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Prep Hockey: Top Uncommitted ‘99s

Groton at Roxbury Latin

Most of the top 1999-born players in New England are already committed, but there are a few prospects still out there playing prep hockey who will someday play college hockey.

If there is one sure thing among the uncommitted ‘99s in prep hockey it is that Aidan McDonough of Thayer Academy is a Hockey East or top-tier ECAC Hockey player. The rest of the prospects on this list have potential upside, but also have cons to go along with their attributes.

Instead of doing a pure numbers ranking for top uncommitted '99s, the following is an "All-Uncommitted Team" of three forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender. Beneath that will be several honorable mention candidates, listed in alphabetical order.

Aidan McDonough, #25 Thayer, Jr., Left Wing, Left Shot, 11/6/99, 6-2/180 - He's the only uncommitted '99 in New England that this observer sees as a sure-fire impact player at the collegiate level. At least five Hockey East schools and a few ECAC Hockey programs are tracking or talking with him. He thinks the game well and is the glue guy on his line. While he doesn't have the speed or skill set of linemates Jay O'Brien (Providence) or Casey Carreau (BC), he plays well along the wall and below the dots. He has pro size. He drives the net, plays physically and isn't afraid to get his nose dirty. He does a great job retrieving pucks and sending out passes into the slot. He has a good shot and can score from anywhere. He's not going to dangle any defenders or pull off highlight reel toe-drags, but he has big-time potential. As a late '99, he's not eligible until the 2018 NHL Draft. If he works on his first step and getting out of the blocks quicker over the summer, he could be worthy of a third or fourth round pick in 2018. He's on the affiliate list of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. It shouldn't be long before he is committed.

Matt Holmes, #16 Salisbury, Sr., Left Wing, Left Shot, 2/22/99, 6-2/190 - He made a major step from his sophomore to junior season at Brunswick before transferring to the Knights for his final year of prep hockey. He's a power forward with a good first step and can play a heavy game. He wasn't as much of a force as he could have been in the early part of the season, but he's been really good the past viewings late in the season. There's a lot to like and he could be a nice late bloomer for a ECAC or Hockey East team.

Santeri Hartikainen#20 Groton, Jr., Center, Left Shot, 1/5/99, 6-1/185 - He's on NHL Central Scouting because of how he thinks the game and his strength on his skates and on the puck. He needs to be more consistent as there were a few games where he really stood out. There were other games where he was less than noticeable. He makes some good passes and has good speed, if not elite at either. He wins draws and does a lot of the little things, but needs to shore up his play in his own zone. A Finnish native, his skill set and hockey IQ are good enough to play Division I, but he needs to put it all together.

Matt Slick, #5 Proctor, Sr., Defense, Left Shot, 3/13/99, 6-2/200 - The interest is starting to heat up for the Laredo, Texas native. He recently made a visit to a Hockey East school and a few Atlantic Hockey and ECAC Hockey schools have also expressed interest. He has good size and great strength. He's not a great skater nor does he have an elite skill set, but he competes each shift. He's the type of player who hates to lose. At the collegiate level, he projects as a fifth or sixth defenseman who can play physically and log dirty minutes. He was drafted by Muskegon late in the 2016 USHL Draft, but wasn't protected or affiliated.

Bryce Dolan#3 Kimball Union, Jr., Defense, Right Shot, 2/13/99, 6-0/195 - He missed a few games during the middle of the prep season, but he's been a big part of the Wildcats' blue line. His team heads into the Elite 8 Tournament as one of the favorites. He's not flashy, but he's a good skater who is steady and smooth. He does a good job on breakouts and zone entries, retrieves pucks and has good vision. He has a good stick. He's not going to be a difference maker at the next level, but he's a good recruit for a college team looking for a fifth or sixth defender who can play the power play and skate well.

Aidan Porter, #1 Rivers, Jr., Goalie, Catches Left, 5/18/99, 6-2/170 - He has good size which helps him in the minds of some coaches. He's benefited from a very good team in front of him, but he's still made the saves this season. His skill set isn't elite, but he skates well and has a good a glove. He's drawn a little bit of interest from some Atlantic Hockey schools so far in the recruiting process.

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Patrick Dawson, #3 Westminster, Jr., Defense, Left Shot, 1/14/99, 6-0/185 - He's a little heavy on his feet, but he has a good stick, good vision and can play physically. He had a good showing in a few of the games at the Flood-Marr Tournament. He takes away passing lanes, has good gaps and does a good job defending with his stick.

Michael Holland, #23 Deerfield, Soph., Center, Left Shot, 11/23/99, 6-0/180 - A late '99 from North Carolina, this is his second season in prep hockey. He has some offensive upside, but he's a complete player who likes to throw his weight around. He creates turnovers and is heavy on pucks. He has a good shot and isn't afraid to go into areas where he can gets shots off. He's not a player that will wow observers with his hands or feet, but he has some potential as a bottom six guy.

Kyle Jadatz#13 Exeter, Jr., Center, Right Shot, 6/3/99, 5-11/170 - He's a rugged, physical two-way forward who skates well enough to compete at the Division I level. His offensive skill set isn't strong enough to be a top six guy going forward, but he could be a nice add as a reliable and solid center with a good stick who competes in all three zones.

Tim Kent#16 Lawrence, Jr., Forward, Right Shot, 8/4/99, 5-6/160 - He's a small, crafty winger who plays somewhat of a similar game to Maine senior and former Boston Advantage forward Cam Brown. He has a short but quick stride and provides a ton of energy each shift. He's not afraid to play in the dirty areas, despite his lack of size. He could be a nice addition for an Atlantic Hockey or ECAC Hockey team down the line as an older freshman. He was just named to the All-New England East Second Team and his Spartans open the Elite 8 Tournament as the top seed.

Ethan Kimball, #16 St. Mark’s, Sr., Center, Left Shot, 4/1/99, 5-11/160 - He has the physical tools as he possesses a somewhat explosive stride and is strong on his feet. He isn't the fastest player, but his speed won't be what holds him back. He has a hard shot and can battle down low, but the biggest question is whether he can think the game well enough to succeed at the next level. College coaches will want to know if he can create offense without the help of elite players such as Sean Farrell on his line. Sioux Falls Stampede have him on their affiliate list.

Ian Murphy, #15 Dexter, Jr., Right Wing, Right Shot, 4/6/99, 5-11/175 - He has Division I speed and skating ability. There is no doubt about it. There have been showcases and high school games in the past where he's really caught the eye of coaches. However, he needs to continue to prove he can play at a high level against better competition. He's gotten better as the season has gone along. The Charlottetown Islanders drafted him in the 2015 QMJHL Draft.

Jack Nisbet, #12 Dexter, Jr., Center/Right Wing, Right Shot, 3/3/99, 5-11/175 - Similarly to Murphy, college coaches will want to see him put up numbers against better competition. His vision and passing ability are his strengths. He doesn't quite have the pace yet to earn a commitment, but if he continues to work on his skating, he thinks the game well enough to catch the attention of some coaches.

Vilho Saariluoma, #19 Cushing, Jr., Left Wing, Left Shot, 7/14/99, 6-3/200 - While he hasn't been as dominant at the prep level as he could be with his size and physical tools, he still has shown the potential that intrigues some college coaches. At least two Hockey East schools are tracking his development. He's big and can come off the wall strong with the puck. He's a power forward, but he needs to show more than he has this season. He could take off next year under the right circumstances.

Devon Tongue, #20 Northfield Mount Hermon, Center, Left Shot, 12/31/99, 6-2/195 - Having seen him for quite a while now as he played at Springfield Cathedral as an eighth grader, there's always been reason to believe he could develop into a college hockey player. He's strong on his skates and sees the ice well offensively. He seems to be one step ahead of the puck and always is in position to be involved in the play. In limited viewings this season, the opinion that he could progress remains the same, but he needs to prove more yet.

Albert Washco#10 Gunnery, Jr., Center, Right Shot, 4/3/99, 5-7/147 - He's small and that will continue to keep some colleges away, but he's developed nicely over the past year. He's still a fringe player with potential to be Division I, but he'd be a great NESCAC candidate regardless. He's a good athlete who has agility and can weave in and out of traffic, but whether he can create offense on his own at the next level is still a question.

Ryan Wilson, #7 Milton, Jr., Defense, Right Shot, 5/17/99, 6-1/195 - He's a smooth skater who can move the puck and defend with his feet. A California native, he's still learning the game. There are shifts where he'll look really good. He has good footwork, a good shot from the point and can distribute the puck. He's physical and can ride opposing forwards into the boards. However, there are other shifts where he'll over-commit or not take the best of angles. He's likely a player that could commit to a Division I college as an older freshman or play NESCAC as most Milton kids end up taking that route.