John Henrion is irritating. But, that’s what makes him effective. The 5’11, 201-pound forward makes his presence known on the ice with a hard forecheck, solid hits, and an up-tempo game. And, he can score.
Henrion had 15 goals and 10 assists in 49 games with the USNTDP this season. In the fall, he will be a freshman at the University of New Hampshire, an hour away from his home in Massachusetts. He committed to UNH over a year ago when he was still in the EJHL.
Helping Team USA to a gold medal at the U18 World Championships with two goals and two assists in seven games could only have improved his draft stock among NHL teams. Henrion is ranked 144th overall by ISS in their April (post-tournament) rankings, and just 198th among North American skaters by Central Scouting in their final rankings (pre-tournament).
Hockey’s Future talked to Henrion after the final round-robin game at the U18s.
HF: Your team has been playing with an extra ring of white tape on one leg, what does that symbolize?
JH: Some of the kids who were in the program for the two years did not get invited to the U18 World Championships, so we just put it there for them. They’re always in our thoughts and still part of our team. It’s just something we do every game.
HF: You’re playing with linemates Drew Shore and Matt Nieto. How do you feel your line is doing and is your job to be the checking line?
JH: They say Chris Brown, David Valek and Jason Zucker are the checking line. We’re kind of the third-line energy line — get pucks on the net, play a certain role. Obviously both Shore and Nieto are great players. Shore can move the puck and I love to shoot it. He always finds me in an open area. Nieto is very quick, board player and can really get it done.
HF: Is that the role that you personally have played all year?
JH: Yeah, absolutely. I love going out there and hitting kids, buzzing around the rink. So they kept me there with two other good players.
HF: Is that the role you anticipate playing in college and beyond too?
JH: I love to be part of that role and I love bringing the energy, picking up the tempo of every game. So hopefully, yeah. Playing first and second l ine is great, but third line energy you get to play in both ends.
HF: Those are the guys everyone wants for the playoffs, right?
JH: Yeah, absolutely. You need someone to pick it up, change the pace of the game. The tempo of the game is fast and will only get faster in college, so I’ll have to bring it every night.
HF: Why did you pick UNH?
JH: I love the campus, the coaches are great. They’re always making sure everything’s going OK. It was just a great fit. I’m from Massachusetts so it’s only about an hour drive. I can go home, my parents can come see the games. It was a really good fit.
HF: You’re noticeable for your tenacity — would you agree that it’s one of your best assets?
JH: Yeah, I’d say that and my shot. You have to have guys who are willing to change it up and get dirty in games, play D in the corners, take a hit to make a play. So yeah, I love playing that role.
HF: Looking ahead to the NHL draft, you’re ranked low as energy guys usually are, but do you think you might be a sleeper?
JH: I can’t really say. Obviously it’s coming up, it’s a big time for everyone. We’re focused on teh task at hand. Whatever happens, happens, you’re going to go where you’re going to go. You just have to work hard and put everything on the line.
HF: Have you talked to any scouts yet?
JH: I haven’t personally. I filled out surveys for the entry draft that our team has done. My advisor has talked to them. We try to stay away from it now, focus on winning the gold medal.