Biosteel All-American Prospects Game Review – DobberProspects

Welcome to my ramblings, where I’ll write my thoughts on the NHL and draft-eligible prospects once a week. I’ll use the ramblings to update you on the week’s events, or let you know some questions I often get asked about prospects, amateur scouting, and player development.

This time around, I wanted to rewatch the Biosteel All-American Game, a blue vs. white match in which the various US junior USHL prospects are called upon to show off their skills. This year’s showcase featured a decent amount of potential first-round picks in the upcoming NHL Draft, so I thought it a good idea to go over each team’s strengths and write a bit about what I have seen.

Starting with Team White, headlining a potential top-five pick in July:

Logan Cooley, C—USNTDP (2022)

Cooley’s game tonight was experimental and imaginative; the two-way attacker saw this showcase for what it was: an opportunity to try some outrageous stuff and see what works. Most notably, he fired a fair amount of spin passes behind the back and fired a shot between the legs on goal that led to an easy rebound for Cole Spicer.

I really like that side of Cooley, when he steps out of his comfort zone and pushes himself forward; the center kept that energy going in the USHL, and the hands on Cooley are still evident. He keeps both elbows away from his hip and usually keeps his hands above the puck allowing him to shoot, pass or shoot in one motion while extending the distance he can handle the puck from his body. His ability to read what’s in front of him and react quickly rocks his game, as he’s often a nuisance on contested pucks and can pocket with an impressive amount of consistency.

While there’s no game-breaking element to his shooting, he’s decent enough to beat keepers of this level at close to mid range, which is where Cooley often finds himself anyway. His execution sometimes lacks fluidity; he’s more erratic than graceful, but he has so much energy that he makes up for it by working twice as hard as his opponents.

I’d be shocked if Cooley is available outside of the top 10. There aren’t many prospects as well-rounded as him, and he could become a top center if the stars align. Otherwise, he has an extensive toolbox to fall back on if the offense does not appear. The only thing that could hold him back is his 5-foot-10 frame, which tends to make teams wary of pulling the trigger in the top 10.

Lane Hutson, LD—USNTDP (2022)

I could gush for days about this kid. He’s so elusive, so cunning, an absolute joy to watch in the offensive zone. Did I mention he’s listed at 5-foot-8, 148 pounds and defending like he’s 6-foot-2? Of course I didn’t. It was the first sentence of the paragraph.

Hutson’s edge work is refined and he uses very little energy even at full speed. He can close gaps in no time, and his defensive stick makes me think he’s gotten used to fending off bigger attackers. His passes are thoughtful and targeted, placing precise pucks through layers in areas his teammates can use to create a better chance. He is particularly good at taking pucks from the point to the low slot, moving opponents to create corridors and deceiving them to give himself the space necessary to make his game.

Right now I have Hutson sitting 28th on my board, and if he continues to show the defensive abilities to make up for his lack of size, he should climb a bit.

Seamus Casey, DR—USNTDP (2022)

Casey has had an up and down season; some games he looked quite dominant and was by far the best defenseman on his team, and other games he fumbled for pucks, threw wide passes and made rash decisions that gave the puck away. other team. The only constant has been his skating, which is among the best in this repechage class.

The precision work and elusiveness he demonstrates in tight spaces are very difficult to teach. Combined with his ability to shake off a forecheck or three with his hands and throw a pass to a serial teammate, his skating makes him one of the best puck players in the draft. Another excellent element of his game is his defensive positioning; it removes options simply by anticipating threats and mirroring their movements within its area of ​​influence.

His game for the white team was solid; he made some great offensive rushes while partner Tyler Duke held down the fort and prevented rush plays by doing exactly what he did in this clip. If there’s a way for Casey to develop consistency and perform as well under pressure as he did in that exhibition game, he could be an exceptional selection.

Honorable Mentions—Team White

Brady Berard, USNTDP (2022) – The forward had an impressive game, rolling the puck well and showing both excellent puck skills and decent positioning off the puck. Doesn’t win mid as often as he should, but he surprised me as the team’s 2C. Scored a goal off a backboard rebound and generally made life easier for his team. He’s not a ranked prospect on any board, so I’ll see what I can find out about him.

Connor Kurth, Dubuque Fighting Saints (2022, back to school) – Solid showing for the 18-year-old forward. Birthday at the end of July, he was only a month and a half away from missing last year’s draft. He was very sneaky, finding space or creating it with his hands before unleashing a few well-placed punches. Scored a goal and looked good overall. I can see him being a latecomer.

Let’s move on to the blue team, who managed to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the game 4-3 in overtime:

Frank Nazar, A/C—USNTDP (2022)

Nazar’s stickhandling and puck control were in the spotlight in this game, as the prospect has some of the silkiest mitts in this draft. He didn’t win any points, but he easily got out of trouble and showed decent agility and speed based on great fundamentals, such as ankle flexion and weight transfers. His pace of play should only improve as he matures physically.

His transition game is honed, as he throws rushing patterns and cuts to open play, dictating play by delaying or speeding up depending on the circumstances. He’s a dual-threat offensive game driver, and while he can ease off in his own area at times, he’s not a liability and can pull his weight, even being used for the NTDP penalty. He groups under the puck and gives his defenders an easy outlet for breakouts. Just a big mind with big abilities, who shouldn’t stay on the board for long.

Cutter Gauthier, LW/C — USNTDP (2022)

The speedy winger played a high-octane game for Team Blue, showing off his ability to carry the puck and stick handle out of trouble. He got an assist on the team’s first goal, as he carried the puck into the offensive zone and tossed it to Jimmy Snuggerud, continuing his way to the net as his winger fired a perfect shot into the top corner. .

Playing as the team’s frontline center in this game, Gauthier was able to connect with his teammates often, but generally preferred to find his way into the offensive zone himself first. He was often found in and around the slot area, where he has scored almost all of his 20 goals for the NTDP so far. One of the most overlooked prospects in the program, Gauthier could very well build on his excellent play and rise to the draft boards as the season progresses. He’s 25th on mine right now and could keep climbing.

Jimmy Snuggerud, RW—USNTDP (2022)

Snuggerud is another NTDP striker who has made it to the first round of many draft committees, primarily due to his refined goalscoring abilities as well as his combination of size and intensity. His skating isn’t as high end as Gauthier’s, but his goals are much more varied and balanced. He can score from almost anywhere in the offensive zone and can do so a number of different ways – wrist shot, slap shot, backhand, toe drag, etc.

The main setback with Snuggerud is a lack of high-end manipulation and deception. He can get stuck in a one-way mind, looking to make the first play he sees rather than weighing all of his options. Hockey sense is one of the hardest things to teach, which makes me lower than I probably should be, but it should be a second-round first-rounder at worst.

Honorable Mentions — Blue Team

Rutger McGroarty, USNTDP (2022) – the striker managed to score the tying goal after the blue team initially lost 3-1 in the game. Showed great intensity and drive on loose pucks, and was usually just a handful for white team defensemen. His lack of speed may be a bit exaggerated, but if he’s not on my first round, it’s because his vision with the puck leaves something to be desired. He shoots when he wants, not when it’s appropriate. Great goalscorer though.

Lukas Gustafsson, Chicago Steel (re-entering 2022) – the overage defenseman really caught my eye in this showcase, making some really good reads both on and off the puck to get play away from his zone. Excellent skater and stickhandler, with a good spirit for the game. He took an avoidable penalty midway through the game and was burned by Logan Cooley on a crease entry, but he could be the one of the first overage players chosen in 2022 based on ability.

Vincent “Vinny” Borgesi, Tri-City Storm (2022) – an undersized right-handed defender, Borgesi has really shown how good he is at reading attacking plays and getting involved at the right time. He had some great stretches in his own area, disrupting plays and showing up in front of the shots with decent consistency. Got an assist on Cole Knuble’s 3-2 goal to start the comeback.


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