Select 17 Forwards: The Top 75, Ranked
The USA Hockey Select 17 Player Development Camp, held at the Northtown Center in Amherst, NY June 27-July 1, arrived on the heels of the NHL Draft, so a large number of NHL scouts poured into the rink to get early glimpses of the top US-born prospects for next summer's draft.
Our rankings are lengthy, so we'll break it up, starting today with the Top 75 forwards.
Within that group of 75 forwards, we've broken the players into smaller groups, similar to Central Scouting's A/B/C system. As for the All-Star game invitees and the subsequent selection of the 2015 U.S. Under-18 Select Team heading to the Czech Republic and Slovakia for the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament Aug. 10-15, we have left a key to highlight those players.
^ = All Star Game Selection * = USA U18 Hlinka Cup Selection
-- We have also noted how we ranked the players at summer 2014's Select 16 Camp. Those not invited or not ranked are denoted NR.
For the most part our list matches up pretty well with USA Hockey's but there were some notable exceptions. For example, we felt forward Collin Adams was a force – he was also tied for second in the tournament in points – but he didn't get an all-star game invite. Ditto for Sam Sternschein. And we're just talking forwards here.
Mitch Mattson and Eric Esposito are a couple of forwards whose play here we thought highly of. Each made the all-star teams, but not the final Hlinka squad.
1. Riley Tufte^* (#11 Red) 6'4.75"/205 lbs., L, Blaine (Minn.) HS –Tufte was our #1 forward at last summer's Select 16s and was once again preeminent. The 6'5" Minnesota-Duluth recruit has an NHL body, a long powerful stride, and a massive wingspan. He handles the puck well, going wide, stickhandling through traffic, or carrying it end to end. More physical than a year ago, Tufte has a strong net-front presence, finishes his checks, and wins scrums along the boards. He combines his size and strength with finesse, either using his hands and vision to draw defenders toward him, or just lowering his shoulder and driving the net. There are not many 6'5" kids who can skate, stickhandle, and shoot like Tufte. He is still raw, however, and at times gets too cute with the puck. He also lacks a finisher's touch and could develop more of a killer instinct. Tufte, the #1 overall pick in the 2014 USHL draft, will be with the Fargo Force this season. Last winter at Blaine he had a 29-34-63 line in 32 games. Here, he was 0-7-7. College: Minnesota-Duluth '16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #1
2. Garrett Wait^* (#12 Gold) 5'11.5"/163 lbs., L, Edina (Minn.) HS – Wait, the top scorer at last summer's Select 16s was the top scorer this summer at 17s, going 3-6-9 line. It's what he does. He's a high-skill, high-IQ player who can slow the game down and pick the defense apart with vision and delivery. He doesn't waste energy, isn't overly flashy, nor is he the first guy in on the forecheck. He waits, lets the play develop and then makes his move. He has smooth hands and a good burst of speed despite rarely maxing out. We saw no better passer all week. He reads the play and threads passes, tape-to-tape, with regularity. While he is a balanced skater, and tough to knock off the puck, he still needs to put on some muscle. He rarely wins battles in the corners, and we'd like to see him shoot the puck more when he has a chance. This past season at Edina HS, Wait led his team with a 25-50-75 line in only 29 games. College: Minnesota '16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #5
3. Timmy Gettinger^* (#8 Gold) 6'5"/205 lbs., L, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL) – Tall, lanky NHL prospect from the Cleveland suburbs has, over the past year, improved his stride. His skating is not graceful as he lacks coordination, but his hands are stick and effective. He plays on the perimeter a bit, but when he attacks the net and utilizes his powerful wrist and snap shot he is very effective. He has hockey sense and his finishing ability is superior. He needs to add strength, especially in his lower body but he has the upside to be an early pick in the 2016 draft. In his rookie season with the Greyhounds the former Cleveland Baron posted an impressive 10-15-25 line in 54 games. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #3
4. Patrick Harper^* (#10 Kelly Green) 5'7"/146 lbs., LC, Avon Old Farms –The most dynamic playmaker in the tournament, the 5'7" Harper has elite vision and hockey sense. He waits for plays to develop and then exploits the defense's weaknesses with quick passes and/or evasive stickhandling. A New Canaan, Connecticut native, Harper always has head up and feet moving. He makes defenders pay if they get out of position and start chasing him. He has a strong wrist shot and, when there are no passes to be made, he'll let it rip. Harper's hockey sense and awareness are exceptional and he was able to create chances nearly every shift among the nation's best. He's a savant: with the puck on his stick nobody here could touch him. As a sophomore at Avon last season Harper posted a 20-27-47 line in 22 games. He finished here with a 5-3-8 line over five games. College: Boston University '16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #29
5. William Knierim^* (#15 Gray) 6'2.5"/207 lbs., R, Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL) – Knierim was watched closely by NHL scouts, as he proved himself last winter, putting up a 16-19-35 line – and 98 pims – in 68 USHL games, making the jump from the Chicago Mission's U16 team almost seamless. A power forward, Knierim has imposing size, and is a long and powerful skater with an edge to his game. He'll drive the net with his feet moving and stick planted. Has a strong net-front presence and touch. Fought the puck at times trying to do too much, but below the hashmarks, where he can protect it and use his big body to attack the scoring areas, he excels. Knierim will need to improve his acceleration and agility to reach his full potential but he has a great shot, an NHL body and is physical. He returns to Dubuque for one more season before moving on to college. He compiled a 1-6-7 line here. College: Miami '16 (Was a 2nd round OHL draft pick – Owen Sound -- in 2014) -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #6
6. Mitchell Mattson^ (#8 Orange) 6'4"/156 lbs., L, Grand Rapids (Minn.) HS – An impressive combination of power and finesse, Mattson is strong on the puck and has precision passing ability. A 6'4" power forward, he likes to streak down the side, pull up just inside the offensive blue line, draw defensemen to him and then set up his linemates. Mattson, who is also tough along the wall, is a true center who can win draws, plays tough in front of his own goal, block shots and finish checks. NHL scouts were impressed with his size, playmaking ability, and 200-foot game. Mattson will play for Bloomington (USHL) in the upcoming season. He wasn't as productive here as we would have liked to see, posting an 0-2-2 line in five games but he did a lot of things away from the puck that firmly kept him in the top ten. College: North Dakota '16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #15
7. Henry Crone^* (#18 Red) 5'8.25"/153 lbs., L, Omaha Lancers (USHL) – Crone, a Dallas, Texas native, has soft, agile, and quick hands and can stickhandle his way out of any scrum he gets himself into. He's a creative, intuitive playmaker with a quick-release wrist shot and he's tougher in the corners than he gets credit for. At times, though, Crone lacked a high compete level and gave up on plays too easily. In 54 USHL games he had a 2-9-11 line. College: Boston University '16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #8
8. Kailer Yamamoto^* (#11 Kelly Green) 5'7.25"/140 lbs., R, Spokane Chiefs (WHL) – A late '98, Yamamoto played 68 games in major junior and put up an impressive 23-34-57 line. Even more impressive is the fact that he did that while coming in at under 5'8" and only 140 pounds. Yamamoto, whose older brother Keanu also plays for Spokane, is coy and slippery, with quick hands and an explosive first step. He'll bob and weave through traffic, juking and stickhandling, but he also has a keen sense of his surroundings. He uses teammates as screens, and uses the wall for indirect passes, even the back of the net. He can distribute or finish. He plays the game with pace and finesse. His size will limit him when it comes to the NHL discussion, but he has already proved himself as a young player in a tough league. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #7
9. John Leonard^* (#9 Gray) 5'10.5"/187 lbs., L, Springfield Cathedral – A strong skater with excellent puck possession skills, Leonard can win physical battles along the boards and in front of the net, but, with his smooth, strong hands, the puck sticks to his blade and he can cradle it through high traffic areas with ease. Leonard has a wide variety of moves he will use to beat defensemen in open ice, something he does with great frequency. After a dominant season with Springfield Cathedral, where he posted a 47-28-75 line in 25 games, Leonard will head west to suit up for the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) this season. His body language is not always up to snuff. It's an area he can work on. College: UMass-Amherst '16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #18
10. Casey Mittelstadt^* (#16 Kelly Green) 5'11.5"/192 lbs., L, Eden Prairie (Minn.) HS (late '98) – An intriguing prospect, Mittelstadt has flown under the radar due to playing bantam hockey his freshman year instead of high school. In his first year participating in the Development Camp, Mittelstadt was an immediate standout. He is strong and physical in the corners and along the boards, fights through checks, and has a strong net-front presence. Mittelstadt also has a great release and strength to both his snap and wrist shot. Most impressive, however, is his hockey sense. He reads his teammates and their movements – and the opposition – and will make quick, intelligent decisions with the puck. He is also a highly competent passer. In his first season at Eden Prairie he led the team in scoring as a sophomore with a 22-25-47 line in 25 games. College: Minnesota '17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
11. Hugh McGing^* (#10 Gold) 5'8.25/158 lbs., L, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (USHL) – A small, stocky high-energy player with a quick burst of speed and soft hands, McGing has a low center of gravity that enables him to fight through checks and take hits while propelling his feet past the d-man. He's dangerous in transition, being able to stop on a dime and instantly accelerate in the other direction. His puck possession skills are high end. He was setting up his teammates all week with quality scoring chances. Made the jump last fall from the Chicago Mission U16s to Cedar Rapids, where he played 54 games and posted an 11-8-19 line. College: Western Michigan '16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #20
12. Eric Esposito^ (#16 Gold) 5'10.25"/183 lbs., R, Loomis Chaffee – Esposito, who appears to get better every time we watch him, is strong, tough, and plays the game with hustle and energy. He hunts the puck, plays a physical brand of hockey, and outworks his opponents in the corners and around the net. On top of that, his skating has improved and his stickhandling is not only better, but he was consistently able to beat defensemen 1v1 in open ice. He has a bullet of a wrister and created several chances with cross-crease passes off the rush. West Haven, Conn. Native will head to Youngstown (USHL) this fall, forgoing his senior year at Loomis where he produced an 18-14-32 line in 27 games. Tied for second in points here with a 4-4-8 line in five games. College: UNH '17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #31
13. Sam Sternschein (#17 Kelly Green) 6'1.25"/196 lbs., R, NJ Avalanche U18 – Sternschein, nearly twenty pounds heavier than a year ago, has become far more physical, and is a much more powerful skater than a year ago. Long Island native, who is likely still growing into his body, is a power forward who uses his size and reach to protect the puck along the wall, and his speed and power to drive from the wall to the net. Sternschein can also carry the puck end-to-end and create scoring chances off the rush. He is headed to Tri City (USHL) in the fall. 2-2-4 on the week. College: Cornell '16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #10
14. Mitchel Lewandowski^ (#12 Forest) 5'9"/178, L, Honeybaked U18 – Lewandowski, who committed to Michigan State at 15, was an object of discussion among scouts and recruiters. Some feel he has not improved much over the past two years while others felt he was one of the top forwards on hand. We are somewhere in between. Lewandowski, who is short and stocky, is not a flashy skater but his hands are outstanding and he has a rocket of a slap shot. He does take some shifts off and will need to elongate his stride, but his hockey sense and puck-handling ability are high end. He finished the camp with a 2-5-7 line and will head to Des Moines (USHL) in the fall. College: Michigan St. '16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #19
15. Ethen Frank^ (#10 Black) 5'10"/176 lbs., R, Omaha AAA Lancers U16 – Frank does everything well. He's fast, balanced, strong on the puck, shoots with power and accuracy, is responsible defensively, supports the puck, and finds open ice very well. Frank, who had a mind-boggling 92-75-162 point season with the Omaha AAA U16s, finished here with a 3-2-5 line. A Nebraskan, he will play for the Lincoln Stars (USHL) this fall. College: Western Michigan '16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #36
16. Dominic Mersch^ (#15 Columbia) 5'11.25"/172 lbs., L, Chicago Mission U16 (late '98) – A strong, heavy-style player who grinds down opposing defensemen and has a strong net-front presence, Mersch led his team in scoring with a 4-3-7 line here. Mersch has a strong snap shot with a quick release, and drives the net fearlessly, keeping his stick on the ice hunting for rebound chances. A hard-nosed, physical competitor who is tough to defend, Mersch takes the body at every opportunity and uses his frame and strength to gain position on defensemen. He will play for Lincoln (USHL) this fall, and remains uncommitted. Brother Michael played for the Manchester Monarchs (AHL) last season after an All-American career at Wisconsin. College: Wisconsin '17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #16
17. Collin Adams (#18 Gray) 5'8.5"/172 lbs., L, Honeybaked U16 – Adams led a talented Honeybaked U16 squad in goals. He has plenty of finish in his game, with a quick release and an accurate shot. He always has his head up, surveying the goalie's position, and has a sturdy stick down low. He accelerates well in any direction, can pursue and control the puck, reads the play at full speed, and disrupted countless forechecks. Was among the top scorers here with a 6-2-8 line. College: North Dakota '16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #23
18. Christopher Grando^ (#9 Black) 5'7.5"/145 lbs., L, NJ Avalanche U18 – Grando, a heady player, was always around the puck here. Finds openings that few players see, and effortlessly threads passes through traffic or sauces it to space to spring a teammate. He lacks size and strength but makes up for it with quick decision-making and anticipation. He is able to reach full speed in only a few steps. At times the Long Island native was too perimeter and tried to force passes instead of going to the net. After a 120-point season in 70 games with the NJ Avalanche U18s, Grando will head west to play for the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL). College: Boston College '18 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #22
19. Mark Senden (#12 Royal) 5'10"/180 lbs., L, Wayzata (Minn.) HS – A compact, versatile forward, Senden doesn't stand out in any one area but does everything well. A three-zone player, he blocks shots, makes big open-ice hits, hunts down the puck on the forecheck, is strong on his skates, and can fire it. He isn't overly blessed with stick skills and creativity, but he plays the game with speed and purpose and can contribute in any situation. Senden only compiled one point here, and is undecided on his plans for the upcoming season. College: North Dakota '16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #13
20. Drake Rymsha^* (#17 White) 5'11.75"/187 lbs., R, London Knights (OHL) – A center from Michigan, Rymsha entered the tournament with a full OHL season under his belt. He is strong on his skates, can accelerate quickly from a standstill, and has a quick-release shot. He was able to produce a 4-4-8 line over five games and was a constant threat in the offensive zone. He will need to add another dimension to his game to be a top six forward in the OHL. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
21. Trenton Bliss (#9 Red) 6'0''/175 lbs., L, Appleton (Wisc.) United HS – Bliss had to play a lot of different roles this week as he lined up at both wings and played some center. He is tall, somewhat lanky in stature, but has soft hands, a long reach, and makes some beautiful passes. Bliss distinguishes himself through his focus in his own end. He is raw and lacks the lower body strength to accelerate quickly, but he thinks the game very well. Had a 1-2-3 line on the week. Is undecided as to his plans for next season. College: Wisconsin '17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR
22. Max Gerlach (#17 Black) 5'8"/162 lbs., R, Colorado Thunderbirds U16 – Gerlach came to camp after a dominant season in the Tier 1 Elite League for the Colorado Thunderbirds, one of the country's top U16 teams. It took him a while to get going here and he never really found a rhythm. For stretches he showcased his slippery hands and quick, powerful snap shot but overall he was not at his best. He will report to the Fargo Force (USHL) in the fall. College: North Dakota '16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #4
23. Benjamin Lown^* (#8 Columbia) 5'6"/145 lbs., R, Colorado Thunderbirds U16 – A small, smart player who plays a complete game. Despite his frame, he skates with a low center of gravity and shields the puck well from defenders. California native has an explosive first step and a high degree of hockey sense and shifty footwork. He keeps his feet moving but is never in a rush, he sees the ice, and he makes excellent passes. He remains undecided about where he will play the upcoming season. 1-3-4 line over five games here. College: Miami '17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #24
24. Jacob Nielsen (#15 Royal) 5'11.25"/176 lbs., L, Milwaukee Jr. Admirals – Nielsen is every coach's dream -- an honest, hard-working, reliable guy who never quits on the play. He combines grit, hockey sense, and balance to be effective in all three zones and in man-up or man-down situations. He led the Junior Admirals in points this past season with a 37-33-70 line in 50 games and also played nine games with the Chicago Steel (USHL), producing two goals and an assist. Nielsen is strong on his skates and stick, shows poise carrying the puck, and has a powerful shot. He will sacrifice his body to block shots and take a hit to make a play. He will play for the Steel again. College: St. Lawrence '17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR
25. Christopher Berger^* (#9 Gold) 5'7.75"/158 lbs., L, Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL) – Berger has a multi-faceted skill set and can help a team in a variety of ways. He stays on the defensive side of the puck in scrums, blocks shots, finishes checks, and pursues the puck with speed and grit. Once he has possession, he can make plays with both his feet and his hands and is constantly in attack mode, putting a lot of pressure on opposing defenseman. He showed poise and vision on the power play, drawing in the opposition and getting the puck to the open guy. He had a 2-5-7 line for the week. Will likely return to the Buffalo Jr. Sabres. College: Brown '16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #50
26. Jack Kopacka^ (#12 Orange) 6'1.75"/180 lbs., L, Compuware U16 – Kopacka has a tall frame, graceful hands, and a strong shot that he gets off fluidly in stride. He is still a bit raw. His skating needs work and he lacks lower-body strength, but his stick skills and shooting combined with his size make him interesting. We aren't as high on him as others as he lacks the consistent physicality it takes to be a power forward at the next level, and his speed is only so-so. He will head to the Soo Greyhounds (OHL) this fall. Had a 3-1-4 scoring line here. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #9
27. John Wojciechowski^ (#10 Forest) 6'3.5"/203 lbs., R, New Jersey Rockets (EHL) –A big 6'4" uncommitted prospect, Wojciechowski showed an improved stride and speed. He competes at both ends, has a long reach, and a nice touch on his passes. He isn't a natural puck carrier or scorer but his hands are fairly agile and he has a wide cradle which throws defensemen off balance. He will report to Omaha (USHL) in the fall and could find himself with college offers soon. He was only 2-0-2 here, but stood out in every game. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #27
28. Mitchell Chaffee^ (#10 Red) 5'11"/196 lbs., R, Honeybaked U16 – Chaffee, one of the most productive newcomers to National Camp, is a tough, rugged power forward who wins scrums and is difficult to knock off the puck. Michigan native plays a hard style, fighting through checks, and blasting the puck when he sees an opening. He at times takes the wrong pursuit angle and doesn't always make smart decisions. Overall, he's a mix of ability and hustle. Posted a 3-1-4 line here. He's currently uncommitted but we don't believe that will last for long. He's an ideal 2nd-3rd line forward who is tough to play against. He will head to Bloomington (USHL) this fall. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/ 1ST Camp
29. Jamie Armstrong (#17 Forest) 6'0"/183 lbs., L, Avon Old Farms – A strong, two-way, pro-style forward who is still growing into his frame. The son of St. Louis Blues Director of Scouting Bill Armstrong, Jamie is not a graceful skater nor is he overly skilled with the puck, but he is balanced and tough in the corners, strong on his stick, and tough to knock off the puck. He was physically engaged every shift and has underrated vision and hockey IQ. He is still on the raw side. College: Northeastern '16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #21
30. Khristian Acosta (#16 Orange) 5'7"/160 lbs., R, NJ Hitmen U18 – Acosta is having quite a summer, following up his standout performance at the Liberty Bell Games with another strong showing here. Acosta has a great burst of speed, and can draw defenders toward him before hitting another gear and flying right past. His speed and acceleration make him dangerous anywhere on the ice, but he complements his skill with grittiness. He's a bit on the small side but was one of the top uncommitted prospects here. He led the Orange team in points with a 4-3-7 line. He will return to the Jersey Hitmen this fall and play for either their Premier or U18 team. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
31. Phillip Knies (#12 Columbia) 5'8.25"/176 lbs., L, Colorado Thunderbirds U16 – The 1st round draft pick by Sioux City (USHL) is a quick-strike player with a great burst of speed. He's a persistent and physical forechecker who plays the game with pace and energy. Phoenix, Arizona native has a touch around the net, but is also a perimeter playmaker who can thread pucks to the slot to create chances. Has made great strides playing for the Colorado Thunderbirds over the past season, finishing with a 52-49-101 line in 63 games. Here, he posted a 3-2-5 line. While he plans to head to Sioux City this fall, he was also a high draft pick in the WHL (4th round to Kamloop Blazers). 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR
32. Matthew Koopman (#14 Gold) 5'9.75"/166 lbs., L, Berkshire School – Koopman is fast, fluid and has the ability to maintain speed while carrying the puck – and he had his fair share of puck possession time here. His hands are serviceable but he found himself getting stripped quite a bit early on while trying to stickhandle through the opposition. As the week went on he used his speed and shot more to his advantage scoring five of his goals over the last three games. Koopman, a Marblehead, Mass. native, will return to Berkshire this fall. Had a 6-0-6 line here. College: Northeastern '17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR
33. Logan Drevitch (#18 Kelly Green) 5'9.25"/162 lbs., L, Boston Bandits U18 – Drevitch is fun to watch. He competes from start to finish every shift, has a great burst of speed, and plays with an edge. He brings versatility, as he could be either a third line energy guy or a first line producer. He's light and quick on his feet, has a strong shot, and doesn't overexpose the puck or try and make fancy plays in open ice. He'll rely on his speed and grit to make simple plays. Is always on the attack. Had a 1-3-4 line here. College: Merrimack '17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #47
34. Michael Fahie (#11 Columbia) 5'8.5"/140 lbs., R, Noble & Greenough School – At 140 pounds, Fahie may not look like much but he can really skate, has an explosive pivot, and reaches top speed in only a few steps. Also used changes of speed as effectively as anyone else here. He was a bit perimeter in the early going but gained confidence during the week and began carrying the puck and creating chances. He has the ability to find his teammates on the ice while at full speed, and put the puck on their stick. Fahie will return to Nobles in the fall, where he had an 8-24-32 line 26 contests last winter. College: Brown '17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #30
35. Kyle Moore^ (#8 Red) 5'11.5"/209 lbs., R, Powassan Voodoos (NOJHL) – Moore, a former TPH Thunder player from Indian Trail, North Carolina, is coming off a productive year in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, leading his team with a 25-36-61 line in 47 games. He is a thick, strong-bodied player who likes to initiate contact to create time and space. He lacks quickness and agility but has a powerful north-south stride and a soft set of hands. He looks the part of the head-down, drive-the-net type, but he plays more of a playmaker style in the open ice and hardens his game in the corners and in front of the net. Had a 1-6-7 line here. Played three games with the North Bay Battalion (OHL) last season. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR
36. Cole Gallant (#10 Columbia) 5'9.75"/170 lbs., R, Honeybaked U18 – Gallant had a slow start. He was no factor in his first game but went on to post a 3-3-6 line over the next four games. He skates low to the ice giving him balance and explosiveness despite only average long-range speed. He has silky-smooth hands and a powerful wrist shot. Dover, Florida native is a high IQ player who is able to find pockets in the defense and use that time and space to find passing lanes. He was a 2nd round USHL draft pick to Fargo but also a 4th round pick to Guelph (OHL) and he remains uncertain as to his plans for the upcoming season. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #17
37. Matt Gosiewski (#9 Forest) 6'3.75"/215 lbs., L, Millbrook School – An intriguing prospect who was popular among some NHL scouts for his size and puck skill, Gosiewski has impressive mobility for a big man. In addition, he controls the puck well so he is tough to defend against. However, while he has many of the tools to be a top-flight player at the next level, he's unassertive away from the puck and lacks the compete level and toughness to be a true power forward. He was too perimeter here and didn't use his size and strength along the wall or in front of the net. Is coming off a productive year in the New England Prep ranks where he led Millbrook with a 9-27-36 line in 33 games. He had a 1-4-5 line here. College: Harvard '17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #60
37. Shaun Bily (#14 Red) 5'10"/175 lbs., L, Erie Otters (OHL) – Bily played in the NJ Titans organization and was committed to Northeastern before going major junior. A crafty playmaker type, he doesn't skate particularly well but makes up for it by being smart and decisive with the puck. Bily plays a tough game and excels in small areas where he can initiate contact and make quick moves and tricky passes through traffic. He had a 2-4-6 line over five games. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
38. Brandon Puricelli (#17 Gray) 5'9"/170 lbs., R, Victory Honda U16 – Victory Honda's leading scorer last season may be small but he holds his own in the corners and along the boards. He creates a lot of offense with slick hands, delivering tape-to-tape passes. He shows a good burst, especially in transition, and he plays with an edge, finishing all his checks. His shot is underrated, especially his slap shot, and if he has a lane to the net he doesn't hesitate. One of the top uncommitted forwards in the camp. Had a 2-4-6 line. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #52
39. Jack Badini (#18 White) 5'11.75"/191 lbs., L, Lincoln Stars (USHL) – This was the Harvard recruit's first time at the National Festival. He is a different player after his time in the USHL. He appears to have lost a step in acceleration and speed, but gained strength and size. He controls the puck well, makes effortless passes and has a good touch around the net. Old Greenwich, Conn. native had a 4-3-7 line here. College: Harvard '17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1ST Camp
40. Joey Kubachka (#14 Columbia) 6'2.5"/204 lbs., L, Philadelphia Jr. Flyers U18 – A big, raw power forward who protects the puck well and is a four-tool shooter (backhander, wrister, snap shot, slap shot). He uses his reach and size in the defensive zone and in front of the net. However, Kubachka was only noticeable in spurts as the speed of the game was an adjustment for him. He's still a project. Is undecided as to his plans for the fall. Finished the week here with only one assist in his five games. College: Cornell '17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #34
41. Montgomery Graham (#15 Kelly Green) 5'10.75"/166 lbs., R, Thayer Academy – Graham was good, but not great. The back-and-forth, up-and-down, unorganized style of play that these festivals engender do not showcase his ability. Graham is an honest, three-zone center who has good hockey sense and a scorer's blade. He is not a game changer with his speed or hands but they are good enough to get the job done. He was a productive 2-3-5 in five games here. College: Boston College '17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR
42. Jon Russell ( #17 Columbia) 5'9.75"/156 lbs., R, Victory Honda U18 – Russell, who committed to Harvard only days after the tournament, has an explosive skating style and is a high-end shooter. He scored one of the nicest goals in the tournament with a bar-down snipe from outside. He used his hustle and speed to spring for breakaways and separate from defenseman in the offensive zone, making himself a constant scoring threat. He's from upstate Michigan and played for Traverse City HS in '12-13 before moving on to Compuware U16 and Victory Honda U18 in subsequent years. Was selected in the 2nd round of this spring's USHL draft by Des Moines but is uncertain as to where he will play the upcoming season. 3-1-4 line over five games here. College: Harvard'17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR
43. Evan Wisocky (#16 Black) 5'10.25"/188 lbs., R, NJ Avalanche U18 – A strong, sturdy two-way forward with swift hands and a quick shot, Wisocky had the benefit of playing with Chris Grando, his regular-season linemate. The two looked great when paired, but Wisocky can also create offense on his own. He forechecks hard, finishes his checks, and is tough to play against. A multi-purpose player at the next level, Wisocky will head to Sioux City (USHL) this fall. College: UConn '18 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #12
44. Casey Gilling (#14 Kelly Green) 5'11.25"/180 lbs., R, Omaha AAA Lancers U16 – Gilling has a good frame and excels below the hash marks where he is quick for his size and protects the puck well. Northern Michigan native likes to attack the slot out of corners either by himself or with quick cross-crease passes. He wasn't as noticeable as his stats may indicate but he certainly knows where to be on the ice, and is an economical puck handler with a touch around the net. He will head to Muskegon (USHL) this fall. Finished the week with a 3-3-6 line over five games. College: Northern Michigan '17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
45. Ty Amonte (#8 Royal) 5'9.5"/156 lbs., R, Thayer Academy – Amonte has always played the game with a high compete level, hustle, and grit. However, his puck possession skills and skating ability have improved and his hockey sense and vision are mature for his age. He made a beautiful back door saucer pass that only a handful of kids in the camp would have even seen, let alone getting it over two sticks and landing it perfectly on a linemate's stick. Amonte is not a pretty skater and looks thin on the ice. However, he's stronger than he looks and is plenty tough. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #42
46. Austen Long^ (#8 White) 5'10.5"/168 lbs., R, Omaha AAA Lancers U16 – Long is a tough, rugged, two-way center who thrives in the trenches. He plays the game with a high level of physicality and is a relentless puck pursuer. He showed flashes of offensive ability with a highlight reel bar-down goal in stride but he wasn't a consistent offensive threat. He is an ideal penalty killer and energy role player who can chip in offense at the next level. A native of Blaine, Minn., he's headed to Tri-City (USHL). Had a 2-1-3 line over five games on the week. College: Colorado College '17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
47. Matthew Jakubowski (#15 Black) 5'10"/168 lbs., L, Buffalo Jr. Sabres U16 (late '98) – Earlier this year, we saw Jakubowski at the Tier 1 Championships in Blaine, Minn. where he was outstanding for the Buffalo Jr. Sabres. But he was only a shade of that here. He has some speed and grit to his game, and isn't afraid to go into the corners. He was able to produce a 2-2-4 line over five games but didn't show the offensive flare we had seen from him before. College: Penn State '17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #49
48. Justin Cmunt (#18 Royal) 5'9.5"/165 lbs., L, Buffalo Jr. Sabres 20U – Cmunt had a bit of a slow start to the week, but found his stride, scoring in each of his final two games. He's a pass first guy who plays the game with a lot of pace, gets his nose dirty, and competes at both ends of the ice. He will head to Youngstown (USHL) next season. Was 2-0-2 on the week. College: Union '17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR
49. Nick Lund (#18 Black) 5'8.75"/169 lbs., R, Grand Forks Central HS (late '98) – North Dakota native, at his first national camp, scored five goals and added two assists here. Lund has a quick and agile stick, capitalizes on his scoring chances and is a willing team player who blocks shots and takes hits in order to extend a play. He competes at both ends and is able to buy extra time and space with his hands. Lund is uncommitted and undecided as to his future. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
50. Michael Maloney (#14 Royal) 5'9"/174 lbs., R, Team Illinois U18 – A speedster who looks to be still growing, Maloney wasn't at his best, only mustering one goal. He showed flashes when he'd get the puck in the neutral zone, fly down the wall, and make a nice centering pass, but was pretty quiet overall. He will report to Chicago Steel (USHL) this fall. College: Brown '16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #26
51. Dante Palecco (#9 Orange) 5'10.5"/176 lbs., L, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL) – Palecco made the Muskegon (USHL) squad as a 16 year old, jumping up from the LI Gulls U16s. That said, Palecco could be a case of someone leaving too early for that level as he played in only 32 games, registering one goal and one assist. He wasn't assertive here and looked to have lost the swagger we saw from a year prior. Palecco has great shooting ability, a smooth stride, and good hands. He scored two nice goals but other than that he wasn't a factor. He will return to Muskegon this fall. College: Yale '16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #43
52. Joseph Abate (#16 Red) 6'0.25"/164 lbs., L, Chicago Mission U16 – A tall, lanky, raw prospect, has special awareness and plays instinctively with or without the puck. He gets knocked off the puck easily and his reach is long but weak. However, he has a nice catch and shoot, he gets himself in quality areas to score goals and make plays, and he will surely fill into his frame with time. He had a 1-2-3 line in his first National Camp. College: Wisconsin '18 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
53. Nolan Walker (#14 Black) 5'9"/156 lbs., R, Culver Academy U16 (late '98) – The Anchorage, Alaska native, who performed well at last year's camp, is a smart, crafty playmaker in the offensive zone, with tricky moves and a quick stick. He wasn't overly productive in his week here, posting a 1-1-2 line. He will return to Culver after a strong U16 campaign in which he notched 19 goals and 25 assists in 36 games. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #35
54. Alexander Drobot (#9 Columbia) 5'8.5"/172 lbs., L, NJ Rockets (EHL) – Drobot was quiet for most of the week. He has great hockey sense as he reads the play, makes the right pass or anticipates where the puck is going. And he gets himself in good scoring positions. He lacks size and a dynamic edge to his offense but he is a balanced skater, has a quality wrist shot and a sneaky toe-drag that he beat several defenseman with. Undecided about the upcoming season. He was drafted by Sioux Falls (USHL) and the Austin Bruins (NAHL). 1-1-2 line on the week. College: Maine '16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #37
55. Jasper Weatherby (#10 Gray) 6'2.5"/203 lbs., L, Omaha AAA U16 – A big-framed 6'3" prospect, Weatherby moves well for his size and showed patience and sturdiness around the net. He's raw and a bit uncoordinated, but he made some really nice passes. Had a 2-5-7 line on the week. For the Ashland, Oregon native, it was his first time at National Camp. Undecided about his landing spot next season. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
56. Liam Murphy^ (#11 Black) 6'0.25"/211 lbs., L, Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL) – Connecticut native and ex-Avon Old Farms forward has added size and strength since our last viewing, making him stronger on the puck and adding velocity to his shot. He needs to improve his footwork and overall speed. We'd like to see more physical play, too. 3-1-4 on the week. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #46
57. Gregory Printz (#17 Orange) 6'1.75"/196 lbs., L, Selects Academy U16 – The third-leading scorer on a talented Selects Academy U16 team, Printz uses his size and reach to advantage, has a quick release and heavy shot, and a strong net drive. He is a better passer than he gets credit for and has soft hands around the crease. His stride lacks smoothness, although it's better than it was earlier in the season. He needs to improve his agility and coordination. Overall, the power forward has improved a lot over the past year and this was a solid showing for his first National Camp. He's a native of Fairfax, Virginia. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
58. Jack Gates (#15 Orange) 5'7"/151 lbs., R, Anaheim Jr. Ducks 16U – Gates, from Oceanside, Calif., is a small, wiry, high-motor prospect who plays a perimeter game, using his quickness and agility to open up passing lanes. He plays with energy and isn't afraid to go into the corners. Needs to add some strength and another dimension to his offensive game, but he was productive here with a 2-2-4 line. Gates hopes to play for Cedar Rapids (USHL) this upcoming season. College: Colorado College '17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR
59. Max Johnson (#17 Royal) 5'9.5"/190 lbs., R, Lakeville North (Minn.) HS – Johnson has a thick, sturdy build which allows him to fight through checks and win puck battles. He is smooth but not fast, and plays a controlled style, slowing the game down and letting plays develop in front of him. Controls the puck well, and protects it in high-traffic areas. Had an 0-2-2 line here. Will return to Lakeville North next season. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #58
60. Justin Dixson (#17 Red) 5'10.25"/168 lbs., L, Anaheim Jr. Ducks – Dixson led the Jr. Ducks in points this past season with a 66-44-110 line in 66 games. While he's a pure goal scorer with a potent shot and fluid release, his skating is only average. Had a 1-2-3 scoring line here. A Sunnyvale, Calif. Native, Dixson is undecided about his plans for the coming season. College: UMass Amherst '17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR
61. Kaden Pickering (#12 White) 5'9"/165 lbs., R, Northwood School Junior Team (late '98) – Last year Pickering was among the leading scorers in the tournament, but was missing his mojo this time around, finishing the week with only two assists. A cerebral playmaker who has vision and poise with the puck, he was not able to get himself to high-quality scoring areas and was taken off the puck too often. College: St. Lawrence '17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #25
62. Zachary Risteau (#8 Gray) 5'7.5"/156 lbs., L, Benilde-St. Margaret's (Minn.) HS – Another Minnesota high school product who made a splash this week, posting a 1-2-3 line in five games. Terrific skater who always keeps his feet moving and moves the puck quickly. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #57
63. Lucas Sowder (#17 Gold) 5'10"/150 lbs., L, Florida Alliance (late '98) – Unknown to us prior to this week, Sowder is light on his feet, has serviceable hands and excellent vision and passing ability. Florida native is undecided about where he'll play this season. Produced an 0-6-6 line here. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/ 1st Camp
64. Marcus Dickerson (#15 Forest) 5'9"/200 lbs., R, Mississauga Steelheads (OHL) – Short and stocky, Dickerson is strong on the puck and even stronger on his skates. Wins battles and has a rocket of a wrist shot. Wasn't a constant force but managed three goals over five games. New Jersey native played at Selects Academy before going major junior. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #38
65. Casey Carreau (#14 White) 5'8.25"/165 lbs., R, Thayer Academy – Carreau continues to improve his game, showing speed in open ice and reliable play in all three zones. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
66. Justin Bofshever (#18 Forest) 5'10"/181 lbs., R, Boston Bandits U18 – A 5'10" power forward from Coconut Creek, Florida, Bofshever had a productive 3-3-6 line on the week and showed flashes of upside. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
67. Jared Resseguie (#8 Kelly Green) 5'11.25"/156 lbs., R, Rocky Mountain Roughriders 16U – A tall, thin prospect who had his moments, Resseguie is athletic, has poise around the goalmouth and an accurate shot. Finished the week with a 4-1-5 line at his first National Camp. Will play for Bismarck (NAHL) this season. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
68. Samuel Field (#10 Royal) 6'0.25"/182 lbs., R, Kingston Frontenacs (OHL) – Field, who left Choate for the OHL after a sophomore year in which he had a 1-3-4 line in 28 games, played in 57 games for the Kingston Frontenacs last winter, registering only two goals. Field has good size, is strong along the wall, and had a productive week with a 3-1-4 line. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #56
69. John Hoey (#11 Gray) 5'11"/188 lbs., R, Choate – Hoey had a slow start with only one assist through his first four games. He has soft hands, made some nice centering passing from the edges, and has good puck protection skills. He just never found his groove here. He'll return to Choate this fall. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #59
70. Garrett Klee (#18 Gold) 6'0.25"/165 lbs., L, Colorado Thunderbirds U16 – Tall and lanky, Klee, the son of former Bowling Green and NHL defenseman Ken Klee, has a long stride and north-south speed. Undecided about the upcoming season. Finished the week with a 1-3-4 line. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
71. Joshua Dunne (#11 Forest) 6'3.25"/183 lbs., L, St. Louis AAA Blues U18 (late '98) – A tall, lanky high-potential prospect who was a 2014 first round pick by Green Bay (USHL). He still has a long way to go but his 6'3" frame and athleticism keep him on the radar despite little production here. Had a 1-1-2 line on the week. Brother of Jincy Dunne, top 18-year-old women's player. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #53
72. Jake Walker (#16 White) 5'7"/151 lbs., L, TPH Thunder U16 – We were expecting a little more out of Walker after a strong festival last year. A small, speedy, clever player from Marietta, Georgia, Walker is dangerous in transition because of his acceleration and change of direction. He excelled on the power play where he had the time and space to pick the defense apart with precision passes. He wasn't consistent playing 5v5. Posted a 1-2-3 line. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR
73. Christian Sabin (#10 Orange) 5'10.5''/176 lbs., R, Victory Honda – Has decent size and good vision. Can make quick decisions with the puck because he knows where it's going before it hits his stick. A subtle 1-2-3 line on the week. We think he will get better with time and is an underrated prospect worth watching. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
74. Thomas Parrottino (#16 Royal) 5'11"/156 lbs., L, Little Caesar's U16 – The leading scorer for Caesar's this past season with a 26-25-51 line in 46 games, Parrottino is a heads-up player who knows where to be. Posted a 3-3-6 line. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
75. Grant Reichenbacher (#11 Orange) 5'8.5"/145 lbs., R, Madison Edgewood (Wisc.) HS/Team Wisconsin – A small, shifty, quick forward who always has his feet moving and tough to contain in the open ice. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
‘00s at the World Selects Invite: Our Top 50
USHR traveled down to the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, NJ this past weekend to take in the ’00 World Selects Invite. The tournament, one of many run by Legacy Global Sports, a Portsmouth, NH-based agency that runs international tournaments across North America and Europe, featured thirteen teams: nine from North America, and four from Europe (Finland, Sweden, Latvia and Norway).
The quality of play was excellent, and the talent level quite high. It’s fair to say that a batch of future college, CHL, and European professionals were on hand -- and likely a good number of NHL draft picks as well.
Unfortunately, one of those potential high-end prospects, Shattuck-St. Mary’s forward TJ Walsh, was injured in the first game and did not return.
The Flyers Skate Zone was a good venue for viewing games, and a bonus to the weekend was the opportunity to look in on the Flyers’ Prospect Camp going on in the other rink. Defenseman Ivan Provorov, who the Flyers took in the first round (#7 overall), was a standout.
The rankings below, our Top 50, are comprised of 32 forwards, 12 defensemen, and six goalies. The rankings are a combination of performance over the weekend and projections for the next level, with our focus being on the latter. Twenty-one of the players in Voorhees will also be up in Buffalo for the USA Select 15 Player Development Camp starting today in Amherst, NY. Those players are denoted with a caret, i.e ^. Players marked with an asterisk played in the tournament’s all-star game, which was held on Friday night -- after the first round of games but before the playoffs.
The USHR All-Tournament Team:
Forwards: Lucas Wernblom (Sweden Selects), Oliver Wahlstrom (Sweden Selects) and Matthias-Emilio Pettersen (East Coast Ontario)
Defensemen: Bode Wilde (Hockey Essentials) and Matthias Samuelsson (East Coast Ontario)
Goalie: Jesper Myrenberg (Sweden Selects)
1. Oliver Wahlstrom^* (#97, Sweden Selects) Shattuck St-Mary's, 6-0/180 -- The recent University of Maine decommit – his initial commitment, made when he was 13 and in the seventh grade, should never have happened in the first place -- had a very strong weekend. His skill set is as refined as many of the great ones at his age. His skating ability, both with and without the puck, is nearly flawless, and his upper body remains completely quiet, a rare skill at his age. Wahlstrom showcased his gritty side by throwing a few bone-crunching hits. He was the MVP of the tournament’s all-star game, scoring a hat trick and adding an assist. There are only a couple of knocks on Wahlstrom at this point: his competiveness is inconsistent, and he doesn’t always make that extra bit of effort required to get the puck into scoring areas. For example, right now he can get away with taking low-percentage shots – and still beat goalies unaccustomed to the pace. A top candidate for the NTDP next season. BU and BC are both said to be heavily in the hunt for Wahlstrom. He’s a difference-maker. (8-7-15 in 7 GP)
2. Lucas Wernblom* (#91, Sweden Selects) Modo Hockey, 5-8/155 -- The captain of the Sweden Selects and son of former Swedish pro Magnus Wernblom is one of the top 15-year-old goal scorers this typist has ever seen: in seven games here, he lit the lamp 14 times, and was named tournament MVP. A terrific skater in all directions and very hard on the puck, Wernblom constantly created turnovers in the offensive zone, and was difficult to knock off the puck once he gained possession. Plays at a high tempo, and competes in all three zones. Wernblom is a genuine talent who could be a high NHL draft pick in three years, especially if he can grow to his father’s height of 6’0”. He and Wahlstrom were the clearcut top two forward prospects here. (14-2-16 in 7 GP)
3. Mathias-Emilio Pettersen* (#20, East Coast Selects Ontario) Selects Academy, 5-9/160 -- One of the toughest forwards for defenders to contain in this tournament, the Oslo, Norway native is as shifty as they come, and can distribute the puck with nearly nothing in the way of time and space. He has a nice release to his snap shot, which he used to score four goals in one game against the Militia. His lateral agility is second to none for this age, and he has a burst of speed that allows him to create separation through the neutral zone. (8-11-19, 7 GP)
4. Joel Farabee^* (#86, East Coast Selects Ontario) Selects Academy, 5-9/145 – Farabee, a UNH fall ’19 commit, has hit a notable growth spurt since our last viewing, and it hasn't slowed him down in the least. The native of Cicero, NY, a Syracuse suburb, has a nice stride and a true understanding of spacing in the offensive zone. Was a constant distributor both off the rush and in settled offensive zone situations. Had an 8-25-33 line in 28 games with the Selects Academy 16Us last winter. (4-15-19, 7 GP)
5. Patrick Giles^* (#19, East Coast Selects Ontario) Baltimore Skipjacks, 6-3/175 -- Big power forward is a good skater for his size and age, but isn't great laterally. He uses his frame to protect the puck well along the wall. Has a plus shot and a nice touch in tight areas that allow him to make intricate passes. The right-shot center played for a loaded Richmond Generals squad last season, and will be staying home in Maryland this year to play for the Skipjacks. A likely candidate for next year's NTDP squad. (4-9-13, 7 GP)
6. Nathan Dunkley* (#27, Pro Hockey Bochner) Quinte Red Devils, 5-11/165 -- Gritty forward from Campbellford, Ontario reminded us of a young Ryan Kesler. He has the ability to get under opponents’ skin, but he has the puck skill to be a big point producer. Has excellent hands, and was toe-dragging his way through and around multiple defenders all weekend. (6-5-11, 8 GP)
7. Robert Mastrosimone (#94, Hockey Essentials) Shattuck St-Mary's, 5-8/140 '01 -- The only '01 in the tournament had quite a showing. The East Islip, NY native posted a 4-1-5 scoring line in the play-in game against the East Coast Quebec team. A truly dynamic player with four-way skating ability and remarkable vision, Mastrosimone likes to work from below the goal line on the power play, and is a dangerous playmaker from that area. Will be a top player on a very strong team at Shattuck in the upcoming season. (4-3-7, 6 GP)
8. Linus Skager* (#88, Sweden Selects) Forshaga IF, 5-8/135 -- The Karlstd, Sweden product is a shifty playmaker who is dangerous off the rush and on the power play. Is willing to drive to the net; uses his lateral movement to terrorize defenders. It didn’t hurt that he was playing alongside Wahlstrom and Wernblom, two of the best shooters in the tournament. (2-8-10, 7 GP)
9. Samuel Salonen* (#27, Finland Selects) Jokerit, 6-2/190 – At 6’2”, he looks like a pro prospect already. A strong skater with a powerful lower body, Salonen finishes his checks along the wall, and has a heavy shot he is able to blow by goaltenders. Don't be surprised to see The Espoo, Finland native suiting up for Finland in the World Juniors in a couple of years. (5-2-7, 7 GP)
10. Tyler Weiss^* (#86, Pro Hockey Bochner) Don Mills Flyers, 5-11/150 – Raleigh, NC native playing for the Don Mills Flyers likes having the puck on his stick and has the ability to turn defenders inside out if they start to chase him. Has good straight away speed and lateral agility. (2-4-6, 8 GP)
11. Wyllum Deveaux (#11 Pro Hockey Bochner) Don Mills Flyers, 6-1/165 – Sackville, Nova Scotia native will be returning to the Don Mills Flyers for another season in the GTHL. Has a high hockey IQ and a pair of hands that allows him to control the puck below the goal line. Rumored to be more interested in taking the NCAA route than the CHL. If so, Deveaux will be a sure-fire Div. I player. (2-3-5, 8 GP)
12. Blade Jenkins^* (#49, East Coast Selects Ontario) Compuware, 5-11/170 -- The University of Michigan ’18 recruit has a powerful lower body that allows him to use his skating to create separation with ease. Has a powerful shot and nice hands. Can make plays both in tight areas and off the rush. Is the son of Todd Jenkins, a forward at the University of Maine in the ‘80s and a teammate of Oliver Wahlstrom’s dad, Joakim. (4-4-8, 7 GP)
13. Erik Middendorf^* (#15, East Coast Kings) Phoenix Jr. Coyotes, 6-0/165 – A two-way forward from Scottsdale, Arizona, Middendorf is a solid skater in all directions, both with and without the puck. Has a good hockey IQ, and is excellent with his back pressure when tracking back through the neutral zone. Equally capable of shooting or passing the puck in tight areas. Erik is the son of big forward Max Middendorf, a New Jersey Rockets standout of the ’80s who went major junior and was selected in the third round of the 1985 NHL draft. (3-3-6, 6GP)
14. Eric Guest* (#61, Pro Hockey Gagner) London Jr. Knights, 5-9/150 -- According to OHL scouts, Guest is one of the most talented forwards in the London area. He can really shoot it, and uses his skating ability to beat defenders off the rush. Didn't have a great supporting cast around him this weekend, but was still able to showcase his ability on numerous occasions. (4-0-4, 6 GP)
15. Jacob Goldowski^* (#80, East Coast Selects Quebec) Wilkes-Barre Knights U16, 6-5/175 -- The 6’5” Thornhurst, Penn. native and Penn State ’18 recruit has the frame scouts love and opponents hate. However, he struggled for most of the weekend, partly because he was on a weaker team, but primarily because his feet looked slow and his stride was awkward. He appears to be in the midst of another growth spurt, and we expect he will get his coordination back in due time. Interesting prospect. (1-1-2, 5 GP)
16. Anderson MacDonald* (#20, Pro Hockey Bochner) Saint John Major Midget Vitos, 6-1/185 -- A good-sized forward from Quispamsis, New Brunswick who will be playing for the Saint John Vitos this winter. He can get up and down the ice in a hurry, and packs a lethal shot off the rush. Tends to cheat a bit offensively, but is also willing to play the body on the forecheck. (7-2-9, 8 GP)
17. Aidan Dudas (#77, Pro Hockey Bochner) North Central Predators, 5-8/150 -- A hardworking, honest player from Parry Sound Ontario. Competes hard every shift, finishes his checks along the walls, and has the poise to make plays. Rarely flashy when taking the puck into the zone, he simply makes good plays, and finds open ice to exploit defenses. (5-4-9, 8 GP)
18. Kevin Wall (#87, Pro Hockey Bochner) Syracuse Nationals, 5-11/170 – Wall isn't overly flashy with the puck, but has the ability to find soft spots in the offensive zone to get his deadly shot off. Will be staying home to play for the Syracuse Nationals this year. (6-3-9, 8 GP)
19. Calen Keifuik^* (#13, Hockey Essentials) Honeybaked, 5-10/170 -- Another high-end forward from a deep Honeybaked squad, the Sterling Heights, Michigan native can really shoot it. Knows how to get open by using his timing and quick release to blast pucks past goalies. Not only does Keifuik possess straight-line speed, he also moves well laterally. (5-0-5, 6 GP)
20. Ross Mitton^ (#91 Hockey Essentials) NJ Avalanche, 5-11/175 -- A hardworking power forward from Copiague, NY, Mitton will drive to the net with or without the puck on his stick. With a strong stride and even stronger shot he is a player defenders have difficulty defending from the dots down. (3-3-6, 6 GP)
21. Jackson Wozniak^* (#76, Boston Jr. Whalers) LA Jr. Kings, 5-9/170 -- High-flying forward from California is crafty with the puck on his stick and tough to contain when he has possession. Willing to get into the dirty areas to put up points. (4-3-7, 6 GP)
22. Eddie Yan (#88, Pro Hockey Bochner) Don Mills Flyers, 5-8/150, late ‘00 -- A playmaker with top-notch vision and enough grit to win puck battles below the dots. Enjoys having the puck on his stick, but always makes creative plays to allow his teammates to get quality scoring opportunities. The Toronto native will be playing for the Don Mills Flyers this winter. (0-6-6, 8 GP)
23. Kyler Grundy^ (#26, East Coast Kings) Milwaukee Jr. Admirals, 6-1/178 -- Smooth-skating forward from Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin is tough to play against. Is physical along the walls and tough to contain when he has the puck on his stick through the neutral zone. (1-2-3, 6 GP)
24. Harrison Roy^ (#8, East Coast Kings) Boston Bandits, 5-11/160 -- Lakeville, Mass. native plays a good 200-foot game. Can play wing or center and is effective five-on-five, on the power play, and killing penalties. Seemed a bit snake-bitten over the weekend. (2-1-3, 6 GP)
25. Jonathan Gruden^* (#7, Hockey Essentials) Honeybaked, 5-10/145 -- Skilled, hardworking forward from Rochester, Michigan skates well and is tough to play against, giving opponents very little time and space, and forcing turnovers. (1-2-3, 6 GP)
26. Kevin Paschalis (#79, Pro Hockey Gagner) Mississauga Senators, 6-0/180, late ‘00 -- A true power winger, Paschalisplays a north-south game and always looks to play the body. Has enough skill to make plays below the dots, but isn't going to make anything flashy happen off the rush. The Caledon, Ontario product is rumored to be interested in the NCAA route, and would be a good fit at a number Div. I schools. (3-4-7 6 GP)
27. Matt Gould^ (#9, East Coast Kings) Bay State Breakers, 5-10/150 -- A high-flying winger who skates just as hard coming back on defense as he does on the forecheck. Weymouth, Mass. native isn't flashy with the puck on his stick but does have the hands to make plays off the rush and along the half wall. (1-2-3, 6GP)
28. Hunter Brackett (#10, East Coast Kings) Boston Jr. Bruins, 5-9/155 -- The Plantation, Florida native, a nephew of Massachusetts-based Vancouver Canucks scout Judd Brackett, is a gritty winger who likes to play the role of the pest. Gets underneath the skin of opponents and enjoys sticking his nose into the dirty areas. Has the hockey sense to find soft spots in the offensive zone, and the quick release to get pucks to the net. Will be making the jump to the prep circuit in a year. (3-2-5, 6 GP)
29. Adam Robbins^* (#17, Hockey Essentials) NJ Avalanche, 5-8/145 -- The Alpine, NJ native is a feisty player who is quick in tight spaces and makes creative passes. Will need to add a burst of speed to his game to continue his productivity, but that should come as he grows. (2-2-4, 6 GP)
30. Ethan Abraham (#17, Latvia Selects) LI Gulls, 5-11/160 -- We're not positive how the New Rochelle, NY native ended up on the Latvian Selects team; regardless, he had a strong weekend. The lanky forward skates well and distributes the puck well in all three zones. (2-5-7 5GP)
31. Alexander Konovalov (#27, Latvia Selects) NJ Rockets, 5-7/140, late ‘00 -- One of the younger players in the tournament, Konovalov, who’s from Basking Ridge, NJ, knows how to get to the open ice and find ways to get the puck on net. (3-2-5, 5 GP)
32. Danny Katic (#96, Boston Jr. Whalers) Timmins Eagles, 6-3/185 – His skating needs to improve to be effective at the next level, but at 6’3” he’s someone to keep in the picture. Has a nice touch off the wall on the breakout and sent a teammate in on a breakaway by going forehand to backhand and sending a quick saucer pass over a pair of sticks into the neutral zone. (1-2-3, 6 GP)
1. Bode Wilde^* (#97, Hockey Essentials) Chicago Mission, 6-2/180 -- The Kildeer, Illinois native and Harvard ’18 recruit will be moving over from Honeybaked to the Chicago Mission U16 team this season. Wilde has a pro frame already, and a skill set to match. He zips his passes like a college player, and has a heavy shot. There are times he overhandles the puck, or puts himself in an awkward situation. Will be a top candidate for the NTDP next year. Wilde, born in Montreal, is a dual citizen. (1-2-3, 6 GP)
2. Mattias Samuelsson^* (#61, East Coast Selects Ontario) Northwood Prep, 6-3/195 -- The son of former NHLer Kjell Samuelsson will be returning to Northwood this fall after an impressive campaign last winter. The defensive defenseman is vicious along the wall in his own end, and is always happy to punish opposing forwards. Samuelsson is a decent skater in straight lines going forward, but has trouble pivoting and keeping a good gap when skating backwards. Has a powerful shot that he can get on net through traffic. As his feet continue to improve so will his NHL draft stock, which could be very high by 2018. Will be a top candidate for the NTDP next year. Committed to the University of Michigan for fall ‘19. Samuelsson and Wilde were the clearcut top two defensemen here. Wilde is more polished now, hence he gets the edge. (2-7-9, 7 GP)
3. Ryan Merkley* (#4, Sweden Selects) Toronto Jr. Canadiens, 5-11/155 -- An early contender for a top-of-the-first-round OHL draft position, Merkley, an offensive defenseman from Mississauga, loves to have the puck on his stick. He can make creative plays in all three zones, and likes to set up his teammates. The most noticeable deficiencies in his game are his decision-making off of puck retrievals, and his tendency to pass the puck rather slowly. (1-4-5, 7 GP)
4. Rasmus Sandelin* (#77, Sweden Selects) Modo Hockey, 5-11/170 -- A very solid two-way defender who is from Uppsala, Sweden. Skates extremely well backwards and is able to keep a tight gap because of it. Has a good stick in the defensive zone and off the rush. (1-0-1, 7 GP)
5. Conner Hutchison^* (#14, East Coast Selects Ontario) Selects Academy U16, 5-10/165 -- The younger brother of former Avon Old Farms forward Nick Hutchison is a completely different player than his older brother in that skating is a real strength of his game. Hutchison, a Hicksville, Long Island native, can control the power play with ease from the blue line or the half wall. (1-3-4, 7 GP)
6. Dennis Busby* (#11, Pro Hockey Gagner) Barrie Colts, 5-11/160 -- Going into last season, Busby was regarded as the top prospect in the OHL territory. He’s an offensive-minded defenseman who can really skate and likes to have the puck on his stick, sometimes too much. He isn't much of a defender right now, but the Barrie, Ontario native is willing to play physically, has soft hands, and looks good running the power play. (1-4-5, 6 GP)
7. Brandon Tabakin^ (#5, Hockey Essentials) NJ Avalanche, 5-7/140 -- The small defender from Woodbury, NY has hit a growth spurt since we saw him last fall. He is still small, but his hockey IQ remains one of the best in his age group. Makes difficult passes look easy, and is always calm under pressure. (1-2-3, 6 GP)
8. Cullen Young* (#22, East Coast Kings) Avon Old Farms, 5-9/185, late ’00 -- Rugged defender along the wall and in open ice, Young is an even stronger skater. A nice power play quarterback, and very dangerous off the rush. Maynard, Mass. native didn't make the cut for the Select 15 Development Camp, which is surprising. (1-3-4, 6 GP)
9. Declan Chisolm* (#12, East Coast Selects Ontario) Don Mills Flyers, 6-0/155 -- A solid two-way defender who is equally strong offensively and defensively. Makes all the passes that are required of him, and can rush the puck if needed. (2-0-2, 7 GP)
10. Kevin Lassman (#7, East Coast Kings) Williston-Northampton, 5-8/145 -- The undersized defender from Parkland, Florida is a dynamic skater who allows his feet to control his game. Keeps a good gap off the rush, and has great escapability on puck retrievals. (0-1-1, 6 GP)
11. Zachary Jones^ (#51, East Coast Selects Ontario) Selects Academy, 5-3/120, late ’00 – No, the height/weight listed is not a typo, but this undersized defenseman, who won’t turn 15 until the fall, is as smart as they come. He understands his limitations with his size and uses his skating ability and hockey IQ to create plays in all three zones. He does get outmuscled at times down low. A Glen Allen, Virginia native who played for the Richmond Generals last season, Jones will be taking his game to Selects Academy this fall. (3-1-4, 7 GP)
12. Kevin Judd^ (#44, Norway Selects) Richmond Generals, 6-1/160 -- A solid defenseman who skates well and makes an outstanding first pass. Judd, yet another member from the strong Richmond Generals team, keeps his game simple. He didn't get much of a chance to showcase his offensive abilities because he was stuck defending in most of our viewings. (0-1-1 5 GP)
1. Jesper Myrenberg (#35, Sweden Selects) Taby HC, 6-1/160 – Big Swedish goalie tracks the puck well off of deflections and moves well laterally. Has good elevation in his butterfly, and controls his rebounds well. Was named top goalie of the tournament. (0.98/.935, 163 minutes played)
2. Blaine Moore* (#70, East Coast Militia) Champlain Valley Union HS, 6-1/180 -- The Vermont native posted 1.71/.938 numbers in the first round, and was the victim of a tough playoff loss. Moves very well in the crease and battles for every loose puck. Tracks the puck extremely well while moving laterally. (3.29/.875, 134 minutes played)
3. Matthew Lane (#47, Boston Jr. Whalers) Boston Advantage, 6-1/165 -- Massachusetts native moves well in net and stays square to shooters off the rush. Tracks the puck well through traffic, and battles to make every save. (1.71/.891, 140 minutes played)
4. Greg Iverson (#35, East Coast Kings) Milwaukee Jr. Admirals, 5-11/165 -- Mentally tough, Iverson doesn’t let traffic bother him. He moves well laterally and has good recovery on broken plays. (1.50/.933, 160 minutes played)
5. Jimi Uusitaalo (#72, Finland Selects) JYP, 6-1/175 – Uusitaalo, whose skating is top-notch, uses his positioning to make the initial save. His rebound control needs a bit of work. (3.40/.858, 235 minutes played)
6. Theo Roosebom De Vries* (#70, Norway Selects) Lorenskog Ishockey, 5-10/155 -- While the Lorenskog, Norway natives’s numbers don't jump off the page quite the way his name does, it is worth noting that his counterpart posted a 7.00/.800 in 80 minutes. His team here was constantly under fire and De Vries stood up to the challenge as much as possible, even shutting out a tough East Coast Kings team 2-0 despite being outshot nearly 3-1. De Vries moves well laterally, and has the ability to recover and make desperation saves when needed. (2.33/.907, 120 minutes played).
Select 17 Defensemen and Goaltenders
We’ve already covered the forwards who took part in USA Hockey’s Select 17 Player Development Camp, held at the Northtown Center in Amherst, NY June 27-July 1. Today, it’s time for the defensemen and goalies.
-- In addition to numerical rankings, we’ve broken them down into A-B-C groupings.
-- On the final day of camp, July 2nd, there was an All-Star game and, out of that, the subsequent selection of the 2015 U.S. Under-18 Select Team heading to the Czech Republic and Slovakia for the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament Aug. 10-15. We have a key to highlight those players.
^ = All Star Game Selection * = USA U18 Hlinka Cup Selection
-- Among the defensemen, we were a little surprised that Derek Dashke (Cedar Rapids – USHL) failed to be named to the all-star game and, by extension, the Ivan Hlinka Tournament squad. On the flip side, we were surprised that Scott Perunovich (Hibbing High School) made both the all-star team and the squad that is going overseas. We understand that, when putting together a team, it’s not always about the best players, or the best prospects, but, rather, picking players for different roles. We also understand what a difficult process it is. Still, Dashke was deserving.
-- We have also noted how we ranked the players a year ago, at 2014’s Select 16 Camp. Those not invited or not ranked are denoted NR.
-- If you don’t wish to wade through all that, here are the all-star teams.
Goalies: Ryan Edquist and Tommy Nappier.
Defensemen: Zachary Berzolla, Matthew Kiersted, Ben Gleason, Ty Farmer, Luke McInnis, and Jake Ryczek.
Forwards: Kyle Moore, Casey Mittelstadt, Kailer Yamamoto, Patrick Harper, Drake Rymsha, William Knierim, Dominick Mersch, Liam Murphy, Eric Esposito, Mitchell Chaffee, Mitchell Mattson, and Austen Long.
Goaltenders: Stephen Dhillon and Dayton Rasmussen.
Defensemen: Sam Rossini, Andrew Peeke, Mitch Eliot, Cam Dineen, Tyler Jette, and Scott Perunovich.
Forwards: Garrett Wait, Ben Lown, Chris Berger, Hugh McGing, Timmy Gettinger, Jack Kopacka, John Leonard, Ethan Frank, Riley Tufte, Chris Grando, Mitch Lewandowski, and John Wojciechowski.
Ivan Hlinka Under-18 Select Team:
Forwards: Ben Lown, Timmy Gettinger, Chris Berger, Hugh McGing, Garrett Wait, John Leonard, William Knierim, Patrick Harper, Kailer Yamomoto, Casey Mittelstadt, Riley Tufte, Hank Crone, Drake Rymsha.
Defensemen: Ty Farmer, Andrew Peeke, Sam Rossini, Scott Perunovich, Mitch Eliot, Ben Gleason, and Cam Dineen.
Goaltenders: Stephen Dillon and Dayton Rasmussen.
Head Coach: Derek Plante. Assistant Coaches: Clark Donatelli, Bob Mancini, and Phil Osaer.
USHR Rankings: 2015 Select 17 Defensemen and Goaltenders
1. Samuel Rossini^* (#4 Gray) 6’2.25"/193 lbs., L, Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL) – Rossini was our #1-ranked defenseman at last summer’s Select 16 Festival. A year later, we are ranking him #1 at Select 17s. To us, this says a lot because the top four or five d-men here were all excellent. Rossini, a strong skater, makes crisp decisive passes, has a blistering slap shot from the point, and possesses exceptional lateral mobility for a player of his size. Rossini, a former Burnsville (Minn.) HS star, moved on to the USHL last season. He posted an 0-3-3 line here. College: Minnesota ’16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #1
2. Brendan Gleason^* (#3 Royal) 6’0"/165 lbs., L, London Knights (OHL) – Gleason was a force from the start of camp until the very end. A former Honeybaked kid who turned major junior last season, Gleason is physical, competitive, and plays with a chip on his shoulder. He skates with his head up and makes firm tape-to-tape passes in stride. He has an extremely hard shot and doesn’t hesitate to either rush the puck or take a shot when a lane opens up. Gleason, the cousin of Washington Caps defenseman Tim Gleason, stood out in every phase of the game. He made big open-ice hits, but was just as good making contact along the wall and taking control of the puck, threading passes through the neutral zone or rocketing shots from the offensive blue line. The NHL scouts present were very high on his tenacity and skill set, but feel he’s still raw and prone to undisciplined play. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #5
3. Andrew Peeke^* (#2 Forest) 6’2.75"/198 lbs., R, Selects Academy U18 –A big-bodied defender, the Notre Dame recruit from Parkland, Florida swallows up forwards on zone entries, makes big hits in the open ice, is tough in front of the net and wins battles along the boards. Peeke is also a strong skater, he can zip the puck across the ice with little effort, and he has a booming shot. He was his team’s best power play defenseman as well as best penalty killer. He has he has an active stick in his end and is a willing shot blocker. NHL scouts have a high opinion of the Peeke and he will be watched closely this season at Green Bay (USHL). Peeke had a goal and three assists over give games here. College: Notre Dame ’16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #3
4. Jake Ryczek^ (#19 Red) 5’10"/172 lbs., R, Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) – Ryczek played a full season in the USHL before coming here and, unlike some USHL/CHL players who made the leap too early and got the short end of ice time, Ryczek played a key role in his team’s success. He has an excellent burst of speed when he decides to rush the puck, and a quick release on his high-velocity snap and wrist shot. He has improved his play away from the puck, taking the body and making it matter. Ryczek is extremely athletic and uses his agility and stick work to pick off passes. His hands are smooth, but subtle, and he maintains control at high speed. He’s small, but with his skating ability and stick skills will not go unnoticed at next summer’s NHL draft. Ryczek, a Ludlow, Mass. native and former Selects Academy player, will return to Sioux City for one more season before heading to Providence College. College: Providence ’16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #11
5. Ty Farmer^* (#3 Black) 5’8.75"/173 lbs., R, Youngstown Phantoms (USHL) – Farmer is a smooth, confident, offensive defenseman with superb vision and puck-handling ability. Last winter, as a 16-year-old sub 5’9" defenseman, he played a full season in the USHL. A real talent with the puck on his stick, Farmer walks the offensive blue line on the power play with ease and, once a passing lane opens up, the puck is off his stick quickly. Farmer, from the St. Louis AAA Blues organization, is a player who has the agility to match any forward coming against him. He does a nice job finding the puck around the front of his net and clearing it. He takes the right angles on puck retrievals so he can avoid getting hit, and he maintains his speed while making crisp, accurate breakout passes. Farmer had an 0-6-6 line here. He was the best offensive defenseman in the camp. College: Michigan State ’16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #2
6. Mitch Eliot^* (#7 Orange) 5’11.25"/182 lbs., R, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL) – Eliot is among the best-skating defensemen in the country for his age group and uses it to his advantage. He can go stride for stride with any attacker, has the agility to adjust to quick moves side-to-side, and can stop on a dime, making him a great transitional defender. Once the Honeybaked product gets the puck on his stick his smooth hands and his vision stretch the ice and get everyone on his team involved in the offense. Eliot likes to join the rush and has the puck skills and quick release to create or finish chances. He will be an ideal college offensive defenseman. He is dangerous on the power play. He will return to Muskegon, where he played 58 games last season. Ended the week with a 2-4-6 line in five games. College: Michigan State ’16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #13
7. Matthew Kiersted^(#5 Gray) 5’10.75"/ 165 lbs., L, Elk River (Minn.) HS – Kiersted flirted with joining the U17 National Team but ended up returning to Elk River (shades of Paul Martin) where he averaged over a point per game from the back end with an 8-28-36 line in 26 games. Kiersted is a precision passer who moves the puck quickly and efficiently. He has a strong hockey sense and knows how to use his angles and body positioning to take away opponents’ time and space. He isn’t overly dynamic but he stretches the ice with his passing ability and is a reliable, sturdy defender despite his size. He’ll be playing this season for the Chicago Steel (USHL). He was 1-3-4 on the week. College: North Dakota ’16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #6
8. Derek Daschke (#6 Kelly) 6’0.5"/188 lbs., L, Cedar Rapids (USHL) – Daschke, who came to camp with a full season in the USHL under his belt, is a fluid skater with good stickhandling ability and soft hands. While his physical tools get him noticed, it’s his hockey IQ that makes him a top prospect. He can read the play, anticipate, and use his athleticism to shut down most any attacker. He wasn’t overly physical this week but when the opportunity presented itself he took it. NHL scouts like the completeness to his game. He was 0-3-3 on the week. College: Western Michigan ’16 --- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #4
9.Tyler Jette^ (#5 Gold) 6’3"/185 lbs., L, Farmington (Minn.) High School – An unheralded prospect making his first National Camp appearance turned heads from the start of the week to the end. Jette, who is 6’3", has a tall frame that he hasn’t even begun to grow into, and he holds the blue line very well with a combination of physicality and quick-strike poke checks. He uses his size to advantage, playing very physically below the hash marks and keeping his head on a swivel, rarely letting anyone sneak behind him. Jette doesn’t look like a typical power play defenseman because he has a quirky stride and lanky frame, but he actually gets pucks to the net with consistency and has a touch on both his short and long-range passes. An impressive 1-4-5 line on the week. He will return to Farmington High next season. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
10.Cameron Dineen^* (#4 White) 5’11"/175 lbs., L, New Jersey Rockets (EHL) – Shortly before camp, Dineen, the EHL Rookie of the Year, signed with North Bay (OHL). Dineen, who compiled an 11-30-41 line in 39 EHL games, is an excellent puck mover both in delivery and vision. His composure and poise is exceptional. He is never in a rush, makes deliberate and well-intended passes, and reads the play well. Mentally, he’s often ahead of everyone else on the ice. Dineen had a 1-1-2 line in five games here. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #18
11. Alexander Green (#3 Orange) 6’.05"/166 lbs., R, Chicago Mission U16 - Green has the frame and skating ability to develop into a pro prospect. He is balanced and has great acceleration and lateral quickness for his size. Away from the puck he is athletic and aware, not letting players get behind him or over-pursuing the puck carrier. His puck-handling skills are solid and he makes accurate, crisp outlet passes to move the play up-ice. He holds the blue line with a combination of size, physicality and athleticism. He will need to improve his lower body strength to generate more power in his skating and body checking. Overall, though, he was one of the top uncommitted defenseman in the tournament. Finished off the week with an impressive 1-4-5 stat line. He will play for the Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL) this season. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR
12. Luke McInnis^ (#6 Gold) 5’9.25"/167 lbs., L, Dexter School – An undersized offensive defenseman who approaches the game with a swagger and confidence, McInnis has excellent stick skills -- and the puck can be found on his stick, often. He likes to jump into the rush, and he excels in man-up situations. He has a powerful slap shot that he can get off instantly from the blue line and is an underrated passer in all three zones. McInnis is growing into a more fully-rounded defender: he took the body, played tough in the corners, and made smart decisions on the breakout. He will forgo his senior season at Dexter to play for Youngstown (USHL). He had a 0-2-2 line on the week. College: Boston College ’17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #7
13. Simon Butala (#3 Gray) 6’1.25"/190 lbs., R, Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) – Butala gets bigger and stronger every time we see him. He has improved in several areas, primarily his mobility -- especially laterally – and, secondarily, in his confidence carrying the puck. Butala plays a tough game below the hash marks but once he gets possession he likes to skate with it and look for stretch passes through the neutral zone. He is effective in both man-up and man-down situations. He started last season with the NJ Rockets (EHL) but finished with Sioux City (USHL), where he will suit up next season. Finished the week with a 1-1-2 line. College: Maine ’16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #22
14. Zachary Berzolla^ (#7 Gold) 6’1.5"/182 lbs,. R, New Jersey Junior Titans 18U – Berzolla was a physical force all week with one big open-ice hit after another. He is big, rugged, and tough to get around, especially below the hash marks where he picks his spots and throws his weight around. While Berzolla is not known for anything he does with the puck, he is a competent passer and doesn’t force plays that aren’t there. A reliable, physical presence on the blue line, he can log big minutes and wear opposing teams down. He will play for the Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL) in the upcoming season. College: Colorado College ‘16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #16
15. Ryan Bederka (#4 Black) 5’9.5"/181 lbs., L, Honeybaked 18U – Bederka doesn’t have a lot of size but he is strong, has a low center of gravity, and uses everything he has to drive players out in front of the net and take the body in open ice. He has a short, choppy stride but he also has great control of the puck and the hockey sense to see the play in front of him. He had an 0-5-5 line here. Is undecided about the upcoming season. Muskegon has his USHL rights. College: Michigan St. ’16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #12
16. Alec Mahalak (#4 Gold) 5’9"/153 lbs., R, Victory Honda U18 – Mahalak is a polished skater with soft hands and agile feet. He lacks size and strength, but he has an active stick, and strong anticipation which, together, enable him to intercept passes. He also has a keen sense of timing and is able to angle the opposition to low percentage areas. Mahalak is most noticeable on the power play. There, he can patrol the blue line and find the back door with pinpoint passes. While we liked his game, he has a tendency to overhandle the puck and got caught out of position more often than he should have. Mahalak compiled a 1-2-3 line on the week and will report to Youngstown (USHL) this fall. College: Miami ’17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #17
17. Carter Long (#2 Black) 6’2.5"/198 lbs., R, South Kent Selects Academy – A big, strong durable defender with a good poke check and body control. Long has a heavy shot and likes to grind forwards down along the wall and in front of the net. He doesn’t get himself out of position often. Increased agility and quickness could really help his game. A Yorktown, Virginia native. Long will return to Selects Academy this year. College: UVM ‘18 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR
18. Adam Karashik (#4 Columbia) 5’10.5"/174 lbs., R, Connecticut Oilers 18U – A smooth skater who is poised and confident with the puck, Karashik is vastly improved from a year ago, He is bigger and stronger, which shows in his play away from the puck, but he is at his best on the power play. He didn’t shoot it as much as we would have liked, and still isn’t much of a physical presence, but his puck handling and passing ability make him an ideal college offensive defenseman. Karshik was 1-3-4 on the week and will head to Avon Old Farms this fall. College: UConn ’18 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR
19. Rourke Russell (#5 Orange) 5’11.5"/160 lbs., L, Oakland Jr. Grizzlies U16 -- Russell, a standout all week, committed to Miami soon after the camp ended. A smooth skater with some size and balance, Russell can retrieve pucks, absorb contact, and make the right pass. He plays a tough game below the hash marks. He has good closing speed, drawing power from his lower body. He hits hard without losing his balance. Russell is trustworthy with the puck and hit his spots on stretch passes. He will be playing for the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) this season. College: Miami ’17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR
20. Austin Michael Osmanski (#2 Gray) 6’3.25"/190 lbs., L, Buffalo Jr. Sabres U18 – A physically imposing defender with great size and raw ability, Osmanski competes hard every shift, uses his size and strength to keep opponents away from the net, and has good awareness of where he should be on the ice. He blocks shots, picks up sticks in front of the net, and does a lot of the little things right. His skating is a bit stiff and he fought the puck at times, but overall he has the upside to be a shutdown defender at the next level. Osmanski signed with Mississauga (OHL) where he will have a chance to iron out his game and potentially become an NHL prospect. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #25
21. Brian Hurley (#6 Gray) 6’.05"/210 lbs., L, Saint Thomas Academy (Minn.) – A big, thick, mobile defender with both offensive flair and an edge to his game, Hurley doesn’t shy away from contact and is willing to stand up forwards on the blue line. He likes to carry the puck out of his end when the wing is tied up and make a pass in stride through the neutral zone to streaking forwards. He also shows good escape skills and a quick stick behind his own net. He finished the week with an 0-4-4 line. College: Ohio St. ’17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #20
22. Casey Staum (#2 Columbia) 5’11.25"/175 lbs., L, Hill-Murray (Minn.) HS – Staum is a gifted skater who is fluid in transitions, has the ability to skate the puck out of his end if there isn’t a play in front of him, and has the lateral mobility to stay tight with forwards coming down on the rush. He looks to be a bit more physical and well-rounded than last season. He keeps his head up-ice and made a lot of nice passes through the neutral zone to spring teammates for breakaways or odd-man rushes. Had a productive 1-3-4 line on the week. Staum will return to Hill-Murray this fall. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #8
23. Scott Perunovich^* (#4 Orange) 5’7.75"/149 lbs., L, Hibbing (Minn.) High School – A small offensive defenseman with the quickness and speed of a forward, Perunovich comes off a successful Minnesota high school season, in which he posted an 11-46-57 line in 27 games. A clever player, Perunovich moves the puck quickly and intelligently, and can laser tape-to-tape passes through tiny windows. On the defensive side, he was underwhelming, often getting himself out of position or getting outmuscled in the tough areas. He has poor coverage skills and often got caught watching the puck carrier while players snuck in behind him. He excels when joining the rush and using his speed and creativity to open up scoring lanes for himself or his teammates. He will return to Hibbing High this fall. Was 0-1-1 on the week. College: Minnesota Duluth ‘18 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #28
24. Justin Wells (#3 Gold) 6’4"/175 lbs., R, Cleveland Barons U16 – A stand-up defenseman who makes the opposition work for every inch they get on the ice, Wells has a long stick and was effective breaking up passes and keeping forwards from getting around him. He’s a solid puck carrier and makes a nice outlet pass. He scored a nice goal off a slap shot from the point. Wells will need to work on his footwork, especially pivots and backward acceleration. Had a 1-0-1 line in his first National Camp appearance. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
25. Davis Bunz (#5 Royal) 6’0.25"/181 lbs., R, Middleton (Wisc.) HS - An athletic, defensively responsible, puck-moving defenseman who doesn’t stand out in any one particular area but does a lot of things well. He can block shots, he takes the body when appropriate, and does a nice job clearing out in front of his net. He’s not dynamic, instead playing more of a simple style without overextending himself. He is reliable and composed. He will head to Sioux Falls (USHL) this upcoming season. He had a 0-2-2 line. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #14
26. Alec Semandel (#6 Black) 6’2"/187 lbs., L, Chicago Mission U16 – 6’2" Semandel has a long frame, and uses his reach to keep defenders to the outside. He can skate with the puck and make an accurate first pass. He defends well in 1v1 situations and pursues the puck without over- extending himself. He is a better player than his rank indicates but he just wasn’t quite himself this week. He will play for Cedar Rapids (USHL) in the coming season after being selected by them in the 2nd round of the 2014 Futures Draft. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #10
27. Carver Watson (#7 Columbia) 5’10.25"/144 lbs., L, Madison Capitols (USHL) -- Watson has a quiet style, and is a hybrid defender. He doesn’t jump out at you in any one area, but he skates well, is a capable puck carrier, makes the simple pass, and has a hard shot from the point. He keeps tight gaps, thus opposing forwards are contained on the rush. He isn’t very strong but uses a quick stick. A reliable defender, Watson is the younger brother of Cooper and Cliff Watson, an incoming freshman and a junior defenseman, respectively, at Michigan Tech. The younger Watson had an 0-2-2 line here. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR
28. Jason Smallidge (#7 Red) 6’0.75"/175 lbs., R, St. Thomas Academy (Minn.) - Smallidge has good size but plays even bigger. He doesn’t concede the blue line and makes the opposition earn all they get. With his long reach and physical play in scoring areas, he is tough to get around. Smallidge can also add some offense as he crept down from the weak side blue line in the offensive zone and had a catch-and-shoot snipe top corner. Currently uncommitted. Will be back at St. Thomas Academy this coming season. Had a 2-0-0 line. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
29. Brendan Less (#6 Forest) 5’10.25"/154lbs., R, Choate – Less was solid but didn’t stand out. He competes for loose pucks, and is efficient on puck retrievals, gaining possession and quickly turning it up-ice. He worked hard in his end but was beaten a few times out of the corner or outmuscled in front. He handles the puck well and makes a nice first pass. He’ll improve with time as he continues to grow and fill into his frame. College: Dartmouth College ’17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR
30. Chad Sasaki (#4 Kelly) 5’7"/165 lbs., L, Anaheim Jr. Ducks U16 – Sasaki is an undersized, quick, athleticprospect with soft, shifty hands and lateral mobility. He can stay close to his man and he makes up for his lack of size through good stick checks and body positioning. At his size, he won’t win many battles below the hash marks, but it’s not for lack of trying. Sasaki is undecided about his plans for this season. College: Colorado College ’17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR
31. Cole Hults (#7 Gray) 5’11.75"/177 lbs., L, Madison Capitols U18 – Hults has good size, is strong on his stick and does a nice job clearing out in front. He isn’t flashy, but he is solid in all three zones. Will play for his hometown Madison Capitols (USHL) this fall. Was 0-2-2 on the week. College: Lake Superior ’17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #21
32. Brendan Bushy (#4 Royal) 6’1.25"/212 lbs., L, Thief River Falls High School – Another Minnesota high school prospect from a lesser-known school, Bushy showed well here. He is physically imposing, moves well for his size, and is efficient on the breakout. Known more for his sturdy play in the defensive zone and his toughness along the boards, Bushy is able to use his strength to overpower attackers and swallow up their scoring chances. He plans to return to high school. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR
33. Sean Driscoll (#2 White) 6’1.5"/180 lbs., L, Team Wisconsin U16 –The Wisconsin native made his first-ever National Camp and performed admirably, showing his size, athleticism and ability to keep the play in front of him. He keeps attackers off balance and takes away their time and space. He is simple and reserved with the puck, and isn’t careless when pressured. Will stay with Team Wisconsin for at least another year. Was drafted by Des Moines (USHL) late in last year’s draft. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
34. Alex Armstrong (#6 Red) 5’9.75"/170 lbs., R, Detroit Compuware U16 – A graceful skater with an explosive step in any direction, Armstrong is tough to get around. He isn’t tall but he is strong and when he makes contact he drives through the body with his legs and is able to take attackers off their feet in open ice. He needs to improve his puck-handling ability at higher speeds but the foundation is there for him to become a D-I prospect. He certainly skates well enough. He is undecided about the upcoming season. Finished the week with a 2-0-2 line. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
35. Eric Jeremiah (# 5 Columbia) 5’7"/175 lbs., R, St. Sebastian's School – A small, stocky defender who plays with passion and energy. Jeremiah has soft hands and excels on the offensive blue line. He had a 1-3-4 line. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #27
36. Colin McCabe (#6 Orange) 5’9"/166 lbs., R, Thayer Academy – A fast, agile defenseman who uses his speed to close the gap, win races to the puck, and takes it end-to-end if a lane opens. McCabe is a balanced skater who is able to fight through contact and make plays. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #24
37. Michael Underwood (#5 Forest) 6’.05"/183 lbs., R, Oakland Jr. Grizzlies U18 – A tall, sturdy, and reliable stay-at-home defender, Underwood has an active stick in front of his net and is improving his long stride, though he still has a way to go. He will play for the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees (NAHL) next season. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #23
38. Brian Matthews (#7 Forest) 5’11"/175 lbs., R, Belmont Hill School – Matthews is athletic, instinctual, and is able to rush the puck with speed. His play away from the puck is good, and he challenges attacking forwards instead of conceding the defensive blue line. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
39. Bryan Yoon (#2 Kelly) 5’10.75"/165 lbs., R, Omaha AAA U16 – Had a quiet week here. He hung back and made a few nice passes, but wasn’t assertive and had little puck possession time. Defensively, he positions himself well and takes proper pursuit angles, but he was unable to shut down the top opposing forwards, especially off the wall. College: Colorado College ’17 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
40. Cooper Zech (#4 Forest) 5’7"/140 lbs., L, Victory Honda – A tiny offensive defenseman who is extremely agile in every direction, which allows him to retrieve pucks on dump-ins and squirrel his way out of trouble. Zech has skilled hands but uses his feet more than his hands to escape pressure and advance the puck. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
41. Dennis Cesana (#3 Red) 5’8.5"/185 lbs., R, Kimball Union – A smooth-skating, puck-moving defender who can jump into the rush and excels in power play situations. Was 0-1-1 on the week. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #29
42. Matthew Thielsemann (#7 Kelly) 5’10.5"/190 lbs., L, Esmark Stars – A strong, smooth skater, Thielsemann can rush the puck end-to-end. He has good hands and a potent wrist shot. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
43. Todd Kiilunen (#3 Kelly) 5’10.5"/190 lbs., L, Victory Honda U18 – He has some size and mobility and likes to play a physical brand of hockey when it’s called for. He came away from the week with three assists in five games. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR
44. Ethan Roswell (#6 White) 5’8.5/176 lbs., R, Cushing Academy – Roswell found himself on a very deep Cushing blue line this past winter, but the Arizona native has good speed, can carry the puck end-to-end if needed and makes quick passes. He looked focused, and his play away from the puck was good. Should have a bigger role this season. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #30
1. Stephen Dhillon^* (#1 Kelly) 6’3.5"/177 lbs., L, Niagara IceDogs (OHL) – Dhillon was the top goalie in the tournament, leading all tenders in save percentage (.914) and goals against average (2.00). In addition, he posted a shutout in the all-star game. The ideal blend of size and athleticism, Dhillon is fluid side-to-side and in-and-out of the net. He stopped 53 of 58 shots and made it look easy, even when the defense hung him out to dry and he was called on to stop both the original shot and the ensuing uncontested rebounds, of which he gave up a few. A strong NHL prospect, Dhillon will be with the Niagara IceDogs (OHL) in the upcoming season. From Fort Erie, Ontario, he’s a dual citizen. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #3
2. Dayton Rasmussen^* (#1 White) 6’1"/200 lbs., L, Colorado Thunderbirds U16 – Rasmussen had quite the transition here, going from starting for a great team all winter to playing on the worst team here. Hey, it can only make you better, right? Rasmussen faced the most shots -- 103, which is 23 more than the next-closest goalie. Naturally, he had the most saves, with 88. He played very well opening night, kicking out 17 of 19 shots. The rest of the week he was hot and cold. Rasmussen, who’s from Eden Prairie, Minnesota and played at Holy Catholic Family High School before going to the Thunderbirds, has the size and athleticism to be an elite goalie. He also holds the line well – there were several times in which he made the save, covered it with a pad, and the ref was slow to blow the whistle. Rasmussen faced 3-on-0’s, as well as shots from the point with two opposing players all alone in front ready to pounce on rebounds. He played on a bad team which would have been abysmal without him. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #2
3. Ryan Edquist^ (#30 Orange) 5’11.5"/170 lbs., L, Lakeville North (Minn.) HS – Edquist was a bit hot and cold here. He’d have one great start, then follow it up with two solid performances and two poor performances. He tracks the puck well through traffic, controls his rebounds, and takes away the bottom half of the net effectively. He wasn’t as sharp as we expected – he was terrific at 16s -- but his footwork is smooth and he made a lot of high quality saves. Edquist will look to gain the starting spot with the Madison Capitols (USHL) this coming season. College: Minnesota ’16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #1
4. Ryan Keane (#30 Gold) 5’8.25"/157 lbs., L, Dallas Stars Elite 16U – This is the third year that Keane has come to National Camp with consistent, quality starts. This year, he had the benefit of being on a better team. Still, he was forced to make a lot of difficult saves, keep his balance, and move. He isn’t blessed with the size that’s prized so he had to be quick and nimble. He covers the bottom half of the net very well, but was beaten on a few occasions upstairs, primarily from going down too early. His size worries some coaches but he continues to shine at the highest levels. He is currently undecided as to his plans for the upcoming season but he finished the camp with an impressive .902 SV% and 2.50 GAA, second among all goalies in both categories. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: #5
5. Mike Latorella (#1 Royal) 5’11.25"/183 lbs., L, Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL) – Latorella was the only goalie in the camp with extensive USHL experience: he played 16 regular season games with a 3.22 GAA and .903 SV%. Latorella, who is from Macomb, Michigan and formerly played for Honeybaked’s U18 team, has quick reaction time and fast-twitch reflexes, allowing him to stay in position and not venture out too far in order to challenge a shooter. He is quick post-to-post, is quick laterally, and is very athletic. In four of his five starts here, he played very well. College: Ohio St. ’16 -- 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
6. Thomas Nappier^ (#1 Forest) 6’1.5"/200 lbs., L, St. Louis AAA Blues 18U –A big, durable goalie who posted two shutouts in his first National Camp, Nappier isn’t flashy but he has great instincts, tracks the puck well, and swallows up rebounds. He takes up a lot of net on breakaways and odd-man rushes, challenging shooters and forcing them to take bad shots. He only had one poor start out of his five games. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
7. Tyler Johnson (#30 Red) 6’2"/183 lbs., L, Compuware U18 – Johnson, who’s from Amherst, NY, has bounced around a lot over the past two years, playing for the Northern Cyclones, TPH Thunder, and, last season, playing a full season with Compuware -- and a game with the Plymouth Whalers (OHL). Johnson has good size and flexibility and made some big stops throughout the course of the weekend including a post-to-post split where he flashed the glove and robbed a player on a cross-crease one-timer. Johnson stopped 50 of 56 shots on the weekend for a 2.40 GAA and .893 save percentage. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR/1st Camp
8. Owen Zdunski (#30 Royal) 6’00"/180 lbs., L, Culver Academy U16 – Zdunski has a big frame, moves well in net and isn’t afraid to leave his crease to cut down angles. Brentwood, Tennessee native has strong push-offs and maintains his focus and energy throughout the game. He was excellent in shootouts , showing patience, making himself big in net, and flashing quick pads. Zdunski will be at Lawrence Academy for the upcoming season. 2014 Select 16s Ranking: NR
Beantown NAPS Review
USHR traveled to the overly-familiar confines of the New England Sports Center this past weekend to catch the Beantown North American Prospects Showcase (NAPS). The tournament, which ranged from U16s down to ‘03s, featured a talent pool that was all over the map, literally and figuratively. Unfortunately, there were a fair amount of teams who did not submit rosters, thus many of the games were of little value to us. There were also a large number of familiar faces who we have written about recently and who played well. To that end, we submit D Sean Keohan (Dartmouth), F Joey Cippollone (UVM), F Marc McLaughlin (St. Lawrence), F Ben Thomas, F Max Rand, and G Keith Petruzelli (Quinnipiac), to name a few. We also decided, since the prep guys get so much attention here in the winter, to keep up with our summer theme and focus on new names in the crowd. Therefore, the list below consists of the top players from the U16 and ’01 divisions.
The story of the weekend was Joseph Veleno. The first player in QMJHL history to receive Exceptional Player Status (Connor McDavid, John Tavares, Aaron Ekblad, and Sean Day have received this status from the OHL), made the trip down to play for the Montreal Ice Storm ’99 team. Veleno, drafted #1 overall by the Saint John Sea Dogs, is a 1/13/00 birthdate who, last winter, finished 12th in Quebec Midget AAA scoring, notching 52 points in 41 games for the Lac-St.-Louis Lions. Veleno, a 6’0”, 170 lb. left-shot center, has terrific power in his lower body, a long stride, and a high hockey IQ. He doesn’t do anything overly flashy with the puck, instead making simple, good plays all over the ice. Veleno, a native of the Montreal suburb of Kirkland, Quebec, can pass the puck in any direction through the neutral zone without breaking stride, and is willing to battle along the wall for loose pucks. He plays with a compete level we don’t get to see often enough from high-end prospects. Veleno blew by a defender off the rush, was stuffed by the goalie, and then tracked down the opposing forward from behind before he could get a shot off on a 2-on-1. The only negative we could pin on Veleno is that he seems to be more of a playmaker in the scoring areas, and doesn’t have pinpoint shooting accuracy in tight to the net. Everything else in his game is elite. We don’t mind nitpicking a player of Veleno’s caliber because, on our side of the border, we have cards to hold in the persons of fellow ‘00s Jake Wise (Central Catholic/BU), Oliver Wahlstrom (Shattuck-St. Mary’s/Maine), and TJ Walsh (Shattuck-St. Mary’s/BC). We’ve been able to view this New England trio with some regularity over the past few seasons. That said, with only two viewings of Veleno, we’re not ready to say that the Quebec native is better than those three. However, it is safe to say that he belongs right up there with them. The 2018 draft promises to be interesting. Much can happen twixt cup and lip.
Jake Gagnon, #19 Montreal Ice Storm, U16 – A smaller forward who is shifty and sneaky quick, Gagnon, with his quick release, can get his shot off from almost anywhere. Appeared to be robbed of a goal early on in the tournament when a shot of his went off the back bar and out, but the refs thought it went off the crossbar. Gagnon will be heading to Millbrook to play for coach Vinny Soriento this fall.
Ethan Abraham, #17 Latvian Selects, U16 – The most noticeable player on a weak Latvian squad, Abraham is a tall forward who looked to be about 6’0”. He has good hands and competed hard every shift, regardless of the score.
Bobby Trivigno, #76 Boston Jr. Whalers, ‘99 – A highly-talented defenseman-turned-winger who played at Shattuck-St. Mary’s and will be returning there this fall. Crafty with the puck in the offensive zone, Trivigno appeared to have instant chemistry with his linemates.
Finn Walker, #13 Boston Jr. Whalers, ’00 – A heady forward with slick hands and good hockey sense. Was the dominant player on the Jr. Whalers ’00 team. Skates well but appears to still be growing, so the power in his legs isn’t quite there. Played for the Mid-Fairfield Yankees last year.
Robert Griffin, #10 East Coast Selects, ’01 – Played last season with the highly-regarded Minuteman Flames team. A cerebral forward who can get up and down the ice in a hurry, Griffin makes plays in tight spaces, and can blow by defensemen off the rush. He has a nice shot, but doesn’t overuse it, often opting to make the creative play to a teammate. Will be playing for the U16 Junior Bruins this fall.
Jared Harrington, #10 BC Eagles, ’01 – The smooth-skating forward will be moving from the Islanders over to the Eagles for the upcoming season. Harrington is a smart player who knows how to utilize his teammates in all three zones. Nearly every part of his game is high end, particularly when the puck is on his stick.
Chase McInnis, #6 BC Eagles, ’01 – The younger brother of BC recruit Luke McInnis played a mixture of center and wing over the weekend. Like his brother, McInnis has a high hockey IQ and gets around the ice in a hurry. He’s a good lateral skater, but will need to lengthen his stride to maximize his efficiency down the road. McInnis has great vision, makes creative passes in all three zones, and has a knack for scoring goals in tight. Will be moving on from the South Shore Kings to the Eagles for the coming season.
Conor Lovett, #9 BC Eagles, ’01 – Another player moving from the South Shore Kings to the Eagles, Lovett is an intelligent forward and a fantastic skater. He has a sneaky release to his shot, but is more of a pass-first player. Has quick feet and is tough to contain along the wall in the offensive zone.
Nicholas Girouard, #92 Jr. Lions, ’01 – A big-bodied forward with good hands, Girouard is not the prettiest skater. Nonetheless, he has top-end speed. He’s crafty with the puck off the rush and can score in tight spaces.
Braden Doyle, #8 East Coast Selects, ’01 – A high-end defenseman in all aspects of the game, Doyle skates well, passes the puck crisply and accurately, and can shoot it. He’s poised with the puck in his defensive zone and has the ability to beat defenders with a pass or his feet. Played for the Minuteman Flames last year and will be heading to Shattuck-St. Mary’s this fall.
Eamon Doheny, #8 BC Eagles, ’01 – A smart defenseman with an offensive touch. Had a nice catch ‘n’ shoot goal where he snuck down the slot and beat the sliding goalie high to the glove side. Doheny is responsible in his own end and makes a hard and accurate first pass.
Alex Zafonte, #30 East Coast Kings, ’99 – The St. Sebastian’s goalie shined under pressure this weekend. For each of our viewings, we found Zafonte in control of his entire game. He tracks the puck well and controlled rebounds flawlessly. Stays square to the shooter and doesn’t over challenge, instead trusting his positioning to make the proper save.
Road to College: A Baker’s Dozen
This reporter stopped in at Dan Donato and Chuckie Hughes’s Road to College showcase this past Friday at the Babson College Skating Center in Wellesley, Mass. It’s a useful tournament as it fills a niche: with a couple of exceptions, all of the players are uncommitted. In addition to three days of games, Donato and Hughes gear the tournament toward empowering those players by offering all sorts of workshops, e.g. NCAA workshops, SAT prep workshops, SAT writing workshops, nutrition workshops, a Hockey East and NESCAC coaches seminar, and others. There are also on-ice skills sessions and goalie sessions with Brian Daccord of Stop It Goaltending. The coaches are from the prep and junior ranks.
All college coaches who attend are provided with an array of info on the players. Specifically, contact info and GPA, SAT, and ACT scores.
Many of the players – around two-thirds -- are from prep school. In addition, all the players, pre-selected, are legit DI or DIII candidates. No one looked out of place.
We were there only for that one day, so this is not intended to be a comprehensive list. We have a feeling that if we had gone all three days, different players would have stepped up. Anyway, here are some uncommitted players worth keeping an eye on.
Road to College 2015
*** Michael Ufberg, ’97 D, NJ Rockets/NJ Avalanche U18 – Our MVP – at least for the day we were there. We had previously written about the small defenseman, both in 2012 at the Atlantic District Showcase and again at the 2013 Liberty Bell Games. But not since then. Well, he’s still a good player, a clever d-man who was consistently carrying the puck in and out of traffic like it was on a string, and adroitly making short area passes. Ufberg, a left shot, doesn’t have the north-south speed which would put him over the top, but he is extremely mobile and can handle the puck in the offensive zone, pretty much taking it wherever he wants to go. A power play quarterback. Played last season for the New Jersey Rockets; will be playing this season for the New Jersey Avalanche U18. Will be a senior in high school, and is a good student. If D-I schools pass on him, he would present a great opportunity for a NESCAC school.
Connor McMenamin, ’99 F, Shattuck-St. Mary’s -- 5’11” forward from Collegeville, Pennsylvania, who will be a junior at Shattuck this fall, jumped out at us, mainly because his skating is catching up to the rest of his game. McMenamin and two other East Coast members of that team -- Alexander Mella and Julian Detmer -- were at Road to College. That trio is firmly in the second tier of forwards on that Shattuck squad. That’s no knock, as their first group – Logan Hutsko, Brannon McManus, et al -- is extremely talented. McMenamin, Mella and Detmer are all ‘99s. (There were only five ‘99s in the entire tournament, with Proctor D Reilly Walsh and Comcast F Jonathan Bendorf being the other two.)
Jesper Andersson, ’96 F, Vasteras (J20 SuperElit) – 6’0” Swedish centerman was consistently noticeable – a good all-around player. Potential bottom six guy for a Div. I school. Don’t know much about him, but also don’t suppose he would have made the trip if he wasn’t eyeing the NCAA route. He will be 19 next week.
Nicholas Altmann ’97 F, Duluth East HS/Minnesota Wilderness (NAHL) – We thought he played well last summer at the US Select 17 Festival, and we thought he played well here. Altmann is a good skater, with a good shot. Has graduated from high school and will be playing for the Minnesota Wilderness (NAHL), who play out of Cloquet, about 20 miles down the road from Duluth.
Christian O’Neill, ’98, Belmont Hill – In the game we saw, he was the best forward, making play after play. Smart player. Will be a junior.
Alec Andreucci, ’98, Notre Dame-West Haven (Conn.)/Cushing – Noticed him in flashes. Has offensive skills, but needs to be more consistent within the game. Definitely has a good opportunity in front of him at Cushing.
Colin Slyne, ’98, Brunswick School – Good puckhandler. Good shot. Decent size. He’s growing on us. Will be a junior at the Brunswick School this season, and will be counted on for a lot.
Patrick Flynn, ’96 F, South Shore Kings (USPHL) – Former Boston Advantage forward and former Dartmouth College recruit had a rough season last year, but he will be returning to the South Shore Kings (USPHL) and will be hoping to regain his form. He’s a good skater, he plays all three zones, and he’s looking for a school again. He’ll be valuable to someone. It’s just a matter of who.
Luke O’Brien, ’97 F, St. Mark’s School – St. Mark’s rising senior uses his size along the boards, and wins those battles. was comfortable with the puck on his stick. Was a key part of St. Mark’s small school championship team. Forgive the aside, but St. Mark’s could be very good again this coming season, as they return all their high-skills players.
Trevor Cosgrove, ’97 D, Phillips Exeter – Solidly built and athletic, Cosgrove is not flashy, but he has poise with the puck, holds the blue line, and contributes offensively. When Spenser Young left Exeter for the USHL, there was concern about Exeter’s defense. But Cosgrove stepped up and took over, averaging nearly a point per game from the blue line -- double what he had the year before – and Exeter didn’t skip a beat.
Tim Birarelli, ’97 G, Loomis Chaffee School – Gets good looks at the puck. Tracks it extremely well and gets in front of it. Competes hard. Former Beverly High standout has a year of prep play under his belt and will be a senior at Loomis this fall. Schools will be watching him closely.
Daniil Gerasimov, ’96 G, Philadelphia Revolution (EHL) – 6’2” goaltender from Moscow moved well for his size. Fills the net, and fills the bill when it comes to the type of goalie everyone is looking for.
Peter Ciccarelli, ’97 G, Rivers School – We’re not very familiar with him because he doesn’t play much during the winter. The other five goalies here were #1 guys on their team, but not Ciccarelli. He has great size, so he’s the prototypical goalie scouts are looking at these days. He moves well, handles the puck well. We feel that the tools are there, but he’s a bit of a mystery man.