The 2017 USHL Fall Classic 16U Youth Tournament featured many of the top midget minor teams from around the United States.
Team Wisconsin won the tournament with a 5-2 win over Dallas Stars Elite in the championship game. That followed a victory over Little Caesars in the semifinals. It was evident throughout the tournament that Team Wisconsin was just a step above all the other teams. Defensemen Casey Roepke and Daniel Latsch, both committed to Wisconsin, led the way, but the team was deep and full of talent.
USHL Fall Classic 16U Tournament: Top Uncommitted Prospects
1. Joshua Groll
#52 Anaheim Jr. Ducks, 8/9/01, Shoots Left, 5-9/155
Groll was the best forward here. He has good speed, but he plays a smart and complete game. He has a sneaky release and is able to get a lot of shots off by being around and possessing the puck a lot. His puck support is strong and he makes plays.
Groll was selected by the Omaha Lancers in the 14th round of the 2017 USHL Phase II Draft. Several big programs are showing significant interest.
2. Kristof Papp
#21 Honeybaked, 6/27/01, Shoots Left, 5-10/161
Papp, property of the Madison Capitols via the 2017 USHL Phase I Draft, committed to Michigan State immediately following the tournament. That should be an indication of just how good he was here. Originally from Hungary, he’s made huge strides in his game since playing for Jason Deskins’ Honeybaked 16U team. He’s added a step and is able to protect pucks. Papp has improved his shot and playmaking ability. He scored a really nice shorthanded goal here.
3. Ryan Robinson
#97 Dallas Stars Elite, 10/9/01, Shoots Left, 6-0/161
Robinson has improved since March’s NTDP Evaluation Camp. He’s hard to knock off pucks and scored a goal from a bad angle with a great shot on an odd man rush.
4. Barrett Brooks
#49 Team Wisconsin, ’01, Shoots Right, 5-9/150
Brooks is an emerging talent out of Wisconsin, and he’s starting to get quite a few looks from college programs. He’s fast and isn’t afraid to crash the net. He scored a few goals from right in close and thinks the game well.
5. Chase Yoder
#8 Dallas Stars Elite, 5/28/02, Shoots Left, 5-10/161
Yoder had a shoulder injury that forced him to miss some time at this tournament, but when he was on the ice, he really showed off his elite speed. His first step allows him to get out of the blocks quickly, and he has a quick release once he gets space. His speed is constantly a factor.
6. Hunter Strand
#10 Alaska Oilers, 11/13/02, Shoots Left, 5-11/165
Strand keeps his feet moving and is extremely fast. A Prince George draft pick in the WHL Bantam Draft, he has a very good offensive skill set and can finish. The Anchorage, Ala. native was clearly the best player on the Oilers team.
7. Cross Hanas
#71 Dallas Stars Elite, 1/5/02, Shoots Left, 5-10/145
Hanas has good hands and keeps pucks moving. He doesn’t have the flashiness of his teammate, Yoder, but he makes plays and plays a complete game.
8. Brendon Brisson
#16 Shattuck-St. Mary’s, 10/22/01, Shoots Left, 5-10/150
Brisson was the clear standout on a weak Shattuck-St. Mary’s squad. He’s a good skater and plays smart. He likely projects as a third line center, a player who can chip in offensively from time to time, but most importantly, one that can be counted on to be responsible in all three zones.
9. Skylar Gutierrez
#19 Alaska Oilers, 4/23/01, Shoots Right, 6-1/177
Gutierrez has good size and can drive the net with pace. He doesn’t have the best hockey sense, but he’s a player to keep an eye on moving forward. The Anchorage, Ala. native is property of Madison Capitols (USHL) and Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL).
10. Jackson Nieuwendyk
#25 Dallas Stars Elite, 9/4/02, Shoots Left, 5-8/150
Nieuwendyk appears to be somewhat of a late bloomer. He’s the son of former NHL great and Cornell alum Joe Nieuwendyk. He has good size and skates well enough. He’s a player who could get up and down the sheet on the left wing. Don’t be surprised to see him commit to the Big Red in the near future.
11. Joseph Doyle
#10 Chicago Mission, 4/22/02, Shoots Right, 6-0/160
Doyle has a decent size and a slightly above average offensive skill set. He drives the net, reads plays and can use his rugged frame to leverage pucks.
12. Jackson Kocur
#32 Honeybaked, ’02, Shoots Left, 6-2/150
Kocur wasn’t at his best here, but there’s still a lot to like about his size and physical tools once he fills out his frame and becomes a more explosive skater.
13. Carter Primo Self
#17 Fox Motors, 11/27/01, Shoots Right, 5-8/146
Self is small and his skating lacks explosiveness, but he’s quick enough and can make plays. He jumps on pucks quickly and recovers them in both ends. He scored a nice goal off a face-off win. He’s crafty and thinks the game well offensively. He just scores at every viewing.
14. Cade Lemmer
#45 Team Wisconsin, 1/18/02, Shoots Left, 5-9/170
Lemmer possesses good speed and an accurate shot, but he doesn’t think the game well enough yet to be consistently a factor. His hands and agility are both good in tight spaces.
15. Parker Lindauer
#44 Team Wisconsin, 5/17/01, Shoots Left, 5-9/150
Lindauer has good speed, scored a goal by driving the far post on an odd man rush and recovered a lot of pucks to start or keep possession.
16. Zach Urdahl
#46 Team Wisconsin, ’01, Shoots Left, 5-11/160
Urdahl has just average size, but has some explosiveness to his game. He’s poised and has good vision with the puck on his stick. He makes smart, not flashy, plays to facilitate scoring chances.
1. Ryan Johnson
#6 Anaheim Jr. Ducks, 7/24/01, Shoots Left, 5-8/140
Johnson didn’t play in the first game I watched, but was back and made a big impact in the next game. He has extremely good feet for side-stepping oncoming forecheckers and for walking the blue line. He retrieves pucks and has a good shot from the point. He was the top uncommitted defenseman here, but his poise needs to improve to be considered on the same level as some of the elite ‘01 puck-moving defensemen.
Johnson was selected third overall in the USHL Phase I Draft by Sioux Falls.
2. Matt Basgall
#4 Chicago Mission, 8/16/02, Shoots Right, 5-10/180
Basgall is one of the more underrated ‘02 defensemen because he plays a simple, yet steady game. He’s just really solid. He makes smart breakout passes. His stick and body positioning is generally good and he made a couple of athletic plays to breakup scoring chances.
3. John Driscoll
#8 Colorado Thunderbirds, 8/19/01, Shoots Right, 6-3/174
Driscoll is a big defenseman with reach, and projects as a shutdown defender going forward. His body and stick positioning is consistently good, allowing him to keep pucks to the outside and block shooting and passing lanes. His skating is his weakness, but it’s not enough of a detriment to keep Division I teams from showing interest.
Driscoll was a second round pick of the Omaha Lancers in the USHL Phase I Draft.
3. Gerard Keane
#45 Chicago Mission, 1/30/02, Shoots Right, 5-9/165
Keane is a good-skating defender with good hands and feet. He likes to activate into the rush and he can make plays. His hockey sense in his own zone needs to improve, but there’s plenty to like.
5. Robert Bergenthal
#38 Team Wisconsin, 6/9/01, Shoots Right, 5-9/170
He joined the rush and pushed the pace a lot here. He scored a nice goal rushing into the zone, beating the goalie short side. He’s mobile and engages consistently. He doesn’t necessarily have pro potential, but there’s a lot to like about his game for the college level.
6. Michael Feenstra
#65 Fox Motors, 4/3/01, Shoots Left, 6-2/170
Feenstra has pro size, good mobility and can get shots on net from the point. He’s still a work in progress, but the physical tools are very intriguing.
7. Nick Perna
#4 Dallas Stars Elite, 8/4/01, Shoots Left, 6-1/165
Perna has good size, reach and stick positioning. His skating isn’t bad, but it needs to improve for him to be an impact player that college programs are chasing. There is certainly upside here.
8. Hunter Skinner
#88 Honeybaked, 4/29/01, Shoots Right, 6-0/150
Mitchell was drafted by Muskegon (USHL) and London (OHL) following his 15U season with Belle Tire. He’s stepped up his game this year with Honeybaked. He’s tall, physical and plays with a mean streak. Mitchell makes good lead passes and has good athleticism.
9. Franklin Dovorany
#41 Team Wisconsin, 3/28/01, Shoots Left, 5-11/175
Dovorany is the younger brother of Minnesota Duluth recruit Charlie Dovorany. He’s big and has good reach. His skating needs work, but there’s potential.
10. John Prokop
#37 Team Wisconsin, 5/13/01, Shoots Left, 6-1/155
Prokop is a good skater for his size and made a lot of nice defensive plays one-on-one. He wins battles, competes and has a good stick in his own end.
1. Liam O’Gwen
#29 Jersey Hitmen, 1/19/02, Catches Left, 6-1/170
O’Gwen looks the part of a goaltender. He’s big, covers a lot of net and stays fairly quiet in net. He just simply makes saves and doesn’t give up rebounds. He should certainly be in the running to make the NTDP Evaluation Camp.
2. Josh Langford
#35 Dallas Stars Elite, 7/27/01, Catches Left, 6-3/155
Langford was a third round pick of Sioux Falls in the USHL Phase I Draft after just missing out on making the NTDP. He has good size and moves fairly well. He had a little bit of trouble corralling rebounds and tracking pucks here, but there’s reason to believe he can be a legit Division I goaltending prospect down the road.
3. Max Gutjahr
#33 Team Wisconsin, 2/1/01, Catches Left, 6-0/140
His team was dominant in front of him, but he looked good in viewings here. He has good size and made a few nice saves.