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Chowder Cup Pre-Draft Showcase Review

There was a wide array of talent over the weekend at the 2015 New England Pro Am Chowder Cup Pre-Draft Showcase that took place primarily at the Foxboro Sports Center in Foxboro and the Rodman Arena in Walpole.

Hockey Essentials White ended up taking home the title with a 2-1 overtime victory over the New England Leafs on Sunday afternoon. Cornell commit and Tri-City Storm (USHL) forward Sam Sternschein had the game-winner.

With over 80 teams at four different facilities, it was impossible to see every team and every player over the course of the weekend. This observer did take in all three days -- bouncing back and forth between Foxboro and Walpole each day.

There were a few Hockey East, ECAC Hockey, Atlantic Hockey and Division III assistant coaches in attendance as well as a couple of head coaches. There were some NHL scouts and player agents, but it was no where near as well attended as March's Beantown Spring Classic.

To put it nicely, there was a lot of horrible hockey. However, there was also a decent amount of good talent on the ice, especially at the younger ages. That being said, there were a few '96s and '95s that caught this observer's eye as possible late bloomers.

There were a few players in attendance such as Lucas Michaud and McKay Flanagan, who are ranked by NHL Central Scouting for the 2015 NHL Draft, but the weekend also proved to be a nice early look at some solid candidates for 2016. A pair of Cornell recruits, Sternschein and Salisbury's Mike O'Leary, really stood out as possessing all the physical tools to be big time prospects for next June.

One group that needs to be singled out for doing it the right way is Vincent Montelbano's East Coast Kings program. Along with Vancouver Canucks scout Judd Bracket and player agent Brendan Buckley, the program brought three real solid teams to the showcase. The '98s made the playoffs and the '99s were just as good, but had difficulty playing up against the older teams.

It's a shame more programs aren't run like Montelbano's. Some programs brought multiple teams, and putting it nicely, there was no reason for many of them to be at any supposed showcase.

With as many teams as there were and the disparity in viewings of each team that this observer did see, there will be no rankings. The following is player notes and scouting reports on players stood out this past weekend in order of birth-year. Please note that the following list is of the teams and players this observer saw. There could have been the next coming of Wayne Gretzky on a team that only played in Raynham and he wouldn't be on the list.


Jack Rathbone, LD, 5-9/160, Dexter (East Coast Kings Futures) - His size is still an issue, but teams are more accepting of smaller defensemen than ever before. His skating and stick skills are terrific. He skates well and uses his edges to help cut and maneuver with the puck. His defensive zone play still needs work, but that can be taught. He's the undisputed top uncommitted defenseman in New England among '99s.

Marc McLaughlinRC, 5-11/175, Cushing (East Coast Kings Futures) - He's just very mature physically and continues to impress this observer. He's strong and wins a ton of face-offs. He had a strong stick, was hard to knock off the puck and carried possession. Watch closely at how quickly he gets shots off and it's a heavy shot. College: St. Lawrence

Jay O'Brien, RC, 5-10/160, Dexter (East Coast Kings Futures) - He caught my eye last summer and has been good since, but didn't get much playing time this winter at the prep level. He has a real good skill set offensively and had a good weekend. He drove to the net and had a good release. He should be getting some serious looks from Division I schools soon.

Jayson Dobay, LD, 5-11/160, BC High (East Coast Kings Futures) - He has such a good sense of the ice and his vision is terrific. He made some passes here that made you think he had eyes in the side of his helmet. His vision is definitely his strength, but the other parts of his game are better than most give him credit for.

Ethan DeStefani, RW, 6-2/180, Gunnery (East Coast Kings Futures) - He's a big kid who is still filling into his body and his skating will improve, but it's not bad. He wins a lot of battles along the wall and does a good job keeping defenders away from the puck with his frame. He'll be a first year prep player for Chris Baudo after playing for the NH Junior Monarchs.

Ben Thomas, RW, 5-10/160, Winchendon (East Coast Kings Futures) - He really caught this observer's attention this weekend. He's quick, skates well and plays with an edge. He's gritty and around the puck a lot. He's always moving his feet and he's certainly a player to keep an eye on over the next year or two.

Sean Keohan, RD, 5-11/170, Dexter (East Coast Kings Futures) - He's not quite as flashy as teammate Jack Rathbone, but he does everything well. He's good on gaps and skates well in each direction. He makes crisp, smart lead passes and distributes the puck on the offensive blue line. He's poised and confident with the puck. College: Dartmouth

Chris Brown, RW, 6-0/155, Groton (East Coast Kings Futures) - His skating and quickness need work, but he just seems to find the score sheet. He had a couple of goals in Friday's game. He has a good shot and seems to know where to go to find the puck.

Neil Shea, LC/LW, 6-0/170, Marshfield High School (East Coast Kings Futures) - This observer saw him just once in the high school season so it was a good chance to see the Youngstown Phantoms pick again. He has the physical tools and is a little bigger than his brother. He played a little tentatively at times, but when he was assertive with the puck, he was impressive. He is the brother of Maine commit Pat and son of Avalanche scout Neil.

Thomas Craft, RD, 6-4/210, Deerfield (East Coast Kings Futures) - There's been a lot of hype around him since being invited to NTDP Evaluation Camp. He has the size, but there is a lot of development needed in his overall game. He has a good stick and makes a decent first pivot.


Sam Sternschein, RW, 6-1/180, Tri-City Storm (Hockey Essentials White) - He was the best player on the ice all weekend for this observer's money. He was my ninth-ranked forward at last summer's Select 16s, but he was even better this weekend. He's continued to develop, get stronger and use his power to his advantage. He has an explosive first stride and can really pick up steam heading up ice. He had a heavy shot and is just a constant presence on the ice. College: Cornell

Mike O'Leary, LW, 6-2/180, Salisbury School (Boston Generals Draft) - The Nova Scotia native is a little more raw than Sternschein, but he has exceptional physical tools as well. He has the size and skating ability and can get off a quick, hard shot. He still has to put it together, but he has the potential to be a second to third round selection in next summer's draft. College: Cornell

Adam Karashik, RD, 5-11/170, Avon Old Farms (East Coast Kings '16) - An elite skater who can carry puck possession and assist in transition by carrying or passing the puck. He has good vision and stick skills. He was really fun to watch Friday. His size is a question mark, but he could be a player to keep an eye on during the prep season. College: UConn

Jack Badini, LC, 5-10/180, Lincoln Stars (Hockey Essentials White) - The Connecticut native was named the MVP of the showcase. He did a nice job finishing and made a couple real heady plays during Sunday's playoff action. He's not that big, but he has some good wheels and can make plays happen with his stick skills. He skates well and uses his edges to cut up ice. He's a player to keep an eye on next winter in Lincoln.

Monte GrahamRC, 5-11/175, Thayer (East Coast Kings '16) - He had a real nice weekend, scoring a couple of goals and impacting the play with and without the puck. He won almost every face-off and did a good job holding on to the puck and using his strength to his advantage. Still not sold on him as a serious scoring threat in Hockey East, but he could be a good third or fourth liner who could chip in offensively. College: Boston College

R.J. Murphy, LC/LW, 6-2/185, St. Sebastian's (Tropics) - He's a power forward that has good offensive zone presence and can distribute the puck well from the corners. He works well along the boards and can use his size and strength to his advantage to win battles. His skating still needs some work, but he's a player that should be on the radar of Hockey East coaches.

Luke McInnisLD, 5-10/175, Youngstown Phantoms (East Coast Kings '16) - His skating and puck skills are a gift, but he needs to learn when to take the chances and when to play it smart. He's a silky smooth skater with vision and awareness of what's going on the ice to distribute the puck. Working on his defensive game and keeping it simpler will allow him to be a better prospect, but there is a lot to like. College: Boston College

Patrick HarperLW, 5-8/155, Avon Old Farms (NE Nordiques Blue) - He's had better performances, but he was going up against largely older players by two to three years this weekend. He still showed off his dynamic offensive abilities. He cuts well, uses his edges and has incredible hands. His lateral mobility is very good. College: Boston University

Jake GreshRD, 5-11/170, Avon Old Farms (SLR Elite) - A very good skater, he's fun to watch. He's smooth and can really move the puck up ice in transition. He has good stick skills, but needs to improve on his defensive play. If he can get better in his own zone as he gains experience at the prep level, he could become a legit Division I prospect as he has a lot of raw skill.(Editors Note: Apparently #17 was not Jake Gresh as roster indicated.)

Chris GrandoLW, 5-10/160, Green Bay Gamblers (East Coast Kings '16) - He is a closer. He is a good skater with an explosive burst. He's not overly big, but he's noticeable on the ice and seemed to be around the action. He's a player that should be a real solid second or third line left winger for the Eagles in a few seasons. College: Boston College

Connor Leighton, LW, 5-8/160, Loomis Chaffee (Top Shelf) - He will be a newcomer to prep hockey in the fall and should add some offensive spark to the Pelicans. He's small, but he's quick and has good offensive instincts. He made some clever passes and also has a quick shot while moving.

Brendan LessRD, 5-10/160, Choate (East Coast Kings '16) - His skill set isn't going to wow observers, but he does most things well. He's solid both ways and makes smart decisions with the puck. He makes simple lead passes that get the job done. He's not as quick on his feet or with the puck as some of the elite defenders at his age level, but he gets the job done. He will be a solid fifth or sixth defenseman for the Big Green. College: Dartmouth

Robbie RocheLD, 6-0/170, South Shore Kings (East Coast Kings '16) - He took a vicious hit here and wasn't really the same after that, but he has decent size and physical tools. He has a presence about him defensively. It will be interesting to watch him play for Scott Harlow's Premier team this upcoming season.

Brendan WhiteLW, 6-2/185, Williston (NE Nordiques Blue) - He's a player this observer has seen a lot at Malden Catholic, but he'll be playing prep hockey for Derek Cunha in the fall. He has good size and when he uses it to his advantage, he's strong on possession. There needs to be some refinement to his game, but the potential is definitely there.

Ty AmonteRW, 5-10/145, Thayer (East Coast Kings '16) - He has some flashes where he can make plays with the puck. He skates fairly up right and could benefit from putting on bulk. It will be interesting to watch if he can make some progress in his game over the next couple of seasons.

Jack GriffinLW, 6-0/180, Kimball Union (Boston Junior Bruins) - He's a player to keep an eye on as the offseason progresses and next prep season. He's a transfer from Duxbury High School. He had a nice little weekend here. He has decent size, seemed to be around the puck a lot and skated fairly well.

Dominic Cormier, LD, 5-10/170, Cushing (Boston Junior Bruins) - He didn't really stand out much during the prep season, but he moved the puck well here. He had a couple of goals and distributed the puck up ice in transition as well as on the power play.


Jake Pappalardo, RW, 5-11/190, Proctor Academy (New England Leafs) - This observer's opinion of Pappalardo has never been negative, but it had never been too high before this weekend. He really exhibited a nice combination of grit, skill and power to his game. He's not overly tall, but he's rugged and plays a strong game. He's hard to knock off pucks. His hands and stick skills are underrated. With a little more seasoning, he should be a real good college player. College: Maine

McKay FlanaganRD, 6-0/205, The Gunnery (NE Nordiques Blue) - His play here did little change this observer's opinion. He has flashes where he's very good and other instances where he plays a little recklessly. He made a huge open ice hit in a game Saturday afternoon. He's a decent skater and can help in transition. He's the ultimate high risk, high reward type of blue liner. He should catch on with a Division I team soon.

Cam LeeLD, 5-11/170, Lincoln Stars (East Coast Kings '15) - He's a smooth skater who always has his head up and looking to make the outlet pass. He makes a good first pivot and he's better defensively than given credit for sometimes. He will be a good power play quarterback for Nate Leaman. College: Providence

Will D'Orsi, RC. 5-10/180, St. Sebastian's (Boston Junior Whalers) - He doesn't have great size so he somewhat floats under the radar, but he's going to be a terrific college player. He's quick, can accelerate well and close in on pucks. He has good hands and creativity with the puck. He's just a fun player to watch offensively. College: Yale

Lucas Michaud, RC, 5-10/205, Portland Jr. Pirates (East Coast Kings 2015 Draft Prospects) - This observer isn't always sold on the former Berwick Academy star, but he does a lot of things well, especially in the dirty areas. He's strong and hard to knock off the puck. He holds his ground well. He had a hat trick in one game and just seems to score, despite not having the hands or flashy moves. He's just one of those players that seems to get it done. College: Maine

Trevin Kozlowski, G, 6-4/190, The Gunnery (Boston Generals Draft) - He's a really athletic goaltender with good post-to-post explosion in the crease. He made a few acrobatic saves over the weekend. He has good size and is a goaltender that should latch onto a Division I program soon.

Connor Sundquist, RC, 6-0/160, Selects Hockey Academy 18U (NE Nordiques Blue) - He's a player that continues to grow on this observer. He was good at last summer's Beantown Summer Classic, but even better here. He has a sneaky quick release and has tremendous hockey IQ. With adding some bulk and developing a year in the USHL, he could be a real good player in the NCHC down the line. College: Colorado College

Trevor Turnbull, RW, 5-8/160, Milton Academy (Hockey Essentials White) - He's small, but he's quick and does a nice job getting pucks to his linemates. The amount of time he spent around the puck and in the action was noticeable. He missed a few games this past winter during the prep season and his next team was listed as undecided.

Matt Dillon, LD, 6-1/180, Cushing (Boston Junior Bruins) - A smooth skater and good puck mover, Dillon did a nice job here. He has decent size and has a good stick, but will need to improve defensively to truly get legit D1 offers.


Bryan Lemos, RW, 5-10/185, Waterloo BlackHawks (East Coast Militia Elite) - This observer has always been high on the East Providence, RI native, despite his lack of size. He plays with grit and is hard to play against. He's willing to go into the dirty areas to retrieve pucks and get pucks on net. He was very good here, impacting the score sheet and maintaining possession with his stick skills. College: Providence

Billy SweezeyLD, 6-0/200, Nobles (EPS) - Not sure if he played every game, but on Friday in Foxboro, he was his typical self. He's physical. He likes playing the body and he did that. He's strong and wins just about every one-on-one battle. He'll never be singled out for his skating, but it's adequate enough for the type of game he plays. He should be a terrific college defenseman after a year in the USHL. College: Yale

Joe O'ConnorLD, 6-2/210, Westminster (SLR Elite) - He's a player who just simply gets the job done when he's on the ice. He has good size, is physical when needed and does a decent job in transition and getting shots on net. He'll never be an offensive defenseman. He's definitely a shut-down guy. His skating isn't pretty, but it doesn't hold him back nine times out of ten. College: Vermont

Stephen Cochrane, RD, 6-6/230, Bay State Breakers (Tropics) - He's a player that continues to grow on this observer. He's big and his footwork and skating ability are only average for a kid his size, but he does a good job containing opposing forwards in his own zone. He has a decent stick and made quick, simple lead passes this weekend. College: Maine

Anthony Wyse, LD, 6-1/205, Lincoln Stars (Boston Generals Draft) - He's coming off a serious hip injury that sidelined him for nearly a year so considering that, he looked pretty good here. He's athletic and mobile and hard to beat for opposing forwards. College: Dartmouth

Will Scherer, LD, 5-11/195, Topeka RoadRunners (Boston Generals Draft) - First time seeing the Missouri native, he's not flashy, but he just plain gets the job done. He's good on gaps, he forces opposing forwards to the perimeter and contains well one-on-one. College: Brown

Frankie Sullivan, RD, 6-0/210, Springfield Pics (Boston Generals Draft) - He bounced around a lot during the season, but he was solid this past weekend. Is he a game changer at the next level? Absolutely not, but the Westminster alum did a lot of things well over the weekend. He's a player to keep an eye on during the 2015-16 to see if he can establish himself on a consistent basis. As of now, he looks to be a player who could be a solid Atlantic Hockey prospect.

Danny Eruzione, LW, 5-10/165, Cushing (PHDG Red) - He's always moving his feet and has a high engine. He's quick and relentless on the forecheck. He's not lacking offensively, but he could be a nice addition to a NCAA team's fourth line as an energy forward who can kill penalties. He will be in the BCHL this upcoming season.

Nick FlorentinoRD, 6-2/190, NJ Rockets (EHG Black) - He's a physical defenseman who plays with an edge. He's a high risk, high reward player. He has a cannon of a shot from the point, but projects as a shutdown defender. He committed to West Point following the weekend. College: Army


Bailey MacBurnie, G, 6-2/180, Trail Smoke Eaters (Boston Generals Draft) - He's a late bloomer that continues to prove he can play. He didn't allow a goal all weekend. He's athletic, he's quick and he plays positionally sound. He comes out on the top of the crease and attacks. He's become much better at remaining focused and not allowing the soft goal. He was the MVP for Andrew Will's Sarum Knights as they won a third straight prep title in March.

Erik Brown, LW, 6-2/195, Kemptville 73s (New England Leafs) - It's tough to gauge how good a player his age truly is in a showcase like this, but he had a real nice weekend for himself. He was strong on pucks and on his feet. He skated decently and had a nice, hard shot. College: Rochester Institute of Technology

Andy Chugg, RD, 6-4/215, Surrey Eagles (New England Leafs) - The Kent School alum was a presence on the ice for his team each viewing over the weekend. He was particularly good on Sunday, including belting home two rocket slap shots from the point for goals. He has good size, skates relatively well for a guy his size and did a good job on gaps. He's a real nice get for Ryan Soderquist and the Falcons staff. College: Bentley

Will Campion, RD, 6-3/180, Langley Rivermen (Hockey Essentials White) - A New York native who has been somewhat of a junior hockey journeyman, he looked really good here in a few games. He's smooth and skates well, was effective in transition and did a decent job defensively. He's a player worth taking a look at in a more structured game this fall in the BCHL to truly determine his stock, but he could be a late bloomer that could help a college team in 2016-17.

Brian Bowen, RW, 6-1/210, Green Bay Gamblers (East Coast Militia Elite) - He's a big kid who uses his strength to get into the scoring areas and win battles for pucks. He won't blow anyone away with any particular skill set, but he's around the puck and has a good head for the game. He always seems to find the score sheet. College: Vermont

Rob McGovernG, 6-4/240, Bay State Breakers (East Coast Militia Elite) - He's absolutely huge between the pipes. He covers the net well and moves decently for a kid his size. He made a few nice saves here and will looked upon to be a game changer for Red Gendron's Black Bears in the fall. College: Maine

Sean Cleary, G, 6-3/185, Victoria Grizzlies (Boston Junior Bruins) - He parlayed a solid weekend here into a Division I commitment. A Lake Forrest Prep alum, he has good agility in the crease for a goaltender his size. He comes out to challenge shooters and was generally squared up. College: UMass Lowell


Jeff Cox covers college, junior, high school and prep hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.