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World Selects Invite: Top American Prospects

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This observer took in the World Selects Invite in Voorhees and Mount Laurel, New Jersey for three days earlier this month. There were 28 teams participating in the event that showcased many of the best 2002-born players in the world.

With the amount of teams spread out across four ice sheets at two different facilities, some teams were viewed more than others, but every team was seen at least once.

The following player evaluations are based on performance at WSI with future potential in mind. They are also broken into three categories – American, Canadian and European. The Canadians and Europeans will be listed in a separate post in the next few days.

Heights, weights and DOB are what were listed in program. Some coaches didn’t provide heights and weights, and some were clearly not accurate.

This observer did the best he could to notice everyone worth recognition, but particular attention was paid to ‘A’ players so a few ‘B’ players might be omitted or listed in honorable mention category. Players are listed in alphabetical order within their grade category.

U.S.A.

‘A+’ Forwards

Jason Siedem, #92 East Coast Canadians, 10/17/02, Shoots Right, 5-10/155, Madison, N.J. (Boston College) – He has great feet out of the block and get going from zero to 60. He has that second gear to burst by defenders and to protect the puck. His hands are very good for a player his size. He’s explosive and uses his body to his advantage.

Antonio Stranges, #40 West Coast Selects, 2/5/02, Shoots Left, 5-9/155, Plymouth, Mich. (Michigan) – He’s the special player in this age group it would appear. He has a great first step and can really skate. He is creative and can do things with the puck that few can do. He made a few nice sauce passes. He’s strong, fast and thinks the game well offensively.

‘A’ Forwards

Tanner Latsch, #15 TPH, 1/2/02, Shoots Right, 6-2/170, Muskegon, Mich. (Wisconsin) – This wasn’t his best viewing, but his size and skating ability allow him to protect pucks.

Ryan Mulrenin, #97 Minnesota Blades, 4/9/02, Shoots Right, 5-9/150, Plymouth, Minn. – He was the best uncommitted forward here. His elite speed is a difference maker. He finds seams in opposing defenses. He gets to puck to generate offense. He has a quick release. He has just one pace – fast. He has a great shot, scoring on a wrist shot that went off the post and in. He can draw penalties. He’s fun to watch.

Isaac Novak, #88 West Coast Selects, 1/8/02, Shoots Left, 5-10/170, Waukesha, Wis. (Wisconsin) – He’s a facilitator with the puck. He can dish the puck off and get pucks to linemates for chances. He’s heavy on pucks and wins battles. He cycles well down low and gets to pucks first.

Landon Slaggert, #9 STX Bauer, 6/25/02, Shoots Left, 5-9/175, South Bend, Ind. – He’s the son of Notre Dame associate head coach Andy Slaggert and brother of NTDPer and Irish commit Graham Slaggert. He plays the game the right way and exudes hockey IQ. That’s not to say he isn’t skilled, but his hockey sense is a major factor in his play. He’s a good skater and made a few really nice passes to set up scoring plays.

Ty Smilanic, #96 West Coast Selects, 1/20/02, Shoots Left, 5-11/165, Denver, Colo. (Denver) – He uses his edges and can really wheel and deal through traffic. His speed and shot are both top notch.

Cole Vallese, #90 East Coast Selects, 2/15/02, Shoots Left, 5-9/145, Rockville, Md. (Providence) – He has elite speed and a quick release. He quickness causes problems for opposing teams in transition and in zone. He made a beautiful pass right on the tape of a linemate for a goal on a two-on-zero breakaway.

‘B+’ Forwards

Victor Czernneckianair, #15 East Coast Canadians, 2/17/02, Shoots Left, 5-10/165, Southington, Conn. (Quinnipiac) – He didn’t show off the hands that he has displayed in past viewings, but he did a lot of things well. He’s a good skater who works well down low. He dug out a lot of pucks below the goal line. He did show the ability to be quick and shifty with the puck on his stick.

Nick DeSantis, #12 East Coast Canadians, 5/2/02, Shoots Right, 5-8/145, Collegevilla, Pa. – He’s quick and can separate from defenders. He does a lot of the little things and had a good few days finishing.

Alex Gaffney, #15 West Coast Selects, 6/25/02, Shoots Left, 5-5/135, West Orange, N.J. (Harvard) – He has elite speed and a low center of gravity. He can separate from defensemen with his burst of quickness.

Stephen Halliday, #77 East Coast Selects, 7/2/02, Shoots Left, 6-3/185, Glenwood, Md. – He’s a big power forward who made good passes from behind the goal line and along the walls after winning puck battles. He scored on a wraparound showing his ability to be dominant down low. He’s just a very good net front presence. He plays for Toronto Marlboros. His skating is his one area of weakness currently.

Nate Hanley, #14 TPH, 5/30/02, Shoots Right, 5-9/150, Rocky Point, N.Y. – He never stood out this much in previous viewings, but he had a nice showing here. He’s strong on his skates and has a quick release. His shot was accurate and he knew where to go to find the puck.

Mackie Samoskevich, #24 East Coast Canadians, 11/15/02, Shoots Right, 5-9/150, Sandy Hook, Conn. – He has good straight line and agility speed. He made a couple of really nice moves to dart in and around defenders. He has a hard shot and was able to generate offense in transition.

Jakub Teply, #19 STX Bauer, 6/19/02, Shoots Left, 5-8/172, Stamford, Conn. – Having seen him several times for Mid-Fairfield, he’s always been a good player. However, his play was elevated this week. He’s tough to knock off pucks, skates well and plays a heavy game overall. He drove the net for a goal. He scored on a quick one-timer. He worked well down low and along the wall.

‘B’ Forwards

Blake Biondi, #7 Minnesota Blades, 4/24/02, Shoots Right, 5-10/168, Hermantown, Minn. – He’s a power forward with size. He plays hard and competes in all three zones.

Chase Bradley, #16 Hockey Concepts, 1/1/02, Shoots Left, 5-11/160, St. Louis, Mo. (Northeastern) – His shot is his best asset. He gets it off quickly and knows where to go to get into the scoring areas. He was the best forward on his team.

Anthony Calafiore, #5 Hockey Essentials, 4/6/02, Shoots Right, 5-6/135, Staten Island, N.Y. – He’s small, but he was quick, crafty and had the hockey sense necessary to score, despite not having the size or elite skill set of some of the others here.

Anthony Cipollone, #14 East Coast Canadians, 5/14/02, Shoots Left, 5-6/155, Purchase, N.Y. (Vermont) – He’s a good skater and made some nice passes, but he didn’t set himself apart from the field. He’s been committed to the Catamounts for a while.

Aidan Cobb, #97 East Coast Canadians, 5/10/02, Shoots Left, 5-8/150, Ridgefield, Conn. – He has a hard shot, can be shifty and plays with energy. He’s heading to Kent in the fall where he’ll join his older brother.

Dane Dowiak, #19 Tropics, 3/27/02, Shoots Left, 5-10/160, Wexford, Pa. – His hockey IQ shines through. He’s a good skater who reads the play well.

Jack Horbach, #22 STX Bauer, 3/4/02, Shoots Right, 5-10/175, Naperville, Ill. – He has above average speed and drove the net for a goal against Oshawa.

Ryan Kirwan, #44 Oshawa Generals, 2/27/02, Shoots Left, 6-1/170, Dewitt, N.Y. – He was just ok in the preliminary round, but turned it on in the playoffs. When he’s playing his best, he’s dominant down low and heavy on pucks.

Mitch Kohner, #18 Minnesota Blades, 2/11/02, Shoots Right, 5-8/172, Rosemount, Minn. – When he’s playing his game and not worrying about the extra curricular stuff on the ice, he’s a big time player. He is a strong skater who can make power moves to the net.

Blake Mesenburg, #20 Minnesota Blades, 6/5/02, Shoots Left, 5-10/150, Orono, Minn. – He’s a little raw, but has the potential to be a power forward. He gets pucks to the slot from the wall and rips shots on net.

Hunter Rossi, #8 STX Bauer, 3/9/02, Shoots Right, 5-10/177, Oyster Bay, N.Y. – He has a good first step and was dogged in puck pursuit.

Josh Rule, #7 TPH, 2/17/02, Shoots Right, 5-9/160, Lansing, Mich. – He’s a good skater who wasn’t able to do much offensively here, but he’s still a promising prospect.

Patrick Schmiedlin, #97 West Coast Selects, 3/20/02, Shoots Left, Culver, Ind. – He didn’t really produce much offensively, but he can really fly. He plays a heavy game, but needs to think it a little better which can still come as he develops.

Aidan Thompson, #8 Western Canada, 2/18/02, Shoots Left, 5-9/140, Denver, Colo. – He’s a good passer with creativity and above average skating ability.

Noah Tussey, #19 DHI, 6/18/02, Shoots Left, Stillwater, Minn. – He’s not the type of player who jumps right out at you when observing, but he’s slippery and skates well. He’s a good stickhandler

Thomas Weis, #13 West Coast Selects, 2/8/02, Shoots Right, 5-8/155, Verona, Wis. –He’s a crafty scorer who was able to make nice moves with the puck on his stick. On one such play, he cut in from the left, waited for the goalie to go down and then pushed it into the net

Jack Williams, #91 East Coast Canadians, 3/2/02, Shoots Right, 5-10/150, Biddeford, Maine – He didn’t find the score sheet as often as he could have, but he had god hands for a player his size. His skating could use some work, but he created some chances from winning battles along the wall and down low.

C.J. Zezima, #7 Draftday USA, 1/1/02, Shoots Left, 5-6/135, New Canaan, Conn. – He’s quick, can get shots off and competes. He’s heading to prep school in the fall.

‘Honorable Mention’ Forwards

Ryan Corcoran, #5 Tropics, 4/4/02, Shoots Left, 5-10/145, Duxbury, Mass. – His skill set is worth watching. He led his team in scoring over the course of the week.

Matt DeBoer, #9 Draftday USA, 9/2/02, Shoots Right, 5-10/155, Madison, N.J. – He’s the son of San Jose Sharks coach Pete DeBoer and brother of BU commit Jack DeBoer of the NTDP. He plays a similar style to his brother, but doesn’t yet have that elite skill set or size.

Josh Doan, #9 TPH, 2/1/02, Shoots Right, 5-4/118, Scottsdale, Ariz. – He had four goals in four games, but needs to grow more before he will garner college attention.

Johnny Hammel, #7 Tropics, 7/23/02, Shoots Left, 5-10/145, Duxbury, Mass. – He’s strong, heavy on pucks and won battles.

Ilia Ignatov, #12 Colorado, 5/16/02, Shoots Left, 6-1/175, Denver, Colo. – He led his team with five goals.

Max Itagaki, #10 STX Bauer, 6/18/02, Shoots Right, 5-5/135, Glenview, Ill. – He’s small, but he played without fear. He went for pucks in the dirty area and never stopped moving his feet.

Jake Keller, #8 TPH, 7/30/02, Shoots Right, 5-6/135, Swansea, Ill. – The younger brother of Arizona Coyotes rookie Clayton Keller is small and skilled, but didn’t show an elite skill set here.

Luke Kron, #15 Minnesota Blades, 5/24/02, Shoots Left, 5-8/130, Andover, Minn. – He’s a little small, but he’s quick and can skate well.

Hunter Longhi, #4 TPH, 4/2/02, Shoots Left, 5-8/154, Collinsville, Mo. (Harvard) – He didn’t play in the one game this observer saw his team, but the recent Crimson commit had an assist in four games.

Cam Lowe, #8 Tropics, 2/28/02, Shoots Right, 5-5/125, Lancaster, Mass. – He’s small and shifty with good hockey sense.

Johnny Meiers, #17 Minnesota Blades, 7/15/02, Shoots Left, 5-7/140, Eagan, Minn.— He’s small, gritty and quick.

Zach Michaelis, #6 Minnesota Blades, 5/30/02, Shoots Left, 5-11/185, Elk River, Minn. – He has good finishing ability with a nice release and intriguing size.

Jack Smith, #87 DHI, 7/6/02, Shoots Left, St. Cloud, Minn. – He was a good skater who did a nice job on puck pursuit. He had above average hands.

Kyle Smolen, #28 STX Bauer, 6/18/02, Shoots Left, 5-9/176, Crystal Lake, Ill. – He had a nose for the puck and made some nice passes.

Riley Stuart, #26 TPH, 1/17/02, Shoots Right, 6-2/165, Phoenix, Ariz. – He’s a player with good size who gets linemates time and space.

Zach Tonelli, #27 STX Bauer, 2/14/02, Shoots Right, 5-5/155, Armonk, N.Y. – The son of former New York Islander John Tonelli, he is small and gritty. He doesn’t have the size of his older brother, ’00 Jordan, who is committed to Brown.

Luke Tuch, #89 Oshawa Generals, 3/7/02, Shoots Left, 6-0/175, Syracuse, N.Y. – The younger brother of former BC star and Minnesota Wild prospect Alex Tuch tried to play a physical game here.

Matt Veneri, #44 Tropics, 7/6/02, Shoots Right, 5-9/185, Londonderry, N.H. – He had one game where he put up most of his offensive production. He’s not the best skater, but he’s a tough competitor who is also a good baseball player. He’s heading to Phillips Andover.

‘A’ Defensemen

Dylan Gratton, #8 Hockey Essentials, 2/25/03, Shoots Left, 6-0/145, Pottstown, Pa. – Even playing up an age here, he was stellar. He skates well and has his head up at all times. He joins the rush and activates while getting back to defend.

Daniel Juzych, #17 TPH, 3/28/02, Shoots Left, 5-11/160, Bloomfield Hills, Mich. – He’s high end, but he’s not a flashy prospect who draws in attention quickly. He’s smooth and has good stick positioning. He’s just a good athlete who projects well.

Gerald Keane, #3 TPH, 1/30/02, Shoots Right, 5-10/160, Homer Glen, Ill. – He has very good feet and was able to escape trouble. He did a good job moving the puck and his vision was notable.

Connor Kelley, #28 Minnesota Blades, 1/30/02, Shoots Right, 5-10/152, Maple Grove, Minn. – He has a lot of potential with his size and skating. He walks the blue line well and has good footwork and a good stick. He’ll get even better as he bulks up over the coming years.

Jacob Truscott, #55 Pro Hockey Blue, 5/24/02, Shoots Left, 5-10/155, Fort Gratiot, Mich. (Michigan) – He’s a great skater with an offensive flare to his game. He scored a beauty of a goal in transition. He keeps pucks going north and can defend with his feet.

‘B+’ Defensemen

Michael Bevilacqua, #16 Hockey Essentials, 1/26/03, Shoots Left, 6-1/177, Buffalo, N.Y. – He didn’t separate himself from the field too much here playing up an age, but he’s a smooth skater who can move the puck. He looks to be a strong candidate to make the NTDP in 2019.

Brandon Charbrier, #3 Hockey Concepts, 7/1/02, Shoots Right, 5-9/140, Bayville, N.Y. – He has good feet and activates as a fourth forward. He’s switched positions some so he’s a little raw. Once he thinks the game better as a defenseman, he could be a high end prospect.

Jarod Crespo, #4 East Coast Selects, 4/30/02, Shoots Right, 5-10/180, Easthampton Township, N.J. (Penn State) – He used to play forward and skated up this weekend due to a need within his team. However, he’s a defenseman now by trade so he’s slotted in here. He can skate and has tremendous poise with the puck. He’s a defender who can keep pucks going north.

Stephen Davis, #3 Tropics, 1/9/02, Shoots Right, 6-0/185, Hingham, Mass. (Boston College) – He’s a mobile defenseman who is rugged and hard to knock off pucks. He is strong on his skates and has intriguing size.

Owen Gallatin, #3 Minnesota Blades, 6/17/02, Shoots Left, 5-7/143, Hugo, Minn. – He’s really good, but he’s a little undersized still. He keeps pucks in and gets shots on net from the point. His mobility and skating ability allow him to be a puck-moving, offensive blue liner.

Lachlan Getz, #10 West Coast Selects, 2/1/02, Shoots Right, 5-10/145, Northfield, Ill. – He’s a good skater who keeps the puck moving north. He has above average vision and can step into the offense.

Christian Jiminez, #19 East Coast Canadians, Shoots Left, 5-10/189, Yorktown Heights, N.Y. – He has the mobility to step into the offense and break pucks out of his own zone. He keeps the puck going north. His defensive zone play is what keeps him from being an ‘A’ prospect as of yet.

Cole Oravitz, #37 Hockey Essentials, 8/13/02, Shoots Right, 6-0/170, Pittsburgh, Pa. – He retrieves pucks and makes good outlet passes. He likes to jump into the offense.

Sam Saccone, #5 East Coast Selects, 1/2/02, Shoots Right, Clarence Center, N.Y. – He has good stick positioning and closing speed in the defensive zone. He sometimes tries to do a little too much, but he’s a player who should be on the NTDP Camp invite list come next March.

‘B’ Defensemen

Kyle Aucoin, #33 STX Bauer, 7/2/02, Shoots Left, 5-7/170, Hinsdale, Ill. – His vision and puck-moving skills were noted. He made a nice look to the backdoor for a goal.

Jamieson Barkume, #8 Draftday USA, 5/1/02, Shoots Right, 5-10/155, Manorville, N.Y. – He’s mobile and gets involved in the offense.

Jon Bell, #21 Minnesota Blades, 6/22/02, Shoots Left, 5-8/155, St. Cloud, Minn. – He’s a little on the small side, but he has a good stick and gaps well.

Damien Carfagna, #93 NorthStar, 12/12/02, Shoots Left, 5-6/120, Woodridge, N.J. – He’s a good skating defender with poise. He is always looking to make a smart pass and has above average vision.

Nick Donato, #3 STX Bauer, 7/27/02, Shoots Right, 5-7/170, Lake Forest, Ill. – He gets into passing and shooting lanes in the defensive zone. His stick was consistently in the right position.

Spencer Evans, #4 STX Bauer, 6/12/02, Shoots Left, 6-3/190, Long Island, N.Y. – He’s a big blue liner who got into lanes and was mobile for his size. He jumped into the rush. His only negative was he ran around a little too much.

Brad Freyberger, #27 NorthStar, 6/6/02, Shoots Right, 6-1/155, Ashburn, Va. – He has good size and can move. He’s a prospect that could be intriguing as he bulks up and continues to play the game at a stronger level.

Bayard Hall, #5 East Coast Canadians, 8/16/02, Shoots Right, 6-0/165, Oldwick, N.J. – He’s lanky, but he has decent mobility and is a player to keep an eye on as he develops.

‘Honorable Mention’ Defensemen

Frank Djurasevic, #23 East Coast Canadians, 3/9/02, Shoots Right, 5-11/175, New Rochelle, N.Y. – He has good size and has impressed in past viewings, but was a step slow here.

Jack Kircher, #18 TPH, 9/15/02, Shoots Left, 6-2/180, Bedminster, N.J. – He’s a raw defenseman with good size. Keep an eye on him as he develops into his body over the next few years.

Zander Lizotte, #88 East Coast Canadians, 2/20/02, Shoots Left, 5-8/145, Scarborough, Maine – He has good feet. He’ll be a key player at Berwick in the fall.

Timmy Lovell, #27 Tropics, 2/8/02, Shoots Left, 5-0/100, Hingham, Mass. – He was the smallest player here, but he had good agility and vision. He was able to move the puck with his feet as well as his stick despite his size. He’s the son of former Maine and UMass Amherst forward Timmy Lovell, who runs the Boston Advantage program.

Mason Proskin, #2 Hockey Concepts, 4/1/02, Shoots Right, 6-0/165, Pittsburgh, Pa. – He’s a good-sized defender who has some tools worth watching as he progresses.

Nate Schweitzer, #16 Minnesota Blades, 2/21/02, Shoots Right, 5-10/155, Champlin, Minn. – His mobility and proneness to jumping into the offense were noted.

Max Willard, #6 Hockey Concepts, 9/1/02, Shoots Right, 6-0/165, Oyster Bay, N.Y. – He’s a converted forward who can skate and keep the play to the outside.

‘A’ Goaltenders

Tommy Aitken, #30 West Coast Selects, 8/30/02, Catches Left, 5-7/140, Mass. – He’s heading to Selects Academy at South Kent in the fall. He has good size and is athletic. He has quick reflexes.

Connor Bradford, #1 Tropics, 8/23/02, Catches Left, 6-1/170, Kingston, Mass. – He has good size and made a few really nice stops going post-to-post. He was hung out to dry several times and bailed his team out.

Noah Grannan, #31 Minnesota Blades, 4/27/02, Catches Left, 6-2/170, Germantown, Wis. – He has good size, moves well and has strong fundamentals. He looks to be one of the elite goaltenders in this age group along with Drew Commesso who wasn’t here due to being at Mass District.

‘B’ Goaltenders

Jackson Dylla, #33 Colorado, 1/2/02, Catches Left, 6-4/180, Olathe, Colo.

Kayden Hargraves, #32 Western Canada, 2/25/02, Catches Left, 5-10/145, Denver, Colo.

Bennett Ostern, #30 Hockey Essentials, 8/8/02, Catches Left, 5-7/170, Simsbury, Conn.

Joe Purtell, #35 STX Bauer, 6/12/02, Catches Left, 5-10/177, Beverly, Mass.

Alexander Ramsey, #73 East Coast Canadians, 4/14/02, Catches Left, 5-9/140, Yarmouth, Maine – He made a couple of really acrobatic saves in one game.