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Eden Prairie’s Casey Mittelstadt Chooses the Gophers

Eden Prairie’s Casey Mittelstadt Chooses the Gophers

The Gophers landed the hockey equivalent of an emergent 5-star recruit with their sole commitment of this fall, Eden Prairie sophomore forward Casey Mittelstadt. With the Golden Gophers captained by another of Eden Prairie’s own, Kyle Rau, this season, the Gophers may have secured another potential 100-point club member in Mittelstadt, who finished 2nd in overall goalscoring (with 14) as a 15-year-old rookie in the Elite League this season. Eden Prairie Bantam AA coach Tom Gerdes described them in the same breadth, “I’d like to take credit (for his clutch scoring), but Casey is just one of those kids who at the end of the game wants the puck…[Kyle] Rau was just like him, and we’d plan on getting him the puck.”

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To describe his rise in relevance as meteoric is in some ways the perfect word and entirely incorrect at the same time; it’s only meteoric to those that didn’t catch Casey as a bantam, where he tallied 91 goals in 60 games en route to being unanimously named Youth Hockey Hub’s player of the year. With eleven game-winners on his resumé in that one season (including this one we caught in person at the inaugural Blue Ox tournament), it doesn’t take any scouting to know that Mittelstadt has a scoring touch. That said, the meteoric aspect is that Mittelstadt hit Elite League competition and had the same kind of success with absolutely no hiccups, side-stepping the usual transition from bantam to high school hockey before making his way to the highest level competition available in the immediate area. As his Elite League coach for Team Southeast Sean Toomey put it to the league’s website, “He’s turned the maturity curve pretty quickly…I expected him to need a full week of adjustment time, and it was really only a weekend (for him to adjust). I’m pleasantly surprised with how quickly he’s adjusted, but then again I’m not surprised.”

Scouting Mittelstadt is as easy as it gets because he’s a fun player to watch. Mittelstadt’s level of engagement is so high that you’re scouting him whether you’re trying to or not, he gets the puck and makes things happen. This season, skating with a gifted producer in Nick Swaney (UMD) has seen a unique chemistry emerge, Mittelstadt’s quick release and intuitive scoring instincts pair with Swaney’s ability to see the ice and make others better. The fact that both are consistently dangerous threats means any defensive pairing is in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenario when they gain the offensive blue. On the other side of that line is fellow Eden Prairie forward Michael Graham, also a UMD recruit. If you want an idea of how the Gophers latest pick-up is going to do in high school this year – and how effective that line has been – all but three of his 14 goals, one of which was unassisted, wasn’t assisted on from either Swaney or Graham this fall. All but one of his 14 assists this year wasn’t on a play where Graham or Swaney were involved. So, second overall goal-scorer in the Elite League, third overall in points, but he certainly had some help. It spells an extremely dangerous scoring line for Eden Prairie this winter. Graham, who played with UNO recruit and Washington Capitals 2014 draft pick Steven Spinner at EP last season, will likely fall into a similar role with a much younger linemate in Mittelstadt this winter.

From an advanced stats point of view he would be a “high-event” style player who is constantly causing things that compilers of those statistics track. He’s very natural with the puck, has excellent anticipation on and off the puck, plays with confidence, a lot of smarts and energy. Below is our scouting report following the first weekend of Elite League action this fall.

Mittelstadt is a key get for the Gophers in another way, as he starts to seal in what a 2017 forward group is going to look like for the Gophers. Here it is:

  1. Leon Bristedt – Senior
  2. Robin Hoglund – Senior
  3. Tom Novak – Junior
  4. Tyler Sheehy – Junior
  5. Jack Ramsey – Junior
  6. Tarek Baker – Sophomore
  7. Rem Pitlick – Sophomore
  8. Garrett Wait – Sophomore
  9. Ryan Norman – Sophomore
  10. William Fallstrom – Sophomore
  11. Casey Mittelstadt – Freshman
  12. Scott Reedy – Freshman
  13. Brannon McManus – Freshman

That’s a truly intimidating amount of skill on campus, even if some of those upperclassmen depart early. It’s also a testament to the amount of talent in the area when you consider that top in-state 1998 talents Joey Anderson (Minnesota-Duluth), Riley Tufte (Minnesota-Duluth) and Mitchell Mattson (North Dakota) aren’t even headed there. Should the Gophers land another key get like Grant Mismash or just do their homework on one of the up-and-coming 1998s (who are still very young) and, in the coming years, pick up someone to fill a depth scoring role such as Luke Paterson (Wayzata HS) or Max Johnson (Lakeville North HS), the Gophers quickly become extremely well-positioned.

For more on the Mittelstadt commitment, see the report from our friends at YHH, where they note that Mittelstadt had garnered interest from Division 1 powers North Dakota, Boston College, Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Ohio State before choosing the Gophers on the day of his visit. Mittelstadt is a 2017 NHL draft eligible.

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NTDP Camp Roster, Reactions and Positional Breakdown

The NTDP’s Evaluation Camp Roster was released this afternoon. While a number of names had already leaked out to the public, it’s exciting to see the list in it’s entirety and any surprises to make it. From my end, not really. I hadn’t been out to see RI’s Jamie Armstrong, nor had a long look at most of the HPHL. The rest seems pretty spot on. There are, as expected with such a talented pool of players, a few surprising omissions, however. Namely that’s Colorado Thunderbirds’ Cal Foote, son of Adam Foote, who is nearly a 1999 and still one of the top defensemen in an extremely deep group. That could be a sign that the WHL 2nd-rounder in 2013 could be Major Junior bound.

Similarly, Matt Kiersted and Cam Dineen are great offensive-minded blue liners – but Team Comcast’s Dave Melaragni seems like he would have to be in the conversation if those two were. No one, save maybe Chad Krys, and certainly no one Melaragni’s size (6’1) and age has been asked to run an entire team’s offense like the Northeastern recruit has, and does, on a shift-to-shift basis.

Up front, Omaha’s Ethen Frank seems like a surprising omission, but the rest seem like they’re on the outside looking in based on the talent pedigree and pro upside of the forwards this year. Frank’s Omaha teammate Dalton Gally, a defenseman, would have seemed a logical pick on the back-end, though with the depth of the 1998 D it’s really not an oversight. Defenseman Jakob Chychrun seems to be headed the OHL route, though the Florida native makes the 1998 defensive group even better than it already is.

So where is the talent concentrated this year? Top to bottom it seems that all groups are strong, which is no surprise as this is a round-up of some of the top prospects in the country. While we haven’t seen all the skaters in the group, we do know about everyone, and have a solid idea of how strong the groups are right now, so here’s what position we suspect the 1998 group is going to be remembered for, moving backwards.

Positional Depth Ranking

1. Defenseman

Even without Jakob Chychrun, this group is deep top-to-bottom and littered with skaters that possess serious pro upside. Chad KrysGriffin LuceLuke MartinAdam Fox and Ryan Lindgren are already well-known names in hockey circles, but James Greenway and pretty much everyone else invited are right there knocking on the door.

2. Goaltender

I can’t imagine having to make the call in this group. Ryan Edquist, Dayton Rasmussen, Jake Oettinger and Joseph Woll are a formidable four. That doesn’t even include fellow NTDP invites Mike Latorella (Honeybaked U18) and Steven Dhillon (Buffalo Regals U15) or other 1998 prospects like Nick Sorgio, Jake Acton or Cole Weaver, all potential high USHL Phase 1 picks this spring. There are a few goaltenders out there, like Milwaukee Jr. Admirals U15 stopper Tommy Mohs, with size and some real talent that seemed like serious NTDP candidates, as well. There could be some very memorable professional goaltenders in this 1998 age-group, and that’s even considering how tough goaltenders are to project. The 1999 group, so far, doesn’t seem to touch this one, and neither do the 1997s, though that could really change.

3. Forward

This group is strong, but it seems higher on potential and lower on “sure things”. Though those are admittedly sparse at this age, this position just doesn’t have the pedigree of the other two, even if it ends up the best. Logan Brown and Max Jones may be the front-runners, but maybe BU recruit Clayton Keller, Honeybaked’s Pat Khodorenko or UMD recruit Joey Anderson will pull away as the top prospect here by draft year. It could end up being big forwards Trent Frederic or James Sanchez (Michigan), who would both likely come out of the NTDP as mean, top-end draft eligibles – or it could be Riley Tufte. Maybe three hours north of Tufte’s hometown of Blaine, similarly tall forward Mitchell Mattson has a name to prove – or it could be another from hated Minneapolis talent-factory suburb Edina in power forward Kieffer Bellows. What it isn’t, right now, is clear cut.

Below are all the prospects to receive an invitation to the camp and a brief report on each seen. They are not listed in any specific order.

Forwards (27)

98 F Logan Brown – Indiana Jr. Ice U16 – S70 (4)

6’4 forward with skill, vision and skating ability. Should be an NTDP lock.

98 F Pat Khodorenko – Honeybaked U16 – S70 (14)

Lights out offensive star that had hints of being a WHL flight risk but seems like a real candidate to go to the program now.

98 F Graham McPhee – SSM U16 – Boston College

Opportunistic, highly engaged forward with a nice set of wheels and serious hockey IQ. Son of Capitals GM George McPhee.

98 F James Sanchez – Chicago Young Americans U16 – Michigan

Power forward in the making, owns some offensive upside at 6’2, 180 but likely will not be a run-and-gun type, protects the puck well, reads the sheet and skates hard.

98 F Riley Tufte – Blaine High School – S70 (12)

Finesse, skating ability and skill packed into a 6’3, 190 body.

98 F Mitchell Mattson – Grand Rapids High School – S70 (21)

Similar to Tufte in that he’s got real size, though his offensive playmaking ability seems to be coming along even stronger as Mattson grows into his build.

98 F Trent Frederic – St. Louis Blues AAA U16 – S70 (6)

6’2 skater is a man amongst boys at the U16 level and could be primed to break out with the NTDP – seems like a perfect candidate for the program.

98 F Clayton Keller – SSM Prep – Boston University

If Jack Eichel wasn’t toeing the line between prodigy and generational talent, Keller would be BU’s star recruit. Even with Eichel on the way, Keller puts up a fight in that conversation. The young forward has enjoyed a phenomenal season for Shattuck’s prep. Consistently the best forward on the ice against skaters three years his senior – Keller is playing at an elite level and should only get better.

98 F Joey Anderson – Hill-Murray – Minnesota-Duluth

It’s tough to believe Anderson’s a freshman. Hungry to score goals and supremely talented at breaking through to generate offense. Seems to be a step of everyone else when he’s out there.

98 F Garrett Wait – Edina

Another rising sophomore talent from Edina, Wait seems to score whenever we see him and has a knack for making plays in the offensive and neutral zone.

98 F Kieffer Bellows – Edina – S70 (20)

Started the season strong – ended it stronger. His 3-4-7 line in 5 playoff games actually seemed a little low for how many grade-A chances Bellows either created or found himself around. Skilled, built like a truck and tough to play against. Would be a top 10 prospect had we seen him more recently prior to our last ranking.

98 F Kailer Yamamoto – LA Jr. Kings U16 – S70 (68)

Quick, playmaking skater uses his speed and sharp hockey mind to generate non-stop offense. Still on the smaller side of 5’6/5’7, but could be an elite D1 player yet.

98 F Hank Crone – Dallas Stars U16

Pass-and-skate playmaker breaks through with flashes of terrific offensive ability but would like to see it more consistently.

98 F Grant Cruikshank – Milwaukee Jr. Admirals U16

Great skater, really hits a top speed fast and opportunistic all over the sheet. Tough to play against, at 5’7.

98 F Josh Dunne – St. Louis AAA U16

Lanky forward could really break through – a late 1998 at 6’1, 150 with glimpses of elite ability since he was a Bantam.

98 F Jacob Nielsen – Milwaukee Jr. Admirals U16

Nielsen could be a good one – we didn’t get a clear read on him, though he was very involved offensively – we spent a lot of time watching NMU recruit Collin Peters and fellow NTDP invite Grant Cruikshank (above).

98 F Zach Walker – Colorado Thunderbirds U16

This T-Birds team is deep and talented. Like Nielsen above, we didn’t get a strong feel for Walker – but others did, from the WHL to the NCAA, and most seem to love what he brings to the table.

Not Viewed:

98 F Max Jones – Honeybaked U18

98 F Nick Pastujov – Honeybaked U16 – Michigan State

98 F Noah Lalonde – Honeybaked U16 – Michigan State

98 F Willie Knierim – Chicago Mission U16

98 F Dominick Mersch – Chicago Mission U16

Just 14 days from being a 1999, brother of Wisconsin star Michael Mersch (LAK, 4th Rd, ’11)

98 F John Leonard – Springfield Cathedral – UMass

98 F Jamie Armstrong – Bishop Hendricken (RI)

98 F Tim Gettinger – Cleveland Barons U16

98 F Keeghan Howdeshell – Compuware U16

98 F William Lockwood – Oakland Jr. Grizzlies U16

Notable Omissions: Ethen Frank, Dante Palecco, AJ Drobot, Sam Sternschein, Liam Murphy, Brett Pickler

 

Defense (19)

98 D Chad Krys – NJ Rockets U19 – S70 (5)

Offensively-gifted is an understatement where Krys is concerned, regarded by many as the top 1998 defenseman on the East Coast, if not the country.

98 D Luke Martin – St. Louis Blues AAA U16 – Michigan

Looks like a pro prospect as a September-born 1998, at 6’2, 195, Martin is tough defensively and graceful as a skater. Meticulous in his own end and can escape the zone with the puck in a few strides.

98 D Adam Fox – LI Gulls U16 – Harvard

The Crimson recruit oozes confidence and does things with the puck that few can. Smooth skater pickpockets opposing skaters and turns the play up ice with ease, can run the point with the best of them.

98 D James Greenway – SSM U16 – S70 (25)

Massive defender is the younger brother of NTDP U17 forward Jordan Greenway (BU) and could turn into a serious force, not unlike Jordan, with the Program.

98 D Kenny Johnson – SSM U16

Johnson, too, has a talented other brother from the NTDP in Jack Johnson. Similar situation as James – could come out of the NTDP as one of the toughest 1998-born defenders to play against in the country. He’s at least 6’1 now and looks like he has more to grow.

98 D Brett Callahan – Chicago Mission U18

We didn’t realize Callahan was a 1998 until the second or third time we saw him, but just a month and a half from being a 1999, the 5’9 defender is mobile and capable against talented skaters three years his senior. A nice look by the NTDP.

98 D Sam Rossini – Burnsville High School

Big defenseman from the Blaze seems to be growing into his frame and could be a nice prospect when all is said and done.

98 D Matt Kiersted – Elk River High School – S70 (23)

Confident, 5’10 puck-moving blue liner loves to get involved in the play and could be a D1 powerplay quarterback one day as he rounds out his game and continues to grow.

98 D Griffin Luce – Salisbury School – Michigan

Like Luke Martin, Luce is a sure-fire NHL prospect at 6’3, 200 – a more graceful skater than most of his smaller peers and could be absolutely dominant at the D1 level.

98 D Andrew Peeke – Selects Academy at South Kent U16

6’2 defenseman projects well and looked great the few times we saw him. May have some offensive upside at the next level.

98 D Ryan Lindgren – SSM Prep – Minnesota

Minnesota’s most notorious blueliner of the 1998 age group by now. Tough, smart, plays hard and can make things happen in the offensive zone, too.

98 D Luke McInnis – Hingham High School – S70 (11)

Quick, smart defenseman is sharp at both ends of the ice, a decisive passer who sees the sheet well and should only get better.

98 D Cam Dineen – NJ Rockets U19 – Yale

5’11, mobile skater more than keeps up with teammate Chad Krys on the ice when the two are out together, a sharp, smart puck mover with offensive upside.

98 D Ty Farmer – St. Louis Blues AAA U16 – Michigan State

Athletic defender is meticulous defensively and breaks up great plays time and time again like it’s nothing. Could be one of D1′s best shut-down defensemen in a few years.

Not viewed:

98 D Michael Campoli – Lac St. Louis (QC)

98 D Derek Daschke – Oakland Jr. Grizzlies U16

98 D Matt Hellickson – Rogers High School

98 D Alex Green – Chicago Mission U16

98 D Mitch Eliot – Honeybaked U16 – Michigan State

Notable Omissions: Callan Foote, Dave Melaragni, Dalton Gally, Simon Butala, Ryan Bederka, Ben Gleason, Nick McKeeby, Jake Ryczek

Goaltenders (6)

98 G Ryan Edquist – SSM U16 – Minnesota

It’s hard to believe the next Gopher goaltender is only 5’11 as he takes up so much of the net. Likely the most poised, refined goaltender of the group, the fact that Edquist’s commitment to Minnesota as a Bantam came as a surprise to so few is a testament to not only his potential, but also how terrific of a goaltender the Shattuck-St. Mary’s stopper is right now. Suffice it to say, the Gopher recruit is likely the top committed goaltender in the country right now – but is he a fit for the program? At his size and elite talent level, he doesn’t seem to fit the mold of a goaltender who would benefit from the NTDP as much as some of the others in the group.

98 G Joseph Woll – St. Louis Blues AAA U16 – Harvard

The 6’2 new Crimson recruit was our top goaltender at the Tier 1 playoffs a few weeks ago and is a hell of a stopper. For a well-framed prospect his age, Woll has nice body control and looks huge in the crease. His reflexes and a sharp glove hand spell success – could be an ideal NTDP goaltender that they could help refine further into a serious pro prospect in a few years.

98 G Jake Oettinger – Lakeville North

Oettinger put himself on the radar in a big way over the past two seasons. Coming out of Bantams with Farmington, he was picked up by a WHL team, and advanced to high school, manning the crease for his Panthers that reached the final game of the season, losing to well-oiled machine Edina. That 8-2 loss isn’t the best note to head towards NTDP camp on, but the composure and skill that the 6’3 stopper displayed through overtime periods and high pressure games over and over have plenty of scouts sold regardless. Seems like a great fit for the NTDP.

98 G Dayton Rasmussen – Holy Family Catholic – OTB #1 Uncommitted Goaltender

The late 1998 hasn’t played a ton in high school yet, behind an experienced goaltender the past two seasons, but he seems to have the highest upside of any goaltender we’ve seen. Ideally-framed at 6’1 and takes up a lot of net, and very athletic for his age. MN Blades prospect could be a home-run for the NTDP if they can help fashion Rasmussen’s potential into a first-round pick in 2017.

Not Viewed:

98 G Mike Latorella – Honeybaked U18

98 G Stephen Dillon – Buffalo Regals U15

Notable Omissions: Jake Acton, Nick Sorgio, Cole Weaver, Tommy Mohs, Tyler Johnson

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Spring Report, New Recruits Pt. 2: Kiersted to NoDak, McManus to Minn., Pettersen to Denver

This is the second installment of our Spring Report on key, new college hockey recruits. Part 1 is here.

6. 98 D Matt Kiersted (#24) – North Dakota

Potential Arrival: 2016

North Dakota’s second swing out of this absurdly deep Minnesota 1998 group is rising star Matt Kiersted, an Elk River HS standout as a sophomore and NTDP camp invite. Even with a large set of talented 1998 defenseman in-state, we see Kiersted alongside Matt Hellickson (Uncommitted) in a tier right behind Gopher gem recruit Ryan Lindgren, and ahead of talents like Hill-Murray’s Casey Staum, Wayzata’s Hank Sorenson, Burnsville’s Sam Rossini, and many others. That’s because not only does he have unteachable offensive abilities and a quick hockey mind, but he’s taking care of his own end in a much bigger way now, using a mix of abrasive, well-timed plays and smart positioning to tie up key forwards or gain possession – to put it simply, he’s effective all over the ice now. If one were to track what zone the puck starts and ends up in, we’d bet more often than not that Kiersted drives possession up ice, even as a defenseman.

With a number of freshman D on campus this year, Kiersted will refresh the roster when he arrives, as a young, mobile offensive talent likely surrounded by towering D like Ryan Mantha and Christian Evers. Even three or four years out (anything can happen, Kiersted might end up for 2017 or later), it’s hard not to love the look of the future UND back-end, size, skill, and blue chip prospects contributing offensively.

7. 99 F Brannon McManus – Minnesota

A huge get for the Gophers from Shattuck-St. Mary’s Bantams comes 364 days after they picked up Bantam star Ryan Lindgren (now bound for the NTDP), but this time it’s a goalscoring forward from California and not an imposing Minnesotan defenseman. A 5’9 forward, McManus has been scoring goals and making defenders look silly with his quick, effective hands for years and lit up the famous Brick tournament in Edmonton back in 08-09 with a 5-5-10 line in just 5 games. We highlighted him in September’s “Scouting the Bantams: SSM U14 vs. Madison Capitols“, noting “Brannon McManus, a Californian, is a sharp player in the final third who should pick up quite a few points this season,” and he finished the year with 68 goals in 65 games, as well as 52 assists. To put it in perspective, current Gopher star Taylor Cammarata, a 5’7 forward who clearly would thrive at the youth hockey level, had a 92-89-170 line in 58 games, while #1 overall pick in 2013 Nathan MacKinnon posted a 54-47-101 line at Shattuck as a Bantam (on the same team), which underpaces McManus’ by 19 points, though with 7 less games. The point is that yes, youth hockey numbers can be inflated and deceiving, but McManus is more in-between MacKinnon and Cammarata with his physical gifts and hockey sense, and while we don’t know that he’s first overall material, he could end up in the top three rounds and I don’t think it’s outrageous to bet on McManus projecting better as an elite collegiate scorer than Cammarata even may have with his 170 points.

McManus, like many of his teammates, had picked up a lot of Division 1 attention over the course of the season and is a key example of why recruiting has gone so early as many schools recognize his talents are going to be highly desired at the collegiate level. The Gophers get a potential 25-30 goalscorer per season from McManus if his skills can translate like they appear they will. Where he goes in the upcoming WHL draft will be interesting, as his 5’9 size is not likely to hurt his draft stock nearly as much as this commitment likely will, though a team willing to take a chance (like Portland especially has been as of late) and more likely to present an exciting route north might select him now, and it could reap a game-changer should he change his mind about the NCAA route one day.

8. 00 F Mathias Emilio Pettersen – Denver

Potential Arrival: 2018

Per Chris Heisenberg, the second 2000-born prospect has already committed. His name is Mathias Emilio Pettersen, and he is a Norwegian hockey sensation. At Nationals in Green Bay this year, barely a day after Pettersen’s 14th birthday, rumor had reached us that the prodigy had committed to Denver, though we had heard from the same source that it had not been true. This rumor resurfaced again a few times, but it was noted each time that it was just “interesting” and untrue. News broke, days later, that the commitment had occured. Obviously wary of reporting the news at that point, we reached out to a source close to Pettersen, who further noted that it was untrue. It turns out that some lines got crossed over the Atlantic and that parties were speaking off of previous information, not having become aware that the Pioneers had in fact picked up a verbal commitment from Pettersen, and he joins another 2000 (Oliver Wahlstrom – Maine), both forwards with strong ties to Europe, as the youngest prospects bound for college hockey.

We highlighted Pettersen back in February, when we had learned he was bound for North America (Selects Academy at South Kent) next season. The videos from that paragraph are embedded below. While a commitment of any player this young is questionable, we have doubts that this is the end. A verbal commitment is not binding and we’ve seen many a top prospect opt for a new route, so nothing is permanent – but this is still very young to make these decisions. At the same time, it’s clear from the videos alone the level of skill Pettersen possesses. He’s not alone – one coach described the aforementioned fellow 2000-born recruit Oliver Wahlstrom as “the type of player you want doing skating technique and skill demonstrations – at age thirteen.”, and there are a few other players in a similar tier in the 2000 birthyear. One would think that the recruiting race for many of these talented young prospects probably won’t stop at thirteen whether or not they commit, but regardless, remember the names.

OTB Rising Uncommitted: Mathias Emilio Pettersen (from February):

“Just one this week. Make room for the YouTube generation, as 2000-born forward Mathias Emilio Pettersen, a Norwegian prodigy, looks to be another of what’s becoming a long-line of YouTube stars making an entrance to top-tier amateur hockey, as he’s heading to the Selects Hockey Academy at South Kent next fall, and will look to christen their new rink with some imported offensive sparks. While the first of this YouTube generation seems to be Kevin Roy (if another elite prospect went viral before, let me know), and even, kind of, stretches to 2014 draft eligible Sonny Milano and his “Bauer Hockey Commercial” contest entry, it doesn’t seem like we’ve seen anywhere near the end.”

He’s been wowing hockey fans on video since age 6 and currently is tied for 2nd on Team Sweden in goalscoring at the World Selects Invitational for 2000s (5-2-7 line in 5 games), behind Maine recruit Oliver Wahlstrom, who has a 9-3-12 line in 5 games. These videos, one is below, tell the story here: Pettersen does things borderline unthinkable and almost always impressive for a player at any age, but he’s playing against U16 skaters in Norway so he’s got a little more room to breathe: the country has 72 times less registered hockey players than the United States: under 7000, to the USA’s half million. What he can do at Selects Academy under either U16 National coach Devin Rask or new U16 American coach Dave Peters (from Dartmouth) will be much more revealing of where Pettersen stands within the group, and whether or not Denver has the Norwegian Gretzky on board for 4 years out.

Mathias Emilio Pettersen at age 12 (two years ago):

9. 98 D Jake Ryczek (#43) – New Hampshire

Potential Arrival: 2016/2017

When (or if) New Hampshire star defenseman Brett Pesce graduates from UNH, the Wildcats may have a worthy replacement in their most recent D pick-up, Jake Ryczek. No, he may not be 6’3 or skate like the wind, but he’s got the hockey sense, footwork and vision that allows him to continually impact games in more ways than the scoresheet. Able to rush the puck up ice or throw it up to a surging forward with a nice first pass, he’s not got the huge frame to be your go-to defenseman in a shutdown situation, nor necessarily the #1 powerplay quarterback, but he helps to drive possession up ice with sound, tenacious defensive play and passing skills. Possessing a game that should translate terrifically to the wide sheet in Durham, Ryczek is one of what seems like will be many Selects Academy products to head the NCAA route and make an impact.

10. 98 F Hank Crone (#68) – Boston University

Arrival: 2016/2017

BU netted one of the top playmakers in the country to skate alongside the absolute horses that they’ll have on roster by the time he arrives; likely in 2016 but maybe 2017. At 5’8, it’s far from a sure bet the skilled set-up man will arrive the year his skill would normally dictate. Crone put up 40 points in 31 games, and his 23 assists are more than any two players on his team’s goal totals combined, meaning he was setting up pretty much everyone on his team and had a helper on nearly 30% of the team’s goals. A pass-and-skate playmaker, we suspect he was having an off week when we saw him – and still had him as our #68 prospect in the country, a testament to the evident high-end skill and hockey sense we caught from some of the plays he makes on the puck. Crone was an NTDP camp invitee but has tendered with Omaha of the USHL, where he’ll join a team that went 39-14-7 in 2013-14 and won’t have to be a key producer – instead he may have an opportunity to make sparks fly with NHL prospects in Ryan Donato (Harvard, 2015) and Shane Gersich (North Dakota, 2015), or feed Michael Wilson (Uncommitted) and his heavy shot, if the Lancers protected list and rink talk are any indication of their roster next year

NTDP 2016 Camp Invites

NTDP 2016 Camp Invites (’00)

The NTDP released their 2016 class of invites for tryout camp this month in Plymouth, and there were not many surprises. What has emerged as one of the deepest, most intriguing American birthyears in a while was proven strong at the Youth Olympic Games last month where they took Gold. This roster includes the entirety of that team. Looking at a state-by-state view, it’s a dominant showing for Minnesota, with 12, and the rest of the hockey-‘M’ states also saw a lot of their best players selected.

Forwards

This is a forward group that includes a lot of size, offensive talent (of all shapes/heights), speed, and power in their games. It has a little bit of everything. At center for the camp is the highest concentration of upside at one position, and it’s not a coincidence that all 8 have commitments to major programs before the puck drops in Plymouth.

BU’s Jake Wise likely leads the group, but with Oliver Wahlstrom (Harvard) and Jake Pivonka (ND) flagging right behind and fellow Terrier recruit Jack DeBoer improving each year, those four can go up against any four centers around right now. Add two bright stars from Minnesota in Grand Rapids’ Gavin Hain (North Dakota) and Luverne’s Jaxon Nelson (Minnesota) to go with 6’4 Skipjacks forward Pat Giles (BC) and Honeybaked’s Jon Gruden (Miami), it’s clear there are going to be some tough calls. For Wise, Hain and DeBoer, this month included a chance to take a championship in their high school competitions (MA, MN, Prep respectively).

At wing (for the camp at least), the skill level is pretty high with Tyler Weiss (BU), TJ Walsh (BC), Blake McLaughlin (MN), Joel Farabee (BU), Max Ellis, Trevor Janicke (ND) and recent Michigan recruit Calen Kiefiuk. The others are generally a bit bigger, including Penn State’s Jake Goldowski at 6’4 and Notre Dame’s growing Jack Perbix, listed at 6’0. Erik Middendorf, Curtis Hall, Ryan O’Reilly (UNO), Jack Randl and Blade Jenkins round out the rest of a forward group where everyone can threaten to score and a number can create at a high level. Hall has already tendered with Youngstown, which could be a rough go for the Phantoms if he chooses to do what former Y’town-tender Jake Tortora did last year, and decide to accept an offer from the NTDP after tendering.

Defense

On defense, the stellar group that went to Norway gets a boost in Mission U16 defender Bode Wilde (Harvard), who will be a key OHL Draft look, alongside a number of the players invited to camp. Fellow tall, aggressive defenseman Mattias Samuelsson brings an edge and heavy shot to go with immense athletic ability. Unlike the forward group, a number of the better defenders invited are uncommitted to-date, including Ty Emberson, an explosive athlete with a unique ceiling at 5’11. The Wisconsin native led his HS team in scoring this winter despite playing on the blue. Minnesota’s K’Andre Miller, Mississauga’s DJ King, and TPH’s Ben Schultheis each bring hulking frames and raw athletic upside – each will certainly have schools and junior scouts evaluating over the months to come.

There are also some smaller talents at D, most glaringly 5’6 Brandon Tabakin, a recent Yale recruit who has a great sense for the game and quickness overall. Kimball Union’s Jordan Harris is listed at 5’9 but plays a strong game in all three zones. He’ll have an opportunity to try for a prep championship this coming weekend. Harris, along with fellow-invite TJ Walsh at forward, was named top at his position for his age at our OTB Teal Invite last summer. The rest of the defensive group includes a number of very notable committed prospects, including Minnesota recruit Ben Brinkman, a three-sport athlete from Edina with a very projectable frame and skillset around the puck.

Stand-out BC recruit Adam Samuelsson, already at 6’5, is going to be given long looks unless he really does not perform to his ability. Already having highlighted more players than can make the team on ‘D’, this defensive group is going to competent to say the least. Christian Krygier, Spencer Stastney (Notre Dame), Jacob Semik (Michigan), Jace Foskey, Will MacKinnon and Slava Demin are each pretty intriguing invites as well and could contest for spots. Semik in particular – another early Michigan commit – has shown his talent consistently in all three zones, can skate really well and alongside Honeybaked teammate Will MacKinnon and Caesars U16’s Christian Krygier, was a part of USA’s Gold Medal winning outfit in Norway.

Goalies

For goalies it is an interesting year. There doesn’t seem like an early super high achiever in this group, but there is potential. Less than a year ago, Keegan Karki was turning heads in 15 camp in New York and he showed up again on this roster for obvious reasons. He’s a competent, huge goalie at 6’4 who can make some very eye-grabbing stops. With a year of starting under his belt at St. Cloud Cathedral, as far as raw potential goes, the NTDP may not be able to look past. Fellow invitees Drew DeRidder (OJG U16) and Todd Scott (Omaha U16) are below the 6’0 threshold but are more than capable of achieving stand-out performances; the two were the battery USAH sent to Norway and won Gold. The other two are goaltenders from high school hockey, Isaiah Saville from West Anchorage and Ryan Ullan from Hibbing. Saville was at 15s in NY this summer and showed well, whereas Ullan wasn’t, but the 6’1 stopper had a great season statistically in Minnesota HS and garnered an invite.

As far as players not on the list, it’s easy enough to say some names that could have earned a spot, but it’s much harder when one tries to pick who they would take a place away from. Not every player is going to dominate camp, but across-the-board there is plenty of upside so a lot of good players didn’t get invites. A couple that come to mind are UConn recruits Drew Elser and Mac Wiseman, Toronto Marlies forward Akil Thomas, Wisconsin recruit Brady Smith, and Princeton recruit Doug Connor.

There are plenty of uncommitted skaters who could have been interesting picks as well, such as Wayzata’s Colin Schmidt, Selects’ Conner Hutchison, Trinity-Pawling’s Joey Musa, Kevin Wall and Cade Murnan-Mechor from Buffalo, big defender Aidan Fulp from IL, Ethan Frisch from MN, Bobby Burns from Michigan.. the list goes on.

From a philosophical stand-point, picking this team has to be a challenge. Some will prefer players get picked that could literally be Olympic-team players someday and evidently show that potential. Others will think it should be ‘project’ type players with an unclear upside and that the NTDP should be developing more of those players rather than the top-end ones. Others may have entirely different, but valid, views. With such a hard group of players to pick, it seems like they’ve done a nice job of picking a bit of everything for the camp. At the end of the day, this is just one camp at one point in time when invites went out and while it is bigger than most camps, anyone who did not get an invite shouldn’t sweat it too much. There will be teams and opportunities all around hockey for many of the players who didn’t get invited and those could very well turn out to be the better paths if they too are taken with commitment and perseverance.

Below is a sortable chart with the heights we have. You can also sort by commitment, which should show that the more things change in college hockey, the more they stay the same. BU, Michigan, Notre Dame, North Dakota – many of the usual suspects are well-represented by their recruits here, and likely will be well-represented on the final team.

Your Home for College Hockey Recruiting and Amateur Hockey Scouting

College Hockey Recruiting: Michigan Tech

The first half of our College Hockey Recruiting series for the 2013-14 season is filed away and as the season inches closer, we open our second half with a preview of the Michigan Tech Huskies. You can view the other College Hockey Recruiting previews already done here, and keep an eye out for the rest of this and other features coming down the pipe.

Are you eager to see your name on the recruit list? With over 100 years of history, college hockey is the single most popular game for men and close to 30% of the NHL players come from US college ranks. Every Friday and Saturday during the season the stadiums are rife with school fight songs and family and friends supporting their teams vociferously. So,it is natural to want to belong to the center stage. Have you been missing out on all the fun? Is an irritable skin condition like acne the cause for your misery?

While there is multibillion dollar industry solely dedicated to women’s skin woes, the same can’t be said for men. The industry is still nascent because men’s skin is a much-ignored topic. Usually men ignore their skin issues until it is too late and requires medical intervention. They are often ignorant on what creams, lotions and cleanser to use.

A few of the common problems faced by young men in college are acne, rosacea and redness. A lot of these crop up due to poor hygiene and hormonal changes. Poor knowledge of face washes and face masks leads to wrong treatment of these conditions which only aggravates the situation. Acne, one of the most common skin condition prevalent in young people is unsightly and painful in some cases. This condition is characterized by papules, pustules and cysts filled with pus. When pores of the facial skin get clogged, acne occurs.

Rosacea another skin condition characterized by redness on the nose, cheeks, chin and forehead. In severe cases, it is seen on the scalp, ears, neck and the chest. When left untreated it leads to pimples and red bumps giving the face a perpetually swollen expression.

There are aggressive methods of treating with laser or exfoliation. Next, medically you have to resort to cortisone injections in severe cases. But if you start taking care from the initial stages you won’t have to put yourself through the agony of chemicals, injections and medications. Facemasks containing a few ingredients like wheat germ, grapefruit oil, provitaminB5 are known to help treat acne and other skin related conditions naturally and harmlessly. But hunting for these products and then making a mask is troublesome and laborious. Thankfully there are few readymade natural face masks like the Black Mask which use these same ingredients and more to treat all facial skin conditions safely and without side effects.

So, if you want to focus completely on your game and are keen on been recruited for the next season, your attention should be only on your training and practice and not on unsightly and ruddy skin condition, which by the way aggravates with stress. So as a daily routine inculcate washing your face with a mild cleanser and follow it up with a toner.Remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. For now, let us focus on the present scenario where

This Recruiting Preview benefitted greatly from the help of Tech Hockey Guide recruiting guru Tim Braun. Tech Hockey fans certainly should know the site already, but for the rest of our readers, check out one of the more in-depth team-specific websites in all of college hockey.

First Look at the 99s: Five Early Recruits, Top 25 1999 Prospects, Top 3 Goaltenders

First Look at the 99s: Five Early Recruits, Top 25 1999 Prospects, Top 3 Goaltenders

This is our first look at the 1999 age group. While four skaters have already committed to a D1 school out of the 1999 class, it’s worth noting that the first three have at least one sibling committed to the same school. Goaltender Keith Petruzzelli is being hyped as America’s next young phenom in the net, while freshman Ryan Poehling is the youngest of three talented SCSU-bound brothers skating for a strong state championship finalist Lakeville North team this year – a group that should only get better with an influx of more young Lakeville-area talent on the way. Mikey Anderson is a vigilant, two-way defenseman for Hill-Murray and the younger brother of one of USA’s top 1998-born talents, now-fellow UMD recruit Joey AndersonDan Petrick, of Springfield Cathedral is reportedly a physically mature defenseman who, like Anderson, has had a regular shift in high school hockey since the start of eighth grade – no small feat wherever you play. It is noticed that players fall out of form and have weight issues. Coaches and team doctors give them Detoxic because parasites in the intestines makes them put on excess weight which they cannot afford for have to be in the best shape possible to be able to last longer and bring in as many laurels to the team as possible in the short careers that these sportsmen have. More at Lastly, Cayden Primeau committed last night, to Northeastern, a little over a year after his defenseman David Melaragni committed to the same program. He’s without a doubt the best goaltender we’ve seen of the 1999′s, considering we haven’t extensively watched Petruzzelli. If we had to provide a barometer for where the other recruits we’ve seen would fall within the whole group, Poehling and Anderson would both have been in the top 30.

1999 Recruits

1. 99 G Keith Petruzzelli – Quinnipiac

2. 99 F Ryan Poehling – St. Cloud State

3. 99 D Mikey Anderson – Minnesota-Duluth

4. 99 D Dan Petrick – Northeastern

5. 99 G Cayden Primeau – Northeastern

6. 99 F Sean Dhooghe – Ohio State

7. 99 F Matt Allen – Providence

8. 99 F Brannon McManus – Minnesota

Limited or No Viewing

99 D David Farrance – Syracuse Stars U16

99 G Dylan St. Cyr – Honeybaked U16

99 F Riley Prattson – Springfield Cathedral HS (MA)

99 D Sean Keohan – Dexter School (MA)

99 D Jack Olsen – Lakeville South Bantam AA

99 F Luke Manning – Stillwater Bantam AA

99 F Mike Pastujov – Honeybaked U16

99 D Drew Hunter – Livonia Stevenson HS (MI)

99 F Baker Shore – Colorado Thunderbirds U14

99 F Baron Thompson – Omaha U16 AAA

***

Below is a list produced from a season-long look at 1999-born talent across the country. From Brainerd Bantam AA, to Belle Tire, the AYHL All-Stars and Mid-Fairfield, we saw a lot of teams – 14 of MyHockeyRankings.com’s current top 20 Bantam AAA teams, 15 of YouthHockeyHub’s top 20 Bantam AA (highest classification for Bantam hockey in MN) and plenty of others across the country.

There’s a fuller preface to these rankings and our full ninety prospects, with reports, on OTB Elite for subscribers. One of the skaters originally ranked here (Chase Gackle) was a 1998 because of the fog of war that is Minnesota Bantam AA skater birthdate information. To compensate, we’ve removed the skater, updated this page, and added our now-25-ranked prospect, Austin Pratt, at the end.

Top 25 Uncommitted 1999 Skaters

1. 99 D Max Gildon – Dallas Stars U16 – 6’2 – 171

Elite, fluid defenseman is a star in the making – slick with the puck and carries confidence beyond his years. A smart skater, Gildon processes the game quickly, reading and jumping the play when appropriate. Strong on his skates and tough to play against, escapes his own end with ease and adept at moving the puck on. A natural on the powerplay, though he isn’t a flashy handler of the puck, Gildon analyzes his opportunities with clinical attention-to-detail and makes the smart play. Effective on every shift and dictates the tempo, able to slow the game down at will and skate with it when it the pace ticks up a few notches. Should be a major WHL Draft target.

2. 99 F Sean Dhooghe – Chicago Mission U14 – 5’3 – 120

Committed to Ohio State, 4/12/2014

We’ve written on Dhooghe plenty here – a top 10 uncommitted prospect for us when we were including the Bantams in the Select 70. The HPHL’s leading scorer owns a 15-15-30 line that highlights his ability to make cerebral plays as well as bury the puck at key times. His speed and toughness put him at a high level, but his hockey sense and the razor-sharp clip at which he processes the game make him elite – even at 5’3, if that’s still his height. Brother Jason (1997) is committed to Ohio State.

3. 99 F Vanya Lodnia – Belle Tire U14 – 5’8 – 145

A sensational talent who earns his keep in the offensive zone. No skater in the age group that we’ve seen plays the wide-open, east-west style that Lodnia does quite as well. Dictates the flow of the game with his ability to slow it down at will and seek out a gap defensively or find a teammate to pass to. Attacks in sequences with flashy moves, toying with defenders and showcasing his talents – at some point his high skill could shift over into being cute and less undeniably effective, but his IQ and ability to make plays all over the sheet will take him very far. Quick release and possesses a nose for the net.

4. 99 F Andrew Andary – Oakland Jr. Grizzlies U14 – 5’8 – 150

Where Honeybaked’s 1998 group cornered the market on some elite Michigan-area talent, a large majority of the Great Lakes State’s top 1999-born prospects are concentrated between Oakland and Belle Tire this season. Andary is a big piece of the puzzle for a great OJG team – can drive an offense entirely by himself, though the Grizzlies rarely need him to. One of the more dynamic, effective playmakers of the 1999 class, strong on his skates and hungry for the puck, Andary usually wins battles and recovers loose pucks to teammates, unafraid to make a simple offensive centering play or take it to the net himself. Deceptive in nature, he hides his intent with the puck well and plays with a ton of engagement and awareness in every zone.

5. 99 F Grant Mismash – SSM U14 – 5’11 – 158

It shouldn’t be a surprise that the top four Bantam teams in the country, in a tier by themselves, each have some terrific prospects and are well represented within our top 5. Mismash is one of the horses on a Shattuck team that, when firing on all cylinders, are a seriously tough draw and should be a favorite heading into nationals. Tough to contain, skilled goal-scoring threat with quickness and a high top-speed, his 81 points in 56 games are impressive, but a tendency to take penalties (110 PIMs) could be a draw back as he heads up the levels.

6. 99 F Brannon McManus – SSM U14 – 5’9 – 154

Committed to Minnesota, 4/27/2014

The most prolific goal-scorer of the 1999s as it stands right now and that’s not likely to change, so he could be the most highly regarded player of the group when all is said and done. Seems to find the twine on most chances and that’s due to a seriously refined scoring touch, with prolific, quick hands that get the job done more often than not. Kills it on the wing, but wins draws down the middle and can conduit the play up ice with vision. Slippery and sharp, defines dangerous around the crease. 60 goals in 56 games, with a 30% shooting percentage, but just 8 penalty minutes and 44 assists are telling, positive signs as well.

7. 99 F Sasha Chmelevski – Belle Tire U14 – 5’9 – 150

Lodnia (#3) and Chmelevski have uncanny chemistry with each other, able to seek each other out all over the sheet and make plays as a two-pronged assault, bringing in whoever else on the ice is with them. Chmelevski, a wide-based skater, seems to be the type who makes other players better, a poised, skilled forward with vision and playmaking ability. Zips pucks around the sheet with purpose and plays a measured game that could take him very far.

8. 99 F Evan Barratt – Team Comcast U14 – 5’10 – 155

Incisive, offensively-mature forward is a nice skater and very sharp in the final third. Moves off the puck purposefully and owns a sharp release that makes him very dangerous. A little lanky for his 5’10 frame but has real quickness breaking in and makes himself unpredictable and tough to contain. Great hand-eye and athleticism that help him to be great at this level. As a freshman for Hun (NJ-HS), Barratt owns a 23-38-61 line, good for 2nd leading scorer on a 20-7 team.

9. 99 F Brady Tkachuk – St. Louis U14

It’s no surprise that the brother of elite talent Matt Tkachuk (Notre Dame) is a player as well. Brady doesn’t seem to be close to where Matt is, which is no knock on Brady, but he could certainly close the gap. A tall skater with a long reach and skill on the puck, Tkachuk is a dynamic playmaking talent who always seems to be dialed in to the play. The type of skater who gets two or three breakaways a game right now, and though his skill on the puck isn’t to the point that he always converts, he’s constantly a threat in the offensive zone. Often breaks loose of defenders and within a stride has stretched beyond hope for the opposing team. Fluid skater that sees the ice well, a sharp passer that is deceptive in nature and has a sharp release that, when all put together, spells a behemoth of a skater to see in the future. Could land at Notre Dame, obviously, but don’t count out other major programs.

10. 99 F Brenden Stanko – Oakland Jr. Grizzlies U14 – 5’9 – 160

Athletic, quick skater with a great release. Isn’t afraid to mix it up – an imposing threat on the fore-check, Stanko’s versatility sees him kill penalties by creating turnovers or staying in a smart shot lane. Strips forwards of the puck in their own zone and places his shots with no warning, a consistently dangerous threat who projects well.

11. 99 F Kyle Kawamura – TPH Thunder U14 – 5’6 – 148

May be the most impressive athlete of the 1999 class, despite his small stature. TPH’s captain possesses a low center of gravity that makes him tough to knock off the puck and powerful skating ability that allows Kawamura to impose his will at a moment’s notice. A lack of production offensively against the better teams we’ve seen him play is concerning, but we’ve also seen Kawamura take over games in dominant fashion, so there could be a special player here. Size is a concern, but athletic gifts aren’t, and it’s hard to question this production: 60-40-100 line in 45 games.

12. 99 F Sammy Walker – Edina Bantam AA

He’s one of the smallest skaters on the ice right now, but is razor-sharp and cunning in the offensive zone. Absolute goal machine who distributes the puck beautifully. Owns a high, high skill level. Has two brothers playing for Victoria of the WHL.

1399 D Peter Tabor – Edina Bantam AA

The late 1999 is a powerful, well-framed defenseman that looks like another great Hornets blueliner. Maybe the best in recent years – and that’s factoring this championship-defending season where the high school team’s entire defensive core will likely play college hockey. Runs down massive minutes for this Edina team and knows his way around the offensive zone.

14. 99 F Scott Reedy – SSM U14 – 5’11 – 166

One of the smartest, most natural playmakers we’ve seen at any age level this year, with poise and skill to spare. Leads SSM in scoring with 46-64-110 points in 56 games.

15. 99 D/F Clayton Phillips – Edina Bantam AA

A supremely gifted skater who comes alive with the puck, Phillips may have the best separation-quality speed and motor of the 1999 age group and while we thought he could do a lot more with his skillset up front, we’re told now that he’s been moved back to defense that he looks like the best skater on the sheet (including #13-ranked Peter Tabor), controlling the game and dictating the outcome — so don’t be surprised if Phillips rockets up the rankings next time around.

16. 99 F Chase Danol – Belle Tire U14 – 5’11 – 155

At Danol’s size, the fact that he hasn’t filled out and seems to be an unignorable offensive threat bodes incredibly well. Slick, strong-skating forward that plays a smart, sneaky brand of hockey. Often in scoring position before you know it and has a quick release that can punish an unattentive goaltender.

17. 99 F Andy Nedeljkovic – Victory Honda U14

An all-situations skater with size that makes him very tough to deal with, Nedeljkovic is a force on the puck, driving the play north and tough to shake off of it. He’s not afraid to mix it up physically and wills the play around the sheet. Hockey sense shines through in his purposeful, heady offensive positioning and ability to negate skaters in his own zone time and time again. Could be a pro prospect at the end of the day, not unlike his brother, a top American goaltending prospect, Alex Nedeljkovic.

18. 99 F Cameron Hausinger – LA Jr. Kings U14

Well-framed forward from Anchorage seems like the type of skater the WHL is going to seriously key in on. Hard on the puck with a high battle level, Hausinger was LA’s most effective forward on most shifts. His toughness and engagement make him somewhat of a wrecking ball, running around the zone looking to throw a body and make a subsequent play on a loose puck, getting under the skin of the other team and further frustrating them with how tough he is to contain. Gets to the net and creates chances, an intuitive and intimidating forechecker who reads the play quickly while surging at a skater. Could be a big time power forward in the making.

19. 99 D Chris Trouba – Compuware U16 – 6’3 – 170

The younger brother of NHLer Jacob Trouba possesses a similar build and, not unlike our #1 prospect Max Gildon, is a strong defensive force that’s making strides at the U16 level. Composure and body control are impressive, and as he continues to develop, he may emerge as a consistent offensive threat as well.

20. 99 D Josh Maniscalco – SSM U14

Versatile, punishing defenseman with vision and athleticism. The upside on Maniscalco is enormous thanks to what he brings to the table – a little of everything – all pretty well. Vicious when he wants to be and can impact the scoring sheet as well.

21. 99 F Ben Copeland – Edina Bantam AA 

Right-shot center stands out from shift one due to his speed. Great acceleration allows him to create separation near-instantly and makes a lot of great looks to create, betraying a terrific hockey mind. Slippery throughout all three zones, Copeland makes difficult plays with the puck at top speed and has a fantastic shot that he can place with little time to shoot. Undeniable scoring touch. Has some swagger to his game and sells his dekes very well.

22. 99 F Jake Transit – Oakland Jr. Grizzlies U14 – 5’6 – 130

He’s only 5’6, but few skaters are as competent and engaged on the puck as Transit is. Uses his quick, active hands to dice through defenders and constantly pushes the pace. A hound on loose pucks who swoops through before undressing a skater or performing a nice pass-and-skate maneuver around the sheet. Elusive. Attempts the physical game at times but lacks effectiveness.

23. 99 F Lukas Boka – Compuware U16 – 5’11 – 175

The little brother of Michigan commit Nick Boka is a player already, skating up for Compuware’s U16s. The wide base to his skating allows him to really dictate his velocity, and Boka cuts throughout the zone and balances well both on and off the puck. Quick to pucks, nice net presence, hockey sense… Boka has a lot of potential. Will be someone we keep an eye on closely.

24.  99 F Nolan Sullivan – Eden Prairie Bantam AA

Already possesses a D1 build and looks the part as well. A powerful, athletic skater who wins battles all over the ice. Has a nice mix of physicality and isn’t afraid to agitate the other team’s best players. Great shooter with a nose for the net. When he turns it on, he’s legitimately unstoppable and almost guaranteed to score at this level.

25. 99 F Austin Pratt – SSM U14 – 6’1 – 210

Has developed admirably through the season, relying less on his heavy shot and large frame to showcase a high ceiling inherent with his ability to protect the puck and gain each zone. If he continues to tweak and potentially simplify his game as a power forward with playmaking tendencies, he could be the early clear-cut pro prospect from the 1999s.

Top Three 1999 Goaltenders We’ve Seen

  1. 99 G Cayden Primeau – Team Comcast U16 – Northeastern
  2. 99 G Kyle Keyser – Belle Tire U14
  3. 99 G David Tomeo – SSM U14

Goaltending is fickle at this age, but in comparison to last year, this doesn’t seem to be the positional strength of the age group. We expect a large number of goaltenders to emerge. That said, on upside alone, we caught a lot of top-tier teams and there were only about fifteen goaltenders we considered – just five we felt comfortable listing this early. Cayden Primeau is the early star of the class, son of NHLer Keith Primeau. He committed to Northeastern last night. Kyle Keyser is a terrific goaltender from Minnesota who skates for a strong Belle Tire group and should be a WHL draft pick, though he’s still sub-6″, so NHL prospects will be tempered, and David Tomeo is the star stopper on Shattuck’s loaded Bantam team. He’s a good goaltender, but that’s got to be a weird team to play goal for, as they surrender the occasional prime chance and otherwise often keep things quiet defensively. Primeau is the only one who plays for a team that doesn’t go to town on most opposing teams, he’s playing up and looks great at the U16 level.

Potential WHL 2014 Draft Notables

Max Gildon, Kyle Keyser (from Minnesota), Grant Mismash, Brannon McManus, Peter Tabor, Scott Reedy, Clayton Phillips, Cameron Hausinger, Ben Copeland, Nolan Sullivan

Recruiting Notes, Week 2: NTDP 18’s Are Skilled, 5 new commitments, WHL Camps, Full List of 1999 Recruits

Recruiting Notes, Week 2: NTDP 18’s Are Skilled, 5 new commitments, WHL Camps, Full List of 1999 Recruits

Gifs of the NTDP U18 Team (via @HFwoodhouse):

Auston Matthews, with what would have been an extraordinary power move to the net, if anyone touched him.

Just another day at the office for Boston College’s Colin White:

Boston College’s Jeremy Bracco turns Minnesota High School’s goaltender of the year, Hunter Shepard, inside out:

Commitments:

  • Princeton added a 1998-born scorer in Ontario’s Colin Tonge, who threw down 28 goals in 35 games last season and will be in junior hockey with the OJHL’s Kingston Voyageurs.
  • Michael Graham committed to Minnesota-Duluth last night. Graham had caught a lot of attention out East after making noise at Brown’s Showcase in Rhode Island, but the Eden Prairie (MN) star instead becomes yet another talented in-state prospect for the Bulldogs pipeline. Graham was our #69-ranked prospect last week.
  • Andrew Peeke to Notre Dame. The big defenseman from Selects Academy was our #28-ranked prospect in our preseason listing.
  • Graham Slaggert to Notre Dame as well, who in the process became the 100th prospect we had ranked (in his case, as a Bantam) to choose the NCAA or CHL route. You can see the full list (now 102 players) here.
  • Miami have a terrific and very talented forward group coming up: Jack Roslovic, Karch BachmanWillie Knierim, Alger brothers, Gordie Green and now a top 1999 in Cole Coskey continues that trend. He committed on Sunday.
  • Another commitment we missed coverage on during the site renovation was a staff favorite of ours from Minnesota, St. Thomas Academy’s Christiano Versich, who chose Colorado College in August. Versich was our #85-ranked uncommitted prospect in May, the last list we had put out prior to his commitment.
  • Our Midwestern scout Gunnar Olson caught Versich at the Chicago Steel’s camp and felt he was going round-for-round with SCSU star recruit Robby Jackson. Both can wear down teams with purposeful, tough, up-tempo offensive-minded plays and come up with both goals and sharp first assists. We highlighted Versich in the summer when he was a leading scorer at this summer’s Select 17 camp.

WHL Camps:

  • The excellent “Small At Large” WHL site had coverage of WHL camp season, which had some interesting American names invited to camp.
  • A few of those names? Mound defenseman Colin Baird (99) was at Seattle’s camp. The big defender has a nice ceiling. So does Moorhead’s Seth Benson, who alongside Shattuck-St. Mary’s forward Austin Pratt, reportedly made some noise up at Red Deer’s camp. Benson could be the dark horse of this Minnesota 1999 group, went undrafted but already stands at 6’3 and very tough to contain.
  • Defenseman Bryce DeFazio, from the Colorado Rampage, is an intriguing name who can make plays at the point and will attract some eyes again this season. A nice add to camp by Tri-City.
  • 1999-borns F Willie Reim (St. Thomas Academy) and D John St. Ivany (LA Jr. Kings), each nice young American prospects, were up at Vancouver Giants camp alongside 1997s F David Brumm (Omaha U16) and D Brennan Menell (CYA U16), who both signed to the league.
  • Medicine Hat, in addition to listing Peter Tabor, have the rights to Jack HarrisBen Copeland, Sammy Walker and 98s Max Gerlach, Brian Hawkinson and Casey Staum. Without anyone looking, the Tigers have one of the more fierce American/Minnesotan prospect pools in the league. All are uncommitted.

On the Trail:

  • Our National Prep Rosters and Schedules page has been updated with links to Shattuck-St. Mary’s Bantam roster as well as Prep, U16 and Bantam schedules out of Faribault.
  • For scouts looking to get organized ahead of tournament season, we have schedules for some major tournaments this month up on OTB Elite.
  • BCHL Vernon Vipers HC/GM Jason Williamson stepped down as the new season approaches. He had a nice group coming in, including the return of former BU recruit Liam Coughlin, an Edmonton Oilers draft selection.
  • Clint Lewis left Cornell this summer and will be headed back to Jr. Hockey to figure out his new landing spot.

1999: Who Has Committed?

Just to keep tabs on who is already committed out of this 1999 birthyear. For the 2000s, we’re told Selects Academy’s Matthias Emilio Pettersen isn’t actually ‘committed’ to Denver right now, and the only one we can confirm right now is Oliver Wahlstrom (Maine) at Shattuck-St. Mary’s.

  • F Ryan Poehling – St. Cloud State
  • D Mikey Anderson – Minnesota-Duluth
  • F Cole Coskey – Miami
  • F Sean Dhooghe – Ohio State
  • F Scott Reedy – Minnesota
  • F Brannon McManus – Minnesota
  • G Keith Petruzzelli – Quinnipiac
  • F Logan Hutsko – Penn State
  • G Cayden Primeau – Northeastern
  • D Dan Petrick – Northeastern
  • F Riley Prattson – Providence
  • F Matt Allen – Providence
  • F Graham Slaggert – Notre Dame
  • F Michael Pastujov – Michigan
  • D Matt Anderson – Minnesota-Duluth

Links of the Week

Your Home for College Hockey Recruiting and Amateur Hockey Scouting

Leagues of Their Own: AJ Greer

As the New Year approaches and the feeling-out period of high school hockey is replaced by more meaningful, marquee match-ups, we touched base with our fourth Leagues of Their Own featured prospect this season, Kimball Union Academy co-captain AJ Greer. A former Penn State recruit, the 6’3, 205 lb forward is not only one of College Hockey’s top prospects, but also finds himself shaping up to be a serious NHL prospect (2015) with the seemingly sky-high ceiling that comes with his athleticism, frame and skillset around the puck.

Highlighted by The Hockey News’ Ryan Kennedy as one-third of prep school hockey’s Most Dangerous Line, the late-1996 birthyear forward posted 35 points (16 goals) in 30 games for a loaded Kimball Union group last season and leads the team in the early going this season. Prior to that, the Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) 2013 draft selection skated in the Quebec Midget AAA circuit for Collège Esther-Blondin in 2011-12. We’re fortunate to have him join the series and will check in with him later in the season for another installment as his team works to make a meaningful run.

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Over The Boards: How’d you get into hockey?

AJ Greer: I started at 3 years old, I was always around the rink, somewhere, cause my dad was the GM for the Cornwall Colts, it’s in the CCHL. He sent a lot of guys the college route. He started in 1996, the year I was born and stopped in 2003, so all my young years we used to drive up from Joliette to Cornwall. They signed me up for hockey, I actually did figure skating as well.

OTB: No kidding? That must be paying off pretty well now, were you good at figure skating? 

AG: I was in a few competitions and got some medals, I could have continued in that but figure skating, for me, it wasn’t really my passion. It was just really to get the basics of skating. I started figure-skating at 3 and I started hockey at 3 so it always continued. Typical day I’d go to school, then figure skating from 3:30 until 5 and then from 5:30 until 7 practice.

OTB: At the same rink?

AG: At the same rink. I stopped figure skating at twelve, though, just because I couldn’t function with the blades…

OTB: Yeah. Plus, hockey gets a little more demanding.. 

AG: Yeah, intense. I stopped from 8 to 11 and then from 11 to 12 I started back at figure skating, for a year and it didn’t work.

OTB: Were you always living in the same spot through that age?

AG: No, I moved from Joliet to Repentigny when I was 8, so I did more of my younger, more “elite” hockey there, atom double B, peewee double A, and so from there I kept on going. That year I started in peewee double A, they took out the “lates”, so the 96s, with the december birthdate. So I only took one year of Peewees and then I moved up to Bantam AA, played that for two years and went to Midget AAA.

OTB: What teams did you play against in bantams?

AG: You kind of play like each region, now there’s bantam AAA as well. It’s pretty much just little regions together. Every weekend we’d travel, it’s not that far.

AJGreerLoto

 

OTB: So where’d you go after bantams?

AG: After Bantam AA I wasn’t supposed to go play Midget AAA, at first, because the Midget AAA works with a program where all the teams have to go to one school and then they practice, and they miss class, but all together so there’s no confusion. It was a French school I had to go to and I said no because I’d gone to English school all my life and I wanted to go to an English school. So I applied to St. Paul’s (NH-Prep) and everything was good and at the last minute they told me I wasn’t in.

OTB: Wow. What’d you do then?

AG: I panicked, really, a little bit. I didn’t know what I was gonna do until I decided to play Midget AAA and managed it so I went to an English school and I didn’t miss practices or class. Education’s pretty important for me.

OTB: Is that because of your dad and his experience in hockey or..?

AG: Yeah. My dad retired the day I was born, so he’s been following me my whole life and so sending guys to college was big and my mom always told me the only thing we want is for you to have a college education, we don’t care if you go to the NHL, we don’t care if you get drafted, we just want you to have a scholarship and get an education. I didn’t really get it at first. I wasn’t really familiar with this college thing, and yeah, I just came to Beantown last summer. Didn’t know anything and I signed with KUA one week before I came to prep school and I got some (D1) offers pretty soon after that.

OTB: So, where Penn State’s concerned, why did you decide to decommit?

AG: Penn State is the first college I ever saw, I didn’t really know what college hockey was at first, coming from Quebec. When I got there I was just amazed by all the facilities and that’s what really got me. I didn’t really know what my options were. Coming to the US was a big decision for me, and I think it was the right decision because I got to prove myself academically and on the ice. Where I was before, when I committed, and where I am now, I think I could have gone to a better ‘hockey’ school – closer to home, but also a better hockey tradition.

OTB: What do you feel about, right now, a lot of players are committing at a pretty young age and some of them might come into the same boat (as you). You’re a guy who committed fairly young, what do you think about the whole process of committing so early?

AG: I mean, it all depends on the person. If you think that you’re set, and there’s no looking back, commit as early as you want… for me, and for my family, I think it was more of a time decision. We were just really flattered and didn’t really think things out.

OTB: You think you made the decision too soon?

AG: Yeah. I really want time, and I started having doubts. I didn’t really talk about it, then I talked to my family and my advisor, and they talked to me about it but they wanted me to be closer to home. My parents didn’t go to college so I wanted to share the college experience with them, come to the games and have a shared experience.

OTB: Do you think you’re going to take a little while to decide, this time around? Or are you gonna go for it sooner rather than later?

AG: I’m not sure. It’s all a matter of time. Whatever happens happens, it’s gonna be a family decision and I’m gonna review it with my advisor. Right now I’m looking at Hockey East, closer to home. Whatever pops up, I’ve been contacted by a couple schools but I’m just gonna take my time. I can’t say a date right now, it’ll be soon, but not like, two weeks.

OTB: Was the Q(MJHL) ever an option you considered?

AG: No, I was always in the “college entourage”, my godfather went to UVM and played with Marty St. Louis and Tim Thomas. I never had a person in my family go to the Q, no one talked about it. The Q, with what I value and what my parents value, it was just not a good fit for me.

OTB: Some players, it makes sense, I don’t think there’s any reason why any particular route would “always” be a negative when there are so many different situations in every league.

AG: Yeah, it’s different for everyone, you know? If you’re not as strong at school and have a great shot at making the NHL, the Q would be your route. In the Q – I’m not trying to downgrade it or say it’s not good – but you can get traded and moved around. One of my buddies got traded three times in a year, and it’s your only option once you’re there. One thing about college hockey, even if I break my leg, break two legs and can’t walk or play hockey, I’m always going to have an education.

OTB: How was your season last year? 

AG: Great group of guys, you know, couldn’t have asked for a better group. They helped me through a lot, academically, they’d see if I had difficulty in anything and always help me out. We had two great captains, Doyle Somerby and Alex Carle and Mike Levine, doesn’t get better…  I couldn’t have asked for a better first year at prep school. I loved it. The hockey, when I heard there were only 30 games I was bummed, but with fall hockey it’s alright.

OTB: I like that the games matter more, too.

AG: Yeah, you’ve only got 30 games to show what you’ve got.

OTB: This year, you guys lost a lot, how is the adjustment going to be now that you’re going to be one of the guys who has to ease the newer guys into the schedule and bear a little more of the load, too?

AG: This year, JD and I are co-captains, he’s a great kid, hard worker, natural talent, you know? He’s probably the guy that works the hardest at school without making it look hard (laughs), he’s just a natural hockey player. For me and him to be the leaders, with all the new guys, we lost like 14 or something guys, I just want to do the same thing the guys did for me last year.

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