The U15 World Selects Invite has been an eye opener for this observer over the past few years. Not that it is any secret, but there are a lot of good hockey players out there beyond the borders of the U.S.
Oshawa, Moscow Dynamo, Sweden and Western Canada were great hockey teams that played with pace. The following is a breakdown of the top Canadian and European talent that was on hand in Voorhees and Mount Laurel, N.J. from May 4-7, 2017.
This is a complete listing of the ‘A+’ and ‘A’ players, but because of the limited viewings, some ‘B’ players might be omitted for no reason other than notes weren’t generated on all non-high end prospects.
‘A+’ Canadian Forward
Quinton Byfield, #55 Oshawa, 8/19/02, Shoots Left, 6-3/190, Newmarket, Ontario – He’s the early consensus for top overall pick in the 2018 OHL Draft. He’s a big power forward who can move up and down the sheet. He can bull his way into scoring areas and he protects the puck with his size and strength. His skating is far from bad, but as he continues to work on that part of his game, he will only get more dominant. Simply put, he was physically dominant here.
‘A’ Canadian Forwards
Stanley Cooley, #19 Western Canada, 5/27/02, Shoots Right, 5-9/165, Regina, Saskatchewan – He gets his shot off quickly and finds seams in the defense. He was nifty and could stickhandle in tight spaces. He made time for himself to make plays. Prince George took him in the third round of the WHL Bantam Draft.
Ridly Greig, #17 Western Canada, 8/8/02, Shoots Left, 5-7/125, Lethbridge, Alberta – His speed and grit were notable here. Brandon took him with the ninth overall pick in the WHL Bantam Draft.
Josh Lawrence, #11 West Coast Selects, 1/28/02, Shoots Right, 5-9/165, Moncton, New Brunswick – He’s just a natural scorer who can do it all offensively. He plays a complete game and is very smart out there. He sees what might open up and he reads plays well. He’s gritty and competes for everything. He’s an offensive player who is willing to backcheck and force turnovers. He’s a good skater with silky hands.
Connor McClennon, #94 Western Canada, 6/25/02, Shoots Right, 5-8/145, Wainright, Alberta – He has elite speed and vision in the offensive zone. His hands and overall offensive skill set were elite. He was the second overall pick by Kootenay in the WHL Bantam Draft.
Peyton Mount, #61 Western Canada, 1/19/02, Shoots Right, 5-8/170, Victoria, British Columbia – He was equally impressive shooting and passing the puck. He wasn’t as quick out of the gates as a few of his teammates, but he had good speed once he got going. He was Seattle’s pick in the first round, 19th overall, of the WHL Bantam Draft.
Jake Neighbours, #14 Western Canada, 3/29/02, Shoots Left, 5-11/180, Airdrie, Alberta – He created much of his offense through high compete and tenacious forecheck. He was heavy on pucks and won races to loose pucks. He hit hard and played through the puck. Portland took him with the fourth pick in the WHL Bantam Draft.
Cole Shepard, #16 STX Bauer, 2/1/02, Shoots Left, 5-9/175, West Vancouver, British Columbia – The way he thought the game offensively was his true gift. He’s a good skater, but his speed isn’t elite. He stayed mostly to the perimeter. Once he bulks up, he should be an even better player with the ability to drive. Vancouver selected him in the second round of the WHL Bantam Draft.
‘B’ Canadian Forwards
Colby Ambrosio, #87 Oshawa, 8/7/02, Shoots Right, 5-9/152, Fort Erie, Ontario – He has a really quick release and good hands overall. He can fly. He’s quick to beat defenders wide. His stick skills are good and he can simply finish.
Will Cuyle, #25 Pro Hockey White, 2/2/02, Shoots Left, 6-3/185, Toronto, Ontario – His skating was only average, but he used his size to make power moves towards the net. Most of his goals that this observer saw were right around the crease.
Zane Dalpe, #12 Draftday Canada, 1/19/01, Shoots Left, 5-8/166, Belle River, Ontario – He has good hands, made a few nice sauce passes and was shifty through traffic.
Jonah De Simone, #11 East Coast Selects, 2/24/02, Shoots Right, 5-10/160, Richmond Hill, Ontario – He’s a tenacious goal scorer who went into the dirty areas. He got shots off quickly, was able to find seams and had good hands.
Noah Kirk, #15 Draftday Canada, 11/27/02, Shoots Left, 5-8/144, Cambridge, Ontario – He was small, but not afraid to be gritty and battle for pucks along the wall and in the corners. He made a few nice passes out to the slot after winning pucks.
Hayden Knight, #74 Pickering, 4/13/02, Shoots Right, 5-10/170, Barrie, Ontario – His stride was somewhat funky, but he had a good shot and was able to create offense in transition. He didn’t find the score sheet as much as a few of his teammates, but he was the best prospect on the Panthers.
Isaac Langdon, #24 DHI, 5/22/02, Shoots Left, 5-11/155, Belleville, Ontario – He was heavy on pucks and scored a couple of really nice goals, including one where he lifted a wrist shot right under the bar.
Thomas Lenart, #21 Golden Triangle, 2/18/02, Shoots Left, 5-8/145, Stoney Creek, Ontario – On the smaller side, he played right wing on the team’s top line and was able to produce.
Kyle McDonald, #27 Pickering, 2/5/02, Shoots Right, 6-3/175, Ottawa, Ontario – He has good size and was able to be a threat around the net.
Benjamin McFarlane, #11 Draftday Canada, 8/9/02, Shoots Right, 5-6/135, Ayr, Ontario – He’s small, but shifty and slippery. His speed allowed him to create offense.
Dawson McKinney, #91 Golden Triangle, 6/23/02, Shoots Right, 6-1/175, Binbrook, Ontario – He was the best prospect on his team. He had the puck on his stick a lot and has good size. He created time and space for his linemates. He has the potential to grow into a power forward.
Kallaway Mercer, #23 DHI, 7/17/02, Shoots Left, Toronto, Ontario – He is a good skater who has that extra gear to beat defenders wide. He has an explosive stride and he’ll only get better.
Cole Perfetti, #91 Oshawa, 1/1/02, Shoots Left, 5-9/155, Whitby, Ontario – He’s small, has good vision and nice offensive instincts overall. It will be interesting to see how he does going to the next step – bantam to midgets and beyond.
Eli Pilosof, #8 Pickering, 6/10/02, Shoots Right, 5-7/145, Toronto, Ontario – He’s small, but he saw the ice well.
William Portokalis, #21 DHI, 4/4/02, Shoots Left, Mississauga, Ontario – He was a complete player who was a possession forward. He backchecks and starts transition plays. He makes nice passess, skates well and can be elusive.
Peter Reynolds, #7 East Coast Canadians, 1/20/03, Shoots Left, 5-9/155, Fredericton, New Brunswick – A really fast player, he has a good overall offensive skill set. He generated quality chances and he was able to find teammates for open looks. He gets to pucks quickly and is a good skater. As a ’03, he wasn’t able to penetrate into the scoring areas, but he is an exciting prospect. He’ll be at Shattuck St. Mary’s.
Jack Stringer, #81 Western Canada, 4/10/03, Shoots Left, 6-0/150, Lethbridge, Alberta – Playing up an age, he is physically mature. He drives the net and is a good north-south type player. He’s athletic and good below the dots.
Ty Tullio, #97 Oshawa, 4/5/02, Shoots Right, 5-7/135, Lakeshore, Ontario – He’s quick but doesn’t have blazing speed. He finds seams, finishes and has a quick stick.
‘A+’ Canadian Defenseman
Ronan Seeley, #4 Western Canada, 8/2/02, Shoots Left, 5-8/140, Olds, Alberta – He was a very good two-way defender. He’s tough to play against in his own zone. He keeps pucks in, gaps well and is offensive-minded. He’s composed beyond his years and he has exceptional footwork.
‘A’ Canadian Defensemen
Jamie Drysdale, #4 Oshawa, 4/8/02, Shoots Right, 5-11/155, Toronto, Ontario – He’s a smooth and steady defender. He isn’t flashy, but he has a good stick and skates well. He does a nice job with defensive zone coverage. He keeps pucks to the outside with good stick positioning and his footwork. He can move the puck north and jump into the offense at times.
Vinnie Iorio, #14 STX Bauer, 11/14/02, Shoots Right, 5-11/180, Coquitlam, British Columbia – He’s lanky and has good mobility. He made a few really nice passes on the breakout, in transition and from the point. His stick positioning was good. He should only get better as he grows into his frame. He’s a second round pick of Brandon in WHL Bantam Draft.
Ryan O’Rourke, #8 Oshawa, 5/16/02, Shoots Left, 6-0/160, Whitby, Ontario – His hockey sense and consistency are very good on the blue line. He skates well, has good size and can play both ends of the ice.
Nick Savoie, #60 West Coast Selects, 5/30/02, Shoots Left, 5-11/160, Dieppe, New Brunswick – He was another steady and reliable defender who could retrieve and defend with his feet. He could break the puck out of his own zone and activate when needed.
‘B’ Canadian Defensemen
Jacob Murray, #65 East Coast Selects, 4/11/02, Shoots Left, 6-3/190, Oakville, Ontario – He’s a big blue liner who moved well for his size. He gapped well and had a good stick. He kept plays from developing in transition. He moved the puck well in transition and from the point.
Max Bronstine, #4 DHI, 1/15/02, Shoots Left, 5-10/140, Toronto, Ontario – He was a mobile defender who closed well. He made a couple of nice hip checks. He had poise and kept pucks going north. His size might prevent him from being as physical going forward.
‘A’ Canadian Goaltender
Tristan Lennox, #40 East Coast Selects, 10/21/02, Catches Left, 6-2/175, Mississauga, Ontario – He stood out as one of the top goaltenders here. He had all the tools: good size, moved well in the crease and strong fundamentals. He did a good job eating pucks.
‘B’ Canadian Goaltenders
Chris Linton, #70 Golden Triangle, 3/22/02, Catches Left, 6-3/190, Ferugs, Ontario – He had good size and kept his team in a few games.
Blake Lyda, #29 Western Canada, 5/21/02, Catches Left, 5-11/130, Edmonton, Alberta – A fourth round pick of Everett in the WHL Bantam Draft, he skated well and covered a lot of the net.
Jesper Wallstedt, #79 Sweden, 11/14/02, Catches Left, 6-2/200, Vasteras, Sweden – He has good size, covers a lot of the net and squares up to shooters. He does a good job cutting down angles and not over-committing.
‘A+’ European Forwards
Danil Gushchin, #66 Dynamo, 2/6/02, Shoots Left, 5-8/143, Yekaterinburg, Russia – He was the best prospect in the entire tournament. He was a great skater with exceptional vision. He could go from zero to 60 quickly and just made plays.
Alexander Holtz, #10 Sweden, 1/23/02, Shoots Right, 5-11/180, Saltsjo Boo, Sweden – He’s one of those special and elite players who competes for everything. He keeps his feet moving, works away from the puck to get open and drives the net. His hands are elite and he can flat out finish.
Danil Avershin, #32 Moscow, 3/10/02, Shoots Left, 6-0/165, Moscow, Russia – He was a powerful skater who was tough to knock off pucks. He lowered his body and drove the net hard. He won battles for loose pucks and went into the dirty areas.
Egor Kuzminov, #39 Dynamo, 2/15/02, Shoots Left, 5-10/176, Dmitrov, Russia – He got a shot off as quickly as anyone here. He skated well and did a nice job getting open.
Vasily Ponomarev, #92 Moscow, 3/13/02, Shoots Left, 5-10/169, Zelenograd, Russia – He was on pucks and had good offensive instincts. A center, he just flat out scored. He had the puck a ton and could really fire the puck. He had some nifty moves and was shifty. He played with an edge.
‘A’ European Forwards
Ivan Didkovskiy, #8 Dynamo, 1/20/02, Shoots Left, 5-9/176, Voronezh, Russia – He was a real good skater who made some nice passes and had good hands. He could also shoot as evidenced by his six goals.
Anton Kosolapov, #15 Dynamo, 1/30/02, Shoots Right, 5-10/144, Vyatka, Russia – His hockey IQ and skating ability were high. He was creative and had vision in the offensive zone to read plays and impact the score sheet.
Jeremias Lindewall, #17 Sweden, 1/2/02, Shoots Left, 6-1/155, Akersberga, Sweden – A complete two-way center, he won face-offs, made a lot of good passes and won battles along the wall.
Kim Miller, #13 Sweden, 5/14/02, Shoots Left, 5-11/185, Bandhagen, Sweden – He possessed good speed, was crafty and made a couple of really nifty passes to hit Holtz for goals. One such highlight reel move, he spun around for a backwards pass out to the slot from the left corner.
Bogdan Trineev, #11 Dynamo, 3/4/02, Shoots Right, 6-1/150, Voronezh, Russia – He was a facilitator with the puck. He’s a possession forward and he can protect the puck. He has a good stick in the defensive zone and competed across all 200 feet.
Dmitrii Zlodeev, #36 Dynamo, 2/15/02, Shoots Left, 5-11/155, Voronezh, Russia – He goes to the net and gets in the dirty areas. He skates hard and knows where to go to have the puck land on his stick.
‘B’ European Forwards
Aleksi Koski, #95 Hockey Essentials, 2/14/02, Shoots Left, 5-11/185, Pori, Finland – He had an explosiveness to his game and showed the potential to grow into a nice power forward. He drove the net and was tough to knock off pucks.
Albin Svedin, #9 Sweden, 2/19/02, Shoots Right, 5-10/150, Husum, Sweden – He was a good skater, used his edges well, had good hand-eye coordination and made a few really nice passes to set up scoring plays.
Zion Nybeck, #92 Sweden, 5/12/02, Shoots Left, 5-5/150, Alvesta, Sweden – Small and crafty, he was around the puck a lot. He might not project as well as some of his teammates, but he was a fun player to watch.
‘A’ European Defensemen
Egor Smirnov, #5 Dynamo, 7/25/02, Shoots Right, 6-2/183, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia – He had good size and feet. He had a heavy one-timer from the point and liked to jump into the offense.
Hugo Styf, #14 Sweden, 8/25/02, Shoots Left, 6-2/165, Domsjo, Sweden – He had good size and was solid defensively. He had a good stick going back and gapped well. He retrieved pucks and started the transition to offense quickly.
‘B’ European Defensemen
Danil Chayka, #55 Moscow, 10/22/02, Shoots Left, 6-2/187, Moscow, Russia – He had good mobility for his size and had a blast of a one-timer from the point.
Joni Jurmo, #23 Hockey Essentials, Shoots Left, 5-11/150, Helsinki, Finland – He skated well and had good mobility. He kept pucks going north and had good vision.
Artem Sysoev, #31 Dynamo, 2/24/02, Shoots Left, 5-9/175, Mowcow, Russia – He had good footwork and was tough to play against. He defended well with his feet.
‘A’ European Goaltender
Dmitrii Menshatov, #69 Dynamo, 1/4/02, Catches Left, 5-7/135, Dmitrov, Russia