Despite playing the night before and boarding three planes to reach Buffalo, Seth Jones did not disappoint in the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Saturday night.
The son of former NBA player Popeye Jones scored on a rocket point shot to help Team McClanahan post a 5-2 win over Team Housley - in a showcase for many of the top Americans eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft.
Here are scouting reports on all the key performers on Team McClanahan including prospective first-rounders Hudson Fasching (NTDP) and Luke Johnson (Lincoln):
Will Butcher (D), USNTDP
Partnered with Seth Jones, Butcher endeared himself to Coach McClanahan with his astute offensive play, namely executing perfect stretch passes and logging the puck deep into the opposing zone .. displayed an ability to manufacture breakouts all by himself while also generating scoring chances .. possesses a booming shot to go along with solid puckhandling skills .. slightly below-average in terms of size at five-foot-ten, however is a thickly-constructed 200 pounds .. tends to leave himself exposed to hits in his own zone, and can also be too passive in his defensive reads .. showed a lack of lateral quickness as he was beaten on several shifts to the outside .. nevertheless, he shines thanks to a healthy offensive skill-set and the capacity to break open a game with his speed .. should be a prime option for Team USA on the top power play.
Taylor Cammarata (LW), Waterloo-USHL
Failed to make an immediate impact on the game and never did find his groove, appearing 'out of sorts' .. on the small side at just five-foot-seven, however he compensates with his elusiveness and quick, short bursts of speed .. employs a relatively short stick which can limit the impact of his shot, yet does allow him to stickhandle in tight spaces .. brave and resilient - got run over a few times along the boards but was not deterred .. slithers into scoring holes and lanes and shows a solid compete level battling in traffic .. will need to pile up the points in the USHL this season to overcome the size question.
Cole Cassels (C), Oshawa-OHL
Showed no signs of fatigue, having played the night before in Oshawa .. made a handful of clever plays with the puck, while showcasing his sharp hockey sense in all three zones .. deployed on the fourth line and emerged an interchangeable pivot for coach McClanahan as he was meshed with a series of different linemates .. excelled in the offensive zone, exploiting his top-notch vision and passing skills to 'thread the needle' to open linemates .. the rate at which he connects with his passes is remarkable considering the limited time and space given to operate with .. skating is murky however, especially in startup, however he seems to stay out of trouble thanks to his anticipation .. yet another youngster with strong NHL bloodlines as father Andrew was an accomplished 16-year NHL pro with over 1,000 games and 700-plus points .. a 'chip off the old block', Cole plays an almost identical style to that of his dad.
Hudson Fasching (RW), USNTDP
Came out of the gate flying and scored the game's opening goal .. unfortunately, his initial intensity did not carry over to the other periods as he exhibited a lack of shift-to-shift consistency .. can tease and mesmerize with bursts of stickhandling prowess as he possesses a talent for executing 1-on-1 moves that are quite uncommon for a player of his height and stature (6-3/195) .. his skating has shown marked improvement .. stride is long and crisp and allows him to drive wide and beat defenders .. at his best when charging the net bravely, which is how he scored the first goal .. did not display much of a physical edge however - in spite of boasting the strength and frame to dominate on the cycle .. appears to be more passive when engaging opposition defencemen .. stick placement is among best attributes - always has his blade on the ice for tips or deflections .. utilizes his reach and range to break up plays, but still need to establish better positioning in the defensive zone .. certainly displays the potential to be a game-breaking 'power forward' if he learns to string together a solid sixty-minute effort.
Ryan Fitzgerald (C), Valley Jr. Warriors-EJHL
Notched three beautiful assists which helped him capture 'Game MVP' honours .. a highly cerebral forward who possesses premium puck-distribution skills .. shifty and deceptive .. holds the puck until the last possible moment to make a play, and can deliver crisp and accurate passes on both his strong and weak side .. masterful at disguising intentions by opening up his blade - which can often leave the opposition confused and hesitant to commit .. buys time and space as a result, and opens up more for both himself and linemates .. diligent on his draws .. an effective skater with nice glide and excellent economies thanks to very limited movement in his stride .. however, defensively he appeared uncertain, not knowing where to go .. also brings the NHL bloodlines as father Tom was a former first-round NHL pick who played over 1,000 NHL games.
Luke Johnson (C), Lincoln-USHL
Averaged a point per game in his USHL rookie season in `11-12 .. among the oldest first-year eligible prospects, having missed the 2012 NHL Draft by just four days .. a highly competitive player who excels at both ends of the ice .. plays a spirited game showcasing tremendous poise and awareness as a playmaker .. makes astute decisions - rarely settling on his first option .. a fluid skater with quick feet and explosive first steps .. great on his edges .. showed multiple layers to his game as he is not only capable of playing a smart, finesse game - but can also turn on a pugilistic style .. boasts soft hands in tight as well as excellent 1-on-1 elusiveness .. comes off as a smart player who exhibits high intelligence and hockey sense .. simply knows where to go without the puck .. his upper-body strength and balance are still 'in-progress' issues, as he struggles to maintain possession under intense checking pressure .. deployed as the top-line pivot for Team McClanahan, winning many key face-offs, while generating a fair share of offensive chances .. he even tried to engage Michael Downing in a fight.
Seth Jones (D), Portland-WHL
Played the night before in Portland before boarding three planes to make the inaugural All American Top Prospect Game .. billed as the main attraction - and lived up to the billing - scoring his team’s second goal on a blistering point shot .. can appear to play a non-chalant game at times, as he makes everything look so effortless .. routinely skated the puck up ice with confidence and poise, using his body to protect the puck while gaining the offensive zone .. oozes athleticism in all facets; both in terms of his hand skills and especially his footwork .. pivots are sleek and polished; turns, acceleration, and directional changes are all in the upper echelon of his draft class .. requires just four or five strides to propel himself through the neutral zone .. at times, he seems too casual as if he is not putting fourth maximum effort - even though he always remains in control .. equipped with a keen sense of awareness .. must learn to consistently absorb hits in order to make defensive plays - was guilty of throwing the puck up the middle of the ice on a few occasions .. poised on the ice and mature off it .. plays a staunch two-way game and possesses all the tools to potentially step directly into the NHL.
Mike McCarron (RW), USNTDP
The biggest player to participate in the game, McCarron stands at a whopping six-foot-five and 225 pounds, although he does not play up to his size .. did engage in various battles along the wall and in mid-ice areas, but routinely came up on the short end of the stick .. his stride and overall skating mechanics have ironed out slightly as he grows into his body and his co-ordination catches up .. still shows very little explosiveness in his stride however .. his snapshot can be dangerous, but can struggle with accuracy when he lacks the required time and space .. showed nominal involvement in the game overall as he chipped the puck in deep on several occasions but was a non-factor in terms of driving hard to the net or using his size effectively on the cycle .. played far too passive for his size.
Quentin Shore (C), Denver University-NCAA
Passed over at last year’s NHL draft, Shore played an excellent two-way game and was rewarded with the game-winning goal for Team McClanahan .. his skating has been upgraded marginally, as he now garners more speed in crossovers, helping to mask a lack of straight-ahead speed .. simply unable to break away from the pack due to sluggish start-up and acceleration, yet his feet were constantly in motion .. buzzed around goal for the entire contest, making plays with the puck and using his sizzling wristshot to catch goalies by surprise .. appears slightly thicker than last year and utilized his size along the boards and in front of the net to be a presence .. plays hard at both ends of the ice, doesn't cheat on effort .. will have plenty of time to develop at the University of Denver, following in the footsteps of his older siblings.
Next: Team Housley Scouting Reports