Silver Stick Finals 2004s: Top 150

Neutral Zone was in attendance for the 57th annual Silver Stick International in Port Huron, MI in early January. It featured some the best Bantam AAA teams from Canada and the US. It was an All USA Final as Honeybaked beat the Buffalo Jr. Sabres to win the title. Teams had to qualify through local tournaments to attend. The competition was excellent, the town was extremely hospitable and we used this as an opportunity to watch and start to identify the prospects in the 2004 age group. We had seen some players prior but almost all those listed in this report are new to our profiles. Players did well to make this report. We watched every team play at least once.

Click on a name to view a player’s profile. That will have any star ratings, additional reports and stats. For most, their profiles are blank as this is just the beginning of our following them. Hit “ctrl” and “F” at the same time to search for teams or players.

Victory Honda

Drake Nabozny #5 (D, R, Victory Honda, 2004)-Drake is still small. That will change. Athletic and we liked the way he anticipated chances to jump up and break up plays. Quick and fast on his skates. Played smart on the blue lines. Instinctive player with lots of upside as he becomes stronger and tougher to play against in his end. Grade: C+

Mickey Wagoner #7 (F, L, Victory Honda, 2004)-Mickey has lots of speed. Used it to pucsh pace with the puck and hunt pucks. He was willing to stick his nose in things and hit. We liked that he didn’t go out of his way to find contact and got off checks first. Physical but still part of the play. Competed very hard every shift. Grade: B


PJ (Peter) Forgione #7 (D, L, Honeybaked, late 2004)-Big, strong U14 defender at around 6’2”. His feet are OK for his size but that’s an area he will need to keep improving. Not unusual for this age with his size. Played a heavy game in the corners and we liked that he was willing to join the play up ice. Showed patience with the pucks, made crisp passes and can fire it from the point. Still raw but lots of upside. Grade: B+

Lane Hutson #88 (D, L, Honeybaked, 2004)-He is small but dynamic and exciting. Edge of your seat type. His feet are excellent; quick, fast, mobile and has a stride that will allow for more speed as he matures. Went back for pucks easily and can carry or pass it from his end. Used the middle and supported his partner well. He is quick to defend and will dispossess opponents before they even know he is on them. Got off the wall with the puck, facilitated clean zone entries. Played in every situation, sees the whole ice, is extremely athletic and was one of the very best players here. College: BU   Grade: A

Hunter Brzustewicz #4 (D, R, Honeybaked, late 2004)-Played with Hutson as they made a formidable pair. He some size and defended well. Showed quick feet. Quick to transition as his puck touches were excellent and his vision is elite. It’s the strongest part of his game. He sees the whole ice but also the play beyond the play. Backs it up with accurate passes with proper pace. Worked the high cycle in the offensive zone and is a threat up ice. Polished player at this age. His upside is very high. College: Michigan    Grade: A

Grant Babcock #5 (D, L, Honeybaked, 2004)-We noticed Grant right away. Moved well lateral to squeeze off the rush. Has good size and an active stick. He is balanced on his skates and tough to play against. Takes care of his end and is a bit of a throwback. Showed some skill as he went skate to blade on the rush and kept his pace. Overall puck play still needs work as he made a few risky decisions. However, as defenders go, he has the important stuff figured out. He can defend. Game should round out. We like his upside and liked his play here for the Champs. Grade: A-

Rutger McGroaty #2 (F, L, Honeybaked, 2004)-McGroaty won the Paul Ward award as the MVP of the Bantam AAA Division. Clearly, he had a great tournament for the winners. We liked his sense in the offensive zone. Puck finds him. He is long and has a lot of reach to use to his advantage, Can handle the puck close to his body and then use a wide stickhandle to walk a player on his way to the net. Makes few mistakes, knows how to cycle high and low and mostly values possession (he took some chances in high risk spots but got away with it). Net front was excellent and he knows when to take the goalies’ eyes and when to slide for a pass. Has a rocket shot. Good news is he is still a bit awkward. His stride needs to catch up to his body and he still has plenty of room to get better. The MVP has a high ceiling and his nest hockey awaits. College: Notre Dame Grade: A

Landon MacDonald #22 (F, L, Honeybaked, 2004)-Landon can really skate. High end skills with possession. What we liked more was his ability to move to good spots to work to get open. He knows where to settle to catch and shoot and prepared his stick for possession. Puck did not slow him and he involved his defense in the offensive zone and knows the action is at the net. We did not see him score but got the sense he knows his way around the net. Talented player with a high hockey IQ and excellent anticipation. Sees the next play well. Tough to cover as he seems one step ahead. Has all the tools to keep improving and his ceiling is high. Grade: A-

Nathan Lewis #63 (F, R, Honeybaked, 2004)-Looked like a goa scorer when we watched. Played with a prepared stick, went to the net and dirty areas. Has a hard, accurate shot and we liked his ability to pick pucks off the wall and from scrums with ease. Punished players on the wall as he likes contact. Still is learning the cycle game but that will come and he will become even more dangerous. Good below the dots with grit and effort. Goal scorers are hard to find and he may become a good one. Grade: B+

Buffalo Jr. Sabres

Pat Geary #8 (D, L, Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 2004)-Good looking player. His skating is balanced and his head is always up. More puck mover at this point, he took his ice and can create some on the rush. Good vision and can make all the passes. Must become more consistent in his end as he was in and out at times. Not a big deal. However, we liked his effort in creating back pressure when he got caught up ice. He can recover well, get the puck and start transition quickly. His strong stick and balanced stride come in hands in those situations.  Has lots of tools just must keep rounding his game out. Grade: B+

Nathan Stachowiak #9 (F, R, Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 2004)-Nathan centered Jeisma and Smith ho we thought were the most reliable and consistent group for Buffalo. Nathan first caught our attention as he pushed pace on the rush, forced the opposing defense into a bad gap and ripped a shot off. He can fire it. Showed good speed but the ore we watched, the more we liked. He can set the table. Used the drop pass and gets pucks to good spots. He stabilizes things like every good center. Scored on a rebound in the playoffs. Played in almost every key situation. 6-5 against, he was taking the defensive zone draw. Solid performance all weekend all over the ice. Not flashy but he is a hockey player. Should be watched closely. Grade: A-

Beau Jelsma #10 (F, L, Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 2004)-Beau played a direct game on the wing. He attacks seams and works to the net with and without the puck. Forces the issue or clears space for his linemates. Hard on the forecheck with high compete al over the ice. He stirs it up when on the ice. Creates chaos and opportunity. Not overly skilled but determined and tough. Against Pitt Elite, he blocked a hard shot and soon after was rewarded with an empty net goal. In the semi-final, he scored another ENG as he stole a puck from their D and went down the ice for the score. He wanted it more. Under the radar a bit in this group but he brought his best each game. Reliable and a player who just wants to win. Grade: B+

John McLachlan #11 (D, L, Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 2004)-John is still very small. He will grow. We liked his awareness. He knows he is small, Stayed moving, made excellent one-touch passes up ice and has a smart stick. Anticipated well and was effective at both ends. Moved very well along the offensive blue and shot to tips and to create rebounds. Has the head for the game and helped his team here. One to watch. Grade: C+

Austin McNicholas #13 (L, G, Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 2004)-We did not have a goalie scout in Port Huron but we noted a few and Austin is one. Really poised and the puck seems to hit him softly and settle. Catches shots in front of him and sees well through traffic. New addition to Neutral Zone and a goalie to watch. Looked to have the tools and mentality. Grade: A-

Kaleb Smith #23 (F, R, Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 2004)-Kaleb is a power forward with a mean strek and touch around the net. Really tough to play against as he takes the direct route wherever he wants to go. On a Stachowiak goal in the semi-finals, Smith started the whole play. He went out to his point guy in his end, blocked the shot and knocked him down, then got the puck to Jeisma who took off up ice. He did that all weekend. Blocked shots, knocked people down, won puck battles and went to the net. He was their best player in their semi-final win over the Jr. Canadiens. Scored a goal where he went flying up the right wing as a right shot and rifled a puck far, top-corner. He intimidated opposing defenseman and dominated shifts at times. Still needs to keep adding to his skills, stay out of the penalty box and improve his skating but his approach was impressive. Grade: A

Alex Zakrzewski #33 (D, L, Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 2004)-Alex had an impressive tournament. Made a lot happen. He is thin and has good speed and mobility. Went back well on dumps and showed acceleration and enough wiggle to avoid the forecheck. Joined the rush and has the speed to get back. The team Captain hit t defnd the rush at his blue line as he kept his gaps tight. Trusts his feet. Moved well along the offensive blue line and got pucks to the net. Nice release from the point. He is still on the smaller side but wiry and strong. Mixed it up along the wall well; rides/rolls off contact and helped his team in every situation. Lots of upside and was important to his team’s success here. Grade: B+

Ryan Conmy #36 (F, R, Buffalo Jr. Sabres, late 2004)-Conmy has a nice frame and used that all over the ice. Valued possession and can extend plays with his reach and strength. Seldom threw the puck blindly as he had a plan. Worked hard in his end, played with an active defensive stick and backchecked hard. He is a strong skater. Fast, balanced and agile. Can carry pucks through traffic and checks. Rode contact well and got off checks. Good on the penalty kill but also can score and fire the puck. Well-rounded player who has the sort of approach and skills that will translate as he moves up in levels. Grade: A-

Kiernan Gately #46 (D, R, Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 2004)-Gately scored a goal in a blowout win day one that caught our attention. He took his ice, kept his feet moving and snapped a hard shot home. We noted him a bit each game but he never stood out in a major way. That is OK. He did his job, showed a smart, quick defensive stick, clogged shooting and passing lanes and looked athletic. New addition to our profiles and a player who should keep getting better. Grade: C

Ryan Novo #48 (F, L, Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 2004)-Ryan has excellent speed and balance. Does not rely on stickhandling but pace and hard work to make plays. Played tough, knocked opponents down and won wall battles. Players bounced off Ryan in attempt to hit him. Low center of gravity, effort and his understanding of leverage made him tough to play against. Patient and strong on the puck with enough speed to separate. Grade: B-

Owen Paskowski #88 (D, L, Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 2004)-Boston area kid playing up in Buffalo and looks to be progressing nicely. He is very big and got better as the tournament went on. At this age, you have to wonder if the kids that are just bigger are just better simply because of size. That’s not the case with Owen, he can play. Defended well and made people go around him. Hid his poke, blocked shots and clogged shooting and passing lanes. Seemed nervous with the puck, just whipped it up the wall and that is an area he must improve. However, in the semi-finals he scored a beautiful goal on a rebound where he showed the poise to carry the puck around the goalie and calmly backhand it home. Took skill and confidence. His stride is solid and he will add more speed as he grows into his frame. Such is the game of a 6’4” 2004. Some good, some just OK but lots of clear talent. Once he puts it all together, watch out. College: Colorado College Grade: B+

Daniel Urban #91 (F, R, Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 2004)-When you watch dozens of teams play in a short amount of time in cold rinks all day, often you don’t get all the details that make a player good or bed. That’s the case with Urban (we think he is a good player.) We liked his effort an he seemed to be around the play and positives for his team. Passed well and was willing to take hits to make plays. Got use of all of his stride and won battles against much bigger players. We wrote in our notes “something about him.” We will need to watch more to find out what that “something” is but he did well to make this report and helped his team have a great weekend. Grade: B-

Brody Crane #92 (F, L, Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 2004)-First things first, Brody is a shooter. He knows where to go with and without the puck to have a chance to score. Can fire the puck, gets it through and has soft hands to receive passes. His skating is very good as his stride is effortless and he can make plays through the neutral zone with his speed or slick hands. He is intimidating with the puck as he can do anything he wants at this level. Opponents know that and it gives him even more space. Balanced and strong in traffic and he worked hard on the backcheck. Showed an ability to catch opponents from behind, take the puck away and quickly start the other way. Lots of talent, some grit and lots of upside. College: Penn St. Grade: A

Toronto Nationals

Julian Fantino #77 (F, R, Toronto Nationals, 2004)-Fantino worked very hard. He was relentless in puck pursuit, tough to play against and added energy all weekend. Played the middle on the power play and showed decent touches on the puck. Was willing to take hits to make plays and to get to the net. Tough kid with a solid approach. Grade: B-

Tobias Iantorno #27 (F, L, Toronto Nationals, 2004)-Made some crisp passes, especially on the power play. Had lots of puck possession time as he wheeled to create shooting and passing lanes. Showed a nose for the net and poise once there. Hard worker with a good stride and straight-line speed. Decent size. Grade: C+

Jordan Karafile #25 (F, L, Toronto Nationals, 2004)-Looked like a hockey player. He is still small and thng but shifty, clever and sets up his opponents for failure. Really involved in all situations. We liked his desire and ability to get to the net front despite his size. Showed speed, skill and grit. Player with solid upside. One to watch as he could play a number of different roles going forward. Grade: B

Oakland Grizzlies

Carson Redd #55 (D, L, Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, 2004)-Carson is a big player, solid with decent speed and four-way mobility for his size. Hits to defend and hits hard. Good recovery speed that allowed him to join the rush and take chances up ice. Played smart on the lines. Played in every situation and played a lot. Puck play is improving as he looked good on the power play. He will have to keep working on his mobility and speed as his body fills in. Lots of upside and played hard. Grade: B

Niko Karoutsos #13 (D, R, Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, 2004)-Niko played in all situations. Looked prepared to move the puck on the power play and made smart passes. We liked his stride as it is strong and his body remains upright. Allowed him to see the whole ice and remain balanced. Plays with his head up and showed a slippery element to avid opponents with possession. More puck mover at this point, he is a player to watch as he has some nice tools and a solid foundation. Grade: B-

Lucas Deeb #11 (F, R, Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, 2004)-Deeb can wheel and create. Has a long reach and he used it to extend possession, protect the puck and wait for plays to develop. Also, can fire the puck and used his reach to change the angle on his shot. Shot gave goalies trouble and he looked like a scorer. Played with his head up in all three zones and put lots of pucks n scoring spots via the pass or shot.  Interesting player with quality upside as he strengthens and fills out. Grade: B-

John Emmons #9 (F, Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, 2004)-We thought he was the best player on the Grizzlies. Played the whole ice, protected the puck and can create. Stopped and started with the puck to shake checkers. He is shifty and can turn wit the puck and maintain his handle on the puck and his speed. Mostly protected the puck but there were times he overhandled it. He has some nice skills and should improve as the year progresses. Grade: B+

Ohio Jr. Blue Jackets

Ryan Cox #15 (D, L, Ohio Blue Jackets, 2004)-Ryan is average size right now and really battled hard for space in his end. Highs compete with a good defensive stick. Defended along the wall, cut off the cycle and got off checks first. Prepared and aware in his own end. Forced opponents to the outside and hid his poke check. High level defender as he combines his instincts to read plays with good stick and strong base. His skating is good. Not a burner but balanced with good mobility. Pivots were smooth. Puck play was just above average but that will improve. We liked his game and his approach points to upside as he moves up in levels. Grade: B+

Nathan McBrayer #8 (D, L, Ohio Blue Jackets, 2004)-Nathan has decent size but really depends on his feet to defend. His lateral movement and ability to keep his gaps tight made his excellent defending the rush. He trusts his skating. He can turn and go with anyone and went back well for dumps. Made some hits in open ice which showed balance and that he takes smart routes to disrupt. He has some snarl as well which we liked. Played well and wont back down from anyone Will serve him well down the road. Grade: B

Jonathan Sonedecker #20 (F, L, Ohio Blue Jackets, 2004)-Sonedecker is very strong. He also worked really hard. Sticks up for his teammates and is tough to play against. He is not fast but strong on his skates. Had lots of puck possession time as he is able to use his strength and balance to protect the puck. Allowed him to wait on plays and dish pucks to teammates. His was play was very good as well. Must quicken up his feet as he moves up but did a good job here and we liked his approach. Grade: C+

Romulus Riego de Dios #13 (F, L, Ohio Blue Jackets, 2004)-Romulus has some size and we liked hos he was always around the net front. Played power play and showed he can wheel and make plays. On one bad pass in his feet, Dios twirled around and used the tip of his backhand to collect the puck and keep going up ice. Kept his pace through the whole process. Impressive play that showed a high level of athletic intelligence. We will need more but there are some tools that can’t be taught in his game. Grade: C+

Toronto Titans

Mason Chen #11 (D, L, Toronto Titans, 2004)-Mason caught our attention when he recognized a 1v2 right outside the offensive blue line. He immediately went across to the puck carrier and slammed him into the boards. Showed elite hockey IQ to process that situation and react that quickly for a player in this age group. Also played 2v1 correctly later in the same game. He is really smart, very fast and played in all situations. Ran the power play with Delic. Projects as an all situations type with good speed and skills and elite instincts and hockey IQ. Grade: A-

Matthew Morden #4 (D, L, Toronto Titans, 2004)-Matthew is tall, stlll skinny and silky with the puck. Used his reach and positioning to defend but came alive up ice. Can catch and shoot, soft hands and a hard shot. His first touches were good. Finds pucks in traffic and has some jam and touch near the net. Really poised player for his age. Must quicken up overall some and find a balance between being relaxed and being late. We like his skill set. High ceiling as he has some tools you can’t teach. One to watch. Grade: B+

Nicholas Moldenhauer #77 (F, R, Toronto Titans, 2004)-He is a beast on the forecheck. Scored a goa on the power play on a rebound from the side if the net. Showed a heavy shot, balanced stride and an ability to be tough to play against. Grinds out quality shifts and caves space for his linemates. Solid approach. Tough kid who will keep improving. Grade: B

Kocha Delic #12 (F, L, Toronto Titans, 2004)-lays a pro-style. Big, strong and gets up and down the sheet well. Has some wiggle but understands how to protect the puck. Played very hard and was all over the ice here. Size/speed combination was almost unmatched and he drove the net hard. Worked back to his end and got sticks in lanes. Played the point on the power play and ran it well with Chen.  Mature approach for a 2004. Skills with translate to the next level. Played with intensity, grit and has lots of tools. Grade: A-

Hayden Simpson #19 (F, L, Toronto Titans, 2004)-Shifty player who was explosive in transition. He sees openings and attacks. Puck never slowed him and he played with lots of pace. On one penalty kill, he ragged the puck for a solid 30 seconds. Confident, skilled and fast. We liked that he is willing to try different things. High athletic ability with a crafty brain. He thinks outside the box and has the tools back his ideas. Grade: A-

Cuan Doig #16 (F, Toronto Titans, 2004)-Cuan is huge in this age group. Showed decent speed and we liked his play on the penalty kill as his stick is long and active. He has a nice stride that will allow him to add even more speed as his body fills out. Tough to play against, hit, created back pressure and opponents heard footsteps when he was out there. Up the ice, he went to the net and sot to create rebounds. He is still raw like most big guys, he will take time. Hive him a couple years and watch out. Grade: C+

Nathaniel Davis #8 (R, D, Toronto Titans, 2004)-Nathaniel is a bit under the radar on this team. We thought he played great when we watched. He is steady, has good mobility and size and can play in any situation. Second power play and was very good on the first penalty kill. He is a good passer and can move pucks without dusting it off or wait and allow plays to develop. Not a speedster or a slick player but solid and reliable. Grade: B-

Jake Sederoff #27 (F, L, Toronto Titans, 2004)-Flew around and stayed near the play. Jake has excellent straight-line speed and won races to pucks. Good on the penalty kill. Not big yet but very balanced on his skates and knows hos to use leverage. For example, he got a half a step on a defender and rather than try to dangle back, he kept going forward, leaned into him, created some space and let a backhand shot go for a goal. Nice simple play that showed he has versatility that will be valuable as he matures. Grade: B-

Sam Alfano #66 (F, R, Southern Tier Admirals, 2004)-Sam is really tall. Not a natural skater and he will have to work on that as big players take longer. He did show a good first step as he is quick which should mean more speed will come. Played a detail-oriented game. Kept his stick on the ice on the way to the net and clogged passing and shooting lanes in his end. Not fooling anyone as his game is predicated on power. Everyone knows it and they still can’t stop him in traffic. Made a nice pass later in the tourney to Leblanc for a goal. Showed vision and touch on his oases. The team Captain is a high compete player. Knows how to protect the puck and fought for possession. Good on the cycle. Still raw but someone to watch for sure. Grade: B-

Owen Mehlenbacher #37 (F, L, Southern Tier Admirals, 2004)-Owen is a huge center. Showed athletic feet and mobility. He is balanced and able to dodge opponents but not a speedster. He has a good stick and won faceoffs cleanly consistently. He is really strong and caused major mismatches here. Found seams off the cycle and was tough too contain below the dots. Always looked to the net and attacked when he could. Long, tough with some skill and can fire the puck. Used his reach in his end and on the penalty kill. Scored a goal later in the tournament as he wiggled through some sticks, then fought through a check to fire a puck post and in. Also, took a hit to make a play on a secondary assist or a Lablanc goal. Tough play. Lots to work with and he may take some time but it should all come together for Owen. He has the approach and attitude to keep getting better. Grade: B

Jonathan Graves #75 (D, R, Southern Tier Admirals, 2004)-Graves showed some things here that got him listed in this report. He is athletic. We liked his feet and how he could create passing lanes and snap hard passes on the tape. Has an active stick and got his blade on pucks in his end. He did not overhandle it but we could tell his hands were good as he was able to pick pucks off the wall and from scrums consistently and easily.  He has upside. Grade: C+

Andrew Leblanc #7 (F, L, Southern Tier Admirals, 2004)-Andrew is quick, fast and has very good edges. He played with pace, skill/wiggle but also was direct. He knows the action is at the net. He is not yet big but crafty. Made lots of passes to start plays often using the “give and go.” His skating is elite. His stride is pretty and he easily blew by defensemen at this age and went off to the net. We mentioned he is not yet big but he is strong and that mainly comes from his balance. He was seldom knocked off his skates and can generate enough power to win puck battles. Played I all situations. Against the Fury, he led a line rush on the left wing (left shot), pushed pace, dipped to the net and finished for the goa with a slick backhand bury. He is talented and we had him rated as the Admirals top player in each game. Grade: A-

Nathan Fehr #8 (D, R, Southern Tier Admirals, 2004)-Nathan did enough to make this report. He is an active and aware defenseman. Jumps to intercept passes and is fast to defend the corners. Squeezed off the rush and got off checks. He is smart and used the indirect pass well to gate puck up ice. Did not jump off the ice but did a solid job. Grade: C+

Matthew Donnison #93 (D, L, Southern Tier Admirals, 2004)-Matthew played with Fehr and made one of the better skating pairs at the tournament. Donnison is quick, fast and has good four-way mobility. First passes from his end were consistent and crisp. Athletic looking player, we liked him with the puck. Took his ice and facilitated clean zone entries. Can carry or pass the puck. Important power play guys as his skills translate well in that situation. He will have to add weight and get stronger to become tougher to play against in his end but Matthew has some nice tools and we liked his game. Grade: B-

Jacob Leblanc #11 (D, R, Southern Tier Admirals, 2004)-Jacob played key minutes for the Admirals. Not flashy but enough skill to run the power play. Can drag the puck and create along the offensive blue line. Decent skater but will have to improve that overall. He will also need more mass to be a tougher defender to play against in his end. Like his upside as he has tools that are hard to teach young D like vision, puck play and poise. Grade: C+

Sun County Panthers

Jack Fuerth #71 (D, R, Sun County Panthers, 2004)-Jack is a big D-man who is a big hitter, a hard shot and a mean streak. Scored on blasts in two of the three games we watched. He can release a slapper, one-time the puck or catch and shoot. Skating is balanced and he is very tough to play against. He doesn’t just hit players, he knocks them down with authority. Projects as a two-way guy who can play all situations. He was impressive when we watched. Played in all situations here. Grade: A-

Connor McCracken #16 (F, L, Sun County Panthers, 2004)-Played the left wing on the top line with Fuerth. Connor is a gritty winger. He is not big but clever. We liked that he consistently was able to get pucks off the wall and played with energy. However, he didn’t run just around like crazy. He showed the patience to allow plays to develop. He backchecked hard. In fact, once he as working so hard to his net, he accidently tipped a puck in. Should have taken the man but the fact that he worked hard to get back is the important part. He provided energy, stayed moving, hit and was a pest (tough to play against.) He has upside and is a hockey player. Full effort every shift. Grade: B+

Jonas Youssef #91 (F, R, Sun County Panthers, 2004)-Jonas played in every situation and with good pace. His first step is soli and he can make puck plays at top speed. Has some versatility as his core is strong and that allowed him to go to work on the cycle and below the dots. Net front was good. We need a bit more but played well enough to make this report. Grade: B-

Boe Piroski #34 (G, L, Sun County Panthers, 2004)-We didn’t have our goalie scouts in attendance in Port Huron. However, we noted a few goalies and Piroski was one. He made an impression. Has good size, balance in the crease and tracked pucks through traffic. Looked poised and almost intimidating. Pusks hit him square and he gobbled up rebounds. Clearly one to watch as we think e has a high ceiling. Grade: A-

Chicago Fury

Jack Keane #8 (D, R, Chicago Fury, 2004)-First thing we noted is the young defender wants the puck. He is confident. Not a big player but quick and fast with four-way mobility. Jack defended with his feet and took smart routes to the puck. Goes back well on dumps and picks pucks off the wall with ease. His skating is upright and that affords him good balance and vision. Not overly skilled, he played power play and did very well. Keeps it simple and smart. Scored an unassisted goal as a right shot flying up the right side as he rifled a puck home. Saw his spot and took the shot. Played in all situations and did a lot well here. Well rounded with a high ceiling. Athlete. Grade: B+

Brendan Martin #55 (D, R, Chicago Fury, 2004)-Martin is wiry/skinny but held his own. He is very good passer. Anticipates well. Mobility is above average. Just did enough to get noticed. Will have to get stronger and add some speed. He needs some time but we liked his instincts. Grade: C

Ian Spencer #20 (F, L, Chicago Fury, 2004)-Ian is a strong skater who is quick fast and balanced on his skates. That is where he game is centered. Good place to start. He flew to loose pucks and in on the forecheck. Pushed pace on the rush and transitioned quickly and with a plan. He is smallish still but made lots of smart reads and made them quickly. Quick stick that he used at both ends and he worked hard back to and in his own zone. High ceiling player who we think has a chance to be a first PP and end of game type forward. Grade: A-

John Small #17 (F, L, Chicago Fury, 2004)-We first noted that he looked athletic. Has an ease about how he moves and transfers weight. Good speed and passes on the tape. Threads pucks through and when he shoots, the puck explodes off his stick blade (weight transfer.) Kept his feet moving when he made plays. We thought he got better as the tournament went on as he is fit and his speed was too much for less fit, tired players. Scored post and in on a breakaway. He can fly and he was all around positive plays. One to watch as he has a high ceiling and a chance to become very good. Must get stronger, especially in his core. His stride will benefit as well. He tended to run on his skates (he is very fast still) but more strength will make him faster. Grade: B+

Charlie Lieberman #6 (D, R, Chicago Fury, 2004)-We last had him listed at 5’9” and he looked much, much bigger here. No heights and weights were provided. We felt he has as much upside as anyone at the event. Made a clever backhand area pass to send a player away. First touches were soft. Defended well but he is a lot of legs and arms right now. Played in key spots and was very good on the penalty kill. Clogs lanes and played hard. Stepped up and pancaked a few opponents whish we loved. He has some tools but is a bit awkward right now. They will all come together as long as he works. Big guys take longer. He was still really good here and to get a high grade and have a high ceiling is a good place to be. Grade: A-

Cooper Feinberg #4 (D, R, Chicago Fury, 2004)-Cooper played that third/fourth role on defense for the Fury. He is part of a pretty good group back there. We liked his passing a lot. He is accurate and used the wall when he had. Passed to areas with proper pace. He also stretched laterally with the puck to create cross-ice passing lanes. Joined the rush and scored a goal on a nice wrister far side on a nice pass from Bugajsky. Cooper created the second wave well. Did well all around when we watched. Grade: B-

Danny Bugajsky #23 (F, Chicago Fury, 2004)-Danny is a high energy, high compete player who needs some time to grow into his wiry frame. He skated well, showed speed and mobility and always had his head up. Made a nice pass to Feinberg on the line rush as he created the second wave. Danny showed vision and patience on that pass. Not an easy play at this age. He has some upside but must get stronger (like almost everyone in this report) to support his style of play. He is aggressive and involved. Grade: C+

Mario Scalise #5 (D, R, Chicago Fury, 2004)-Another really slid defenseman for the Fury. Mario played sound positionally. We liked his feet. He is quick to defend, a good backwards skater and can transition backwards to forwards quickly. Four-way mobility. Took his ice with possession and showed confidence carrying the puck. His outlets were sharp and he played smart on the lines. His skating stride is technically sound and that will allow him to be faster and even more balanced as he adds strength. Interesting player. Grade: B

North Jersey Avalanche

Constantinos Raftis #29 (D, L, NJ Avalanche, 2004)-Strong/steady defenseman for the Avs. Has good size at this and excellent mobility. Was at ease with the puck as he can carry or snap passes anywhere on the ice. Jumped up on the rush and has the speed to get back. Hit to defend and was the Avalanche’s best player in both games we watched. High ceiling as this level seemed easy for him.  Grade: B+

Jason Gallucci #97 (F, L, NJ Avalanche, 2004)-Jason has a high level of athletic intelligence. Fancy way of saying he can twirl, jump, slide or maneuver his body in lots of ways to make plays. Right now he is lots of legs, skinny and as we said athletic. Went end to end a few times and can dangle with possession. Despite being skinny, he is tough and won’t back down from anyone. Goo speed and can snap the puck quickly on the net. Interesting player. Played well and has lots of pieces he can put together over the coming years. Grade: B

Lucas Buchanan #28 (F, R, NJ Avalanche, 2004)-We saw Lucas play for the U16 team in a defensive role back in the Fall. Here, we liked that he kept his feet moving, stayed around the play and worked hard. Can fire the puck on the go and tracked loose pucks well. He is not overly skilled but knows the action is at the net and moved well without the puck. Strong core to win battles on the wall. Versatile player with nice upside. Grade: B

Ryan Schelling #26 (F, R, NJ Avalanche, 2004)-Ryan played an honest two-way game. He has neat hands and can pick pucks from the wall, scrums, the crease and also thread through defensemen’s blind spots to go by 1v1. He is a great passer and sees the whole ice as well as the play after the play. Puts his teammates in spots to succeed. He is not overly flashy but solid everywhere, smart and has a plan with the puck. High ceiling as his approach and skillset will translate. College: Providence Grade: B+

Eric Vivinetto #12 (F, R, NJ Avalanche, late 2004)-Eric can really fly. Was all over the ice when we watched. Hunts pucks and was a pest. Not big yet but still was tough to play against. Fired a goal under the crossbar on the rush. He has a nice release and can fire it while keeping his feet moving. Pushed bad gaps on defenders all weekend. Speed kills and he has it. Has to get stronger like most here but he ha a good foundation in his skating. Grade: B-

Detroit Little Caesars

Chase Pietila #17 (D, R, Little Caesars, 2004)-Chase has lots of tools. He was stronger, faster and more poised than just about every player here. He hit to defend and was able to collect pucks and outlet them quickly. He can pass or carry from his end. Long handle and is strong on the puck. Chase created a second wave on the rush as he has the speed to jump up and also recover. Up the ice, he has a heavy shot. We liked that he was able to move laterally and change the angle of his stick blade and release from the offensive blue line. He can sneak in and catch and shoot in one motion. His skating is fluid and he played in all situations. Very confident and made few mistakes. Crisp first passes on the power play and active stick on the penalty kill. He isn’t flashy but just rally good. Should have plenty of options as every team needs a player like hm to win. Grade: A

Zach Cline #4 (F, L, Little Caesars, 2004)-Cline is a new addition to Neutral Zone. He is still small but tough and persistent in puck pursuit. Can shoot it and seemed to get to good scoring spots. Flew around and created chaos. Backchecked hard and added energy. Gave his team good shifts and knows how to use his body. We will need more but he was tough to play against. Real pain in the butt. We mean that as a compliment. Grade: C

Justin Varner #8 (F, R, Little Caesars, 2004)-Justin is skilled and can score. Wheeled from the corner in the game against Don Mills and fired an accurate shot home for the score. His hands are soft to receive and quick to deceive. Came alive when the games got bigger. Against Mississauga, Varner stole a puck just 30 seconds into the third period in the quarterfinals, took off, separated and made a poised backhand deke for the score. It was a killer for the opponent. Took the air from their sails. He also played the middle on the power play and showed a prepared stick, good first touches and good sense. Scored on the PP against Mississauga as well on a nice catch and shoot. Smart, skilled and prepared with a flair for the dramatic. Varner is one to watch as he played better and better when the moments got bigger. Grade: A-

Ben Catlin #10 (F, R, Little Caesars, 2004)-Catlin we first noted in the zone on the cycle as he is quick and able to play heavy along the wall. Has the ability to grind shifts out and force teams to be pinned in their end for long stretches. We didn’t see him create a ton offensively but he was accountable all over the ice. Fast and strong with a rocket shot. Tough to play against. Grade: B-

Dylan Gordon #13 (D, L, Little Caesars, 2004)-Dylan is quick but still small. Had no trouble in his end as he anticipated and competed well. Gets to the point if attack in a hurry. His game is predicated on puck moving. It’s where he is best. Is first step and straight-line speed are excellent. Changes direction well and has quick hands. Played power play and moved well laterally along the blue line. He was able to take chances up ice because he has superb recovery speed. Elusive and athletic. Must work to become tougher in his end but that will come with growth and the subsequent added strength. High ceiling player. Has tools that can’t be taught. Grade: B

Tucker Shedd (D, L, Little Caesars, 2004)-We first noted Tucker as he and his D partner St. Ledger, hinged and went D to D all the way up ice against Don Mills. Once they entered the offensive zone, Tucker had the puck and he drove the opposing D towards their net, turned and made a saucer pass from the dot across the ice to the point where St. Ledger received the pass on the tape. That will get your attention. He is poised, confident and can skate or pass from his end. Tucker is smart and poised. It almost seemed to annoy opponents. He easily avoided the forecheck, even bounced one off the back of the net on one breakout. Made a hard, backhand pass right after. Used his partner well as we noted above but even on a breakout he had the sense to use him as an outlet in front of the net. Real high level of awareness and sense. He blocked shots, clogged lanes with a smart stick, hit and got off checks. He played the top of the power play and can fire the puck with a wrister, slapper or one-timer. Moved well along the offensive blue line and played every situation. His approach was confident, mature and businesslike which lead to almost mistake free hockey. Tough to pick a best player on one of the two best teams here but he would not be a bad choice. Early September birthdate. Grade: A

Christian Kocsis #23 (F, L, Little Caesars, 2004)-Kocsis played with the two most skilled LC forwards in Van Sickle and Nazar. He fit well with the as he is skilled as well. More importantly, he played the F3 role, stayed on the correct side of the puck and helped defend in his end. His touches on pucks were smooth and consistent and when he had a chance to make a play, he made a play. Stayed flat to support the breakout and regroups with a prepared stick. In the offensive end, he went to the net at smart times and was very willing to battle for net front real estate. Did a lots of the dirty work but also stabilized a talented and productive line. High ceiling player as his skills should translate. Grade: A-

Spencer Sova #44 (D, R, Little Caesars, 2004)-Spencer is strong on his skates. Won wall battles and made nice first passes from his end. Proper pace and no buddy passes. We liked his athletic ability as he made a couple plays that required using his hands and body to keep pucks in at the offensive blue line. Showed some flashes where he weaved through traffic but he left most of the creativity to his forwards. There was plenty of them to create. Spencer has a hard shot and rifle one-timer. He helped his team win and he did his job. Defended with some snarl, moved pucks quickly and played well on the lines. Offensive upside as he will be asked to do more as he moves up in levels. Solid young player. Grade: B

Luke St. Ledger #55 (D, R, Little Caesars, 2004)-Excellent passer and soft hands (even on his backhand) when receiving the pucks as we eluded to in Shedd’s report. Luke is huge. He moved well for a player his size and even carried end to end a couple times. However, he would get close and not be able to complete a productive play. That describes his game right now. He is really close. He is really talented. He is really big. It will take him some time. Moved well laterally to squeeze off the rush and create along the offensive blue line. Played very well overall, however, one shift he would look like a pro and the next he would whip a puck to nowhere. He is talented. He will get there and he has high, high upside. He just needs time. Grade: B+

Camron Van Sickle #76 (F, L, Little Caesars, 2004)-Camron is long, athletic and played with great pace here. He can access all his skills at top speed. Instinctive offensive player as he seems to know where to do with and without the puck. Takes great paths to pucks and values possession. Has slick hands but does not force them on the game. Takes the less risky path usually. He is strong enough to win battles in the trenches and skilled enough to make people miss. It seems like he waits and if it’s time to take a game over, he can do that. Got better as the games got bigger. He is highly athletic and on one play twisted his body to make a pass to Nazar for a goal that defied the laws of physics. His talents are versatile and he is one of the top prospects here because his abilities will translate in any style game. Grade: A

Frank Nazar #97 (F, R, Little Caesars, 2004)-Frank was one of the better prospects in Port Huron. He has good size and speed. He was electric at times and took the eyes of opponents and off his teammates. He is patient with the puck and was able to wheel and wait for plays to open up. He waited for them to make mistakes n coverage and then would attack via pass or a drive to the net. Puck possession forward who did not want to dump the puck. Values possession. Showed poise on one 2v1 rush vs Don Mills as he beat one D with his speed to create the chance. Frank then held the puck, waited, waited, then just as the other D left his feet, Nazar stopped and let him slide by and made a perfect pass. No goal but a real smart, mature play. Has excellent cross zone vision. He pushed pace, beat defensemen and made the correct plays all weekend. Backchecked and simply took the puck from players and started back the other way. Jumped to avoid hits, took hits to make plays. He is quick and fast and got to pucks we never thought he could get to. Impressive performance. He has improved since the Fall and stood out on an excellent team here. Grade: A

Indianapolis Jr. Fuel

Jonathan Hunt #4 (D, R, Indy Fuel, 2004)-Jonathan was their best player by far. Lots of upside. Has good size, long body that will fill out and he can skate. Straight line speed was good and he went end to end on several occasions. Got better as the event went on. He has some real talents but must work on his overall mobility and strength. He will get there and some is just growing into his body. He impressed us and is one of the players we really think people should keep and eye on. High ceiling. Grade: B+

Waterloo Wolves

Liam Eveleigh #66 (D, L, Waterloo Wolves, 2004)-Liam played an excellent two-way game here. His core is very strong and he was able to knock players down and hit to defend. Also showed he could carry and create up ice, a few times going end to end. Easily played through contact as players bounced off him when he had possession. He can fire the puck. Made a pretty pass for a goal as he rushed up ice, end to end, stopped behind the net and with al eyes on him hit an open player in the slot (not sure who as the yellow numbers on the sweaters are hard to see.) He played a mature, two-way game and was the best player on his team in the two games we watched. Grade: A-

Ty Higgins #3 (F, R, Waterloo Wolves, 2004)-Tyler caught our eyes a few times. Played the F3 role really well as he reads the forecheck in front of him and anticipates well. His skating is decent but and area he can improve. Mobility and first step. He stayed moving mostly and around the play. Intercepted passes and moved pucks to smart spots. Grade: C

Evan Klein #27 (F, L, Waterloo Wolves, 2004)-Klein is long, especially his legs. They are wiry and he used them well to protect the puck and deflect stick checks. Played really hard and stayed around the pucks. He was persistent in puck pursuit and punishing on the forecheck. Long reach to gather pucks and was really hard to play against. Not sure how skilled he is right now but he looked to be a player who will help teams win whether he can dangle and score or not. Versatile and high impact shift to shift. Grade: B

Evan Silveira #77 (F, R, Waterloo Wolves, 2004)-Interesting combination of sneaky, slippery and physical. Evan is a good skater and closed quickly on pucks. Knew how to use his stick to create turnovers but also create plays with possession. Hit hard and was tough to play against. Made a pass to L’Heureux, headed to the net and buried a rebound. Simple and effective. We need a bit more but was a player we noted in both games. Grade: C+

Jakeb L’Heureux #19 (F, R, Waterloo Wolves, 2004)-Jakeb played with tons of energy and lots of grit. Seemed to be always headed to the net. He is not big but quick, especially in tight quarters. Made some big hits on the wall and is open ice. Showed balance and athletic ability. He played with snarl and was tough to play against every shift. Must improve his straight-line speed. He is quick and mobile but not yet fast. Shot to create a rebound on a Silveira goal. We liked his approach and he can fit on any team. Grade: B-

Andy Reist #88 (F, L, Waterloo Wolves, 2004)-Reist had a good shift every time over the boards. He was consistent, tough to play against and showed some snarl in his game as well. Had lots of puck possession time and waited to make plays. Can drag and shoot at top speed and he often changed the angle of his stick blade to get pucks on net. Showed jam near the cage and we liked his overall approach. One to watch and was the team Captain. Grade: B-

Hunter Nagge #55 (F, R, Waterloo Wolves, 2004)-We noted him a few times against the Flyers. Scored a goal on a nice backhander. He protected the puck and extended possession. Stopped and changed direction quickly in the offensive zone and the puck didn’t slow him. He is string on his skates and also in his upper body. Attacked seams and went to the net with and without the puck. Gritty player with some skill. Versatile and his approach should help as he moves up. He knows the action is at the net. Grade: C+

Zacharie LeBlanc #13 (F, L, Waterloo Wolves, 2004)-LeBlanc is smaller but really tricky to defend. He can stickhandle with the best at this age group and also showed he could change direction with the puck by stopping/starting or turning. His edges are excellent and he was able to carry speed as he weaved with the puck. Played the half wall on the power play and always had his head up. Drew penalty on the power play as he is really a lot to contain. He will grow and if he can maintain his pace and skill, he will become a high-end prospect. He did well here. Grade: B

Don Mills Flyers

Seth Kirou #20 (D, L, Don Mills Flyers, 2004)-Seth is still small bur can really skate. Accelerates in every direction at an elite level. Moved laterally and would squeeze off the rush. Rode players off. Stopped plays and found pucks quickly, often carrying up ice to start transition. Seth went back to front quickly. Got off checks and skated away from forecheckers. Anticipated and read plays well. He showed he can get pucks to the net and he shot to create rebounds.  Scored an empty netter where he stepped up and intercepted a pass, side stepped a checker and fired it home from just outside the blue line. He is a really athletic player. His weight hurt him at times on the wall but as he grows, that won’t be an issue. One of our favorite players here. Played a lot as Don Mills was shorthanded die to some injuries. Grade: A-

Davis Longlade #67 (D, L, Don Mills Flyers, 2004)-Big, long D-man who liked the physical side of the game. We first noted him when he whacked an opponent from Waterloo right the offensive blue line. It was an aggressive and athletic play. Even though they were overmatched against Little Caesars, he knocked Pietila right on his backside. He is a big boy to knock down like that. Longlade is still really raw which is good because we liked him here and he will only get better. Must grow into his body, keep working on his skating and puck play. Big, tough defenseman like him are still a commodity in today’s game and he showed he could make hits against both speedy and strong players. Grade: B

Danila Dorofeev #17 (F, R, Don Mills Flyers, 2004)-Danila is stalky, strong and played a great game against the Wolves early on. Showed strength and some ability to dangle. He was a threat every time he had the puck. He has an absolute rocket shot and scored four goals in two periods. Puck flys off his stick and even as a right shot on the right wing, he was burying the puck. Went hard to the net and stopped on the goal line. He is a goal scorer. The second game we watched against Caesar’s, DM only had 11 skaters and they looked ragged. Dorofeev kept working to get to scoring spots but no one could get him the puck. Perfect storm of a tired team against maybe the top U14 team in the US. He can work the cycle but he is not the type that can do it alone. Has enough wiggle to catch, create and shoot but will not beat two defenders for a score. That’s not really a skill that you need at the next level anyway. He is a scorer, understands quiet space and worked hard. His details were good as he stopped on the net, kept his stick prepared and protected possession. He will get better and scoring is always at a premium. Grade: B+

Marko Stojkov #95 (D, L, Don Mills Flyers, 2004)-Marko played the top on the power play. We liked that he could carry, push pace and stop to create passing and shooting lanes. He made hard tape to tape passes. Worked hard and was smart with his stick in the defensive zone. Took away lanes and hid his poke check. Played his best against better competition. Not flashy but reliable and steady. All situations type. Grade: C+

Nicholas Drekopoulos #29 (F, R, Don Mills Flyers, 2004)-Steady center who played a consistent game all weekend. Level of competition didn’t matter, he worked all 200 feet, won faceoffs, tied up sticks and hot on the wall. High compete player. He is not flashy but picked up a couple assists as he has good vision and has soft hands to thread pucks through. We will need more as his game is subtle but effectice. Grade: C+

Nicholas Tsatanis #34 (G, L, Don Mills Flyers, 2004)-Nicholas was under an absolute siege of shots against Little Caesars. His team was shorthanded playing the second-best team in Port Huron and he never quit. Tsatanis is not big but he battled. Fought for space in the crease and even stacked the pads up on one great stop. Again, we didn’t have our goalie scouts there but we would take him any day. Un to watch and he was great in a blowout loss. Grade: B

Chicago Mission

Max Matthews #18 (D, R, Mission, 2004)-Max showed s strong stride. Average size but his core was strong and he was able to win pucks along the wall. Played smart on the blue lines. Kept his gaps tights and played the rush at his blue. Up ice, he was able to create and walk the offensive blue to make plays. Made some good keeps. Kept his head up and maintained vision through contact and chaos. Athletic player with upside. More puck mover than anything right now but still lots to determine. Grade: B-

Raymond Owens #33 (F, R, Mission, 2004)-Owens played well over the entire ice all weekend. Raymond has a strong stick and used it to defend in his end and win pucks in scrums. On one play, he backchecked hard, picked up his opponent’s stick, took the puck and quickly started transition. Great effort. He is not skilled in the traditional sense. Meaning, he won’t really dangle as he values possession. He maintains possession, protects the puck and has excellent vision. Made some quality passes in the zone and on the rush. Made everyone else better and has skills that will translate at the next level. Perfect compliment for a skilled goal scoring winger. Grade: B+

Brennan Ali #74 (F, Mission, 2004)-Brennan is interesting. He is long, wiry and athletic. On one play against a good Canadiens team, he beat two very good defenseman, got knocked down by another player, kept the puck and fired a shot on goal from his knees. Takes some ability to do all that. He is really raw but that is OK as his best hockey awaits. A player to watch as he may start to put it all together as he grows into his body. Grade: C

Carson Walters #15 (F, L, Mission, 2004)-Carson played in all situations. Has separational speed and good mobility. The puck does not slow him and he can create his shot. He has a quick stick and created turnovers consistently that led to chances for Mission. He needs to keep adding weight and show more touch around the goal but his fundamentals are solid. Grade: B

Nicholas Turek #55 (F, L, Mission, 2004)-Nicholas is a big player. We liked that he played with poise, used his size to protect the puck, extend possession and let plays develop. Skates well as he has speed and very good balance. Swiss Army Knife type as he can do a lot. Fired a shot home unassisted against the Barons to give his team a 2-1 lead. He didn’t leap off the ice but had good touches, made plays, blocked shots and made his team better. Grade: B+

Cleveland Barons

Sean Gilmore #55 (D, L, Cleveland Barons, 2004)-Sean played in all situations for the Barons. He and Stimple were called upon for key situations consistently. Sean is smart. He will not leave his coverage and chase before help arrives. Made some decent outlets and then rimmed a lazy pass the next shift. He still has some polish to add to his game but he is balanced on his skates, has the tools to break pucks out and run a power play. He clearly understands D-Zone positioning. Good places to start. May be a year away from being totally consistent but that’s OK at this level. Grade: C+

Jackson Stimple #14 (D, R, Cleveland Barons, 2004)-Like Gilmore, he was called upon in important situations for Cleveland. He is tall and still raw. Ran around a bit which made his reach and size less effective. Showed flashes of being able to carry the puck and some offensive flair. He is really interesting. High ceiling player but needs lots of polish. Luckily, he has plenty of time and his best hockey awaits. Grade: C

Liam Clarke #26 (F, R, Cleveland Barons, 2004)-Caught our eye just enough to make this report. Liam stayed around the play and has a balanced stride with an upright skating style. Good vision and made some short, productive passes. Has good reach and played very hard every shift. His approach and effort are his biggest strengths, the rest of his game should improve over time. Good player in this group but not yet great. Grade: C

Toronto Jr. Canadiens

Brice Cooke #4 (F, L, Toronto Jr. Canadiens, 2004)-Brice is long and slippery. Not a smooth skater but he gets there. He was hard on the forecheck and involved in lots of positive plays. Drew penalties as he is tough to defend with his reach and handle. Played the half wall on the power play for a very good team. Still raw but will put it all together. Lots of upside as he processes plays well and played with a good combination of skill and grit. Skating and speed will improve as he grows into his body and adds more strength. He was impressive overall. Grade: A

Michael Buchinger #5 (D, L, Toronto Jr. Canadiens, 2004)-Michael is a smaller defenseman but silky and smooth. His skating is elite at this level. His acceleration, speed, mobility and balance are all at the superb. Wheeled to avoid the forecheck and closed quickly to defend. He trusted his feet and kept his gaps tight while defending the rush. If the puck was on his side, it seldom entered his zone as he would move laterally and squeeze off the rush or simply poke the puck away. In the corners, he was on opponents before they even knew what was happening. Hit to defend. He was alert and aware. Up ice, he showed a rifle slap shot, firing one home for a power play goal. One of the best prospects here. He has all the tools (except size which will come) and everything coached want in a #1 D. Can run the power play, keeps pucks out of his end and gets them out, transitions quickly, has great feet and anticipates well. High ceiling player who will draw plenty of attention in the coming years. Grade: A

Kyan Haldenby #12 (F, R, Toronto Jr. Canadiens, 2004)-Kyan played a second line type role on one of the four best teams here. He did his job well. Had good first touches on pucks and valued possession. Can skate and the puck does not slow him. Made people mis as he has a slick element. Made a pretty, behind the back pass to Fimis for a goal as he used the net to his advantage and sent the puck back to the weak side as he went behind. Showed off a nice release on his shot as well. Just a solid all-around player. He has solid upside as his approach and skillset should translate. Grade: B+

Mick Thompson #14 (F, L, Toronto Jr. Canadiens, 2004)-Mick is fast and skilled. Has a little edge that helps him as he isn’t the biggest player. Tough and balanced on his skates, he played hard and won both puck races and puck battles. We only saw him score one goal but got the sense he can score as he went to good spots and has a quick release. On his goal, he stole a puck, separated and buried on a breakaway while being pulled down (penalty called). Also showed good vision and passed the puck accurately and with proper pace. Used the indirect and can sauce the puck when necessary. High skill and high pace with plenty of grit. Solid performance. Grade: A-

Zakary Lavoie #16 (F, R, Toronto Jr. Canadiens, 2004)-Zakary played with wiggle on the rush and hit hard on the wall. He has a solid combo of toughness and skill. Can drag and shoot or go hunt pucks in tough areas. High compete player which means he helps his team every shift and he will just keep getting better. Made a beautiful chip pass to Castle for a goal in one game. Showed off his combo of grit and skill. Took excellent sense to make a chip play into an area like that. Played some power play and really showed off a mature, two-way game. Tough to play against with a slick element. Grade: B+

Pano Fimis #17 (F, R, Toronto Jr. Canadiens, 2004)-Pano is one of those players who kept catching our eye. He scored a goal on a nice wrister on the pass we described in Haldenby’s writeup. Pano settled into a good spot in the side slot and made a nice shot. He consistently was able to protect the puck, create and he can fire the puck. His release his quick and balanced. Looked like a goal scorer to us. He understands how and where to move without the puck and his shot gave goalies trouble. Another one of those second line types on a great team that should be watched closely. Grade: A-

Aidan Castle #19 (F, L, Toronto Jr. Canadiens, 2004)-Aidan showed off a good combo of speed and size that made him a threat off the edge on the line rush. Strong stride and a strong core. He showed some scoring touch. Aidan scored on a very tough angle in the playoffs on a rebound, Elite accuracy and release. He also scored a really slick goal on a pass from Lavoie where Aidan waited, moved the puck around on his blade and slipped it home on his backhand. It was a high skill play with lots of poise. Obviously doesn’t panic with possession or near the net. Has a scorer’s makeup and is a player who will get better quickly. Grade: B+

Michael Podolioukh #28 (F, L, Toronto Jr. Canadiens, 2004)-Michael played a key role for one of the best teams in the tournament and one of the best Bantam teams in Canada. He is big, strong and has some bite to his game. Can easily play through contact and maintain control of the puck. Can fire the puck and did a good job of swiveling his hips, or changing the angle of his blade to get pucks through and change his release point. Takes up space, went hard to the net and was tough to play against. Mature performance and a player OHL and college team will be watching. Grade: B+

Aidan Puley #44 (F, R, Toronto Jr. Canadiens, 2004)-Aidan has good size and excellent poise. Played with his head up all weekend. He slithered and slid to make plays as he is really creative without being high risk with the puck. His ability to process his options is his biggest strength. He has a high hockey IQ. He was always a step ahead. He was in the right spots and could anticipate the play beyond the play. His instincts are excellent. His puck touches were soft and no matter the situation, he was always surveying his options to make a play. Has a sneaky stick to create turnovers. Played first PP minutes and is a high ceiling prospect. Grade: A

Joseph Caggiano #51 (D, L, Toronto Jr. Canadiens, 2004)-Caggiano played in played in all situations with some second power play time. He has good feet and does a lot well but nothing spectacular. Gave his team some quality minutes and has told to build on. Lacks recovery speed right now and that is an area he must improve as he moves up. Overall, he did well to grab our attention and make this report. Grade: C

Alec Leonard #73 (D, R, Toronto Jr. Canadiens, 2004)-Alec is a smaller puck mover. Light on his skates as he flew to pucks and skated away from the forecheck. Defended with his stick and quick reactions. Player to watch as he grows. His stride and feet point to a player that will be able to maintain his speed and mobility as he adds strength and weight. Fearless player and one who could fill a top PP unit role down the road. Grade: C+

Ethan Best #88 (D, L, Toronto Jr. Canadiens, 2004)-Best is really strong. Wide body defender who moved well laterally to defend. Tough to play against as he is heavy along the wall. His upper body is as strong as he lower body. In one game an opponent tried to get a stick on his shot only to have it ripped from his hands and ted feet in the air. Best also still got the puck on the net. Real strength. Ethan played in almost every key situation. Played first power play with Buchinger. Best’s puck play is relatively simple but effective. Made good first passes to smart spots and showed soft hands to receive the puck. He can fire the puck and we did not see him get any shots blocked. Solid two-way game for the 2004. Poised and mature. Grade: A-

Huron Perth Lakers

Carter Coombs #2 (F, R, Huron Perth, 2004)-Carter is his team’s Captain. He showed elite speed here as he blew easily by players. The puck didn’t slow him and he can play in all situations. Played the whole sheet and worked hard back to his end. His skating is a real asset and if he can keep getting stronger. Versatile player with a high upside. Grade: B

Carter Coates #7 (D, R, Huron Perth, 2004)-Coates is tough. Hit to defend and attacked opponents with a balanced stride and under control. He took smart angles, used his stick to collect turnovers and got off checks first. Hard to play against and a bit of a throwback. He will have to keep improving his puck play to round his game out but he has time. Always nice for a coach to have a guy that can wear down opposing forwards. Grade: C

Ryan Cooper #13 (F, L, Huron Perth, 2004)-Ryan is still on the small side but we like his athleticism and ability to wheel and change direction with the puck. Played a puck possession game and showed he could avoid checkers. He has excellent speed and he can carry that speed on his edges. The puck does not slow him and he showed he could push pace and use the space created to snap pucks on the cage. Interesting player to watch and track as he gets stronger. Grade: C+

Chadd Langlands #17 (F, L, Huron Perth, 2004)-Chadd showed some skill on a pretty goal against the Barons. He was able to corral a bouncing puck, tap and thread it through the opposing defenseman, slip by him, find the puck and go in to score, stick side, low. Showed skill, good hand eye, touch around the net and balance. Played power play and a lot of plays ran through him on the half-wall. Interesting player who we will need more on. One to watch as his goal was pretty and not easy to accomplish. Grade: B-

Ryder Livermore #3 (D, R, Huron Perth, 2004)-Ryder was one of the smallest players in Port Huron. His stride, hockey sense, toughness, positioning and effort are all in place and excellent. He has a head start on almost everyone despite his size. He will grow and when he does, he will pass lots and lots of players in this report. For now, he is on the lower end but he caught our eye and should be a player to track. High upside and high effort player. Grade: C+

Owen Kerr #8 (F, R, Huron Perth, 2004)-Owen can score. Sniped a shot short side high like he had done it a hundred times. Nice release and he can get it up quickly. He played a high tempt game, stayed involved and showed good athleticism. He his smart, balanced on his skates and competed for space. Grade: C

Wyatt Kerr # 6 (D, L, Huron Perth, 2004)-Wyatt played key situations. Trusted his feet and dhowed he could pivot and go with fast, skilled players. Not a flashy defenseman, he can play special teams and make both simple and clever outlet passes. Basic game for now but that is OK. He did his job and was an important part of his team. Grade: C

Madison Capitols

Rorke White #6 (F, R, Madison Capitols, 2004)-White has good size and speed. Dipped and drove the net and used his reach and strength on the forecheck. Worked hard and played with the top group. Scored a goal on the third day where he drove hard to the cage and stopped on the goal line, stick on the ice to bury a nice pass from Aegerter. Rorke was simple and mostly effective. North/south and limited mistakes. We will need more but he paid attention to detail and his size/speed combo caught our attention. Grade: C+

Jonah Aegerter #12 (F, R, Madison Capitols, 2004)-Jonah was very good here and Madison’s best player. He is fast and sneaky. Stole lots of pucks and started transition. He was dangerous on the rush. The centerman usually sets the table for others but he will have you for lunch if you give him too much space. Was the only player able to generate chances against a strong Marlboros team. He probably has half his team’s shots on goal (they didn’t have many). He is a high compete player with skill. Protected the puck well, played hard in his end and then would go up ice and make a spin-o-rama pass on the tape to his linemate in the same shift. Interesting player and one to watch for sure. He has a lot of tools and has a chance to really burst on the scene soon. Grade: A-

Landon Fleming #19 (D, L, Madison Capitols, 2004)-Tall and long, Landon showed flashes of high-end talent here. Was able to carry end to end with some serious dangle and also defend in his end with reach and physicality. The team Captain can snap the puck hard on goal and play in any situation. He has lots of poise with the puck and played beyond his years with possession. Still has some growing into his body to do and must improve quicken his overall mobility but he is an interesting prospect. Talented for sure with size, speed and slick stick. Big guy that can create up ice and knock people down in his end. Grade: B+

Toronto Marlboros

Emerson Miller #4 (D, L, Toronto Marlboros, 2004)-Gets lost amongst a talented group but he does some things that should serve him well as he develops. First, he is very quick to pucks. Helped him defend in his end as he was able to keep opponents from fronting the net and seeing their options. Emerson’s stick is quick as well and it’s sneaky as he hides his poke. Second, he anticipates well. He seemed to know where pucks would go and not be reacting to where they are. Tough skill to teach. His puck play was average but should improve. He gave his team some quality minutes here. Player to watch develop as he is really athletic. Grade: B-

Paul Ludwinski #8 (F, L, Toronto Marlboros, 2004)-Paul played an essential role for the Marlies. He is an excellent offensive player but the first thing we noted was his defensive play. He has a great stick and used it well to dispossess opponents and get stick on pucks. He clogged passing lanes and used a pretty poke check on the penalty against Pitt. Offensively, he is fast, slick and a threat to score every time he has the puck. On the rush, he is dynamic. Plays with lots of pace and is quick laterally to create a shooting lane. He wants the puck and moves to get to good spots. He walked two defensemen against Madison and casually dished to Kearney for a tap in score. Pretty play at top speed. Later against Madison, he went in on the forecheck and blew up the breakout. The puck popped loose to Sebastian who buried the goal. After, Paul just stared down the opposing defense as they got up and skated away. We liked the attitude but realized that at times this level is too easy for him. Next game he played the same way and found a loose puck against Pitt and fired it home through traffic. He can play any way the game dictates. High ceiling player with tons of tools. One of the best prospects here. Grade: A

Matthew Jovanovic #9 (D, L, Toronto Marlboros, late 2004)-Matthew showed up in our noted both games. So, he grabbed our attention. Another player that is in the middle of a lot of talent who does not always stand out but does some nice things. Played a lot with the first unit. He has an almost perfect stride that will allow him to get faster and even more mobile as he grows and strengthens. As is now, he gets around well and showed good four-way mobility. Puck play was decent, mistake free with good first touches. Closed well to defend. Player to watch as his skating is quite good. Grade: B

Eli Sebastian #11 (F, L, Toronto Marlboros, 2004)-Eli has a rare combination of speed and strength. His stride is strong and he can play through contact or fly by opponents through the middle zone. He was dangerous off the edge on the rush as he simply flew by opposing defensemen and dipped to the cage. Has some snarl and was all over the puck, all over the ice. He hunted and used all his speed and strength and accentuated those by taking smart angles in pursuit. He got his body and stick on 50/50 pucks. Can whistle the puck on net. Picked pucks off the wall and from scrums with ease. Big, strong, player who finds pucks, can fly, score and play in any situation. High ceiling player. Dominant at times here and really tough to play against. He wore opponents out. Grade: A

Lorenzo Bonaiuto #13 (F, L, Toronto Marlboros, 2004)-Lorenzo showed he could dip to the net as he is sturdy on his skates. Great size and dominated in the offensive zone. Has some “oops” in his game as he can make opponents look very bad 1v1. Created off the cycle and protected the puck. He knows where to go without the puck to score. Used the give and go well. His skating is OK as he is strong and has decent speed but he has room to extend his stride. Some may be just getting used to a growing body but there is more to be had from his legs. Overall, he was impressive. Big power forward with some silky moves. Interesting player. Grade: A-

James Kearney #18 (D, L, Toronto Marlboros, 2004)-In the very first game we watched, we noticed James right away. Before the puck dropped because he is huge. Then off the opening faceoff, he got the puck and went down and almost scored. He had our attention early. His skating is decent and he used his stick and body to force opponents outside and away from his goal. Got in trouble when he lunged or took chances. He has some talent but must keep working on his mobility and first step. Big players take a bit longer and he is one to be watched closely. Grade: B

Lleyton McLean #19 (F, L, Toronto Marlboros, 2004)-McLean played with quick hands and a rapid release. Got to smart spots as he has good offensive instincts. His net front presence was excellent as he knew when to take the goalies’ eyes and when to slide for a pass. He is smart with plenty of skills to back his brain. Stayed around the play so his skating was fine. We noted he would have been the best player on almost every other team in Port Huron. We liked his approach and we really liked his hands. Another player in the upper third of the roster on the Marlies that bears watching. Grade: B+

Callum Arnott #27 (F, R, Toronto Marlboros, 2004)-Callum is still small. Played a tough game and never backed down. Went to the net and is clever. Was able to stay out of traffic by staying moving, weaving through sticks with the puck and moving quickly to give and go. Played with a prepared stick and opened up for a one-timer early on a 2v1 showing where he wanted the puck. He will grow and get better. Just needs time but we noted him and he deserves recognition as a solid, smart player. **We are not sure the roster was correct as he was listed at Arnott Callum. Grade: B-

Kaden Muir #47 (D, R, Toronto Marlboros, 2004)-Kaden played a depth role for Toronto. By that we mean, they didn’t need him to create or take chances but to defend and keep it simple. He did his job well. He is big and still raw. Kept his gaps tight and used his stick well. Hit to defend and was alert and prepared when we watched. We really like his upside. He can do more and he has some nice tools. Just needs time like lots of bigger teenagers. Player to track for sure. Grade: B+

Isaiah George #84 (D, L, Toronto Marlboros, 2004)-George has good size and showed he could carry end to end against Madison. That didn’t tell us a lot as that game was never close. Against a good Pitt team, however he really played well. He showed athletic feet that he used to defend and to create passing lanes. He used the middle well and didn’t just jam pucks up the wall. We liked his stick in the defensive end as he collected pucks and started breakouts quickly. Up the ice he moved in and out of the slot and was always involved in the offensive action. Tall player with room for weight. Really high upside and played better as the weekend went on. Grade: A-

Kalen Peterson #88 (F, R, Toronto Marlboros, 2004)-Kalen played a heavy physical and a decent pace. He is not an elite skater and his overall speed is an area he can improve but he stayed moving and made some big hits. Not a player opposing defensemen wanted to see coming in on the forecheck. He takes body first. Puts some clean, hard hits on players. Scored a goal where he showed a strong stick through a couple stick checks on his way to the net and wristed one home. Power forward right now for sure. Played hard and was tough to play against. Grade: B-

Pittsburgh Penguins Elite

Thomas Whitford #8 (D, L, Pitt Penguins Elite, 2004)-Thomas is a smallish defender with excellent feet. He hit with real pop to defend and has great balance on his skates. He has good vision with possession and can make all the passes. Seemed to get better as the games got bigger and we though he played his best in the quarterfinals. He was used in key spots and consistently was able to get the puck out of his end against a relentless Buffalo forecheck. Player to keep an eye on as he grows and strengthens. Grade: B

Adam Mahler #9 (D, R, Pitt Penguins Elite, 2004)-Adam is a strong, wide bodied defenseman who defended well and forced plays to the outside. Not flashy but smart with the puck. Played power play and made smart passes, shot to tips. Played in some key situations in important games. Steady type who has some offensive upside. Must get a but quicker but that was not a factor here. He did his job well and played smart, productive, plus hockey. Grade: B

Hunter Gartley #15 (D, L, Pitt Penguins Elite, 2004)-Hunter is well over 6 feet tall and he used his strength, reach and quickness to defend and protect his net. He moved well for a big boy and was able to turn and go with speedy forwards. We liked that he took what forecheckers gave him and made the simple pass from his end. He is athletic, big and fast and has a smart, simple approach that was successful here. Has upside on the offensive end and his best hockey is ahead. High ceiling player. Grade: B+

Noah Eyre # 16 (D, R, Pitt Penguins Elite, 2004)-Noah played a solid defensive game. Stuck with his checks and stayed with his man. Good stick and played well on lots of penalty kill situations. We noted in the Fall at the USHL event that he was more a puck mover. Here we saw some of that but felt his strength was in his end as a more classical stay at home guy. That is good. We know now he can move the puck and create and we also know he can defend and be used in key defensive situations. His game is rounding out. Versatile set of skills that will translate to the next level. Grade: B

Logan Cooley #18 (F, L, Pitt Penguins Elite, 2004)-Logan is a gifted player as he has both the mental and physical tools to create up ice. He passed and attacked the net equally well so there is balance in what he brings with the puck. Defenses think they have him and he creates a way out. Cooley sees the play beyond the play and he often waits and baits opponents into bad spots and then exploits their mistakes. He is patient poised and meticulous in his decisions. He can make something from nothing and is a high ceiling prospect. There is not another player here who better combined the ability to process plays with the ability to create. Really hard to defend him. Can fly, stickhandle and change direction quickly. He has some growing to do and he has a chance to be special. College: Notre Dame Grade: A

Evan Konyen #19 (F, R, Pitt Penguins Elite, 2004)-Evan played a heavy game and was really hard to handle for opponents below the dots. Can swivel and create but really his game is leaning on opposing defenders and gaining space. Net front is excellent. In space, his skating is balanced. He is not a burner but nor slow either. Speed is an area he can improve. We liked his overall game. It’s simple, based in puck possession, running the cycle and getting pucks to the net. Tough to play against and smart in his approach. He has nice upside because he will get quicker and he can play in the danger areas. Grade: B+

Gus Hinckley #27 (D, L, Pitt Penguins Elite, 2004)-Big, strong two-way defenseman. Gets around with a smooth, balanced stride. Broke pucks out well and took care of his end. His strength and positioning made him near impossible to beat below the dots. Showed willingness and speed to jump up n the rush. Has speed to get back and a little offensive flair up ice. Can hammer the puck and used his shot at smart times on the power play. Got it through and shot to tips. Showed that he is athletic as Gus made several nice keeps where he had to use his hands, skates, body at the offensive blue line. Even went between the legs to start a play that led to a Dimarsico goal. Played I lots of situations. Pretty polished for a big player his age. He was very good here. Grade: A-

Matthew Dimarsico #33 (F, L, Pitt Penguins Elite, 2004)-Matthew had a great tournament. He is really skilled with quick feet and hands. Decent size and really slippery with possession. Od the third day, he was the benefit of a great keep by Hinckley, took the puck and quickly moved laterally between two players, slipped through and snapped a puck post and in for a goal. If you blinked, you missed it. In the quarterfinals, he was one of Pitt’s best players. He looked relaxed and poised. Played hard and was around lots of positive plays. He scored a goal on a quick wrister from the side of the net. His team looked tight and he didn’t. His vision was excellent and he made several terrific passes. Interesting player as h has some tools and perhaps an ability to thrive under pressure. We think he was just having fun. Either way, we liked it. Grade: B+

Cole Bianchin #70 (F, L, Pitt Penguins Elite, 2004)-Cole flies around the ice. Has great reaction time as his first step is elite and he anticipates well. Seemed to win every race to rebounds in the offensive zone. Played with pace and is unpredictable and exciting with possession. Also showed he can defend as he was very good on the penalty kill. Got in shooting lanes and played with an active stick. Versatile player with lots of speed and skill. One to watch. Must get stronger and become a bit grittier in tough areas. He was still good here overall. Grade: B

Lucas Ross #93 (F, R, Pitt Penguins Elite, 2004)-Lucas possesses high-end speed. He blew by opponents with ease. His stride is explosive and he can get to top speed very quickly. Showed he could create and finish. Deflected a bad pass from his skate blade to his sick blade without losing any pace. Wheels and can skate for days. Looks faster with the puck and wears opponents down as they chase him around. Must get too the net front more and keep adding strength but he is a talented player with a bright future. College: Ohio St. Grade: B+

Lambton Jr. Sting

Brett Vince #27 (F, R, Lambton Jr. Sting, 2004)-Brett is long and showed some real dangle when we watched. Because of his reach he could use a wide stickhandle or drag and creates closer to his feet. Went outside-in a few times which we liked as he is headed towards the net. He can fire the puck and again his reach gives him an advantage there getting pucks through by changing the angle of his blade. Showed vision and passed well. Even whacked a pass from mid-air. We didn’t get a great sense of his skating which likely means it’s fine. Dangerous offensive player. Grade: B

Landen Hookey #10 (F, R, Lambton Jr. Sting, 2004)-Landen is big, strong and worked hard. Use his reach well to gather pucks and was tough to play against on the wall. He extended possession by protecting the puck and that allowed him time to wait for plays or maintain quality offensive zone time with the cycle. Showed a little wiggle in space but mostly he is north/south tight now. Grade: C

Josh Hoover #19 (D, L, Lambton Jr. Sting, 2004)-We liked Josh’s gaps as he kept opponents close. Allowed him to defend and start transition quickly. Has a hard shot whether it be wrist, snap, slap, or one-timer. Scored a gal and played lots of key minutes for the Sting. His feet are solid, balanced skater with enough speed to skate away from the forecheck and up ice. He was prepared, looked athletic and played well. Grade: B-

Mississauga Senators

Aaron Andrade #81 (F, R, Mississauga Senators, 2004)-Aaron played with lots of pace. Wheeled to create and had the puck on a string. He has great speed and size. His energy is excellent and he can’t have a bad shift the way he plays. He was dominant against Compuware. Tough to play against with a high-skill level. Scored a couple goals when we watched. One back door on the power play and another where he stole a puck where he snapped home a loose puck. Made a beautiful pass on a 2v1 for a goal where he had about 6 inches to get a puck through and was able to make that type of play at top speed. he was a real workhorse for the Sens. Grade: A-

Nicholas DeAngelis #22 (D, L, Mississauga Senators, 2004)-Nicholas is athletic and tough. We liked his feet as he moved well in all directions to defend. Stayed square to defend and stood up opponents at his blue line. Even the most skilled player had no chance to beat him. DeAngelis played with some snarl and was not easy to play against. Showed he could easily go back for pucks and carry or pass from his end. He has very good speed which allowed him to take chances up ice and recover. Played power play and was consistent all weekend. Solid two-way prospect. Grade: B+

Harrison Ballard #80 (F, R, Mississauga Senators, 2004)-Born in Arizona and a dual citizen, Harrison played with plenty of speed. He got up and down the sheet as well as anyone here. Great size and can push bad gaps and snap the puck on the net. Showed great vision which served as a nice compliment to Andrade. He set Aaron up several times, including one pretty backdoor pass for a power play score and Caesars in the playoffs. Athletic player with size, speed and skill. We liked his upside as his game is versatile. Grade: B+

Charles Edward Gravel #1 (G, L, Mississauga Senators, 2004)-Looks like the righty played in Quebec last season. Again, we did not have our goalie scout there as 2004 is a tough age to gauge goaltenders. He stood out, specifically in a shutout win over Compuware that really was the difference in Mississauga making the playoffs. He is big, moved well and competed for pucks. He has flair too. Had fun playing with his teammates. Hugged one after a nice save and high-fived another after tying up a puck. It was fun to watch and he is quite good as well. Grade: A-

Detroit Compuware

Owen Baker #43 (F, R, Detroit Compuware, 2004)-Owen plays hard and hunts the puck like it’s life or death, Played with great intensity. He is wiry, fast and tough. Went hard to the net and stayed there for tips rebounds and to just be a general pest. Has some tools, a little crazy which we liked and was absolutely tough to play against. Grade: B-

Gavin Hayes #92 (F, R, Detroit Compuware, 2004)-Gavin is tall, slim and slick. He used his reach to gather pucks and slip past defenders. He can change the location of the puck on his stick by a large range quickly because of his reach. Helped get pucks on the net and break down defenders. He will walk defensemen and make them look silly. For a skill player he also had a high compete. Worked in tough areas of the ice and wants the puck. Hi skating will tighten up as he adds strength but he has a nice frame and some interesting skills. Grade: B

Brian Robertson #4 (D, R, Detroit Compuware, 2004)-Brian played a gritty style. He did a lot of the dirty work for his team. Blocked shots, was excellent on the penalty kill and played some power play as well. Can snap passes all over the ice and was smart with possession. He valued the puck. Bot overly skilled and a bit understated but played tough and mistake free hockey when we watched. Grade: C+

Ryan Abraham #12 (F, L, Detroit Compuware, 2004)-Ryan is a stalky, strong forward with quick feet and good speed. He can create with his mobility. Cuts lateral and stops and starts to shake defenders. Tough to knock off the puck and balanced on his skates, he was good in traffic. He carried the puck well through the middle some and created clean zone entries. His hands are quick and productive and he used the to create and create turnovers on the forecheck. Solid performance. Grade: B

Seamus Casey #91 (F, R, Detroit Compuware, 2004)-Seamus has a lot of skill with the puck. That has been documented in some of our previous reports. He didn’t really get going when we watched but we noted a few things. He is big with a very quick stick. Worked hard at both ends and is a terror on the forecheck. He hunted pucks with speed, used his stick well and stuck with plays. No fly bys for him. Showed attention to detail and an approach that bodes well for such a talented player. Clearly talented on an average team. High ceiling as he showed a side to his game we liked. College: Michigan Grade: B+

Thomas Budnick #24 (D, L, Detroit Compuware, 2004)-Thomas has a productive stride that will allow for added speed and mobility as he adds strength and grows. He is plenty fast and mobile now. Trusts his feet and kept good gaps. Can skate or pass from his end and sowed some wiggle up ice. Was a bit inconsistent when we watched but he is a teenager, so that’s OK. His talent is evident and he projects as a high-end two-way defenseman. Grade: A-

Zion Green #97 (F, R, Detroit Compuware, 2004)-We liked Zion’s size and speed combination. He can make something from nothing. He is really fast and if you blink, you will miss him. Instinctive, especially in puck pursuit. He starts transition quickly. Like his team, he didn’t get going completely when we watched but another young, talented player in this group. Grade: B-

Patrick Czarnecki (D, L, Detroit Compuware, 2004)-Patrick is a really strong skater. He can accelerate and change direction quickly, showed he was fast in open ice and most importantly he is balanced. His balance allows him to use leverage and defend hard. Hits to defend and has his stick prepared to pick the loose pucks up. He was able to get out of scrums with the puck and a plan. Smart with possession, he takes what opponents give him. All situations type. Must be a bit more consistent but we really liked him here. Grade: A-

Photo Credit: Dan Hickling / Hickling Images