Plymouth, Mich. – USA Hockey’s NTDP Evaluation Camp concluded Tuesday at the USA Hockey Arena. Many, not all, of the top 2001-born hockey players in the United States were in attendance.
NTDP coaches and scouts evaluated the players and will pick the team they believe will be best for the 2017-18 U.S. NTDP U-17 Team and 2018-19 U.S. NTDP U-18 Team. College coaches, USHL, OHL and QMJHL scouts, and NHLPA agents scouted the event as well.
The only player in this birth year that stands out as a truly can’t miss NHL prospect is goaltender Spencer Knight, a Boston College commit. There are a few very good forwards and defensemen that seem to be destined for NCAA stardom, but no skaters that truly stick out as certain top 10 NHL Draft picks. Obviously, that can all change, as there are 27 months before the 2019 NHL Draft.
USA Hockey did a good job overall of inviting the top prospects, but several players that were missed are better than some of the players invited to camp. Trevor Kuntar, Grant Silianoff, Michael Mancinelli and Mithcell Miller would have all been upgrades over certain players here.
The following rankings and notes for each prospect were obtained through viewings on Monday and Tuesday, the final two days of camp:
1. Trevor Zegras, 3/20/01, Shoots Left, Bedford, N.Y., Avon Old Farms Prep (Boston University) – He just gets to pucks and makes plays. He’s fast and gets out of the blocks quickly. He has terrific hands. He has great touch on his passes and also received a tough pass on his backhand while on the move. He just thinks the game extremely well offensively and exudes confidence with the puck. He made a couple of really creative plays on Monday. He chipped the puck off the wall to himself for a chance and made a flip backhand pass to a defenseman joining the rush on another sequence.
2. Jack Hughes, 5/14/01, Shoots Left, Orlando, Fla., Toronto Marlboros Minor Midget AAA – He seemed like he was pressing a little on Monday, but he was excellent Tuesday. He’s an A+ skater who can really take off. He has great agility that allows him to weave in and out of defenders. He made a highlight reel play on the zone entry on Sean Farrell’s goal, the seventh for Blue on Tuesday.
3. Alex Turcotte, 2/26/01, Shoots Left, Walleyed Lake, Mich., Chicago Mission U16 (Wisconsin) – He makes some big time moves with the puck on his stick. His explosiveness allows him to play bigger than he is. On Monday, he made a powerful move up the right side, blew past a defender, cut to the middle, fended off another defender and finished it. He made a nice centering feed on an odd man rush and flipped a backhander into the net on Tuesday. A burst down the left wing led to a goal later in the game.
4. Johnny Beecher, 4/5/01, Shoots Left, Elmira, NY, Salisbury School – He didn’t do much here, but there were a few flashes of brilliance. He ripped a shot off the post on a powerful drive into the slot on one play. On another he blew right up the middle and past a defender for a chance on the backhander. His stride is so explosive. He might not be the best forward in his age group right now, but it wouldn’t be surprising if he was in two years.
5. Luke Toporowski, 4/12/01, Shoots Left, Bettendorf, Iowa, Chicago Mission U16 – He was my top ranked player at Select 15s. He wasn’t as good here, but he’s still a good player. He plays with an edge and likes to throw his weight around. He has a good stick and wins a lot of battles because of that. One win along the wall led to a breakaway and a drawn penalty. He scored a really nice one-timer from a poor angle on Tuesday. He has a low center of gravity when he’s skating and protects the puck well.
6. Arthur Kaliyev, 6/26/01, Shoots Left, New York, N.Y., Compuware U16 – He’s another player who has impressed more in past viewings, but he was still good here. His best asset is his heavy shot and strength holding on to the puck. He has that sneaky release where he can draw the puck back and just rip a wrist shot. He scored two goals, one an empty netter, in the two days, but he had several other good chances.
7. Sean Farrell, 11/2/01, Shoots Left, Hopkinton, Mass., St. Mark’s School (Harvard) – His passing skills and vision are his top attributes. He did score two goals on Tuesday. He’s a good skater with above average speed and he protects the puck with his agility. He’s hard to defend. He made a great pass to lead Jack Hughes into the zone on a scoring play. He drove the puck into the right corner, pulled up and hit a trailer on another scoring play. His playmaking ability isn’t just confined to the perimeter either. He made a nice setup from below the goal line on Monday.
8. Ryder Rolston, 10/31/01, Shoots Right, Birmingham, Mich., Little Caesars U16 – He was better on Monday than Tuesday, but overall, he was much better than in past viewings. He has really good hands and good wheels. He can dash in and out of traffic with his agility and puck skills. He has good footwork. He corralled a puck with his skates and made a nice move from it. His shiftiness allows him to get time and space. He’s a player who should develop into an even better player as he bulks up.
9. Matthew Boldy, 4/5/01, Shoots Left, Millis, Mass., Dexter School (Boston College) – He’s a player that just continues to get better and better. He has a good offensive skill set and he skates well, but he really thinks the game well in all three zones. He has good hands and can make some great touch passes. He also was good on the backcheck and away from the puck in general. He projects as a top six forward in college, but he could play a role on the third or fourth line for the NTDP.
10. Robert Mastrosimone, 1/24/01, Shoots Left, East Islip, N.Y., Shattuck St. Mary’s U16 (Boston University) – He impacted the game almost every shift which is something to look for in viewings. He had good puck pursuit, engaged and killed penalties. He has good speed and above average hands. He made a nice toe drag to get around the opposition’s RD on a goal Tuesday.
11. Jake Hale, 5/19/01, Shoots Right, Minneapolis, Minn., Minneapolis HS (Minnesota Duluth) – He’s really fast and his speed drew a penalty. He scored a nice goal, cutting from the left boards to the slot where he ripped a wrist shot high glove side without breaking stride. He was knocked off the puck a little, but he’ll be fine once he bulks up. If he gets left off the team, it’s not a reflection of his ability, rather that he doesn’t fit a role.
12. Patrick Moynihan, 1/23/01, Shoots Right, Millis, Mass., Noble & Greenough School (Boston College) – He’s fast and gets off a lot of shots on goal. He’s not the biggest player, but he’s quick and dynamic enough to not let that hold him back. His release on his shot is so quick. As good as his hands are, he might get left off the team because there might not be room for him as a top six forward. For his development, it’s best he plays in USHL as a top six. He’s not a bottom six type forward.
13. Judd Caulfield, 3/19/01, Shoots Right, Grand Forks, N.D., Grand Forks Central HS (North Dakota) – He didn’t do too much Monday or Tuesday, but he’s a strong power forward going forward. He’s still growing into his frame, but he has a strong stride and can be a fourth line type forward for the NTDP.
14. John Farinacci, 2/14/01, Shoots Right, Chatham, N.J., Shattuck St. Mary’s U16 (Harvard) – He was better on Monday than Tuesday and he’s right on the borderline of making the program. He has a quick stick and scored on a nice drive to the far post on Monday.
15. Joshua Nodler, 4/27/01, Shoots Right, Oak Park, Mich., Honeybaked U16 (Michigan State) – He scored two goals on Tuesday. He’s a good skater. On one goal, he made a strong move from left to right before sniping a shot past the glove of the goalie. The other goal was on a shot that went five-hole, but he had positioned himself well in slot for space to receive a pass. He’s a nice player who should be a good player for the Spartans.
16. Danny Weight, 5/1/01, Shoots Left, Lattingtown, N.Y., P.A.L. Islanders U16 – Monday wasn’t his best viewing, but he had a couple of really nice shifts in the third period Tuesday. He had a goal and assist on the same shift in the third period. He can drive the net and has a good shot.
17. Michael Gildon, 6/21/01, Shoots Left, Plano, Texas, Dallas Stars U16 – He’s a bigger forward who is a little heavy on his feet, but he was better Tuesday than Monday. He made a nice hit behind his own goal line to break up a play. He dug a puck down low in his attacking zone for a chance out front. He definitely seemed to gain confidence as the week went along, but he can still work on slowing the game down.
18. Kaden Bohlsen, 1/10/01, Shoots Right, Willmar, Minn., Shattuck St. Mary’s U15 (Minnesota) – He’s a strong player who could become a solid two-way forward and a physical presence down the line. He has a hard shot and engages on the backcheck.
19. Cole Caufield, 1/2/01, Shoots Right, Mosinee, Wis., Stevens Point Area HS (Ohio State) – He’s small, but he’s gritty. He’s quick and crafty. He’s willing to engage and backcheck, but wasn’t able to penetrate the slot offensively.
20. Tyler Paquette, 3/18/01, Shoots Right, Collegeville, Pa., The Hill School (Penn State) – He’s a player that will continue to get better, but he’s not there yet. He’s going to be a solid north-south power forward who plays well below the dots in college and maybe as a late bloomer professionally.
21. Kyle Harris, 4/12/01, Shoots Left, East Aurora, N.Y., Toronto Marlboros Minor Midget AAA – He’s a good skater, but was not quite dynamic enough here.
22. Owen Lindmark, 5/17/01, Shoots Right, Naperville, Ill., Chicago Mission U16 – He’s a good skater, but he’s never that flashy of a player, which doesn’t bode well in glorified scrimmages at camps like this. Expect a USHL team to pick him quite high in the USHL Phase I Draft.
23. Ryan Robinson, 10/19/01, Shoots Left, Plano, Texas, Dallas Stars U16 – He has good edge work and skates well. He can cut into the middle from the sides, but didn’t finish here.
24. Jeffrey Bertrand, 5/10/01, Shoots Left, Anchorage, AK, Alaska Oilers U15 –
1. Marshall Warren, 4/20/01, Shoots Left, Laurel Hollow, N.Y., North Jersey Avalanche U16 (Harvard) – He’s been the top defenseman in his age group for at least a year and this week did nothing to change that. He’s an elite athlete who plays well in all three zones. He was very good defensively. He does a good job of riding opposing forwards off to the wall and winning one-on-one battles in his own end. He plays with a mean streak. He skates so well going backwards. He has a really hard and purposeful shot from the point and his mobility allows him to jump into the fray as the fourth forward.
2. Cam York, 1/5/01, Shoots Left, Anaheim, Calif., Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep (Boston College) – He’s not flashy, but he’s really good. He’s a great skater with unbelievable mobility. He defends with his feet and is solid on positioning in the defensive zone. He’s a one-man breakout who has good vision and poise with the puck. He can jump into the offense.
3. Case McCarthy, 1/9/01, Shoots Right, Clarence Center, N.Y., Buffalo Jr. Sabres U16 (Boston University) – He didn’t play on Monday, but he made his presence felt Tuesday. He has good size and skates well. He’s always on the right side of the puck and defends well. He has good reach and gets in shooting and passing lanes. He had good vision from the point, setting up a goal.
4. Henry Thrun, 3/12/01, Shoots Left, Soutborough, Mass., St. Mark’s School (Harvard) – He’s wildly underrated in this observer’s opinion. He’s not flashy, but he’s smart and gets the job done each shift. He skates well and has a good stick in his own zone. One instance where he had a good stick broke up a play at one end and he turned into a goal for his team at the other end. He thinks the game and reads plays well. He has good gaps. He can skate the puck out of his own zone, or make heady lead passes.
5. Dominick Fensore, 9/7/01, Shoots Left, Thornwood, N.Y., P.A.L. Islanders U16 (Quinnipiac) – Pay no attention to his height. His footwork and skating are so good he can overcome that. He retrieves pucks, breaks the puck out of the zone and acts as a fourth forward. His gaps and layers are good. He has a good shot and is a prototypical modern era puck transporter. He scored a goal each day. Monday he joined the rush and scored on a wrist shot from left circle. On Tuesday he took the puck from the corner of the attacking zone and cut out to the slot and sniped. Is he as good defensively as some others at camp? No, but it’s not enough of a detriment to keep him off the team. Latching on to him early was a big time coup for the Bobcats staff.
6. Alex Vlasic, 6/5/01, Shoots Left, Wilmette, Ill., Chicago Mission U16 (Boston University) – He’s a tall lanky defender who projects better than he is at the moment. He has good length and makes solid plays defensively. He’s likely going to be a stay-at-home defender with good size. His positioning and good stick forced an off side.
7. Ryan Siedem, 2/25/01, Shoots Right, Madison, N.J., Avon Old Farms Prep (Boston College) – Having seen him a lot in prep, his play was about what I expected on Monday, but got better on Tuesday. He has a good stick in his own zone and is in good position nine times out of ten. He’s mobile and can move the puck, but doesn’t have the elite skill set of the players ranked above him.
8. Drew Helleson, 3/26/01, Shoots Right, Farmington, Minn., Shattuck St. Mary’s U16 (Boston College) – He has a really good stick in the defensive zone and made a couple of nice plays. He’s an above average skater, but needed a little more consistency in the defensive zone on positioning.
9. Ryan Johnson, 7/24/01, Shoots Left, Irvine, Calif., Anaheim Jr. Ducks U16 – He has good footwork and mobility, and can move the puck. Working against him is Fensore’s similar, but better skill set. Johnson is an impressive prospect that will be a nice commit for a NCAA school. He’s confident with the puck and has good gaps. He gets shots on net from the point.
10. Cade Webber, 1/5/01, Shoots Left, Meadville, Pa., Rivers School (Boston University) – He’s not there yet, but he has the size and physical tools to possibly make the team as a prospect the NTDP staff believes can be there in a year or so.
11. Marcus Gretz, 11/22/01, Shoots Left, Albuquerque, N.M., Belle Tire U16 (Ohio State) – He does a good job defending with his positioning and length, but his feet are still a little heavy. He got beat a few times on in-zone coverage, but he also made some really nice plays. It’s too early to write him off as he’s a late birthdate, but he’s better off working on his foot speed and stick in midget hockey and then the USHL. He’s a player who could develop over the next few years.
12. Nicholas Kent, 2/1/01, Shoots Right, Ladera Ranch, Calif., Delta Academy 15s (Quinnipiac) – He’s a good skater. He’s fast and has a good stick, but his skill set is too similar to others above him in these rankings to be considered. Look for him to be a good college player for Rand Pecknold down the road.
13. Nathan Staios, 5/17/01, Shoots Left, Atlanta, Ga., Vaughan Kings Minor Midget AAA – His hockey IQ and mobility are both good, but he didn’t do enough here to set himself apart.
14. Braden Doyle, 8/24/01, Shoots Left, Lynnfield, Mass., Lawrence Academy (Boston University) – He didn’t have his best week here, but he still showed poise with the puck at times. He seemed a little nervous and forced some plays, leading to turnovers. He’s still going to be a good offensive defenseman, but it likely won’t be on the NTDP.
15. Michael Koster, 4/13/01, Shoots Left, Chaska, Minn., Chaska HS (Minnesota) – He’s a little undersized, but he’s a good skater. Once he bulks up, it wouldn’t surprise this observer if he were a very good college player for the Gophers.
16. Jake Boltmann, 10/19/01, Shoots Right, Edina, Minn., Edina HS (Minnesota) – He was beat a few times on transition plays Tuesday. He’s on the younger side and showed some signs, but it wasn’t his best viewing.
1. Spencer Knight, 4/19/01, Catches Left, Darien, Conn., Avon Old Farms Prep (Boston College) – He didn’t play Monday, but he came in for the second half of the game Tuesday. He’s got it all. He has size, athleticism and fundamentals. He skates well. He challenges shooters on top of the crease and takes up a lot of net. He made a great save on a Trevor Zegras breakaway where he didn’t bite on the deke.
2. Cam Rowe, 6/1/01, Catches Left, Wilmette, Ill., Team Illinois Midget Minor – He skates well and doesn’t have great size, but he isn’t small. He has quick reflexes and makes some athletic saves.
3. Josh Langford, 7/27/01, Catches Left, Frisco, Texas, Dallas Stars U16 – He gave up a soft goal Tuesday, but made a few nice saves as well. He goes post-to-post quickly. He covers a lot of the net and made a nice stop on Arthur Kaliyev.
4. Mack Guzda, 1/11/01, Catches Left, Knoxville, Tenn., Honeybaked U16 – He has good size and could be a good goaltender down the road. He just didn’t look quite as good as Langford or Rowe here in the battle to be the second stringer to Knight.
5. Alex Aslanidis, 1/20/01, Catches Left, Morrestown, N.J., Philadelphia Jr. Flyers U16 (Providence) – This wasn’t a good week for him, as he’s played much better in past viewings. He gave up two goals where he left his net to play the puck. He stopped Jake Hale on a penalty shot.