The Beantown: Pre-Draft Division
Here are our rankings from the Beantown Spring Classic Pre-Draft Division. As is customary, we have ranked forwards and defensemen separately. Also, per usual, the rankings are a hybrid that takes into account play at the tournament weighted against prior viewings and long-term upside.
These things fly by, and it’s a little hard to concentrate on goalies – perhaps next season we’ll have one person to concentrate on that task – but we certainly noticed 6’3” Ryan Glander, a ’97 from the Jersey Hitmen U18s. He’d be our #1. After Glander, we thought 5’9” Michael Royer, a sophomore at Thayer Academy, did a really good job here.
Some of the heights and weights on the program were exaggerated, while others are not (or at least less so), so please take them with a grain of salt.
1. David Cotton, LC, Cushing, 6-2/185, ’97 -- Cotton, who committed to BC in January, was the best of the Pre-Draft division here. Sophomore has great size, but has yet to fill out. He has soft hands, exceptional vision, and made some quick passes up-ice as well as accurate no-look passes right in the offensive zone. He was dominant at the faceoff circle and effectively used his reach and body positioning to protect the puck. His skating is good for his size and will continue to develop as he grows into his body. His rookie season at Cushing was impressive -- he led the team in points with a 19-32-51 line in 32 contests, making him the highest-scoring sophomore in prep hockey. We felt the Texas native, who is slated to return to Cushing in the fall for his junior year, had the highest ceiling of anyone in the entire tournament (including the Draft Division).
2. Lincoln Griffin, RW, Thayer, 5-11/165, ’97 -- Griffin was fun to watch, he has an explosive first step, plays the game with a lot of grit and passion, is crafty, and knows how to score. He’s coming off a highly productive junior season at Thayer, where he recorded a 23-32-55 line in 25 games. Here, he made plays every shift, and competed in all three zones. He is small but physical and once he adds more meat to his frame he will be more effective along the boards. Walpole, Mass. native does all the little things well – blocks shots, finishes checks, stops on the puck, keeps his head up when carrying the puck, and shoots to score. He’s committed to Northeastern for ’16. Drafted by Dubuque in the USHL.
3. Luke Stevens, LW, Nobles, 6-4/190, ’97 – The son of former NHLer Kevin Stevens has great upside – he has size, soft hands, and makes quick and crisp tape-to-tape passes. His vision is advanced – he showed an ability to pick apart the defense and move to space to deliver timely, smart passes. If his skating continues to develop and he puts on more muscle and grows into his huge frame, we feel he could be an early round NHL draft pick. He had 15 goals this season as a sophomore on a deep Nobles team so we know he can shoot the puck but he did not let it go very often this weekend. He needs to make quicker decisions with the puck and use his size more to create time and space for himself. Duxbury, Mass. native is uncommitted now, but probably won’t be for long.
4. Jeremy Descheneaux, LC, Stanstead, 6-2/190, ’98 -- The youngest player on this year’s Stanstead Prep team, Descheneaux, a sophomore, ended the season fifth in points with a 9-9-18 line in 39 games. He is a tall, smooth-skating center who competes at both ends and is tough to stop when he’s carrying the puck. He has smooth hands to match his feet and makes quick jukes to get past the defense. He had a highlight reel play where he sped past two forwards in the neutral zone, deked the defenseman, and cut to the net where he worked the goalie left to right and then buried it. His acceleration could improve as is typical of many of the bigger players at this age, and he could be more physically imposing on the forecheck. Overall, we think he is a definite D-I prospect with NHL upside.
5. Johnny DeRoche, LW/LC, Boston Jr. Bruins, 5-6/135, ’98 -- The Quinnipiac recruit is small but can fly. He has exceptional speed and quickness, agile hands, and can weave through and around opponents. The little guy was buzzing all weekend, constantly keeping his feet moving. He has an idea as to what he’s going to do before the puck is on his stick. He has a quick, potent shot. This past season with the U16 Jr. Bruins, DeRoche tallied 31 goals and 39 assists for 70 points in only 30 games. He will need to grow and be more responsible in his own end, but he was an exciting player to watch here.
6. Charlie Davis, RC, Boston Advantage, 5-11/185, ’97 -- This was a coming out party for Davis, who made plays all over the ice. He is a strong and powerful skater with a good burst and a low center. He has slick hands, maneuvers his way through traffic, and is not afraid to get nasty in the dirty areas. His vision and passing ability are only average at this time but his skill set is high-end. He can shoot the puck, but prefers to get in close and deke the goaltender. This past season he played on the Boston Advantage U16 team and had a pedestrian 9-7-16 line in 26 games. We expect those numbers to improve.
7. Patrick Shea, RC, Marshfield HS, 5-11/180, ’97 -- Shea is strong two-way forward who is defensively responsible but also offensively capable. He averaged more than two points per game this past season as a junior at Marshfield HS and has a well-developed sense of the game as well as the vision to make plays. Shea was quiet for long stretches here, but the Maine commit has a quick release and a versatile skill set that will enable him to fit any role at Maine. Son of NHL scout and former BC forward Neil Shea, and younger brother of Quebec Remparts F Brandon Shea.
8. Eric Esposito, RW, Loomis-Chaffee, 5-10/168, ’98 – Esposito plays a similar style to his brother – and Loomis teammate – Alex Esposito, who recently committed to UVM. He is fast and gritty, loves to throw his body around and battle along the boards and in front of the net. He is a crafty playmaker and may have even better hands than his older brother. He is slight and will need to add strength before making a bigger impact at prep level but he has D-I upside. Coming off his freshman year at prep school, where he had a 5-6-11 line in 28 games. He was able to rise above the competition the Beantown; we expect a breakout year next season.
9. Jacob Marrello, LW, Albany Academy, 5-9/160, ’97 -- Marrello is a crafty, skilled forward with a high hockey IQ and an equally high compete level. He is on the smaller side, but he has quick hands, passes the puck with accuracy and zip, and sees the ice well. He works hard in all three zones and posted an 11-21-32 line in 29 games at Albany, where he is a junior. Also plays for the U16 Long Island Gulls. Look for him at Salisbury or Gunnery.
10. Ryan Finnegan, RW, Skipjacks, 5-6/130, ’97 -- The 130 lb. Quinnipiac commit draws comparisons to Yale commit Henry Hart who was a PG at Exeter this past season. Finnegan is small but highly skilled, poised with the puck, possesses elite vision and playmaking ability. He led his team in points at the U16 level with a 30-36-66 line in 30 games. He will need to grow to be effective at the next level but the foundation is there for him to develop into an excellent college player.
11. Liam Murphy, LC/LW, Avon, 6-1/210, ’98 -- With his size and skill, Murphy has the talent to be ranked much higher then we had him at the Beantown, but he was quiet for much of the tournament and did not assert himself in the physical matchups. He has great size, soft hands and elusiveness to go with a hard snap shot. He can get tunnel vision at times but for the most part is a talented power forward with great upside. Expected more out of him at this level after a solid sophomore campaign at Avon where he recorded a 7-14-21 line in 25 games. A Killingworth, Conn. native, he is committed to UConn for ’16.
12. Jake Pappalardo, RW, Proctor, 5-11/185, ’97 – Pappalardo has great speed and acceleration and was flying throughout the tournament. The sophomore from Salem, NH led a young, talented Proctor team in points this season with a 15-24-39 line in 29 games. He needs to add strength and balance as he was knocked off the puck too often but he is a dangerous player in transition, has a quick wrister and snap shot, and has decent stickhandling ability. He can push the pace and forechecks hard but needs to finish his checks and be more physical. Overall, he has D-I upside and had a good showing here.
13. Ty Amonte, LW/LC, Thayer, 5-8/160, ’98 -- The son of former NHLer Tony Amonte, who coaches him at Thayer, is a legit D-I prospect in his own right. The youngster averaged a point per game as a sophomore this past season with an 8-19-27 line. Amonte plays the game the right way, competes in all three zones, finishes checks, block shots, is effective in all situations and has deceptive skill. He takes on the style of an energy guy but he has a scoring touch and a good stick.
14. Christopher Smith, LC, Stanstead, 5-9/165, ’97 -- Junior from St. Bruno, Quebec is coming off a great year at Stanstead where he led a deep team in points with a 19-13-32 line in 34 games. Has speed, agility, and great awareness. Plays the game with a lot of pace and makes quick decisions while his feet are moving. Carries the puck without slowing down. Has good hands, an accurate shot, and is defensively and fundamentally sound. At his size he will need to be more dynamic with the puck to be a definite D-I prospect but we feel he has all the tools to get there.
15. Patrick Harper, LW, NJ Rockets U18, 5-8/140, ’98 -- Harper has shown time and time again that he is one of the premier ’98s in New England, but he did not have his best showing here. He has slick hands, a scorer’s mentality and creativity that you can’t teach. He is fluid in space and quick and agile in tight spaces. His awareness and playmaking ability is outstanding. He will need to grow and add strength and add another gear to be effective at the next level but he will be a D-I player in time. Will be playing in prep school in the fall.
16. Logan Drevitch, LW/LC, Bandits U16, 5-9/145, ’98 -- Drevitch made a name for himself last year at the National Select 15 Festival where he had a 5-4-9 line in five games. He has speed, great hands, poise, and confidence carrying the puck. Seems to find open ice consistently. Has quick feet and an ability to move vertically or laterally to get around his opponents. His overall hockey sense and decision-making is good. He will need to bulk up a little bit and get stronger on his skates as he got bounced around a little here. He has the potential to be ranked higher than where we have him, but he was hot and cold here and took some shifts off. His older brother, Tyler, is a Merrimack commit -- and it won’t be long before a school scoops up Logan as well.
17. Devin Moore, LW, Exeter, 5-7/140, ’97 -- Don’t be fooled by the size, because this little guy can play. Formerly at Pinkerton HS, Moore was a sophomore at Exeter this season and didn’t get the PP minutes needed to put up big numbers, but he still had a 4-12-16 line in 31 games and was a top six forward on a team that had great talent upfront. Look for him to be a go-to guy next season, and to get D-I consideration despite his size. He was quick and crafty this weekend, showing explosiveness on his skates and patience carrying the puck. He was not completely on his game here, and didn’t have the extra gear we saw in the prep playoffs, but overall he was solid.
18. RJ Murphy, LC/LW, St. Sebastian’s, 6-3/170, ’98 – Murphy, a late ’98 from Needham, is a project at 6-3 and only 170 pounds but he showed flashes of greatness here. The son of former Harvard forward John Murphy played valuable minutes as a freshman at St. Seb’s and will only get better as he grows into his body and improves his skating ability. Has a good stick, competes in the corners, and is responsible in his own end. His ceiling is high.
19. Michael Brown, RW/RC, Groton, 6-2/180, ’97 – From Worcester, Mass., Brown arrived at Groton this season, where he played alongside Ace Cowans, producing a 23-26-49 line in 27 games as a sophomore. Brown is a big, tall power forward who hasn’t filled out yet. He has a strong shot and good touch in close and pretty soft hands overall. At this point in his career he plays the role of the finisher more then playmaker but once his skating improves he will have more weapons at his disposal. Needs to improve his footwork by lengthening his stride and becoming more agile on his feet.
20. Trevor Turnbull, RW/RC, Milton Academy, 5-9/168, ’97 -- The undersized Turnbull is strong and balanced on his skates, has speed, and plays an up-tempo style. He forechecks hard, backchecks with a purpose, and is aggressive to the net. He has a nice hard shot and, as a sophomore, led Milton in scoring this past season with a 13-16-29 line in 24 games. D-I is not out of the question for the native of Westchester County.
21. Derek Osik, RC/RW, St. Mark’s, 5-11/160, ’98 -- Osik is similar to Moore in that his prep stats from this past season do not tell the full story as he recorded a modest 4-3-7 line in 28 games. Sophomore from Shrewsbury, Mass. showed a great burst of speed and was always involved in the play, either forechecking hard and causing turnovers or skating the puck through the neutral zone. His hands are strong and he catches passes in stride without hesitation. He needs to get stronger and be more productive in the scoring department, but he definitely put himself on the map here.
22. Jack Bliss, LC, Cardigan Mountain, 6-0/160, ’98 -- The younger brother of NTDP defenseman Ryan Bliss, Jack has plenty of talent in his own right. He has a big frame into which he will grow over the next few years. He handles the puck well and has decent speed once he gets going. He scored a great goal in the first game here, going 1-on-1 on the goalie, and scoring on a nice deke. Has a high ceiling and a good overall skill set. Is rumored to be headed to St. Paul’s, where his brother Ryan started out.
23. George Sennott, LW, Kimball Union, 5-5/130, ’97 – Sennott, a sophomore who arrived at KUA from Austin Prep, had a quiet year for the Wildcats, playing on the third and fourth units. Here, though, playing within his age group, he came out of his shell and showed what we had seen at Austin Prep. Sennott has great speed and acceleration and can hit top speed in a few strides, thus making him a threat in the transition game. His confidence grew through the tournament and you could see him skating with the puck more and trying to make some plays. Next year at KUA he will play a more significant role and should flourish.
24. Andrew Hadley, LW/LC, Deerfield, 6-2/215, ’97 -- Hadley came out of nowhere at the Beantown after a 4-4-8 line at Deerfield in 25 games. Sophomore from Hopkinton, NH struggled with consistency but at times he was the most dominant player on the ice. He has size and strength, a long and powerful stride, and a heavy shot. He could be an ideal power forward at the prep level with above-average speed, especially considering his size. He needs to increase his compete level on a consistent basis and improve his play without the puck but he has potential.
25. Will Somers, LW, Hotchkiss, 6-4/215, ’97 -- The good news is the fact that he is 6’4”; the bad news is that he was playing with kids whose average size was probably under 5’10” – and he was not productive. Sophomore from New Canaan, Conn. has a long stride, albeit an awkward one, and is a little uncoordinated. He has deceptively quick hands. The issue in his game is that he has heavy feet and doesn’t play with a lot of jam. The upside is his giant frame, strength and his touch in front of the net. Posted a 6-7-13 line in 26 games at Hotchkiss. Has D-I upside if he can make the necessary improvements to his game.
26. Matthew Koopman, LW, Marblehead HS, 5-9/158, ’98 -- Coming out of high school and playing with prep and midget players took a little adjusting to, but as the tournament moved on he got more and more comfortable. A smooth-skating forward with an extra gear, the sophomore is athletic, instinctual, and made plays at both ends of the ice. He is undersized and not dynamic enough to be a sure fire D-I prospect but it’s certainly not out of the question. Will be at Berkshire in the fall.
27. Jason O’Neill, LC, Skipjacks, 5-11/160, ’97 -- O’Neill is a skilled forward who has good size and a fluid stride. His older brother, Colin, is committed to UMass-Lowell and there is no reason why Jason couldn’t do the same. Like many players here, he is thin and lacks physical maturity, but over the next few years could develop into an excellent player. His hands are slick and smooth -- and he shoots to score. This past season he recorded a 28-33-61 line in 30 games at the U16 level.
28. Michael Novello, RW/RC, Hill School, 5-9/175, ’97 -- Novello played to his strengths at the Beantown. He is strong, plays two-way hockey, and shoots with authority. Kennett Square, PA native very rarely just throws the puck on net. When he shoots the puck, he is looking to score goals. He has a good stick and a low center that makes it tough to knock him off the puck. As a sophomore, led the Hill School in points with an 11-22-33 line in 28 games.
29. Hunter Luhmann, RW, Proctor, 5-11/196, ’97 – Luhmann, a junior, had a strong season this year at Proctor, posting 20 goals. He is strong on his skates, has soft mitts, and deceptive speed. However, he did not play to his strengths at this tournament and seemed to be a step behind, which is uncharacteristic. As he enters his fourth and final season at Proctor the career 100-point mark should be well within his grasp.
30. Thomas Keane, RC, Team Illinois, 6-2/180, ’97 -- Keane is an intriguing prospect as he has size and skates well enough, has solid hands, and really bears down in the corners and along the boards. Won a lot of 1-on-1 battles. He lacks aggressiveness and hunger in front of the net and lacks productivity at this stage in his career, but there’s a good foundation for his becoming a solid power forward at the next level.
1. McKay Flanagan, RD, Connecticut Oilers (EHL), 6-1/190, ’97 -- Flanagan had a strong showing at the Beantown. He has a rare combination of size, speed, and skill. He was physical, but did not overcommit and take himself out of the play. He made great decisions with the puck and won nearly every battle along the boards. When gains possession in his end he doesn’t just throw it around the boards. Instead, with his head up, he takes a few strides and makes hard, accurate passes up ice. He has a big shot from the blue line and while he isn’t known for stickhandling, he is effortless distributing the puck on the powerplay. There are no obvious holes in his game and he was the toughest player to get around all tournament. Flanagan projects to be a great college player and should get NHL attention next year. Was selected in the 2013 USHL Futures Draft by Cedar Rapids.
2. Connor Moore, RD, Brooks School, 5-10/165,’97 – Moore, a sophomore from the Atlanta, Georgia suburbs, is one of the best young prospects in prep hockey, as is multi-dimensional. He has good feet, plays his angles well, and has the anticipation required to break up passes and get in shooting lanes. Moore plays a tough game in the corners and on the boards, and picks up sticks and moves bodies in front of his goal. With the puck on his stick, he is a fluid skater with poise and confidence. He has smooth hands, and makes great outlet passes. On the powerplay, he shoots the puck through traffic and finds the open man. The only knock on him is his size, but he has all the tools to be an impact player at Boston College.
3. John Marino, RD, South Shore Kings (USPHL), 6-2/175,’97 -- The recent Yale commit was the youngest player in the USPHL Premier Division this season and posted a 6-11-17 line in 34 games. His coach, Scott Harlow, says Marino has more upside than anyone he has coached -- and that is saying something. Marino has great instincts, sees the ice well, and has a gifted set of hands. He can move the puck effortlessly up the ice and plays a tough defensive style when he doesn’t have the puck. His skating is one of the areas he needs to improve on, as well as adding muscle to his frame, but he has all the tools.
4. Luke McInnis, LD, Hingham HS, 5-10/165, ’98 – McInnis’s best attribute is his skating ability, as he has excellent speed and great change of direction. Several fast forwards tried to get around him here using speed to the outside, but not one that we saw was successful. McInnis also has calmness and poise, and is able to slow the game down, let it develop in front of him, and then make decisions based on what the defense is giving him. His hockey IQ at this age is high-end and he values the puck, rarely just throwing it up the boards. The son of former NHLer Marty McInnis, a current sophomore, was invited to try out on the USNTDP team.
5. Brandon Crawley, LD, Selects Academy, 6-1/195, ’97 -- Crawley had an excellent tournament, showing off his size, skill, and strong defensive zone play. He is known as a mobile defenseman with good stick skills but we were equally impressed with his defensive game. He contains high-motor forwards with his body positioning and skating ability, and he plays a physical game against the power forwards. Crawley makes a nice first pass and keeps his feet moving while looking down-ice for passing lanes. He stops on the puck, competes in 1-on-1 battles and always comes out with the biscuit. A very good D-I prospect, he will not stay uncommitted for long.
6. Jack Moran, LD, Winchendon, 6-4/210, ’98 – Moran, with his superb size and skill, may just have as much upside as any defenseman in this age group. The freshman from North Reading, Mass. is not only tall, but strong and physically mature -- especially considering his age. He is raw at this point, makes sporadic decisions, and struggles with his timing, especially when he’s carrying the puck and either moves it too quickly before the play has developed or over-handles it and misses the play. He has good jump, a long and fairly fluid stride for his size, and plenty of jam in the dirty areas. Moran plays tough, in-your-face defense and demonstrates a natural willingness to join the rush and skate with the puck. He is poised and confident skating through the neutral zone, and has a good slap shot. Overall, Moran is a high-end prospect who needs to improve his agility and hockey sense to maximize his vast potential.
7. Gregory Krisberg, LD, Kent, 5-10/170, ’97 – At Kent, Krisberg, a sophomore from Chappaqua, NY, was the top-scoring defenseman on a very deep defensive corps, averaging over a point per game with an 8-18-26 line in 25 games. Krisberg shined at Beantown. Playing with kids his own age, he demonstrated excellent control of the puck and all-around offensive skills. He is smart, and picks his spots well. Defensively, he lacks size but makes up for it by picking up sticks and applying timely contact on players in front of the net. Krisberg is poised carrying the puck in high traffic areas and excels on the breakout. He can take one or two quick strides and deliver accurate passes to his winger or center. At times he forced passes, looking to make homerun plays, but he has the vision and can jump into the attack at will. He will need to get stronger and be more physically imposing in order to get more attention from scouts, but he is a D-I caliber player.
8. Dennis Cesana, RD, Kimball Union, 5-8/165, ’98 -- The sophomore from North Providence, RI showed at the Beantown – all season, actually – that he belongs in any discussion of the top young players in the region. A gifted skater with speed, quickness, and agility, Cesana is able to buy himself time and space by skating towards the open ice, where few players here were able to catch him. His decision-making is quick but not flawless, as he had a few turnovers caused by trying to do too much. The Hillside School product has smooth hands and keeps his eyes down ice -- a good approach for a ’98 who lacks size. He is still raw in the defensive zone and can get drawn out of position chasing the puck carrier.
9. Eric Jeremiah, RD, St. Sebastian’s, 5-9/170, ’98 -- Jeremiah saw a lot of ice time for the Arrows this year and was their most dynamic defenseman as a freshman with a 4-12-16 line in 26 contests. He’s undersized and doesn’t have the speed of players like Cesana but his poise and puck-handling skills are outstanding for his age, and on the power play he is as good as any of the players rated above him. He is smart in his defensive end and plays within himself, not throwing his body around against much bigger opponents or trying to move them out in front. Instead, he picks up sticks, or utilizes a quick poke check or strong stick check. He overcomes his size discrepancy with a high compete level and hockey IQ. A D-I power play defenseman when all is said and done.
10. Andrew Petrillo, RD, Delbarton, 5-11/170, ’98 -- The young mobile defenseman from Delbarton put himself on the map here with his skating and quick stick. As a sophomore he recorded a 3-13-16 line in 28 contests, seeing time on the PP, PK and even strength. He’s on the slight side and is unable to win physical battles but he uses his quickness and agility to get free and escape from pressure. In the open ice his speed and lateral movement make him elusive and tough to hit. He needs to improve his shot, his strength, and his willingness to mix it up. Overall, though, he has a great skill set.
11. Giacomo Messina, LD, St. Paul’s, 6-1/190, ’97 -- Messina is an old-school defenseman who challenges the shooter by driving right through them, finishes checks, blocks shots, gets low and drives forwards out from in front, and is rugged in the corners. The sophomore from Laval, Quebec has size, strength, and, while he is a physical presence, he can also handle the puck and make crisp passes on the breakout. In the offensive zone, Messina makes smart decisions concerning when to pinch. He also shoots the puck hard. Would be a safe pick for a college looking for a stay-at-home, tough defenseman.
12. Patrick O’Leary, LD, Boston Advantage, 6-1/170, ’97 -- O’Leary has a great frame that he will grow into over the next few years. His stride is fluid and powerful and he has good overall speed. On the defensive end, he uses his long reach and body positioning to disrupt shooters and has an active stick that blocks passing lanes. He makes the smart, simple play and values the puck. He needs to improve his acceleration and lower body strength, but he will be a force in the years to come.
13. Peter Christie, LD, Exeter, 6-0/178, ’97 -- Christie has been on the radar for quite some time, playing a prominent role on the Exeter blue line with Spencer Young since he was a freshman. The sophomore from Durham, NH has improved his skating as well as his stickhandling. He’s always had good size and, at the Beantown, showed that he has grown into this frame and taken on a more physical style of play. For Exeter, he was a reliable defender, one who takes care of the puck and plays a smart, heads-up game.
14. Harrison Markell, RD, Middlesex School, 6-0/195, ’97 – Markell, a junior, has size and the ability to play with power or with finesse. He makes a great first pass, can escape from pressure with his feet, and rarely exposes the puck. He is a strong presence along the wall and in scrums in front, but stays low when initiating contact which gives him the edge in most situations. Not a finished product, but there is upside here.
15. Trevor Cosgrove, LD, Exeter, 6-1/175, ’97 – Cosgrove, the son of the Exeter soccer coach, has come a long way over the past year, moving from a solid player to a legit college hockey prospect. A sophomore, he is tall and thin, moves well and makes swift passes both out of his end and in the neutral zone. Once he fills out and lengthens his stride he will move up this list.
16. Zach Mirageas, RD, Governor’s, 5-9/165, ’97 -- The undersized defenseman has great wheels and can kick it up a gear when required. The junior from Newburyport, Mass. led a struggling Governor’s team in points as a defenseman with a 4-9-13 line in 26 games. Here, he made some nice passes. We should also mention that he is an excellent backwards skater.
17. Cooper Jones, RD, Bandits U16, 5-7/155, ’98 -- Jones is an offensive-minded defenseman who sees the ice well and has a good burst of speed. His skating was a question mark, but it has come a long way. He is athletic and processes the game quickly.
18. Billy Carrabino, LD, Nobles, 6-2/205, ’97 -- This was a wasted opportunity for Carrabino who physically looked like a man among boys, but was unnoticeable for most of the tournament. The big, talented junior defenseman who recorded a 9-9-18 line in 28 games for Nobles should have taken over at this level. Instead, he sat back and never quite got involved in the action. He has good hands, a bomb of a shot, moves very well of his size and is physically imposing, but here he mishandled the puck, rarely engaged in physical play and we didn’t see him let his shot go. He’s an obvious D-I talent who we expected would have been among the top five or ten players on this list.
East Coast Prospects Schedule & Rosters
The East Coast Prospects Tournament, run by South Shore Kings GM/head coach Scott Harlow and Connecticut Junior Rangers GM/head coach Vinnie Montalbano, gets underway this Friday, April 25th, at the Foxboro Sports Center.
Links to the rosters and schedule – both are Excel files – can be found below.
Numerous Div. I college coaches will be running practices, and NHL scouts will be coaching the games. In addition, there will be an off-ice combine for the U20 and U16 divisions. The ’00-01 divisions will have a seminar run by Brian McDonough and his Edge Performance Systems staff. All players will receive a scouting report on what they did well, and what they need to work on – as well as results from the off-ice combine.
East Coast Prospects Schedule
East Coast Prospects Rosters
U14s at Nationals
USHR made the trek to Green Bay, Wisconsin to take in the Tier 1 Nationals April 2-6. We were able to see each of the U14 teams play at least once, while some teams we saw up to three or four times. There were 16 teams from all over the country that came to compete in the five-day tournament. We have ranked the top 100 skaters as well as the top 10 goaltenders, with detailed write-ups on the top 48 forwards, top 24 defensemen, and top eight goalies.
In the championship game, Shattuck-St. Mary’s topped the Chicago Mission, 4-2. In the semis, Shattuck edged the Oakland (Mich.) Jr. Grizzlies, 3-2, while the Chicago Mission beat Belle Tire, 3-1.
Next, using a similar format, we will release our U16 list.
1. Alexander Chmelevski (RW, #8 Belle Tire, ’99) – Chmelevski, who had a 4-4-8 line in 5 games played, earned the top spot here due to his elite hands, vision and shooting ability. He competes at both ends, finishes checks, and does all the little things to help his team win. In open ice he has great speed and skates with his head up, always looking to make a play. In traffic he has quick, soft hands and the hockey sense to get through, around, and past anyone trying to defend him. His shot was among the best of anyone in this age group in velocity, release and accuracy. What gives Chmelevski a slight edge on Lodina, his linemate and the #2 prospect on our list, is his intelligence -- his ability to see the ice and recognize defensive coverage put him a step or two ahead of everyone else. At 5’9”, 150 lbs. he has decent size and is coming off a season in Tier 1 with a 22-31-53 line in 28 contests.
2. Ivan Lodnia (RC, #9 Belle Tire, ’99) -- A highly-talented two-way forward who has great speed, hands, and creativity, Lodnia may be a tad better than Chmelevski in 1-on-1 situations and in tight spaces where his imagination, stickhandling ability, and quickness enable him to elude defenders. A pure goal scorer, Lodnia posted a 3-3-6 line in 5 games here, and was capable of even more. A strong skater who is responsible in his own end, he has all the moves and dekes at his disposal but relies on hard work and competitiveness over flash and finesse. At 5’8”, 145 lbs. his size is decent and this season in Tier I he posted an impressive 25-30-55 in 28 games.
3. Kyle Kawamura (RC, #8 TPH Thunder Hockey, ’99) -- If Kawamura was on a Belle Tire, Shattuck-St. Mary’s, Chicago Mission, or any other powerhouse he may very well have been the #1 prospect in his age group. The Franklin, Tennessee native has exceptional speed and quickness and soft, dynamic hands. Had a 3-2-5 line in 4 games here and single-handedly won games for his team with both goals in the 2-1 victory over the Thunderbirds and a goal and assist in a 3-1 win over Team Comcast. Kawamura creates offense out of nothing with his stickhandling ability and fearless drives to the net. His head is always up and he can beat defenders many ways -- with speed and quickness, or lowering his shoulder and powering through, or even deking between legs and sticks. In short, he was one of the most exciting prospects to watch in the tournament. At 5’6”, 153 lbs. he is plenty strong. In the regular season with TPH Thunder, Kawamura posted a phenomenal 63-42-105 line in 49 games.
4. Sean Dhooghe (RC, #71 Chicago Mission, ’99) -- When college recruiters already have a nickname for you by the time you are 14 years old that says something. “Dhooghe Dangles” had a lot of hype going into the weekend and certainly lived up to expectations. At 5’3”, 120 lbs. the Aurora, Illinois prospect doesn’t look like much -- but just wait until he gets the puck. The most dynamic forward in the tournament, Dhooghe has lightning-fast hands, an explosive first step and great lower body strength. He has an arsenal of moves and skills to beat the opposition and is a nightmare for any defender 1-on-1. At one point in the tournament, after going through one player’s legs and side-stepping the backchecker, Dhooghe took a hard shot top corner and proceeded to take the defender trying to hit him after the whistle off his feet. Dhooghe had 4 goals and 4 assists in 6 games here, as his team reached – but lost -- in the championship game to Shattuck-St. Mary’s. In the regular season, Dhooghe led the High Performance League in points with a 15-15-30 line in 17 games. His older brother, Jason, plays for the U16 Chicago Mission and will be at Ohio State in fall ‘15.
5. Cole Coskey (RW, #87 Chicago Mission, ’99) -- A tall, thin prospect with considerable upside, Coskey has silky-smooth hands, mature hockey sense, and a hard, quick shot that he has considerable control of. In the HPHL, Coskey posted a 17-9-26 line in 17 games and at Nationals led his team with a 6-3-9 line in 6 games, good for third in points. We liked the way he plays with an edge and isn’t afraid to throw the body around, making some big hits in the finals matchup. However, once he gains possession of the puck he is a finesse player, and a composed puck carrier. A rare combination for someone his age. At around six feet tall, Coskey garnered a lot of attention from colleges and junior teams – and, of course, he is still growing into his frame.
6. Andrew Andary (LC, #11 Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, ’99) -- A strong, two-way center who can play with both power and finesse, Andary is a natural goal scorer, lighting the lamp 5 times in 5 games and chipping in 3 assists to lead a talented Grizzlies team here. In the regular season, he averaged nearly a goal a game with a 24-19-43 line in 28 games. At 5’8”, 150 lbs. Andary doesn’t look as strong as he is, but his low center and wide skating stance adds power and balance to his hits. He made a few body checks in open ice that you could hear throughout the rink. A smart player who always knows where to be on the ice, Andary stops on the puck, is always in position to shoot, and puts the puck into space well. He is elusive, with exceptional hands and poise. He needs to add a little more speed. There are not many centers who possess the wide variety of skills and finishing ability he does.
7. Brandon McManus (RW, #7 Shattuck-St. Mary’s, ’99) -- McManus, from Newport Beach, Calif., had a great showing here, with a 5-4-9 line in 6 games after a strong regular season in which he posted a 68-52-120 line in 62 GP. At 5’9”, 154 lbs. he has good size, moves well, and has elite poise and patience when possessing the puck. McManus is a natural finisher, has smooth and gifted hands, and sees a lot of time on the power play during which he can take full advantage of his vision and goal-scoring ability.
8. Brady Tkachuk (LW, #71 St. Louis Blues, late ’99) -- The son of former NHLer Keith Tkachuck, Brady is a complete player. He has offensive ability, leading his team with an 18-15-33 line in 26 league games. He also plays well in the defensive zone by taking the body, covering the points, blocking shots, and getting his stick in passing lanes. He has great hockey sense, a hard wrist shot, and poise with the puck that allowed him to buy time and space for himself and his teammates. Was 0-2-2 in 3 games this weekend as the Blues were unable to win a game.
9. Scott Reedy (RC, #10 Shattuck-St. Mary’s, ’99) -- Shattuck’s leading scorer with a 56-69-125 line in 62 games this past season led the team here as well, posting a 7-3-10 line in 6 games. At 5’11”, 166 lbs. he is a big, strong presence on the ice. While Reedy does not possess great speed, he is a strong skater with a low center and a fairly fluid stride that makes him hard to knock off the puck. He has a hard, well-placed shot, and a great touch in front of the net. The Prior Lake, Minn. native isn’t flashy or pretty but his size, strength, and productivity are hard to come by. The potential is there for him to become a special player down the road once he improves his edges, speed, and quickness.
10. Graham Slaggert (LW, #19 Chicago Mission, ’99) -- The son of Notre Dame assistant coach Andy Slaggert was the leading scorer in the tournament with 12 points (7g, 5a) in 6 games. More impressive than his totals was the fact that he scored at least one goal in 5 of the 6 games. To balance the team out he plays on the second line, but if he was with Dhooghe and Coskey it’s scary to imagine how many points he would have put up. At 5’10”, 160 lbs. Slaggert has good size and strength, plus he’s a polished skater, both fast and balanced. Slaggert makes great passes and has good hands. He is not afraid to drive the net and take shots even from low percentage angles. While he is not as skilled as his above-mentioned teammates, his upside is just as high if not higher. At the end of the championship game he played with a bit of an edge, threw his body around, and forechecked with speed and tenacity.
11. Grant Mismash (LC, #16 Shattuck-St. Mary’s, ’99) -- The Edina, Minn. native has great size and speed and, despite not having the stats of some of his teammates, we see him as one of the best prospects of the bunch. He is pushing six feet, and is a fluid skater with a long stride and a good first step. He has serviceable hands and likes to mix it up. His shot is OK but should improve in time as he fills out and matures. Mismash is raw, but has a good foundation in place. Had 48 goals and 48 assists in 65 games during the regular season. Averaged a point per game here with a 3-3-6 line in 6 contests.
12. Logan Hutsko (RW, #4 Shattuck-St. Mary’s, ’99) – Hutsko, from North Caldwell, NJ, is a cerebral, playmaking winger with a high-level hockey IQ and finesse beyond his years. He is so elusive with the puck that the 5’4”, 122 pound prospect slipped easily into danger areas and always came out with the puck. Hutsko has soft, quick hands, vision to see the play before it happens, and plenty of zip on his passes. One of the most dynamic forwards in his age group, Hutsko plays on Shattuck’s top line and produced a 40-69-109 line in 65 games this season. Here, he averaged a point per game with a 2-4-6 line in 6 games played. The small speedster gets a little overlooked due to his size and the team he plays for, but he is a D-I talent.
13. Brandon Kruse (LW, #18 Belle Tire, ’99) -- The undersized, 5’5”, 110 pound winger is as poised with the puck as anyone in his age group. Never in a rush, Kruse makes smart decisions with the puck and has elite awareness and hockey sense. The Saline, Mich. native is slippery, skilled, and will slow the pace to allow for the play to develop. Right now he is a perimeter, pass-first style player who relies on his vision and hands to make plays for teammates instead of cutting to the net and creating offense on his own. In 27 games this season he produced a 9-17-26 line. Will need to grow and play a more complete game but in the offensive zone he was one of the tournament’s special players. Had a 1-3-4 line in 5 games here.
14. Christian LeSueur (RC, #19 Mid-Fairfield, ’99) – We recently ranked the Greenwich, Conn. native as our #1 prospect at the New England Select 15s Festival. He continued to prove himself here at Nationals with a 2-2-4 line in 3 games – he was clearly Mid-Fairfield’s top forward. A gifted skater who is balanced and deceptively quick, LeSueur has smooth hands and a crafty stick. He quarterbacks the powerplay, distributing the puck with ease around the perimeter and making some nice backdoor feeds. He also has an accurate shot that over the years will grow to be more powerful. A two-way forward who is particularly impressive in front of his own net where he takes the body and picks up sticks. Is a freshman at the Brunswick School, where he notched 15 points in 24 games this season.
15. Julian Detmer (RC, #22 Shattuck-St. Mary’s, ’99) -- From Washington, DC, Detmer might be one of the most underrated ‘99s in the country. He has size, a high compete level, is effective in all three zones and contributes on the power play, penalty kill, and 5-on-5. He’s an all-around prospect with good instincts and skill, most noticeable in his sharp passes. His stats this year – 15-40-65 in 62 games -- are solid, but in no way define his performance
16. Hayden Rowan (LW, #4 Belle Tire, ’99) -- The question surrounding Rowan, who plays on a line with our #1 and #2-ranked prospects, is whether his stats and performance are elevated because of who he plays with. Certainly Rowan benefits from his linemates – nothing new in that -- but the Pemberville, Ohio prospect has plenty of talent on his own accord. He has speed and quickness, hockey sense, and great awareness. His agility and play without the puck complements Lodina and Chmelevski and creates space and scoring opportunities for the two. In 28 games this season, Rowan scored 18 goals and added 18 assists. He kept that going here with a 3-2-5 line in 5 games.
17. Evan Barratt (LC, #87 Team Comcast, ’99) -- Barratt hails from Morrisville, PA but plays for the Hun School in Princeton, NJ where he had a 23-38-74 line in 27 games as a freshman. At 5’10, 160 lbs. he is still growing into his frame but he doesn’t shy away from the physical play and forechecks with a purpose. He is skilled with the puck and has composure and control through the neutral zone and breaking into the offensive zone. He could improve his speed and overall stride but the center is great on draws and has a knack for scoring which could take him a long way.
18. Joshua Norris (LC, #10 Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, ’99) -- Norris was one of the most natural centermen in the tournament -- he wins draws, plays well in front of both nets, and masters the center lane drive to the net. The 5’8, 140 pound prospect from Oxford, Mich. is a two-way player who is more dynamic then he gets credit for and has top-end speed. He is smart, composed, and makes the right plays. His stick is still developing but he is light on his skates and able to sidestep defenders. In 28 regular season games he posted an 11-14-25 line. Given his height and thin build we feel he has considerable potential once he fills out. Scored a goal per game here with a 5-2-7 line in 5 games.
19. Joel Farabee (LW, #86 Syracuse Nationals, ’00) -- The ’00 from Cicero, NY put himself on the radar at Nationals, showing that despite his age he was able to stand out among kids a year older than he. Farabee reminds us of Patrick Harper (NJ Rockets) in that he is small but possesses great hockey sense and instincts, is skilled with the puck, and uses changes of speed to create separation. He looked a little timid at times, but was able to produce a 2-2-4 line in 4 games as one of the tournament’s youngest players.
20. Jack Nisbet (RW, #4 Boston Jr. Terriers, ’99) – Nisbet, from Scituate, Mass., played for BC High this past season. The 5’7”, 155 pound smooth-skating forward made some eye-catching moves, particularly in the neutral zone. Makes a great saucer pass. Led his team, which went 0-3 on the weekend, with a 2-1-3 line.
21. Ryan Doolin (RC, #7 Boston Jr. Terriers, ’99) – Doolin, from Hanover, Mass., also played for BC High this past season. The center has a high ceiling with a 6’0” frame that he hasn’t even started to grow into. His poise and puck possession skills allow him to make a lot of plays and, while he plays a more perimeter game at this point, we feel he could develop into a productive power forward at the next level. His control of the puck is strong, and he possesses a powerful north-south stride.
22. Cade Robinson (RW, #17 Belle Tire, late ’99) -- The late ’99 from Jackson, Mich. has speed and tenacity to go with a good set of hands. He wins races to the puck and 1-on-1 battles along the wall as well as anyone. In addition, he has a good first few steps allowing him to accelerate quickly from a standstill. At 5’8”, 135 lbs. he is a little light, but his height is decent. Posted a 19-15-34 in 28 regular season games.
23. Austin Pratt (RW, #14 Shattuck-St. Mary’s, ’99) -- This Lakeville, Minn. prospect needs to be judged primarily on his potential as he is a work in progress. His 6’1”, 200 pound frame makes him a giant on the ice, plus he handled the puck well, particularly in open ice. He also created several scoring opportunities for himself. He is a north-south power forward who, when he keeps his feet moving and plays with a high compete level, is very effective. Averaged over a point per game this season with a 30-43-73 in 65 games and posted a 3-2-5 line in six games here.
24. Larry Cockerill (LW, #91 Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, ’99) -- Cockerill had a strong showing with a 3-2-5 line in 5 games and proved that he is one of the premier players in his age group. He is small at 5’5”, 125 lbs. but elusive, has creativity, and plays the game with a lot of speed and grace. He uses the whole ice surface, taking the puck to open ice and finding holes or pockets in the defense. Has soft hands and a good touch around the net, making him a constant scoring threat. Keep your eye on this guy over the next few years.
25. Jake Transit (LW, #26 Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, ’99) -- Transit, a 5’6”, 130 pound forward from Royal Oak, Mich., played the role of distributor this weekend, notching one goal to go with 5 assists in 5 games here. He is an elite skater who has both speed and quickness and the ability to stretch the ice. He made a lot of nice passes in the offensive zone, especially on the powerplay, where he has the vision and hands to put the puck where he wants to. He averaged a point per game this season with a 12-16-28 line in 28 games. He is a confident player who plays with the poise and control of an older player.
26. Alex Morawski (RW, # 17 TPH Thunder, ’99) -- The 6’0”, 150 pound prospect from Lake Worth, Florida has tremendous upside. He is tall and thin but has plenty of room to grow. A fluid skater for his size, Morawski is a finesse player with slick hands, but he isn’t afraid to mix it up either. He’s raw at this point and with his size we’d like to see him more eager in front of the net as he tends to roam the perimeter. Had a 17-31-48 line in 56 games but someone of his size and skill should be scoring more then 17 goals. Upside is very high, though.
27. Brenden Stanko (LW, #13 Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, ’99) -- At 5’9”, 160 lbs. Stanko, from Howell, Mich., is a strong skater who is tough to knock off the puck. Physically, he was more mature than 95% of the players here, which you can look at a couple of ways. Is he able to score – 23-16-39 in 28 regular-season games -- because he is bigger and stronger, or just better? Once other players catch up will he still be as effective? Stanko plays on the point on the powerplay, can really shoot the puck, and is athletic and agile on the offensive blue line, able to keep pucks in and plays alive. However, his speed and edges are still a work in progress and until that improves we think his upside is limited.
28. Mick Messner (LC, #5 Team Wisconsin, ’99) – Played for Madison West High School, where he produced a 20-21-41 line in 23 games. At 5’10” and 180 lbs. he has good size and strength -- he can really shoot the puck. We only saw him against Buffalo Regals, a game in which he scored both goals in a 2-1 victory. Messner is not a complete player at this point and will need to add speed and agility but he plays the game the right way, stops on the puck, finishes checks, blocks shots, gets the puck in deep when needed, and plays a rugged game in the defensive zone. A raw prospect with some upside. Had a very productive weekend with a 3-3-6 line in 4 games.
29. Cameron Hausinger (RC, #7 LA Jr. Kings, ’99) -- A power forward from Anchorage, Alaska, Hausinger was a force here with a 1-2-3 line in 3 games. He is tough and made some big open ice hits in the neutral zone and on the forecheck. While he is rugged without the puck, he can be graceful with it and has above-average mobility although he could add a step. Strong skater is still on the raw side, but his game will translate well at the next level.
30. Charlie Dovorany (LW, #12 Shattuck-St. Mary’s, ’99) -- The homegrown talent from Wausau, Wisc. missed some games this season but was able to average over a point per game with a 17-29-46 line in 45 games. He’s 5’9”, 142 lbs., which is fine for this age, but he is thin and light on his edges. He has some speed and made a nice rush up the ice where he entered the zone with speed, took it behind the net, and made a beautiful cross-crease pass to set up a linemate. Is still a work on progress but we like his trajectory. He posted a 4-2-6 line in 6 games here.
31. Liam Walsh (LC, #91 Penguins-Elite, ’99) -- Walsh is a big, strong power forward from Bridgeville, PA. The Penguins’ leading scorer, he has a heavy shot and decent north-south speed once he gets going. Acceleration and agility are his weakness at this point but he plays within himself, plays physically, and drives the net. In 28 games during the season, he produced an 18-15-33 line and kept his scoring touch alive here with a 3-2-5 line in 4 games.
32. Nicholas Abbruzzese (LW, #15 Mid-Fairfield, ’99) -- Slate Hill, NY native really caught our eye with a highlight reel goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite. A small, crafty forward with good speed and poise, Abbruzzese has the dual ability to bring players close with his composure and soft hands and then make a feed to the open guy, or play a speed game. He scored a point in each game here and ended the week with a 1-2-3 line in 3 games.
33. Thomas Altounian (RW, #27 Chicago Mission, ’99) – Big, raw power forward is not a great skater but he shoots the puck with power and velocity, has a strong stick, and a great frame. At 5’11”, 170 lbs. he is one of the biggest players on the ice and he played the part, too, using his body and reach to protect the puck and outmuscle opponents in the dirty areas. He is still raw and figuring out his identity but the upside is there.
34. Brock Caufield (RW, #19 Team Wisconsin, ’99) -- The Stevens Point, Wisc. prospect is only 5’5”, 115 lbs. but managed to average a point per game in Wisconsin high school hockey with an 11-13-24 line at Stevens Point. He’s a small, high-motor winger with quick hands and vision. He scored a goal and dished out 3 assists in 4 games at Nationals. If he grows more he could be a dynamic playmaker at the next level.
35. Matthew Gasuik (LW/LC, #11 Buffalo Regals, ’99) -- Buffalo native led the Regals in points this year with a 55-63-118 line in 76 games. We had limited viewings of the Regals both throughout the season -- they play in an Ontario League -- as well as at Nationals. Gasuik, the coach’s son, pushes the pace and plays a complete game. He forechecks and backchecks with authority showcasing his speed, will, and endurance. He has a good touch in the offensive zone and the hockey sense to make plays and not force it. He lit the lamp twice in the one game we were able to see them in. It was no accident, either -- he has plenty of zip and good placement on his snap shot and wrister.
36. Terry LaBarge (LW, #33 Team Wisconsin, late ’99) -- At 5’11”, 165 lbs., the Hudson, Wisc. native has legitimate upside due to his tall frame, high compete level, and toughness. He drives the net, forechecks with speed and grit, and uses his reach to break up plays as well as protect the puck. He will need to improve his skating, especially his first three steps, but the potential is there to be an elite power forward at the next level. Scored twice in the game we saw but was kept from the stat sheet the rest of the week.
37. Riley Johnson (RW, #11 Carolina Jr. Hurricanes, ’99) – Raleigh native was Carolina’s standout, an intuitive playmaker with soft hands who skated through checks, and showed decent speed along with impressive stickhandling ability in tight spaces. Had an 0-3-3 line in 3 games.
38. Jordan Steinmetz (LC, #21 Team Wisconsin, ’99) -- The 5’6”, 130 lb. speedster from Chippewa Falls HS posted a 17-16-33 line in 24 games as a freshman. He’s a sparkplug type player with great wheels and a lot of energy. A three-zone workhorse, he has quick hands and plays like he’s a foot taller in front of his own goalie.
39. Matthew Cassidy (LW, #18 Team Comcast, ’99) – Team Comcast’s leading scorer here with a 2-3-5 line in 3 games, Cassidy is tall and thin at 5’11”, 145 lbs., but has deceptively soft hands and a quick release. Once he fills out and improves his skating and lower body strength his ceiling will rise.
40. Alex Mella (LW, #21 Shattuck-St. Mary’s, ’99) -- The only New Englander on the Shattuck squad, Mella scored a goal in all 3 division games before being blanked on the scoresheet in the 3 playoff games. He has size, a quick release, and skates fluidly both vertically and laterally. A solid prospect at 5’11”, 156 lbs., Mella produced a 44-30-74 in 62 GP during the regular season.
41. Ethan Mesler (RW, #97 Colorado Thunderbirds, ’99) -- A tall, lanky 6’1”, 155 pound forward from Broomfield, Colorado, Mesler had 2 goals in 3 games for the Thunderbirds. On one of his goals he took the puck and stickhandled through two defenders before roofing it past the goalie. He has a long powerful stride, a strong stick, and competes at both ends of the ice. Mesler played on the PP and PK and proved to be a good shot blocker and defensive forward when the puck was in his end. His size makes him an intriguing prospect and we believe he is close to being a special player once he fills out.
42. Alex Chiodini (LC, #18 St. Louis Blues, ’99) -- Despite losing all three games, a few St. Louis players stood out. Chiodini was one of them. He made a great behind-the-back pass to pick up an assist on one goal. His vision and hockey sense are very good. However, he is not the best skater and lacks high skill. Regardless, he’s crafty and gets the most out of his ability. Posted a respectable 10-9-19 line in 25 games this season.
43. Nicholas Wildgoose (RW/RC, #7 Carolina Jr. Hurricanes, late ’99) -- The Cary, NC native was not as noticeable in the game we saw as he was on the stat sheet but a late ‘99 who scores 4 goals in 3 games is worth mentioning, especially considering the Jr. Hurricanes only scored 6 goals as a team. Smart player, knows where to be on the ice, and has a finisher’s touch.
44. Sam Morton (LW, #82 Colorado Thunderbirds, ’99) -- A tiny winger from Superior, Colorado, Morton is shifty, quick, and highly imaginative with the puck. He finds space and is tough to hit squarely because of his squirmy, elusive style of play. At 5’1”, 100 lbs. he is easy to miss, but his hockey sense and hands are worth noting. If he grows he could move his game to a whole other level.
45. Cole Guttman (RW, #19 LA Jr. Kings, ’99) -- Northridge, Calif. native is a small, crafty winger who is smart with the puck and made a lot of plays. He is a little one-dimensional at this point but he can finish. Posted a 3-2-5 line in 3 games. We wish we had seen him more.
46. Zachary Taylor (RC, #71 Syracuse Nationals, ’99) -- Cicero, NY native made a good impression here with his poise and passing ability. We saw him carry the puck through the neutral zone, but the play wasn’t there so, instead of dumping and chasing, he regrouped, made a pass back to his defense and attacked the zone with speed. Had a goal and 4 assists in 4 games here.
47. Kyle MacLean (LW, #6 Carolina Jr. Hurricanes, ’99) – He’s not the biggest guy on the ice but the Raleigh, NC prospect made up for it with speed and quickness. His lateral mobility is effortless, and he has that ability to side-step the defender and cut to the middle. He is easily knocked off the puck as a result of his size but if he can add a little more flair to his offense he could be an energy/skill guy at the next level.
48. Kevin Wall (RW/RC, #24 Syracuse Nationals, ’00) – An ’00 from Fairport, NY, Wall does a lot of the little things well. A two-way player, he struggled with consistency at times but for his age he is impressive. Has decent speed, is strong on his skates, forechecked tenaciously -- and when he shot it he had an idea. One of the tournament’s youngest players, he put up a 1-1-2 line in 3 games here.
49. Jacob McGrew (RW, #4 LA Jr. Kings, ’99) Orange, California.
50. Giovanni Carabelli (LW, #19 Oakland Grizzlies, ’99) Shelby Township, Michigan.
51. Alec Elkin (RW, #24 Team Wisconsin, late ’99)Neenah, Wisconsin.
52. Erik Urbank (F, #20 Buffalo Regals, ’99) Orchard Park, NY
53. Peter Verstegen (RC, #22 Team Wisconsin, ’99) Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
54. Raymond Chase Danol (LW, #11 Belle Tire, ’99) Westland, Michigan
55. Peter White (LC, #11 Team Comcast, ’99) Haddon Heights, NJ
56. Connor Merrill (RW, #14 TPH Thunder, ’99) Brentwood, Tennessee
57. Cole Quisenberry (RC, #10 Colorado Thunderbirds, ’99) Cherry Hills Village, Colorado
58. John Sieckhaus (LW/LC, #81 St. Louis Blues, ’99) St. Louis, MO
59. William Christensen (LW/LC, #22 Mid-Fairfield, ’99) Ridgefield, Conn.
60. Trevor Gilliland (RW, #19 Penguins Elite, late ’99) Butler, PA
61. Matthew Krieger (F, #96 Penguins Elite, late ’99) Jefferson Hills, PA
62. Reggie Buell (LW, #9 Syracuse Nationals, ’99) Skaneateles, NY
63. Clayton Dawe (RW, #14 St. Louis Blues, ’99) St. Louis, MO
1. Josh Maniscalco (RD, #18 Shattuck-St. Mary’s, ’99) -- Maniscalco was the best defender on the best team here and, at 5’11”, 163 lbs., the Philadelphia, PA native projects to be a big-time prospect. He had a 17-50-67 line in 65 games this season at Shattuck, showcasing a blistering slapshot from the point and fluid hands while quarterbacking their powerplay. At Nationals, Maniscalco had several rushes up-ice both on the PP and 5-on-5 that exhibited a high level of calm and composure while handling the puck at top speed. What makes him special is that, despite the high point totals, he is a two-way defenseman who uses his size well and loves to mix it up. He engages physically in open ice, in front of the net, on the offensive blue line, along the wall, and just about anywhere on the ice. He does not have elite speed at this point but is smooth out of transitions and skates backward as well as he does forward. He has the combination of size, skill, and toughness to attract a lot of college attention -- and perhaps beyond.
2. Kendrick Frost (RD, #4 TPH Thunder, ’99) -- From Lee’s Summit, Missouri, Frost was one of the more intriguing prospects we saw in the entire tournament. A tall, thin defender at 5’11”, 150 lbs., Frost has no obvious flaws. He has excellent reach and is a master of the poke-check, has speed and deceptive quickness, and handles the puck well. He made some nice moves through the neutral zone when rushing the puck end-to-end and possesses a hard, quick-release snap shot. On the season he produced a 15-25-40 line in 61 games but was kept off the scoresheet here. With a tall and long frame, toughness, instinctual hockey sense, and elite athleticism for his size, Frost rarely gets beat. He was dominant in 1-on-1 battles, swallowing up oncoming forwards, taking the puck, and making a play. His passing is elite as he does not stare down his target but rather keeps his head down ice and makes a quick, accurate delivery. Has a very promising career ahead of him.
3. Mattias Samuelsson (LD, #23 Team Comcast, ’00) -- The son of Kjell Samuelsson, former NHLer and current director of player development with the Philadelphia Flyers, looks the part. At 5’11”, 155 lbs., he is tall and gangly, and his stride is a work in progress. However, if you look beyond outside appearances, this a very good hockey player with an elite sense of the game. Samuelsson is Team Comcast’s go-to guy in all situations. He is an effective penalty killer as he keeps his head on a swivel, picks up sticks, and uses his long reach to block passing lanes. On the power play he mans the point and distributes the puck with crisp, well-placed passes. He also has a hard wrist shot that he gets off quickly and always finds the net. The ’00, one of the tournament’s youngest players, had a 2-1-3 line in 3 games here, figuring in half his team’s total points on the week. His defensive zone awareness and decision-making with the puck are also strengths of his. Massive frame for an ’00. Massive upside, too.
4. Sean Keohan (RD, #9 Boston Jr. Terriers, ’99) -- We ranked Keohan as one of the brightest prospects in New England prep hockey at the Lawrence-Groton Tournament last December and he did not disappoint here. The 5’10”, 160 pound mobile defenseman from the Dexter School has every tool at his disposal. He’s a smooth skater who has speed both forward and backward, agile mitts, elite vision and passing ability, and anticipation. Keohan was a step ahead of the rest of his team here and was able to slow the game down and make smart, deliberate passes to move the puck up ice. He has a presence on the blue line and keeps the puck in the zone, knows when to pinch and when to exit and was not beat on a race to the puck the entire game we watched. He did not get a shot off so we cannot comment on that, but he is smart on the powerplay, doesn’t force the pass, and has exceptional poise and confidence. In his zone he is athletic in the dirty areas, striping pucks and picking off passes. He also has a strong stick in front of the net and is able to move bodies. An all-around talent that is hard to come by. Had an 0-2-2 line in 3 games.
5. Joey Keane (RD, #9 Chicago Mission, ’99) -- We had the chance to watch Keane a lot as the Mission advanced to the championship game and, while he battled with consistency, the Homer Glen, Illinois prospect, who is 5’10”, 165 lbs., has a lot of upside. He cradles the puck with his head up and delivers well-timed outlet passes. He is ferocious in front of his net with a hit-first mentality, and has a great combination of athleticism and toughness on his offensive blue line. His most obvious strength is his ability to rush the puck up ice, join the attack with speed, and generate scoring opportunities on the powerplay. Not many players at this level can get a one-timer from the point on net with any velocity or accuracy and Keane was able to do both -- on several occasions. He tends to overhandle it at times and lunges on his checks instead of using his lower body strength and driving through his opponent, but otherwise he is the complete package. Had a 1-2-3 line in 6 games.
6. Matthew Kirwan (LD, #91 Syracuse Nationals, late ’99) -- Younger brother to the NTDP’s Luke Kirwan, Matthew has great size as well and ‘plays like a man,’ to quote one college recruiter watching him in action. Kirwan is an all-around defenseman who has great zip to his passes, plays physically and tenaciously, especially in front of his goal and has good north-south speed. While his agility will need to improve, the late ’99 from Dewitt, NY has tremendous size and strength. He has a heavy shot from the point, makes good passes on the powerplay, and inserts his will and power in battles along the boards. Kirwan is a true defenseman who has offensive capabilities but is mostly concerned with keeping the puck out of his net. Will, like his brother, be getting a lot of attention.
7. Phillip Kemp (RD, #18 Mid-Fairfield, ’99) – The 6’2”, 170 pound defender from Greenwich, Conn. and the Brunswick School, who we ranked as our #2 defenseman at the New England Select 15 Festival last month, also showed well here. His mobility is excellent for a player of his size who is still maturing physically, as he plays the full length of the ice, shows a good first step going into the corners, and won a lot of races to the puck. His size and strength are most noticeable along the boards where he has his way with opponents, and also allows him to have more poise breaking out of his end. Forecheckers can’t move him off the puck and his puck protection skills are solid. We would have liked to see him throw his body around a little more but he had some nice rushes up the ice, made good decisions with the puck, and was one of the more dominant shut-down defenders in this age group.
8. Cameron Babiak (RD, #10 Belle Tire, ’99) -- The Saline, Michigan native is a little hard to rank because he plays a simple style, very much within himself. He is a smooth skater who plays with an edge and throws his weight around. At 5’10”, 160 lbs., he has good size and enough lower body strength to allow him to deliver some big hits. Babiak’s style is not flashy at all, but you get glimpses of his offensive ability when he rushes the puck end-to-end and creates a scoring opportunity. He produced a 1-1-2 line in 5 games here, and during the course of Belle Tire’s 28 game season had a 3-13-16 line. He is a strong skater both side-to-side and backward. In 1-on-1 or 2-on-2 situations, we did not see him get beat once in the three games we saw him play in. He plays between the man and the post, doesn’t over-extend, times his checks, and plays his angles as well as anyone. Will be a D-I player.
9. Brenden Eng Tow (LD, #9 TPH Thunder, ’99) -- Eng Tow is so gifted offensively that after day one we thought this product of Nashville was a forward. He is a smooth skater with even smoother hands, a strong wrist shot, and quick feet. Eng Tow skates with poise and grace and delivers a lot of crisp, accurate passes that most players his age don’t have the skill or the vision to pull off. On the season, Eng Tow produced an impressive 13-45-58 line in 61 games. He is at his best when he quarterbacks the Thunder’s umbrella powerplay, making smart decisions with the puck and moving it wherever he wanted it to go. The only downside is that, in his own end, he relies on quickness and athleticism to disrupt the play and skate it out. However, he stands at 5’6”, 135 lbs. and is not a physical presence on the ice. He is an offensive defenseman at this point. With all the tools he has, it’s likely he will develop into a more complete player.
10. Graham Lillibridge (LD, #4 Chicago Mission, ’99) -- Geneva, Illinois native was not the best defenseman here, but was certainly the quickest. At 5’5”, 120 lbs. he has to be as he doesn’t possess the height/strength to be a conventional defenseman so he uses his quick feet, lateral agility, and overall speed to be effective at both ends of the ice. Lillibridge is not a shut-down type but, rather, a crafty, smart defender with an Oliver Twist pick-pocket mentality. He can strip an opposing forward and be headed the other way in the blink of an eye. His anticipation and first three steps are top-shelf. While he processes the game quickly, and plays with considerable pace, he is still able to maintain possession of the puck for long stretches. He has poise and confidence and makes the right play, not just the easiest play. Lillibridge is willing to get in the way of shots and mix it up, but is rarely successful when he tries. Recorded a 1-2-3 line in 6 games.
11. Benjamin Jones (D, #13 St. Louis Blues, ’99) -- A smooth, skilled offensive defenseman who carries the puck with a lot of poise, Jones possesses a powerful shot from the point that he can get off quickly. He has a strong build and had some great open-ice hits. In one game, he anticipated a pass in the neutral zone, timed it perfectly, got low and square to his opponent, and delivered a bone-crushing hit that sent his opponent airborne. Jones will need to maintain his focus in the defensive zone as he tends to watch the puck while players sneak in behind him but he’s on the edge of being a very good player. In 25 league games this season he registered 3 goals and 7 assists.
12. Colby Burkes (RD, #6 Colorado Thunderbirds, ’99) -- Littleton, Colorado native, currently 5’9” and 154 lbs., is a strong skater with a rocket for a shot – he had a couple of goals here. His strength is on the offensive blue line where he keeps pucks in, has good reactions, and finds the empty pockets in the defense. Burkes can get his shot off from anywhere and is always finding ways to get open. While he didn’t wow us in his own zone, he is effective at winning battles in the corners, getting possession of the puck and breaking it out.
13. Trevor Locklear (RD, #16 Belle Tire, ’99) – 5’11”, 175 lb. Howell, Michigan native has excellent speed and toughness. He’s already physically developed and an excellent pure defender who plays the game at a fast pace, hits hard, hustles back, beats players to the puck, and always emerges out of the corners with possession. He’s agile and athletic but also possesses poise and awareness with the puck. A complete, two-way player who could have easily fit in at the U16 level. Had a 6-12-18 line in 24 league games.
14. Erik Dahl (LD, #5 Shattuck-St. Mary’s, ’99) -- Was hit or miss throughout the tournament. In some games Dahl, out of Lakeville, Minn., got involved and made his presence known, broke up plays, and kept the opposition wide, forcing off angle shots. In other games, he was slow to accelerate, got beat in 1-on-1 battles, and just threw the puck away. Dahl is very tall at 6’1”, 173 lbs. and used his reach to poke pucks away from opponents without having to overcommit. He did not show much offensively but has a sharp outlet pass and skated the puck out of the zone effectively when passing lanes were unavailable. He doesn’t shoot the puck, which is proved by his year end stats: 1-33-34 in 65 games. His size and mobility, however, are rare and will only develop with time. Considerable potential here.
15. Zachary Hart (RD, #3 Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, ’99) – A 5’11”, 175 lbs. rugged defender with a chip on his shoulder mentality, Hart may lack agility and acceleration, but he has a powerful stride, wins a lot of battles, and has a thick build which allows him to move bodies at will. He plays in every situation and was surprisingly productive on the powerplay, getting pucks through traffic and making nice passes around the perimeter. On the season, Hart produced a 2-7-9 line in 24 games.
16.Jacob Mosakowski (RD, #36 TPH Thunder, ’99) -- Mosakowski, a 5’10”, 155 lb. defender from Pleasant View, Tennessee, has size and mobility, moves well side to side and favors the simple play. Showed soft hands and a heads-up approach, always looking to make a pass. He is not very active in the offensive zone but holds the line well and takes a conservative approach on 50/50 chances.
17. Thomas Craft (RD, #23 Mid-Fairfield, ’99) -- Hamden, Conn. native was not as much of a standout here as he was at the New England Select 15 Festival where we had him ranked 3rd among all defensemen. He has size, though, and is still growing into his frame. Showed good control of the puck, rarely panicked, and made hard tape-to-tape passes both out of his end and through the neutral zone. Craft was quiet in the offensive zone and did not take advantage of his size. Small, quick guys gave him a hard time in the open ice. A D-I talent, but he will need to tighten up his game.
18. Brady Lyle (RD, #11 Shattuck-St. Mary’s, ’99) -- The 5’9”, 152 lb. product of North Bay, Ontario runs the umbrella power play for Shattuck’s second unit. He has a hard shot, zips his passes across the ice with ease, and is a strong, balanced skater. Lyle needs to improve his speed and acceleration, especially from a standstill, but once he’s going he’s hard to handle. He doesn’t try to pull off a lot of moves or get cute with the puck. If there is a shot to take he takes it. Averaged just shy of a point per game with a 17-44-61 line in 62 games. Had a 1-2-3 line here including a game-tying assist against Oakland in the semifinals.
19. Kellen Tharldson (RD, #9 Team Wisconsin, ’99) -- 5’9”, 150 lb. freshman out of Wausau West HS in Wisconsin is strong, tough, and looks to make contact with the opposition to gain separation. He has quick hands and gets his shot off quickly on the powerplay. In his own end he is an excellent shot blocker and wins a lot of battles for the puck. He favors the pass over skating the puck out but the one time he rushed the puck he made a nice cross-ice pass to a forward streaking in stride.
20. Brayden Lange (RD, #26 Penguins Elite, ’99) -- Lange, from Moon Township, PA, had a productive week, notching 3 assists in 4 games. What we liked most about his game is his willingness to get the job done. He blocks shots, finishes checks, clears out bodies in front, ties up his man along the boards and is always looking to block the backdoor play. He is aware, smart, and alert to everything that is going on in his end. Not the flashiest guy, but exactly the kind of player coaches want on the ice at the end of the game.
21. James Long (LD, #13 St. Louis Blues, late ’99) – A late ’99, Long has great speed and passing ability. The St. Louis native transitions well from forward to backward -- and vice versa -- seamlessly. He positions himself well, never over-exerting himself to keep pace with forwards, regardless of their speed. Once he gets possession he is able to take a few hard strides and find open ice. He is not overly skilled, but he does all the little things well. His skating ability will serve him well at the next level.
22. Nikolai Lyssogor (D, #5 Colorado Thunderbirds, ’99) -- Good-sized mobile defenseman from Denver can move the puck and was key to the Thunderbirds’ breakout as he likes to skate the puck up past the goal line, draw in a forechecker, and then dish it. Lyssogor was also effective making passes through the neutral zone, generally making indirect passes into space for the forwards.
23. Jacob Evans (LD, #17 Team Wisconsin, ’99) – Another Wausau West HS defender, Evans is a tall, thin prospect who is light on his skates and smart with the puck. He ran Team Wisconsin’s PP here, and did a nice job moving the puck around the perimeter, setting up his teammates with scoring opportunities. We did not see him shoot the puck and, at 5’9”, 140 lbs., he doesn’t have great strength. However, he is a fundamentally sound player who takes care of the puck and doesn’t force plays that aren’t there. The best part of his game is his ability to cut off angles and force a dump, sometimes even stepping up at the red line. He does not give you much ice to work with. He’s aggressive but calculated.
24. Hunter Lellig (RD, #44 Chicago Mission, ’99) -- From Davenport, Iowa, Lellig is big, strong and raw. He lacks an identity to his game and is still figuring out his style, but he has great size, mobility, and range as well as strength and physicality. While he made some highlight reel hits through the neutral zone and just inside his own blue line, he also over-pursues and gets out of position. His quickness is still developing and he is rarely the first guy to the puck, but when he gets there he can usually win it back.
25. Brock Draeger (LD, #2 Shattuck-St. Mary’s, ’99)
26. Braden LaPorte (LD, #23 Team Wisconsin, ’99) Superior, Wisc.
27. Tyler Inamoto (LD, #20 Shattuck-St. Mary’s, ’99) Chicago, Ill.
28. Jack Millar (D, #65 Buffalo Regals, ’99) Hamburg, NY
29. Brock Hill (RD, #84 Chicago Mission, ’99) Gurnee, Ill.
30. Diarmad DiMurro (RD, #2 Mid-Fairfield, ’99)
31. Sam Miller (LD, #3 Team Wisconsin, ’99)
32. Patrick Dawson (LD, #15 Boston Jr. Terriers, ’99) Medway, Mass.
33. Jack Millar (D, #65 Buffalo Regals, ’99) Hamburg, NY
34. Brock Hill (RD, #84 Chicago Mission, ’99) Gurnee, Ill.
35. James Long (LD, #13 St. Louis Blues, late ’99)
36. Luke Rosendale (D, #27 Penguins Elite, ’99) Greensburg, PA
37. Adam Fontana (RD, #79 Syracuse Nationals, ’99) Fayetteville, NY
1. David Tomeo (G, #30 Shattuck-St. Mary’s, ’99) -- There was not a single player in this tournament who meant more to his team’s success then Shattuck’s goaltender. Tomeo, of West Caldwell, NJ, played in 5 of his team’s 6 games including the semi-finals and championship games and posted a .945 save percentage and a 1.48 GAA. While some observers contend that he had a fairly easy go of things playing with such talented players in front of him and only facing 78 shots in the first 4 games (less than 20 per game), it should be pointed out that in the championship game on Sunday, Shattuck was outshot 32-26 but were able to hang on in large part because of some excellent stops from Tomeo. One of those saves was a breakaway pad stuff on Sean Dhooghe, one of the most dangerous scorers in the tournament. So it’s fair to say he came through on the biggest stage of all. Tomeo has good size at 5’10”, 155 lbs., is athletic, and moves well in net. He makes it look easy as he comes out of the net, cuts down the angle, and control his rebounds well. On the season, he held a .916 save percentage and 1.67 GAA.
2. Adam Larson (G, #30 Team Wisconsin, ’99) -- Statistically speaking, Larson was the best performer at Nationals, stopping 105 of 110 shots for a .955 save percentage and 1.00 GAA in 5 starts. During the regular season, Larson, a freshman at Somerset (Wisc.) High School, played in about a third of his team’s games, posting one shutout and a 2.23 GAA. Larson has great size at 6’0”, 160 lbs. and makes himself big in net. He does not have the quickness that some of the other goalies have, but he makes up for it with his ability to swallow up pucks and limit rebounds. He did a good job seeing the puck through traffic and was tough to beat up high, especially on his glove side, which appears to be his strength. Larson will need to improve his athleticism, but he single-handedly kept Team Wisconsin in games and carried them into the playoffs.
3. Shane Brancato (G, #33 Chicago Mission, ’99) -- At 5’10”, 158 lbs. he has a good frame and quickness. He entered the tournament with an impressive résumé in league play: 9 starts, an 0.67 GAA, .958 SV% and 5 shutouts. The Lake Villa, Ill. native continued that through the weekend, kicking out 114 of 124 shots for a .918 save percentage and 2.47 GAA. Brancato has an aggressive style and likes to challenge the shooter but stays in position and isn’t reckless. He gets great push-off, which allows him to get post-to-post quickly. He was probably the best goalie here when it came to coming out of the net and playing the puck. He made several passes up to forwards on the red line or far blue line.
4. Thomas Draper (G, #30 Syracuse Nationals, ’99) -- The son of former NHL goalie Tom Draper, the Binghamton, NY native faced more shots than any other netminder in the tournament, playing every minute of his team’s 4 games and stopping 158 shots out of 172 for a save percentage of .918. His goals against average was 4.38 which shows how much pressure he was under all week. He was still able to put the team on his shoulders and get them to the playoffs. Draper is sound in every department, has a quick glove, active stick, comes out and cuts down the angles, stays on his feet, and has great quickness and athleticism. He also comes out of the crease quickly and is able to stop the wrap-around dump-in. He has the opportunity to follow in his father’s footsteps if he continues to develop.
5. Kyle Keyser (G, #30 Belle Tire, ’99) -- The Woodbury, Minn. native was a favorite among a lot of scouts and recruiters here. Some may be surprised by our ranking him below the top three, but his performances dipped when it came to the playoffs. Keyser had stopped 82 of 86 shots in the first 3 games for a 2.00 GAA and .930 save percentage. However, in his two playoff starts, he stopped 52 of 59 shots for a 3.50 GAA and an .880 save percentage. Keyser is the most athletic goalie of the bunch and moves exceptionally well both out of the goal and across the crease. He had some flashy side-to-side saves where he robbed some forwards on 2-on-1’s. Keyser is also good on breakaways as he will come out past the crease and has the quickness to follow the puck. His rebound control is the one area that he needs to improve, but he always makes the first save no matter what it takes. The area of concern for us was his lack of confidence in the semi-final game where we felt his nerves got the best of him and he seemed to be fighting the puck the entire game.
6. Erik Gordon (G, #30 TPH Thunder, ’99) – At 5’8”, 140 lbs., Gordon is by no means small, but he lacks the height and length of the goalies ranked above him. He is very quick and agile in net and moves seamlessly from side to side. He is very tough to beat down low as he likes to show you an opening and then flash the pad and take it away. On the season Gordon played in 36 games and posted a 1.12 GAA, a 930 SV%, and 8 shutouts. At Nationals he put up comparable numbers through 4 starts, stopping 106 of 114 shots for a .930 save percentage and 2.50 GAA which is even more impressive considering he played against Belle Tire and the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, two of the top four teams here. He has a great glove and pounced on loose pucks as well as any other goalie here.
7. Britt League (G, #31 Carolina Jr. Hurricanes, ’99) -- The Chesapeake, Virginia netminder has the size and awareness to be a very strong goalie at the next level. He does not just react but anticipates, has great vision, and always makes the first save. His best attribute is his glove -- he tends to go down pretty easily but flashes the glove on anyone trying to beat him upstairs. He started all 3 games and kicked out 69 of 75 shots for a .920 save percentage and 2.53 GAA.
8. Ryan McInchak (G, #30 Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, ’99) -- McInchak is tough to rank because he plays on a great team and saw little action in the three games he started. That being said, he was still able to stop 48 of 51 shots, had 2 shutouts, a .941 save percentage and 1.22 GAA. At 5’11” and 146 lbs. he has the kind of size and build you want to see in a goalie. He is flexible, moves well down low and is able to take up a lot of net. He is fundamentally sound, plays within himself, and makes saves look effortless instead of flopping all over the place and making highlight reel saves. McInchak has serious potential but the one blemish on the week came in the semifinals, in which he let up 3 goals on 18 shots. At least one of them was soft.
Tyler Haywood (G, #34 Mid-Fairfield, ’99)
Rhett Bruckner (G, #33 LA Jr. Kings, ’99)
East Coast Young Guns '99 Rosters & Schedule
The East Coast Young Guns '99 Tournament starts tonight, Thurs. April 17th, and runs through Saturday April 19th at the University of Vermont's Gutterson Field House.
Here are the rosters and schedule for the tournament. It's an Excel file, so please click on the tabs at the bottom of the page.
East Coast Young Guns '99 Tournament Program
New England Select 14s (‘00s)
This is the final of our four installments ranking players in each age group at the recent New England Select Festival in Hooksett, NH.
Next up, we’ll be reporting on the Nationals, held last weekend in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
1. Oliver Wahlstrom (R, #8 Red, ME) – Among the four age divisions here, there was no player more dominant against his age group then North Yarmouth Academy and University of Maine commit Oliver Wahlstrom. While all young prospects have holes in their game it is difficult to find them with Wahlstrom -- he has size, speed, a ton of skill, and he plays with an edge. His shot is elite both in power and release, he is a smooth, strong skater who has great speed. He is tough and delivers big hits – he doesn’t float around resting on his talents. Wahlstrom competed hard in all three zones and showed a level of maturity both in his hockey sense and approach to the game. While we think committing a player at his age is a mistake and makes him a target, he can more then handle himself. He’s as good a player at this age as anyone we have seen in recent years.
2. Jacques Bouquot (L, #9 White, CT) -- In the first game we saw him in he was one of the better players on his team but not the best. In the second game he was not only the best player on his team but the best player on the ice. He has good size, great hands, and athleticism. He tends to seek out 1-on-1 situations instead of using his teammates for support. However, it was rare that a defender was able to shut him down. A D-I prospect in the making.
3. Michael MacKenzie (L, #16 White, NH) -- MacKenzie is a small, crafty playmaker who has poise and exceptional vision. Quickness is his best asset as he won nearly every race to the puck.
4. Christopher Adam (R, #8 Green, RI) -- A strong, extremely smooth skater who has both end-to-end speed and lateral agility. The Providence Capitals forward has a good frame and his skills should translate nicely at the next level. He has serviceable hands, a hard shot, and competes with or without the puck.
5. Finn Walker (L, #8 Gold, CT) -- A smart, poised playmaker who reminds us of ’97 forward Patrick Harper. Walker can accelerate from a standstill as well as anyone and he has impressive poise for his size and age. His hands, feet, and hockey sense led to a lot of scoring opportunities for the Gold team. Plays Bantam Minor for Mid-Fairfield.
6. Blake Bartell (L, #8 Blue, NH) -- The Cardigan Mountain School product did not gain any friends this weekend as he had some huge hits that sent him to the penalty box on several occasions. However, we think his strong skating, physical play, and intensity were excellent -- and he is more skilled then people give him credit for. One of our favorite prospects in this age group.
7. Skyler Celotto (R, #14 Gold, CT) -- Darien, Connecticut native has size and slick hands that you don’t see much of at this level. He maneuvers through traffic really nicely – he has both the patience and confidence. He got better each time we saw him here.
8. Kyle Haskins (L, #8 White, VT) -- After Day 1 Haskins was our top-ranked forward on Team White and top 3 among forwards overall, but his last day here he dropped off a bit. He is bigger than most and has good hands that allow him to be dynamic in the offensive zone, especially in 1-on-1 situations. He is a pure goal scorer – we saw him find the back of the net on a quick, hard wrister from the slot, and again on a beautiful deke of the goaltender. A lot of potential here.
9. Jacob Monroe (L, #17 Red, CT) – Mid-Fairfield Yankees product is a small, spark-plug type who plays the game with effort and enthusiasm. He can be all over the place at times but is effective. He is dynamic with the puck, and has good awareness and hockey sense.
10. Michael Kane (L, #11 Green, CT) -- Another Mid-Fairfield Yankee, Kane is close to an opposite of teammate Monroe. He is tall, and an ugly skater who possesses a cannon for a shot and scored at least two goals, maybe three, in the game we watched.
11. Colin Kastle (R, #12 White, NH) – Kastle, from the Seacoast Spartans, is a two-way forward who can beat you with his feet or his hands. The first time we noticed him he took the defender wide around the net and beat him with speed. Another time, he cut to the middle around the blue line stickhandling his way to the net. Versatile skill set.
12. Garrett Swan (L, #9 Red, NH) -- Swan, of Top Gun Elite, is a high-motor player who competes until the whistle blows, but has enough skill and speed to be an offensive threat. He won a lot of draws at center and showed quick hands.
13. Tanner Herbert (L, #16 Green, ME) – Herbert is not only a gifted skater but can carry the puck in stride with his head up and has the vision and patience to find open ice. He does not force the play but rather lets it develop in front of him.
14. Matthew Toner (L, #10 White, RI) – Toner, who plays for the Providence Capitals, has both size and strength. He is a smooth skater who handles the puck well in the open ice and uses his body well in driving to the net and protecting the puck along the boards.
15. Owen Collins (R, #16 Blue, CT) -- The Mid-Fairfield forward is a smart player who makes great decisions with the puck, knows where to be on the ice, and has a swift stick. He is equally impressive without the puck, always getting open and knowing where the holes are in the defense.
16. Alex Rivet (R, #12 Green, ME) -- The Portland Jr. Pirates player has a complete game and a hard shot that caught our eye. Would have liked to see him do more in the offensive zone but his upside is obvious.
17. Zachary DeCosta (R, #14 Green, RI) -- Rhode Island native had a solid showing here. He’s a bit on the small side but he makes up for it with hustle, grit, and speed. Had a few scoring opportunities as well especially coming out of the corner with speed and going to the net.
18. Cody Nolin (L, #11 Gold, NH) – Nolin, a Seacoast Spartan, has some size but was primarily a perimeter playmaker here showing nice touch and good vision.
19. Noah Pellerin (L, #9 Gold, ME) – Pellerin, of the Portland Jr. Pirates, is a quick, feisty energy player who is strong on his stick. While one of the better skaters in his age group, he was not as productive here as he could have been.
20. Steven Townley (R, #12 Red, VT) -- The Green Mountain Glades product is a cerebral playmaker who doesn’t just make good passes but makes the right passes. He can see the ice as well as anyone and has a strong sense of anticipation.
1. Billy Dobensky (R, #2 Green, CT) -- Dobensky made a name for himself this past season with the Connecticut Jr. Wolfpack. He is a smooth-skating, good-sized, offensive defenseman with soft hands and elite passing ability. He moved the puck as well as any defenseman here and plays tough, smart defense. His stride is powerful and he carries the puck with his head up looking to make a play, but if it’s not there he is more than comfortable taking the shot – and he has a bullet. A confident player with legit upside.
2. Bruno Balkcom (L, #2 Red, RI) -- Balkcom does not have the size or strength that Dobensky has, but he’s equally talented. The Providence Capital defender is quick, fast, handles the puck very well and makes accurate, deliberate passes out of his end. On the offensive blue line his athleticism and confidence take over and he’s great at keeping the puck in the zone and creating scoring opportunities. Several times he took the puck behind his own net, skated end to end with fast legs and poised hands. A real talent who will soon be on everyone’s radar.
3. Jacob Paolino (L, #6 Blue, RI) Paolino is a strong skater who competes at both ends, has enough offensive ability to rush the puck and make plays, and enough hockey IQ and focus on the backend to break up plays. He has an active stick in his end, picks up sticks, has his head on a swivel and wins nearly every 1-on-1 battle we saw him in. One of the things we liked about Paolino as opposed to other defenders in this age group is that when he does decide to rush the puck he is tenacious about getting back.
4. Aaron Pinto (L, #3 Blue, CT) -- Pinto is a true athlete with poise and confidence carrying the puck. The Rhode Island Saints defenseman moves well both forward and backward as well as side to side. He is excellent in his own end, both in front of the net and breaking out the zone with clean, swift passes up ice.
5. Kyle Sanborn (L, #5 Gold, CT) – Sanborn, from the Mid-Fairfield Yankees, had a strong performance here. He is a polished skater with offensive ability but the mind-set of a defenseman. He is a shut-down defender who is highly mobile, handles the puck well, and makes great outlet passes. The best part of his game is that he can hit with a good deal of pop. He can also be patient and keep his opponents to the outside and cut off their angle. Has strong anticipation skills and can disrupt passes.
6. Michael Kesselring (R, #2 Gold, NH) -- Kesselring, the New Hampton freshman and son of head coach Casey Kesselring, is a tall, thin defenseman who has great potential but is still growing into his body. He was not at his best this weekend as he was nursing an injury but the upside is obvious. Kesselring has the size, the skill, and the stride to make for a D-I defender down the line.
7. Nicholas Bisson (L, #4 Blue, CT) – Bisson, from the Seacoast Spartans, is a smart, reliable defenseman who makes good decisions both with and without the puck. He makes the simple pass and does not force the play and he also has a keen sense for when to pinch, when to step up on an opposing player, and when to back off and play it more conservatively. His gap control is always tight and he plays square to his man. Has considerable upside.
8. Elijah Older (L, #2 White, ME) -- Portland Jr. Pirates defenseman is a strong skater with graceful hands and good instincts. He blocks shots, plays tough in front of the net and throws his body around in the corners and along the boards.
9. Reese Popkin (L, #4 Green, NH) -- Opkin, from the NH Avalanche, is a heads-up player who skates well with the puck. He has a really good stick in his own end, poking the puck away and clearing it out from amidst scrums in front of his goalie. His skating is still a work in progress, but he has does a lot of the little things well.
10. Kyle Mooney (R, #6 Gold, ME) -- The Kennebunk, Maine native is a big, awkward-skating prospect with deceptive hands and a long reach. He is another who is very much a work in progress, but he obviously has a lot of time to fill into his frame. His size and intangibles are hard to match at this level.
11. Cale Dubrul (R, #5 White, VT) -- A hard-working, meat-and-potatoes type who makes life difficult for oncoming forwards. Dubrul takes away space, always has his stick in lanes and does a nice job taking the body. He will not razzle-dazzle you, but he shut down a lot of high-end players in the game we saw against Team Gold.
1. Blaine Moore (G, #30 Green, VT) – It’s tough to pick out goalies at this age level -- they’re all small, quick and flexible. But Moore stood out in the game we watched, posting a shutout. He has good size, a fast glove, and takes away the angle from shooters. He is still developing his rebound control but does a nice job making the first save. He didn’t see a ton of shots but the ones he saw were high quality and he stopped every one of them.
2. Cameron Fernandez (G, #30 Gold, CT) -- The goalie from Mid-Fairfield is highly athletic, moves well in the net, and has quick reflexes. He is better down low than up high but he made a lot of great side-to-side stops on 2-on-1’s in the game we watched. We were also very impressed with his overall calming presence in net. He did let up one softie, but recovered well and did not let it affect his play.
New England Select 15s (‘99s)
Our rankings at this age group are slightly less comprehensive than the Select 16s and 17s, as most of the players need to get bigger, stronger, and more mature before being analyzed in depth.
That goes double for the 14s, which we should have ready tomorrow.
1. Christian LeSueur (R, #9 White, CT) -- LeSueur plays on the U16 Mid-Fairfield team that went to the Tier 1 Nationals this past weekend and is their top forward. He has decent size for his age (5’9”), smooth hands, plenty of speed, and processes the game a step faster than everyone else. More impressive is the fact that although he was the top forward here, he didn’t rest on his skill to get the job done: he was among the hardest working and most competitive players in the entire festival. In 24 games this season, he posted a 6-9-15 line at Brunswick as a freshman.
2. Alexander Mella (L, #15 Red, CT) -- Mella, although a Stamford, Connecticut native, plays on the Shattuck St. Mary’s U14 team that just won the Tier 1 National Championship this past weekend in Green Bay. Mella has a great burst of speed, strong but smooth hands and a quick release on his snap shot. At Shattuck, he notched 59 points in 46 games.
3. Riley Prattson (R, #10 Green, CT) – Prattson, from Tolland, Conn., plays his high school hockey for Brian Foley at Springfield Cathedral, where he was a top forward – 16-30-46 in 25 gp – for one of the top high school teams in the Commonwealth. Prattson, who is 5’8”, was the fastest skater at this age group and played with heart and grit. He has a great snap shot and elusive stickhandling skills that make him a constant scoring threat either off the rush or out of the corners.
4. Tao Ishizuka (L, #16 White, RI) -- A talented forward from the Providence Capitals, Ishizuka has a good set of hands, and a mature sense of the game. He is a fluid skater, and especially quick in tight spaces. Has an accurate, controlled shot.
5. Matthew Fawcett (L, #8 White, RI) -- Another product of the Providence Capitals U14 squad, Fawcett was hot and cold this weekend. In the first viewing he was quiet – he made a few nice plays in the offensive zone, but didn’t stand out much. In our second viewing he was the best player on the ice, better then both LeSueur and Ishizuka, ranked #1 and #4 respectively. Fawcett is a highly skilled, creative, puck possession player who has the hands and vision to create offense for his teammates. Can finish, too.
6. Andrew Ide (R, #9 Red, RI) -- Ide has a great first step and another gear that only a few players at this level can reach. He was great along the wall and possesses a quick stick.
7. John Peloso (R, #15 Green, VT) -- Peloso is a good-sized kid with soft hands and deceptive speed. We first recognized him at the College Cup. Since then, he has grown and, while he has lost a little explosiveness, he is a more complete player.
8. Connor Beatty (R, #17 White, NH) – Beatty, coming off his freshman season at Concord High School in New Hampshire, is quick and shifty, has an explosive first step and good special awareness on the ice. His hands are improving and he created a lot of offense over the weekend.
9. Patrick Creamer (R, #17 Red, RI) -- Creamer had a great goal against the Blue team and has good size and skill. He is a shoot-first type player who projects to be a power forward at the next level, similar to his older brother, Matt, who played for Selects Academy’s U16 Team this season. The Creamer brothers are the sons of Bishop Hendricken head coach Jim Creamer.
10. Alexander Steeves (L, #16 White, NH) -- Steeves, the younger brother to Jr. Monarchs and Select 17 forward Matthew Steeves, has, like his brother, size and playmaking ability. He has a soft pair of hands and made some excellent passes both through the neutral zone on the breakout, and out of the corner in the offensive zone. Steeves can make an effortless saucer pass and has a high level of hockey sense and vision.
11. Bryson Bartell (R, #15 Blue, NH) – Bartell is a good-sized forward whose powerful stride enables him to fight through checks. He has good hands, especially in tight areas, and is comfortable holding onto the puck through the neutral zone.
12. Corson Sundquist (L, #15 Gold, CT) – The younger brother of Selects Academy U16 forward Connor Sundquist is a talent in his own right. He has great hands and skates with poise and confidence, especially in pressure situations. He values the puck and is purposeful with it.
13. Connor Dow (R, #10 White, VT) -- It’s a shame to have Dow this low on the list but it’s where he belongs after a lazy performance here. Dow has impressive size and strength, is a fairly smooth skater, and has a good stick and high-level shooting ability. When his feet are moving he is one of the most physically dominant players in the group but he stands around a lot watching the play. Huge upside, but we need to see a lot more effort.
14. Thomas Samuelsen (R, #8 Red, VT) -- Samuelsen is an intriguing prospect. He has good hands, is creative with the puck, and possesses above-average speed. He helped lead CVU to a Vermont State Championship title and, as a freshman, was one of their leading scorers.
15. James Varin (#14 Gold, RI) -- Varin played for Smithfield HS in Rhode Island this past season, scoring a goal against Bishop Hendricken in the first round of the playoffs. He’s a gifted skater, handles the puck well, and made some nice passes that showed both his hockey sense and vision.
16. William Christensen (L, #8 Gold, CT) -- Christensen is a true speedster in every sense of the word -- he’s quick, agile, and light on his skates. He plays for the Mid- Fairfield team that played in the Tier 1 Nationals and was a top six forward for them. Was not as active in the offensive zone as we would have liked, but with his speed he could go a long way as he grows and develops the other areas of his game.
17. Zachary Pellegrino (L, #12 Blue, CT) – The captain of the Connecticut Wolfpack ’99 team is a pure goal scorer. However, he was not himself this past weekend. His feet were stationary and he wasn’t the strong two-way player we are accustomed to seeing. Headed to Avon in the fall.
18. Sam Milnes (R, #8 Green, RI) -- A freshman at Bishop Hendricken, Milnes is a raw prospect with great potential. He has some height and is still growing into his frame but he skates well, has a long extended stride, and is improving his edge work. His hands are deceptive and he plays the full length of the ice.
19. Grey Owens (L, #16 Green, CT) -- Owens plays for the talented Mid-Fairfield U16s, along with LeSueur, Christensen and others on this list. And he was noticeable this weekend with his stickhandling ability and creativity. He made some defensemen look foolish. The best part of his performance here was his ability to find open ice and use it to create offense. The 5’11” Owens has size but lacks top end speed. Played as a freshman at Brunswick this season. Versatile, he can also move back to the blue line.
20. Jonathan Courchesne (L, #16 Red, VT) -- A product of the Green Mountain Glades, Courchesne showed a fast, fluid stride this weekend and a hard shot. We liked his compete level in all three zones.
21. Ethan DeStefani (R, #12 Gold, NH) -- A long and tall forward with good mobility for his size and real upside once he fills out. He’s still weak on his edges and while his hands are fairly soft, he didn’t do much with the puck here.
22. Cooper May (R, #8 Blue, ME) -- The top forward on this ranking from the state of Maine, May is smooth and fast. He tends to slow down a little when carrying the puck, but in time he could be a good college prospect.
23. Ryan King (L, #10 Blue, RI) -- King impressed us at the East Coast Prep Cup in October and was one of the better players here, though it wasn’t his personal best. He has grown a few inches and uses his body well, especially on the forecheck. King is a smooth skater once his feet get going, and we feel he has a lot of upside.
24. Drew Eid (L, #17 Green, ME) -- A freshman for Gorham HS this past season, Eid has good speed and acceleration. He will need to improve his play with the puck in order to move up the list.
1. Reilly Walsh (R, #3 Gold, NH) -- In a talented group of defensemen in this age group, Walsh stands above the rest. A polished skater with great anticipation and hockey sense in the defensive zone, Walsh is able to pick off a lot of passes and keep players away from the net. He is at his best with the puck on his stick and projects to be a PP defenseman at the next level. He recorded a 7-20-27 line in 31 games as a ’99 freshman in prep hockey, playing for his father, Mike, at Proctor Academy.
2. Phillip Kemp (R, #4 Red, CT) -- It is hard to say that a 15-year-old has NHL upside but in Kemp’s case it’s undeniable. He has great size (6’2”), strength, and a frame that he could add to. He skates really well, smooth in and out of transitions and fluid through the hips. He is strong on his edges and accelerates well for his size. His game has really matured over the past year playing with Mid-Fairfield and as a freshman at the Brunswick School, as he makes better decisions with the puck and knows when to step up on incoming forwards and when to back off.
3. Thomas Craft (R, #6 Gold, CT) -- Craft is tall, physically mature, and at times looked like a man among boys. His skating is OK but will need improvement before going on to play in college. He handles the puck pretty well and is a monster on the blue line. He uses his reach well without getting out of position and he doesn’t hit for the sake of hitting but, rather, times it well in order to make the hit to get the puck. Craft played with Kemp at Mid-Fairfield and the two have the most upside in this group due to their size and raw ability.
4. Nolan Lavallee (L, #6 Green, NH) -- Lavallee is a good-sized, mobile defenseman who exhibited poise with the puck on his stick. A confident skater, he showed a level of hockey sense and patience that allowed him to stand out here. His skating ability and hands allow him to escape from pressure situations with the puck, and he delivers firm, crisp passes. At times, he was the best player on the ice and has considerable upside. Played last season for St. Thomas Aquinas HS (Dover, NH).
5. Chase Vaillancourt (L, #2 Red, NH) -- Vaillancourt came out of nowhere this weekend and had a strong performance. He is a big, tall defender who skates well with and without the puck and has decent hands. Vaillancourt makes an accurate first pass getting it out of his own end and is athletic and tough on the offensive blue line. He looked like he gained confidence as the weeked progressed. Plays for Bedford HS in New Hampshire.
6. Zachary Zangre (R, #7 Red, CT) -- At 5’11”, Zangre is a good-sized defenseman at this level and has a low center and powerful stride to match it. He has spent the last two years with the Connecticut Wolfpack (AYHL) and has shown a great deal of improvement. He has ideal athleticism for a defenseman, and smooth hands. It is difficult to get the puck away from Zangre as he uses his body well to protect it. His shot was OK, but he needs more power.
7. Luke Pepin (L, #4 Green, NH) -- Pepin is a smooth-skating, puck-moving defenseman who reads the ice really well both as a puck carrier and as a defender surveying the attack. He was a key contributor as a freshman at St. Thomas Aquinas this season.
8. Jared Zeichick (R, #4 White, NH) -- A former NH Avalanche player, Zeichick had a good showing here. He is mobile, plays a physical style, and makes clean, crisp passes. He always had his head up looking for his forwards to get open. They did not do powerplays in this camp, but we feel that if they did, Zeichick would have excelled.
9. Corey Doney (L, #3 Green, VT) -- The Green Mountain Glades product is a good skating defender who plays with a bit of an edge. He has great speed and likes to rush the puck, and he has some offensive ability.
10. Kyle Miller (L, #2 Blue, CT) -- A member of the Connecticut Wolfpack, Miller is a strong skater with a balanced, powerful stride making him tough to slow down as he comes through the neutral zone. He’s also a tough defender in the corner as he has both the strength and agility to stay with his man.
11. Cameron Boudreau (#5 Blue, NH) -- A quick, agile defender who is excellent on the breakout -- his quick turns along the boards and in the corners gave him separation from forecheckers and more time to make good passes up ice.
12. Patrick Burkinshaw (R, #5 Green, CT) -- The Mid-Fairfield prospect has size and powerful shot that we noticed both in warm ups and in the game. He is a solid, stay-at-home defender who you have to really watch to appreciate.
1. Shane Conlon (#1 White, RI) -- The St. George’s goalie was the youngest at his position to see any action this past year, let alone play nearly half the games. He ended the season with an .885 save percentage. Considering the team went 4-18-1, those are impressive numbers, especially considering his age. Conlon is small but he is quick and agile pouncing loose pucks in front.
2. Tyler Haywood (#1 Red, CT) – Haywood, who played for the Nationals-bound Mid- Fairfield squad, had a shutout in the game we watched. He plays his angles well and isn’t afraid to get out of his crease and challenge the shooter. Showed a good glove and quick reaction time.
3. Max Daly (#1 Green, NH) -- The New Hampshire native moves well and never seemed to get rattled – he showed a lot of poise. We only got to see him once but he had a shutout and made a lot of saves. He was especially good on low shots.
4. Derek Fournier (#1 Blue, ME) -- Played for the Maine Freeze team that went to the Tier II nationals. He was good here and made some excellent saves, including a 2-on-1 bid where he slid post to post to make a sprawling glove save. Finds the puck through traffic well, and has good control of his rebounds.
Final Central Scouting Rankings
Central Scouting has released its final ranking of candidates for June's NHL draft, which is scheduled for June 27-28 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
Below are links to downloadable PDF versions of three documents: North American Skaters by round, North American goalies, and an alphabetical listing of players on the final list.
North American Skaters
North American Goaltenders
New England Select 16s (‘98s)
Here is our Top 40 -- 24 forwards, 12 defensemen, and 4 goaltenders -- from the New England Select 16 Festival, held in Hooksett, NH the weekend before last.
1. Jamie Armstrong (L, #9 White, Bishop Hendricken, RI) -- A strong skater with good size and skill who plays the game with an edge -- he was constantly involved in scrums after the whistle. Armstrong, a sophomore at Bishop Hendricken this season, has good hands and is strong on his stick, difficult to knock off the puck and even more challenging to stop in mid-ice as he possesses surprising quickness. Armstrong, who was an NTDP camp invite, has elite shooting ability especially in his wrister and snap shot. He is slated to go to Avon Old Farms in the fall, where he should be able to make the transition to prep hockey immediately as he possesses the size, speed, and skill you look for in an elite D-I prospect. He does tend to overhandle the puck and exposes it more than he should trying to make the cute moves instead of protecting it and driving the net. Of course, there’s a lot of that in an event like this. Armstrong is the son of Bill Armstrong, former Providence Bruins coach and current St. Louis Blues director of amateur scouting.
2. Eric Esposito (R, #11 White, Loomis-Chaffee, CT) -- Esposito is a tenacious forward who wins battles to the puck with his speed, quickness, and toughness. The gritty forward, a late ’98 freshman, can play the role as the pest without the puck, but once he gets a hold of it he is deceptively dynamic. He has quick hands, mature instincts, and quick, agile feet. He is very effective out of the corner and in small spaces. He will need to get stronger and find that next gear that his older brother, Alex, has. But he was a consistent playmaker throughout the weekend. It didn’t hurt that he was on a line with Armstrong and Shayne Simpson, the best New England Select Festival line we have seen in quite a while.
3. Patrick Harper (L, #12 Red, NJ Rockets, CT) -- Small, dynamic forward is a smart, crafty player who seems to be one step beyond everyone else mentally. His hockey sense is advanced and at Hooksett he stuck to the perimeter game and waited for passing lanes to open up. Harper has a hard shot and incredibly soft hands. Size is a concern at the next level because he is not only short, but thin.
4. Matt Gosiewski (L, #14 Gold, Millbrook School, CT) -- The big power forward, a freshman at the Millbrook School, stood out from the drop of the puck due to his 6’3”, 200 lb. frame and smooth stride. The upside is obvious to all who watch, but his productivity lags. At times, he carried the puck end to end and used his size and strength to overpower his opponents. However, at other times he was unnoticeable just floating around the ice without a purpose. Has a lot of tools, but needs to put it all together. Had a 5-8-13 campaign in 33 games for Millbrook this season.
5. Dakota Mulcay (L, #15 Red, Cushing, NH) – Mulcay, a freshman at Cushing, was not featured much in the Penguins’ offensive attack this season, but we expect he will make a jump next season. He has the tools, as he is 6’1”, 175 lbs. with a frame he can grow into. He is a smooth, gifted skater with speed and lateral mobility and he has soft hands. He is a little light on his skates and will need to add strength and balance to be a top six guy at Cushing, and we’d like to see him get more aggressive on the forecheck and in the dirty areas.
6. Jack Badini (L, #8 Blue, LI Gulls 16U, CT) -- Badini is a gifted skater, with speed, quickness, agility and an explosive first step. He was the best natural skater in the group, and would probably be much higher on the list but, since he did not play in the entire event (he was preparing for the Nationals in Green Bay), it’s hard to definitively place him against a handful of players who were there all weekend. He was, however, the Blue team’s best player. He competes, uses his low center of gravity to win battles along the wall, protects the puck in open ice, and escapes well from pressure. His hands could improve but they are quick and shifty. What we like best is his focus and attentiveness in all three zones, not just skating hard but skating with a purpose, finding his man, picking up sticks, and playing on the defensive side of the puck.
7. Ty Turgeon (R, #11 Gold, St. Thomas Aquinas, NH) -- Turgeon had a strong high school season with St. Thomas, where he helped lead the team to a 16-2-1 regular season record as a sophomore. He is small, but quick on his skates and plays the game at a high pace. He is hard to handle in open ice because of his shiftiness, which incorporates a lot of head fakes and nifty stickhandling that he performs at high speed. He has a low center and strong legs so he is tough to knock off the puck. He will be heading to prep school next season.
8. Shayne Simpson (L, #12 White, Portsmouth Abbey, RI) -- Simpson put up big numbers in his freshman season at Portsmouth Abbey, sporting a 14-13-27 line in 18 games. Despite his impressive stats he received little to no attention this year as Portsmouth Abbey historically hasn’t had many prospects and do not play in the big tournaments. Simpson shined in this event however, showing he is a smooth, effortless skater who is strong on his skates, has another gear, and employs a selfless style of play. He gets down on a knee to block a shot, makes passes, and does a lot of little things away from the puck to give himself, and his teammates, time and space to make plays. He’s a player worth keeping an eye on over the next couple of years.
9. Colin Slyne (L, #14 Grey, Brunswick School, CT) -- We first noticed Slyne at the USPHL Showcase where he was playing split season on the Connecticut Yankees U16s as well as at Brunswick during the regular season. He had a 5-8-13 line in 26 games for Brunswick, and at 5’10” and 160 lbs., has decent size for his age. A sophomore, Slyne is a finesse player who handles the puck well in traffic and had one of the best shots here. His snap shot is powerful and quick off the stick. A good player to keep an eye on as he grows into his body and becomes a more complete player.
10. Jacob Cavalloro (R, #9 Blue, Cranston West HS, RI) -- Cavalloro was the fastest player in this age group. He has tremendous speed and explosiveness and when he has the puck on his stick and drives wide he is tough to handle. The knock on him is his size -- he’s short, thin, and doesn’t have an elite skill set. His hands are serviceable, though not special, and his shot is pretty weak. However, with his speed, high energy, and no-quit approach to the game he could go far.
11. Tate Singleton (L, #10 Green, Lebanon HS, NH) -- Singleton is an under-the-radar prospect who really emerged through the weekend. He is a little guy who has great speed and playmaking ability. He plays at a high pace and makes quick turns and juke moves in the corner to create separation from his opponents. Word is that he will be attending prep school next season, which will help in the young speedster’s development.
12. Ryan Keeland (R, #15 Gold, Champlain Valley Union HS, VT) -- Keeland was a Team New England selection last summer and had a strong showing. He is coming off a state championship victory in Vermont High School hockey and will look to play prep hockey next season. He is small but quick and has excellent hockey sense. He finds his teammates -- and gets the puck to them. Keeland is the type of player who will have a 2:1 assist to goal ratio and make everyone he plays with better. Once he gets the puck on his stick he is pretty dynamic. We liked his play at both ends of the ice. Older brother, Patrick, played at Pomfret this past season.
13. Alec Robitaille (L, #9 Grey, Trinity HS, NH) – Robitaille, an intriguing prospect who plays the game with a lot of pace, has grown a few inches in the past year and is still growing into his frame. His hands are quick and he has north-south speed. He can expose the puck too much at times instead of going wide and beating the defense with his speed and size. He is tough, which he displayed finishing checks on the forecheck as well as making some open-ice hits. We’d like to see the same level of intensity in his own end.
14. Brendan Cordeiro (L, #8 Gold, La Salle HS, RI) -- Cordeiro creates offense for his linemates. He is cool under pressure, has poise carrying the puck through traffic, has good hands and some speed. We saw Team Gold play twice and in the first game Cordeiro was the best player on the ice, but in the second game he tailed off. He’s a dynamic playmaker who needs to develop consistency in his game.
15. Robert Murray IV (R, #8 White, Yarmouth HS, ME) -- Murray could have gone unnoticed after playing on an ultra-talented Team White that featured three of the top eight forwards in the tournament. On just about any other team, he would have been a top player. He has quick hands on the draw and wins a lot of faceoffs as a result. He is a strong skater who is hard to knock off the puck and has decent hands. He was not dynamic enough to be a top player here but his skating makes him worth following.
16. Joseph Silva (R, #10 White, NH Jr. Monarchs 16U, NH) -- Silva is a beautiful skater -- smooth, fast, with an explosive step and lateral agility. He is a crafty playmaker who is patient with the puck on the perimeter, though he does not possess the hands to make the plays he wants to make. For a smaller guy, he won a lot of battles in the corners with a strong stick and quick turns to escape from defenders.
17. Jacob Verreault (L, #15 Blue, Casco Bay 16U, ME) -- Verreault is a quick, shifty forward who has good speed up-ice and is light on his skates. He is very creative when he has the puck on his stick, which creates a lot of offense in venues like this. His hands are not particularly soft but he can get around people with his speed, quickness and awareness.
18. William Steele (L, #14 White, Selects Academy 16U, VT) – Steele is a solid young prospect with speed and quickness. What we like most about him is his tenacity and toughness for a little guy -- he forechecks at top speed and competes hard in all three zones. He did not do as much with the puck as we expected, however. He’ll play for the Selects 16U team next season.
19. Christopher Wright (R, #11 Green, RI Hitmen 18U, RI) -- Wright has good speed but even more hustle and grit. The feisty forward doesn’t have a great set of mitts but he competes at both ends, finishes his checks, and doesn’t stop moving his feet until the whistle blows. He is not just an energy guy -- he made a lot of plays by going wide on the D and passing to the slot. A solid all-around player.
20. Adam Usinger (R, #8 Red, St. Joseph HS, CT) -- Smooth skater with some speed and agility. Showed another gear when rushing the puck up ice. He was unable to do much in the way of production and hence the lower rank, but there is some raw ability here.
21. Brandon Mitchell (L, #17 Gray, Bishop Hendricken, RI) Mitchell has a combination of size and skill, a tall frame with pretty good hands, and passing ability. He does not drive the net or play tough enough to be a power forward, and is not skilled enough to be a finesse forward, Once he figures out his identity and adds some muscle he could be a nice college prospect.
22. Robert Goggin (R, #9 Green, Connecticut Oilers 16U, CT) -- Goggin was noticeable almost every shift due to his effort and hustle. He’s a hound on the puck, plays the full length of the ice, forechecks hard, finishes his check and drives the net with authority. At 6’1” he has a great frame to grow into and could develop into a power forward at the next level.
23. Thomas Dale (R, #17 Blue, Connecticut Oilers 16U, CT) -- A former Mid-Fairfield Bantam, Dale has improved his skills over the past year. He is a crafty forward who creates a lot of plays when his feet are moving, which doesn’t always happen. Dale is tall and has good hockey instincts, but will need to do more in the offensive zone and physically assert himself along the boards where he lost a lot of 1-on-1 battles.
24. Adam Peck (R, #11 Blue, Selects Academy 16U, VT) -- Peck is a confident player, which is clear in the way he plays the game, often trying to do too much. He has a lot of different skills that he brings to the table but is very raw and hasn’t yet put all those tools together. He is strong on his skates, has good size, decent hands, a hard snap shot, and speed and range for his size. If he puts it all together, he could be a very good player.
1. Dennis Cesana (R, #2 Gray, Kimball Union, RI) -- A smooth-skating, offensive-minded defenseman, Cesana is a great skater who is quick on his feet, moves well laterally, and has flat-line speed. He can transition from forward to backward effortlessly and while he is not physically developed yet, he does a lot with his stick and body positioning to be an effective defenseman. His hands are smooth and he has poise and confidence carrying the puck up-ice, with his head up looking for an opening. He comes off a strong sophomore year at KUA where he logged a lot of ice time playing alongside Ben Finkelstein and recording a 3-10-13 line in 37 games. He could be a little feistier in the corners and does not have a great shot from the blue line, but he is an obvious D-I prospect.
2. Jake Gresh (R, #4 Gray, Avon Old Farms, CT) -- Gresh is like Cesana, but not as skilled. Avon sophomore has similar skating ability with a smooth stride, quick feet, and an explosive first few steps. He does a better job of not exposing the puck in vulnerable areas and uses his feet to get up ice instead of relying on his hands. He made some nice stops on 1-on-1s and, while he’s undersized and a bit thin, he throws his weight around just enough to slow down the opponents. At times, Gresh needs to look to make a pass instead of skating it up-ice, but overall he had a very strong showing here. He will need to fill out and grow to be a D-I player but he is certainly on the radar. Can play forward, too. Had a 5-4-9 line in 29 games for the Winged Beavers.
3. Lucas Niezelski (R, #7 Red, Junior Bruins 16U, CT) – Niezelski, who had a 5-13-18 line in 30 games, has decent size at 5’11”, moves well, and plays the game with the right amount of passion and composure. Niezelski was one of the more intriguing prospects in his age group here because he could be a meat-and-potatoes type of defenseman at the next level, a power play contributor, or a solid mobile, puck-moving defender. Time will tell. He has D-I potential and should improve a lot over the next season as his weight catches up to his height. He has a good set of hands and his head is always up when skating with the puck.
4. Matthew Fuller (L, #4 Gray, Brewster Academy, NH) -- Fuller is a smart, good-sized defender who is tough to get around. He makes good decisions with the puck and while he isn’t overly flashy, he is a strong skater with a low center who can play the full surface area. Here, he did a lot of the little things well -- blocking shots, picking up sticks, and moving bodies in front of the net. He has a hit-first mentality when the puck is loose in front of his goalie, and he is aggressive but not reckless in his own end. He has a powerful slap shot from the point and with a year under his belt he should be able to take his game to another level this season at Brewster.
5. Brendan Casey (R, #3 Red, Junior Bruins U16, CT) -- Casey is a big, mobile, puck-moving defenseman who doesn’t shine in one particular area but does everything well. He makes a good first pass breaking it out of his head, is a strong presence on the offensive blue line, and knows when to pinch and when to back out of the zone. Most of all he plays the body well. Very solid overall.
6. Adam Karashik (R, Gold #6, Connecticut Oilers U16, CT) -- A smooth-skating, offensive defenseman who likes to join the rush. He is a little trigger-happy at this point and rushed the puck when a pass would have been the better play, but he can really skate. If he grows and improves his focus in the defensive end, he’ll be a D1 player.
7. Benjamin Antonucci (L, Cardigan Mountain School, NH) -- Antonucci has the size and strength to physically dominate his opponents at this level and he does -- in small doses -- but for long stretches he is unnoticeable. As a prospect he has a great frame, a hard shot and a powerful stride, although he needs improvement in his quickness and edgework. When he is playing a physical, hard-nosed game he is very effective but he wasn’t consistent in that department. One to keep an eye on.
8. Colin O'Connor (L, Notre Dame-West Haven, CT) -- Connor is coming off an all-state selection in Connecticut high school hockey and is a cousin to Joe O’Connor, the UVM committed defender at Westminster and Owen Powers the Holy Cross committed forward at Choate. He has good size, a heavy shot, and a lot of zip to his passes. He needs to become more agile – he showed heavy feet at times -- but once he gets going he has good north-south speed.
9. Jack Boisvert (L, #3 Blue, Mount St. Charles, RI) -- Boisvert had a great end-to-end rush that showed his offensive capabilities, fluid stride, and transitional speed. We know the skill is there but he didn’t skate with a lot of confidence and rarely hit that next gear he has. Quick and athletic, Boisvert had a few pass breakups in the defensive end but he hesitates down low, causing several scoring opportunities for the other team. He has skill, so we’ll be keeping our eyes on him.
10. Owen MacIntyre (R, #6 White, St. Paul’s, NH) -- MacIntyre didn’t see a ton of ice this season as a freshman defenseman at St. Paul’s. A late ’98 from Londonderry, NH, he’s improving and becoming more reliable in his end. He has mobility and makes a hard pass out of his end, but can be still on the offensive blue line and doesn’t accelerate well. A work in progress, but he has the potential to be a top four guy on the St. Paul’s blue line.
11. Alex Ring (R, #4 Green, Salem HS, NH) -- Ring was an honorable mention all-state defenseman in New Hampshire D-I high school hockey as a sophomore. He has a good quick shot, skates pretty well, and is athletic on the blue line, keeping pucks in the zone and finding shooting and passing lanes.
12. Nick Demers (L, #4 Blue, North Yarmouth Academy, ME) -- A big strong meat-and-potatoes type of defenseman who can really pack a punch when he throws his body around. Has a heavy shot from the blue line – he was the top-scoring D-man at NYA as a sophomore -- and has great size and strength in front of the net. He will need to become more athletic and agile on his skates as they tend to be heavy. Demers struggled against the smaller, faster forwards.
1. Nick Sorgio (#30 Red, Salisbury, CT) -- Sorgio played the role of backup this season for the one-loss Salisbury team, but, even as a ’98, he could have been a starter on most other teams in prep hockey. He posted a .924 save percentage, stopping 73 of 79 shots. At 6’2”, 185 lbs., he has the height, and athleticism. Controlled his rebounds well, and was, hands-down, the best goalie here.
2. Colin Seeley (#30 White, St. Georges, NH) -- Seeley did not put up big numbers this past season at St. Georges where, as a sophomore, he faced 418 shots and had a pedestrian .873 save percentage. He is only 5’8” but he’s quick, athletic, and moves well side-to-side. He played really well this weekend against kids his own age and made some highlight reel saves, showing off his quick glove and mobility. Not a ton of upside due to his size, but he stood on his head for stretches this weekend.
3. Nicholas Moore (#30 Blue, Selects Academy 16U, ME) – Moore played for the U16 American team at Selects Academy this past season and looked good here this weekend. He has some size, moves well in the net, and showed quick reflexes. He does tend to go down easily, but he did make a lot of pad saves and didn’t get torched up high in the games we watched.
4. Drew Speckman (#1 Green, Shattuck-St. Mary’s 16U, CT) -- Speckman played for the U16 Shattuck-St. Mary’s team, serving as backup to one of the top goalies in the country in Minnesota recruit Ryan Edquist. In 25 games played at Shattuck, Speckman had a 3.02 GAA and .871 save percentage. We think he has some potential because he has decent size, good lateral quickness, and composure in net. However, his confidence appeared shaky and he didn’t have great control over his rebounds. He also struggled covering the puck in scrums in front of the net. We’ll take a wait-and-see approach.
New England Select 17s (‘97s)
The New England District tryouts were held last weekend in Hooksett, NH. First up is our take on the Select 17 prospects.
Please note that all rankings and opinions are ours, totally independent from USA Hockey’s.
1. Taggart Corriveau (R, Teal #11, Westminster, 6-1/166) -- Corriveau is coming off a strong sophomore season, leading Westminster with an 18-12-30 line in 26 contests. Corriveau has great length, slick hands, and elite hockey sense. His poise carrying the puck and ability to read the goalie made him a scoring threat every time he entered the zone. What makes him an interesting prospect to us is that his skills, combined with his size, gives him a diversity that allows him to fill varied roles at the next level. Here he was a skill player, but he has the frame to be a power forward and the hands and vision to be a power play guy. A St. Lawrence recruit.
2. Devin Moore (R, White #12, Phillips Exeter, 5-6/140) -- Moore may not have the upside of some of the others listed here due to his lack of size, but the sophomore from Hampstead, NH was the most exciting player to watch over the weekend. He has a great burst of speed, quickness in tight spaces, and an ability to slow the game down and make plays. His shot is not great but it’s enough to score goals and he makes quick decisions with the puck, dishing accurate, crisp passes to his linemates. He is dynamic with the puck on his stick – shifty and feisty. Overall, his hockey IQ, hands, and creativity make him a D-I prospect.
3. Jake Pappalardo (R, Gold #14, Proctor Academy, N/A) -- Pappalardo is coming off a stellar year at Proctor Academy where he led the team in scoring as a sophomore with a 15-24-39 line in 29 games. Pappalardo has speed and explosiveness, smooth hands, and a quick release. His feet are always moving and his hands are good. He likes to shoot from in close and rarely let it go from outside of 10 feet. He will need to continue to physically mature but we liked his energy and compete level here, where he mixed it up more in the corners than he did at the Beantown.
4. Matthew Steeves (R, White #17, NH Jr. Monarchs U16, 6-0/182) – Steeves, the Monarchs U16s leading scorer with 20 goals and 12 assists in 30 games, has upside with his size and skating ability, but it was his craftiness around the net and his shooting ability that really caught our eyes. He uses his size well to protect the puck, and uses his long reach in the defensive end to break up passes and block shooting/passing lanes. Once his feet get going he has deceptive speed through the neutral zone and can drive the net playing a power forward style, or he uses has skill to curl back and find the open man. He prefers going to the net! He was physical when called upon but we would like to see more. He also needs to improve on his explosiveness and agility, but he is well on his way to a D-I roster spot.
5. Lucas Michaud (R, Gold #12, Berwick, 5-11/185) -- Michaud is physically gifted with a strong, powerful stride and a low center of gravity. The junior from South Portland, Maine has a great shot and -- more importantly -- he shoots to score. He has nice mitts and was most effective along the boards and around the net where his strength and skill were too much for the defense to handle. His passing has matured over the years and he has deceptively smooth hands. He led Berwick in points this year with a 22-18-40 line in 26 games. Committed to Maine for the fall of ‘15.
6. Tyler Augustinsen (R, Teal #9, Selects Academy U16, 5-11/180) – Augustinsen is strong, but also has soft, agile hands. A strong, balanced skater who carries the puck well without losing much speed, he plays a north-south style but is a little too cute with the puck to label him as a power forward. The play here was back-and-forth and not very physical, but when Tyler hit someone he made it stick. He needs to improve his acceleration and play without the puck, but he’s a D-I prospect.
7. William Somers (L, Blue #14, Hotchkiss, 6-4/215) -- Somers was one of the most talked-about players at the Beantown Classic, with opinions running the gamut. Some believe he could be a pro someday while others feel he is just a big body. The truth lies somewhere in the middle as he does have an NHL body -- and skates well for his size -- but his productivity is not there yet, scoring only 6 goals and 7 assists in 26 games. The sophomore from New Canaan, Conn. could have physically dominated his opponents here in Hooksett if he played with an edge and used his size and speed to drive the net, win battles along the boards, and anchor down in front of the net. He was hot and cold throughout the weekend, showing occasional flashes of elite upside but at other times looking uninterested. Will need to improve his compete level and physical play in order to be worthy of any draft talk.
8. Matthew Creamer (R, #9 Gold, Selects Academy U16, 6-2/185) -- Creamer entered the tournament after a strong season with Selects Academy in which he scored 23 goals and added 14 assists for 37 points in 29 games. He projects to be a power forward at the next level with his size and strength. He has poise carrying the puck, a blistering hard snap shot, and toughness in the dirty areas. We would have liked to see him throw his body around more this weekend and play with more pace and speed -- his stride is still short and choppy -- but the D-I upside is undeniable.
9. Connor Sundquist (R, #16 Blue, Selects Academy U16, 6-0/165) -- Sundquist is still growing into his body and may at first glance look a tad uncoordinated. However, he has deceptive stickhandling ability and hockey sense. He has a good stride and plenty of speed but will need to get grittier and more physically assertive, especially along the boards, to realize his potential.
10. Avery Steele (L, #15 Blue, Selects Academy U16, 5-8/160) -- Steele had a great showing at last year’s festival and this year was no different. He is a small but compact skater who flourishes off the transition and has quick hands and a powerful, quick release on his shot. He took some shifts off – very unlike him -- and could have been more competitive in his own end.
11. Henry Marshall (L, #11 Red, Choate, 6-0/167) -- Marshall is a raw forward who, over the past year, has lengthened his stride and become a more complete player. He has a great frame and could easily put on 10-15 lbs without losing a step. Marshall, a sophomore this past season, had a 6-4-10 line in 28 games and while we would like to see him be more active around the net, he has a quiet ice presence, and a high level of awareness. Marshall is still an under-the-radar player but we expect a breakout season next year. D-I is not out of the question.
12. Hunter Luhmann (R, #10 Red, Proctor, 5-11/196) -- Luhmann had a nice bounce back after the Beantown, showing another gear here while continuing to impress with his soft hands, speed, and playmaking ability. The Proctor junior can play a skill game with just about anyone here but what differentiates him is his strength and balance along the boards. He was tough to knock off the puck here.
13. Trevor Mallett (R, #15 Green, New Hampton, 5-9/155) -- A goal scorer, he lit the lamp 21 times in 33 games for New Hampton this season. The sophomore from York, Maine is not going to torch you with speed but he’s quick, shifty, and able to maneuver around defenseman. He scored two goals in the game we watched and always seemed to have the puck on his stick. He made a strong case this weekend that he is worthy of more college attention.
14. Bradley Potter (L, #16 Red, North Yarmouth Academy, 5-11/160) -- Potter had a productive junior year at NYA, finishing with an 18-23-41 in 26 games. Has a good frame, skates hard, and was always around the puck. He scored a nice goal against the Gold team demonstrating his scoring touch, quick hands and hustle.
15. Cole Anderson (R, #8 White, New Hampton, 5-7/140) -- Anderson, who is from Hooksett, where the tournament was played, had a great weekend. Sophomore is on the small side and struggles in battles along the boards but he is headsy, plays the game with passion and energy, and scored a lot of goals. At New Hampton he had a 13-10-23 line in 33 games as a sophomore.
16. Sullivan Haggerty (#9 Red, Stowe HS, N/A) – Haggerty, coming off a DII state championship at Stowe HS in Vermont, was this year’s “where did he come from?” player. He has added a few inches since last year and looks to be a more complete player. He has a long stride, and is a crafty playmaker with surprisingly good hands and hockey sense. Haggerty has more upside than several ranked forwards we have ranked above him, but he’s still pretty slight and needs to grow into his body.
17. Derek Britner (L, #10 Teal, Proctor Academy, 5-10/180) -- The Proctor junior averaged a point per game with a 14-14-31 line in 31 games. He is an excellent skater who pushes the pace and plays well with and without the puck. His skill set is a little limited compared to others on this list, but his speed and agility make up for it.
18. Samuel Nestor (F, #11 Blue, Taft, 5-6/140) -- This small Taft product has a great set of hands, decent feet, and plays a perimeter, cerebral style. He had a 5-9-14 line in 25 games as a sophomore and should be a leader for the Rhinos next season. What we liked most about Nestor’s play was his improved hockey sense and instinctual playmaking ability. A sophomore from Burlington, Vt., Nestor does not have preconceived moves or dekes, he just reacts to the stick placement, footing, or body positioning of the opposing player and makes quick decisions accordingly.
19. Anthony Vincent (R, #17 Red, Salisbury, 5-6/135) – Vincent, a sophomore from Wilton, Conn., is a small, crafty forward with great hands and creativity. This past season he played on a Salisbury team that had only one loss, so his playing time and point production were low, but he showed this weekend he has the hockey IQ and skill to contribute more on next year’s squad.
20. Shayne Plummer (L, #14 Red, NH Jr. Monarchs U16, 5-11/160) -- Plummer is a tall, thin prospect with speed and athleticism. He isn’t flashy and doesn’t have golden hands but he makes the simple pass, shoots the puck when he was a lane, and doesn’t mind mixing it up. He will need to get stronger and more dynamic with the puck. Had 13-7-20 line in 30 games with the Monarchs.
21. Dakota Pidgeon (F, #14 White, St. Thomas Aquinas, N/A) -- Pidgeon is a small, compact skater who is smooth in everything he does. His feet are always moving, and he’s quick and agile, especially in the corners. He made a lot of plays in the game we saw both in transition, from out of the corner, and behind the net.
22. Brian Silard (L, #11 Green, Greenwich HS, 5-10/175) -- Silard is an old-school player who is not looking to make pretty plays. In stead, he gets his nose in there, finishes checks, block shots, and is feisty along the boards and in front of the net. He scored a great goal from in-tight, roofing it on the goalie. Has the skill and grit to be a key contributor at the next level. In 25 games with the U16 Connecticut Oilers he had a 16-16-32 line – good for second on the team.
23. Reilly Miller (R, #16 Green, Bishop Hendricken, N/A) – Miller skates well for his size, is strong on his skates, and distributes the puck well. He made quick, direct passes hitting his teammates in stride through the neutral zone, and also used the boards well, putting the puck in space for his linemates to get to. Made everyone around him better. Big frame and skating ability make the sophomore a D-I prospect.
1. Spenser Young (R, #6 Gold, Exeter, 5-10/167) – Young was our MVP for the weekend. As we have written before, the sophomore is an elite skater with the ability to handle and distribute the puck as well as any defenseman in prep hockey. He has great escapability due to his fluid stride, agile feet, and crafty stick work. A premiere offensive defenseman, Young may lack size and strength but makes up for it with body positioning, stick work, and properly playing his angles. He can get to full speed in a few strides and his lateral movement and acceleration make him difficult to get around. He transitions seamlessly from forward to backward and has the athleticism to attack oncoming forwards instead of just keeping them wide. He picked his battles this weekend and didn’t try and pinch too much or overhandle as he has a tendency to do. He still needs to improve his strength and toughness in the dirty areas but this Providence College recruit is a model PP defenseman.
2. McKay Flanagan (R, #5 Green, Connecticut Oilers (EHL), 6-2/205) -- Considered to be one of the premier uncommitted defenseman in the northeast, Flanagan continues to live up to the hype after being one of the youngest players in the EHL this past season. He plays the game like a man: he is big, strong and physical. He made some big hits both in the open ice and on the boards. He cuts off the angle and then is quick enough and powerful enough to transition from backwards to forward or even sideways and drive his body through his opponents. He doesn’t extend his hands or bring his arms up when initiating contact and does a nice job of getting low and driving through the player. On the offensive side of the puck he is steady, possesses good, patient hands and makes accurate passes up-ice with touch and vision. We only saw him shoot it once in the game we saw but he had plenty of gas behind it. The only negative in his game right now is that he doesn’t have that next gear and he’s also a bit stiff and doesn’t fully extend his stride. Will have his choice as to where he wants to play college.
3. Connor Dahlman (R, #4 Green, Gunnery, 5-10/185) --Dahlman played on a deep Gunnery team that reached the prep championship title game, and though he had a quiet sophomore season, the late ’97, a sophomore from Stamford, Conn. was one of the dominant players here. He has good feet -- agile and smooth – and he always had his head up-ice, moving the puck as well as any defenseman here. His poise and skating ability allows him to buy time and space and also opens up a lot of passing lanes. Unlike most players his age that hesitate when a forward gets open,Dahlman zipped his passes. We did not see him shoot the puck but, defensively, he blocked several shots and was responsible in his own end. He is physical when needed but doesn’t gethimself out of position and over-extend.A sure-fire D-I prospect.
4. Ben Finkelstein (R, #2 Blue, KUA, 5-9/170) -- A controversial prospect who scouts were in constant debate over. Some feel he is a high-end D-I power play defenseman while others think he is more concerned about how he looks on the ice than how he plays. In our opinion, Finkelstein is a highly-skilled, offensive-minded defenseman with silky smooth hands and elite ability to see the ice and make the pass. The issue is that he rarely makes the simple pass and loves trying to stretch the ice and connect on a 30-footer. He has a great shot from the point both in his release and velocity which made him the highest scoring defenseman on KUA with a 7-18-25 line in 37 games as a sophomore. Our criticism is his defensive zone game -- he doesn’t mix it up much in the tough ice, lacks size, and watches the play instead of having an active stick and his head on a swivel. A late ’97 sophomore from South Burlington, we feel he has D-I potential as a highly-skilled offensive defenseman, especially for a team looking for a power play defenseman.
5. Kevin O'Leary (R, #6 White, Westminster, 6-2/172) -- O’Leary is a tall, somewhat lanky defenseman who showed very well in Hooksett. He is a bit under the radar due to the more-heralded players at Westy this past season but when playing with kids his own age he shines. A sophomore from New Canaan, Conn., O’Leary is a good skater, has a long reach, and isn’t afraid to stand someone up at the blue line. His puck skills are a bit raw and it takes him too long to get his shot off from the point but he is still growing into his frame.
6. William Carrabino (Red #2, Noble & Greenough, 6-0/205) -- Carrabino is a big, strong mobile defenseman who made some plays this weekend. A junior at Nobles, he can be a little stationary at times and watch the play instead of getting engaged in it. He is a good skater who is strong on his skates, is positionally sound, and has good size, so there’s upside to his game.
7. Trevor Cosgrove (L,#3 Red, Exeter, 5-11/170) – Cosgrove appears to get better every time we see him. The sophomore had a good finish to the year at Exeter, caught our eye a few weeks ago at the Beantown Classic and continued his strong play here at the Select Festival. He is tall and uses his stick well to break up passes and disrupt the attack. He moves well for his size, is fairly agile, and makes the simple play. Will need to fill out and get grittier to garner D-I attention but he’s well on his way.
8. Brendan Killoy (#2 Teal, Fairfield Prep, N/A) -- Great size and skating ability made him immediately noticeable. Killoy, a junior at Hendricken, is aggressive but does not play himself out of position. He can handle the puck and had several end-to-end rushes throughout the weekend. His stride is long and he’s surprisingly light on his skates despite the big frame. His shot from the point is not a rocket but he gets it off quickly and keeps it down. An under-the-radar prospect to keep an eye on. Headed to Avon in the fall.
9. Matthew Cousino (L, #3 White, Rice Prep, 6-0/155) -- Cousino is a highly athletic, instinctual defenseman with great upside. A smooth skater who has a versatile skill set, Cousino was hot and cold this weekend. He is a little weak and needs to get tougher and work on his shot from the point. However, the foundation is there for him to grow into his body and be a force on the blue line.
10. Peter Christie (L, #2 White, Exeter, 5-11/173) -- Christie is a great complement to Spenser Young, his defense partner at Exeter, because he is a reliable, smart defenseman who does all the little things well. A sophomore who has logged a lot of minutes the past two seasons at Exeter, Christie isn’t the flashiest guy on the ice, yet he gets the job done time after time. Had a solid showing here, shutting down some high-skill forwards and keeping the play to the outside. He’s physical when he needs to be, and plays within himself. He’s a player you really need to watch a lot to appreciate.