The 2015 USHL Phase I (Futures) Draft is Monday, May 4, beginning at 6 p.m. CT. Players born in 1999 are eligible for the 10-round initial phase of the United States Hockey League's drafting process. Having seen a lot more prep school and high school hockey than some of the various midget leagues based out of New England, the following rankings and scouting reports are only for players who competed this season in prep and high school.
Back on Jan. 21, this observer released his midseason watch list for 1999-born high school and prep players in New England. Five players were given 'A' grades, including Brunswick defenseman Phil Kemp, who has been chosen for the USNTDP U-17 Team.
For the most part, the defensemen at the '99 level in New England are a deeper and more talented group, but there are some promising prospects at all positions.
1. Marc McLaughlin, Soph., Cushing Academy, Shoots Right, 5-11/175, 7/26/99 (St. Lawrence) - The North Billerica, Mass. native emerged this season for Rob Gagnon's Penguins club. He didn't get as much playing time as a younger player due to the big first line and other upperclassmen, but when he was on the ice, he was very noticeable. He gets the puck off his stick quickly. He has a hard, accurate shot. He isn't the prettiest of skaters, but he's very strong on his skates and is strong on pucks. He also accelerates really well and has a high motor. He's as good away from the puck as he is with the puck on his stick and spent time on the penalty kill. His physical tools made it hard to believe he was a '99 if you didn't know better. Greg Carvel's Saints have a real nice prospect lined up for the future.
2. Cam Burke, Soph., Noble & Greenough, Shoots Left, 5-8/150, 1/8/99 (Notre Dame) - The brother of Cedar Rapids RoughRider Cal, the Fighting Irish commit logged a ton of minutes for Brian Day's squad this season, playing with NJ Devils pick and BC commit Miles Wood for a good portion of the campaign. Despite his overall lack of size, he plays a bigger game. He isn't afraid to go into the gritty and dirty areas to find pucks. He has good speed, skates well and developed nicely over the past year.
3. Matt Demelis, Soph., Hingham High School, Shoots Left, 5-11/160, '99 - Some might scoff at seeing a public school player this high on the list, but he's that good. He was really impressive during the high school season, helping Tony Messina's team to a MIAA Division I State Championship. He has a very strong, long stride, but skates a little hunched over. He does a good job keeping the puck on his stick and is a possession-type forward. He has good hands and vision and has interest from several Hockey East schools. He also plays for Tim Lovell's Boston Advantage program.
4. Riley Prattson, Soph, Springfield Cathedral High School, Shoots Right, 5-8/150, 4/28/99 (Providence) - He battled some nagging injuries down the stretch, but he's a very solid offensive prospect. He hasn't yet hit his growth spurt that his older brother, a LeMoyne lacrosse commit, did. He has nice hands, good vision and is shifty out there. The Friars commit has quick hands and always has his head up in transition and around the offensive zone.
5. John Copeland, Fr., Belmont Hill School, Shoots Right, 6-5/155, 3/3/99 - He's a huge kid that hasn't yet filled out. It was very unusual for such a young freshman to make the team at BH, but he's a unique talent. The son of former Michigan Wolverine Todd, he didn't receive much playing time, but he did some nice things when he was out there. He has pretty good footwork for a guy his size and age. Once he gets more comfortable out on the ice and learns to use his frame to his advantage, he could be an absolute monster.
6. Christian LeSueur, Soph., Brunswick School, Shoots Right, 5-10/160, 1/7/99 - He is one of those players that just seems to find the score sheet. His skating is average to slightly above average. He has soft hands and does a nice job fitting pucks through seams and working through traffic. He has good hockey IQ and is a player that could continue to see his stock rise with a little bit of refining to his overall game.
7. Craig Needham, Soph., Lawrence Academy, Shoots Left, 5-10/155, 3/31/99 - Led Rob Barker's young Spartans team in scoring this winter after transitioning over from Arlington Catholic. He's a rugged player who gets pucks off his stick quickly and is always around the scoring areas. Admittedly, this observer didn't see as much of LA as he'd have liked to forge a better opinion, but there is upside.
8. Zach Pellegrino, Fr., The Gunnery, Shoots Left, 5-7/150, 11/9/99 - He's small, but he has a quick release and his shots seem to always be rocketed towards a corner of the net. He's a decent skater who seemed to get more ice time at the beginning of the season than he did down the stretch, but he never looked out of place against predominantly older players at the prep level.
9. Chris Brown, Fr., Groton Academy, Shoots Right, 6-0/165, 3/27/99 - He had a decent second season of prep hockey. He played as an 8th grader at GA. He's fairly tall and seems to have a strong base. His initial burst up ice is a concern and he will need to improve his stride and overall skating ability, but there are some physical tools there.
10. Jack Nisbet, Soph., BC High, Shoots Right, 5-10/170, 3/3/99 - He didn't really stand out at last summer's Select 15 Festival, but had a pretty nice high school season for John Flaherty's Eagles squad. His speed, quickness and lateral agility are what stand out. He had a couple of real nice goals throughout the season, but like much of his team, it was an up and down year for BC High, who this observer had projected to win the Super 8 prior to the start of the season. When he goes to the net and plays with aggression, he's a very promising prospect. He will need to bulk up, but his skating, quickness and finishing skills are sure to draw attention.
11. Cameron Gendron, Fr., Central Catholic High School, Shoots Right, 5-11/145, 2/5/99 - He was overshadowed by classmate and BU commit Jake Wise, a '00, but he's a heck of a hockey player. He had a hat trick in his team's upset win over Austin Prep in game two of the Super 8 quarterfinal series. He's a smooth skater with a fairly strong extra gear.
12. Devon Tongue, Fr., Springfield Cathedral High School, Shoots Left, 5-11/170, 12/31/99 - He was on the third line for most of the season, but saw some added time down the stretch due to injuries and coach Brian Foley trying to mix things up. He is always around the puck and seems to score a lot of goals in garbage areas. The puck just seems to find him when he's on the ice. His stride isn't that impressive, but he's a player to watch. He has nice size and is a late '99 that has a higher ceiling than his current state of his game might suggest.
13. Matt Fawcett, Fr., Moses Brown School, Shoots Left, 5-5/145, 4/22/99 - Did not see Fawcett at all in the prep season, but he stood out for having good offensive instincts and imagination, and skill with the puck on his stick in showcases and USPHL 16U action. He's very small, but quick and has soft hands. He can dish it out as well as finish.
USHL Futures Draft Must Reads
New England Prep/High School Midseason Watch List
Midseason watch list for New England prep and high school players who project well for the 2015 USHL Phase I (Futures) Draft on May, 4th.
USHL Futures Draft Must Reads
14. Steven Agriogianis, Soph., Delbarton School, Shoots Right, 5-9/145, 1/7/99 - Really good skater who plays with an edge and is tough in gritty areas for a smaller player. Only saw him once in the high school season, but he was impressive in showcases last summer and fall.
15. Jay O'Brien, Fr., Dexter School, Shoots Right, 5-10/160, 11/4/99 - He has a good skill set and is a play maker who can make things happen down low in the offensive zone. He's an intriguing prospect, despite not logging as much ice time as some would have liked for an older and deep prep squad that made it all the way to the Elite 8 Tournament championship game before losing to Salisbury.
16. Bobby Beniers, Soph., Milton Academy, Shoots Left, 5-9/160, 5/25/99 - He's small and didn't see a ton of ice time for Paul Cannata's team, but he is quick and does a nice job with the puck on his stick. He'll need to bulk up and once he gets older, it will provide a better idea of his ceiling. He's most likely an energy guy, at best, at the next level.
17. Matt Egan, Soph., Hingham High School, Shoots Left, 5-10/155, '99 - He played with linemate Demelis for most of the season. He doesn't have the same elite offensive skills, but he's a heady player who does a nice job doing some of the little things needed to make a line click. He's always in the right position and has above average physical tools.
18. Max Rand, Fr., Brooks School, Shoots Left, 5-10/155, 4/13/99 - Didn't get much playing time for a very good Brooks squad that won the Large School Tournament at the prep level, but there is a lot of buzz about his high ceiling. He's a competitor who plays with an edge and has the physical tools to cause intrigue.
19. Timmy Kent, Fr., Lawrence Academy, Shoots Right, 5-6/140, 8/4/99 - He's a small, gritty play maker who does a nice job dishing pucks to his teammates. His lack of size is a concern, but he's quick and really moves his feet.
20. Mike Hardman, Soph., Xaverian Brothers High School, Shoots Left, 5-8/165, '99 - He's small, but he plays with an edge. He's a competitor who is strong on the forecheck and always is moving his feet. He's an athletic kid who will be at Winchendon Prep as a repeat sophomore in the fall.
21. Justin Alves, Soph., Woburn High School, Shoots Left, 5-7/135, 6/20/99 - He's small, but is a good athlete who also plays soccer. He's quick with short, hard strides. He has nice vision and hockey IQ and played better in his own zone than any other public school player and most Catholic school players in Massachusetts high school hockey this winter. He grew up playing in the Tampa Bay Junior Raiders organization and has good fundamentals.
22. Ian Murphy, Soph., BC High, Shoots Right, 5-11/155, 4/6/99 - He had some flashes this winter and impressed in the past, including last summer's Select 15s. He struggled to maintain a consistent shift on a good BC High club this winter. He has decent speed and hands, but isn't too flashy. He seems to let pucks find him and is in the right area more often than not.
LV. Ethan Kimball, Soph., St. Mark's School, Shoots Left, 5-11/160, 4/1/99 -
LV. Toby Almeida, Soph., St. George's School, Shoots Right, 5-11/155, 1/2/99 -
1. Reilly Walsh, Soph., Proctor Academy, Shoots Right, 5-9/150, 4/21/99 (Harvard) - A smaller defenseman, he's a phenomenal skater. His stride is so smooth and he glides well with good lateral movement. He needs to get better in his own zone and put on some bulk, but his skating, vision and puck skills are all elite. He visited Harvard for the Crimson's second half game against Union and recently committed to Teddy Donato's program. His father Mike, his prep coach, played college hockey at Colgate. Walsh is a player who has a ton of upside. With a little improvement in his defensive play and adding some size to his frame, he could be an elite defenseman.
2. Jack Rathbone, Fr., Dexter School, Shoots Left, 5-10/155, 5/20/99 - He needs to fill out and he looked much better in the showcases against kids more his age than he did against the older prep competition. However, there is a ton to like about the son of former Boston College forward, Jason. He's a really fluid skater with a nice stride. He has a nice initial burst and pivots well. He has good vision and patience with the puck. He doesn't try to move it too quickly and carelessly like a lot of kids his age do. He lets the game come to him. He's pretty solid in his own zone as well. He could be considered a big time prospect down the road.
3. Brian Scoville, Soph., Cushing Academy, Shoots Left, 6-3/200, 3/28/99 (UMass) - A big rangy defenseman, he's another player who impressed more in the showcases against kids more his age than he did at the prep level. He's not a poor skater, but his stride and initial acceleration could use some work. He's a big kid who does a nice job retrieving pucks behind his own zone. He has nice awareness of the ice and makes heady lead passes.
4. Ben Mirageas, Fr., Avon Old Farms, Shoots Left, 5-10/160, 5/8/99 (Providence) - The repeat freshman progressed nicely as the prep season went along. He skates well, retrieves pucks in his own zone, transitions the puck up ice and is smooth. He's one of those players that you don't notice too much -- in a good way. He doesn't make too many mistakes and he makes smart, simple plays with the puck especially in transition. He saw some power play time and did a nice job walking the blue line.
5. Dan Petrick, Soph., Springfield Cathedral High School, Shoots Right, 5-9/175, 4/6/99 (Northeastern) - He's a player who compares somewhat to Boston Bruins prospect Torey Krug. He's short, but he's as rugged of a defender as there was in high school hockey. He wasn't afraid to throw his weight around against anyone. He has nice vision and skates fairly well, but his first few steps could use some fine tuning. He's physical and there is plenty of upside, but he needs to learn when to reel it in and keep it simple.
6. Paul Edson, Fr., St. John's Prep, Shoots Left, 6-3/185, 11/1/99 - A young defender drew very nice compliments from some NHL scouts who saw him play. He played a significant role on Kristian Hanson's MIAA Super 8 championship squad. His skating needs improvement, but he has a good stick and does a nice job one-on-one and forcing his opponents to the wall. He's a competitor who likes to be involved and play aggressively. Once his skating improves as he learns to play with his big frame, he could be a really big force on the ice. He's one of those kids who might not be as good as some other '99s right now, but he projects to be just as good, if not better.
7. Sean Keohan, Soph., Dexter School, Shoots Right, 5-11/170, 2/9/99 (Dartmouth) - The Big Green commit isn't as flashy and doesn't have the elite puck skills of teammate Rathbone, but he's very poised and smooth. He has a nice stride and is a smooth skater. He has nice mobility and moves well side-to-side. The way he was able to play with confidence against kids a lot older than him at the prep level was impressive.
8. Colin Felix, Soph., St. George's School, Shoots Right, 6-1/172, 1/7/99 - This observer didn't see him in the prep season, but he was solid and quietly impressive at last summer's USA Hockey Select 15 Festival. He goes about his business and makes smart, good plays defensively. He has decent vision, but certainly isn't flashy. He has nice size and there were good things said about him playing for the Dragons, a prep school that doesn't get as much attention.
9. Jayson Dobay, Fr., BC High, Shoots Left, 5-11/160, 7/27/99 - His skating needs some work, but his vision and hockey IQ are very strong. There were a few times during the high school season that he made passes through seams that wowed observers. He still needs to improve in the defensive zone, but he's an athletic player with nice size and good vision.
10. Bryce Dolan, Soph., Bishop Hendricken High School, Shoots Right, 6-0/190 - His skating, first pivot and footwork still need to develop, but he's an above average defenseman with good size. This observer only saw the Rhode Island high school team once, but he will be getting more exposure next season -- at Kimball Union Academy for coach Tim Whitehead's club.
11. Marc O'Rourke, Soph., Hingham High School, Shoots Left, 5-11/150, '99 - He's a mobile blue liner with good size who can really make plays with the puck. He does a nice job getting pucks through and on net from the point and has decent to above average vision in transition. He's a solid skater with a decent first push, but could work on a quicker pivot. He'll need to continue to improve on his defense to truly be considered an elite prospect, but there is upside.
12. Tim Usalis, Fr., St. John's Prep, Shoots Left, 5-11/165, '99 - Like high school teammate and higher-ranked Edson, Usalis logged a ton of minutes for the winner of the MIAA Super 8. He was actually better than Edson in most games. He has a good stick, good mobility and skates pretty well. He did a nice job on gap control and containment. He might not project as well as Edson, but he showed a lot down the stretch against some of the top teams in high school hockey.
13. Matt Slick, Soph., Proctor Academy Shoots Left, 6-2/185, 3/13/99 - A Texas native who put up nice offensive numbers for the Hornets this season. He attended last month's USHL Draft Combine. He's still a little raw, but his size, athletic ability and stick skills should be intriguing to teams with a later pick.
14. Michael Callahan, Fr., Roxbury Latin Academy, Shoots Left, 6-0/170, 9/23/99 - Another player that this observer didn't see during the prep season, he left a solid impression from some of the showcases. He's a decent skater and moves well backwards. He did a nice job getting shots through traffic and on net from the point.
LV. Thomas Craft, Fr., Deerfield Academy, Shoots Right, 6-4/200, 2/15/19 - Admittedly, this observer isn't as high on Kraft as others are. He was invited to the NTDP Evaluation Camp, but didn't make the squad. He played for a Deerfield team that had a down year. He didn't have his best week at last summer's Select 15 Festival so it's hard to truly gauge his potential.
1. Keith Petruzzelli, Soph., Springfield Cathedral High School, 6-6/175, 2/9/99 (Quinnipiac) - There is little doubt the Wilbraham, Mass. native is the clear cut top '99 goaltending prospect in New England. There is plenty to like about the big, lanky netminder who is headed to Quinnipiac University with his older brother, D.J., a '97 forward. Petruzzelli has the size of the prototypical modern era goalie, he squares up to shooters and is quiet in net. He's rarely making the flashy saves. He didn't face much rubber on an incredibly talented Cathedral team that didn't lose all season until the Super 8 Tournament. However, he really stood tall in a couple of marquee regular season games against BC High and Malden Catholic. When he's on top of his game, he's eating up rebounds and taking up a lot of space in net as a butterfly goaltender.
2. Dylan Regan, Fr., Austin Aprep, 5-7/130, 8/2/99 - A young goaltender who took over the full time starting role for Louis Finocchiaro's Cougar squad. He's small which is a big question mark, but he progressed as the season went along. He's quick and plays an athletic style in net. He had a tendency to let in soft goals, but he made some big saves and got rave reviews from his coaches and teammates. The Acton, Mass. native is a longshot to be selected, but there is some upside.
LV. Aidan Porter, Fr., Rivers, 5-11/140, 5/18/99
Jeff Cox covers college, junior, high school and prep hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.