Despite a rough start for the U.S. National Team Development Program, Hudson Fasching continues to showcase an impressive package of size and two-way skill.
The Burnsville, Minnesota native will likely land a first-round berth at the 2013 NHL Draft next June, and could climb into the top half with improvements in overall consistency.
We caught up to Fasching and the NTDP U-18s in their USHL home opener, a 4-2 loss to the Muskegon Lumberjacks. The team showed the strain of playing five games in 11 days, including a winless four-game road trip (0-3-1) against stiff NCAA competition in Wisconsin, Notre Dame, North Dakota, and Bemidji State.
The NTDP are also without top center J.T. Compher sidelined with an undisclosed injury.
Hudson Fasching (RW, 2013), USNTDP - carries high expectations in his second year with the NTDP after posting a 7-14-21 line in 37 USHL games last season (54-16-20-36 overall) .. the University of Minnesota recruit showed off his physical strength as well as an ability to play both sides of the puck .. boasts a pro-type frame at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds - and is strong on his feet .. gets up the ice efficiently propelled by a powerful stride .. still needs to work on his lateral footwork and overall explosiveness in order to round out the skating .. possesses strong puck skills and is a smart shooter .. gets pucks to the net quickly - and consistently in spots to generate rebounds .. demonstrates good vision moving the puck and quick recognition of open players .. must focus on upgrading his puck movement on offensive-zone entries .. tries to force passes at times, turning over possession .. more effective getting the puck after his team has gained the zone .. displays solid penalty-kill habits - pressures the puck intelligently, dictating movement and keeping the play outside the dots .. despite all his attractive qualities though, he was still inconsistent in terms of the smaller details in his game .. did not show a high level of intensity throughout the contest which, in his defense, may be attributed to playing five games in 11 days.
Mike McCarron (LW, 2013), USNTDP - the Michigan State University recruit is one of the bigger players available for the 2013 NHL Draft - standing just shy of 6-foot-6 .. moves quite well for such a big man - possessing unusual skating versatility for his size .. surprisingly smooth on transitions and lateral movements .. his startup quickness and overall footwork continue to be works in progress however .. takes too long reaching full speed, which limits his impact .. most intriguing as a prospect when fully exploiting his natural physical strength and finishing checks with authority .. does flash a mean streak and the capacity to use his superior size to drive outside defenders and drive hard to the net - but not on a regular basis .. will need to show up in these areas more consistently from shift to shift .. capable of making plays in tight around the net thanks to decent hands .. not overly intuitive handling and distributing the puck however .. sticks to what works for him - making simple plays .. there's definitely some 'power forward' potential here - even if he still raw in certain areas .. expect his stock to rise over the course of his final year with the NTDP.
Steve Santini (D, 2013), USNTDP - the Boston College recruit, in his second year with the NTDP, is a reliable two-way rearguard with excellent size .. a solid skater who displays surprising lateral range and movement at times .. just needs to work on improving his startup burst .. makes strong plays while moving laterally or backwards .. excels escaping pressure in the defensive zone as he is deceptively quick in tight spaces with the puck .. also uses his size effectively to protect the puck and make outlet plays .. sees the ice well, keeps his head up - makes intuitive plays reading the opposition .. the consistency of his puckmoving decisions is a particular strength - the team seems to have more possession time when he's on the ice .. also contributes on the power play - does a decent job getting pucks to the net and creating rebounds .. will enhance his chances of being drafted in the top part of the opening round if he continues to develop more to his offensive repertoire .. already offers a sound defensive foundation.
Will Butcher (D, 2013), USNTDP - the University of Wisconsin recruit is a player that is sure to generate further ‘water-cooler’ discussions as he is an undersized defenseman with a solid skill-set that he displays aggressively on the ice .. a smooth skater with good feet and mobility .. still could use additional leg strength and more explosiveness in his stride .. provides excellent puck support for his partner - and is a solid 1-on-1 defender - backed by decent hands and a good, active stick .. the Sun Prairie, Wisconsin native brings a reputation as a competitive, all-around rearguard, but will need to upgrade the quality of his decision making .. too often gets let down by suspect and inconsistent decisions.
Frederik Tiffels (LW, 2013), Muskegon - the German import enjoyed a successful 'coming out' party at last year’s Five Nations Cup in Ann Arbor, Michigan - and returns to North America as a member of the Muskegon Lumberjacks .. a solid skater with good speed and a decent skill set .. most prevalent on the power play, effectively moving the puck below the dots, and creating openings for teammates .. adding mass and strength to his frame will be critical however, as he could be tougher to knock off the puck, - and protect it better .. also needs to be more competitive and willing to engage in physical battles - in order for his skill set to really shine through.
Current U-18 NTDP scoring stats....