HockeyProspect.com’s Rochester NY based scout, Russ Bitely, gives his take on the players invited to the 2014 U.S NTDP Camp.
The hockey competition all around the continent is heating up even though the drastically long and cold winter continues to drag on. The NCAA ranks are already in post-season fashion while the CHL and USHL junior ranks among other are days from embarking on their playoffs too. It is a great time of year for the hockey world and USA Hockey announced their invite list for 52 top players born in 1998 for the National Team Development Program Evaluation Camp (NTDP). The class is considered to be quite strong in talent as many will be drafted into the OHL or QMJHL in the coming months, not to mention several players already committed to college programs.
The best 16-year old American-born players will converge on the Ice Cube in Ann Arbor, MI from March 21-25th for an opportunity to earn a roster spot on the US National Under 17-Team for the 2014-15 season.
The 52 players include 19 defensemen, 27 forwards and six goaltenders, will be divided into three teams – Red, White and Blue. The squads will participate in on-ice practices and off-ice training as well as four 30-minute practice sessions and two full games.
Several of players partook in USA Hockey’s Select 15 Player Development Camp last summer in Amherst, NY. In fact 38 of the 52 players were in attendance at the Northtown Center last July. This opportunity gives the staff of the NTDP program along with NCAA, CHL, and USHL scouts to get live viewings of USA’s elite fifteen year olds in one centralized location.
These players have been evaluated throughout the season and some of leading candidates in my mind to make the squad at the forward position would be: Clayton Keller (Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep), Max Jones (Honeybaked U18), Logan Brown (Indian Ice U16), Patrick Khodorenko (Honeybaked U16), Nick Pastujov (Honeybaked U16), Joey Anderson (Hill-Murray HS, MN), and Kieffer Bellows (Edina HS, MN). At the blue line the leading talent would be: Chad Krys (NJ Rockets U19), Cam Dineen (NJ Rockets U19), James Greenway (Shattuck St. Mary’s U16), Ryan Lindgren (Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep), and Adam Fox (LI Gulls). While between the pipes the primary names to watch: Michael Latorella (Honeybaked U16), Ryan Edquist (Shattuck St. Mary’s U16), and Joseph Woll (St. Louis Jr. Blues U16).
The 1998-American class of hockey players is strong no doubt, so that makes for limited invites. Some notable omissions in my mind include Liam Murphy (Avon Old Farms – UConn commit), Dante Palecco (LI Gulls U16 – Yale commit), Sam Sternschein (LI Gulls – Cornell commit), Mitchell Lewandowski (Honeybaked U16 – Michigan St. committ), AJ Drobot (NJ Rockets U19 – Maine commit), Ben Gleason (Honeybaked U18), Simon Butala (LI Gulls U16 – Maine commit), and David Melaragni (Team Comcast U16 – Northeastern commit).
In all honesty, the best ’98 did not get an invite because he is OHL-bound and projected to be the #1 overall pick for its priority draft next month. As mentioned, the American 1998-born group is compelling in talent, yet Jakob Chychrun was head and shoulders above the talent at Select 15s Camp and has kept up his superior play this season with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens of the Greater Toronto Hockey League.
Below is the full list of all camp invitees and I included some of my scouting notes on them.
Joey Anderson – Hill-Murray HS (MN); Roseville, MN – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (UMD commit)
He was one of the better players at Select 15s Camp last summer as he showed his scoring punch. He led all players with seven goals in just 5 game played. He again produced well during the Minnesota High School season as he paced his team by averaging 2 points per game at Hill-Murray as in 25gp he tallied 21-29-50. Anderson has good speed and utilizes his strong shot well along with some nice vision and stickhandling ability. A top ’98 recruit out of the State of Hockey that seems to be a step above his competition. One would think he is one of the favorites to pull on the USA jersey next fall.
Note: – Drafted 2013, round 9 #179 overall by Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL Bantam Draft
Drafted 2013, round 20 #288 overall by Des Moines Buccaneers in the USHL Entry Draft
Jamie Armstrong – Bishop Hendricken HS (RI); Warwick, RI – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
Armstrong comes out of the public high school ranks in Rhode Island. As a sophomore he was one of the team’s leading scorers with 14 goals and 17 assists for 31 points in 21 games played. I only watched him briefly last summer at Select 15s and did not really come away with many scouting notes. He will be an interesting player to watch this weekend. Jamie is the son of Bill Armstrong, the Director of Amateur Scouting with the St. Louis Blues.
Kieffer Bellows – Edina HS (MN); Edina, MN – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
He recently helped lead his Edina Hornets to the Minnesota State 2A High School Championship last weekend. As a sophomore he was a solid contributor to the state title run in a very competitive public high school hockey league. He potted two goals in the championship game to guide Edina to an easy 8-2 victory. In 25 game played he produced 10-17-27. You can see his father, Brian, in his game as he shows good offensive thoughts and skills along with some grit, physical play and strong competitive nature. A forward that will definitely receive a good look come NTDP-17 roster time.
Note: Drafted 2013, round 7 #142 overall by Portland Winterhawks in the WHL Bantam Draft
Logan Brown – Indiana Ice U16; Chesterfield, MO – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
He is a big-sized power forward type with raw skill sets, but plays each zone well and considered a strong two-way pivot. He is the son of former NHLer, Jeff Brown, now the Head Coach/GM of the Indiana Ice of the USHL. The younger Brown is getting a tremendous amount of attention from OHL scouts as the priority draft for the major junior league is just weeks away. He was injured early at Select 15s and has battled through even more during the early part of the season. Because of injury he only played in 5 games while scoring one goal and 2 assists. With his size, vision, and skating ability he is definitely measured as a heavy favorite to make the NTDP program for next season.
Note: Drafted 2013, round 24 #346 overall by Indiana Ice in the USHL Entry Draft
Hank Crone – Dallas Stars Elite U16; Cedar Hills, TX – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
He is a very crafty, slippery, and skilled stick handler with a nice set of mitts. Crone likes to possess the puck and find the open teammate for the scoring opportunity. Crone is on the smaller side of things physically, but shows good offensive thoughts. He led all point getters last summer at Select 15s with 2-12-14 in just five games played at the camp. He also leads his Dallas Stars Elite club in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League with 17-23-40 in 31 games played.
Note: Added to Protected List by Portland Winterhawks in the WHL
Grant Cruikshank – Milwaukee Jr. Admirals U16, Delafield, WI – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
His dad David was a 4-time US Olympic speed skater while his mother is 5-time Olympic gold medalist, Bonnie Blair. So yes the young Cruikshank can skate like the wind and HP Scout Ron Berman adds that he is shifty on his blades as well. He is on the smaller side at 5’7” but that has not been stopping him from putting the puck in the net this season in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League. He has nicely produced 27-30-57 in 35 games played. Although he does not look as a name that will survive the cut in Ann Arbor, he is definitely making his name known for the hockey scouts. If he adds some size and muscle then I’m hearing the sky could be the limit with his athleticism and skills.
Josh Dunne – St. Louis Jr. Blues U16; O’Fallen, MO – Draft eligible 2017 (Uncommitted)
Dunne is one of handful players developing their game out of the St. Louis Jr. Blues program. A decade ago it would not be considered a hockey hot bed, but the talent from ex-NHLers and beyond is really starting to shine. Dunne is one of the top scoring forwards on the team as he amassed 12-13-25 in 37gp in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League. He is a lanky forward with some height still filling out his frame and probably a long shot to make the club.
Trent Frederic – St. Louis Jr. Blues U16; St. Louis, MO – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
Like Dunne and Brown mentioned before, Frederic is another product rising out of the St. Louis Jr. Blues system. He shows a good physical size for just turning 16 in February and sure still growing. He plays both ends of the ice in the power forward style and likes to be the playmaking type with his solid sense of vision. He has produced 11-19-30 in 37 games played with the Blues during Tier 1 Elite Hockey League action.
Timothy Gettinger – Cleveland Barons U16; North Olmsted, OH – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
He brings the big size to the ice standing at 6’5” and 205lbs. His skating is probably average at best at this point with an awkward stride with skills yet to be polished, but has the ability to finish and make the most of his scoring opportunities and has a good set of hands. He leads his Cleveland Barons team with 24 goals and just 8 assists on the season in 36 games played in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League. My thought is the NTDP program is a bit of a reach at this point.
Keeghan Howdeshell – Detroit Compuware U16; Brighton, MI – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
A decent sized forward that plays with a physical presence and strength. He plays with some sandpaper and has some offensive thoughts too. He is a complimentary type player. In the HPHL this season, he put up 4-5-9 in 22 games played. Not sure if he is on the top of the list for invites at camp.
Max Jones – Honeybaked U18; Rochester, MI – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
He was definitely one of the most sought after players in the 1998 age group and not only has the NTDP came calling, but you will surely hear his name called out at the OHL Priority Draft next month. He has been playing an age above for the past couple of seasons and this season he seems to be fitting right in as 15-16 year old on a Honeybaked U18 team. He has nicely produced 9-13-22 in his 25 games played in the High Performance Hockey League (HPHL) along with a bunch of PIMs. He has a bit of a nasty streak which makes him difficult to play against, but also skates well with nice stride, possesses a powerful shot, good size, and will drive the puck to the net. He constantly wanted the puck on his stick at Select 15s. The rumor was prior to USAH releasing the camp player list, Jones was Ann Arbor bound for next season.
Clayton Keller –Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep; Swansea, IL – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (BU commit)
He is one of my favorite ‘98s as he just thinks the game so well. He shows great offensive instincts and determination. He skates very well, agile, and all-around good skill sets. He is always moving to get the puck, protect puck, or get open for opportunity. He handles the puck quite well, will find the open man, and can release a nice hard shot too. Keller isn’t all that big but he is a natural goal scorer. Overall, I like his game a lot and his competitive nature out on the ice. BU has a beauty commit here, but an OHL team will certainly try to gain his services hardcore. I recently saw him score two beautiful goals for Shattuck on plays you just can’t teach. He is a shoe-in for NTDP roster if he wants it.
Patrick Khodorenko – Honeybaked U16; Walnut Creek, CA – NHL Draft eligible 2017 (Uncommitted)
He is another smart, solid hockey player with a great future. He is one of many NTDP invites developing his game on a very formidable Honeybaked 1998 team. Former NHLer Pat Peake has made a powerhouse team for years and Khodorenko led the club last season to the USAH Tier 1 U14 Nationals title. In 22 games played this season, he scored 9 goals and added 21 assists. He shows great patience, creates opportunity offensively, protects puck well, and has above-average vision for sure. He always looks dangerous with the puck. It will be interesting to see where Khodorenko plays in the future.
Note: Drafted 2013, round 2 #26 overall by Everett Silvertips in the WHL Bantam Draft
William Knierim – Chicago Mission U16; Skokie, IL – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
He was a point a game player with the Mission this season as he generated 25 points in 25 game played in the HPHL. Knierim is a big-sized power forward that likes to throw his weight around the rink and drive the puck to the net. He is kind of like a bull on skates but with some skill. He possesses a good shot, nice vision, and offensive instincts. He could be one of the sleeper forwards at NTDP and for the future if he can develop that explosive step.
Noah LaLonde – Honeybaked U16; Macomb, MI – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Michigan St. commit)
LaLonde is another one of the handful of Honeybaked products receiving the ticket to NTDP Camp. He is not big in size but plays a solid, smart two-way game that chips in on the score sheet and takes care of his own end too. He has scored 5-12-17 in 22 games played in the High Performance Hockey League (HPHL). He will have to be impressive at tryouts to earn a spot at the forward position.
John Leonard – Springfield Cathedral HS (MA); Amherst, MA – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (UMass commit)
He is considered an elite goal scorer in the Massachusetts public high ranks where he has led his Panthers team to the State Super 8 semi-finals. He displays confidence with the puck, playmaking skills, and hockey sense. He does not have that intimidating size so there is room for growth physically. He is already committed to stay local with the Minutemen in Hockey East. The sophomore has already accumulated 29-22-51 in 25 games played.
William Lockwood – Oakland Jr. Grizzlies U16, Bloomfield Hills, WI – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
Lockwood is the sole representative out of the Oakland Jr. Grizz program in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League at forward where he is the team’s leading scorer with 19-19-38 in 31 games played. He is undersized player that competes with determination all over the ice.
Mitchell Mattson – Grand Rapids HS (MN); Grand Rapids, MN – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
Mattson played on the same Grand Rapids club with Mr. Hockey of Minnesota winner, Avery Peterson. The lanky-sized forward put up 11-28-39 in 27 games played. He is probably not a favorite to make the club but there are always surprises. He had a decent showing last summer at Select 15s showing good hands and vision that has potential especially if added muscle and strength.
Graham McPhee – Shattuck St. Mary’s U16; Bethesda, MD – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (BC commit)
He comes into NTDP Camp with a lot of positives. McPhee already committed to that elite NCAA program in Chestnut Hill, MA, playing out of the hockey factory of Shattuck St. Mary’s, and of course having a father that is the General Manager of the Washington Capitals. The skilled scoring forward with gifted hands and strength that can set plays up or put on the finishing touch himself is considered a favorite for the NTDP club. He has 25-30-55 in 55 games played this season at SSM.
Dominic Mersch – Chicago Mission U16; Park Ridge, IL – NHL Draft eligible 2017 (Uncommitted)
He is a late ’98 birthdate so still undersized at this point. The younger brother to Wisconsin star forward Michael Mersch, a 4th round selection of the LA Lings in 2011 and former player to the NTDP program as well. He is considered a bit craftier in his boots, but will need to fill out. Mersch is almost a point per game player with 11 goals and 13 assists in 25 games played with the Chicago Mission.
Jacob Nielsen – Milwaukee Jr. Admirals U16; New Berlin, WI – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
He plays with fellow teammate and NTDP invite, Grant Cruikshank, on the Milwaukee Jr. Admirals and they are considered a great duo. He is bigger in size than his teammate and stands second in the team’s scoring with 21-26-47 in 31 games played. He is a good skater with offensive know-how. He is a good combination of size and skill who creates scoring chances with his hands and vision.
Nick Pastujov – Honeybaked U16; Bradenville, FL – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
Pastujov is another strong candidate out of the Honeybaked program and has gained an awful lot of attention from OHL scouts as well. He actually averaged over a point per game in the HPHL with Honeybaked producing 6-15-19 in just 15 games. He is a skilled offensive player with a good stride and helped win the USAH Tier U14 Nationals last season along with Khodorenko and the host of other talents on Honeybaked. Pastujov most likely has earned his spot on the NTDP, yet we don’t know how hard the OHL will be calling his name.
James Sanchez – Chicago Young Americans U16; Northbrook, IL – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Michigan commit)
Sanchez is a good sized player at 6’2” who shows nice hands, the set-up style, plus a solid two-way game. The Wolverines have already seen his potential for Big 10 play as committed to play in Ann Arbor it seems regardless. In 16 games played in the HPHL, Sanchez registered 4-11-15. He could be a name rostered on NTDP for next season.
Riley Tufte – Blaine HS (MN); Ham Lake, MN – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
The 6’4” 190lbs. power forward types are always intriguing especially when they are just 16-years of age. He collected 17-20-37 in 28 games played with Blaine HS in the Minnesota HS ranks. He throws his big body around effectively and also comes up with a big goal. He scored a handful over the summer at Select 15s, so his game is something you take notice of, and even more when coordination fully catches up with his body.
Garrett Wait – Edina HS (MN); Edina, MN – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
He is a decent sized kid that shows patience and possession with the puck. He fellow ’98 teammate and NTDP invite Kieffer Bellows helped lead their team to Minnesota state HS Class 2A Championship a couple of weeks ago. I know he gained lots of NCAA D1 interest after his performances during the Minnesota HS playoffs. Coaches are appealed his game since he plays a “heads-up” style with great hockey IQ and comes up big during pressure situations as is not afraid to shoot the puck. He could be another forward that slips on the roster that most have not pegged originally.
Drafted 2013, round 8 #155 overall by Portland Winterhawks in the WHL Bantam Draft
Zach Walker – Colorado Thunderbirds U16; Boise, ID – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
He is a good sized player that competes hard all over the ice. He plays that relentless game as he skates well. He isn’t the exceptional skilled forward but does possess good offensive abilities and is not a defensive liability. He doesn’t mind throwing his body around, digging the puck out of corners, and has a bit of a scoring touch. Walker scored 13 goals and added 17 assists in 37 games played in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League.
Note: Drafted 2013, round 3 #61 overall by Vancouver Giants in the WHL Bantam Draft
Kailer Yamamoto – LA Jr. Kings U16; Spokane, WA – NHL Draft eligible 2017 (Uncommitted)
Yamamoto is not big in physical presence but can wheel down the ice with good speed and quick first step. He does not gain a whole lot of attention playing on the west coast with the LA Jr. Kings. He led his team in scoring with 17-23-40 in 34 games played.
Note: Drafted 2013, round 5 #105 overall by Spokane Chiefs in the WHL Bantam Draft
Drafted 2013, round 26 #388 overall by Fargo Force in the USHL Entry Draft
Brett Callahan – Chicago Mission U18; Westmont, IL – NHL Draft eligible 2017 (Uncommitted)
Callahan is a stay-home style defenseman that isa bit undersized. He is playing up in age and in 27 games played generated two goals and seven assists. Do not believe he will be a frontrunner for the NTDP roster.
Michael Campoli – Lac St. Louis Lions; Pointe-Claire, Que. – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
Now here is a player that I certainly had to do some digging up on as he did not attend Select 15s last summer nor had I seen him in action at Nationals or league play. I asked our Montreal based scout, Jerome Berube about his game. He is described as big, mobile defenseman who can play the physical game. He plays a defensive style first and has some raw offensive abilities. Campoli also was injured in the first half of the year with a shoulder separation. Give credit to the NTDP scouting staff for finding this dual citizen. Campoli was ranked 3rd overall in our QMJHL Draft rankings last month.
Derek Daschke – Oakland Jr. Grizzlies U16; Troy, MI – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
Daschke brings some good size on the blue line as well as a solid skating style. He is another player out of the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies of the Tier 1 EHL where he scored 8-22-30 in 35 games played. He is depended upon plenty by his team with high time on ice. Although, I would be surprised if his game has enough to earn a spot on the NTDP-17.
Cameron Dineen* – NJ Rockets U19; Toms River, NJ – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Yale commit)
Like his D-partner with the NJ Rockets U19, Chad Krys, he is a very talented blue liner who looks to be name that sticks at the end of camp. He plays a steady game on the back-end as he is committed defensively and will also find players in transition and through the seams to start the offense. This season he scored 6 goals and added 30 helpers in 60 games played as an underage player. He also recently competed in the 2014 OHL Cup for the Elite Hockey Group last week and nicely added one goal and 3 assists in just 4 games played.
Mitch Eliot – Honeybaked U16; Grosse Pointe, Mich. – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Michigan St. commit)
Eliot is not overly big height wise though stockier in build. He does not bring lots of offense from the backend, but he is a solid defender that plays the body, takes care of his own end, and will transition the puck up ice. Likes to engage physically and plays tough in the corners and along the walls. He had 1-5-6 in 21 games played with Honeybaked U16 in the HPHL. The Spartan commit may just be able to crack the line-up in Ann Arbor before in takes his game to East Lansing.
Ty Farmer – St. Louis Jr. Blues U16, O’Fallon, MD – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Michigan St. commit)
He brings above-average skating with a powerful stride in his game which allows him to move the puck up ice efficiently. What he does not bring is a lot of size as only 5’9”, but does show an abundance of confidence with the puck and ability to set plays. His production in the Tier 1 EHL was 1-6-7 in 36 games played. There seems to be a few skilled defensemen under 6-feet, so will be interesting if Farmer gets the nod for NTDP.
Adam Fox – LI Gulls U16; Jericho, NY – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Harvard commit)
He is not a big blue liner physically but handles the puck and skates well. He quarterbacks the power-play and distributes the puck up ice using good decision making skills and vision. He can wheel around the offensive zone to be the playmaker and likes to join the rush as the 4th forward frequently. He looks to be in good position to make the team. Just recently viewed this past weekend at the NYS Tier 1 U16 State Tournament and speaking with a top ’98 coach, he agrees Fox is talented with his puck poise, sound decision making, and offensive output.
Note: Drafted 2013, round 21 #303 overall by Des Moines Buccaneers in the USHL Entry Draft
James Greenway – Shattuck St. Mary’s U16; Potsdam, NY – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
I had seen his older brother, Jordan, now with NTDP-17 at Select Camp a few summers back and then caught James in action more recently. He surely brings an intimidating physical presence as he is a very solid body at 6’3” and 200lbs. who likes to punish opponents. The potential is untapped here, so being named to NTDP would be no surprise, nor would an OHL team going high on him in the priority draft. He has produced six goals and 17 assists thus far for SSM this season in 51 games played. The Potsdam, NY native will be a great addition to an NCAA program as well.
Matthew Hellickson – Rogers HS (MN); Rogers, MN – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
He is a solid all-around defender that does not have the flash like others at camp, but a composed game at both ends of the rink. He does not get a whole lot of attention in comparison to other MN high schools playing at smaller Rogers HS though nicely produced five goals and 23 assists in 25 games played from the blue line.
Note: Drafted 2013, round 5 #99 overall by Victoria Royals in the WHL Bantam Draft
Kenneth Johnson – Shattuck St. Mary’s; Ann Arbor, MI – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
He is connected to the NTDP program as his older brother, Jack, is current NHLer with the Columbus Blue Jackets who also developed his game at Shattuck St. Mary’s before moving onto Ann Arbor with USA Hockey and then Michigan. The younger Johnson has good size and will play the body with an aggressive style. He has added six goals and 10 assists in 44 games played. Not so sure even with the name, Johnson will make the final roster.
Matthew Kiersted– Elk River HS (MN); Elk River, MN – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
He is an offensive-minded blue liner that likes to join the rush and set-up plays. He is of average size right now and could like many 16-year olds use some added muscle, strength, and honed defensive awareness. But he is very mobile with a good head on his shoulders. In the Minnesota HS ranks this past season he accumulated 6-19-25 in 27 games played.
Alex Green– Chicago Mission U16; Chicago, IL – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
Green is a D-man that I am not too familiar with but what I am told he is not big in size and seems to be a long shot in making the NTDP being undersized and not bringing an overly dynamic game to outplay others at camp. With the Chicago Mission he generated 2-4-6 in 25 games.
Chad Krys – NJ Rockets U19, Ridgefield, CT – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
Like Keller, he is another ’98 that I like a lot. He is just a smooth operator out on the ice. He skates well, finds the open teammate, and shows so much confidence with the puck. One top ’98 aged coach told me Krys has been the only kid he made a game plan around to try winning the game. Other hockey personnel said Krys years ago single handedly won the NYS Tier 1 U12 State Tournament with his dominance. He is certainly one of the most skilled players and one of his games I witnessed at Select 15s as he registered 5 assists and they were not the phantom type either. He showed strong offensive on his junior team as well as in 42 games played he scored 11 goals along with 35 assists. If you can call a player a lock for the NTDP, will he is one. He will certainly have options as not are BU and BC battling to get him on campus. Chad is currently ranked as HockeyProspect.com’s top rated propsect for the 2014 QMJHL Draft.
Ryan Lindgren – Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep; Minneapolis, MN– NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Minnesota commit)
Just recently got a showing of Lindgren and could see the maturity coming around in his game even more from the summer. He is the stockier, solid side frame that moves well, defends his own end hard, and also has a great booming shot from the point. He uses his stick well to break plays up and shows aggressive, sandpaper nature to make life difficult on opponents. He is one of two ’98 birthdates along with Keller to play of Shattuck Prep squad. He has chipped in with 2-12-14 in 45 games thus far in the 2013-14 campaign.
Note: Drafted 2013, round 8 #157 overall by Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL Bantam Draft
Griffin Luce – Salisbury Prep (CT); St. Thomas, Ont. – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Michigan commit)
Many scouts and coaches are sky high on the young Luce. No question he brings a strong physical presence on the ice with his large frame. At this age he surely is an intimidating player but will need to keep improving his feet to help his overall game. He will punish players and can fire the biscuit. Many project him to be on the NTDP roster.
Luke Martin – St. Louis Jr. Blues U16; St. Louis, MO – NHL Draft eligible 2017 (Michigan commit)
He is a good-sized D-man that plays the defensive style and makes smart plays in his own zone. He definitely takes care of his own zone by controlling gaps and utilizing his stick to break plays up. He will chip in on the points as in 35 games this season in the Tier 1 EHL with 4 goals and 14 assists. The Michigan recruit is probably in good shape to make the NTDP roster with his size and defensive prowess.
Luke McInnis – Hingham HS (MA); Hingham, MA– NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
He is not huge in size but plays with great smarts and sense for the game. The younger McInnis, son of former Boston College standout and NHLer, Marty, he reads plays well defensively to break plays up and can also be a top-end playmaker too. He displays his game by constantly be getting engaged in the play. If he keeps developing like his old man, this will not be the last time you hear the McInnis name.
Andrew Peeke – Selects Academy U16 (CT); Parkland, FL – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
He is the stay-home defenseman that will take care of his own end first and foremost. The offensive side for now is minimal and in the inaugural USPHL U16 season Peeke added 1-9-10 in 28 games played. He is a no bells no whistles type, but steady and reliable. He is kind of hidden still at this point so playing at Selects Academy again is probably realistic.
Sam Rossini – Burnsville HS (MN); Inver Grove Heights, MN – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
He was one of those players when watching Select 15s last summer, I had no idea about Rossini. But it did not take long to see his talent with his fluid skating ability and capability of moving the puck in transition quickly while taking care of his own end too with tough defensive play. He is decent size and still growing as is his offensive potential. He played in 25 games at Burnsville HS while tallying four goals and four assists. I am sure he is not written in pen like others for the NTDP roster but might make some noise at camp.
Stephen Dhillon – Buffalo Regals U15; Buffalo, NY – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
He is a decent sized goalie already as he stands above the 6-foot mark. He showed fine technique and rebound control last summer during Select 15s as he posted solid numbers whereby the goaltending position can be most difficult with more emphasis on offense. Really the only western NY native to receive the invite and has developing game at the notable Buffalo Regals program over the years. He will need to bring ‘A’ game as many other talented goalies in camp.
Ryan Edquist – Shattuck St. Mary’s U16; Lakeville, MN – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Minnesota commit)
Many top NCAA D1s were perusing the SSM product until the Golden Gophers snagged the Minnesota native. He frame isn’t huge but he is not small between the pipes either. He is an athletic goaltender who technique wise is solid and plays his angles well to limit shooters scoring chances. He is most likely high on the list to be one of the back stops for this NTDP-17 program next season.
Michael Latorella – Honeybaked U16; Washington, DC – NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Uncommitted)
You cannot be a successful program like Honeybaked ‘98s without having a goalie that makes big stops and always gives your team a chance to win. Latorella has moves his feet well as a good skater and gets side-to-side in good fashion. Sure it helps to have a good team in front of you, but Latorella will definitely challenge for a goaltending spot in Ann Arbor this weekend with NTDP.
Jake Oettinger –Lakeville North HS (MN); Lakeville, MN – NHL Draft eligible 2017 (Uncommitted)
He was already taken in the WHL Bantam draft last year and then followed up this season with a solid performance leading his Lakeville North HS to the Minnesota State Class 2AChampionship only to be runner-ups to highly touted Edina. Although the Hornets exposed him for the state title, Oettinger, is a large pro-frame goalie standing at 6’3” thus not giving shooters a lot of net in his stand-up style. Put up solid numbers during the season though was exposed a tad during the state tournament versus the better teams. People in Minnesota certainly are familiar with his game now, yet not sure if enough to establish himself as a top two tender.
Note: Drafted 2013, round 9 #198 overall by Portland Winterhawks in the WHL Bantam Draft
Dayton Rasmussen – Holy Family Catholic (MN); Eden Prairie, MN – NHL Draft eligible 2017 (Uncommitted)
Like counterpart MN HS goalie Oettinger, he is another late 1998 birthdate between the pipes with good size standing at 6’2”. He spilt time as a freshman with Holy Family Catholic while posting very solid save percentage and goals against. Rasmussen shows high compete level and athleticism in net. He has good potential and will be committed soon, but being on the NTDP roster is probably not in the cards from what I hear.
Joseph Woll – St. Louis Jr. Blues U16; Dardenne Prairie, MO– NHL Draft eligible 2016 (Harvard commit)
He is another fine product out of the St. Louis Jr. Blues organization and being 6’2” gets scouts excited as he is growing into that prototypical frame for the NHL. He tracks puck well from the point, shows good control in rebounds, and of course is big in the net with his size. He is off to Cambridge in a couple of years yet he might just have a stop off in Ann Arbor prior.
Follow Russ Bitely on Twitter @russbites