Name: Jeff Costello
Team: Cedar Rapids Roughriders(USHL)
Height: 5' 11 1/2"
Weight: 190 lbs.
2008-2009 stats: 54 games, 24 goals, 9 assists, 33 points
Jeff Costello is one of the best prospects to come out of the Wisconsin high school ranks in a number of years. He showed tremendous talent and potential at Waukesha's Catholic Memorial High School, playing three years for their varsity program. As a junior, he also starred on Team Wisconsin's top line with Seth Soley and Colorado draft pick Nate Condon. He was one of the top goal scorers in Wisconsin and earned a scholarship offer to play for the University of Notre Dame.
But what really improved Costello's draft stock was his decision to play in the USHL as a senior. It's not unheard of for Wisconsin HS players to be drafted in the NHL draft, but it's usually fairly late in the draft due to the high risk of selecting a player that plays weaker competition(Nate Condon-7th round 2008, Brent Gwidt-6th round 2006). But Costello showed he can excel against even the best competition in the USHL with a very successful year. He finished the year tied for 17th in goal scoring in the league with 24 goals--that may not sound impressive, but the only players younger than Costello with more goals were potential first round pick Louis Leblanc, and Stanislav Galiev, who could be a first round pick next year. Costello also developed a reputation as a fan favorite with his very physical style of play.
Costello has Type 1 Diabetes, which forces him to keep constant watch over his health, but he does a great job at managing it, and it has never been an issue for his hockey career.
Strengths: Goal-scoring ability, physical play
Needs to Improve: Picking up assists, skating, defensive play
Links of Interest:
Nothing Keeps Him Off the Ice- Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel January 2007
Setting the Goal Standard-Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel March 2008
Rider Deals with Diabetes- The Gazette October 2008
McKeen's Q and A- February 2009
Weary Costello Enjoys NHL Combine- Sports.Iowa.com May 2009
November 5, 2007: "Most of the attention throughout the fall focused on his Team Wisconsin teammates Seth Soley and Nate Condon, who both committed to schools over the Elite League season, but Costello was almost as good as his teammates. But unlike Soley and Condon, Costello is only an 11th grader. There weren’t many inspiring Elite League performances from ’91 and ’92 birthdates in the Elite League this year, which could make Costello’s services highly-sought after by WCHA schools for 2009 or 2010."
November 5, 2007: "
By far the best team of the tournament. They dominated everyone. Not only were they a talented team, but they moved the puck with remarkable ability for a team playing their first games together. They were able to keep a little continuity with the Wisconsin line of Seth Soley, Nate Condon, and Jeff Costello. All three players were fantastic."
Costello is flying under the radar of a lot of people, but has all the makings of a fantastic pick. He's a bit of a tweener in that he likes to play a power forward style of game, but at his size, it may be tough to play that style at the NHL level. Then again, he's roughly the same size, and plays a somewhat similar style to the St. Louis Blues' T.J. Oshie, albeit a poor man's Oshie. He'll play another year in the USHL and then head to Notre Dame where head coach Jeff Jackson will help him develop that physical edge that he loves to play with. Costello told a local Iowa newspaper that he's head he'll be selected anywhere between the 3rd and 5th round, which sounds about accurate.