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Prep Hockey: Top 15 Uncommitted '99 Forwards

Nobles players warm up before Saturday's game at Belmont Hill.
Nobles players warm up before Saturday's game at Belmont Hill.

Prep Hockey: Top 15 Uncommitted 1999-born Forwards

1. Holmes, Matt
Brunswick #16 - 6'0" 183 - LC - 2/22/99

He's a big power forward who plays center for the Bruins. The improvement he has made over the past season is dramatic. He was barely noticeable when watching Brunswick a year ago, but he's a whole new player this season. His development was evident watching him in the fall with Mid Fairfield 16U. He's a strong skater who has a strong presence in the offensive zone and has a heavy shot.

2. Needham, Craig
Lawrence Academy #13 - 5'10" 165 - LC - 3/31/99

He's someone that doesn't always stand out, but he's a heck of a hockey player. He's a good skater who makes others around him better. He can get up and down the sheet well. He's not going to be the player pulling off toe drags and other dangles, but he's in the right place at the right time and has an extremely pin-point accurate shot.

3. Harding, Jerry
Nobles #6 - 5'10" 170 - RW - 3/22/99

Simply put, the first year prep player is a hockey player. He plays through the play. He's physical each and every shift. He wins battles for pucks. He skates well and does a lot of the little things well. He will only get better. He had his best game this observer has ever seen in Saturday's game against Belmont Hill, playing on a line with '01 Pat Moynihan (BC) and '98 Michael Fahie (Brown).

4. Saariluoma, Vilho
Cushing #10 - 6'3" 190 - LC - 7/14/99

He has the physical tools and the raw potential to skyrocket up this list and become an even hotter commodity. He's big and has a presence in the offensive zone. He was able to dominate with the puck more in the fall season against fellow '99s and '00s more so than he has in prep hockey, but he will only get better and more confident. When he's playing his best, he's using his size and strength as leverage to get time and space in the slot to rip hard wrist shots. He projects similarly to a David Cotton, the former Penguin and current USHLer committed to BC.

5. Nisbet, Jack
Dexter #12 - 5'10" 170 - RW - 3/3/99

A first year prep player, he played two seasons for John Flaherty at BC High. His best attributes are his vision and passing ability. He skates a little hunched over, but he has good speed and can create offense. He's one of those players that just seems to find the score sheet, even when he's not all the way on his game. College coaches would certainly like to see him bulk up a little bit, but he's talented enough that he will land himself a commitment eventually

6. Hartikainen, Santeri
Groton #20 - 6'1" 190 - LC - 1/5/99

An intriguing prospect, he's already received some significant interest from schools before even playing a prep game. He played in the NEFPHL this fall and stood out in Groton's two games last Sunday at the St. Paul's Jamboree. He's a good skater with some upside offensively. He played the point on the top power play unit for Groton and is good on face-offs. It should be interesting to watch him develop as he continues to adjust to the North American game.

7. Rand, Max
Brooks #16 - 5'11" 170 - LC - 4/13/99

He's a complete player who skates well and has good hockey fundamentals. He's a player with a strong hockey IQ. He seems to go where to go to receive passes and get shots off from the slot. He has a quick release and an accurate shot. He's quietly developed into a solid player and looked really good during the fall split season for the Neponset Valley River Rats.

8. Cotton, Patrick
Proctor #4 - 6'0" 180 - LC - 5/25/99

The Swedish import is in his first year of prep hockey, playing for Mike Walsh's Hornets. He first caught this observer's eye at the Beantown Summer Classic back in August. He has a real good wrist shot, is fast and has a knack for finding the puck. He had a nice goal from the slot in one of Proctor's games at the Belmont Hill Jamboree.

9. Thomas, Ben
Winchendon #8 - 6'0" 183 - RW - 10/16/99

He's always been a favorite of this observer. He's small, but he's quick, plays with a little bit of an edge and makes plays happen. He's a good skater who can set up and finish. He was really fun to watch in the Belmont Hill Jamboree on a line with Mac Mulera (Providence) and Matt Fawcett.

10. Pellegrino, Zach
Gunnery #7 - 5'7" 170 - LC/LW - 11/9/99

Some scouts I've spoken with aren't as high on the Madison, Conn. native, but he's a really gritty player with speed and the will to make things happen. He certainly doesn't project as a high end Division I player or even a top six forward. His speed, puck pursuit and willingness to play with a chip on his shoulder are reasons he could be a really solid fourth liner at the NCAA level. He's the type of player any coach would want to trot out on the penalty kill or to bring energy.

11. Amatetti, Mark
Loomis Chaffee #24 - 5'7" 160 - LC/LW - 3/8/99

First time seeing the Monroe, NY native was this fall skating for Yale 16U in split season games. He's undersized, but he's a competitor. He's a pest out there who gets on opposing players and isn't afraid to go battle for pucks, despite his size. He's crafty and has a spark offensively. He's really good on his edges, allowing him to quickly cut around opposing defenders.

12. DeStefani, Ethan
Gunnery #18 - 6'3" 180 - LW - 2/16/99

He's in his first year of prep hockey after playing for the New Hampshire Monarchs 16U team last season. He has a big frame and works well along the half wall. He does a nice job drawing attention from defenders and making quick, short passes to open line mates. His skating could improve, but he's a player to keep an eye on as he adjusts to playing against older competition in prep.

13. Copeland, John
Belmont Hill #15 - 6'5" 170 - RW - 3/3/99

He has the size and pedigree to draw the interest of scouts and college coaches. His father played at Michigan and his grandfather skated for Harvard. He still has yet to put it all together, but there is no doubt he could blossom into a solid prospect.

14. Guerra, Matt
Cushing #21 - 5'9" 160 - RW - 5/21/99

The Floridian played last season at the Hillside School before coming over the Ashburnham. He's skating on the right line with Eric Huss at center and Dakota Mulcay on the left side for the first two games. He brings an element of speed and quickness to the game. He's the type of prospect that still needs to bulk up and learn how to hang on to the puck, but he's quick and crafty.

15. Beniers, Bobby
Milton #6 - 5'10" 170 - LW - 1/1/99

He's small and is borderline as far as being dynamic enough offensively with his size. He is creative and thinks the game well. An above average skater, he moves well laterally, has good agility and is a good passer.

Honorable Mention: Eric Huss (Cushing), Jack Studley (BB&N), Liam Bove (Albany Academy), Trent DeNuccio (Loomis Chaffee)