Monday, September 24, 2007

NAHL Showcase/Midget Showcase '93 Birthdates

Rocco Grimaldi, Forward, Little Caesar’s U16-This was my first chance to get to see him. I had heard some mixed reports on him in the past, but I was very impressed. He’s a little guy that can stickhandle around anyone. He really reminds me of Jordan Schroeder. He should be a nice college player.

Colin Jacobs, Forward, Texas Attack U16-This was my first chance to see a kid who is already being hyped as one of the top ‘93s. I was glad I got to see him two different days. The first day, he didn’t do much. The second day, he showed what all the hype was about. He’s a very nice skater. His skating reminded me of Danny Kristo, when Kristo was a freshman. He’s also got an amazing wrist shot. I was really surprised that someone his size could get that kind of pace on a shot. His puck control was also superb, and he made a couple great passes to open teammates on the powerplay. I’m sure that there will be another battle between the NCAA and WHL for his services, and unfortunately, for a player that good that young, I’d think the WHL would have an advantage.

Seth Ambroz, Forward, Russell Stover U16-It seems like he’s grown quite a bit since last year. He looked pretty good for being a year younger than everyone else.

Andrew Ryan, Defenseman, Victory Honda U16-Already 6’2” 185 lbs. He looks like he has a lot of potential.

NAHL Showcase/Midget Showcase '92 Birthdates

Jon Merrill, Defenseman, Little Caesar’s U18(Mich. Commit)-Some people thought he might play in the USHL this year. I think it was a good choice that he stayed at the Midget Major level. Even though the level of play is a little lower, I think there is something to be said for getting experience being one of the best players on the ice, and getting experience playing special teams and leading a team. Merrill scored a nice goal on a slapper from the slot, but also gave up a goal on a weird turnover. Overall, I thought he looked excellent, especially considering that he’s still playing up a year. He is one of the best I’ve seen at pinching in on the powerplay. He also sees the ice well and can make great outlet passes.

Garrett Clarke, Defenseman, Russell Stover U18-Scored a natural hat trick on Thursday night. I watched him play on Friday, and while he was talented, I don’t think he played his best game. He’s a very calm, relaxed player, though sometimes I think he holds on to the puck a little too long. He’s amazing offensively, but could use a little work defensively. Reportedly already has some scholarship offers.

Brandon Saad, Forward, Pittsburgh Hornets U18-Didn’t blow me away, but it’s important to remember that he’s a ’92 birthday playing against ‘91s, ‘90s, and ‘89s, and I think it’s harder for an underage forward to stand out than an underage defenseman. He should be very good in the future.

Stephen Johns, Defenseman, Pittsburgh Hornets U18-Very impressive. A big guy that moves well, can contribute some offense, and plays pretty good defenseman. Definitely should make the NTDP team.

Kevin Liss, Defenseman, Pittsburgh Hornets U18-Not huge for a defenseman, but played very reliable defense.

Evan Accettura, Defenseman, Victory Honda U18-Big defenseman. Could improve his skating a little, but that should come when he grows into his body.

Cody Von Reuben, Defenseman, Chicago Young Americans U16-Very strong defenseman.

Steven Phillips, Forward, Chicago Young Americans U16-Young kid that looks pretty talented.

Cody Campbell, Goalie, Pikes Peak Miners U16-Talented goalie. Great glove. Struggled when the other team had the puck behind his net, but otherwise was solid. Should get some NTDP consideration.

Colton Hargrove, Forward, Texas Attack U16-Big power forward that can skate pretty well, and creates havoc in front of the net.

Jacob Fallon, Forward, Texas Attack U16-Very fast forward that isn’t afraid to drive hard to the net.

Jeff McMinimy, Forward, Texas Attack U16-Stood out more here than he did at this summer’s Select 15s. Showed really nice speed.

Jay Llewellyn, Forward, Victory Honda U16-Very big power forward, that has decent hands for his size. He should be a nice college prospect if he continues to develop.

NAHL Showcase/Midget Showcase '91 Birthdates

Dakotah Collins, Forward, Fargo-Moorhead Jets-Youngest player in the NAHL, and it showed. A very fluid skater, but he didn’t quite have the strength to keep up with guys so much older than him. Worth keeping an eye on though.

John Ramage, Defenseman, St. Louis Bandits-Not intimidated by older competition. Really did a nice job throwing his weight around. He’ll probably start the season behind some older players, but his role should grow over the year. Very talented player.

Shane Berschbach, Forward, Little Caesar’s U18-Not very big, but a very crafty stickhandler.

R. Christopher Blessing, Forward, Southern California Titans U18-A pretty good skater. A nice prospect on a weaker AAA program.

Andrew Huckleby,Defenseman, Victory Honda U18-Reliable puck-moving defenseman

Alex Wideman, Forward, St. Louis Blues AAA-Top forward for St. Louis.

Jackson Brandstetter, Defenseman, Chicago Young Americans U16-Decent overall defenseman, that can throw a big hit.

Brent Tate, Forward, Little Caesar’s U16-Worked very hard, and was rewarded with a couple of goals on Friday morning. Very skinny.

Stephen Obarzanek, Forward, Little Caesar’s U16-Hard worker that always seems to be making things happen on the ice.

Keenan Kelly, Defenseman, Pikes Peak Miners U16-Playing in the US after playing prep hockey in Canada. Good size, and can move well. Made a bad turnover in the game I saw, but otherwise played a nice game.

NAHL Showcase/Midget Showcase '90 Birthdates

Eric Ringel, Defenseman, Mahoning Valley Phantoms-It’s amazing how much he has developed from 12 months ago, where he was one of the youngest players in this tournament. This year, he looked like the best defenseman in the league. He’s always been great on the powerplay, but this year, he’s getting time on the penalty kill too, and his defense was pretty solid.

Chris Heineman, Defenseman, Traverse City North Stars-In his second year in the NAHL, and looks like he’ll be a top player. Very good all-around defenseman.

Kellen Michalak, Forward, Traverse City North Stars-Talented player. He probably needs another year to get a little stronger before colleges really start looking at him, but he is a definite college prospect.

Ryan Misiak, Forward, Little Caesar’s-A hard worker that uses his size very well. A nice grinder with a little bit of skill.

Bob Marx, Defenseman, Russell Stover U18(Alaska commit)-Does everything pretty well, but doesn’t really stand out in one area.

Colin South, Forward, Pittsburgh Hornets U18-Wasn’t playing, which is a shame because I think he could be an NHL draft pick this year. I though I heard he was injured? Not sure.

NAHL Showcase/Midget Showcase '89 Birthdates

Sam Carr, Defenseman, Fargo-Moorhead Jets-A pretty big contributor, which is rare for a player just out of high school, but I thought he played excellent. He got some time on the powerplay, where he looked pretty solid.

Dan Weiss, Defenseman, Springfield-Solid all-around defenseman. Looks like he’ll play more of an offensive role this year.

Jared Rickord, Forward, Springfield-Former Chicago AAA star showed some really nice offensive flair. He’s a speedy kid that can put the puck in the net.

NAHL Showcase/Midget Showcase '88 Birthdates

Jerry Freismuth, Forward, Alexandria Blizzard-This is his second year with the Blizzard, and it looks like he’ll play a big role with the team this year. It seemed like he was all over the ice.

Brandon Bahnemann, Forward, Alexandria Blizzard-Hard worker. Should have a nice year for Alexandria, and will probably be in the USHL next year.

Erik Peterson, Forward, Alpena IceDiggers-Alpena native. I thought he was the IceDiggers best forward. Very solid all-around hockey player.

Colin Hoey, Forward, Bismarck-Not very big, but fast and scrappy.

Kyle Maggard, Forward, Bismarck-Top playmaker on an offensively-challenged team.

Isaiah Bennis, Forward, Fairbanks-Not overly skilled, but should get some looks from colleges for his size.

Derek Graham, Forward, Mahoning Valley-Small, but did a great job setting up on the offwing on the powerplay and getting off quick one-timers. Scored a goal in every game.

Tim Kirby, Defenseman, Southern Minnesota-Playing a much bigger role in his second year with the Express. He looks like their top defenseman. His skating could use a little work, but he rarely gets beat in tight spaces.

NAHL Showcase/Midget Showcase '87 Birthdates

Russell Anderson, Forward, Alpena IceDiggers-Very big forward(6’4” 225) that seemed to make plays all over the ice. He should definitely receive some college attention this year.

Andrew Muir, Forward, Fargo-Moorhead Jets-Older player that was all over the ice. He’d probably make an excellent penalty-killer at the college level.

Robby Phillipp, Forward, Fargo-Moorhead Jets-Always one of the hardest workers on the ice. Should have a very big year for the Jets.

Max Mobley, Forward, North Iowa-Veteran forward was all over the ice for the Outlaws. Definitely their top forward.

Matt Morin, Defenseman, North Iowa-Small for a defenseman, but a smart player that doesn’t make many mistakes.

CJ Willms, Forward, Southern Minnesota-Hard-working veteran. A few people were surprised he didn’t get a college offer after last year. He’ll probably get one before the year is out.

Brian Arrigoni, Forward, Southern Minnesota-Can skate and shoot better than almost anybody in the league. Giving a good consistent effort will be a question though.