The 2016 Beantown Spring Classic took place March 9-11 at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, Mass. The Pre-Draft Division included many of the top 1999 and 2000 born prospects in New England with a few from outside the region.
Many of the players in the division were those that have been viewed many times in prep and midget games, but there were some very intriguing prospects who weren't as well known to this observer. In alphabetical order, here's a look at several uncommitted prospects that stood out in viewings Thursday and Friday, keeping in mind that it's trying to take a look at players that haven't been covered here as much. Note that with the Draft Division games running at the same time, it's not always easy to notice every player on the ice so any omissions don't necessarily mean a player is not worthy of recognition.
Hunter Brackett, Black #18, Forward, Shoots Left, 5-10/155, 11/27/00, Boston Junior Bruins 16U - He's a good skater and passer who always has his head up and is a pass first player. He has good hockey sense. He'll be at Tabor Academy next year.
Mark Cheremeta, Red #16, Forward, Shoots Left, 5-10/160, 7/12/99, Palm Beach Hawks - A relative unknown having played in the USP3HL this season, he was excellent here. He's a good skater who plays bigger than his size. He has good hands and an accurate shot. He was around the puck a lot.
Corey Clifton, Red #21, Forward, Shoots Left, 5-9/145, 5/4/99, Jersey Hitmen 16U - A good skater, he was a complete player with good hockey sense. He made a couple of nice chips up the wall to start breakouts. He had good vision and awareness of where teammates were on the ice. He was a resourceful player that should only get better and be a good college prospect. He's the younger brother of Quinnipiac's Connor and Tim Clifton.
Brendan Darby, Gold #15, Forward, Shoots Right, 5-10/160, 8/1/99, NJ Rockets 16U - He made a few really nifty moves with the puck. He can move well even on his off-side. He had a nice toe drag to get a good shot on net.
Patrick Dawson, Red #2, Defense, Shoots Left, 6-0/180, 1/14/99, Westminster School - He's a player that has stood out a few times previously, but this was his best showing to date. He was just very solid and played physical. He made a few good poke checks, took away passing lanes and had good gap control. He also exhibited good vision a few times in transition.
Ethan DeStefani, Red #19, Right Wing, Shoots Right, 6-3/188, 2/16/99, The Gunnery - He shows flashes of being able to develop into a power forward who can play wing and move up and down the sheet. When he goes to the net and uses his size to his advantage like he did a few shifts here, he's a force.
Liam Gorman, Black #16, Forward, Shoots Left, 6-2/185, 5/8/00, St. Sebastian's - He has a good reach, a powerful stride and used his size better here than he was able to in prep against older competition.
Matthew Gould, Black #20, Forward, Shoots Left, 5-10/150, 6/26/00, Boston Junior Bruins 18U - Very good offensive skill set, he's fast, has good hands and is a quick mover of the puck. He's a possession type player that can generate chances by many different ways.
Nick Hale, White #2, Defense, Shoots Left, 5-9/155, 5/7/99, Salisbury - Having liked him since seeing him with the Carolina Junior Hurricanes, he continues to impress and get better. He's a good skater with speed, has a good one-timer, can work the point and pushes the pace in transition.
Michael Higgins, Gold #4, Defense, Shoots Right, 5-10/185, 4/6/00, Boston Advantage 16U - A good skater, he's very good on his skates and exudes confidence with the puck when looking to push the pace in transition. He's solid and is a player who looks to have potential to be a very good prospect down the road.
Ethan Kimball, Gold #12, Forward, Shoots Left, 6-0/175, 4/1/99, St. Mark's - He's made big strides in a year and had a nice prep season. It shows in his game. Here he was confident with the puck, had good composure and patience and made plays with the puck. He's a good skater who is strong on his feet and heavy on pucks.
Tyler Madden, Gold #16, Forward, Shoots Right, 5-10/147, 11/9/99, Avon Old Farms - The son of former Michigan and NHLer John Madden, he had a nice first season in prep. He was real good here as he was more in his element against players more his age. He has good hands and is crafty. He's creative, knows where to be to find the puck and has good hockey IQ.
Harrison Roy, Black #13, Forward, Shoots Right, 5-11/160, 1/17/00, Boston Bandits 16U - He'll be heading to Loomis Chaffee in the fall. He has a good offensive skill set and is fast.
Vilho Saariluoma, Red #18, Forward, Shoots Left, 6-3/180, 7/14/99, Cushing Academy - Much like in previous viewings of the Finnish import, he used his size as leverage. He's able to draw defenders and dish pucks to open teammates. He should be one of the more scouted players in prep next season for the 2017 NHL Draft.
Ryan Stevens, Black #14, Forward, Shoots Left, 5-4/125, 0/00/00, Duxbury - The son of former NHLer Kevin and brother of Yale commit and Carolina Hurricanes prospect Luke Stevens, he still hasn't hit his growth spurt, but he's fast. He's crafty and uses his speed to get time and space. He can get shots off and has a nifty, accurate shot.
Jordan Tonelli, Red #19, Forward, Shoots Left, 5-10/155, 6/30/00, Taft School - He's been a favorite of this observer for a little over a year. He was part of a nice rookie class for Dan Murphy's Rhinos. The son of former NHL star John Tonelli, he's a finisher who is strong on pucks and creates chances by being strong on his skates. Update: Tonelli committed to Brown following the Beantown Spring Classic.