In three of the past four seasons, the USA Hockey National Team Development Program has had at least one player selected in the top 10 (Erik Johnson in 2006, Jack Johnson and Jack Skille in 2005, and Ryan Sutter in 2003) and the trend appears set to continue in 2007. Left-winger James vanRiemsdyk, by all accounts, appears to be a certain top-10 selection, and a probable top-five selection. Further more, the 2007 US NTDP has set a record for most players ranked by NHL Central Scouting with 15, an astronomical 12-player increase from just 2003 when only three players were ranked.
Here’s a look at some of the notable prospects from the US NTDP who could see their names called at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
John Albert, C
Albert, 5’10, is a very talented offensive player. He has good sense of where people are on the ice, and is a strong setup man. In 47 games this year, Albert recorded 33 points (10 goals, 23 assists).
Albert did not allow his size disadvantage to leave him vulnerable against NCAA opponents as he played some of his best hockey in these games.
Albert, a native of Ohio, will be playing for The Ohio State University next season.
Ian Cole, D
Cole is a physical 6’1 defenseman, who does not bring blinding speed, or a dazzling skill set to the table, but he is very sound defensively. He rarely shies away from a hit, and is very capable of developing into a shutdown defender.
Cole developed into a more complete player over the course of the season as he recorded 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists) to go along with 64 PIM. He contributed on special teams as well with three of his goals coming on the power play.
Cole played perhaps his strongest hockey in international games. In 17 games against international competition, Cole recorded six points (four goals, two assists) and eight PIM. One of those four goals came with the man advantage.
Cole will be taking his game to the University of Notre Dame next year.
Cade Fairchild, D
Fairchild is a reliable puck carrying offensive defenseman who is creative with the puck. He is also developing his defensive game, but at just 5’10 some wonder if his offensive game is enough to carry his undersized frame and decent defensive game to the next level.
Fairchild put up a very strong offensive season from the NTDP blue line. In 49 games he proved to be a good setup man as he posted a 26-point season with 22 of those 26 points coming from assists. He spent 50 minutes in the penalty box, and two of his four goals came on the power play. He also recorded one game-winning goal.
Fairchild was dependable against NCAA opposition. In 20 games against college teams, he recorded nine points (two goals, seven assists) to go along with 24 PIM.
Fairchild continued his strong play in international events. In 17 international games he notched eight points (one goal, seven assists) and 12 PIM.
Cade Fairchild will play for the University of Minnesota next year.
Ryan Hayes, RW
Ryan Hayes is a small forward, standing at just 5’9 and weighing in at just 175 LBS. Generally players this small are quick skaters, but Ryan Hayes has less than blinding speed. However, Hayes is a natural goal scorer. He has a nose for the net, and he has a great shot.
Hayes proved to be a reliable playmaker for the U-18 squad, recording 53 points (21 goals, 32 assists) in 57 games. He was lethal on the power play, scoring one third of his goals on the man advantage with seven power play goals. He also notched two game winning goals. He was third on the NTDP in points, fourth in goals, and third in assists.
Hayes played well against NCAA opponents. He led the NTDP in PIM. In 23 games against college squads, Hayes scored 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) along with a team leading 36 PIM. Two of his eight goals came on the power play.
Hayes was also reliable in international games. In 17 games, Hayes put up 10 points (five goals, five assists) and 10 PIM. One of five goals came on the power play.
Hayes will be skating for Boston College next year.
Mike Hoeffel, F
Mike Hoeffel is a player with a huge offensive upside. The 6’2 winger is very effective when he crashes the net, and will only become more effective as he grows into his body. Hoeffel knows how to put the puck in the net. He should become a reliable offensive talent at the next level.
Hoeffel was one of two players on the NTDP who did not play for the U-17 team the prior season. In Hoeffel’s debut season with the NTDP, he put up 23 points (16 goals, seven assists) in 44 games. He also played a disciplined style of hockey, spending only 28 minutes in the penalty box. He was a threat on the power play, totaling six power play goals.
Hoeffel also contributed against NCAA teams, totaling nine points (seven goals, two assists) in 22 games. Three of his goals were power play goals, and he was assessed 12 PIM.
Hoeffel was limited in international competition due to a shoulder injury. He was held to playing in just eight games where he recorded two goals and no assists. One of his two goals came on the power play.
Hoeffel will be attending the University of Minnesota next year.
Joseph Lavin, D
Lavin is a good skater who is strong on his feet. He has a quick release on his wrist shot, and is capable of being a threat on the power play. Lavin put up big offensive numbers before joining the U-17 squad, and even for the U-17 team he could be counted on offensively, but he appeared to take a step back for the U-18 team.
Lavin failed to live up to expectations during his season with the U-18 team. Coming off of a 26-point season for the U-17 squad, many expected bigger things from the 6’1, close to 6’2, defenseman, but this was not the case. In 41 games Lavin totaled just 10 points (two goals, eight assists) along with 40 PIM. Both of his goals came on the power play.
Lavin seemed to really struggle against the college teams, putting up no goals and one assist in 20 games. He spent 14 minutes in the penalty box. Lavin did not play much internationally.
Playing in just six international games, Lavin failed to record a point, though he did compile six PIM.
Lavin will be attending Providence University next year. Lavin will hopefully find his scoring touch at the college level next year, or he may have a limited future in hockey ahead of him.
Brad Phillips. G
Phillips, standing at 6’2, is a tall goalie who has yet to grow into his frame, weighing in at just 163 LBS. Scouts say that as he puts on weight, he will improve his control over rebounds, as well as obviously cover more of the net.
Despite playing in fewer games than teammate Josh Unice, Phillips saw his fair share of time in net. Playing in 24 games, Unice posted a record of 15-5-0-2 along with two shutouts. He posted a team leading goals against average of 2.33 and a team leading save percentage of .913.
Phillips also was successful against NCAA opponents. In 11 games against NCAA opposition, Unice compiled a record of 5-4-1 with a goals against average of 3.18 annd a save percentage of .886.
Phillips did not see much playing time during international events, playing in just three games. He went 1-1-1 with a goals against average of 2.33 and a save percentage of .920.
Matt Rust, C
Rust, who stands at 5’10, is a very quick skater who plays a strong two way game. He was one of the few members of the NTDP to record a shorthanded goal. He is a talented player who has managed to fly under many people’s radars heading into the draft.
Rust was a consistent player for the NTDP, recording 33 points (14 goals, 19 assists) and 85 PIM, second most on the NTDP. He also recorded three power play goals, a shorthanded goal, and two game winning goals.
Rust continued his solid play against college opponents. In 22 games against NCAA opposition, Rust compiled 11 points (two goals, nine assists) and 16 PIM. Both of Rust’s goals came on the power play.
Rust was also solid in international events. In 17 international games, Rust notched six points (three goals, three assists).
The consistent Rust will be brining his game to the University of Michigan next year.
Teddy Ruth, D
Ruth is a great competitor who is always trying to improve his game. Considered a stay at home defenseman, Ruth practiced hard to improve his offensive skills. He is a very good defensive defenseman, and an improving offensive option.
Ruth played in 48 games for the NTDP in 2006-07, compiling a 17-point season (five goals, 12 assists). He was solid on the power play, scoring three of his five goals with a man advantage. He also notched one game-winning goal. Ruth also led all NTDP defenseman in PIM with 66.
He was solid against NCAA opposition. In 17 games against college opponents, Ruth totaled five points (two goals, three assists) and an NTDP defense leading 37 PIM.
Ruth did not put up big offensive numbers in international competition, recording one assist and no goals in 17 games, but he played a strong defense.
Ruth will be attending the University of Notre Dame in 2007-08.
CJ Severyn, LW
Severyn is a very tough, physical forward who plays a gritty style. He will not back away from a physical challenge, though at times he seems to shy away from offensive opportunities. He has demonstrated some offensive talents, but seems to lacking a certain degree of confidence in the offensive zone.
Severyn was a reliable role player for the NTDP this past season. In 57 games, Severyn recorded 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) along with 54 PIM. Two of his eight goals came on the power play, and one of his goals was a game winner.
Severyn played some of his best hockey against the NCAA. In 23 games against college opponents, Severyn recorded nine points (four goals, five assists) along with 24 PIM.
As well as he played against the NCAA he seemed to struggle internationally. In 17 international games, Severyn was held to just three points (two goals, one assist) and 10 PIM.
Severyn will be attending Ohio State University in 2007-08.
Kevin Shattenkirk, D
Shattenkirk is a natural leader who is also a very talented offensive defenseman. He served as the team’s captain, and led both by example and in the locker room. Shattenkirk has a very strong shot, and sees the ice very well. He is also a strong skater.
Shattenkirk had a very strong season for the NTDP. In 57 games, Shattenkirk led all NTDP defenseman in goals (13), assists (27), points (40), power play goals (five), and game winning goals (five). He also had two shorthanded goals and was assessed 62 PIM.
Shattenkirk continued to be a consistent offensive contributor against NCAA opposition, totaling 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) and 20 PIM. One of his three goals came on the power play.
Shattenkirk was one of the team’s top scorers in international events. In 17 games, Shattenkirk finished with the fourth most points on the team with 10 (four goals, six assists). Two of his goals came on the power play, and two of his goals were game winning goals. He also did not take many penalties, spending only four minutes in the penalty box.
Shattenkirk will be playing for Boston University next season.
James vanRiemsdyk, LW
James vanRiemsdyk is the star of this years US NTDP outgoing class. NHL Central scouting currently has the 6’3 winger ranked as the third overall skater. He is a big, powerful forward who also has surprising speed. He is a complete player whose game has few holes. He has a dynamic wrist shot, and is a smart player. As he continues to grow into his body, he will only improve as a hockey player.
vanRiemsdyk had a very impressive season for the NTDP. In 51 games played, vanRiemsdyk totaled a team leading 78 points, a team leading 38 goals, 40 assists which was second most on the squad, 85 PIM which was also second most on the team, a team leading 12 power play goals, a team high two shorthanded goals, and a team leading seven game winning goals. He also led the team in points per game, averaging 1.5 points per game.
vanRiemsdyk was excellent against NCAA opponents. In 19 games played, vanRiemsdyk led the team in goals (14) assists (14) points (28) power play goals (seven) and game winning goals (two). He also had 18 PIM and average 1.5 points per game.
vanRiemsdyk also excelled on the international stage. In 17 games, vanRiemsdyk totaled a team leading 24 points. His 11 goals were a team high, and his 13 assists were second most on the team. He also spent 26 minutes in the penalty box. One of his 11 goals came on the power play, and two of his goals were game winners. vanRiemsdyk was also a member of Team USA for the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships in Sweden. He recorded one goal in seven games played.
He will attend the University of New Hampshire next year.
Josh Unice, G
The reliable, technically sound goalie split time in net with Brad Phillips. Despite the platoon in nets, Unice played in more games than his teammate. In 33 games played, Unice posted a record of 20-9-1-2 with a team leading four shutouts. His goals against average was 2.91 and his save percentage was .889.
His stats took a bit of a dive because of a challenging NCAA schedule. Against NCAA opponents, Unice compiled a record of 5-6-1 with a goals against average of 3.85 and a save percentage of .852.
Unice also carried the load in international competition, playing in 12 of the NTDP’s 17 international games. Unice played lights out internationally, posting a record of 9-2-1 with two shutouts. His goals against average was 2.25 and his save percentage was .920.
Unice, a native of Toledo, Ohio will be returning to his home state in 2007-08 as he will be playing for Bowling Green University.
Copyright 2007 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.