Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New England 2010 draft prospect roundup

Here's a quick-hitter on the who's who of 2010 draft prospects from New England. I may follow up with writeups on kids who aren't New England natives but who play in the region, but for now, we'll forcus on the locals.

And, you can read more detailed writeups of these guys if you can get your hands on a copy of the June, 2010 Draft Preview issue of New England Hockey Journal.

Charlie Coyle, RW South Shore (EJHL)

I've waffled between Coyle and Kevin Hayes all year as to who is the better prospect in the class, but in the end, I keep going back to the fact that the Boston University-bound Coyle may not quite have the size and skill/upside of Hayes, but he's a more complete player at this stage of their development. He's more physical and from what I've seen, more willing to go out and do the dirty work and initiate contact, whereas Hayes plays more of a finesse game. I like both players, but when projecting who will likely be the better pro, I have to go with Coyle.

He's a bit of a lumbering skater in his first few strides, but once he gets going, he's fine. He has a nice array of shots and goes hard to the net. Along with Chris Wagner, Coyle and the rest of the Kings offense gave opponents fits last season.

Kevin Hayes, LW Noble & Greenough (HIGH- MA)
I don't want people to get the wrong impression on Hayes-- this is a really solid kid and prospect. He's got size, speed and skill. The Dorchester native also put up some bigtime numbers at Nobles last season. There appears to be quite a bit of interest in him in the late first-round, which makes sense given that he has the most upside of any of the New England draft-eligibles this season. Now, for the bad news: I think he's very much a work in progress, so any team picking him will need to be in it for the long haul. He has accelerated so he can be on Chestnut Hill next season, which helps his stock at the draft, but he's got to get stronger and show more of a willingness to play in the greasy areas of the rink. He reminds me a lot of what I was hearing about Joe Colborne two years ago: very big and very talented, but needing to show more commitment in all areas of his game.

One thing I've heard is that he's more skilled than his older brother (and Toronto '08 second-rounder) Jimmy, but not as gritty and physical. If he can add a little bit of Jimmy's sandpaper to his game, I think he'll become a pretty big name in prospect circles because he doesn't lack for talent.

Connor Brickley, LW Des Moines (USHL)
'Little Brick' is Andy Brickley's second cousin and an interesting prospect because he seems to be entering the draft with his stock really rising up. I'd say a lot of that has to do with the fact that he had a solid 20+ goal season in the USHL and is coming off a gold medal with the Team USA under-18 squad, where he played his tenacious, big-hitting role to perfection. He's a good skater who may not have the greatest hands or natural finishing skills, but makes the most of his talent and creates problems for opponents when he's going all out. A relentless forechecker who anticipates the play extremely well, he seems to always be in position to lay the big hits and separate the puck carrier from the biscuit to create turnovers.

I really, really like this kid. He could've stayed at Belmont Hill and smoked everyone, but he recognized that he needed to play at a higher level to help disinguish himself from some of his peers, so he left home and played well enough to earn time in several big international competitions. He's not the biggest guy out there, nor is he the most skilled...but you always know he's there. Someone will grab him sooner rather than later. Second round may be a tad soon, but early third is not a bad spot for him.

Billy Arnold, LW U.S. NTDP (USHL)
This is another guy who deserves a lot of credit for getting out of the comfort zone of what would have been a crazy scoring fest with Hayes at Nobles. Instead, Arnold went out to Ann Arbor and the U.S. Under-18 team where he overcame a slow start and was one of Team USA's most consistent forwards from February on through the under-18 tourney in April. He doesn't have a lot of height, but he's well-built and strong, very strong on his skates and the puck. He works the play nicely coming out of the corners and can pick the corners. Arnold is a real opportunist around the net. He's shifty and smart-- he diagrams the play and then gets where he needs to go in order to make something happen. He's got to stay diligent on his conditioning. He began the season not in the proper shape and although he got there, it's just something he's going to have to pay attention to going forward. NHL teams are getting more and more stern about off-ice conditioning of their players and if you have any questions, just talk to Bruins prospect Jordan Knackstedt, who found that out the hard way last fall at Boston training camp.

Arnold is probably not going to go as high as Central has him, but you never know. He's going to a very good program at Boston College, and I just really like his mental makeup and approach to the game. I think he's gotten a bum rap in some circles, but the kid is a winner and he's going to prove it down the road.

Brian Billett, G NH Jr. Monarchs (EJHL)
Kyle Woodlief of Red Line Report says that the EJHL Goalie of the Year is the most underrated player in the 2010 draft and I have to agree. All this guy did was win, and demonstrate a big-game ability. But you know, try as I did to find NHL folks who believed in him like I and a few others did, I wasn't so successful. I hope Billett gets some vindication on draft day, I really do. Because he's one of these people who is a serious competitor and who plays hard and is well respected by his teammates. It takes a special kind of goalie to win as many games as Billett did and post the excellent numbers without facing a lot of shots. My big fear is that Billett will be like The Gunnery's Alex Vazzano last year and get passed over, but whereas Central had Vazzano high on their list and apparently none of the NHL's 30 teams did, Billett did not make it into Central's top-30 in their final rankings. That's an oversight in my opinion. He'd be a good pick in the late third/fourth rounds, but I'll be happy if he goes 5th/6th/7th to be honest. He deserves to get picked.

Mike Pereira, LW Avon Old Farms (HIGH- CT)
If speed kills, then you're looking at the best skater of all the New England draft-eligibles, a guy who elevated his game when it mattered most and led Avon to the prep title last March. You talk about a net opportunitst, and Pereira is it. He'll quietly circle around and then explode onto the puck and bury it into the back of the twine in the blink of an eye. I can't tell you how impressed I was with his performance in the playoffs-- he was that good. He's lean and raw, and will need some good seasoning and coaching from Toot Cahoon at UMass-Amherst, but I really like him as one of those long-term project players with a lot of upside.

Chris Wagner, C South Shore (EJHL)
Small but skilled, productive and gritty center made a statement after getting passed over last year. This guy can play some hockey-- I watched him singlehandedly dismantle the Green Mountain Glades in the first game of the playoffs, registering two goals and an assist in the first five minutes of action to say "Goodnight, Irene!" just like that. He was tenacious, opportunistic and when the puck was on his stick, he didn't flub it. Apparently, he was like that all season, because Wagner set an EJHL single-season record for scoring with 83 points in 44 games. He's gotten stronger, and although he's not going to an elite program at Colgate, he's one of those players who could fly under the radar a bit. The Bruins brought him in for a visit, so he's at least attracted their attention. Not surprising, though- 83 points in any league will do that for you.

Tommy O'Regan, C St. Sebastian's (HIGH-MA)
I saw this guy in the winter and he impressed me with his skating and real ability to dangle and create offense on his own. Apparently, he didn't have a lot of help on the Arrows this year, so O'Regan was forced to do a lot by himself, which can be tough for any player. He's got very nice puck skills and has an offensive acumen that will be welcome at Harvard in 2011. That said, I'm told compete levels were up and down and he went through a rough stretch in the middle of the year before surging and finishing strong. His dad was an NHL player, so he's got the bloodlines.

Garnet Hathaway, C Phillips Andover (HIGH-MA)
Real character/hear-and-soul center doesn't have tremendous skills or a projectable offensive element in the pros, but he's going to give you all he has and then some. He's got size and skates well, always moves his feet and plays with a lot of energy. Hands and offensive instincts are not what they need to be, but he's headed for Brown and could surprise. He's a late-round guy if he gets drafted, but could work his way into the mix down the road as a free agent if he gets passed over. A coach's dream.

Luke Curadi, D Penticton (BCHL)
The Monster from Cheshire, Conn. was passed over last year, but my guess is that someone will take a chance on the 6-6, 250-pound blueliner after he went out west and played at a higher level. This is one tough kid-- and he plays as nasty as his vitals make him out to be. He's a pretty decent straight-line skater, but his footwork and lateral agility need a lot of work. He hits to hurt and can fight...oh, can he fight. He was recruited to RPI in 2011 by then-assistant Jim Montgomery and will join Montgomery in Dubuque with the expansion Fighting Saints of the USHL next season. They don't come much more raw than this kid, but NHL teams are always looking for legitimate size and toughness-- he's got that in spades.

Cody Ferriero, F Governor's Academy (HIGH- MA)
Arguably the most skilled player of all the New England prospects, he also lacks size and some scouts aren't impressed with the attitude and character. If you're watching him in action, the speed and hands jump out at you, but he also lacks discipline at critical moments and will take bad/selfish penalties. If a team believes that it's jsut a maturity thing and that he can be brought to heel, he'll be drafted just like his older brother Benn was, but I've been told about some red flags with him, so it will probably be later.

Mike Reardon, D Noble &Greenough (HIGH- MA)
Underrated d-man has good mobility and is a smart player who often gets overlooked in the New England class. He's not a spectacular defender, but he gets the job done. Red Line Report had him listed in their "mid-round sleepers worth a look" section and he could be a player that some NHL team has targeted late in the draft because he does have some long-term potential.

Other New Englanders in the mix for the draft and ranked by Central: Brian Ward, Brandon McNally, Jacob Rutt, Derek Deblois ('91), Mike Seward.

Not ranked by Central: Danny Federico, Nick Lovejoy, Peter McIntyre, Pat Mullane ('90), Brandon Russo. Nick Thompson, Steven Whitney ('91), Jared Wiedemann, Colby Drost


  1. Kirk you're one step ahead of NHL.com who posted this article on Charlie Coyle tonight. He is getting hotter by the day, I see him climbing higher up the 1st round.


  2. Kirk I know all of these guys well so here is my addendum.

    Charlie Coyle- I'm as big a Coyle Fan as you are a Billet fan. He goes 24 to Chicago. He hopped in to a new league and ran the power play as the youngest kid on the Kings. He is a horse and a tremendous character kid. Charlie will be a long time pro player and is the sure bet pro out of the NE kids.

    Kevin Hayes- Has skill and vision that only God can give you, he's had it since he was 6 (no exaggeration). Now he's got pro size to go with it. The best play maker to come out of New England in 20 years for sure. The kid loves to play the game and to him it's more of a game cause he can slow it down and control it. People are saying he's a risk but I don't see it and neither does Phoenix at 22. This kid is a point machine who will always show up on the score sheet every night.

    Connor Brickley- Bricks is Ken Linesman. He does more with attitude and work ethic than 99% of the kids do with talent alone. A character player that any team would love to have on their 3rd or 4th line. Not sure where he's headed but mid 2nd round is where his stock has risen to. He could be the first of the top 3 to actually get to the NHL. Don't see him spending 4 years at UVM as a matter of fact would be a great guy for the QMJHL. If you ever get a chance to talk with him you'll know why he knocked them dead in all of his interviews at the combine.

    Bill Arnold-Bill is getting a bum rap I think in this draft. He has a very quick and accurate shot and great hands. He is extremely hard to move and knock off the puck, anywhere near the net he is deadly. He will do very well at BC and he should be a good pro as well. Looks like he's slipped to the 3rd round but again he will be a good solid player in the league for any team that grabs him.

    Brian Billet- This kid should be picked by someone. He's a very sound goalie at this age and projects to be a very good one. The problem I see with him is where he played. It's really hard for a goalie on a very good team to get the recognition he deserves. The Monarchs program has had guys like Dumoulin playing D the last couple of years. Looks like all of their D get D1 deals. In my opinion This discounts a goalies value. Also now that he is heading to BC with a Milner there he may not get games for the first couple of years. I think that this is a problem for the teams looking at him, stalled development.

  3. Had to put in 2 posts. Too big as one.

    Mike Pereira- Crazy fast. Could be the quickest guy in New England and may match the speed of Kreider. Good offensive skills at the prep level but still curious to see how that translates to Hockey East. He will get his chance at U Mass who lost a ton of offense and needs to replace it quick. He should be able to log some pretty good ice time that will only help accelerate his development. I see him going in the 3rd round as well.

    Chris Wagner- Have to love a kid that plays his way into the draft in year 2. Scouts love his work ethic, grit and his hockey sense but you cant ignore his offense numbers. Look at his pointstreak stats, Including South Shore's 9 playoff games he ended up with 41 goals and 61 assists in 53 games for 102. That's insane no matter where you play. 4th round pick.

    Tommy O'Regan- Tough to tell on Tom. Played on a very weak St Sebs team but did what he could. Would like to see him play with more jam than he does and not show his disappointment on the ice when things go wrong. He has above average hands and tremendous blood lines but he needs to want it more than he does. Once he learns to put it all on the line every shift his development will take off. I think he's a 4th round guy as well but the jury is still out.

    Garnet Hathawy- I love this kid. He has got great wheels and very good size. Works really hard for what he gets. Did have a bit of an adjustment this year losing a line mate like Kreider and who wouldn't. Also did not grab a lot of attention from the top colleges who watched him a ton the last couple of years which I think is a cause for alarm. That is probably because he has got limited offensive abilities. Could be a very good energy line guy if he is willing to play that role down the line. 5th round.

    Like Curadi- I haven't seen him play since his AJHL days but at the end of that season he had come along. He is still a project, but for a guy that is the size of an NFL linebacker he skates really well. Would still be classified as a project because I don't think a defenseman enforcer fits anywhere in the NHL, just too much of a liability to a team. 6th round.

    Cody Ferriero- As you mentioned has skills and speed that are overflowing. The problem is he doesn't like to use them. Didn't have a productive year at all in the ISL and he should have torn that league up. Has an amazing shot and could play with an edge although he never seems to know where the line is and he crosses it 99% of the time. I imagine some team is going to take a chance on him but I'd need some evidence of change before I would. 7th rd.