Making the jump from high school hockey in Massachusetts to prep school at Kimball Union wasn't difficult for Brown recruit Tyler Bird. In fact, it helped the former St. John's Prep standout become an even better hockey player and ensure lots of interest from NHL scouts.
"Tyler took a huge step this year. He became one of the top players in New England. He really rounded out his game this season. There was lots of interest from NHL scouts," said Kimball Union head coach Tim Whitehead, the former Maine bench boss.
Bird might not have the elite offensive tools that some of the other players in the draft have, but his ability to make the most of what he has and use his physicality and strength to make things happen is what has NHL scouts so interested.
"He drives the net hard. He's a hard-nosed player who is tough in the corners," said Whitehead.
Bird was a key factor in Kimball Union capturing the New England Prep Small School Championship this past winter. "He was an integral part of our team. He was the most consistent player we had. He scored big goals. He had a lot of game-tying or game-winning goals," Whitehead explained.
Bird also developed his game in the defensive zone this season. "He is really solid all around. He's a good shot blocker and can be physical," said Whitehead.
Bird scored 33 goals and added 27 assists this winter at KUA. He scored in a lot of different ways, but most importantly, he was consistent and brought intensity each and every shift. He'll likely hear his name called late in the fifth or sixth round on Saturday.
Central Scouting Final Ranking: 117
Hometown: Andover, Mass.
2013-14 Team: Kimball Union Academy (New England Prep)
2014-15 Team: Brown (NCAA)
Strengths: Physical, hard-nosed player who finds ways to scores in clutch situations
Weakness: lacks high-end skill, can he just use strength and power to score at next level?
Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSports.