North Andover, Mass. — Many of the top 2003-born players in the United States took part in the Total Pro Evaluation Spring Showcase at Merrimack’s two rinks over the weekend.
The event, put on by Boston Bruins Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting Scott Fitzgerald, was first class. Unlike most so-called showcases, this event had just six teams and there was a lot of talent on display. Two defensemen, Dylan Gratton and Aiden Hreschuck, stood out as the top two prospects at the event.
The six teams were coached by NHL scouts and prep school coaches: Frank Golden (Pittsburgh Penguins), Scott Harlow (Edmonton Oilers), Mike Levine (Vegas Golden Knights), Tom O’Connor (NHL Central Scouting and Lawrence Academy), Rob Riley (Columbus Blue Jackets), Jim Vesey (Toronto Maple Leafs), Shawn McEachern (Rivers), Dave Peters (Selects Academy at South Kent), Brett Riley (Albany Academy) and Paul Tortorella (Phillips Andover).
With prospects this age, there is plenty of time for certain players to develop and there is also the possibility kids who look great now don’t pan out. That’s the challenge for college coaches to project what a player will look like down the road.
The following notes and evaluations are broken down by A++, A+, A and B prospects, in alphabetical order within their classification and position:
Anthony Agostinelli, #14 Flyers, Left Shot, Rochester Monarchs - He had good size and was tough to knock off pucks. He had slick hands for a player of his size and was able to create offense as a set-up guy and as a finisher.
Tyler Boucher, #10 Canadiens, Right Shot, Team Virtua - He has a quick stick and was a good skater. His speed into the zone down the left wing started a scoring play. He also made a really nice pass to spring a teammate on a partial breakaway. He had a heavy shot as well.
Tim Delay, #10 Blackhawks, Right Shot, Eagles - He's a very good skater who had great agility. He created a lot of chances in transition by using his speed. He scored a nice backhand goal off a deke where he had the goalie leaning the wrong way.
Dylan Duke, #8 Flyers, Left Shot, Belle Tire - He has the makings of a really good possession forward who can create offense from anywhere. He had elite feet and hands. His puck skills were very good. He made a nifty centering feed on his team's second goal on Sunday. He also made a nice low to high pass from down below his attacking goal line.
Shawn O'Donnell, #15 Rangers, Left Shot, Penguins - He had good hands around the net. He scored on a tip-in goal and then finishing off a play with a quick shot on top of the crease. He finds seams in the opposition's defense. He's around the puck and in good position more times than not. He has that extra gear, competed hard and was physical for his size.
Ryan St. Louis, #9 Red Wings, Left Shot, Mid-Fairfield - He's an elite skater with tremendous speed and hands. He makes plays. He has a nose for the puck. He made a great move for a breakaway goal, accelerating past the defense and shielding the puck with his body. He made another slick move down the right wing, turning to feed a open teammate while still on the move. He was the best forward here. He's the son of UVM legend and retired NHL star Marty St. Louis.
Matt Brille, #9 Blackhawks, Right Shot, Team Maryland - He was strong, absorbed a hit to make a play and played the game the right way.
Davis Burnside, #15 Bruins, Right Shot, Chicago Mission - He was the best player on his team here. He protected the puck, was a strong skater and had good vision. His agility and straight line speed were both impressive. He made a few nice plays where he was able to pull up, stop and find an open line mate.
Kenny Connors, #11 Blackhawks, Left Shot, Team Virtua - He had a great motor and his puck pursuit was notable. He has good feet and creates chances with his energy.
Jackson Cuoto, #12 Canadiens, Right Shot, Minuteman Flames - He consistently used his speed and high motor to make plays and impact the game.
Jack Hughes, #8 Red Wings, Left Shot, Eagles - He had good hands and vision. He made a couple of really nice looks from the wall to find open teammates. He skates well and has some signs of becoming a good player.
Colby Saganiuk, #15 Red Wings, Right Shot, Chicago Mission - He had quick hands and good speed.
David Chen, #9 Canadiens, Right Shot, NJ Colonials - He was small, but quick and crafty with a good stick.
Liam Gilmartin, #11 Red Wings, Left Shot, Washington Little Caps - He was good down low and had a heavy shot.
Vinny Gould, #15 Red Wings, Right Shot, Terriers - He's a big strong kid who had good hands around the net, especially for someone his size.
Jayden Grier, #17 Red Wings, Left Shot, Terriers - He's small, but fast and played with a lot of energy.
Michael Hurst, #14 Rangers, Right Shot, Penguins - His speed and quickness were his two biggest strengths and the reason he was able to generate offense.
Matt McGoarty, #8 Rangers, Right Shot, Mid Fairfield - He had a powerful stride and good size.
Danny Minnehan, #12 Red Wings, Left Shot, LA Kings - He had slick hands and scored a nice goal, sniping a shot right below the bar.
CJ Monturio, #14 Canadiens, Right Shot, Terriers - He showed good speed and an ability to create offense.
Jackson Morehouse, #10 Flyers, Right Shot, Penguins - He went to the net and scored on a rebound and a pass by driving the far post.
Jaiden Moriello, #11 Canadiens, Right Shot, Islanders - He had a knack for being around the puck and getting to positions to get chances.
Jayden Sison, #11 Bruins, Right Shot, Team Virtua - He had good vision and decent hands. He made a nice pass out front for a scoring chance from in back of his attacking net.
Jack Slayton, #17 Canadiens, Right Shot, NJ Colonials - He made a beauty of a finish on a two-on-one odd man rush.
J.P. Turner, #16 Rangers, Right Shot, Terriers - He had good size and showed signs of blossoming into a solid north-south type forward.
Jeremy Wilmer, #12 Blackhawks, Left Shot, LI Gulls - He's a small, crafty forward who had a few really good shifts. He's already being courted by several Hockey East and ECAC schools.
Cully Wilson, #9 Rangers, Left Shot, Boston Advantage - He thinks the game well and was a strong skater.
Dylan Gratton, #5 Blackhawks, Left Shot, NJ Avalanche - He was the best prospect here. His composure in all three zones was truly impressive. He moved the puck with precision. He skated well. He had his head up and made good passes. He had a good stick and was able to process the game. He made some nifty plays with the puck, both with his stick and skating it.
Aiden Hreschuck, #6 Flyers, Left Shot, LA Kings - He was very, very good. His skating and how he thought the game were both absolutely tremendous. He stepped up and made plays. He knew when to pick his spots. He created goals from his play on the blue line. He had good gaps and a good stick.
Joe Fleming, #4 Rangers, Right Shot, Eagles - He's a mobile, puck-mover. He has a good stick going back and was the best defender on his team.
Nolan Joyce, #4 Canadiens, Right Shot, Eagles - He was a mobile defender who competed and grinded when retrieving pucks. He had a really good one-timer and had good footwork overall.
Davis Kinne, #2 Canadiens, Right Shot, Islanders - He had good size and skated well. He was able to hop into the offense and move the puck in transition with his feet.
Carter Schade, #2 Bruins, Left Shot, Penguins - He was very good with the puck on his stick, making plays in transit and in his attacking zone. His footwork was above average and he had good vision.
Shai Buium, #5 Canadiens, Left Shot, LA Kings - He has good size and played some forward here as well. He was active, liked to join the rush and had reach.
Nick Donaldson, #2 Blackhawks, Right Shot, Mid Fairfield - He was very good in his own end, riding a few opposing forwards into the wall. He was good positionally in his own zone.
Tyler Duke, #7 Flyers, Left Shot, Belle Tire - He was a little on the smaller side, but he was a good skater from the back end.
Will Elias, #3 Canadiens, Right Shot, Eagles - He was a good skater who liked to join the rush. He had good recovery speed and could close. He was good on breakouts.
Brendan Fitzgerald, #2 Flyers, Left Shot, Islanders - He read plays well, stepping up and intercepting passes and knowing when to pinch. He showed off his vision with a nice pass to the backdoor from the left point.
Jake Geraci, #3 Red Wings, Right Shot, Mid Fairfield - He wasn't flashy, but he was efficient. He made a solid play defensively on another team's top player.
Will Killoran, #4 Flyers Right Shot, Eagles - His size and reach were intriguing.
Patrick Morrisey, #3 Rangers, Right Shot, Terriers - He had vision, size and feet that were noticeable.
Tyler Procious, #5 Flyers, Right Shot, Rochester Monarchs - He took good angles and made nice breakout passes.
Chase Ramsay, #3 Flyers, Right Shot, Westchester Express - He made a good pokecheck to push the puck out of his defensive zone and was an above average skater.
Nick Roukounakis, #5 Red Wings, Left Shot, Eagles - He's a rugged defender who kept the possession going forward and did a nice job pinching.
Nick Wallace, #5 Rangers, Left Shot, NJ Colonials - He had above average mobility and was physical for his size.
Conor Callaghan, #31 Bruins, Catches Left, Mid Fairfield - He's a competition in the crease and does a good job on his rebound control and covering up loose pucks.
Brett Cleaves, #30 Flyers, Catches Left, NJ Devils - He moved well in net and made a couple good post-to-post saves.
Thomas Heaney, #30 Blackhawks, Catches Left, NJ Colonials - He had good size, moved well and solid fundamentals.