NHL teams looking for a player who will make a splash and change the pace of a game need to look no further than Dubuque Fighting Saints forward Shane Eiserman. The Newburyport, Mass. native is a seasoned player with international and junior experience that NHL teams will covet in the second round.
"He can change the game single-handedly, said Dubuque head coach Matt Shaw. "He was a vital player for us. Numerous times he made a play or two with or without the puck to change the momentum of the game. His physicalness can back other teams off."
Eiserman, who tested better than anyone else in the strength categories at the NHL Combine, is a strong, physical power forward.
"He's got assets you can't teach. He's got size, he's physical. He plays a pure power game. He is a big man with a powerful stride. Coaches love that because that's stuff you can't teach," said Shaw.
Eiserman projects as a second or third liner at the professional level, a player that will bring grit and energy each shift and chip in offensively from time to time. He has a good shot and crashes the net well, but he doesn't have the high-end skill of some of the other players in the top half of the draft.
Eiserman has been all over the map when it comes to his hockey resume the past few years. He played at Cushing Academy then headed out to Ann Arbor to join the US National Team Development Program before skating for Dubuque this past winter.
Playing time in Dubuque didn't come easy for Eiserman, who was pegged 38th by Central Scouting at the mid-term before finishing 45th in the final rankings.
"He started the season on our fourth line. He needed to learn the game," said Shaw, the first-year coach who guided Dubuque back to the playoffs a year after the organization won the USHL Clark Cup. "He ended up on our top two lines and getting time on our power play. He was doing things we needed him to do consistently and his playing time reflected that."
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Next up for Eiserman is a stop in Durham where he will join Dick Umile's University of New Hampshire Wildcats come September. UNH is a perennially strong program where Eiserman should be eased into the rigors of college hockey, but he'll have plenty of opportunity to play right away.
"I want to get to UNH and help them win a national championship," Eiserman told SBNation at the CCM/All-American Prospects game in September. "It's a great program. I can't wait to get up there."
Eiserman, likely to go in the second round of the draft, might remind some UNH fans of Wildcat alum Eddie Caron, a former second round pick of the Edmonton Oilers.
The future is bright for Eiserman, who has the type of game that NHL teams love. He also is a diligent worker with a passion for the game.
"The sky is the limit. He wants to learn and get better," said Shaw.
Central Scouting Final Ranking: 45
Hometown: Newburyport, Mass.
2013-14 Team: Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
2014-15 Team: New Hampshire (NCAA)
Strengths: Strong, physical power forward uses body and can change the pace of a game, clutch player
Weaknesses: Doesn't have elite hands or offensive skills comparable to other forwards in top 50
Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSports.