club.
Sam Tucker (Choate) 6-2/170 – Statistically, Tucker was the top netminder here with a 2.40 GAA. The Yale recruit looked confident and mature between the pipes. Will be a good one in the future.
Alex Nedeljkovic (Plymouth-OHL) 6-0/185 -- Is not the biggest, but is probably the most skilled goalie here. The Parma, Ohio native posted a 19-2-2 record for the Whalers as a 16-year-old. Will likely be the starting goalie for the US at the Hlinka Tournament and, moving forward, should be a fixture for USA Hockey at international tournaments.
Blake Weyrick (NTDP) 6-3/210 -- Former Shattuck goaltender has a ton of potential and is only going to get better. He is uncommitted and it was reported last week that he will commit to either Harvard, Northeastern, or Providence College.
Eric Schierhorn (Russell Stover) 6-1/180 -- Alaska native is technically sound and had a strong showing here. Only allowed six goals to go along with a 2.88 GAA.
We have a few gleanings from Sunday’s NHL Draft in Newark, NJ, in which 211 players from 12 nations were selected.
Once again, Canada led the way with 96, followed by the US (57), Sweden (23), Finland (11), Russia (8), Czech Republic (4), Switzerland (4), Austria (2), Denmark (2), Slovakia (2), Latvia (1), and Norway (1).
Canada’s figure represents 45.5% of all players taken; the United States had 27% of the total.
The above numbers are very similar to last year, when 99 Canadians, 56 Americans, and 22 Swedes, 11 Russians, 9 Finns, and 6 Czechs were taken (along with eight other players representing six countries).
-- The record number of US players selected in any given year came in 2007, when 62 were selected.
This year, by the way, represented the tenth anniversary of the 2003 draft, when seven NCAA players – and a couple more who would become collegians -- were selected in the draft’s first round. That was far from the case on Sunday, when zero collegians were taken in the first round, and, on top of that, only one college recruit was taken in the first round, Western Michigan’s Michael McCarron, by Montreal with the 25th pick overall. And it’s uncertain whether or not McCarron will even go to college.
However, when all was added up, there were 63 players selected with NCAA ties – either they were drafted out of college (6) or are recruits (54). Forty-five of those 63 players are U.S. kids. Three drafted players are uncommitted to a college – Holderness D Terrance Amorosa (Phila., 6th round), Grand Rapids HS F Avery Peterson (Minn., 6th round), and Des Moines (USHL) D David Drake (Phila., 7th round).
-- This draft represented the 30th anniversary of Brian Lawton, a forward at Mount St. Charles, becoming the first U.S. High School player ever taken #1 overall. Two years earlier, in 1981, Bobby Carpenter of St. John’s Prep became the first high school player selected in the first round (he was #3 overall, behind Dale Hawerchuk and Doug Smith (what, you forgot him?) – but one slot ahead of Ron Francis).
-- With Brian Pinho being selected in the sixth round yesterday, the Providence recruit becomes the 11th St. John’s Prep player taken in an NHL draft. Among Mass high schools, SJP trails only CM, which has had 16 players selected though through the years, with the last coming in 2004 (Stephen McClellan and G Brian Mahoney-Wilson.)
-- The 57 Americans chosen on Sunday were spread among 24 of the NHL’s 30 teams. Buffalo drafted 7(!) Americans, and Chicago 5. Florida, Washington, NYI, Winnipeg, and SJ each drafted three. Nashville, St. Louis, Colorado, Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Anaheim, LA, Boston, Ottawa, Philadelphia each had two. Minnesota, Montreal, TB, Carolina, and Calgary had one apiece. Edmonton, Dallas, Detroit, Toronto, Columbus, and the NY Rangers all passed on the American players.
There were 15 players drafted out of U.S. high schools and prep schools. All are Americans, except for Holderness d-man Amorosa. Six are from Minnesota high schools, six are from New England boarding schools, one was from a Massachusetts high school, and there was one apiece from Shattuck and South Kent. In addition, there was one player, Aidan Muir, a 6’3” Canadian forward and Western Michigan ('14) recruit, drafted off of Victory Honda’s U-18 Team.
Here are the prep/high school players selected on Sunday:
Connor Hurley, C, Edina HS (Buffalo, 2nd round)
Tommy Vannelli, D, Minnetonka HS (St. Louis, 2nd round)
Miles Wood, LW, Nobles (NJ, 4th round)
Ryan Segalla, D, Salisbury (Pittsburgh, 4th round)
Terrance Amorosa, D, Holderness School (Philadelphia, 5th round)
Teemu Kivilhalme, D, Burnsville HS (Nashville, 5th round)
Anthony Florentino, D, South Kent (Buffalo, 5th round)
Grant Besse, RW, Benilde-St. Margaret’s (Anaheim, 5th round)
Wiley Sherman, D, Hotchkiss (Boston, 5th round)
Tim Harrison, RW, Dexter (Calgary, 6th round)
Merrick Madsen, G, Proctor Academy (Philadelphia, 6th round)
Avery Peterson, C, Grand Rapids HS (Minnesota, 6th round)
Brian Pinho, C, St. John’s Prep (Washington, 6th round)
Jacob Jackson, C, Tartan HS (San Jose, 7th round)
Anthony Brodeur, G, Shattuck-St. Mary’s (New Jersey, 7th round)
Zach Sanford, LW, Middlesex Islanders (Washington, 2nd round)
Ryan Fitzgerald, C, Valley Jr. Warriors (Boston, 4th round)
Chris Leblanc, RW, South Shore Kings (Ottawa, 6th round)
Evan Cowley, G, Wichita (Florida, 4th round)
-- By league, the 57 Americans drafted yesterday came from:
New England Prep (6)
Minnesota High School (6)
Mass High School (1)
South Kent (1)
-- A number of potential draftees weren’t drafted at all. Chief among them was former Hotchkiss forward Tyler Hill, who had been high on some observer’s charts back in the fall. Others included former Avon forward Nick Hutchison, former Salisbury forward Anthony DiFruscia, PC recruit Thomas Aldworth, Harvard recruit Eddie Ellis, former South Kent F Jason Salvaggio, and London (OHL) D Dakota Mermis.
For them, and others, there is always next year.
And the odds aren’t too bad, either. We know – just in case grownups aren’t doing of it themselves – that kids put a lot of pressure on themselves to get drafted. Well, we just want to say that if you didn’t get selected on Sunday, and are still feeling lousy about it today, shake it off. There’s always next year.
36 out of the 211 players drafted yesterday were overagers. 23 were regular overagers (first eligible in ’12), 12 were double overagers (first eligible in ’11), and one was a triple overager (first eligible in ’10).
The triple overager, Brenden Kichton, a major junior kid from Spokane (WHL), was an unusual case. He had been totally passed over in his first year of eligibility, but the Islanders took him the following year in the 5th round. Unlike say, college kids who are drafted and don’t need to sign until they leave school, drafted major junior kids are on a clock and have two years to sign -- or they can go back into the draft pool. For whatever reasons, the Islanders didn’t sign Kichton and on 6/1/13 he was free to reenter the draft. On Sunday, nearly two weeks past his 21st birthday, he was selected by Winnipeg (#190 overall) and thus became the oldest drafted player.
Here is a complete list of overagers taken. Players with a ^ preceding their name were not on Central’s Final Rankings, which is common for many/most overagers.
^Connor Crisp, LW, Erie -- OHL (to Montreal, 3rd Round)
Tyrell Goulbourne, LW, Kelowna --WHL (to Philadelphia, 3rd Round)
^Kurtis Gabriel, RW, Owen Sound -- OHL (to Minnesota, 3rd Round) – double overager
^Sven Andrighetto, RW, Rouyn-Noranda – Q (to Montreal 3rd Round) – double overager
JC Lipon, RW, Kamloops -- WHL (to Winnipeg, 3rd Round) -- double overager
^Felix Girard, C, Baie-Comeau - Q (to Nashville, 4th Round)
^Justin Auger, RW, Guelph -- OHL (to LA, 4th Round)
Andrew Copp, C, Michigan – NCAA (to Winnipeg, 4th Round)
^Stephon Williams, G, Mankato St. – NCAA (to NY Islanders, 4th Round) – double overager
Zach Pochiro, LW, Prince George – WHL (to St. Louis, 4th Round)
^Christopher Clapperton, LW, Blainville-Boisbriand – Q (to Florida, 5th Round)
^Tucker Poolman, D, Omaha -- USHL (to Winnipeg #127 5th Round) -- double overager
^Evan Campbell, LW, Langley -- BCHL (to Edmonton, 5th Round) -- double overager
Carson Soucy, D, Spruce Grove -- AJHL (to Minnesota, 5th Round)
Patrik Bartosak, G, Red Deer -- WHL (to LA, 5th Round) -- double overager
Grant Besse, RW, Bendilde-St. Margaret’s (to Anaheim, 5th Round)
Jonny Brodzinski, C, St. Cloud State -- NCAA (to LA, 5th Round) -- double overager
Joshua Brown, D, Oshawa -- OHL (to Florida, 6th Round)
^Ben Storm, D, Muskegon – USHL (to Colorado, 6th Round)
Henri Ikonen, LW, Kingston -- OHL (to Tampa Bay, 6th Round)
^Tim Harrison, RW, Dexter School (to Calgary 6th Round)
^Chris LeBlanc, RW, South Shore – EJHL (to Ottawa, 6th Round) -- double overager
^Alex Quine, C, Belleville – OHL (to NY Islanders, 6th Round) -- double overager
^Quentin Shore, C, Denver – NCAA (to Ottawa, 6th Round)
MacKenzie Skapski, G, Kootenay -- WHL (to NY Rangers, 6th Round)
Antoine Bibeau, G, PEI – QMJHL (to Toronto, 6th Round)
Mike Williamson, D, Spruce Grove -- AJHL (to Vancouver, 6th Round) -- double overager
Zachary Leslie, D, Guelph -- OHL (to LA, 6th Round)
^Wade Murphy, RW, Penticton – BCHL (to Nashville, 7th Round)
^Eric Locke, C, Saginaw -- OHL(to Buffalo, 7th Round)
^Brenden Kichton, D, Spokane – WHL (to Winnipeg, 7th Round) – triple overager
Jedd Soleway, C, Penticton – BCHL (to Phoenix, 7th Round)
Peter Quenneville, C/RW, Dubuque – USHL (to Columbus, 7th Round )
^John Gilmour, D, Providence -- NCAA (to Calgary, 7th Round) -- double overager
MacKenzie Weegar, D, Halifax – Q (to Florida, 7th Round)
Troy Josephs, C, St. Michael’s -- OJHL (to Pittsburgh, 7th Round)
-- 22 of the 211 players chosen yesterday were not on Central Scouting’s Final rankings. Of those 22 players, only four were first-time eligible and Philadelphia showed that they are not afraid to go off the board, picking two of them.
Terrance Amorosa, D, Holderness School (to Philadelphia, #132)
David Drake, D, Des Moines (USHL) (to Philadelphia, 192)
Anthony Brodeur, G, Shattuck-St. Mary’s (to NJ, #208)
Mitchell Dempsey, LW, S-S Marie (OHL) (to Boston, #110)
-- Next year’s draft will be on Fri.-Sat. June 27-28, 2014 at the Wells Fargo Center, the home of the Philadelphia Flyers. It will be the first time Philadelphia has hosted the draft.
Under-18 Select Team Named
USA Hockey has announced its 21-man roster for the U.S. Under-18 Select Team that will compete at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament Aug. 5-10 in Breclav, Czech Republic and Piestany, Slovakia.
All 21 players chosen competed in the just-completed Select 17 Player Development Camp in Buffalo, NY.
Five of the players chosen – Dougherty, Nardella, Connor, Dudek, Poganksi -- competed for the US last summer at the Under-17 Five Nations Tournament in Chomutov, Czech Republic.
Here’s the roster:
Goaltenders (2): Alex Nedeljkovic (Plymouth-OHL); Blake Weyrick (NTDP).
Defensemen (6): Jack Dougherty (St. Thomas Academy); Aaron Haydon (Niagara-OHL); Ryan Mantha (Sioux City-USHL); Bob Nardella (Chicago Mission U16); Jared Rosburg (Ohio Blue Jackets U18); Nick Wolff (Eagan HS).
Forwards (13): Paul Bittner (Portland-WHL); Kyle Connor (Youngstown-USHL); Joey Dudek (Kimball Union Academy); Keegan Iverson (Portland-WHL); Dylan Malmquist (Edina HS); Cody Milan (Sioux Falls-USHL); Chase Phelps (Shattuck-St. Mary’s); Austin Poganski (St. Cloud Cathedral); Nick Schmaltz (Green Bay-USHL); Joseph Snively (Sioux City-USHL); Dominic Turgeon (Portland-WHL); Ryan Wagner (Chicago Mission U16); Jake Wahlin (White Bear Lake HS).
Head Coach: Bob Corkum
Assistant Coach: Derek Plante
Video Coach: Alex Todd
Sat. Aug. 3 – US vs. Czech Republic (exhibition)
Mon. Aug. 5 – US vs. Finland
Tues. Aug. 6 – US vs. Russia
Wed. Aug. 7 – US vs. Slovakia
Fri. Aug. 9 – Semifinals
Sat. Aug. 10 – Championship and Third Place Games
Note: We will have much more shortly on the Select 17 Camp.