Select 70: Top 10 Uncommitted College Hockey Prospects, January 2014

Select 70: Top 10 Uncommitted College Hockey Prospects, January 2014

The season’s absolutely flown by since our last Select 70 uncommitted ranking in October, and as we move towards releasing an updated edition later next month, we’re going to be highlighting plenty of the top uncommitted talent around the country in preparation. Our refreshed top 20 newsletter this month saw a number of prospects make their commitments, including Jordan Greenway (#2, BU), Tyler Nanne (#9, Ohio State) and Ted Hart (#15, Providence), so we’ve got a new top ten. Other top prospects who recently committed include AJ Greer (BU), James Sanchez (Michigan), Jake Walman (Providence), David Cotton (BC) and Brandon Hickey (BU), but there’s still plenty of high-end talent available. It’s worth noting that top prospects Jakob Chychrun, Chad Krys, and Max Jones, all 1998s, remain omitted as we haven’t caught them live yet. Chychrun, skating with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens, would likely be our #1 in the country, while Krys and Jones are thought to be potential top five talents throughout the nation. With that, here are our top ten uncommitted prospects in the country.

1.    97 D Zach Werenski – NTDP U17

Height: 6’1, Weight: 201

Projected Role: #1 Defenseman – All Situations

London Knights (OHL) 2nd round draft pick shines all over the sheet and has been our top uncommitted prospect since summer. Among Boston College recruit Noah Hanifin (NTDP U17) and Swedish phenom Oliver Kylington (Färjestad BK), who is already playing pro hockey, the 2015 group of top-end blue liners is an exciting group. Where Werenski falls among them is still up in the air, but should he head to the NCAA, one has to expect he’d be in a top pairing role as early as 2015.

2.    97 F Luke Kirwan – NTDP U17

Height: 6’1, Weight: 232

Projected Role: Top Line Power Scorer

The 2016 draft eligible has a huge frame and the heaviest, most lethal wrist shot around right now. Very hard on the puck and comfortable with a frame that defines “imposing”, Kirwan’s highly regarded by the OHL (Guelph). He gets up the ice straight-away with velocity and has hands not often seen in a skater of his figure. Very effective in the offensive zone because he brings a combination of assets rarely seen and an undeniable nose for the net.

3.    96 F Ryan Donato – Dexter School

Committed: Harvard

Height: 6’1, Weight: 180

Projected Role: Top Line Scorer

Noted Active Schools: BU, BC, Harvard

No cerebral, game-breaking forward has seen their stock rise faster over the past year than the son of Harvard coach Ted Donato. At one point leading prep school in points as a sophomore, this year he’s taken it to another level. With 21 goals and a matching 21 assists to go with that, in just 16 games, Donato has Dexter already up 1 or 2 goals going into every game – and he’s even got a goal of the year candidate under his belt already, too. At the collegiate level, his uncanny ability to get past defenders and bring it to the net is going to translate well, as is his finesse in handling and firing the puck, and his deceptive playmaking vision.

4.    98 F Logan Brown – Indiana Jr. Ice U16

Height: 6’4.5, Weight: 200

Projected Role: Top Line Playmaker

The skater with the highest upside on our list, especially without Jakob Chychrun ranked, has to be Brown. Unless he gives a commitment soon, the son of NHLer Jeff Brown is earmarked to be our number one prospect soon and stay there for a while. He’s smart and skilled in the offensive third, making some really eye-opening plays right now and is an excellent skater for a prospect his size and age. With the Jr. Ice, he’s on pace for a big season offensively, at a goal-per-game pace and will be looked at to make offensive magic at every level.

5.    97 D Ivan Provorov – Cedar Rapids Rough Riders

Height: 6’0, Weight: 193

Projected Role: #1 Defenseman – All Situations

Noted Active Schools: Penn State, Yale, Cornell  (Jim Ecker, MetroSportsReport.com)

The former Wilkes-Barre Scranton U16 stand-out made the decision to jump up and play the best amateur competition available to him this season in the USHL, and he’s likely going to come out a much stronger player for it. He’s tough to play against, and he skates hard for his build, getting up the ice with pace. Brings an edge to his play off the puck, and highlight reel playmaking ability on it. In 51 games for WBS last season, Provorov tallied a 42-55-97 line in 51 games. With two of those old WBS teammates already committed to Penn State, Provorov too has talked to the Nittany Lions and would be a great pull for them, though other programs are in the mix too, and Major Junior will never be out of the conversation.

6.    97 F Wade Allison – Omaha AAA U16

Committed: Western Michigan

Height: 6’1, Weight: 200

Projected Role: Top Line Scorer

The Manitoba native is a dominant, athletic goal-scorer for the orange buckets down in Omaha this season, coming down after skating with now-Western Michigan recruit Colt Conrad last season for Pembina Valley (MB). The Western Hockey League’s Brandon Wheat Kings (who drafted Allison) will want the smart, strong skater especially because he doesn’t get pushed around and has the ability to take over games. Allison would be a premier talent up front for a D1 program in just a few years.

7.    95 F Tyler Sheehy – Waterloo Black Hawks

Committed: Minnesota

Height: 5’10, Weight: 185

Projected Role: Top Line Versatile Threat

Noted Active Schools: BU, Denver, Minnesota, North Dakota, Western Michigan (Andy Baggott, Madison.com)

The former OSU commit has been playing on another level since this fall’s Elite League, where we named him our Elite League MVP, and hit the ice running in the USHL with 24 points in 21 games already. What’s most impressive about Sheehy is his versatility as his game is grounded in hockey sense and offensive instincts, so his compact frame limits his ceiling less than it otherwise would. He’s tough to play against and unselfish, rarely making the wrong play and getting into scoring position in a blink to pierce the opposing crease.

8.    99 F Sean Dhooghe – Chicago Mission U14

Height: 5’3, Weight: 120

Projected Role: Elite Playmaker

We didn’t expect to have a 1999 within our top ten, let alone one that stands sub-5’5, but Dhooghe’s a special player in our eyes. The younger brother of OSU recruit Jason Dhooghe has a natural feel for the puck and off-the-charts hockey sense, anticipating everything on the sheet and using his quick feet to get where he needs to be before everyone else. Even if he grows to only 5’6, the younger Dhooghe is arguably the fastest, smartest skater in the 1999 age group and tough as nails to boot. If he ends up a Buckeye, it should be viewed as a major coup for the program and the Big Ten. Has 20 points in 12 games, including 11 goals, to lead the HPHL’s Bantam Major division.

9.    95 F Alex Rodriguez – SSM Prep

Height: 6’0, Weight: 185

Projected Role: Top Line Playmaker

Hard-nosed forward plays the game fast and intense, using poise on the puck and a willingness to make plays in the hard area to great effectiveness. The late 1995 isn’t an elite playmaker, but his work rate on a shift-to-shift basis and vision serve him extremely well and allow him to wear other teams down. As a whole, the long-time Shattuck product is 5th-leading scorer on the countries top U18 team and plays a style of hockey that seems like it will translate beautifully to the D1 level.

10.    96 F Anthony Petrella – SSM Prep

Height: 5’9, Weight: 186

Projected Role: Top Line Finisher

The Fargo Force just acquired the USHL rights to the Sabres leading goal-scorer (24) for next season, and he’s already got serious interest from major programs through Big Ten and Hockey East. Not unlike Rodriguez, he hits the ice like he’s been fired out of a cannon and has advanced offensive timing that gets him into scoring position to bury with a wicked wrist shot. He’s a lethal threat with sustained possession, where he can slip through lanes as an unignorable threat, or on the transition. Isn’t afraid to throw his body around in the hard areas and make a play.

Thanks for reading. We’ll have a number of previews of top uncommitted prospects around the country as we get closer to our new Select 70 release in late February.

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Shattuck Bantam Phenom Ryan Lindgren commits to Minnesota

Shattuck-St. Mary’s defenseman Ryan Lindgren, a top ’98 in the country, has committed to Minnesota.

Faribault, MN – One of the top 98s in the country committed to the University of Minnesota today. Ryan Lindgren, a 6’1 defenseman with an excess of talent and no shortage of sandpaper to his game, has committed to Don Lucia’s program after two years of success on the SSM-Bantam squad. Lindgren’s commitment caps a successful weekend for him which included stellar performances at the select 15 festival in Edina, where he wowed scouts yet again and dominated his peers, leading us to name him our top prospect out of the age group.

He posted a 3-4-7 line in 5 games at Nationals earlier this month, and posted 80 points in 50 games this year, including 59 assists – but don’t let yourself underestimate his ability to put the puck in the net himself, with a wicked shot that seems to rings off of the post more often than it does the pad.

The high-end defenseman has improved every aspect of his game over the past two seasons and projects extremely well. Over at OTB Elite, we said this about Lindgren:

With an excess of both natural talent and strength, Lindgren possesses a powerful stride that gets him down the ice alarmingly fast for such a hulking skater. That said, we hesitate to call him ‘explosive’. Instead, Lindgren grits his teeth and simply makes things happen all over the ice with force of will. With a hell of a shot and maturity far ahead of his years, Lindgren has the strength to make forwards regret crossing him and the ability to keep the puck away from them on retrievals.

We had Lindgren at #21 on our Select Seventy Uncommitted Prospect ranking (to come out in full next week), and eyes now turn to Lindgren’s teammates James Greenway and Edquist. Goaltender Ryan Edquist, from the same Minnesota suburb as Lindgren, will also have a number of suitors after yet another stellar showing at the Select 15s.

Needless to say, Lindgren’s talented squad will be heard from again before long, but the question now might be: will any of them join him?

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Hitting The Links: Bracket Week, Top Three 1999s, Rising Prospects, College UFAs

College Hockey Pickem

Fill out your own bracket here and join our official group, if you want. The group name is ‘OTB’ and password is ‘BracketWatch’. If you end up with the best bracket out of the group, we’ll start this summer’s college hockey recruiting preview with the Division 1 program of your choice. Here’s my bracket in case you want to make fun of it.Top Three 1999s 

This week, our top 25 1999 prospects are going up on the site, but here’s a preview of our top three. We saw an exhaustive number of teams, but nowhere near all the teams in the country. To give you an idea of the teams surveyed to help provide an introduction, we saw 7 of MyHockeyRanking’s top 10 teams (all of the top six), and 14 of the top 20, as well as many all over the rankings. We saw other stars play on all-star or tournament showcases to help fill in the blanks on more talented teams we hadn’t seen yet (such as Team Comcast’s Evan Barratt), while in Minnesota alone we saw 17 of the top 25 Bantam AA teams per YouthHockeyHub’s rankings. As there always seems to be an elite talent who we missed – most recently it had been Chad Krys (#4 S70) and Max Jones, who is still unseen – this time around it’s reportedly Syracuse Jr. Stars U16 defenseman David Farrance, an offensive-minded star playing up and dominating. He could very well be #1 the next time around we rank these skaters. We’ll see more at Nationals, USA Hockey Player Development Camps and other events before next season gets going – but this is what we have as it stands now.

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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 cerebral 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 target.

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

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. Has some Patrick Kane in his fluid, horizontal-to-diagonal streaks towards the net – 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.

Three Big Commits

1. 96 F Anthony Petrella – UMass – #9

Coach Micheletto’s gain is the Fargo Force’s loss, as future USHLer Anthony Petrella, now Shattuck-St. Mary’s leading goalscorer, has committed to enter UMass as a true freshman. Whether Petrella has all-american type upside in college seems like it’ll be dictated by him, but with unrivaled work ethic and an ability to conjure goals almost at will, Petrella could draw comparisons to Salisbury star Derek Barach – both game-breaking, smaller skaters that you want out on the ice with a minute left.

2. 97 G Zach Driscoll – St. Cloud State – #10 G

St. Cloud locked down a local goaltender in Eastview’s Zach Driscoll. The 5’11, 165 lb. goaltender came onto the radar in a big way with a legendary playoff performance in 2013, and followed it up with a nice year for the Lightning in 2014-15.

3. 95 F Alex Rodriguez – RPI – #10

RPI picked up a skater who likely won’t leave campus early as a pro, but under the prowess of coach Seth Appert could come out a highly regarded college UFA if this summer’s draft doesn’t see the late-1995s name called. Rodriguez brings relentless work ethic that wears down the opposition and an ability to capitalize on open space and offensive opportunities.

Five Rising Uncommitted Prospects

1. 98 F Kieffer Bellows – Edina

Bellows has been great over the past year and a half, but his body of work is only strengthened as this season has gone on. Emerging into a premier power forward talent with serious offensive upside. Reportedly having a strong showing at the NTDP camp among a number of other 1998s

2. 97 F Robby Jackson – Chicago Steel

Tied for 9th in the USHL for goals with 25. Tallied 10 goals in the 8 games prior to this past weekend, where he was blanked, but is really starting to find his away around the league despite being one of the youngest players.

3. 97 D Zach Werenski – NTDP U17

7 points in the 8 USHL games coming into this past weekend, for a skater that’s got most aspects of the game down, the offensive game is beginning to truly emerge against top-end players a few years his senior. In the 20 games prior, Werenski had 5.

4. 96 F Nathan Sucese – The Gunnery

The 5’8 forward may be slight, but his excellent season for New England runner-up The Gunnery has D1 interest peaked. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Sucese was one of, if not the most effective forward all over the sheet that we had seen in high school hockey this year.

5.  99 F Zach Pellegrino – CT Wolfpack 99s

An incisive, poised skater, Pellegrino was a constant offensive threat when we were surveying the east coast – makes some really impressive plays on and around the puck. Only a month from being a 2000-born forward, Pellegrino is headed to The Gunnery this fall and could come out a terrific player under their staff.

 

Must-Read/Watch

Last Word On Sports took an interesting look at the College Free Agents class of 2014. Here’s part 1 — there are four parts.

Big Ten Hockey Recruiting Analysis, Pt. 3 (Ohio State)

Big Ten Hockey Recruiting Analysis, Pt. 3 (Ohio State)

Continuing our Big Ten recruiting feature this summer, I took a look at some of Ohio State’s recent additions, current recruits, and potential recruiting targets. To see the first two parts of the feature, highlighting Minnesota and Wisconsin, click here.

Ohio State

OSU, as well as Penn State, who I’ll highlight next, each added forwards who dominated high school level competition this year and could be nice college players in a few years. The Buckeyes added Miguel Fidler out of Edina, their second get from the legendary Hornets program after recruiting co-captain Tyler Nanne earlier this year. Both were both up for the draft this year and garnered back-to-back selections in the 5th round, with Nanne going to the New York Rangers and Fidler seeing a selection from the Florida Panthers, who have a heavily stocked pipeline of NCAA prospects. USHLer Dakota Joshua – the third player the Buckeyes committed in 2014 who saw a draft selection within six months – was taken earlier in the fifth, by Toronto.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, credit where credit is due: it’s really been a 180 for Ohio State recruiting since a year ago, when they were feeling the losses of Tyler Sheehy, Jack Dougherty and a number of others. In a recruiting environment where commitments are coming younger and younger, Ohio State salvaged some future classes that should have been a disaster into a pretty solid group. As the famous Bill Parcells quote goes “You are what your record says you are,” and from a standpoint of bringing in recruits with a good pro ceiling a few years away (so that they won’t lose them soon), the Buckeyes ‘record’ looks real good as of late. That should translate to a few more wins in an intensely competitive conference over the next few years. Inversely, the now-future Gopher, Sheehy, wasn’t even drafted, so it played out fairly well for the Buckeyes, but that likely means Sheehy spends four years in Dinkytown and the Big Ten, which would sting any way you look at it.

It actually looks even better down the line, though. Since that summer of lost recruits the Buckeyes have lined up a real nice stable of prospects. Tanner Laczynski, Sam McCormick and Jason Dhooghe are all Wisconsin/Chicago-area prospects who should be terrific college players. Laczynski was one of the better forwards in the HPHL U16 – a strong circuit – he has great hands that are very effective and is intuitive around the zone, slips his man and finds his way to scoring areas. He should be a producer before long. McCormick is an intuitive scorer like Laczyski who can wheel up the ice and make decisive offensive plays. He is a natural finisher who finds a way to play very alert, aware and unselfish hockey. Dhooghe is a product of the Mission program, a smooth skater who is both quick and fast with separation-quality pull away. He can slow it down with the puck and make plays, off the puck he’s not afraid to throw what weight he has (5’7) around on the walls. He too should contribute to an interesting dynamic up front.

On the back-end, Gordi Myer (Cleveland Jr. Barons) and Mike Davies (St. Louis AAA Blues) are recent gets that should be on campus before too long. Myer is a good look not just for his solid size at 6’0, and faculties on the ice, but also as he is an in-state AAA hockey product. Davies especially is a highly competent defenseman at 5’8 or so who does real well on the puck, played up at 18 hockey this year for a good St. Louis program. He should step in with the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints as a 97 this year and do well before making his way to Ohio State.

The laying of the ground a ways out for the Buckeyes has a great start as well in the brother of Jason, Sean Dhooghe, one of America’s top 1999-born forwards and a player who should definitely be in the NTDP mix come March. Dhooghe, at 5’3-5’4 – and most likely staying somewhere between that height and 5’7-5’8 – is going to be smaller in college yet still projects as a key contributor in Division 1. We’ve highlighted Dhooghe plenty on the site but his key traits are situational awareness, elite speed, vision and playmaking ability. He doesn’t shy away from the rough stuff and regularly wins his battles against some of the best in the country. Dhooghe is a terrific start for a 2017 class, and he helps to give the Buckeyes an early step-up in that race without recruiting someone who could be a really questionable look at a young age.

Potential Recruiting Targets – Ohio State

OSU have a large-in-number group coming to campus over the next three years – about fifteen guys committed already – and the graduation numbers don’t seem favorable for so much more space to open up, but there may be a few spots left to recruit for. A lot of players will graduate in 2015, but the Buckeyes have quite a few potential options committed for that year and there aren’t a ton of key prospects left to pick up for that year as of right now.

It should be noted that I have no knowledge of whether Ohio State are actually recruiting any of these players, but all seem like logical targets based on publicly available recruiting information.

At forward, if the Buckeyes are looking for someone that could be really high-end, Walker Duehr and Tage Thompson are both late-1997 forwards who could be on track for anywhere from 2015 to 2017 – highly dependent on their respective developments over the next year. Josh Dunne especially is a skater we can’t see the Big Ten looking off, an athletic, 6’1 forward from St. Louis. The coaches and the medical officers in the team recommend strongly that the team members take detoxic in order to stay healthy. The parasites in the intestines contribute greatly to the increase the weight of the team members because it is important that the players maintain their form to be able to bring in laurels for the team. For more information log on to https://szepseg-egeszseg.com/detoxic/ . With a late 1998 birthdate and a frame to grow into as well as a game that should translate well to college hockey (potentially even the pro ranks), Dunne would be a nice addition to a group of 2017 or 2018 forwards with excellent puck skill and pace. He played in the same STL program as aforementioned star defense recruit Davies, and that program has produced some serious Big Ten-bound talent as of late. Just getting another foot in the door with a program producing the quality of players that STL have been would make this a clever look by the Buckeyes. STL Teammate Zach Solow is a forward with a physical side and scoring ability that, if he emerges as a consistent offensive threat this year, would be a player worth keeping an eye on for similar reasons. He would bring a nice compliment of physicality and offensive prowess that the Buckeyes 2016/2017 group doesn’t have in spades yet.

Duehr is a South Dakota native out of CYA’s 16s this past season who sounds like he will be in the USHL this winter with Sioux City. He’s not got the body control or playmaking upside of Dunne or Thompson, who I haven’t gotten to yet, but Duehr could add a power game to the offense with real speed and intensity. He’s really come on this season as he put weight on a 6’2 frame and could catch a lot of recruitment heat in the USHL.

Thompson is a 6’2 center who has been injured for good parts of the past three seasons, so he has a ton of development ahead of him and recently made some noise when it was announced he would join the National Program’s U18 team instead of Salisbury School this fall. It could be a bit of a reach to pick up Thompson, as he’s a player who makes his home out east now but originally was from Alaska, so really has no ties to the mid-west until he moves to Ann Arbor this winter. What Thompson would bring is size and scoring ability down the middle of the ice, something that is certainly a template for a lot of successful teams and a trend reflected in the Buckeyes recruits – the aforementioned Dakota Joshua is a 6’2 center, and Alberta league recruit Tyler Busch is a 6’2 center as well who looks to have his best hockey ahead of him. I doubt the Buckeyes would dislike having an Ohio State recruit coming out of the Development Program again either.

On defense, another St. Louis name stands out: 97 D Joey Matthews. That fit might be temperamental as the Buckeyes will have an active, offensively capable defenseman from St. Louis in Mike Davies already as a 1997, but Matthews would likely be for a bit further out – maybe 2017 or 2018. He’s got great speed and a big time shot at the blue line. Looking at another program that the Buckeyes have tapped, Chicago Mission 98s Alec Semandel and Brett Callahan are two of the safer variety who make sound plays on both sides of the blue and could be real steady collegiate players. Semandel is 6’3 and plays a strong defensive game, while Callahan is smaller, probably a little bit more confident on the puck. Callahan played for the Mission’s 18s this year as a late-1998 against much older competition and didn’t look out of place at all. Semandel was probably defending against a higher skill level shift-to-shift at the U16 level and seems a lot more projectable when you factor in the size.

For the 1999s, continuing the idea of looking at recent recruiting grounds, I’ll highlight someone from three recruiting grounds they’ve looked to lately. Edina, for one, have a wealth of 1999-born talent. Shattuck-St. Mary’s star forward Grant Mismash is a Hornet by birth, our top uncommitted 99-born forward (4th overall) and could be a terrific fit in Columbus. He and Dhooghe would be a really high-powered start to the offense in three years. Mismash brings serious speed and a power game with no lack of skill or scoring ability. Potential future Edina high schooler Ben Copeland would bring speed and skill up front as well. Copeland especially could compliment Dhooghe’s game very well.

Out of St. Louis, Brady Tkachuk could be a reach with brother Matt already committed to Notre Dame, and father Keith being a one-and-done star at BU, but that would be another seriously talented addition to the offense.

From the Mission, forward Cole Coskey has killed it over the course of the year. He’s got a great build already at 6’1 and a knack for scoring goals all sorts of ways – he pays the price for his real estate in the offensive zone and could be one of the top American forwards out of this age group when all is said and done.

Thanks for reading.

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Scouting the High School Elite League | Part 3

We continue our scouting coverage of the Upper Midwest High School Elite League, here. This report again features  contributions from the newest OTB contributor, Gunnar Olson, in addition to myself. We’ll start covering the regular MN-HS circuit, as well as some other tiers and levels of play, such as U16 and U18 AAA, as well as a few other junior circuits, and New England Prep School league play, after we feel we’ve hit most of the UMHSEL bases.

All commitment information is as of 10/18/2012, and should definitely be confirmed elsewhere. If we have the incorrect college commitment status for a prospect, please e-mail us at sources@overtheboards.net.


Max Becker – Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep, Junior – F
Committed: None
The second-leading scorer on the prep team as a junior, Becker’s offensive instincts are evident every time he touches the puck. He’s got a great feel for how the defense reacts to his every move and takes advantage of their willingness to step to him to set up his teammates. The Orange, CA native stands at 5’10, 180, and jumps around the ice like a fireball.

Tyler Vesel – Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep, Senior – F
Committed: None

It’s really, really tough to find a part of Vesel’s game not to like. He’s not absolutely outstanding in any thing, but he can score (leads the prep team), he competes well in his own zone, and he has a good stick. His speed isn’t top-end, but he’s far from slow, and if he can fill out his 5’11 frame any more and adds some grit to his game, he’ll be an even hotter prospect.

TJ Moore – Benilde St. Margaret’s, Senior – F
Committed: None
Last year’s State Champion squad returns Grant Besse (Wisco), Dan Labosky (Colorado College) and TJ Moore: the uncommitted leading scorer of the UMHSEL. The 5’7 forward is currently on a goal-per-game clip through 18 games (17 goals), with 12 assists to match that. A trend we’re gonna continue to see here are the smaller guys who will always have size on the ‘con’ side of the pro/con list, but I will take a small guy who battles, scoots, and has a scoring touch like Moore’s over a 6’3 forward who can’t make a decent play through the neutral zone ten times out of ten.
Frankie Mork – Holy Angels, Senior – D
Committed: None
For a kid that stands at 5’7, he’s about as physical as he can get, and has a great head for the puck. He kicks off the rush well, and his puck distribution abilities in the offensive zone are as good as anyone in the league. His size might be a real roadblock in finding a college hockey home, but whoever takes the chance on him will really reap the benefits.
Avery Peterson – Grand Rapids, Junior – F
Commited: None
Peterson is a kid with serious size that can skate. He’s tough and strong at the puck standing at 6’2 and nearly 200 lbs. He doesn’t always make an impact when he’s on the ice, but when he does, it’s tough to miss.    He projects to be a serious top-six forward in college if he can put it all together this year. I’d be surprised if he spent a senior year in MNHS hockey, but pleasantly so.

Honorable Mention:
Jordan Greenway, SSM U16, Sophomore, F
We’ll cover Greenway in serious depth later on this winter, but let’s put it this way: the 6’5 sophomore alone makes us excited to watch the U16 squad play, and his younger brother, who already stands at 6’3, could end up eve

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Scouting the Elite League – Forwards

NEW HOPE ICE ARENA – We made the early morning wheel up to New Hope, MN, this Saturday morning and left well after sunset with a lot to re-consider from our last viewings of most of these players. As with any large group of prospects, developmental curves tend to tilt every which way when you give them a good set of months without a viewing, and we came away very impressed with the Elite League. Considering (at least, by our count) over 25 of MN-HS’ best have already departed for other routes, including the USHL, NAHL and the respective AAA circuits in this off-season alone, the forwards and defensive crop were very strong. Here’s who caught our eye up front – we’ll have the defense and goalies later this week.

1. 95 F Steven Spinner – Eden Prairie – 5’11.5 – 196 – Elite – Nebraska-Omaha

Spinner was a deceptively effective presence in the Elite League this time last year, seeming to switch from a gritty, energy role to a more patient, cerebral, offensive role at times. Even then, his play seemed to be a shade one-dimensional. He really forced us to pay attention during sectional playoffs towards the end of the 12-13 season and was a constant impact in the action shift-to-shift, and that’s when he really grew on us.

Here (at 9 in the morning no less), Spinner blew us away. He now looks as though he processes the game at a greater level, and at a higher speed, growing into a multi-dimensional scorer who can deliver a big hit and out-race most of the other team to the puck as well. Continues to add skill and refine his scoring touch, pushes the tempo with his ability to scoot down the ice and make plays at great speed.

2. 96 F Dylan Malmquist – Edina – 5’10.25 – 180 – Elite – Video (#20) – Uncommitted (#5) 

We expected Malmquist to take number one here, but between Spinner and Malmquist it was very tight. The fact is Spinner could do no wrong here and Malmquist spent more time lowering himself into after-the-whistle antics than scoring goals, and ended up taking four penalties on the day. With that, we felt one prospect added a lot to their game, and one introduced an aspect that we simply don’t think helps him. It’s a fine line between the hard-nosed, high energy, physical but still guided by sky-high hockey IQ game that Malmquist showcased at the end of last season and what he did here.

While Malmquist’s game has gotten flashier (and better), he just isn’t as effective when other players are making it their job to annoy him, and that was a downside. One scout noted “the puck just seems to follow him around”, and we’d agree, but it doesn’t hurt that Malmquist flies in and out-skates most of the competition, out-working defenders in the hard zones and simply getting it done. He can’t do that from the box, and with Connor Hurley gone this season you can bet this isn’t the last time someone will be making it their game to knock Malmquist off of his.

A hard-working forward with great puck distributions. Malmquist just exudes hockey sense and doesn’t telegraph a thing. At times, he skates around the ice in an unassuming manner, but even then he quietly dominates the whole sheet.

3. 97 F Tanner Tweten – East Grand Forks – 6’2 – 198 – Elite – Uncommitted (LV)

Tweten is looking a lot like “the next one” in MN-HS, though we’re probably the last ones to this party. The already huge skater is coordinated and plays a skilled power forward-type game with an excess of talent and craftiness. Tweten consistently makes plays, be it from disrupting the break-out on an aggressive forecheck to advancing the play with a simple but necessary pass on the tape. Back-checks hard, his long reach and footspeed are enough to get back and break up the play before it becomes a threat. Only going to get better and is smart enough to really adapt his game to what is going to work for him.

4. 96 F Tyler Sheehy – Burnsville – 5’9 – 180 – Elite – Video – Uncommitted (N/A)

Sheehy, too, showed us a different game than we were used to. While before we loved that Sheehy was capable of single-handedly willing Burnsville to success on the ice, Sheehy just didn’t need to do that here. He reined in himself just enough to become a very effective forward plugging away on the offense. He showed scouts that the fire is still there when an opportunity arose, but was content to position himself cleverly and generate chances. The former Ohio State commit is a player indeed.

5. 97 F Matthew Freytag – Wayzata – 5’11.25 – 180 – Elite – Video (#15) – Wisconsin

Freytag is a well-rounded offensive threat who is constantly in the mix. He’s got the build to take a beating driving the net but his heavy shot, uncanny understanding of where to position himself and when to release make us think he projects more like a sniper than a power forward. It’s no wonder Freytag threw twenty-two darts into the twine this season – the Trojan can really lean into a shot and keep goalies guessing. Creeps up into the play – before you know it, he’s in scoring position. Deft, poised passer as well. Player comparison would be a smaller version of former Michigan Wolverine (and current Montreal Canadien) Max Pacioretty.

6. 97 F Max Zimmer – Wayzata – 5’10.25 – 162 – Elite – Video (#6) – Uncommitted (#29)

When we put Zimmer at the #29 slot on our Select 70 uncommitted list last season, we wrote “high-end forward will shoot up these rankings as he continues to make a name for himself in MN-HS. Smooth, fluid skater is clever and knows how to get a goalie to bite first,” and he made us feel very good about that today, picking up three goals and an assist in his first two games in the Elite League. As a sophomore, Max is going to make the Zimmer-Freytag tandem one of the best one-two scoring punches in high school hockey. Just a sharp player in every aspect of the game.

7. 97 F Jared Bethune – Warroad – 5’11.25 – 180 – Elite – Uncommitted

Hard-nosed pivot has a lot of skill and character. His game projects extremely well as Bethune is a dynamic, strong skater who always seems alert and engaged with the play. Drives the net with intent and is a terrific puck distributor as well. Honestly, Bethune has a ton of potential and could end up the best player out of this whole group. He’s ranked ‘low’ here because he took a hard spill into the net in the morning and didn’t take part in the evening’s games, so he’s got one less game’s worth of viewings going for him than the rest of the group here.

8. 98 F Austen Long – Spring Lake Park – 5’9.75 – 165 – Elite – Uncommitted

Loves to prop himself right on the crease and is remarkably effective there, giving even the more competent defenders nightmares and keeping everyone honest down low. Looks to have maybe gotten used to his body a bit faster than his peers but has an undeniable knack for capitalizing around the net with great hands in tight and great hockey sense. When Long can get loose around the crease, it’s not a question of if he’ll score – just when.

9. 96 F Charley Graaskamp – Eau Claire Memorial (WI-HS) – 6’1 – 175 – Elite – Uncommitted

Graaskamp is a big, high-end forward but he looks to be a ways away from the player he’s going to be and that raw ability makes him a tough player to gauge. The physical tools are all there, and Graaskamp is coming into his frame, but if he really turns the corner we think he might, he’s going to be a lot more than a good college player.

10. 96 F Jake Wahlin – White Bear Lake – 5’9.25 – 161 – Elite – Video (#20) – UMass

Wiry, explosive skater brings a frenzied pace to his game every shift but Wahlin is a lot more effective when he cools down. Doesn’t particularly push the tempo of the game because his play can get so hectic that no one else can read/react to him, which works for and against him at times. Would like to see him focus more on the game and less on getting under the skin of other players as he is the most exciting player to watch out of the group when he is concentrating on creating offense. Whistler of a shot that can really punish. Great hockey sense but tries to do too much with it sometimes, underestimated his competition here.

11. 95 F Michael Wilson – Fond Du Lac (WI-HS) – 6’1 – 187 – Elite – Video – Uncommitted
12. 96 F John Peterson – Holy Family Catholic – 5’10 – 159 – Elite – Video – Uncommitted
13. 97 F Koby Bender – Cloquet – 5’11 – 172 – Elite – Uncommitted
14. 97 F Christiano Versich – St. Thomas Academy – 5’7 – 158 – Elite – Uncommitted
15. 95 F Logan Speelman – Colorado Rampage – 5’10 – 155 – Elite – Video – Uncommitted
16. 95 F Spencer Naas – Benilde-St. Margaret’s – 5’9.25 – 175 – Elite – Uncommitted
17. 98 F Joey Anderson – Hill-Murray – 5’10 – 175 – Elite – Minnesota-Duluth
18. 96 F Mitch Slattery – Hill-Murray – 5’10.5 – 185 – Elite – Uncommitted 
19. 97 F Tom Novak – St. Thomas Academy – 5’11.5 – 172 – Elite – Minnesota
20. 97 F Kobe Roth – Warroad – 5’7 – 140 – Elite – Uncommitted

Your Home for College Hockey Recruiting and Amateur Hockey News

Select Seventy Uncommitted Skaters, May 2013

After over a year of research and scouting, we’re happy to share our Select Seventy Top Uncommitted Skaters with our readers. Before you scroll down the list, however, we’d like to share some context and some inherent biases in the making of this list.

Like we said, this list was started a year ago. During the process, essentially every player we put on the list committed within a few months. Skaters like Jack Dougherty (Ohio State), Tyler Gjurich (Maine), Ian McCoshen (Boston College), and Matt Salhany (Alabama-Huntsville). This was a major setback during the process as we just couldn’t hang onto players on the list for the life of us before publishing time. For example, we closed this list up on May 1st and already graduated Clark Kuster from Cedar Rapids (USHL), via a commitment to St. Cloud just three days later. Consequently, we began to focus on the younger age groups a few months in so that we would actually have something to publish at the end of the season. While we still have some skaters from the top junior circuits, we’re certain we’re missing some college-ready skaters nearing the end of their time in juniors.

 LIMITED OR NO VIEWINGS

1.     97 F Auston Matthews –Arizona Bobcats U16 – 5’10, 146
Everett Silvertips (WHL) 3rd round selection makes things happen in the final third of the ice, especially in the slot. Might have the best offensive vision of all uncommitted prospects, but skating is an issue to some.

2.    97 G Callum Booth – Salisbury School – 6’2, 180
Sophomore goaltender out of Montréal opened eyes this year for Salisbury, winning a prep championship and is garnering looks from a few major powers – don’t be surprised to see the Crimson Knight go Ivy.

3.    98 D Chad Krys – CT Oilers U16 – 5’11 – 165
Krys is apparently the whole package and we’re told that he might be a threat to Ryan Lindgren as top defenseman in the age group.

4.    97 G Luke Opilka – St. Louis AAA Blues U16 – 6’2 – 158
Goaltender lost just two games this year playing on an extremely talented Blues U16 squad, will get quite a bit of attention with the NTDP next year.

Committed: Wisconsin

5.    94 F Anthony Sabitsky – Milton Academy – 5’11 – 170
Milton assistant coach Josh Ciocco calls Sabitsky an “all character” skater who “works hard, has great hockey sense, is reliable” and “can make plays…a very complete player that does everything well.”

6.    97 D Toby Sengvongxay – Luverne HS – 5’9 – 160
Sengvongxay took MN-HS by storm last season, notching 43 points in 22 games from the blue-line and we’re told some teams think he could be the real deal.

7.    97 F Luke Kunin – St. Louis AAA Blues U16 – 5’10 – 150
Came in second on his talented squad (behind Notre Dame commit Matt Tkachuk) with 68 points in 34 games, including 30 goals. To NTDP.

Committed: Wisconsin

8.    95 D Connor Light – Phillips Andover Academy – 6’5 – 205
We haven’t seen Light play in over a year, but he’s had the potential that comes with both being able to play and being massive for a while – NHL Central Scouting seems to see something in him, as he made the final rankings.

9.    97 F Tanner Tweten – East Grand Forks HS – 6’2  – 190
We’ve seen Tweten, we just don’t have a good enough feel for him to accurately rank him yet. Big power forward.

10.   97 F Jacob Henderson – St. Louis AAA Blues U16 – 6’2 – 185
Big skater is tendered to Omaha of the USHL and we’re told he’s a budding power forward with high-end collegiate upside. We really regret not getting a look at this St. Louis Blues U16 squad this year.

11.   98 F Nick Pastujov – Honeybaked U14 – 5’11 – 185

Skater who, like Tanner Tweten, we’ve seen and made a note to check back on to get a better feel for. A casualty of making a list this extensive is not being able to linger long on judging a player like Pastujov, who has real offensive potential and alongside brother Mike made a real contribution for Honeybaked this season.

12.   95 D Keenan Shaw – Knights of Columbus Pats – 6’5 – 230

Intimidating defenseman is headed to Sherwood Park (AJHL) next season and reportedly has realistic Ivy League aspirations.

Select 70 Uncommitted Prospects Ranking, October 2014

Select 70 Uncommitted Prospects Ranking, October 2014

Here is our latest ranking of uncommitted college hockey prospects. This particular list is the conclusion of our time in the rink following Select 15 camp in New York this summer, numerous summer tournaments, and checking in on the major AAA hockey circuits (HPHL, Tier 1, NAPHL) as well as independent teams, the Minnesota High School Elite League as well as the BCHL Showcase and USHL Atlantic Challenge. The USHL as a league is not covered in it’s entirety while the BCHL is. For a more in-depth primer on what goes into this ranking, see our February 2014 edition. All individual photos when not connected to a social media form are taken by Steve Demeo Photography, used with purchased media rights permission. To see the players who were ranked by us and either signed CHL or committed to a Division 1 program, look at our Select 70 Graduates page. Our OTB Elite service tracks players and updates the rankings monthly for subscribers at www.OTBElite.com.

To reiterate one point: we do not factor in a player’s interest in the CHL route into this ranking at all. That said, the ranking is entirely based on their projections for the college game. There are a number of legitimate NHL prospects on this list, but for our purposes they are ranked for college. Therefore, a thoroughbred star such as Auston Matthews is likely going to be a great pro, and with that is our #1 uncommitted prospect as well, but further down the rank, particularly the 1999s we have ranked lower down the list are further away from the players they are going to be come time for their draft and are only given the credit for college. A few prospects were at one point slated to be in this ranking but made their college decisions prior to release over the fall. They are:

98 F Casey Mittelstadt (Eden Prairie), 95 F Tom Marchin (Brown), 96 D Will Borgen (St. Cloud), 97 F Luke Stevens (Yale), 97 F Henry Bowlby (St. Lawrence), 96 F Liam Blackburn (New Hampshire), 97 D Ryan Shea (Northeastern), 97 F Michael Graham (UMD), 99 F Cole Coskey (Miami)

We also usually have an extended limited viewings list. We’ve stopped doing that for now as we have reports on the players who were staples of that feature now ranked, such as Matthews, Jones, Jost, and more. We only have a handful of limited viewings this time around, slated towards those who were tough to track down or injured. One team we know is talented but don’t have an excellent read on is Team Wisconsin’s U16 outfit, and we may be accidentally snubbing some of their prospects in the short-term. Reports in this edition of the ranking have included contributions from our national scouting staff, including Mark Bilotta (New England), Dan Johnson (Minnesota), Jeff McCarthy (British Columbia) and Gunnar Olson (Midwest), while almost all cross-over review has been done by Jasper Kozak-Miller, who compiled this list. Below is our limited viewing list:

LV: 97 D Jake Massie (Kimball Union), 95 D Clint Lewis (Sioux Falls), RJ Murphy (St. Sebastian’s), 99 D Jack Millar (Buffalo Regals U16), 97 F Ryan Steele (Holderness), 99 D Anthony DeMeo, 99 F Marc McLaughlin (Cushing Academy), 98 D Egan Wolford (San Jose Jr. Sharks U16), 98 F Drew Pflug (Omaha AAA U16), 98 F Paul Washe (Victory Honda U16), 98 D John Stampohar (Grand Rapids), 97 D Richie Roche (Walpole Express)

Over The Boards Select 70 Uncommitted Prospects

1. 97 F Auston Matthews – NTDP U18 (USHL) – 6’2 – 194

Matthews, a strong, tall, fluid-skating center, appears to be far-and-away the best pure athlete on our ranking. As a late-1997, that explosive upside has become more than evident to observers from the NHL, to media-types, fans, junior league scouts and the whole nine yards. That said, this past season appears to have been a wild ride for USA’s pre-eminent 2016 draft prospect. It began with Matthews sustaining a lower body injury in the 2nd game of his season (as a U17) that saw him held out three months. It didn’t take long for the cousin of former NFLer Wes Matthews to burst onto the scene in the second half of the season and finish that injury-shortened season with twenty-seven games played for the NTDP’s 18 team. The resurgent effort culminated with a 7 point, 5-goal performance at World U18s, third only to Jack Eichel and Sonny Milano. All as an underager.

An elite athlete who would still likely be making strides towards a professional career had he dedicated himself to any of the other major North American pro sports, Matthews is smooth and powerful, able to separate from the pack with an effortless push and maneuver the puck through the zone with a pro-style of puck-handling that minimizes inefficiency and maintains velocity. He seems to lean towards carrying the puck around the zone for stretches and swinging back to the high slot before re-entering the harder areas at the junior level. His speed and explosiveness make him a wraith on the puck who slips right through what would, for most, be body-on-body contact to the net. Matthews’ quick hands allow him to leverage his ability to get to most areas of the ice and subsequently make a play in those tight areas. The Everett Silvertips own his rights in the WHL. We do not anticipate anyone knocking Matthews off our top position for a while.

2. 98 F Max Jones – NTDP U17 (USHL) – 6’2 – 189

Jones, a 1st-round selection by the OHL’s London Knights last spring, is a well-framed forward who plays the game with a tenacious edge. Plays extremely hard, and that relentless play makes him that much more dangerous when it is combined with his wicked shot and strong skating ability. He projects extremely well for the college game with an undeniable offensive upside, though he projects even better for the professional game, as he is sizable, powerful and tough to play against. In short, a force. Jones has visited top NCAA powers but is such a top-end talent that the OHL will never be out of the picture for the brother of Plymouth defenseman Mitch Jones. If he continues to project as well as he does now, an NHL team may spend a top pick in 2016 to get him in the line-up as soon as possible.

3. 99 D Max Gildon – Dallas Stars Elite U16 (TX) – 6’3 – 173

Gildon appears to be Texas’ (and USA Hockey’s) next star in the making. An elite, fluid defenseman, Gildon is slick with the puck and brings confidence beyond his years. Smart and processes the game quickly, reading and jumping the play when appropriate. Strong on his skates, efficient, mobile with a powerful stride and not easy to play against, very quick at moving the puck on and a natural quarterback at the point, though he isn’t a flashy, dangling skater. Effective on every shift and dictates the tempo – slows the game down at will. He is our top 1999 prospect in the country – fluid, strong skating ability, analyzes the play as it develops keenly and uses his athletic gifts and hockey mind to put himself in a position to be successful at all times. His anticipation is high-end and he has taken his game to another level this season, his second in U16 hockey, a dominant two-way figure on the back-end.

4. 98 F Tyson Jost – Penticton Vees (BCHL) – 6’0 – 195

Elite offensive skater who keeps defenders on their toes and observers on the edge of their seats. Excellent with the puck, extremely shifty with outstanding vision and size. Can really wire the puck on command. Top-end anticipation pushes him beyond ‘great’ into a truly elite category. Playing in the BCHL this season, though the WHL’s Everett Silvertips own his rights and will be the likely future benefactor of his talents.

5. 99 F Grant Mismash – Shattuck-St. Mary’s Prep (MN) – 6’0 – 172

Mismash does it all – an offensive force who can rifle the puck with accuracy and power, finishes hard checks, and throws zipped passes, aerial or flat on the ice, onto tape with regularity. All of that comes with a vicious, icy edge that makes you cringe for anyone who enters a battle with the multi-faceted forward from Edina. There is a massive long-term upside with Mismash in that he has such explosive tools right now at only 15 years old. One of the better prospects in a deep group of players from Minnesota, Mismash posted 96 points in 65 games on Shattuck’s National Championship-winning bantam team last year, including 48 goals (and an even 48 assists). His recruitment will be an interesting process as Red Deer, who own his rights (alongside schoolmate Austin Pratt’s rights), were just awarded the Memorial Cup in 2016. The Mem Cup is one of the most scouted events in the world and would provide both Mismash and Pratt a prime opportunity to make some noise heading into what will likely be an NHL draft year of some importance to them.

6. 98 D Chad Krys – NTDP U17 (USHL) – 5’11 – 182

The latest New Jersey Rocket to make noise at the national level may very well be the best of them all, a super skilled defenseman with high-end skating ability that can find the smallest of windows to shoot through or lanes to exploit. Orchestrates the assault with mastery. The son of former BU captain Mark Krys played loose, dynamic, opportunistic hockey for the Rockets U19 team last season as a 15-year-old, is now adjusting his game to the junior level with the NTDP and finding his way. Has some Erik Karlsson in his ability to shrug opposing skaters off leading the rush and jump-start the offensive attack at will, but fellow CT-native Kevin Shattenkirk is a closer long-term projection. While BU or BC have been ruled by Krys himself as the likely landing spots, there are high profile opportunities all over Division 1 that may be even a better fit than what Comm Ave’s collectively crowded blue lines would be able to offer an offensive contributor of Krys’ caliber for a 2016 arrival.

7. 98 D Dante Fabbro – Penticton Vees (BCHL) – 6’1 – 185

A top-end skating defenseman from British Columbia who thinks the game at a high level and has the requisite skill to capitalize on his understanding. His frame and positional nature as a right shot defenseman who can quickly release accurate lasers from the point would make him a highly valuable add to any d-corps in Division 1, though the Seattle Thunderbirds, who selected him 8th overall in 2013, are likely expecting him to join their back-end in the near future.

8. 99 D Josh Maniscalco – Shattuck-St. Mary’s Prep (MN) – 6’0 – 189

Very athletic defenseman with a serious upside. Possesses a big time heavy shot at the blue, shoots right and should be a consistent look there down the line. He’ll crush the opposing team off the puck, with the mobility and timing to make an impact when he lines it up. Started off the season at 5’11, 163 last year, now listed at 6’0, 189, and absolutely no fun to be on the ice against in any zone. As far as a long-term projection goes, we think he compares favorably to key Gopher recruit Ryan Lindgren (1998), who is with the NTDP this season.

9. 98 F Pat Khodorenko – NTDP U17 (USHL) – 5’11 – 204

Natural playmaker with rare skill and ability with the puck. A strong-skating, sharp shooter who wants to create high-quality chances but will bury when the opportunity presents itself. Sells his fakes well and makes high-percentage plays at top speed. His Honeybaked team last year was a great fit – one of the more elite, skill teams in the world – and allowed his gifts to shine. Khodorenko has had a few years of learning how to use his extremely talented teammates to their full potential and should thrive with an even higher caliber of skill around him in Ann Arbor this year. Youngest skater on the NTDP’s U17s this season.

10. 97 D Jacob Bryson – Loomis-Chaffee School (CT) – 5’9 – 174

An archetypal puck-moving, highly mobile defender who is undersized but catching a lot of attention with the Neponset Valley River Rats U18s this winter. Bryson’s first pass out of the zone comes with authority and hits it’s target on the tape. Despite being only 5’9 he maintains a low leverage that allows him to dominate larger (and older) players. Overall, his game was very quiet when we caught the London, Ontario native after playing a good number of games the week leading up to it. Very calm in all situations, doesn’t panic when the zone is under attack and executes the play. His shooting is deceptive in nature and helps to project him as a weapon in the point at the Division 1 level.

11. 99 F Brady Tkachuk – St. Louis AAA Blues U16 (MO) – 5’9 – 155

Brings a high level of skill and speed, with dynamic and consistent play, the son of long-time NHLer and former BU Terrier Keith Tkachuk has a good release on his shot and can finish his chances. As a bantam, Tkachuk broke loose of defenders regularly and did a great job of masking his intent with the puck. At the U16 level this year, he finds a way to drag so much attention to himself at times that all he has to do is pull a defender in and float a pass into space for one of his linemates to capitalize. All-around a strong prospect who seems dialed-in to the action every time we catch him. If the cutoff date stays the same, the September 16th birthday means he’s going to be the oldest first-year eligible in the 2018 draft. Brother Matt Tkachuk is a star Notre Dame recruit with the NTDP this season.

12. 97 D Caleb Jones – NTDP U18 (USHL) – 6’0 – 194

The younger brother of Nashville Predator Seth Jones added a lot of weight to a now-6’0 frame and improved in a lot of facets of his game, even though he was already well-rounded. Getting tougher to play against and continues to make a lot of good looks. Pretty reliable in his own end and led the rush a few times at the USHL Atlantic Challenge, activating with varying effectiveness. Really nice awareness in his own end and work ethic.

13. 98 D James Greenway – NTDP U17 (USHL) – 6’4 – 204

Enormous defender with great potential, brother of BU recruit and 2015 draft eligible Jordan Greenway, who was a key staple of this ranking for a time as well. Very effective in the defensive-zone and along the rail, deceptively good skating ability and lateral work that allows him to maintain gaps well and betrays a professional ceiling to his game. As his decisions become quicker and his game continues to come together, he may emerge as a true two-way force. There’s a thin line between being engaged around the ice as a 6’4 defender and compromising one’s positioning, and that line looks as though it will continue to be toed for a ways yet.

14. 99 D Thomas Miller – Victory Honda U18 (MI) – 6’2 – 170

Tall, somewhat lanky, right-shot D with mobility and quickness. That’s a lot of upside in one sentence and sums up a lot of what Miller brings to the table. An evident athlete who plays dialed-in and likes to get up into the play, can unleash a heavy wrist shot towards the cage and quarterback the powerplay with some effectiveness. Really refreshing body control, defensive-zone play and overall concentration for a young player of his stature.

15. 99 D Connor Mayer – Benilde-St. Margaret’s (MN) – 5’10 – 155

The former Benilde junior varsity squad member this past season may be the player who has most glaringly found his game (and confidence) over the past nine months out of his entire age group. He’s more out of the Luke McInnis (BC) or Jake Ryczek (UNH) mold than he is the next Chad Krys or future Benilde teammate Ben Newhouse (Union) – that is to say, Mayer can play, but it’s his body of work that ends up impressing more than any one dominating shift on the puck we would reference.

He plays with great pace and processes the game quickly to maintain being effective when the tempo picks up a few notches, but for a guy with those faculties, he battles and will go to war on the walls if necessary. Zips his outlets quick and clean, very accurate and some of his seeing-eye looks are very heady. Keeps a solid gap that should get better with his excellent skating tools and owns an active stick that he defends with often, doesn’t give up too much, and to boot can skate to contain pretty well. His wrist shot, too, is a weapon. It comes off the blade not unlike his passes – quick and accurate – often to dangerous areas. Playing with more confidence than nearly all of the “more highly-touted” prospects we have seen lately. Will look for him to continue to add awareness in all three zones and size, already has a slightly explosive push-off to his first step that should only become more pronounced as he develops.

16. 99 D Ben Mirageas – Avon Old Farms (CT) – 5’10 – 160

Mirageas is a purposeful, mobile, quick defenseman who shines in all three zones. He’s assertive and sound defensively, but he can pass the puck nearly any distance up the ice and find his mark pretty well, as well as man the point with the best of them right now. His shot at the point is blistering and if there’s no look, he’s got the ability to make a dangerous, poised play with his feet, stick, or both. At times he plays a less offensive game and relies on his ability to be a rock defensively, his success playing that style leads us to believe he will be more of a two-way defenseman than some of the offensive catalysts we have ranked on the back-end today.

17. 99 F Evan Barratt – Team Comcast U16 (PA) – 6’0 – 174

Between the AYHL and USPHL U16 circuits this season, Barratt has 53 points in 16 games – playing up a year. 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 frame but has real quickness breaking in and makes himself both unpredictable and tough to contain. Great hand-eye and athleticism that help him to be great and bodes well down the line.

EvanBarratt99

Barratt only further convinced us in Nationals at Green Bay and Select 15 camp in NY this summer of his high-end ability. He’s still a little bit raw but in all the areas that can be worked on, skating could get a higher top speed and be more economical, he’s got good burst to him and with his frame, as he comes into his body he only gets better. His passing is well-polished and he is an assertive player offensively because he’s dangerous with the puck and not afraid to rub someone out of a puck battle. Constantly seemed to be open in NY and very impressive overall.

18. 99 F Alex Chmelevski – Honeybaked U16 (MI) – 5’10 – 165

Chmelevski thinks the game at an elite speed and has the offensive faculties to execute – a deadly combination. Extremely skilled, gifted with the puck and that high-level anticipation that scouts love to see. Zips pucks around with purpose and plays a measured game. He and Vanya Lodnia compliment each other well, both are very dangerous in tandem. Both will be top considerations for the OHL draft in 2015.

19. 99 D Sean Keohan – Dexter School (MA) – 5’11 – 170

Good-sized defenseman with elite vision and poise. Passing and rushing ability in spades. Stands his ground in his own end and can be an assertive force on the game with his ability to hide his intent and make plays up ice.

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In New York, he was smooth, calm and very mobile, jumping up when it made sense and making plus plays all over the ice. He’s sound and reliable, and he makes some very, very nice plays.

20. 97 F Walker Duehr – Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) – 6’2 – 190

We caught Duehr at the mid-point of last season and noted the upside, but as he continued to add weight and improve in the offensive zone, he started to realize that potential. Big skater is on the raw side but tough to contain, Duehr can play with a frenetic intensity that disrupts the flow of the opponents attack and can really rip it, too. Teammate James Sanchez (Michigan) has been a top power forward target for 2016 for a little while – but Duehr, a 2016 draft eligible, could be even better by then if he continues to improve at his recent pace.

21. 99 F Baron Thompson – Omaha AAA U16 (NE) – 6’4 – 225

Not only does he have a massive frame at 15 years old, his skillset and tenacious style of play gets noticed. An excellent shot with a quick and accurate release can fool goaltenders, and he’s very strong on the puck. Willing and able to take it into areas where many won’t go: fearless, throws the body around and finishes wince-worthy checks – hard. Great first three steps for someone his frame, and the mean streak is definitely there. Has consistently played well at AAA for Omaha this fall, this summer at Victoria Royals camp, this summer at Select 15s (NY) as well as this past spring for Omaha at Nationals.

22. 99 D Reilly Walsh – Proctor Academy (NH) – 5’9 – 160

Walsh gets it done on both sides of the red line. Defensively, he keeps things simple and adds a few big hits for emphasis: don’t enter his space. Offensively, he’s slick with the puck and has serious puck competence. His slap shot can do some damage as well. Just so solid and skilled in a patient manner; Walsh clearly has vision and will activate, but plays measured hockey, wins battles, then creates a play for someone else to move on. Trails the play well on the rush to be a factor but not get caught up ice.

23. 99 F Kyle MacLean – NJ Rockets U19 (NJ) – 5’10 – 145

The brother of NHL draft prospect JC MacLean (Austin Bruins) and son of long-time New Jersey Devil John MacLean is coming into his own with the Rockets this season. At 5’10, MacLean rides the thin, fiery line of aggressive, relentless offensive play without finding himself in the box too often. A former Carolina Jr. Hurricane, Maclean’s athleticism manifests in speed, quick decisions and hand-eye, while the ranginess to his frame and ability to read the play, capitalize indicate he is going to be a hell of a player as it all comes together.

24. 99 F Baker Shore – Colorado Thunderbirds U16 (CO) – 5’9 – 160

Colorado’s “first family of hockey” has another prospect coming up. The fourth and youngest Shore brother (Denver) has elite hockey sense and playmaking ability. High-end offensive awareness with good speed and finishing ability, Shore’s poise on the puck and ability to create are exciting. As a bantam, Shore was effective at manipulating open spaces to create opportunities for teammates, while playing on a line with high tempo Ben Lown and hard-nosed Phillip Knies this season has created an interesting dynamic where Shore can lurk and contribute sharp plays in the wake of their engagement all over the zone.

25. 99 F Vanya Lodnia – Honeybaked U16 (MI) – 5’10 – 160

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. A dynamic offensive threat who has stellar chemistry alongside teammate Alex Chmelevski.

26. 99 F Cam Burke – Noble and Greenough School (MA) – 5’8 – 155

The younger brother of Notre Dame recruit Cal Burke is constantly involved in the action, creates a lot of opportunities with his passing ability. Battles smart in the tougher areas and positions his body well to recover the puck in contested situations. Seems to have a pull-away quality, second gear to his speed that appears in quick acceleration and good overall speed. A playmaker for Nobles who should play a big role this season, could be a big coup in the making for the Irish if they can land both of Nobles’ Burke brothers.

27. 99 F Austin Pratt – Shattuck-St. Mary’s U16 (MN) – 6’2 – 215

A key member of Shattuck’s national championship bantam outfit last season, Pratt continues to smoothen out his game and play to his strengths: of which there are many. He has one of the hardest shots in the age group and can play a power forward game protecting the puck using only the necessary puck-handles and not much more to make his plays. Does a good job staying in motion offensively and can play a beast-mode style game to just bull around the ice. Red Deer own Pratt’s WHL rights.

28. 98 D Michael Campoli – NTDP U17 (USHL) – 6’2 – 195

Big defenseman from Quebec had been a little out of our range last season playing for the well-known Lac St. Louis program, so we don’t have the best read from a weekend where the NTDP took it to Elite League competition and did not have to defend much. Campoli appears to be in the defensive defenseman build with a very high upside, a big skater with great body control and an active stick.

29. 98 D Myles Cunningham – Breck School (MN) – 6’1 – 180

The Everett Silvertips swooped up the WHL rights to unprotected 1998s Myles Cunningham and new Gopher recruit Casey Mittelstadt last month, and though he wasn’t the more high-profile of the two at the time, that may not last for long. From 5’8, 136 lbs in 2012, Cunningham has exploded in size and with that carries an explosive ceiling, a tall, powerful, mobile skater with strong footwork and rushing ability.

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30. 98 D Callan Foote – Colorado Thunderbirds U16 (CO) – 6’2 – 180

The son of NHLer Adam Foote is weeks away from being a 1999 and that thought is scary. The tall, athletic defenseman was consistently one of the best skaters on either team as an underager at the Tier 1 U16 playoffs last year, whether it was using his quick feet and skating ability to get into position to pick apart plays defensively or moving the puck up to a breaking out forward. Reads the play as it develops extremely well and quickly glides into position to negate clear attempts and restart the offense. Isn’t an elite powerplay quarterback defenseman, but a two-way defender with upside in most facets of his game who has continued to excel this season. WHL rights are owned by Kelowna, who selected him in the second round in last summer’s Bantam Draft.

31. 99 D Jack Rathbone – Dexter School (MA) – 5’8 – 145

Pound-for-pound, with the commitment of David Farrance, there may not be a more offensively gifted defenseman in his age group – let alone on our list, save Chad Krys. Rathbone is one of a number of New England area 1999-born defensemen who can take over the offensive zone and could shoot up our list as he continues to prove detractors of his size wrong. However you want to play it: Rathbone can probably pull it off. An excellent skater with an offensive flair to his game, he is able to catch up when he is behind the play and leave trailers behind when he’s on the attack. Capable of coast-to-coast goal scoring, he surveys his options well and executes on the system he plays in. Nice release on his shot, really mobile and shifty, has an unpredictable weaving-style of puck-rushing and is a killer within six feet on either side of the offensive blue line.

32. 98 F Austen Long – Omaha AAA U16 (NE) – 5’10 – 192

A forceful, powerful forward who holds his ground in deep and has offensive tools to spare. One of the numerous threats up front for this Omaha team, effective in tight with good speed and natural scoring tools.

33. 98 F John Wojciechowski – NJ Rockets U19 (NJ) – 6’4 – 207

Another New Jersey Rocket with an enormous ceiling, the former NY Apple Core product has a ton of development ahead of him but could turn into one of the best middle-six forces in the age group when all is said and done. Shows excellent instincts with his short passing and timing, for someone with an almost-awkwardly-big frame, he is not only a deceptively smooth skater but is resourceful with his decisions and seems to have a touch on the puck as well.

34. 98 F Keeghan Howdeshell – NTDP U17 (USHL) – 6’0 – 192

Great size and leverages his body well to protect the puck, it’s tough to bet against a player like Howdeshell who has the upside to be a big contributor at both ends of the ice and will be spending the next two years in Ann Arbor.

35. 98 F Max Gerlach – Colorado Thunderbirds U16 (CO) – 5’9 – 155

Medicine Hat’s 6th-round pick in the Bantam Draft last year may be on the smaller end of the spectrum, but the Texas native is a cerebral, high tempo scorer who leads a very talented Thunderbirds team in scoring. Always seems to be around the action offensively, very natural at finding windows to score and placing or creating his chances.

36. 98 F Jagger Williamson – Vernon Vipers (BCHL) – 5’7 – 162

Excellent puck skills, an extremely shifty player with great hands who plays big minutes on the first line with the Vipers. Has a great knack for finding players but also has excellent feet right out of the gate. Isn’t afraid to battle but tends to sneak around the net to find his chances. Plays a flashy game with his head up.

37. 97 F Colton Kehler – Cowichan Valley Capitals (BCHL) – 5’11 – 165

Has consistently gotten better every single year, his awareness on the ice gets him in the proper position to make the play, his pure ability to make plays is a sight to see. Smooth skater who has an elusive side to his game that makes him extremely deceptive, with excellent in-game IQ.

38. 98 F Collin Adams – Honeybaked U16 (MI) – 5’10 – 175

Adams, the HPHL’s leading scorer, is playing with a ton of confidence and brings a lot to the table. An effective, hard-to-play-against forechecker with good feet and a nice top speed. Adjusts his routes with efficiency and always seems to be doing good things to advance the offense and prolong the assault, finishing his chances at times and creating something out of nothing as well. Has stepped up as the key offensive cog for Honeybaked with the absence of Michael Pastujov (Michigan) to injury up front.

39. 98 F Josh Dunne – St. Louis AAA Blues U18 (MO) – 6’1 – 150

Has steadily emerged as another nice prospect from the Blues program. For a December-born 1998 standing at 6’1, Dunne plays with an edge, has terrific body control and first-step speed. Looks to create time and space for his teammates and doesn’t fool around with the puck.

40. 98 F Nico Blachman – Omaha AAA U16 (NE) – 6’2 – 194

The former Shattuck-St. Mary’s skater from Florida found his way to a new-look Omaha U16 team this season and is an excellent compliment to their offense with good size, physical play and scoring ability.

41. 99 F Charlie Dovorany – Shattuck-St. Mary’s U16 (MN) – 5’9 – 142 (Ht/Wt out of date)

Crafty, smooth-skating forward with great work ethic and sharp play all around the offensive zone. Skilled playmaker from Wausau, WI is one of the top forwards on a talented Shattuck-St. Mary’s U16 team and leads the team in assists with 16 through 11 games, of which all but two have been wins.

42. 98 F Ben Lown – Colorado Thunderbirds U16 (CO) – 5’7 – 150

Diminutive, compact skater from Newport Coast, CA by way of Shattuck-St. Mary’s last year defines dynamic. Uses bursts of speed to create separation and disarm defenders, constant motor and processes the game very quickly. Clinical around the net and pushes the pace of the game.

43. 97 F Alec Mehr – Bloomington Thunder (USHL) – 5’11 – 193

A Californian product who went out East to play prep last year, Mehr’s game seems to have matured for it A fluid skater who loves the puck, possesses a great release and offensive instincts that could see him tally 15-20 goals per season in the NCAA one day. USHL rights owned by Bloomington, WHL by Everett, two teams that are owned by the same group. Mehr would likely be higher on our list but we are still going off of last year’s viewings at the Gunnery as we do not heavily scout the USHL right now.

44. 97 D Jordan Ernst – Chicago Mission U18 (IL) – Ht/Wt Not Rostered

Good-sized left shot defenseman may be a sleeper look for the NHL draft this year after playing Illinois high school hockey last season. A raw talent with great offensive tools, zips hard passes and shots to dangerous areas, decisive on pucks with good awareness. Possesses a bomb of a slap shot at the point with above-average skating ability and alarming accuracy to go with strong shot selection. Should round out his defensive game having to defend at a higher level in the HPHL this season.

45. 98 F Jack Badini – NJ Avalanche U18 (NJ) – 5’11 – 180

Two hundred foot player, Badini has vision with the puck and makes a lot of plays. Instinctive and sharp offensively, rips dangerous shots towards the twine. Unselfish with the puck when a play is to be made and has an enticing build. Isn’t going to blow you away every shift, but his game grows on you.

46. 98 F Tim Clifton – NJ Rockets (EHL) – 5’11 – 175

Resourceful, relentless forward with great speed, Clifton really picks up with the puck on his stick and is a very positive contributor on a consistent basis in the EHL this season.

47. 98 F Grant Cruikshank – Milwaukee Jr. Admirals U16 (WI) – 5’9 – 175

Off-the-charts speed, easily the fastest skater off the mark on our list and just overall one of the best skaters, technique-wise, that we’ve ever seen. Goes hard on the forecheck and looks to force a bad decision off the puck, and his game is entirely grounded in his ability to get to certain areas of the ice before anyone else – but he is simultaneously opportunistic and with the smarts to keep the game in front of him and control his speed. Very dangerous shot that he can place quickly, all the more a threat with his elusive nature enhancing the shot quality/location.

48. 98 F Ben Meyers – Delano High School (MN) – 5’9 – 189

A three-sport varsity athlete for Delano, Meyers, just a sophomore this year, plays with a lot of skill and is a dynamic playmaker at full stride. Very slippery and effective – a joy to watch who should only get better on the ice in the coming years when he isn’t busy rushing thirty yards a game as the starting fullback every weekend for Delano’s football team. A testament to the value of sticking with other sports, Meyers also plays baseball and a lot of what makes him successful on the ice are translatable skills from his contrasting sports; such as the ability to play through contact (football) and requisite hand-eye (baseball) that helps him to excel in broken plays as well as within the face-off dot.

49. 98 F Evan Wisocky – NJ Avalanche U18 (NJ) – 5’11 – 175

Poised, measured scorer here who can play to match the game’s tempo and rifles pucks at the net. Solid making plays off the wall and when he moved down to play with the U16s in the 2nd half of the Atlantic Challenge, his talents were evident. Dart of a shot, nice skating ability. Reportedly was the best player on the ice this past weekend with dominant showings.

50. 99 F Isaac Johnson – Anoka High School (MN) – 6’0 – 160

Strong skater with legit size and a good skill level, gets to full speed quickly and uses speed, quickness, a heavy shot and assertive play to create chances.

51. 99 F Alex Mella – Shattuck-St. Mary’s U16 (MN) – 6’0 – 161

So consistently hard to contain and multi-faceted on the offense because he can pass, rip it, or skate it into a dangerous area with serious velocity. A skilled power forward who is steadily improving and simplifying his game in all three zones.

52. 99 F Ben Copeland – Edina High School (MN) – 5’10 – 150

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 some terrific plays with the puck at top speed and has a fantastic shot that he can place with little time to shoot. Playing with the MN Blades U16s this winter.

53. 98 D Brian Hurley – St. Thomas Academy (MN) – 6’0 – 185

Another Minnesota Blades U16 product who is showing extremely well this fall. Was a poised, effective young skater on the back-end for St. Thomas last year and is poised to emerge as a top defenseman in the high school circuit this winter. Excellent passer who has a good head for the game and great size, plays within himself well though an offensive confidence and competence is becoming more evident.

54. 98 D Alec Semandel – Chicago Mission U16 (IL) – 6’3 – 188

Last year we suspected Semandel’s big upside was as a shut-down force, though he too is showing an offensive ceiling to hit. Massive defenseman bears down on offensive threats and neutralizes them with above average footspeed and decisive defensive-zone actions. Plays hard and doesn’t give up a chance easy, strong outlet passer who can move the puck with a great frame.

55. 99 D Nate Knoepke – Lakeville South (MN) – 6’2 – 185

Big, smooth defenseman for his size who projects very well as a sophomore. Decisive on pucks and athletic on nature, could continue to find his game as a strong-passing force with vision on the back-end or as a two-way, shut down key member of the d-corps well into even the pro ranks someday. Either way, we love what he brings to the table.

56. 99 D Brian Scoville – Cushing Academy (MA) – 6’1 – 170

He’s a big defenseman who has been a big defenseman for a while now, so there will be questions of whether he has reached a ceiling or is just well-advanced for his age, but his ability to understand defensive-zone play and be tenacious throughout the length of a game is exciting, as is his ability to throw a strong first pass and get up ice. Overall edgework and skating mechanics could improve, but if and when that all comes, it won’t just be Division 1 recruiters calling.

57. 99 F Patrick Smyth – Compuware U16 (MI) – 6’3 – 195

Big, powerful center who is dominant in the hard areas below the goal line. He’s hard to project (only because he’s 15) in some senses in that the Toledo, Ohio native is so forceful and able to clear space that there has to be a point where his peers will close that gap, but his offensive senses and tools in addition to the speed at which he gets up ice all bode very well.

58. 99 F Cooper Haar – Chicago Young Americans U16 (IL) – 6’3 – 185

Haar, like Smyth, is another big power forward who is well-ahead of his peers in the size department but has excellent body control and athleticism for his age and could emerge as a true offensive force at the next level. Great scoring ability at his size with a huge upside.

59. 99 F Steven Agriogianis – NJ Avalanche U16 (NJ) – 5’9 – 155

Very involved offensively, processes the game at a lightning-speed and has a lot of potential as a scorer, playmaker at the college level. Recovers pucks and creates opportunities consistently.

60. 99 F Colton McKenna – Buffalo Regals U16 (NY) – 6’2 – 180

Big forward with great body control and general coordination, McKenna has a high ceiling for a number of roles but we suspect he will be scoring goals for a long time. His poise, ability to sell the 1-on-1 play and chain a sequence of plays together offensively are exciting. His ability to get shots off with velocity while handling at range make his shots tough to track on the release and equally tough to stop.

61. 99 F Tommy Altounian – Chicago Mission U16 (IL) – 6’0 – 180

An athletic power forward with a great reach who finishes his checks, drives the net with results, pays attention to detail on defense and can protect the puck well. Has a lot of little traits that should help him succeed as a power forward at the next level, and sprinkles in some east-west play to compliment his north-south competencies. Good speed and great work ethic.

62. 99 F Cade Robinson – Victory Honda U16 (MI) – 5’10 – 160

One of the youngest players in U16 hockey this year, Robinson is a smaller forward from Belle Tire last season with effective, highly deceptive hands. A prolific threat on the transition with natural passing ability. Surveys the play and uses his speed straight away in tandem with his skill to eat guys alive, sharp hand-eye and good agility that lets him maneuver into dangerous areas with ease.

63. 99 F Liam Walsh – Victory Honda U16 (MI) – 6’0 – 170

Skilled, offensive-minded forward who has grown a bit this season and now has a frame that could become a force. Slick, quick hands and doesn’t force plays – always dangerous. Has some lankiness and his game could arc upward as he comes into his body, but there’s no questioning the talent here and explosiveness to his stride.

64. 99 F Jack Studnicka – Belle Tire U16 (MI) – 5’11 – 145

Looked like he was close to turning a corner and experiencing a growth spurt last season with Compuware and is realizing that upside with Belle Tire this year. The Tecumseh, Ontario native competes on every shift and has a nice feel for the puck that sees him make some very impressive plays. Great vision and solid size, plays with confidence.

65. 97 F JC MacLean – Austin Bruins (NAHL) – 6’2 – 195

Made the jump from the Rockets U19 team to the NAHL this season, MacLean has a game that suits the junior game very well and should translate as a power forward with scoring upside at the collegiate level. Plays with some sandpaper and determination, could improve his foot speed to improve his velocity breaking into the zone. Right now seems to project as a prototypical Cornell recruit, big, strong, offensively more than competent and tough to play against.

66. 96 F Laythe Jadallah – NJ Hitmen Premier (NJ) – 6’1 – 176

Naturally opportunistic, athletic forward with a nice top speed and great offensive instincts, makes a lot of plays, gets to the net and gets pucks to the net. Could explode upward and outward as a player and professional prospect if he can torch the USPHL Premier this year, but consistency may be a question mark.

67. 97 F Mike Montambault – Victory Honda U18 (MI) – 6’4 – 190

The Ann Arbor native strikes us as a skater the NTDP may have wanted to consider, a lanky, big center who doesn’t project as a scoring line center but has some explosion in his stride and plugs away in the hard areas. Could ply his trade as a middle-six forward all the way to the show if he continues to work on his game.

68. 97 F Michael Brown – Groton School (MA) – 6’2 – 181

Rangy power forward with a high ceiling. Should be a focal point of this Groton forward group this year, he isn’t a constant offensive threat but brings a good power game and puck protection – strong on his skates and cuts incisively through the offensive zone. Quick release on his shot that could punish and could really fill out.

69. 98 F Joey Abate – Chicago Mission U16 (IL) – 6’2 – 175

Committed to Wisconsin, 10/20/2014

Quick, smart, involved and skilled. Processes the game very quickly, good with the puck. The Chicago Fury product played with a ton of confidence at the NAHL Showcase in Blaine last month.

70. 98 F Josiah Slavin – Colorado Thunderbirds U16 (CO) – 6’0 – 160

Relentless work ethic on loose pucks, very involved offensively with a frame to grow into. The younger brother of Carolina Hurricanes 4th round pick Jaccob Slavin (Colorado College) has a nice ceiling in the long-term, always seems to be around the puck on a skilled team and hard to ignore, great speed straight-away and desire to make plays.

Just Missed (71-80): Brian Hawkinson (Colorado Thunderbirds U16), Kole Sherwood (Ohio Blue Jackets U18), Matt Gosiewski (Millbrook School), Clayton Phillips (Edina), Jack Vincent (Chicago Mission U16), Kyle Kawamura (TPH Thunder U16), Joshua Norris (Oakland Jr. Grizzlies U16), Sam Huff (Maple Grove), Luke Boka (Victory Honda U16), Anthony DeMeo (NJ Rockets U19 – IR/no recent viewings)

Your Home for College Hockey Recruiting and Amateur Hockey Scouting Home » Select 70: Top 10 Uncommitted College Hockey Prospects, February 2014

Select 70: Top 10 Uncommitted College Hockey Prospects, February 2014

With the release of our new Select 70 uncommitted prospect ranking tomorrow, here are our refreshed Top Ten Uncommitted Prospects. One fundamental change from October’s list to this one is that 1999′s will not be ranked side-by-side with the older skaters, and so this list is missing an old staple in 1999 phenom Sean Dhooghe. It’s made room for some new prospects, and doesn’t force us to have to compare 14 year olds to 20 year olds, a task that was bordering on arbitrary. If you want to sign up to receive the Select 70 newsletter when it comes out tomorrow, you can do so by clicking here.

Three skaters already made their college decisions from last month’s list, but the ones that remained have the same bio.

1. 95 F Miles Wood – Noble and Greenough School

Height: 6’2, Weight: 195

Projected Role: Top Line Scorer

A new entrant to the board of uncommitted prospects, the former Brown recruit is going to provide an instant boost to whoever garners a commitment from him. Few skaters have the potential to take over games like New Jersey’s 4th round pick in 2013 can, and even fewer are available so close to their first semester of college.

This season, Wood has taken a large step in his development. Nobles coach Brian Day quoted to us, on Miles’ development, “Miles successfully has worked very hard this season to become a more savvy player with the puck who will take any open ice that is available to him but will move the puck when that is the play to be made.  Through the course of this season we have seen a growing level of creativity in his game and a better understanding of how to create more time and space for he and his teammates.  An incredibly dynamic player who will attack when he has the puck, he is developing into a more dynamic player who not only has the ability to finish but who has the ability to make those around him better. He is a great kid and a joy to coach.”

A surprisingly deft passer in a big man’s body, with a lethal shot. Deadly with speed behind the puck as he weaves towards the net, word on the street is that Wood’s likely going to end up on Commonwealth Ave – BU or BC – but a decision could take a little while, as he’s got a pretty pressing concern this week: Nobles travels to face a deep Phillips Exeter squad on Wednesday, in quarterfinal action of the New England Tournament.

2.    97 D Zach Werenski – NTDP U17

Height: 6’1, Weight: 201

Projected Role: #1 Defenseman – All Situations

London Knights (OHL) 2nd round draft pick shines all over the sheet and has been our top uncommitted prospect since summer. Among Boston College recruit Noah Hanifin (NTDP U17) and Swedish phenom Oliver Kylington (Färjestad BK), who is already playing pro hockey, the 2015 group of top-end blue liners is an exciting group. Where Werenski falls among them is still up in the air, but should he head to the NCAA, one has to expect he’d be in a top pairing role as early as 2015.

3.    97 F Luke Kirwan – NTDP U17

Height: 6’1, Weight: 232

Projected Role: Top Line Power Scorer

The 2016 draft eligible has a huge frame and the heaviest, most lethal wrist shot around right now. Very hard on the puck and comfortable with a frame that defines “imposing”, Kirwan’s highly regarded by the OHL (Guelph). He gets up the ice straight-away with velocity and has hands not often seen in a skater of his figure. Very effective in the offensive zone because he brings a combination of assets rarely seen and an undeniable nose for the net.

4.    98 F Logan Brown – Indiana Jr. Ice U16

Height: 6’4.5, Weight: 200

Projected Role: Top Line Playmaker

The skater with the highest upside on our list, especially without Jakob Chychrun ranked, has to be Brown. Unless he gives a commitment soon, the son of NHLer Jeff Brown is earmarked to be our number one prospect soon and stay there for a while. He’s smart and skilled in the offensive third, making some really eye-opening plays right now and is an excellent skater for a prospect his size and age. With the Jr. Ice, he’s on pace for a big season offensively, at a goal-per-game pace and will be looked at to make offensive magic at every level.

5. 98 D Chad Krys – NJ Rockets U19

Height: 5’11, Weight: 165

Projected Role: #1 Defenseman – Fourth Forward, Powerplay Quarterback

If Krys, a pre-eminent prospect for the QMJHL draft, chooses the college route, he’ll be a major coup. The son of former BU captain Mark Krys plays loose, dynamic, opportunistic hockey for the Rockets U19 team and is impactful on nearly every shift. At the U19 level, his anticipation and ability to dictate the tempo are at an elite level, as few skaters can orchestrate the play from the point like Krys can at any age – let alone at 15 years old. Has some Erik Karlsson in his ability to shrug opposing skaters off leading the rush and jump-start the offensive attack at will, but fellow CT-native Kevin Shattenkirk is a closer long-term projection. Scouts will look to see his game round out, especially defensively, though skating ability and sharp stick-work save him now, and he doesn’t lack for defensive awareness.

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

Height: 6’2, Weight: 180

Projected Role: Top Line Complete Forward

Noted Active Schools: Wisconsin (Andy Johnson, Bucky’s 5th Quarter)

Huge forward has come a long way in the past year, where he was still definitely a prospect, though he now possesses the earmarks of a potential pro. An athletic skater who plays an honest, hard game in every zone, Frederic doesn’t seem to have touched the surface of his upside. Could fill out to add 20-30 pounds to an already imposing frame and possesses a bullet of a release. Makes smart, well-thought out plays to move the puck decisively and is a sharp contributor on the man advantage. Subtle passes around the offensive zone betray a hockey mind that can make plays through traffic at a high level. Tough to play against. Arguably more impressive than Frederic’s rise is that an elite group of 1998s including him, Logan Brown (#4), recent Michigan recruit Luke Martin and recent Harvard recruit Joseph Woll all hailed from the same St. Louis AAA program.

7. 97 D Ivan Provorov – Cedar Rapids Rough Riders

Height: 6’0, Weight: 193

Projected Role: #1 Defenseman – All Situations

Noted Active Schools: Penn State, Yale, Cornell  (Jim Ecker, MetroSportsReport.com)

The former Wilkes-Barre Scranton U16 stand-out made the decision to jump up and play the best amateur competition available to him this season in the USHL, and he’s likely going to come out a much stronger player for it. He’s tough to play against, and he skates hard for his build, getting up the ice with pace. Brings an edge to his play off the puck, and highlight reel playmaking ability on it. In 51 games for WBS last season, Provorov tallied a 42-55-97 line in 51 games. With two of those old WBS teammates already committed to Penn State, Provorov too has talked to the Nittany Lions and would be a great pull for them, though other programs are in the mix too, and Major Junior will never be out of the conversation.

8. 98 D Callan Foote – Colorado Thunderbirds U16

Height: 6’1, Weight: 170

Projected Role: #1 Defenseman – All Situations

The son of NHLer Adam Foote is weeks away from being a 1999 and that thought is scary. The tall, athletic defenseman was consistently one of the best skaters on either team as an underager at the Tier 1 U16 playoffs this month, whether it was using his quick feet and skating ability to get into position to pick apart plays defensively or moving the puck up to a breaking out forward. Reads the play as it develops extremely well and quickly glides into position to negate clear attempts and restart the offense. Isn’t an elite powerplay quarterback defenseman, but a two-way defender with upside in most facets of his game. WHL rights are owned by Kelowna, who selected him in the second round in last summer’s Bantam Draft.

9.    95 F Alex Rodriguez – Shattuck-St. Mary’s Prep

Height: 6’0, Weight: 185

Projected Role: Top Line Playmaker

Hard-nosed forward plays the game fast and intense, using poise on the puck and a willingness to make plays in the hard area to great effectiveness. The late 1995 isn’t an elite playmaker, but his work rate on a shift-to-shift basis and vision serve him extremely well and allow him to wear other teams down. As a whole, the long-time Shattuck product is 5th-leading scorer on the countries top U18 team and plays a style of hockey that seems like it will translate beautifully to the D1 level. Headed to Surrey of the BCHL next season.

10.    96 F Anthony Petrella – Shattuck-St. Mary’s Prep

Height: 5’9, Weight: 186

Projected Role: Top Line Finisher

The Fargo Force just acquired the USHL rights to the Sabres leading goal-scorer (24) for next season, and he’s already got serious interest from major programs through Big Ten and Hockey East. Not unlike Rodriguez, he hits the ice like he’s been fired out of a cannon and has advanced offensive timing that gets him into scoring position to bury with a wicked wrist shot. He’s a lethal threat with sustained possession, where he can slip through lanes as an unignorable threat, or on the transition. Isn’t afraid to throw his body around in the hard areas and make a play.

Scouts on Top NHL Draft Prospects for 2014, 2015, 2016

Scouts on Top NHL Draft Prospects for 2014, 2015, 2016

After reading “Ryen Russillo’s NBA Draft Confidential: Real Scouts on Wiggins, Randle, Embiid and Parker“, I thought it would be a worthwhile effort to do something similar for the NHL draft. So I spoke to some scouts/coaches from the USHL, other Junior Leagues, High School, Independent Services as well as the Major Junior ranks. In exchange for anonymity, they agreed to share their thoughts on some upcoming prospects for the coming 2014 draft as well as some of their favorite or overrated prospects for 2015 and 2016.

This isn’t really an “all-encompassing” draft preview – it’s just a way to gauge what some of the people who actually watch the players think of their draft stock. In some cases, differing answers were provided and I’ve included those to show the contrast – few scouts agreed on all players and at already about 10,000 words, I just didn’t have space for everyone I’d have liked to include. Names like Jeremy Bracco (2015), Nick Boka (2015), Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson (2015), etc. From across the border, a few other names continued to pop out: From the WHL, Travis Sanheim for this year, Portland’s Paul Bittner and Seattle stars Matt Barzal, Ryan Gropp (formerly a UND recruit) for next year, as well as the obvious pick in Connor McDavid from the OHL, and Julien Gauthier out of the QMJHL.

I tried to keep the most interesting comments and every scout was able to include comments on players even if I didn’t ask about them, which was done in a number of cases. I should note that none of these opinions necessarily are concurrent with ours at OTB – with a clear contrast on some of the players, it would be impossible for them all to be regardless. Any speculation as to player movement or the like are not necessarily reflections of what we think will occur either, though some points were pretty astute and I opted to include most of them.

Thanks goes to those who agreed to share their opinions for this piece. For the most comprehensive section, 2014, I’ve sorted the players by conference. The rest are in no particular order.

2014 Draft

NCHC

96 F Nick Schmaltz – Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) – North Dakota

  • “He’s a stud, 1st round guy. He can skate like the wind, he’s on the ice your going to get your doors blown off as a defenseman. He got called up to the NTDP, steps in, best player on the ice. Hands down. He dominated against UMD this year, I think Milano or someone was hurt, they called up Schmaltz. He’s good. I’d love to have that guy on my team.”
  • “No player at any age level I watched this year pissed me off more than ‘Schmaltzy’; yes he could be dazzling, yet he routinely cheated his teammates with disengaged play and piss poor effort. If you get the light bulb to turn on, you’re a genius. If it doesn’t, update your resume.”
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96 F Shane Gersich – NTDP – North Dakota
  • “Great skater, you know? Very intriguing. Very explosive. But, hockey sense wise, how well does he think it, too? Go back to Spencer Naas, Gersich is more explosive, more of a guy that can finish. He struggled a little bit this year, I don’t think he made the jump great. His bloodlines are great. At the combine he had the best two scores in jumping — is he going to wow you as a summer hockey guy and then you put him in the game and bodies on bodies with better gap, is he going to thrive? If he defines his game as a hard-working guy that skates well and can finish, I think he’s fine. The jury’s still out on that. He’s a nice looking Ferrari, four banger or a V10 in that: we don’t know.”
  • “He had his time being a bit of a target (in Minnesota), for his skill and speed, because he was ‘the guy’ very quickly. He has some really appealing traits on top of being able to come out of that situation and thrive. Up and down for the NTDP this season but I’d bet on him being a player. There is a lot to like.”
  • “He is a kid whose gotten better every year, hasn’t seen his best hockey. Going to be a Guy Carbonneau kind of guy. Plays all 200 feet, wins draws, not going to wow you like a Seamus Malone. Could be a great 3rd line checking center that plays against the best lines in the NHL. Going to be a college guy that all the pro guys want as a free agent.”

96 D Blake Hillman – Dubuque Fighting Saints – Denver

  • “If he had stayed at Elk River he would have been the guy everyone would have been chasing locally. Of course he wore out at the end; he’s lanky and not used to the USHL grind, but there’s a lot to like with his frame, skating, and intelligence. He should take a big jump next year.”
  • “He’s going to be a steal at the bottom of the draft. You haven’t even seen close to the best of him. Big, long frame, very smart, moves well. Once he puts on weight, I think he could end up being a shutdown guy. Not a mean shutdown guy but probably in the NHL he could be a 4/5 guy. He does have some PP potential cause he thinks it so well. As he progresses up the ladder, he’s going to be just fine but maybe not a PP guy. Dubuque got him in the 17th round and as a 17 year old out of Elk River, you haven’t seen the best of him yet. Great teammate, makes smart passes, I know he seemed to get worn down at the end of the year but that comes to his frame. Whoever takes him is getting a steal – I think he goes at the bottom of the draft as a huge steal.”
95 F Karson Kuhlman – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL) – Minnesota-Duluth
  • “I would put his hockey sense above anyone on the list. High Hockey IQ, if they took track of steals in the USHL – he’d be right up there — before you know it, he’s on you. One timers from everywhere, he’s going to take the puck to the net. To the next level, your going to have a knock on his size but he’s going to prove people wrong. His size at 5’10, 170? No problem – he thinks so well, skates so well, great teammate. At the end of the day you win with a guy like him. One of my favorite players you asked about. If you watch him play, he’s so fun to watch. It’s crazy. He’s going to have two breakaways a game in the USHL, he did, probably one a game in college.”

96 F Mitch Slattery – Hill-Murray – St. Cloud

  • “Love the kid’s ability to score, poise with the puck. Is he going to put the time in to be an NHL player? On the ice, a lot of circling, a lot of cheating to offense. He’s got that arrogance because he knows he’s good, but I don’t know how well his game is going to translate. I don’t see him being a pro unless he takes a 180 and works on his body, skating. What he does have is he’s really smart, very poised with the puck. He’s willing to make that play that people won’t make, and he can score.”
  • “He plays with a lot of swagger. I like it. He gets in your face and he scores. You watch him, you don’t forget about him – he leaves an impression. We’ll see (on pro upside).”

96 F Sebastian Fuchs – Kenai River Brown Bears – Denver

  • “I liked him quite a bit; the skating will come but he’s a heady two way player. Will he get drafted, probably not; but he’s a player who will have some interested parties watching him next year in Madison.”
96 D Luc Snuggerud – Eden Prairie HS – Nebraska-Omaha
  • “I think he’s going to be real, real good. He proved himself in HS hockey and then jumping into USHL and putting in the points.. I think someones going to take a chance on him. He’s proven himself; he can be physical, and make smart plays. It’s growing into your body, and having confidence, add some leg strength, one summer in the gym.”
  • “He, like, broke his hand and was still the best D on the ice. Literally – could not use one hand and they had to keep putting him out (in playoffs) because he’s a game-changer back there. They were not very deep on D, so, yeah, well, that’s neither here nor there – kid is good. His feet got better and he’s generating offense from that too. His ability to change his game and continue to improve on what he has or his weaknesses tells me he’s going to be a player.”
96 F Steven Spinner – Eden Prairie HS – Nebraska-Omaha
  • “Kid can score goals. He has that knack to score goals, he’s greasy around the net, he gets dirty around the net. His compete’s going to need to be picked up, he also played well in the USHL, so it translates more. I think he needs to start stopping and starting instead of circling, which is something that can be coached. I don’t know how high-end he is but he can be someone that scores the goals.”

96 D Nick Wolff – Eagan HS – Minnesota-Duluth

  • “Now, for me, I’m not a huge fan. The kid’s tough as nails. I don’t think he thinks the game well. I like his toughness, and that sort of thing, his size, his reach. If he’s going to be effective, he’s going to have to keep it simple, he’s going to have to be hard to play against and drop the mitts. And he’ll do it, to his credit. For me it’s hockey sense that’s lacking, can he process things at the next level. He has the intangibles to be a hard-to-play-against defenseman. Guys gave him more time and space in high school, it’s like, ‘I’m not going near this guy.’”

Big Ten

96 D Jack Dougherty – NTDP – Wisconsin
  • “It’s hard to believe this is the same kid who looked so out of place in the Elite League; his skating has improved tenfold, he’s got jam, he can move the puck. Best of the NTDP D to me; and better than Brady Skjei was at the same age.”
  • “He’s a talent. He can do it all. He’s good – a no-brainer. He stepped up, to do what he did, and he was just fine.”
  • “I think he’s going to be a pro, for sure. Very projectable. Is there even a serious debate, really? I have to think some teams are really high on him. There’s a lot to like.”

96 D Ryan Collins – NTDP – Minnesota

  • “To be the shutdown guy he needs to be – and that’s really all he can be – it comes down to skating and really developing a thorny temperament. Frankly I think he could be having trouble at the U with their logjam on the blueline, so maybe going to the Dub isn’t a bad idea.”
  • “To me, not a huge fan. Hardly played at Benilde and went right to the NTDP. His feet and all that need work. Does he have pro potential, yeah, he thinks the game pretty well, I think. But I’m not a huge fan. As a pro, looking way down the road. I think going to the Gophers he’s going to struggle staying in the line-up next year. He doesn’t excel. He gets away with size, reach, decent stick and good hockey sense. He’s a project for somebody. Late rounder, to me.”
96 F Seamus Malone – Dubuque Fighting Saints – Wisconsin
  • “A kid who has filthy hands, great hips, willing to do anything, drop the gloves, whatever. Going to need to put on some weight, start playing all 200 feet of the ice. I think he has pro potential – smart player with great hands, going to be greasy, going to be slippery, he will play hard. He needs to buy in and play the whole game. Someones going to take him: 5th round, 6th round probably. Ultra competitive – definitely the best hands of everyone we talked about.”

96 F JD Dudek – Kimball Union – Boston College

  • “Certain people have him as high as Donato, a lot of people seemed to have him or Donato as top 2 at some point this season. Plays too much around the perimeter, doesn’t have the killer instinct you need to score goals at the next level. Has the skating ability and awareness to create offense for his line mates. I was thinking about him because he came into the prep scene and just skyrocketed, kind of plateaued this year. If he can make another jump this year leaving KUA, he “only” had 44 points in 26 games with Tyler Bird and Greer on his line and you look at what Donato did with a worse supporting cast in his draft year. His skating’s going to carry him.”

96 D Jack Glover – NTDP – Minnesota

  • “Your classic “jeans model” player. A 6’3″ D who can skate and have some offensive presence but he’s an “olé defender” along the walls, something which hasn’t particularly changed since he was 15. I think he gets overestimated because of the tangibles and resume.”
  •  “A bit like Collins but more polished. I’d feel more comfortable taking Glover. Just across the board I think he’s better but Collins may think the game just a little bit better, where Glover is more polished where I don’t like Collins; the skating, the hips, the pivoting and getting to pucks. I think Glover has a better shot. More of a safe pick. Collins hasn’t played his best hockey yet. Glover is getting close. I’d feel safe putting him out if I was Don Lucia.”
96 D Josh Jacobs – Indiana Ice (USHL) – Michigan State
  • “Big, smart, offensive. Going to have to amp up his engaging of his man, D-zone coverage, physical play. Never been a guy to engage his man even in midget hockey. I do like him because he does make smart plays but I’m worried about the defensive side of the game. He played in Detroit and all those kids played hard, he played in Indy, obviously good team, but he still needs to get a little “FU” in his game. I don’t think he’s dynamic enough to be an offensive threat, for his size.”

96 F Dakota Joshua – Sioux Falls Stampede – Ohio State

  • “Really took that step forward in the 2nd half; he was finally able to assert himself and make those puck protection plays with his frame that he can be trying to do before. Got a tad nastier too; had his nose in every scrum in the last game I saw of his. For a lot of people they’ll be surprised with how high he’ll go.”
96 D Matt Berkovitz – Ashwaubenon HS/Team Wisconsin U18 – Wisconsin
  • “Like (Dakota) Joshua, people are going to be shocked at where he goes, which should be top 2-3 rounds. Intelligent, skating, creativity, developmental environment (Wisco.)”
  • “Like him, like him. I don’t know where he fits, I know there’s inconsistency in his game, sometimes. I think he’s a real nice puck-moving defenseman with some real nice upside.”

96 D Tyler Nanne – Edina – Ohio State

  • “He is a great skater, really shoots the puck, loves to do it. Thinks the game fairly well. He is, at a lot of times, all about himself, doesn’t include his teammates at times: takes it up, fires it across the board. Switching to D he’s still going to have to learn to defend better. I think he can cause he’s a good athlete, I do like him, I think someone will take him late – it could be on his name or on his potential. Is he going to work at it, or is he going to play like, ‘I have great skill, I don’t need to do that much’. Great in high school but he’s not Sidney Crosby, needs to get back. When it gets harder for him to skate the puck up, I don’t know. Drew Doughty is the best in D the NHL but how often does he go up and do it all himself? Not often. We’ll see how often his antics translate to the next level when everyone is at that level.”
  • “Put him on TV for the tourney and he scores four goals. He plays D! Maybe on Big Ten Network he can put up five?”

95 F Tyler Sheehy – Waterloo Black Hawks – Minnesota

  • “Just a stud. Great player, good kid, I think he’s going to play in the NHL. He’s got everything but the size: he’s going to be strong, wherever you put him, he’s going to work hard and put up points. He’s dangerous. When he’s on the ice, you gotta know where he is.”
  • “He has that fire, you know? I think in a lot of ways, the word; it’s undeniable. I see him proving everyone wrong if he doesn’t get drafted. Who is still doubting him?”

96 G Logan Halladay – Janesville Jets – Minnesota

  • “Came a long way. He has confidence in himself and his ability to string more than one game together. I was down in Janesville, first shot it was a five-hole goal with NHL and college guys in the building — weak goal. No way to start the game and it was a big game. Gives up a super soft goal – other team chirps him, really in his face – then shuts them down the rest of the game. So that tells me he’s getting it. Extremely focused. He made leaps in bounds in the NA as a goalie because there’s much less pressure and he excelled in his development. I think the kid has it and he showed he can bounce back. He’s gone by the 5th round, wouldn’t be surprised by 3rd round.
  • “We have not seen the best of him yet..”

Hockey East

95 G Thatcher DemkoBoston College
  • “He’s such a… known commodity. There’s nothing to say that hasn’t been said lately.”
  • “I think he goes first round. Probably the best goalie available – he seems big time. I think he goes late first round and I think he goes to Chicago.”

96 F Sonny Milano – NTDP – Boston College

  • “Very smooth, very finesse. Great skater, loves the puck – his stick is like a magnet. Not many have what he has – it’s a type of confidence. Unpredictable then you add the skating. He’ll come up big because he wants to be out there in that situation and has the ability to convert.”
  • “People take the ‘he played with Eichel’ thing almost as a way to knock him and run with it when you see however many, 80 something, points (86) he got this season, somehow. I see it as not just a positive but a huge positive. He had a quote about how Eichel’s tough to read, the other day, how his body contorts and hides things but once you can read him and play with him it’s great? I don’t think many players can think at that level to keep up with Jack Eichel like he did. Does he create offense? Of course, his brand of it, right? His type, but he doesn’t make his teammates better necessarily. He doesn’t have to. He has intense skill and his head is there that he keeps up with the horses – you might be able to line him up on the wing with a Crosby or a McDavid, Eichel again, and get 30-plus goals or a ton of first assists from him.”

94 D Brandon Montour – Waterloo Black Hawks – UMass

  • “Tremendous hockey sense and athleticism; by the end of the season he was just picking apart defenses and looking off forecheckers. He did play on a loaded team in Waterloo, so I’ll be curious to see how he plays at UMass.”
  • “I don’t see him enough. I know the kids freaking good. Under the radar and in everyones living room now. Good player no doubt about it.”

96 F JJ Piccinich – Youngstown Phantoms – Boston University

  • “Wasn’t on a great team but he brings offense, compete, wins puck battles. I like the kid, I like him for the future. Last year was worse, he got a lot better but I don’t see him being a pro. I think he’ll be a real good college player. We saw what he did in one year, he may start off slow (at BU) but I think he gets it.”
96 F Shane Eiserman – Dubuque Fighting Saints – New Hampshire
  • “I don’t know if he understands what his role will be. He’s got size and he can skate so he’s intriguing. The next level, he’s going to have to really define his game as a simple north-south power forward who has to mix it up. He projects as a ‘for-sure NHL guy’ because he’s going to play in your bottom six, good size, strong, great hands, and he can really skate. He’s almost like one of those safe bets. Pro guys might think they can get him to chip pucks, skate by you and get to the corners. He can skate by you and toedrag it and pick a corner…”

96 D Jake Walman – Toronto Jr. Canadiens – Providence

  • “Like him a lot. Really high ceiling, I think they may be bringing him in early but he’s just so smooth, great footwork. Great skill, great hands. Offensively, he seemed like a distributor at the point. Not sure how the size translates, he’s not really thick but he could fill out. Who knows if these guys will be able to defend in Hockey East but if they’re always attacking…PC is going to be Union 2.0… they’re bringing in the next (Shayne) Gostisbeheres, the (Mat) Bodies…”

96 D Miles Gendron – Rivers – UConn

  • “Phenomenal skater, room to grow into his frame, lacks the decision-making that a defenseman of his caliber should have at this point of his career. Interesting to see how he adjusts in the BCHL.”
  • “With his skating and his build, there is an enormous upside. The offense could really come. I think he could be the best pro prospect out of New England.”
96 F Maxim Letunov – Youngstown Phantoms – Boston University
  • “Tons of skill. Such an exciting talent to watch. He could be a serious talent but he hasn’t filled out. I don’t know, I can’t think of reasons why he wouldn’t. Has to show and prove at BU down the line… three, four years out he could be the real deal.”
96 F Chase Phelps – Shattuck-St. Mary’s Prep – Boston University
  • “I like the player, he’s going to be a nice player, I couldn’t give you a good description because nothing defines him. He does a lot well, but nothing great. For him to be effective, he’s going to have to define his game. What is Chase Phelps.”
  • “For BU right now he is ideal. He brings a lot that will allow him to walk right into the line-up and is versatile in that sense. Who knows where he fits in the line-up: kind of anywhere. An NHL team should like that. Otherwise this is another great free agent coming out of the league in a few seasons.”

96 F Warren Foegele – St. Andrew’s College – New Hampshire

  • “A complete player, he can use his size and strength to power himself into scoring opportunities, he has soft hands and skill in tight around the net, he has scorer’s instincts but is not afraid to distribute the puck. He can play any position on the powerplay and he’s not afraid to block shots, take the body and stays disciplined in his own end. He projects well at the next level with his combination of size, skill and compete level but he will have to improve his first three steps in order to reach his potential. I’d say he’s a 3-5th rounder.”
96 F Dylan Malmquist – Edina – Notre Dame
  • “Natural goalscorer but people have to get him the puck. He’s easy to knock off his game with a couple slashes and a chirp. You want a natural goalscorer — if you build your team around someone like that, your not going to get a ton of back checking, you’ll have some attitude. He can score timely goals, but his body language and attitude are concerns. I think he picks his battles.”
  • “Off the charts hockey sense but he didn’t do a lot with it this season. I don’t know that he gets drafted.”

96 F Spencer Naas – Benilde-St. Margaret’s – UConn

  • “Great skater, good compete. Not sure he’s a pro. Interested to see how he goes right to Connecticut having not played juniors, it’s such a tough jump. I think he’ll be fine because he’s a good skater, he could be a very effective college guy by junior year. There’s going to be way less time and space at the next level. Not high hockey IQ but he has good IQ for how quick he’s moving. He’s a lot of north south too, where a guy like Nanne goes side to side. Not afraid to get his nose in there, I like his compete.”

96 F Bobo Carpenter – Austin Prep – Boston University

  • “I’ve been underwhelmed by him, a lot of people love him, I don’t think he’s got hockey IQ, I don’t think he skates well. The bloodlines are there, his sister’s unbelievable.”
  • “He plays hard. He’s a good player to have on your team because he brings some offense too. I’m not sold on the pro stock. I like him for college.”
96 D Mike Lee – The Gunnery – Vermont
  • “I thought he was so good at times and other times so-so. What is he at the next level? I don’t know and you have to know to pick him, right? His ice isn’t easy ice, I love that, he fights and fights back but you can burn him and he’s not the most dynamic at the offensive blue from what I’ve seen.”
  • “If you are looking for an offensive defenseman in New England Prep hockey, you will be hard pressed to find a better player, but Lee has some holes on the backend. He is a poised, highly skilled offensive defenseman that can stretch the ice with his elite passing ability. A smooth and gifted skater he is able to take a few strides and use both his feet and hands to get out of trouble situations and make crisp breakout passes instead of just whacking the puck up the boards. What I like most about (Lee) is his competitiveness, he will do whatever it takes to win. The problem in his game is he lacks concentration in his own end, tends to run around and at times can make high risk, lower reward decisions with the puck although he gets away with it at the prep level because his passing ability and vision are high end. I see him as a 5-7th rounder.”
  • “He looks so small in his equipment, they list him at 6’0, 186 but I can’t imagine he’s that big. The only thing he brings to the table is his offense, I don’t think he’s great defensively. He’s a less talented Miles Gendron. I think he’s going to be at Penticton with Gendron, so that’s interesting. How they compare will be interesting because he needs to spend more time on the defensive game. He should be a good player in college, though.”
95 F Nolan Vesey – South Shore Kings (USPHL) – Maine
  • “Vesey’s got the mindset of a bottom-six forward. I think that’s a plus, he’s got the grit that you can’t get away with in New England hockey. He’d be your Brad Marchand, except at Maine. I think he had a pretty good year with (SSK HC Scott) Harlow. He’s got enough offensive upside to be a good investment.”

96 F James Winkler – Portland Jr. Pirates (USPHL) – Northeastern

  • “I’ve liked this kid for a while – he had a terrible year. That team was not good. He came in, a lefty shot off the right wing, and fired it way off the kid’s far pad and his winger banked it home. That’s how you score later in life. He just doesn’t have enough grit. Inconsistent shift to shift and even throughout the shift he can glide around. Doesn’t have a mean bone. He’s got the nice heavy shot, but he’s basically passive. He makes good hockey plays but his positioning is lacking so he doesn’t make it easy for himself. Potential power forward in the making. Raw but I think he could do it. I’m pretty sure he’s going to Youngstown next year.”

96 F Ben Freeman – Northfield-Mt. Hermon – UConn

  • “He’s a big kid, almost too big. In five years kids like that are going to look like monsters. He can skate pretty well for a big guy and he can shoot it. He’s got a nice heavy shot. A lot of these guys, he’s going to have to be a mucker at the next level.”

ECAC

96 D Mike Prapavessis – Toronto Lakeshore Patriots – RPI

  • “He’s good too, offensively he’s like Walman but worse hands. He’s more of a presence, heavier, tough to play against. Probably a 3-4 D in college. A ‘thorough player’, lower ceiling than a Walman because he doesn’t have that NHL quality skill. Good footwork.”

96 F Ryan Donato – Dexter School – Harvard

  • “He’s driving offense and the way he takes over the zone is really something to see. He’s a player.”
  • “Looks to dominate every shift, he’ll be a high end scorer at the college level, interested to see how his game translates to the pro game. Going back to a prep school is a waste of time, he did well, but what’s he going to put up, 80 something points?”

95 F Alex Rodriguez – Shattuck-St. Mary’s – RPI

  • “Gets after it. He’s always going and digging out pucks. That always has value. Sometimes his anticipation can be off the charts. Other times he’s going so hard it’s like he’ll crash through the boards and (the anticipation) clearly isn’t quite there.”
  • “Meat and potatoes guy, strong on his skates, limited hockey sense. he’s going to be another guy that’s going to be a “grinder” so to speak, he’s going to have to do the dirty work, which he’s fine with. He’s going to be a compliment guy. He’s good enough to put up points — for him to be effective and his line mates, he needs to do the dirty work. He’s not afraid of it, he’ll get those secondary assists and rebounds. He can shoot it. When the pace picks up, I’m concerned about how he thinks it.”

96 F Evan and Mitchell Smith – Salisbury – Yale

  • “The Smith brothers at every occasion improve their draft stock. They performed very well at the New England Prep Finals in front of many NHL and college scouts and followed that up with a strong showing at the Beantown Classic. They are not the prettiest skaters but they are balanced and much faster then they are given credit for. They also are able to keep their speed as they skate with the puck as most players tend to slow down, even slightly, and the Smith’s maintain their speed with no problem. They have a wide skill set which would allow them to play different roles depending on the team and the situation which makes them attractive and they also play with a very high compete level. They are relentless on the penalty kill, tenacious forecheckers but once they get possession of the puck they have strong and smooth hands, high end passing ability and they both know how to score goals and read the goalies. The biggest question facing an NHL franchise is how good are they apart from one another. While they have all the tools to play at the next level, are you going to spend two draft picks to acquire them both knowing that they are good prospects but far from a sure bet. I could see the Smith twins going as high as the 4th round but will likely be late round considerations and fall between 6-7th round.”
  • “I don’t separate the two, people can say one is better than the other but they need to play together. It’s not the Sedin twins cause that’s not fair but more like the Hanson brothers. They outwork you every shift, IQ is good, excellent compete level, good offensive upside where they can play that bottom six forward role in the NHL. I’m kind of interested to see how they do at Yale with the big ice surface because they’re not great skaters but they do have speed. They have good straight line speed, strong kids, but not sure if they’re strong laterally. More so than any kids we’ve talked about, they know their role, their in-game IQ is great and they play within themselves better than anyone else around. There’s going to be a team that wants both of them, however far they end up making it in the pros, but they seem pretty smart and I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up cracking an NHL line-up at some point. The college route was definitely the right choice, I think.”

96 F Tyler Bird – Kimball-Union – Brown

  • “I think he is a high energy player. Your ideal third liner, enough offensive upside where he can create it when you need him to but has enough grit and enough of a motor where he will wear the other team’s top line down. Understands that role, creates offense with his feet not his hands.”
95 F Max Willman – Williston-Northampton – Brown
  • “He was doing a lot for them (Williston) this year and it only takes one team to like a guy… I could see him going a lot higher than people expect. Athletic guy with tools – could have scouts kicking themselves if he signs out of Brown as a free agent.”
  • “Willman has great speed and creates a lot of offense for his teammates. He appears to understand his skill set and plays to his strengths by taking the puck wide on the defense and not exposing the puck and trying to go through their legs. He values possession and buys time and space with his feet and hockey sense by finding open ice and pockets in the defense. Not sure if he is dynamic enough or strong enough to project well at the NHL level so my guess is that he will be a 6-7th rounder if he is drafted at all.”
  •  “High offensive hockey IQ, sneaky-quick release, understands how to position himself to shoot pucks quickly. Somebody’s going to draft him. I think he could be a middle 6 guy down the road.”
95 F Sam Lafferty – Deerfield – Brown
  •  “Lafferty is a bit of a controversial prospect, some NHL scouts have said that he is the real deal and others say they wouldn’t draft him at all. I can see where both are coming from as Lafferty has a good build, great shot and makes plays. At the Flood-Marr he was hot and cold and scouts were all over the place in their assessment of him; come time for the Beantown Classic and he was solid but not special. People look at what he could be and if that is the perspective then there is a lot to like as he is a smart player with a good frame, competes at both ends and will score goals. However, if you are looking at what he is today then there are a lot better. Considering that you only need one team to like you, he will likely get drafted but it will be late in the draft 6-7th round.”
  • “Good hands, jack of all trades master of none, solid defensively. He’s the kind of guy that if he adds a little bit of grit he’s a perfect bottom six forward. Poised, offensively. Calms the play down off the rush, doesn’t always look to attack whether it’s distributing the puck. He seems to make the right decisions.”
96 F Lewis Zerter-Gossage – Kent – Harvard
  • “Zerter-Gossage is a high risk, high reward player. He is tall, has a great reach, fairly soft mitts and skates very well. He never produced at the prep level and showed that he is not a power forward as he lacks toughness and strength and he is not a goal scorer despite having a quick release. At this point in his career he is just a tall, fast prospect that chips in some offense and makes a few nice plays but for the most part is unnoticeable. I would not draft him if I was an NHL GM but some may be impressed with his size and upside.”
  • “I think the college route is right for him too, I don’t see him as a pro, I don’t think he has enough of any part of his game and he’s not exactly big enough where it’s going to carry him. There’s no explosion but maybe a team will take him a flyer on him. I just don’t see it.”
  • “There’s something there. Don’t think he gets drafted though when you see it you can understand why he’d be in the conversation, there is, yeah, an offensive ceiling to hit, I think. Could be a really good free agent coming out of college. He still has a lot to prove.”

96 F Beau Starrett – South Shore Kings (USPHL) – Cornell

  • “He’s the kind of kid that with his frame is a legitimate pro prospect, if his skating continues to come. He tends to disappear too frequently, he’s inconsistent with flashes of brilliance. I feel like the best way to describe him is unsure of his role at this point, not a first line guy on the power play. Is he a power forward? No. Is he a two way forward? No. And he’s not a high flying forward because he doesn’t have the speed.”

WCHA

94 F CJ Franklin – Sioux Falls Stampede – MSU-Mankato
  • “Very strong, very good offensive instincts, around the net, down low, in the corners, on the boards. Could have better hockey sense. I don’t see him getting drafted. I see him being a sought-after college free agent. Very athletic.”

Uncommitted

95 F Michael Wilson – Fond du Lac HS/Team Wisconsin U18 – Uncommitted

  • “Very intriguing, I think he’s raw, I think there’s something there, I really do, he plays center I could see him working on the wall. I like his size, I like a lot of his game, but he could be a great north-south power forward. I think even as a 95 he has a lot of upside.”

96 F Mason Appleton – Notre Dame Academy/Team Wisconsin U18 – Uncommitted

  • “Love the kid. Skating is going to be a problem with him, he has high hockey sense so you gotta love that. His skating and his quickness may be his downfall. I don’t see him being a pro but he could be a nice college player, maybe not at a high-end school. He might be in that top group of guys with high hockey IQ. It’ll be interesting how he translates to the USHL from Wisconsin High School. Played on a great team at NDA, they bulled through everyone. I thought a year in the NA would really help him. I don’t see him as a pro but you never know.”

96 F Dom Franco – Kimball Union – Uncommitted

  • “You’ve got people that, because of his frame and way he protects the puck and little things he does well, he could develop, he’s just going to be a late-bloomer. I don’t know if I see it that way. He has quick hands in tight situations and the ability to protect the puck. Lacks any kind of explosive speed to create offense with the puck on his stick. He’s a perennial F3.”
  • “He’s coming into his body but probably not in time for a draft pick this year. Maybe as a re-entry he gets a lot of looks this season even with how good the draft is supposed to be. KUA loses a lot up front, that could actually be really big for him. I think he has a chance to prove he can make his teammates better as he adds muscle mass and can do what he wants to do. He has a head for the game. Maybe the physicality comes in as well, he becomes assertive. That would be the ideal situation.”

2015

96 F Jack Eichel – NTDP U18 – Boston University

  • “When he gets that puck, he has that explosiveness – watching Jeff Carter last night; he takes 3 strides, hasn’t broken a sweat and now he’s one stride past you. The only guy who skates close to that was Chris Kreider. He’s got all the offensive tools.”

97 F Colin White – NTDP U17 – Boston College

  • “He was my favorite kid come out of Nobles since 8th grade. All the tools to play in the NHL. the size, the grit, the IQ, the offensive awareness, the compete level. A lot of people have him in the top 5 already, people might look back and “redraft” next year maybe down the line. I think he’s going to be kind of like Claude Giroux or Sean Couturier. I think he’ll be better than David Backes. He plays that power forward role but as a more slender kid.”
  • “I saw him at Young Guns a few years back when he was with the Shamrocks, him and Hanifin were tearing it up. He dominated. Hanifin was always ‘the guy’ but White is really ridiculous.”
  • “This is such a deep top-end if this kid isn’t being talked about as top-five by everyone. So good.”

96 F AJ Greer – Kimball Union – Boston University

  • “Maybe Milan Lucic in the making. A true power forward, if he was playing major junior I think everyone would know about him by now. He has the big body, hard on the puck as anybody. Honestly, if all these kids start going there (to BU), if they keep getting these studs in at a young age like him, college hockey is going to get a lot better. He’s probably going to play with Eichel if he’s there, I might put him in there. He was my favorite of that trio at KUA. He was the best kid in Beantown that summer and he was the youngest kid.”

97 D Zach Werenski – NTDP U17 – Uncommitted

  • “Sound as a defenseman, you can trust him with the puck, trust him to contain, trust him to play hard but smart, right? He uses a little bit of everything he has, I think. He’s not like Chad Krys where his feet carry him up ice and his head, hands are on that next level. He’s not like Hanifin where he’s some total phenom that can press the game, take over the sheet. He’s deliberate and doesn’t put himself in situations to fail. He doesn’t pick his battles, he just battles smart. His natural abilities, what he’s worked on, continuing to improve, I think the debate is what part of what he does is going to persist to the pro level, but his being well-rounded I don’t think makes him undefined like some toolsy kids that can’t figure out where they put their skills in the toolbox and when to pull them out, you know? He knows what he can do and plays to it: situational awareness. I think 1st round.”

97 D Noah Hanifin – NTDP U17 – Boston College

  • “Very advanced, is the way to say it, I think. Almost every part of his game is elite or near-elite. Who doesn’t like him?”

97 F Tommy Novak – St. Thomas Academy – Minnesota

  • “So much poise. People talk about a lot of things he can do – I think his poise is next-level. It takes his whole game up his ability to be so poised with his gifts.”
  • “The pace is going to change what he is able to do. Good player – no doubt – but it will be interesting. Is he going to help his team win?”

96 F Kyle Connor – NTDP U18/Youngstown Phantoms – Michigan

  • “He’s supposed to be something special too, he’s not done with his growing but he really came on this year.”

97 D Billy Sweezey – Nobles – Yale

  • “I don’t think he’d bring any offense as a pro but he could be a serious shut-down guy. He has the build and he’s tough to play against, doesn’t give up much.”
  • “Rocket of a shot. He scored one of the best goals of the season where he did kind of a switch and his shot is just a pro shot, I saw him break a water bottle this year with it. He could be a threat on someone’s power play in the college game down the road.”

97 D Ryan Zuhlsdorf – Edina – Minnesota

  • “He’s got a frame, not a massive bruiser type of guy but not small at all, and he can skate. He can skate and he can make plays, and he defends with results right now. He wins his battles. He’s still in high school. Let’s see if he takes it up a notch this year. He was excellent at state. Whether he’s in the mix, that’s TBD – I think.”
  • “Very impressive but his team was good, too. Even then, he jumped into the Elite League and was right at home. He can play. This draft year is obviously big, he was in bantam last season, as an older guy, so maybe he hasn’t even touched his potential. Maybe he’s right there now.”

97 D Cam Lee – Northwood – Providence

  • “Plays with a lot of confidence, not many D have that swagger and he is… proactive… on pucks. He loves to have it, that’s for sure. I have trouble projecting him for the pro level right now but he has good pace, this could be a Gostisbehere in the making for (PC Head Coach Nate) Leaman.”
  • “I only saw Lee play two times but in both games he was a defensive liability. He is very offensive minded, likes to rush the puck whenever he gets a chance, has smooth hands and quick feet. He lacks size and strength on the blue line and while he is athletic keeping the puck in the zone and agile along the blue line, he lacks a real physical presence in the tough ice. In front of the net he is limited both in his size but also in his toughness. If he is not the first person to the puck in the corner then he will rarely come out with it. His biggest flaw is his play away from the puck, as he has a tendency to watch the puck carrier and not pick up sticks or bodies in front of the net. On the plus side he is a great skater, highly athletic offensive defenseman that can run the powerplay and create plays in the offensive zone. As an NHL draft prospect his upside is limited.”

97 D Kris Mylarri – Kanata Stallions – Penn State

  • “Big, skates well, could have a pro body when all is said and done. Not an offensive guy at the pro level, but he has the other tools. He moves the puck well, he could be an adequate guy at the point in college, but he’s not particularly dynamic.”

97 D Zach Osburn – Victory Honda U18 – Michigan State

  • “He already looks like he’s going to be a money college defenseman. He might be a pro guy, too. This year in junior will be huge for determining those expectations.”

97 F David Cotton – Cushing Academy – Boston College

  • “Has the makings to be a serious NHL prospect. He has the frame, the skill, the vision and poise to be an everyday NHLer. He put up serious numbers at Cushing this past year as a sophomore and committed to BC. He has a great passing ability, a hard and accurate shot that he gets off in stride, he moves very well for his size with his long powerful stride. He has soft hands and mature puck protection skills that give him a few more moments to find the open guy or take the shot. He will need to improve his quickness and lateral mobility but he is a raw prospect with tremendous upside that could be a 1-3 rounder. It will be interesting to see if he stays as a hybrid player like a Foegele or if he adds strength in the offseason and develops into a power forward.”
  • “Size and frame, protects the puck well, has a lot of creativity with the puck on his stick, very similar player to Cam Askew in that draft class.”

97 F Bailey Conger – Cushing Academy – St. Lawrence

  • “One of the best sophomores in prep school hockey this past year, Conger has exceptional hands and hockey sense. He reads the play, has poise carrying the puck and is able to slow the game down. His skating is still a work in progress, but at 6 ft he has good size and will need to fill into his frame. Soft and quick hands, balanced skater that will need to add quickness and an explosive first step but in regards to hockey sense and ability to break down the defense, he is elite for such a young prospect. At this point it is hard to project because he is so raw, but he has potential to be a 3-5th rounder in 2015.”
  • “Seems like he gets better every time I see him. It is unreal. He could just be scratching the surface of what he is.”

2016

98 F Joey Anderson – Hill-Murray – Minnesota-Duluth
  • “He’s good. Very good. Can be gritty too, which I think is an important thing moving forward because he can still be effective if he isn’t scoring.”
  • “The kid is for real. His brother is legit too. They play different positions but they do have similar upsides. Neither of them fool around when they’re out there.”
98 D Chad Krys – NJ Rockets U19 – Uncommitted
  • “Scott Niedermayer. Controls the game in all three zones. He’s probably the best skater in the next 3 draft classes, that I’ve seen.”
98 F Mitchell Mattson – Grand Rapids – North Dakota
  • “He wants it. He’s playing with some jam and has the hips. He’s going to be something special.”
  • “He’s only really coming into what he’s going to be now with his body and it looks like it could be unbelievable. He will be one to watch for sure in a couple years.”
98 F Michael O’Leary – Salisbury – Cornell
  • “It is hard to project him because of his limited playing time at Salisbury this past season as a 4th liner, but his skill set and upside are vast. He has size, fluid skater, soft hands and a hard shot. He is not afraid to mix it up in the corners and throw his weight around but he also has great touch in front of the net and along the wall. As the draft is two years away for him, if he continues to develop and improve his game, he could be a 1-2 round pick. He was drafted in the first round of the Q despite committing to Cornell so that should tell you a lot there. His game will translate very well at the next level because he is a strong, puck possession player that protects the puck and makes quick, smart decisions.”
  • “Everyone had no idea about him at the Gatorade Challenge, like “if he’s good why did he only have x points”… he’s a 98 playing with a lot older guys. When he came up there, he dominated against his peers. The only thing he needs to work on is his skating. His shooting and passing are equally good – he makes the right play. I think he ends up in the Q, that’s my gut instinct.”
98 F Clayton Keller – Shattuck-St. Mary’s Prep – Boston University
  • “He has so much hype and he deserves all of it. Name one American forward his age on that level. I don’t think anyone is.”
  • “Very offensively gifted, pushing the pace when appropriate and thinks the game extremely well. Fun to watch. He’s going to be a good one.”

97 F Auston Matthews – NTDP U18 – Uncommitted

  • “He’s going to bring a power game as a pro, but he’ll makes some looks too. He’s good. Great speed and doesn’t take anything from anyone, works 200 feet. Really good this year. He’s got that gap year as a late birthday between the National Team and the draft, with a player like him, already on the U18 team and from Arizona, that makes me think he’s going to go to the WHL for that season. Otherwise I think he’s a one-and-done.”

97 D Charlie McAvoy – NTDP U17 – Boston University

  • “This is looking like a good draft for defensemen. I still think he ends up at the top. Late 1997, very very offensively gifted. He’s really coming along. Him and Chad (Krys), both Rockets, both NTDP, could end up being two of the best offensive guys available on the back in two years time. Good passer – that whole group with (Jeremy) Bracco, too, those guys, there is a ton of skill there.”

98 D Ryan Lindgren – Shattuck-St. Mary’s Prep – Minnesota

  • “Seems like people cooled off but if they have I don’t see anything on the ice that explains why. There have been a lot of kids in that age group taking it up a notch in Minnesota especially so maybe that’s a reason. People know him and expect things. He was very good as a young gun for Shattuck. Merciless!”
  • “Very tough, plays hard for a guy who can fire it like he can. I wonder if he will open up his game more with the national program.”
  • “Curious observation; will he ever really provide an offensive element?”
98 F Riley Tufte – Blaine High School – Minnesota-Duluth
  • “All about consistency for the big guy; at times the best player on the ice against older kids, and then not even the 5th best amongst his own age group. If he gets a mean streak, watch out.”
98 D Griffin Luce – Salisbury – Michigan
  • “Luce is arguably the best ’98 defenseman in the country. He has great size at 6’3, 200 and plays with an edge, throwing his body around in the corners and in-front of the net in his own end and is a presence on the offensive blueline. Luce moves very well for his size and age and handles the puck effortlessly with hard, crisp, tape to tape passes up ice. He can run the powerplay and with his reach and hockey IQ is an ideal penalty killer as his head is always on swivel and getting his stick out to take away passing lanes. He has decided to play for the U17 National Team and committed to Michigan instead of going to the OHL. Will likely be a 1st round selection if he continues to improve.”
  • “There’s a lot of things I like about his game, other than his inconsistency but he’s only 15, right? He’s 6’2, 215 at 15. Skates well and makes intricate plays at the offensive blue line. He’ll hold it, move off the boards, get it up there, he gives himself an extra couple feet, suspends the zone… makes a lot of good plays there which is a rare thing for a guy that looks like a stay at home defensive D. With a parent in the game, like him, there’s a reason he’s going the route he’s going.”

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