By Western College Hockey
The start of a new year means the start of a new cycle of finding the best players in the country that will represent the United States internationally as part of the USNTDP. There were a lot of strong potential candidates for next year's U17 team at the NAHL Showcase this year. Here's a look at a few players that in my opinion, have a chance to get invited to the NTDP Final 40 camp later this year.
Zach Werenski-D-Little Caesars Midget Major- Holy bananas. I'll stick with my statement about best young prospect I've seen since Cam Fowler. A really nice skater with off-the-charts lateral movement. He delivered a couple big hits. Made smart plays with the puck any time he had it. Not a huge offensive threat, but has a really heavy shot, and showed good sense on when to assert himself offensively. Got caught too far up the ice and let guys get behind him a couple times, but I'll chalk that up to it being early in the season, and him adjusting to a new level of play. I've yet to see some of the other big name defensemen in this age group like Noah Hanifin, Zach Osburn, or Troy Henley, but if they're in the same discussion as this kid, then this looks like a really special group.
Tory Dello-D-Chicago Mission Midget Minor-Really solid, and would have looked great if the curve hadn't been wrecked by Werenski. He's a physically dominating defender that just punishes kids along the boards.
Christian Evers-D-Omaha Lancers U16-Already a huge kid, listed at 6'4", and clearly the top D on a team with a pretty strong defense. Very good hands and feet for a player of his size. Definitely a big time prospect.
Ethan Price-F-Omaha Lancers U16- Price is listed at 5'11" 190 lbs. I don't believe that for a second, but the point stands that he's not all that big, while being pretty developed physically. There's a lot to like about his game. He skates, he hits, he's got a pretty heavy snapshot with a quick release. I just wonder how high the ceiling is. Maybe I'm way off, but I see him as more of an energy guy than a big-time scorer as he advances.
Vasili Kolias-D-Chicago Mission Midget Minor-Top pairing defenseman along with Dello. A great skater with an absolutely explosive first step. He's not very big, but plays with surprising physicality given his size.
Tyler Brown-D-Omaha Lancers U16-Not really an NTDP candidate since he has already signed with Moose Jaw in the WHL, but might be worth keeping an eye on down the road. He's been overshadowed a bit, playing on the absolutely loaded POE School defense as a bantam, and now playing on Omaha's second pairing behind Evers, but he's big, skates well, and has pretty nice hockey sense.
Read the rest of the story here.