Name: Caleb Herbert
Weight: 175 lbs.
09-10 team: Bloomington Jefferson(Minnesota) High School
09-10 stats: 25 games, 26 goals, 29 assists, 55 points
Caleb Herbert was a little late to the NHL Draft radar after missing most of his sophomore season of high school hockey with a broken leg. But that summer, he returned to the ice and was extremely impressive at USA Hockey's Select 17, earning an invite to the US Select team that traveled to the Ivan Hlinka tournament.
The following winter, he returned to Bloomington Jefferson and helped return the Jaguars to prominence, by going undefeated until losing to powerhouse Edina in the section final. In his senior year, he was the leading scorer in the fall Elite League, and was a finalist for Minnesota's Mr. Hockey award.
Herbert is a very gifted offensive player. He's got an excellent burst of speed, and great instincts in the offensive zone. He'll likely play a year in the USHL next season, where he'll refine his offensive skill against older, tougher competition, before heading to the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2011.
Strengths: Offensive instincts, goal-scoring ability
Needs to Improve: Size, discipline with penalties, defensive play
Links of Interest:
Five Standouts Signs with Bulldogs-University of Minnesota-Duluth-November 2009
Herbert Proves Why He's Top Gun-Minnesota Hockey Hub-November 2009
ISS Rising Prospects-International Scouting Services-December 2009
July 17, 2008: "Caleb Herbert-Very speedy and scored a couple of goals on the week."
December 2, 2008: Herbert Commits to Duluth.
November 2, 2009: "Caleb Herbert-He had a great Elite League season and was the best player on the best team. It's tough to tell where he fits in because he's not very big, at only 5'10", but he's definitely more of a goalscorer than a crafty playmaker. It's easy to see why he scores so many goals though. He's always moving and getting to the right position in the offensive zone, and when he gets the puck, he has a lightning quick release on his shot. He doesn't need much time or space to get off a pretty good shot. He also did basically whatever he wanted to on face-offs. I could see the lack of size scaring a lot of teams away, but he's probably worth taking a chance on at some point."
November 17, 2009:"Bloomington Jefferson returns a lot of key players from an excellent squad last season, and should once again be among the top handful of teams in the state. Caleb Herbert may not be the most prized NHL prospect in the state, but he should score a ton of goals and be a leader on a top-notch team, which is sure to draw him a lot of attention for Mr. Hockey. Herbert's best assets are his offensive instincts and lightning quick release on his shot. He led the Upper Midwest Elite League in scoring this fall, and finish among the top scorers in the state during the high school season could give him a shot at winning the award."
January 11, 2010: "100. Caleb Herbert-Bloomington Jefferson(Minnesota-Duluth)-Maybe a little bit high, given the risk involved with a smaller player that hasn't seen much top-notch competition, but Herbert should be worth taking a late round pick on."
February 12, 2010: "Herbert had a hand in Jefferson's first two goals of the game. On the first, he made a great pass to the front of the net and a teammate tipped it in for an easy goal, and on the second, he finished off a 2-on-0 with a nice little redirection. I'm not really sure of where Herbert fits in in regards to the NHL Draft. There were a couple NHL scouts in attendance tonight--though I think most were at Tonka-Edina. Central Scouting had him at 100 in their mid-terms, which initially seemed too high to me, but going down the list of guys behind him, I can't see many forwards I would rate above him."
Herbert definitely seems like a boom-or-bust type of prospect, whose future will depend on his ability to keep scoring lots of goals, something that may be tougher as he faces better, and perhaps more importantly at his size, bigger, more physical competition. But there is certainly enough talent there to justify using a mid-to-late round draft pick on him.
He'll get a year in the USHL, and four years at Minnesota-Duluth which should help him develop into a more well-rounded, complete player. If he adds that dimension to his game, along with speed and ability to contribute offensively, he could develop into a solid second or third line forward for some NHL team.