The 2015 New England Pro Am Pre-Draft Showcase takes place Friday through Sunday at Foxboro Sports Center and a few other rinks nearby. The event will showcase a few players trying to make another positive impression on NHL scouts for June's NHL Draft as well younger prospects looking to take flight for the 2016 NHL Draft.
As has been customary with these showcases around New England, there are about twice as many teams participating as there should be. It is a shame with 84 teams, no scout or college coach will be able to catch every team over the course of the weekend. However, there are quite a few teams worth taking a look at. Rosters and schedules can be found at www.proamhockey.com/2015-pre-draft-s11969.
Here's a look into some teams worth watching this weekend:
Boston Generals (Draft)
Two of the better uncommitted goaltenders in prep hockey this past winter highlight the roster. '95 Bailey MacBurnie, who will be playing for the Trail Smoke Eaters in the BCHL next winter, and '97 Trevin Kozlowski will split time in net. MacBurnie helped guide Salisbury to a third consecutive NEPSIHA Elite 8 Tournament Championship. Kozlowski was a key cog for The Gunnery as it advanced to the semifinals.
Northeastern recruit Lincoln Griffin of Thayer and Merrimack commit Pat Kramer of BC High are two '97s that will look to possibly make a final impression and hop onto a NHL organization's radar.
The best player on the team could be '98 Mike O'Leary of Salisbury. A Cornell recruit from Nova Scotia, he has thus far shunned major juniors in favor of the NCAA route. He possesses good size and physical tools that should make him very attractive to NHL scouts for the 2016 NHL Draft.
Dartmouth commit Anthony Wyse and Brown recruit Will Scherer will patrol the blue line. Keep an eye on Greg Krisberg, an uncommitted '97 from Kent. He was a player this observer wish he got to see more during the prep season.
Boston Junior Bruins
Two late '97 defensemen, not eligible until the 2016 NHL Draft, are intriguing players to watch on this roster. Exeter's Peter Christie and Cushing's Matt Dillon each possess upside, but need to round out their respective games to garner more attention. Christie is a solid prep defender without much flash while Dillon is a good skater with offensive instincts, but needs to get better in his own end.
'96 forward Sean Brennan out of Milton Academy is a fringe prospect, not necessarily a sure-fire Division I guy, but maybe a player who could really help a Division III school down the line.
Boston Junior Rangers (Red)
Two '97s who played for Arlington Catholic last winter are forwards that this observer wants to see more of, but is intrigued by their potential. Both forwards, Bernier McGovern and Andy Somerville, helped lead the Cougars to the MIAA Division 1 State Championship game. McGovern will be at BB&N in the fall.
Brooks '97 forward Vito Bavaro, a Sacred Heart commit, has some upside to his game, including a hard shot and willingness to go to the net.
Boston Junior Whalers
This is a team that has quite a few fringe Division I guys on the roster that would be real good D3 players or depth guys at the Division I level. St. Sebastian's goaltender Danny Higgins and Choate goaltender Andrew Tucci both will likely find a home in the NESCAC someday.
St. Mark's '96 RD Pete Housakos puts up a lot of points at the prep level and has decent vision, but needs to improve his skating to get more looks. Exeter '97 RD Trevor Cosgrove is a solid blue liner who chips in offensively.
Choate forwards Jeremy Germain and Charley Borek are each trying to get Division I offers. Borek's development has been derailed by a few injuries, but there is plenty to like in his game when healthy. Adam Lee, a '95 out of St. Mark's is a big bodied winder from Canada, who had a productive senior season. Dexter forward Kevin Hock is a power forward that never truly flourished after transferring over from Catholic Memorial. Exeter '97 forward Devin Moore is really small, but he's elusive with the puck, has soft hands and can distribute the puck.
St. Seb's grad Will D'Orsi (Yale) and St. Paul's alum John Laurito (Army) are the only two Division I commits on this team.
East Coast Kings '16 Prospects
This team is loaded up front with solid New England prospects for the 2016 NHL Draft. Highlighting the group might just be Avon Old Farms forward Jamie Armstrong, a Northeastern commit. He's kid who's still growing into his frame, but he has a ton of upside. Fellow Huskies recruit Grant Jozefek of the Lincoln Stars should also be watched.
North Jersey Avalanche forward Evan Wisocky recently committed to UConn and impressed this observer in past showcases. Millbrook '98 Matt Gosiewski (Harvard) is big and would be considered a project.
A pair of BC recruits, Monte Graham of Thayer and Chris Grando of the Green Bay Gamblers, also are up front, as is Ty Amonte, the son of former NHLer and BU Terrier Tony Amonte. He's small and needs to work on adding bulk, but he is slippery with the puck.
BC commit Luke McInnis, who is making the move from Dexter to Youngstown in the USHL, highlights the blue line. The son of BC alum and volunteer assistant Marty, Luke is a smooth skater that is terrific in transition and on the power play. He's very aggressive and sometimes careless, but that's to be expected for most players with his skill set and age. His defensive play is getting better, but it's his weakness at this point in his development.
Dartmouth commit Brendan Less isn't big, but he was solid for Choate this past winter. Another defenseman with a high skill set, UConn recruit Adam Karashik, is coming over to Avon Old Farms in the fall.
East Coast Kings Futures
This is a team made up entirely of 1999-born prospects, many of whom were selected in this week's USHL Draft. Dexter defenseman Jack Rathbone is small, but he's really good with the puck. He's the son of former BC forward Jason.
Tommy Craft is a big, yet raw blue liner with a high ceiling. BC High's Jayson Dobay has good vision. UMass recruit Brian Scoville is transferring to Winchendon from Cushing. Dartmouth commit Sean Keohan is also on the back end for this roster.
This observer is really high on Cushing forward Marc McLaughlin. He had the St. Lawrence recruit ranked first among New England forwards for the USHL Phase I Draft. He was selected by Cedar Rapids in the 3rd round. Dexter's Jay O'Brien, Gunnery newcomer Ethan DeStefani, Groton's Chris Brown and BC High's Jack Nisbet are other uncommitted forwards to watch on this team.
East Coast Kings '15 Prospects
Maine commit Lucas Michaud is a player some NHL scouts regard more favorably than this observer. He's solid and does most things well, but he doesn't stand out enough. He is physical, gritty and plays well away from the puck.
UConn commit Ben Freeman is a big forward out of Northfield Mount Hermon. His skating needs to improve as well as his overall play before matriculating to the Huskies.
'97 Cam Lee, a Providence recruit from Nova Scotia who played for the Lincoln Stars this past winter, is undersized, but he's smooth on his skates and fluid with the puck. This observer hasn't seen him since September at the USHL Atlantic Challenge.
East Coast Militia Elite
This is an older team, made up of mostly '95s and '96s. Maine recruit Robert McGovern is a '95 goaltender looking to impress scouts in his last go around as a draft eligible. He's a big tender who played for Bay State Breakers (USPHL Premier) after graduating from Thayer.
Bryan Nelson (Harvard) and Jonathan Barry (Northeastern) are athletic blue liners who will lead the way on defense. Avon Old Farm grad Chase Zieky is uncommitted and will be playing for the Langley Rivermen in the BCHL this winter. Also keep an eye out for Providence recruit Bryan Lemos, a kid this observer has always been high on. He played for Youngstown in the USHL this year after previously suiting up for the Junior Bruins (USPHL). Christian Simeone will be with South Shore Kings (USPHL Premier) this upcoming season after playing for John Flaherty at BC High.
Hockey Essentials White
'98 forward Sam Sternschein (Cornell) is a New York native who impressed at last summer's Select 16 Festival. He will be with Tri-City in the USHL this winter. New Jersey native Marcus Dickerson is short in stature, but he's a rugged forward that packs a hard punch. The OHL forward is an energy type forward who provides a spark. Forward Shaun Bily, who will play for the Erie Otters next winter, is a former Northeastern recruit.
NE Nordiques Blue
Avon Old Farms '98 forward Patrick Harper is a great possession forward with terrific hands and wonderful skating ability. He's dynamic and plays similar to Northeastern's Kevin Roy. Nobles forward Michael Fahie, a Brown commit, is another player to watch for 2016 draft consideration. Belmont Hill '98 forward Evan Daddario is a decent prospect. Colorado College commit Connor Sundquist is a gritty player with a hard shot out of Selects Hockey Academy who will likely be in the USHL next winter Keep an eye on '98 LW Brendan White, who will be transferring to prep hockey for Williston after playing at Malden Catholic.
This team has several uncommitted defensemen worth watching. McKay Flanagan is a high risk, high reward offensive defenseman out of The Gunnery. Mike Gurska (Rivers), Ryan Heath (Nobles) and Andrew Petrillo (Delbarton) are '98s who should have a more significant role on their prep teams this winter.
New England Leafs
'97 goaltender Max Prawdzik was very good for his Brooks team as he led the school to a second prep championship (not Elite 8) in three years. He has good size and finally put it together in his senior season. He will be playing for Trail in BCHL this upcoming season.
Maine commit Jake Pappalardo is a power forward who is strong on the puck and skates with authority. Former Harvard commit Joey Caffrey, a forward, is also on this team.
This is a team with a mixture of older players and '97s, led by Austin Prep senior-to-be Eric MacAdams, a recent USHL Phase II Draft selection of the Sioux Falls Stampede. Cushing forwards Danny Eruzione and Brent Hill and St. Paul's forwards Austin Ricci and Connor Sodergren are other players to keep an eye on up front. Keep an eye on undersized Salisbury defenseman Quincy Gregg, another Sarum Knight destined for the BCHL next winter.
This is a sneaky good quad with a couple of under the radar prep players, headlined by Westminster's second leading scorer from last winter, Jack Fitzgerald. He's reportedly heading the NESCAC route, but he's a solid player that probably could have been a fringe Division I prospect if he had played a year or two of juniors.
Two of Fitzgerald's prep teammates, Joe O'Connor (Vermont) and Will Brophy (Holy Cross) are the team's top blue liners.
Defenseman Jake Gresh of Avon Old Farms is a smooth skater who is very versatile. Teammate Tyler Carangelo had a couple real good games for John Gardner's Winged Beavers and has a knack for scoring goals.
Tim Sweeney, the son of the former Bruin by the same name, is a solid forward out of Xaverian who will be with Scott Harlow's South Shore Kings Premier next season. He leads the way up front while John Marino and Billy Sweezey are the big names on the blue line. Marino is projected to go in the second or third round of the NHL Draft. He's a flashy defenseman who has become more consistent defensively. Another Yale commit, Sweezey attended the Boston Bruins development camp last summer. Xaverian alum Ryan Walsh battled injury this winter, but is a solid defenseman.
Individual Players to Watch
Cushing grad Jake Simons (Eastern Eskimos) is a center who his prep coach gives a ton of credit for his intangibles and doing some of the little things that benefited his line with draft eligibles David Cotton (BC) and Bailey Conger (St. Lawrence)... Marc DelGaizo (EHG Orange) is a gritty defender out of Delbarton and NJ Rockets (EHL) to watch... Kent goalie Peter Negron (Hockey Essentials Black) is a '98 to watch for the future...Matt Muzyka (Jr. Wolfpack Gray) is a former Quinnipiac commit who was dismissed from Salisbury before the start of last season... '97 goaltender David Altman (NE Nordiques White) out of Pomfret is worth watching...Forward Anthony Del Gaizo, defenseman Sean Verrier and goaltender Dario LaTessa (PHDG Blue) are younger players with potential... Undersized but solid Billy Overby (Choate) and big Frank Cosolito (Catholic Memorial) are two blue liners to watch on Premier Sports Gray...Connor Leighton, a newcomer to Loomis, and Tyce Thompson, a Salisbury recruit, are two young forwards to watch on Top Shelf...
Jeff Cox covers college, junior, high school and prep hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.