2014-15 Team: BC High (High School - MA)
College Commitment: Northeastern '16
Hometown: Milton, Mass.
Date of Birth: 2/11/97
Final Central Scouting Ranking: 155
There was a wide array of viewpoints when talking to scouts about the top NHL Draft prospect in Massachusetts high school hockey this winter.
Ryan Shea's skating and puck-moving skills are unquestioned, but his ability to play solid defense on a consistent basis is what held him down in NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings.
Shea, who moved back to the blue line a few years ago after growing up playing forward, is the son of former Boston College standout Dan Shea.
It doesn't more than a few shifts into a game to discover how immensely talented Shea is with the puck. His poise and confidence is evident as he slows the game down and makes precise lead passes. His vision is uncanny in transition. He always skates with his head up and his stride is so smooth it looks as if his skates are barely touching the ice.
Shea, who isn't the biggest physical specimen in the draft by any means, is stronger than he might show from the outside. He has a heavy shot that he can get off on the move as well as from the point on the power play.
The defensive part of Shea's game is what gets the most scrutiny. There were nights during the high school season where he struggled on the back end, but there were enough games where the potential to be better defensively was on display.
He has a good stick and makes a lot of good pokechecks. His gap control is probably the most suspect part of his defensive game, but with a little more consistency, that could be shored up.
Shea will be heading out to play for the Youngstown Phantoms for his senior season before matriculating to Northeastern in the fall of 2016. He made the Phantoms roster for this past season, but elected to stay home and play for John Flaherty's Eagles.
Shea will surely get drafted. It's just a matter of where he gets selected. Some teams are higher on him than others. One Western Conference scout emphasized the potential for improvement defensively and the fondness he had for Shea's athletic ability.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior, high school and prep hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.