The 2017 Beantown Spring Classic was significantly down in terms of overall talent across the board.
Many of the region’s top players skipped the event, including NHL Draft prospects Jack Rathbone (Harvard), Reilly Walsh (Harvard), Tyce Thompson (Providence) and Jack Dugan (Providence).
For the most part, the only worth while hockey was played at the Pre-Draft Division, which was made up of prospects born in 2000 and 2001. Even there, a lot of the better players were missing. There was a lot of horrible hockey, but a few players had nice showings. For this post, special attention was paid to players from the USPHL 16U and lesser viewed prep schools. The first six players are uncommitted prospects who caught this observer’s eye. The last three are committed recruits whose play deserved recognition. Each category is listed in alphabetical order.
Cedrick Andree, #1 Green, Goaltender, Catches Left, The Gunnery, 6/7/00, 5-11/165 - It's always tough to evaluate goaltenders in a showcase that is nothing more than glorified pond hockey, but the Orleans, Ontario native looked the part. He's smooth and graceful in the crease. He moves well and made saves look easy. He was selected by the Ottawa 67's in the 2016 OHL Draft.
Nolan Barrett, #4 Yellow, Defense, Shoots Right, Selects Academy 16U, 7/26/00, 5-8/165 - He's a Division I player. He joins the rush and breaks the puck out of his own zone well. He retrieves pucks and has good gaps. His physical tools are very good, and he'll be even better once he learns to play in control more consistently. He's on the affiliate list for the Youngstown Phantoms.
Sam Colangelo, #13 Orange, Forward, Shoots Right, Lawrence Academy, 12/26/01, 5-10/158 - This was his best viewing to date. He combined speed and vision, went to the net and displayed confidence in the offensive zone.
Bradey Farrell, #3 Orange, Defense, Shoots Left, Junior Bruins 16U, 4/5/01, 6-3/195 - The Rhode Islander was a little inconsistent, but he showed some very good signs here. He's got pro size and projects as a stay-at-home blue liner. He was good on gaps and had a good stick defensively. He was able to take away time and space with his reach. His mobility is improving, but he sometimes gets caught flat-footed. Overall, he's going to be a Division I player down the line.
Parker Ford, #14 Yellow, Forward, Shoots Right, Selects Academy 16U, 7/20/00, 5-2/105 - He might be a little too small to consider him a Division I prospect as of now, but he was fun to watch here. He had a great motor and decent hands. He was around the puck a lot and created chances.
Connor Sweeney, #14 Black, Forward, Shoots Left, Pingree School, 5/5/00, 6-2/185 - His emergence as a big-time prospect continued here. His first step and overall stride are explosive. He can create scoring plays and he's really coming into his own. It shouldn't be long before he's committed. He's already received at least one Hockey East offer and other schools are in the picture. Muskegon owns his USHL rights.
Malik Alishlalov, #3 Green, Defense, Shoots Left, CT Jr. Rangers 16U, 1/7/01, 6-2/197 (UConn) - In the final game Thursday night, he was very dynamic with the puck. His mobility was on display. He kept his feet moving and the puck going forward. He pushed the pace, joined the rush and took away time and space in transition. He just moved to the U.S. so he still has some work to do learning the game. His in-zone defensive play should get better once he adjusts and develops further.
Max Bogdanovich, #15 Orange, Forward, Shoots Left, Junior Bruins, 3/31/01, 6-3/215 (Maine) - He looked really good here and he has the makings of a future pro. He's solid, has an explosive stride and was strong on the walls.
Robbie Griffin, #8 Orange, Forward, Shoots Right, Junior Bruins 16U, 1/8/01, 5-11/170 (Northeastern) - He might have been the best player on the ice in the division. He's a possession forward and a complete player. He made several good plays to start scoring chances from behind the attacking goal line. He's fast and impacts the play below the dots despite not being the biggest of players.
* Notes were generated on other players, but no one else really shined like the above mentioned players. Of course, it's possible they did when this observer was watching other games in the building.