Blake Weyrick's stock fell during his draft season, but there is still plenty of upside that should intrigue potential suitors in the 2014 NHL Draft. The US National Team Development Program product saw his position plummet from three to 15 in the NHL Central Scouting Rankings from the mid-term to final.
The Ojai, Calif. native was a Brown University recruit until he de-committed earlier this year due to an inability to get a desired financial aid package from the Ivy League school, according to Mark Divver of the Providence Journal.
With his NCAA future in limbo, Weyrick will likely spend the 2014-15 season in the USHL before settling on a collegiate destination for the fall of 2015. The Tri-City Storm selected the big goaltender in the 10th round of last month's USHL Phase II Draft.
Before heading to Ann Arbor and the USNTDP Weyrick played his bantam and midget year with Shattuck St. Mary's in Faribault, Minn. His statistics have not stood out since his bantam year in the 2010-11 season, but he has untapped potential that could mean for a big payoff if a team takes him lower than he might have originally been projected.
Weyrick, an early '96, covers a lot of the net with his six-foot-three and 203-pound frame, but he also possesses good athleticism and solid fundamentals. He is the type of goaltender that has not yet developed into what many scouts feel is his true potential.
When this observer saw Weyrick at the 2013 CCM/All-American Prospects Game in Pittsburgh, he came away impressed. Weyrick moves well from post-to-post and was positionally sound. Some of his mechanics could use some fine-tuning, but overall he had good lateral movement in the crease and took away angles from shooters.
Despite his slip in the rankings, he was still invited to last month's NHL Draft Combine in Toronto where he performed well. It is also important to recognize when analyzing Weyrick's statistics that the competition that he was facing with the USNTDP was significantly better, and in some cases older, than many of his fellow draft hopefuls. Some teams have reportedly shown significant interest and view Weyrick in higher regard than NHL Central Scouting.
Weyrick will likely go somewhere in the later rounds to a team that sees him as a worthy project who could finally become the goaltender some have always suspected he could be.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSports.