This week was the Minnesota Advanced 15 Festival, which is the last round of tryouts before kids are selected to the National USA Select 15 Festival later this summer in Rochester, New York.
It's a good chance to get a first look at the talent around the state, and a couple trends seem to be emerging. On defense, there was a very solid group of anywhere from 8-10 defensemen that I thought were very good, and could be selected to go to Rochester, though none stood out as really high-end type prospects. The forwards on the other hand, had a couple very high-end prospects, but not nearly as much depth. The last couple forward spots are likely going to be some tough decisions among a wide pool of more 'B' level prospects. It's tough to judge goalies based on one 25-minute half of hockey, so I won't say too much there.
Obviously standard disclaimers apply that it's early and all of these players have a very long ways to go. But history suggests that we'll likely be talking about a good deal of these kids for the next couple of years, so we may as well start now. My comments are after the jump.
Hudson Fasching-Apple Valley-So patient with the puck. He uses his hands and his body really well to protect the puck, and always ends up making a smart play.
Taylor Cammarata-Shattuck-St. Mary's-I've gone back and forth on him quite a bit. Not his best day here, which still meant two assists, and a number of great scoring chances, but he was neutralized a little more than I've seen in the past. He's still got great instincts, vision, and understanding of the offensive game, but he really has to improve his shooting and using his teammates more effectively rather than trying to stickhandle through everyone.
Ryan Lundgren-Duluth East Bantam-My first time seeing him and I was really impressed.
Luke Voltin-Hill-Murray-Huge kid for his age, which helped him control play. Some decent skills to go along with his size.
Aaron Rouse-Buffalo-Good size and a very strong skater.
Connor Thie-Hopkins-Very fast and played a very aggressive game.
Conner Valesano-Duluth East Bantam-Kept making things happen on the ice and sparked a third period comeback for his team.
Austin Hill-Prior Lake Bantam-Had a very nice game
Daniel Labosky-Benilde-Very good when he gets time and space to work, but his lack of size can cause him to struggle in tight areas.
Zach Hartley-Holy Angels-Kind of a quiet day, but he's got a lot of skill
Thomas Vanelli-Holy Family-Very smooth and made a good decision every time he touched the puck.
Dylan Adler-Anoka-Solid all-around defenseman.
Jordan Gross-Maple Grove Bantam-Very poised, smart player
Michael Brodzinski-Very good skater. Tried to do a little too much, though the rest of his team struggled most of the day.
Willie Raskob-Shattuck-Didn't stand out as much as I've seen from him in the past, but very talented.
Austin Swingle-St. Cloud Cathedral-Lanky D with good potential. Did a nice job being aggressive and jumping into the play.
Tanner Okeson-Roseau bantam-Played well. Looks like he has good potential
Jack Pietruszewski-South St. Paul-Big defenseman with decent skill