2016 Liberty Bell Games Review
Forgive this belated review – family time, graduations, etc. got the better of this typist.
Nonetheless, on the weekend of June 3-5, USHR traveled down to New Jersey for the Eighth Annual Liberty Bell games.
The tournament moved to the Jersey Shore this year. Specifically, to the Red Bank Armory Ice Complex, which is exactly what its name suggests, a World War I era armory repurposed in 1998 by Doug and Leslie Brooks (the parents, it should be noted, of former Salisbury and current Colgate defenseman Willie Brooks).
The Brooks, who are also in charge of daily operations, put much sweat and imagination into overhauling what had been an underutilized property. With exposed brick, gleaming hardwood, and numerous windows bringing in natural light, Red Bank’s rink is a civic treasure. It’s also the antithesis of 21st century arena building, which generally involves little more than finding land at the intersection of a couple major highways and throwing up a building with all the beauty and soul of a cargo container.
The Armory, then, is one of the nicest ‘new’ rinks we’ve seen on the East Coast. It also fits into the fabric of the town (pop. 12,206), which boasts a central business district featuring an array of restaurants and shops within easy walking distance. The town sits on the south bank of the Navesink River, with Sandy Hook just minutes away. The great Count Basie, who most people assume was from Kansas City, was actually born in Red Bank in 1904 and, just a couple blocks from the rink, there’s a beautifully renovated concert hall named after him.
OK, so much for the extracurriculars. As for the tournament itself, it’s very scout-friendly, featuring six teams comprised of a select group of ‘99s, ‘00s, and ‘01s, primarily from greater New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, along with a handful of players from farther south along the Atlantic Seaboard.
The tournament is the brainchild of Ottawa Senators scout Lew Mongelluzzo, with Bill Underwood serving as the director of scouting, and Anne Yannarella working as event director. Rosters are accurate and informative, and a 100-plus page book of player profiles is provided to scouts. Uniforms look sharp, and numbers match the rosters. Games start on time.
As for the players, we felt there were three players who clearly separated themselves from the rest of the pack: ’01 forwards Robert Mastrosimone (BU) and Trevor Zegras, and ’01 defenseman Marshall Warren (Harvard).
We felt that the player pool this year was deeper up front than on the blue line. Goaltending was OK. Barring exceptional performances, it can be a little hard, during a short tournament, to really focus in on goaltenders while also watching over a hundred skaters.
In our grades below, we tried to balance performance with potential. As for the goalies, we gave no grades. No one wowed us. Thomas Walker, however, was the tournament’s top goalie statistically. In lieu of minor penalties, penalty shots were used at the tournament. Naturally, that meant that some goalies faced more penalty shots than others, which skewed the goalie numbers.
The heights and weights given below are supplied by the players.
Here’s a video that gives a good feel for the tournament:
Liberty Bell Games video
A+ Robert Mastrosimone, ’01 F, #14 Freedom (Gray), 5-8/150 – Highly skilled, but also gritty and tenacious. Doesn’t quit on plays. A strong skater who keeps his feet moving. Digs pucks out of dirty areas. As much a playmaker as a finisher. Already committed to Boston University. Scored 111 points for Shattuck’s National Championship U14 team last winter. 4-4-8
A+ Trevor Zegras, ’01 F, #2 Ben Franklin (Royal), 5-9/140 – Star potential. Extremely skilled -- athletic, agile, an excellent skater. Terrific shooter and passer. High upside. Played for Mid-Fairfield U14s. 3-4-7
A John Farinacci, ’01 F, #9 Ben Franklin (Royal), 5-11/165 – Big, strong, and protects puck well. Plays both ends. From NJ Colonials and Delbarton. Harvard recruit. 1-3-4
A Jack Malone, late ’00, #12 William Penn (Red), 6-0/175 – Lanky forward from Delbarton played hard both ways. Skilled guy who gets his nose dirty. Well-rounded player. Excellent DI prospect. 4-3-7
B+ Corey Clifton, ’99 F, #10 Constitution (Gold), 5-9/175 – Excellent hockey sense. Strong skater who works hard. Not flashy, just smart and all-around good. Centerman is younger brother of Quinnipiac’s Clifton brothers, Connor and Tim. And he too is committed to Quinnipiac. 2-1-3
B+ Mickey Burns, ’00 F, #8 Constitution (Gold), 5-7/150 – Small, with a good motor. Competes hard. High energy. Scored like mad, finishing up as the tournament’s leading scorer. Played for Don Bosco and the U16 Hitmen. 6-5-11
B+ Brayden Patricia, ’00 F, #15 Ben Franklin (Royal), 6-0/180 – Solidly built, rugged power forward led his team in scoring here. Sees the ice well. Plays with edge but can be undisciplined (took a double minor in one game). Plays for Morristown-Beard and the Hitmen U16s. Drafted last month by Kitchener in the 11th round of the OHL draft. 3-5-8
B+ Kenny Riddett, ’01 F, #2 Independence (White), 5-5/150 – Quick, protects puck well, small, good passes. Works hard. Very competitive. Could be a DI prospect if he grows – reportedly has an older brother who is 6’2”, so that may happen. From North Jersey Avalanche. 2-3-5
B+ Matthew Brown, ’99 F, #8 Freedom (Gray), 5-8/165 – Physical, consistently noticeable. Drove to the net hard and often. A goal scorer. Keeps feet moving. Strong on skates. Works hard. Played for the NJ Rockets U16s. 5-2-7
B Shane Pinto, late ’00 F, # Freedom (Gray), 6-1/165 – Has size and skill. A sleeper from a lesser-known program (NY Aviator Hockey Club; Brooklyn, NY). 4-2-6
B Tyler Coffey, ’00 F, #9 Freedom (Gray), 5-9/150 – Good wheels. Really gets after it. Things happen when he’s on the ice. Good sense of game. Makes plays and scores goals in equal measure. Played for Princeton Day School and the U16 Hitmen. 3-2-5
B Ross Mitton, ’00 F, #15 Freedom (Gray), 5-11/180 – Hard worker. Hits hard, too. Good hands. Needs to improve skating, however. Played for the North Jersey Avalanche U16s and the Portledge School, where he was the leading scorer as a sophomore this past winter. Fargo (USHL) Futures draft pick. 1-4-5
B Derek Contessa, ’99 F, #18 Independence (White), 6-3/205 – Big power forward is good in corners and in front. NHL body. Nice wrist shot. Has a lot going for him but needs to improve his skating to have success at the next level. From the U16 Jersey Hitmen. 5-3-8
B Victor Nikiforov, ’99 F, #11 Independence (White), 5-9/160 – Smart, cerebral, and sees the ice well. Skating is not bad, but lacks explosiveness. Needs a stronger first few steps in order to become more dynamic and have success at DI level. From PAL Junior Islanders U16s. Son of PAL Junior Islanders coach Aleksey Nikiforov and brother of Vladimir Nikiforov. 2-3-5
B Bobby Trivigno, ’99 F, #14 Walt Whitman (Sky Blue), 5-8/150 – Northeastern commit started slowly but picked it up. Sees the ice well; has good skills. From Shattuck-St. Mary’s U16s. Waterloo (USHL) draft pick. 1-4-5
B Tucker Forte, ’01 F, #2 Constitution (Gold), 5-5/145 – Not really a scorer and not very big, but he was consistently noticeable. Good playmaker. A hard-working, high-energy player who battles and goes hard both ways. Has a bit of a short stride. Played for Central Bucks West (PA) High School and the Philadelphia Revolution. 0-1-1
B Adam Robbins, ’00 F, #14 Independence (White), 5-8/155 – Missed Friday’s action. Talented but small waterbug type. Just flies around. Smart player who makes things happen. Plays for Avalanche U16s. Chicago Steel pick in USHL Futures Draft. 3-1-4
B Tyler Paquette, ’01 F, #11 Walt Whitman (Sky Blue), 6-0/175 – Smart player with good skill level, hockey sense, and size. Makes plays. Has upside but needs to work on feet. From the Hill School and Mercer Chiefs. 1-2-3
B Maxim Kuznetsov, ’00 F, #11 Ben Franklin (Royal), 5-10/165 – Excellent hands and shot but needs to improve skating a bit. A bit of a sleeper. From Comcast U16s. 3-3-6
B Daniel Kramer, ’99 F, #11 William Penn (Red), 6-0/185 – Big strong power forward type has decent hands. Needs to work on his skating. Strong student attends Horace Mann and is a good prep/Ivy candidate. Plays for LI Gulls U16s. 2-2-4
B Matt Cameron, ’00 F, #9 Constitution (Gold), 5-11/185 – Has a scorer’s touch. A finisher with a rocket of a shot. Made some nice passes too. Physical in spurts. A little inconsistent from shift to shift. Played for the North Jersey Avalanche U16s and Conestoga (PA) High School. 4-3-7
B Kyle Knight, ’00 F, #14 Constitution (Gold), 5-11/172 – Scored a nice wraparound goal Friday night. Has an excellent shot. Played at St. Augustine Prep and Team Comcast U16s. 4-2-6
B Thomas Finck, ’99 F, #1 Constitution (Gold), 5-6/135 – Consistently involved. Quick, clever, and aware. Good skater, good energy. If he grows could be interesting. From LI Gulls U16s. 2-1-3
C Kyle Peters, ’99 F, #16 William Penn (Red), 5-8/165 – Small, goes hard both ways. Gets under opponents’ skin. A 1/1/99 birthdate, hence the oldest player in the tournament. From Holy Ghost Prep (PA) and Team Comcast U16s. 2-2-4
C David Mester, ’00 F, #14 Ben Franklin (Royal), 6-2/185 – Has the size. If he is able to improve his skating, he will be of interest. Played for LaSalle College HS (PA) and Team Comcast U16s. 2-4-6
C Jack Smiley, ’99 F, #18 Ben Franklin (Royal), 6-3/180 – Big, raw power forward type. Skating is rather rough. If he improves in that area he could move on to higher levels. From Team Comcast U16s and Holy Ghost Prep (PA). 2-2-4
A+ Marshall Warren, ’01 LD, #7 Ben Franklin (Royal), 5-11/150 – Harvard recruit has elite skill level. Very athletic, smooth skater. Good size. Good stick. Good passes. Sees the ice. Hit kid back door with pass from the half wall for a goal. For us, best D prospect here – by a considerable margin. From NJ Colonials and the Portledge School. 3-1-4
A- Jack Robilotti, ’01 RD, #6 Ben Franklin (Royal), 6-1/175 – Tall and lanky. Good reach, good stick defending. Moves the puck and plays the body well. Conservative offensively. Was paired with fellow ’01 Marshall Warren. From NJ Colonials. 0-0-0
A- Brandon Cimino, ’01 RD, #3 Freedom (Gray), 5-9/160 – Strong skating, puck-moving d-man with good offensive upside. From North Jersey Avalanche. 1-0-1
A- Zach Jones, ’00 D, #7 Independence (White), 5-7/155 – Very small, but highly skilled and not at all afraid. Extremely mobile, great stick. Fun to watch. From Selects Academy U16s. 0-0-0
A- Greg Japchen, ’01 LD, #1 William Penn (Red), 5-6/130 – Talented d-man from Shattuck-St. Mary’s U14s sees the ice well, skates well, has terrific mobility, and an excellent stick. He has everything except size. However, as a 12/17/01 DOB he was the youngest player here, so he is certain to grow some – and he may grow a lot: his father, Geoff Japchen, was a linebacker at Penn State in the late ‘80s. 1-0-1
B Nolan Barrett, ’00 RD, #18 Walt Whitman (Sky Blue), 6-1/175 – Converted forward has size and plays with intensity and grit. Clobbers opponents. From Don Bosco Prep and Jersey Hitmen U16s. Youngstown (USHL) futures pick. 0-0-0
B John Campomenosi, ’00 LD, #3 William Penn (Red), 5-8/155 – Wasn’t there Friday but arrived Saturday, so didn’t see him quite as much as we would have liked. Solid two-way player. Moves puck decently. Well-rounded. From U16 Hitmen. 0-1-1
B Kevin Liam Ovington, ’01 LD, #4 Constitution (Gold), 5-10/150 – Good skater, good sense, and good outlet passes. From Mercer Chiefs. 0-0-0
B Ivan Sidoriak, ’00 RD, #7 Constitution (Gold), 6-0/170 – Defensive defenseman. Good feet. Excellent mobility for size. From Valley Forge Minutemen U16s. 0-0-0
Thomas Walker, ’99 G, #21 Ben Franklin (Royal), 6-1/180 – Big, a bit raw. Had a solid weekend. Played for NJ Titans U16s. Brother of Union forward Ryan Walker. Father, Randy, is a coach with the Titans. Led all goalies here statistically. 2.50/.935
Anthony Del Tufo, ’99 G, #20 Constitution (Gold), 5-9/170 – Plays a little small but gets away with it because of his athleticism. Very quick. Battles hard. Consistent, too. From NJ Titans U16s. 3.64/.895
Liam Kelly, ’00 G, #20 Freedom (Gray), 6-0/190 – Has size. Seemed pretty assured in the games we watched. Plays for Hitmen U16s. 3.64/.857
Evan Szary, ’00 G, #21 Constitution (Gold), 5-9/145 – Had one bad game but otherwise solid. From NJ Titans U16 American. 4.00/.848
Mitchell Gibson, ’99 G, #21 Independence (White), 6-1/170 – Good athletically and positionally. From Junior Flyers U18s. One of eleven ’99 birthdates invited to Warren Strelow Goaltending Camp May 12-15 at Plymouth, Michigan. Drafted by Erie (OHL) and Sioux Falls (USHL). 4.83/.861
Douglas Connor, ’00 G, #20 William Penn (Red), 6-0/175 – Former Princeton recruit is sound positionally, and good athletically. Team in front of him struggled. One of eight ’00 birthdates invited to Warren Strelow Goaltending Camp May 12-15 at Plymouth, Michigan. Definitely worth following. From PAL Jr. Islanders U18. 6.50/.829
Alexandros Aslanidis, ’01 G, #20 Independence (White), 6-3/175 – Very big, but very raw. Had a difficult weekend, but is highly regarded within the district and, given his youth and size, is someone to keep close tabs on. Was one of six ’01 birthdates invited to Warren Strelow Goaltending Camp May 12-15 at Plymouth, Michigan. From St. Joseph’s Prep (PA) and the Philadelphia Flyers Bantams. 6.82/.815
Meyers Shines at Road to College
The star of this year's Road to College Showcase, held at Babson College last weekend, was Delano (Minn.) High School forward Ben Meyers. Everyone we spoke to, from tournament organizers Chuck Hughes and Dan Donato to the coaches of the participating teams to the recruiters and scouts in attendance, was in unanimous agreement: Meyers set the bar.
By the end of the weekend virtually every Hockey East school was taking a close look at the kid from the tiny Class A high school 30 miles west of the Twin Cities.
Meyers, who is average in height but thickly built with strong legs, is an explosive skater who gets up to speed quickly. He played hard, turned plenty of d-men, cut through traffic, drove the net, and had the puck on his stick a lot.
A November '98 birthdate who is going into his senior year, Meyers put up a 33-34-67 line in 28 games last winter and was taken in the 7th round of the USHL draft by Fargo. Coming east for Road to College appears to have been a smart move of his part. Others from outside the region shined, too, and we'll get to them below.
Standouts aside, this is a useful tournament. Given the fact that it is limited to uncommitted players, it has a specific focus. Everybody is on the same page, looking for a chance.
With six teams of 17 players apiece, a little over a hundred players take part. Out of these, 20-30 are potential D-I players and a good number of the remaining players have a future at the D-III level. Therefore, there is always a range of coaches looking on, from all levels of college as well as juniors and preps. The tournament, in its ninth year, also offers SAT prep and numerous workshops on the college recruitment process. It's practical, then, and from a parental point of view, given the college application component, a good return on investment. Coaches have access to all players' academic info.
Most players at the tournament fall in the '97-'98-'99 range, but there was also a select group of 2000 birthdates in the tournament, who added a nice level of skill even if most were still a little too green to have a significant impact on the games. A couple of the '00s who did stand out for us are highlighted below, among other players who caught our eye.
Each team here had one goalie; there were no backups. And, taken as a group, they were very good.
Stefan Wornig -- A '97 from White Rock, BC, Wornig played last season for Powell River (21 gp; .914; the highest save percentage of any uncommitted goalie in league) and was traded to Prince George in April. He's huge, listed at 6'6" and 207 lbs. And he uses his size effectively, being very much a blocker goalie. Like most goalies his size, he can improve upon his foot work and agility. Was really good on the first and second day, winning 3-2 and then 2-1 in OT. Gave up four on the final day, including one to Meyers, who ripped one from the slot on the game's second shift.
Aidan Porter -- 6'2", 160 lb. '99 birthdate will be a junior at Rivers this coming season. He was excellent, particularly the first couple of days. He battled, competed, and used his size and athleticism very well. Porter is a strong student with Ivy potential.
Ethan Domokos -- The '98 from New Brunswick was excellent at Milton this past winter, helping lead the Mustangs to the prep championship game. And he was good here as well. The difference between Domokos and Wornig and Porter is size. Domokos is 5'11" and, in the modern game, that's small. So, for D-I play, he's going to have to keep proving himself every step of the way. Don't sell him short, though. Domokos will be a senior this season.
Monty Cunningham (#1 Blue) -- A 6'2" '97 birthdate from Pittsford, NY, Cunningham was senior captain and posted a .920 save percentage for a Lawrenceville team that won only three games this past season. Here he matched that win total, winning all three games for a team that was less than overwhelming. Made some outstanding saves, especially in tight off rebounds. Kept his team in games. Div. I might be a stretch, but we can possibly see him at Div. III schools.
Eric Jeremiah (#5 Black) -- The St. Sebastian's senior to be, a '98 birthdate, fights the size battle, hence has college coaches trying to decide whether he can play D-I or D-III. Sean McCann, his coach at Seb's and a former Hobey Baker finalist as a defenseman at Harvard, speaks highly of Jeremiah's work ethic and feels strongly that he projects as a D-I player. Highly mobile and an excellent skater in all three zones, Jeremiah, a right shot, scored a great one-time PP goal on the tournament's final day, a top-shelf snipe. He may be short, but he's solid, with a low center of gravity. On a 1-on-1, he laid out Ben Meyers with a hard hit. No one else did that to Meyers all weekend. (To Meyers credit, he got right up off the mat and ripped one off the crossbar.)
Pat Harrington (#5 Grey) -- A 5'9", 175 lb. left shot, Harrington, who converted from forward to D early in his Malden Catholic career, is an excellent skater and puckhandler who is still learning the intricacies of the defensive game. The '98 was a senior at Malden Catholic this past season and will need a couple of years in juniors, which he will get: he will be playing for the Islanders this season.
Filip Dusek (#2 Red) -- 6'4", 200 lb. RD from Prague was a junior at Stanstead College last season. A '98 birthdate, Dusek definitely looks the part. He has the tools. He has size, he can skate, he's agile and athletic. We felt he was a little frenetic, and zipped around unneccesarily at times. If he can develop a quieter game he could become a solid DI defensive defenseman. Was on Central's Final Ranking, but was passed over in the draft.
Paul DeNaples (#3 Red) -- 6'0", 174 lb. '98 RD from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights (NAHL) can skate, has decent size, and played a generally sound game. Good, solid D-I prospect. Was taken by the Sioux Falls Stampede in the third round of this spring's USHL Draft.
Noah Lugli (#7 Red) -- 6'4", 210 lb. '99 RD from St. Andrew's College impressed with this size, strength, and physicality. Still young enough so that other aspects of his game -- finesse, decision-making, etc. -- will continue to develop.
Josh Boulos (#16 Yellow) -- Big left-shot D can really skate and carry the puck. Was a senior at Burlington (Mass.) HS this winter, and helped lead his team to the Super 8. A '97, he's raw but there's a lot of potential here. Will be playing for the Islanders (USPHL) this coming season.
Matt Slick (#18 Black) -- '99 from Proctor Academy played in Reilly Walsh's shadow but is a solid player in his own right -- a 6'2" strong, good-skating defenseman who defends well. His hands are just OK, so he's probably not going to be an offensive D at the next level.
Alex Sheehy (#4 Red) -- North Salem, New York native, a 6'2", 190 lbs. right shot, will be entering his senior year at Millbrook. We thought his game took a big step forward last winter, and expect more of the same. A '98, he projects as a defensive defenseman.
Austin Roell (#13 Yellow) -- 6'1", 170 lb. '98 right shot D from Detroit Catholic High School is a smart, positionally sound player. Does a lot of the little things. Good gap and stick defending the rush.
Collin Van der Veen (#18 Blue) -- All of 6'5", Van der Veen, a right shot '97 birthdate, was a senior at Milton Academy last winter. When he keeps it simple, he's fine. When he tries to do too much, the results can be a bit grim. In short, he's a project, albeit one with a high upside. Will be playing for the Islanders (USPHL); Sean Tremblay has had success over the years nudging this type of defender over the finish line.
Michael Gordon (#12 White) -- 6'0", 180 lb. right shot will be a senior at Delbarton this season. '99 from Nutley, NJ thinks the game well, and makes a good first pass. Strong student, so has Ivy/NESCAC potential.
Ben Meyers (#3 White) -- See above. Top player here.
Bailey Conger (#6 Grey) -- Former Cushing forward went out to the USHL last season and blew out his shoulder 10 games into the season and was done for the season. Idaho native, a '97, decommitted from St. Lawrence when Greg Carvel left for UMass. Will be returning to the USHL to play for Waterloo. On Sunday, notched 4 pts (2g,2a) as his team came back from 2-0 deficit to beat Red team 4-2.
Cameron Hillis (#6 Yellow) -- '00 birthdate played for York Simcoe Express minor midget as well as 13 games with St. Andrew's College varsity. He's listed as 5'8". An excellent skater with soft hands. Competed. A hound on the puck. Excellent D-I prospect.
Tyler Scott (#5 White) -- Played on the top line at Breck, which reached the Minnesota State Class A finals. Including playoffs, posted a 21-35-56 line in 28 games. Good sense of the game, good speed -- and he competes. '98 birthdate will be a PG at Gunnery.
Cade Gleekel (#12 Black) -- 6'1", 190 lb. Benilde-St. Margaret's grad, a late '97, will be taking his game to the BCHL this season (Merritt). Was injured in first half of Friday's game, breaking -- re-breaking, actually -- his collarbone. Came back and played Saturday, though. Give him the Croix de Guerre! Had a 22-36-58 line in 24 games for Benilde.
Riley Hughes (#14 Grey) -- St. Sebastian's '00 birthdate could make a fine power forward type when he fills out. He's about 6'0" now. In one game, scored, under the crossbar, a nice one-timer from top of faceoff circle. A lot of potential here.
Jack Adams (#19 White) -- Huge -- 6'5", 197 lb. -- forward left Malden Catholic after his junior year to play in the USHL with Fargo. Formely committed to Princeton. '97 birthdate had an 8-16-24 line in 54 games played for Fargo. Brother Roo was a d-man at Providence College.
Chris Theodore (#13 Red) -- October '97 birthdate from Montreal will be a senior at Hotchkiss. Team's leading returning scorer. Quite small, but is hard to catch -- very fast, around puck a lot. Helped himself with his performance here. Game is built on his speed.
Ian Murphy (#4 Blue) -- '99 was a sophomore at BC High last year. Reported to be transferring to Dexter. Good hands and speed.
Brendan Hamblet (#9 Yellow) -- Late '98 will be a senior at Rivers. Is 5'11", 180 lbs., works hard, makes things happen. Consistently noticeable. Solid all-around player.
Andrew Hadley (#18 Grey) -- 6'2", 215 lb. power forward. Finishes well around net. Had 20 goals as a '97-born senior at Deerfield last season. Will be with Junior Bruins (USPHL) this season. If he plays D-I it would likely be as a 4th line guy.
Matthew Barry (#9 Red) -- '97 from Chicago Mission U18s. 5'11" or so. Good skater. Made plays. In right place at right time. Has some DI potential.
Greybeards at the Draft
We haven't come across any commentary on this subject, but it struck us that there was a large cohort of older players selected in last weekend's NHL Draft.
So we added them up and, of the 211 players selected in Buffalo, we counted 52 of them (24.6%) who had been draft eligible in 2015, but were passed over.
It breaks down like this (all ages are as of Sept. 15, 2016):
That's quite a leap from 2015, when 38 players over the age of 18 were selected. That further piqued our curiosity so we went back five years and found that in 2012 there were 49 players over the age of 18 selected -- not a huge difference.
The subject interests us primarily in the context of the general aging of entering college freshman, a nice hot-button topic these days. It might be worthwhile to go even further back in the annals and see how it broke down in decades past, though what is revealed might be of dubious value given the many changes in the game. Variables would certainly include changes in the composition of European players and NHL rules regarding drafting international players, to say nothing of the import restrictions in junior hockey.
It's all food for thought, and worthy of further study.
The immediate lesson, though, is the fact that for every player who felt he had a chance at being drafted but was passed over, there's always next year...and the year after...and the year after.
So don't give up.
And if you're lucky and work hard you'll be a coveted free agent on August 15th after your senior year in college!
Just ask Jimmy Vesey.
This year, only six players were drafted directly from prep and high school this year. We knew the number would be small, but it was much smaller than we expected. It was tiny.
For the record, the following players were selected:
Dallas, 1st Round -- Riley Tufte, LW, Blaine HS (Minn.)
Montreal, 5th Round -- Casey Staum, LD, Hill-Murray HS (Minn.)
Calgary, 5th Round -- Mitchell Mattson, C, Grand Rapids HS (Minn.)
Nashville, 5th Round -- Patrick Harper, C, Avon Old Farms (New England)
Colorado, 6th Round -- Nathan Clurman, RD, Culver Academy (Indiana)
Florida, 7th Round -- Ben Finkelstein, RD, Kimball Union (New England)
That's it! Just three kids were taken out of Minnesota, and two out of New England. And the two taken out of New England, Harper and Finkelstein, were USHR's Prep Forward and Prep Defenseman of the Year. In other words, they weren't sleepers.
We were most surprised Gunnery's Gustaf Westlund wasn't selected, primarily because of his skating and overall athleticism. He fits the profile of a number of NHL players. Once the Michigan recruit leaves soccer behind and concentrates on hockey, he could take off. Then again, we could be wrong. Time will tell!
Road to College Roster & Schedule
The ninth annual Road to College Showcase will take place the weekend of June 24-26 at Babson College.
The tournament, run by former Harvard goaltender Chuck Hughes and former BU defenseman and current Dexter coach Dan Donato, is a showcase for top non-committed players (primarily, but not exclusively from the East Coast). In addition to three days of games, the tournament features numerous workshops designed to aid players in the finer points of the college recruiting and admissions process.
The tournament is limited to seniors/PGs, juniors, and select sophomores.
Coaches this year are Darren Reaume, Sean McCann, Rob Gagnon, Todd Stirling, Sean Tremblay, and Matt Plante.
Fri. June 24th at 2:00 pm, 3:40 pm, and 5:20 pm
Sat. June 25th at 2:00 pm, 3:40 pm, and 5:20 pm
Sun. June 26th at 11:00 am, 12:40 pm, and 2:20 pm.
2016 Roster (Excel Doc)
Road to College website
East Coast Futures Schedules & Rosters
The fifth annual East Coast Futures Tournament is scheduled for this weekend, Fri.-Sun. June 17-19, at several rinks in Connecticut.
Newington Arena and the Northford Ice Pavilion will host the 16U and 18U divisions, while Wonderland of Ice (Bridgeport, Conn.) will host the 14U division.
Click below for the scouting booklet with rosters and a full schedule broken down by division and rink.
East Coast Futures Tournament