The NHL Draft kicks off tonight in Philadelphia and there are more than a dozen New England-bred skaters who are hoping to hear their names called during the two-day event.
Last year’s local draft class was exceptionally deep, with 12 New England-born players at the secondary or junior level coming off the board.
Before getting the scouts’ takes on this year’s class, here’s a look at the locals that made the NHL Central Scouting bureau’s final North American rankings:
45. Shane Eiserman, C/LW, Dubuque (Cushing, St. John’s Prep), 6-1 1/2, 200
58. Ryan Donato, C, Dexter, 6-0 1/4, 174
74. Miles Gendron, D, Rivers, 6-1 1/2, 181
79. Beau Starrett, C/LW, South Shore (Catholic Memorial), 6-4 1/2, 197
109. J.D. Dudek, C, Kimball Union, 5-11, 1/4, 180
116. Max Willman, C, Williston-Northampton (Barnstable), 5-11, 181
117. Tyler Bird, RW, Kimball Union (St. John’s Prep), 6-1 1/2, 200
119. Bobo Carpenter, C, Sioux City (Austin Prep), 5-10, 183
147. Jonathan Barry, D, Thayer Academy, 6-1, 192
177. Billy Sweezey, D, Noble & Greenough (Archbishop Williams), 6-0 1/4, 192
184. Sam Lafferty, C/LW, Deerfield Academy, 6-0 1/2, 187
203. J.C. Brassard, D, Noble & Greenough, 5-10, 190
14. Joey Daccord, Cushing (North Andover), 6-2, 199
In advance of the draft, we sampled the views of a couple of NHL amateur scouts based in the area and their evaluations of the aforementioned prospects.
One scout’s take: “He’s a heavy body and he plays a heavy, physical game. He finishes his checks and he’s got a mean streak in him. He plays with an edge. He’s a good skater and he gets around the ice well – especially in a straight line. I think he projects a third-line winger, who can provide some secondary scoring.”
Scout’s need to improve: Scoring touch.
One scout’s take: “He has really high-end skills: great hands, super soft hands, great vision in offensive zone. So obviously that’s when he’s most dangerous, when he has the puck, you have to keep your head on a swivel. He has a great shot and the ability to thread a pass into a tight area.”
Scout’s need to improve: Skating.
One scout’s take: “He’s an interesting player because he’s a forward-turned-defenseman. He’s a kid that still needs time to learn the position, but he’s heading to UConn and he’s going to get great coaching from Mike Cavanaugh and Mike Souza – they’ve got big plans for him. He’s probably the most dynamic skater in the East – a great stride, fluid, long and thin with great balance. He’s a one-man breakout.”
Scout’s need to improve: Net-front defending.
One scout’s take: “I think he’s a kid that played at a lower level and was underrated for a while but he’s really coming on strong. I think he had a great year last year and he’s headed to Brown, so he’s maybe a bit of a wild card, just from perspective of taking the skill set that he has, and you can see it, and applying that to the next level. You might be taking a bit of a chance, but you’re getting a guy that has some really nice skill, can pass the puck as good as anyone and can shoot the puck well.”
Scout’s need to improve: Can he carve out role outside of top six skilled forward?
One scout’s take: “I don’t think he’s a natural goal-scorer, but he has an unbelievable shot, shoots a heavy puck. He’s good on the power play and he’ll be utilized there. He’s a very tough competitor and loves to finish checks. He’s always going as hard as he can to the whistle. He loves to the play in the role of a bottom six forward, and he can fit in there because he loves to finish checks and get those dirty, greasy goals. He’s going to a good place, a good school [BU] and I think he did fairly well in the USHL at the end of the season when he was there.”
Scout’s need to improve: Skating.
One scout’s take: “He’s a very technical goaltender. He handles the puck well and he’s good with his stick, he can move the puck like a college player. He’s very technical. He’s got good size, good height, a long, rangy kid. He just has to get a little more consistent with his play.”
Scout’s need to improve: Game-to-game consistency.