Each season, college coaches scour the New England prep school hockey rinks to find hidden gems or late bloomers. This year will be no different, and there could be several noteworthy names to keep an eye on for fans of college hockey recruiting.
Editor's Note: This is the second installment of lists of top uncommitted players in New England Prep Hockey. The first, the top 5 uncommitted goaltenders, can be found here.
Here are the top five uncommitted forwards, born in 1996 and 1997, in prep school hockey this winter:
Exeter #25 - 5'9" 165 - LW - 7/21/97
The Madison, Conn. native has made huge strides over the last year. He's an undersized forward whose motor never stops going. He's quick and has an elusiveness to his game. He's a good stick handler and has improved his overall ability to create time and space. He was always thought to be a high-end Division III prospect, but he had a good off-season, including a breakout performance at the Tier I Labor Day Face-off. Look for Solin to land at an ECAC Hockey school.
The Gunnery #23 - 5'11" 160 - LC - 12/12/97
After playing Tier II Midget during the fall season, the Swedish native made his first real impression on the myriad of NHL scouts and college coaches in attendance for Monday's Berkshire Jamboree. Playing center, he showed off his wheels. He's a tremendous skater who has a good first step and can really move around the sheet. It will be interesting to see how he continues to adjust to the style of play over here, but he's an athletic, raw talent that should be watched closely. A few NHL scouts were very high on him after seeing yesterday's games against Kent and Northwood.
Dexter #24 - 6'1" 180 - RC/RW - 8/21/96
After playing three seasons at Phillips Andover, he transferred to Dexter for last season. His play was overshadowed by Harvard freshman Ryan Donato last year, but there were times he was the most productive player for Dexter. He has good size and really good speed. He's another fringe player where he could be an elite recruit for a NESCAC school or a borderline Division I commit.
Salisbury #7 - 5'10" 170 - RW - 9/26/97
An undersized forward who was a newcomer to prep hockey last season, he played right wing on the line centered by Providence recruit Vimal Sukumaran down the stretch. He's quick, has a high compete level and is the top returning forward for the Sarum Knights. He has an innate knack for finding the puck and being around the action. He scored a few clutch goals for Andrew Will's team.
Kent #11 - 6'0" 170 - RW - 3/26/97
He's a good skater who this observer predicts will have a breakout year for the Lions. He's an above average skater with decent size. He does a lot of things well and competes away from the puck. He made a few real good hockey plays in Monday's Berkshire Jamboree. He's most likely a high end NESCAC prospect, but he might get some looks from ECAC Hockey schools or a team like Holy Cross in Atlantic Hockey.
Honorable Mention: Dexter '96 Kevin Hock, Gunnery '97 Chad Varney, Milton '97 Trevor Turnbull, St. Mark's '97 Luke O'Brien, Kimball Union '96 Jack Doherty
Follow @JeffCoxSports on Twitter.