Monday, March 17, 2008

NTDP Tryout Camp

The USA Hockey National Team Development Program will be holding their final tryout camp for next year's U17 team next weekend in Ann Arbor. The camp runs from March 22-25, with 46 players born, all born in 1992.

Here's a little look at the kids that will be at the camp. The kids that get a *shrug* are kids I haven't seen, or didn't have anything to say about. It's more of a reflection on me than them.

1. Jack Campbell - Honeybaked (U18)
Comment: It’s a really strong year for ’92 goalies in Michigan, and Campbell may be the best of the bunch.

2. Mac Carruth - Chicago Fury (U18)
Comment: Committed to Minnesota-Duluth. A really big kid with a lot of talent

3. Andy Iles - Salisbury Prep
Comment: I don’t know too much about Iles, other than that he’s received a fair amount of hype. I don’t think he has played a ton at Salisbury this year because he’s backing up an older goalie.

4. Willie Yanakeff - Honeybaked (U16)
Comment: Another really good goalie from Michigan.

Overall: This looks like a really strong group. I’m not sure who will get selected, but any two of the four should make for a strong goaltending duo.

A wild guess on who makes the team: Campbell and Carruth

1. Evan Accettura - Victory Honda (U18)
Comment: A big kid, though still fairly raw. I’m not sure if he’ll make the team, but a bright future regardless.

2. Bennett Carroccio - Phillips Academy
Comment: *shrug*

3. Kevin Clare - New Jersey Hitmen
Comment: The only player at the camp to play junior hockey this season. Already received a good amount of college interest and should be a near lock to make the team.

4. Adam Clendening - Toronto Marlies
Comment: I’m not too familiar with him, but people in Ontario are very high on him. He’s a little guy that could provide an offensive threat on the blueline.

5. Michael Gunn - Compuware (U16)
Comment: Committed to Michigan State. Another big, talented defenseman that should earn a spot on the team.

6. Kevin Gravel - Marquette (U18)
Comment: Big, defensive defenseman. I think he might have flown under some people’s radar because he plays in MQT, but I like the way he plays.

7. Derek Forbort - Duluth East HS
Comment: Another big kid that can do just about everything. I think playing with the NTDP would be good for him, because he’d learn how to play with a little more meanness. In another year, he might have good shot at making the team, but it could be tough with this group.

8. Stephen Johns - Pittsburgh (U18)
Comment: Johns has always impressed me with his play. He should definitely be offered a spot.

9. Ben Marshall - Mahtomedi HS
Comment: *shrug* I know he’s capable of playing both forward and defenseman, so he does bring some versatility.

10. Kevin McMorrow - Park Rapids HS
Comment: USHR thought he was great the Select 15s. I thought he looked kind of raw. A lot will probably depend on how he developed during the high school season.

11. Jeffrey Pauluk - Bloomington Jefferson HS
Comment: *shrug*

12. Michael Reardon - Noble and Greenough Prep
Comment: *shrug*

13. Joe Rubbelke - St. Paul Johnson HS
Comment: A really talented, athletic kid. He’s good at some other sports as well, so he may want to stay in Minnesota for that.

14. Brandon Russo - Salisbury Prep
Comment: Russo really impressed me at the Select 15s. A little smaller, but plays the game very well.

15. Frankie Simonelli - Team Illinois (U18)
Comment: I saw him at the Elite League NIT, and he didn’t really stand out against older players, but everyone seems to agree that the talent is there.

16. Jarred Tinordi - Washington Jr. Nationals
Comment: *shrug*

Overall: This is a really strong group, and should hopefully be one of the strengths of the team. There are a lot of big, talented players to choose from, and some tough choices will have to be made.

A wild guess on who makes the team: Merrill, Clare, Johns, Gunn, Clendening, Gravel, Russo, Forbort/one of the kids I haven’t seen.

Update: I just received word that Jon Merrill had a family commitment that he couldn't change, so he won't be at the camp, but he has already been offered a spot for the team.

1. Bill Arnold - Noble and Greenough Prep
Comment: *shrug*

2. Chasen Balisy - Toronto Jr. Canadiens
Comment: Maybe one of the most talented players at the camp, but the OHL is always going to be looming. Is it worth taking him when chances are he plays one year in the US, at most?

3. Nick Bjugstad - Blaine HS
Comment: The more I’ve seen Bjugstad, the more he’s grown on me. Maybe not the best now, but has the tools to be a great player.

4. Connor Brickley - Belmont Hill Prep
Comment: *shrug*

5. Emerson Etem - Shattuck St. Mary’s
Comment: Very talented. Should be a great player with a little time to develop. I think he’ll definitely get offered a spot.

6. Jacob Fallon - Texas Attack (U16)
Comment: Fallon really impressed me when I saw him earlier this year. He should definitely make the team.

7. Max Gardiner - Minnetonka HS
Comment: Played pretty well as a sophomore against some great high school teams, but I don’t know if he has his brother’s skating ability yet.

8. Colton Hargrove - Texas Attack (U16)
Comment: A nice power forward with good size. He could definitely fill a nice role if given an opportunity.

9. Christian Isackson - St. Thomas Academy
Comment: Based on the way he was playing during the high school season, he should definitely get an offer to play for the team.

10. Jared Knight - Compuware (U16)

Comment: Committed to Michigan. Missed a lot of time this year with an injury, but has a ton of talent.
11. Phil Lane - Rochester Alliance (U16)
Comment: *shrug*

12. Alex Lippincott - Cleveland (U18)
Coment: Committed to Ohio State. Does everything pretty well. Playing for the NTDP should help him get better at using his teammates more.

13. Jeff McMinimy - Texas Texas Attack (U16)
Comment: Fast and skilled. Maybe not one of my first choices to make the team, but wouldn’t be out of place if he did.

14. Michael Mersch - Team Illinois (U16)
Comment: A power forward that can score and hit.

15. Luke Moffatt - Compuware (U16)
Comment: Committed to Michigan. Maybe the most talented player at the camp. Needs to use his teammates better, and playing on a skilled team like this should help.

16. Matt Nieto - Salisbury Prep
Comment: A very effective player that always finds a way to score points.

17. Bryan Rust - Honeybaked (U16)
Comment: Committed to Notre Dame. Plays a lot like his older brother Matt. A good skater that can play in all situations.

18. Brandon Saad - Pittsburgh (U18)
Comment: A big kid that can skate well. He should definitely be offered a spot.

19. Nick Shore - Colorado Thunderbirds (U16)
Comment: *shrug* Older brother Drew is already with the program.

20. Andrew Sinelli - Honeybaked (U16)
Comment: Committed to Michigan State. Always seems to put up a lot of points. Team USA’s weight training program would really help him out.

21. Shane Sooth - Salisbury Prep
Comment: Another player that brings good size, as well as scoring ability to the table.

22. Colten St. Clair - P.F. Changs (U18)
Comment: Committed to Colorado College. *shrug* I’ve heard a lot of good things about him, and the fact that CC was willing to commit to him so early should say something.

23. K.J. Tiefenwerth - St. Anthony's HS
Comment: Committed to Boston College. Last summer he looked really talented, but also really lanky. Should be excellent once he fills out.

24. T.J. Tynan - Chicago Mission (U16)
Comment: Committed to Notre Dame. A really speedy little guy with great playmaking ability.

25. Austin Watson - Compuware (U16)
Comment: Committed to Maine. Lots of rumors about the OHL too. A big guy, but is also a nice playmaker. He’s got a lot of potential.

26. Jason Zucker - Compuware (U16)
Comment: Another kid that is really good with the puck.

Update: Maine recruit Stuart Higgins was also scheduled to be at the camp, but has mono, so he will be evaluated at this summer's Select 16 Festival.

Overall: Not a bad group. It’s always a little tough to tell too much with forwards this early. The amount of players who can score three points a game against weaker competition is much larger than the amount of players who can score a point per game against quality competition. There’s a lot of players with a ton of upside in this group, however, and I’d have to think at least a few will come out as quality players.

My picks: Moffatt, Fallon, Watson, Etem, Rust, St. Clair, Sinelli, Saad, Mersch, Knight, Isackson, Tiefenwerth, Bjugstad


Eleven kids trying out for the team have already made college commitments. It was only like 6 years ago that it was considered bizarre if a player made a commitment during his first year with the NTDP program.

Didn’t kids in Massachusetts used to play hockey? The New England Prep schools are still represented thanks to some out-of-state kids, but there’s very little representation by Massachusetts at the camp. If I’m not mistaken, both Texas and California have more representatives at the camp than Massachusetts, a trend that I don’t think is an accident.

There are an astounding number of MWEHL alums at the camp, which is really a credit to that league when it comes to bringing players and developing them. You can argue the merits of putting that much emphasis on bantam hockey, but it has brought a lot of very good players together to play with and against each other.

Minnesota has a fair number of kids trying out, as they usually do, though I’m not sure how many will actually get invited. Minnesota kids tend to not do as well at this first camp, but are usually the first ones asked to join the U18 team if there are any spots to fill. Players like Pat White, Aaron Ness, and most recently, Nick Leddy didn’t make the team the first time around, but were offered spots later, though all three chose to stay in high school.


Anonymous said...

merrill has already accepted a spot on the roster

DC said...

Jarred Tinordi is Mark Tinordi's son. Tinordi played with the Washington Capitals for years.

The elder Tinordi is the coach of the team that Jarred Tinordi plays on in the DC area.

gmf1a said...

Isn'yt Colten St Claire too young for U18?

Anonymous said...

No West coast kids....why am I not surprised?

Anonymous said...

Why invite kids who have played their entire youth hockey in Canada, then have them show up for the USA program? They only show up for USA programs (Selects, NTDP) when is works for them? They are OHL bound, why waste your time? What is the motivation for kids to work hard at the NTDP program for 2 years when they already have a college commit? You might get better attitude kids, harder workers and more appreciative players if you looked past the reputations. Remember what Herb Brooks said - "I don't want the 20 best players, I want the 20 right players". Good luck with this group, NTDP. Your scouts enjoy the socializing too much to be objective.

Anonymous said...

No West coast kids....why am I not surprised?

Fallon and Etem are both originally from California

Anonymous said...

Will they take Eaves back? They don't need to win at the NTDP seems like it was a perfect fit. Why did he leave? NTDP will you please take him back?

Andrew Jordan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Iceburg said...

Didnt know Fallon was originally from California

He played with Etem on an L.A. Hockey Club peewee team that finished second in the national tournament a few years back. Moved to Dallas about three years ago.

Anonymous said...

Assume you didn't see Lippincott during this past season (only at selects maybe?)...he came on strong as the year progressed and should benefit from having played against the bigger/stronger U18s all year. Played the point on the #1 PP line, natural center.

Anonymous said...

Three stupid comments in one post.

"They are OHL bound, why waste your time?"

The goal of the program is to develop American hockey players, not college hockey players. Making sure the program isn't being used for leverage in OHL contract situations is one thing, but if a kid wants to follow Pat Kane's route to the OHL after two good years in the NTDP program, what's wrong with that? Sure worked out well for Kane, and Kane already has been a key contributor to the U20 team, and will be a Team USA fixture at the senior level for years.

"What is the motivation for kids to work hard at the NTDP program for 2 years when they already have a college commit?"

What the hell? So once you commit to a college, you've ended your progression as a hockey player? How about the NHL draft?!?! Or the fact that they want to get better and actually play on their college team? What an utterly bizarre comment.

"You might get better attitude kids, harder workers and more appreciative players if you looked past the reputations."

What are you even talking about here? A kid who commits early has bad character? Is there any evidence the staff doesn't consider attitude? Are you really saying that the goal of the program should be to pick "appreciative" underdogs? Are you drunk?

Anonymous said...

Great analysis and a truly complete list. I scout throughout the year for the USHL and will try to fill in the blanks on the players you have "shrugged" and perhaps some people that were snubs from the camp. Bennet Carrocio is a 6 foot 195 pound defenseman with great straight away speed, a decent shot that gets to the net, and incredible one on one defensive skills. However, he lacks poise wiht the puck at times and does not have great offensive skills. Jared Tinordi is 6 feet 3 inches, but only 170 pounds. He should be able to add a ton of weight though as he has good genes (his father and brother are both absolute beasts). He is a defensive defenseman who played Junior A as a 1992 birthyear. He skates relatively well for his size, but could become more mobile. Phil Lane is 6 feet 2 inches, give or take, and 185 pounds. He is strong and has very good hands for such a big guy. I was suprised he got invited though because he somtimes gets rattled by a physical team and plays like he is 5 7 rather than 6 2. Billy Arnold and Connor Brickley both have great speed and play a similar game in my opinion. THey are relatively hard nosed and can find the back of the net. However, Brickley is a bit on the smaller side and I would be suprised if he made the team.
There will always be snubs at the camp, but three stick out in my mind. Jon Parker from the Rockets is more deserving than Phil Lane. Also, Dominic Rocabaldo, but the defensive corps this year looks perticularly strong so I was not suprised he did not get invited. Mike Montagna is smaller than Phil Lane, but has similar offensive skills and played at a higher level this year. That is my analysis, but keep up the good work as I enjoy reading your blog on a weekly basis.

Anonymous said...

Anon 815 I agree 100%. 1) Why take players who have already made verbals? 2) Why take kids who have played for Canadian teams? 3) Why commit early to any kid? Herb Brooks was a genius... NTDP staff, not so sharp. Makes you wonder about the future and the purpose of the program. Is it still about developing American players, Developing a team or showcasing a bunch of primadonnas?

Anonymous said...

thank you to "three stupid comments" writer !! no program is perfect; the goal of the program is to develop american born talent (even if they have dual citizen ship b/c their Canadian Dad played hockey in states) with two quantifiable goals: win/compete at world juniors; and get americans drafted in nhl. and if you look at numbers, they are doing a pretty good job. is it the best option for all kids ? of course not. Is it the be all end all program ? no program can claim that; so stop carping and try to contribute something positive.

Anonymous said...

"Didnt know Fallon was originally from California"

"He played with Etem on an L.A. Hockey Club peewee team that finished second in the national tournament a few years back. Moved to Dallas about three years ago."

I believe Nieto and Sooth also played on that team.

Anonymous said...

NTDP would kill to have Eaves back (they might actually WIN a WJC again). But unfortunately the haters will have to come to grips with Eaves being at UW for a long long time. The NDTP will just have to settle for Eaves assistant Hynes.

Anonymous said...

Hey stupid post 10:24, Eaves has moved on, why don't you? He has coached at every level and is now at Wisc. As every program has experienced, prima donna kids are signing early and languishing in the minors or playing diluted NHL hockey. NTDP is the premier development program and medals are nice, but kids leave early and it is not the coach who plays for a gold medal. Too bad your kid had a bad experience.

Anonymous said...

Actually, this will be the best
representation for California Hockey... ever. Fallon, Zucker, Sooth, Nieto, Etem...all played PeeWee together for LAHC (Los Angeles). And Nieto,Sooth, and Etem won National Title there as Bantams.

Does anyone have stats from the final 40 weekend?

Phreeze said...

I heard Watson scored 6 goals in one game (5 plus one shoot-out goal). How are the D faring?

Anonymous said...

the best players at camp:
Red team: Saad, Moffatt, Etem
Blue Team: Bailsey, Tinoridi, Neito

Anonymous said...

Anon 219: Over all? Performance at the camp or general skills/size/potential?

Anonymous said...

Just returned from the camp. Overall, the talent was good. I'll list my thoughts along with my chronies opinion tht were at the camp with me.

Goalies; I'd invite Andy Iles and keeo the other spot t.b.d - Iles shined, Campbell was second best.


Overall, I saw some small skaters with fast forward speed that lacked strength and backwards skating skill and some really big players that lacked finesse and skating skills.

Carroccio- Strong, fast, excellent skater with puck sense. Excellent defensive skills -

Johns - big , but lacks skating ability. Forwards moved arounfd him quite easily.

Gunn- Overall very good.

Gravel, - all around sound. For a person that i did not know much about - i was impressed

Clare - Disappointing. for a person that plays junior hockey. we all expected more. Does not cover much ground when he skates. Was beaten frequently. Left early.

Russo,- Played well.

Clendening - Very good at times , not so good other times.

Marshall- fast forward skater, moves puck well. Lacks backwards skating and size.

Tinordi - very good. Seemed scattered at times, mostly because his defensive partner lacked positioning skills.



Merrill, GUNN, Gravel, Carroccio, Tinordi Russo or Clendening.


Seems like there was a disparity with the large amount of players representing either Michigan and Minnesota. However, the group wasn't impressive at any position.

Nieto, most unselfish person on the ice. Makes the right play.

Mofatt. I was expecting some big things, and was terrible disappointed. Either he plays selfish or he does not see the ice.
Not the best forward at the camp.

Balisy - Cool as a cucumber.

Etem - One of the three best. I cannot rank 1,2,3 caus eit is so close.

Colten St Clare - played well.

Watson, scored four goals in one game. He should make the team.

Arnold- faster than i expected - he had a good weekend.

Picks; Mofatt (already on the team( Nieto, Balisy, Etem, Watson, Fallon. St Clair,

Anonymous said...

good Camp! about 10 top level forwards, * defense, and 3 goalies will make this team strong.
Isles is the top goalie.
Clare, tinordi, Clendeng and Johns stood out on D. also, merril is on team along with moffat but merril was out of town for camp.
Neito , Moffatt, Bjugstad really stood out with there intensity and skill every game on forward.
Also, Arnold, Saad, Zucker, bailsey and etem looked good.
this will be a good team barring any politics.

Anonymous said...

A few OHL associates and I spent Saturday through Monday at the event the talent was very good and the action occured at a quick pace. Pairings probably should have been switched around more because a good forward or defense can make all of he difference to the other players.

For example; a player on the ice with Nieto will see the puck more than if paired with Moffatt, who chose not to pass the bisquit. Some of the seemd challenged to play the proper position.

Etem ( showed up a day late) was excellent
Nieto - Not showy, but sneaky fast and passed the puck with the best vision at the event.
Balisy,(another late show) seemed bothered by the poor level of play of his pairings. He adjusted well and deserves a spot on the team.
Watson- scored six goals one game, and played very well.
Fallon- makes this team.

Most overrated - Moffatt- I came here to see a future NHL star. He may have the tools , but not a team player.

Underrated- colton St Clare- was not on the radar of an of usuntil the tournament- He should get an invitation.


Tinordi- We had high expectations , but he underachieved. Was average to above average in most categories.

Johns- Big, but not much more. Deficient skating skills became very apparent when coverig better skaters.

Clendening- played well- He was most flustered by the lack of knowledge of his defensive partner.

Carroccio- No one could get by him in either the games or in the drills. Best skater, both backwards and forwards . Skated at an advanced level showing off impressive toestarts. Covers lots of ground. Becasue of his skating and speed he should probably step up more in the defensive zone.

Gravel- a pleasant surprise

Gunn - Played well

Most overated; Clare- Big and good hands with less than average speed.

Marshall - is a good player that lacks skating ability. To cover the best , one must be a top-notch skater.

Tinordi, Maybe the nest Pronger, But at this camp I wasn't impressed.

Underated; Carroccio, Gravel Gunn _ all three should be on he team.

Opinion: With defense at this level- being able to stop the opponent becomes paramount. Anything else become icing on the cake. Everyone mentioned above can move the puck and make the breakout pass. Only one o two could cover Etem on a one on one

Goalies; top four picks Iles, Iles, Iles and Iles - As a poster before said- he is the only goalie deserving to make this team at this point.

Anonymous said...

interesting as the scouting staffs had a much different view on the top players for both forward and d vs. the above comments at 403pm.

JJagrFan said...

Anon 4:03 was right on the money. Who do you think was the best/worst of the bunch. You gave us "overrated and Underrated" How does this program compare with the USHL and OHL? Etem, Carroccio, Isles are my guesses for the best.
Moffat, Lane and Carruth are my guesses not based on skill more chemistry and performance. (Moffat has already commited, I know)

Anonymous said...

defense overrated?:
Clare, the player is a real talent who only attended camp a few days. he will be a future NTDP player.
Moffatt: another player who has no weakness, some say he doesn,t pass enough but it only appears like that because he has the puck on his stick so much.will also excell further with NTDP.
Bailsey and Etem missed first few games but also look like future NTDP impact players.

Anonymous said...

i disagree with your comments about Iles. He really seemed to struggle during the goalie sessions and really didn't fare any better than any of the other goalies during the games. I thought the talent was quite even among the 4.

Anonymous said...

I hear Campbell and Yanakeff picked up the goalie spots leaving Isles out of the picture. Internet hmmm was sounding very positive on Isles, so I'm surprised. True?

Anonymous said...

maybe I'm off, but looks like every 92 who had a prior verbal commitment with a college was invited to the camp (and will probably get a spot even if they didn't skate during the camp), is that correct? Is this going to be the NTDP or the NVCP (National Verbal Commitment Program)? There kids that played sloppy or lazy all year long but had one or two good games at this camp who are going to get chosen - over kids who played great and had results all year long who didn't even get invited. This may create a trend of broken verbal commitments in the future. Once kids realize that the best way to get to the NTDP is the verbal with the first team that comes knocking, they'll stop taking their time to really evaluate other schools. Instead of finding the right school for themselves, they're going to jump on the first verbal commitment they get. Then, when they'r done with the NTDP and have seen the world a little more, they're going to decommit. Am I making too much of it?

Anonymous said...

Lipincott was not invited as he has struggled playing 18 and under this year. I was also at the camp for only one day, but carrocio really suprised me with his strong play. Clare looked slow, but hes still a very smart defensive defenseman. Moffat, in my opinion, did not pass the puck was obviously one of the most talented players at the camp. Etem has break neck speed and playing wiht the prep team has done him alot of good this year.

Anonymous said...

best D Carrochio
best f Etem
best g Iles

Anonymous said...

best goalie: isles
best defense: Tinordi
best forward: Moffatt

honors too: Etem, Bjutstad, Neito, Johns

Anonymous said...

underground says Campbell, Yanakef, Merrill, Moffatt, Knight, Zucker have commitments so far.... any others?

Anonymous said...

Yes, You are missing a couple but they will not be public until after all the calls have been completed.

Anonymous said...

The camp ended, what, a week ago? Seems like a long time to make a few phone calls. How the commitments be made public?

Anonymous said...

"Didnt know Fallon was originally from California"

"He played with Etem on an L.A. Hockey Club peewee team that finished second in the national tournament a few years back. Moved to Dallas about three years ago."

"I believe Nieto and Sooth also played on that team."

make that 5 LA Hockey Kids from that PeeWee team at the camp = Nieto, Sooth, Etem, Fallon and Zucker -- Vegas kid

Anonymous said...

How did the camp go?
top forwards?
top defense?
who makes the team?

Anonymous said...

Notifications all made. Heard Merrill, Moffatt, Nieto, Knight, Saad, Zucker, and Balisy have commitments at forward; Clendenning and Tinordi at def; Campbell and Yanakef at goal. Any others get 'the call'?

Anonymous said...

These tryouts are a joke! Most of their being there is political, who you know whether the coach likes you or not. I've had the chance to know some of these kids, yea, they may have the height and weight, but they don't have the heart, dedication and commitment to go the distance. These coaches and scouts need to look at their off ice performance to get the real picture. Because they show up at a game and "look good" but do nothing to improve their game in the off season or adhere to an off ice training program these are not the kids that should be given the chance.

Anonymous said...

Heard Arnold invited at forward.

Anonymous said...

I hear some of the players who received offers are balking. Is it beacause of or in spite of the $50k penalty for early departure? Can the NTDP field a quality team in light of the new ante?

Anonymous said...

Hey, Chris you've been quiet all week. What gives? Are you in Rochester and how's it going. At least give us something to chew on while you're working up the whole story, huh?