Hudson Fasching first burst onto the hockey scene as a high school freshman when he helped lead Apple Valley High School(Minnesota) to the Minnesota State High School hockey tournament, and scored a goal in front of a sold-out crowd at the XCel Energy Center to help Apple Valley upset current Florida Panther Nick Bjugstad's Blaine team.
Two years later, Fasching chose to take the next step in his hockey career by moving to Ann Arbor to play for the US National Team Development Program, despite some compelling reasons to stay at home.(Seriously, if you haven't read that story on Fasching's background, it is absolutely a must-read.)
Fasching is a big forward, measuring in at 6'2.5" 209 lbs. at the NHL Combine, though he's more of a skill player than a bruising power forward. With his size and skill set, he's the type of player that just oozes potential, and at times, he looked destined to take off and become a dominating force. To start the year, he was in the mix to be selected as high as the first round of the draft. But in his draft year, as the pendulum of what scouts look for started to swing from pure potential to actual production, Fasching began to fade in draft rankings. Fasching finished the year with just 11 goals and 36 points, which only put him 9th among NTDP regulars in points-per-game.
Part of the issue is that Fasching will have to work to improve his skating. He moves laterally incredibly well for a player of his size, but has what scouts like to call "heavy feet" when he skates, which limits his overall speed. He was an excellent athlete growing up, excelling at soccer almost as much as hockey, so with that type of athleticism, it may just be an issue of hammering out his skating mechanics. He'll also need to become more aggressive and use his big frame more effectively to score more dirty goals, rather than just relying on puckhandling and perimeter play. He'll head to the University of Minnesota next season, where he will have time to work on becoming a more complete player.
Still, Fasching won't turn 18 for another month, making him one of the younger players in the draft and just because he's a player that has been followed and scrutinized quite a bit from a young age, doesn't mean he can't continue to develop as he matures. It also helps that there are zero questions about Fasching's work ethic or character. The numbers may not quite be there yet, but the NHL Draft is still all about future potential and Fasching has that in spades. His upside is as high as a first line power forward in the NHL, though the relative likelihood of him reaching that potential probably knocks him down a few rounds at the draft. Look for Fasching to be selected starting in the third round, with it being pretty unlikely he is still available by the end of the fourth round.