When your father is a former Heisman Trophy finalist, it takes a lot for a sporting accomplishment to really be considered monumental, but Saturday could be that day for Kimball Union Academy's Joey Dudek. The Boston College recruit is likely to hear his name called in the 2014 NHL Draft in either the fourth or fifth rounds.
Dudek moved up almost 50 spots from the mid-term to final rankings, being pegged 109th by Central Scouting, something that his prep school coach says is very well-deserved.
"I'm really proud of Joey's progression this season. He improved his defensive play and also is really good on face-offs now," said KUA head coach Tim Whitehead.
As important as it was for Dudek to improve his play in the defensive zone and become better on face-offs, that won't be the first thing that comes up when a scout talks about his game.
Dudek, who transferred to KUA from Pinkerton Academy, is a very gifted offensive player who does many things well in the scoring areas.
"Joey has elite-level skill and skating. He's poised, sees the ice well and makes smart decisions with the puck," said Whitehead.
Dudek, who battled through injuries, was the captain for Kimball Union's run to the New England Small School Prep Championship.
"He was our captain. He was an integral part of our team. He's the most dynamic center in New England. He really has an impact on the game," said Whitehead, who compared Dudek to Spencer Abbott, his former Hobey Baker Hat Trick finalist at Maine who now plays in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization.
Another similarity to Abbott was seen when Whitehead moved Dudek to the point on the power play. "It was his first time back there. He adjusted immediately and was very good for us on the power play," said Whitehead.
Dudek isn't the type of player who is noticeably physical, but he uses his strength to protect the puck and win battles along the boards.
"He's deceptively strong. He's a big, smooth kid who will fill out," Whitehead explained.
Dudek will have an opportunity to continue getting stronger and working on his game for Jerry York, one of the best coaches in the history of the college game. And this March's championship likely won't be his last.
Central Scouting Final Ranking: 109
Hometown: Derry, NH
2013-14 Team: Kimball Union Academy (New England Prep)
2014-15 Team: Boston College (NCAA)
Strengths: Dynamic offensive player, elite-level skill, poised, sees ice well
Weakness: needs to fill out and continue working on defensive game, but both improved this season
Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSports.