2014-15 Team: Cushing Academy (High School - MA)
College Commitment: Boston College '16
Hometown: Parker, Tx.
Date of Birth: 7/9/97
Final Central Scouting Ranking: 62
Often times when watching tall and lanky younger players, an observer will see an awkward skater who is somewhat clumsy on the ice.
That's not the case with Cushing Academy rising senior David Cotton, who had more points than any other player in prep hockey this past winter. After coming to Rob Gagnon's program from Texas, Cotton has exploded on the scene, tallying 120 points in two seasons.
For a big player, Cotton is actually a very good skater with good feet. When watching him play, he can move from side to side and control the puck when a pass comes into his skates or he needs to use his feet to advance the puck.
"He has a really good stride, very good feet," commented Gagnon, a former player at UNH. "His puck possession skills are off the charts. He just never turns the puck over."
Cotton, who came to Cushing from the Colorado Thunderbird organization, is more of a set-up guy than a finisher, but he can do both.
"He has a really good stick and his play making ability is terrific," Gagnon said of his top line center who had 27 goals and 42 assists in 33 prep games this season.
Cotton was the man who got the most attention on the Penguins' vaunted top line that also included St. Lawrence commit Bailey Conger and uncommitted Jake Simons.
"It was the best line I've ever coached," said Gagnon, whose team was consistently thought of as one of the top teams in prep hockey all season.
His hockey smarts are hard to ignore when watching him on the ice. He seems to position himself well, find teammates and make heady decisions with the puck, but also away from the play.
"His hockey IQ is so high. He thinks the game at such a high level," explained Gagnon.
Cotton, who is projected to arrive at Boston College for the 2016-17 season, will play next season with Waterloo in the USHL. Cotton informed his prep school teammates and coaches over the weekend that he would be opting out of his senior year to play junior hockey.
Cotton's skillset and hockey IQ are clearly what have NHL scouts so interested in the Texan. For Cotton to truly reach his full potential and make the climb that several organizations believe he can, he will have to spend a lot of time in the weight room.
"He has all the skills you need, but he has to work on and focus on his strength. It will help improve his foot speed. He could stand to put on some muscle and add weight," said Gagnon.
Cotton will likely hear his name called in the third round, but the second isn't out of the realm of possibility if a team is willing to take a chance with the belief that he is still raw and can become even better than expected.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior, high school and prep hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.