I recently watched the USNTDP U-18’s play Ohio State. Unfortunately, Jon Merrill, Kevin Clare and Jacob Fallon were suspended and did not play. However, I did have the opportunity to see several of the other 2010 Draft eligible players in action.
Derek Forbort D 6’4” 195
Forbort’s raw athleticism and size attribute to his high ranking to this point. He’s a strong skater with good balance and agility. Forbort also skates well with the puck and appears to get through the neutral zone effortlessly. In this regard he shows good hockey sense and the vision to skate to open ice as the play develops. Forbort was able to maintain tight gap on the OSU forwards but had difficulty when taken wide and was beat by some of the quicker skaters. He’ll just need to improve his technique and footwork. Also, Forbort had difficulty recognizing shot opportunities as he, as well as some of his teammates, had several shots blocked. I would have liked to see him more creative and confidant at the point. Forbort is the type of player with a high ceiling and if he develops fully, will be a stud defenseman in the NHL.
Stephen Johns D 6’3” 215
In my opinion, Johns might be a safer bet to develop into an NHL defenseman as he appears more NHL ready now. However, he does not have as high a ceiling as Forbort. Johns is very strong on the puck and quickly moves the puck or takes the safe route by getting it to the red-line and dumping it in. Johns plays physically and should develop into a prototypical defensive defenseman who does have the ability to make a good first pass. He possesses a good, hard shot but he too was guilty of making poor decisions by forcing the puck, only to have it blocked several times. Also, Johns will need to improve upon his technique in pressuring puck carriers in the corner. On a few occasions, the OSU forwards were able to get around Johns and catch him flat footed
Jarred Tinordi D 6’5” 202
Tinordi has all the intangibles that would excite any scout. He’s huge and has great leadership abilities as he is wearing the “C”. Tinordi also seemed aware on the ice and has good hockey sense….defensively. Offensively, Tinordi struggled on the point as well. In addition to the blocked shots, Tinordi clearly does not have the agility that his fellow defenseman have. Tinordi is an awkward skater without good balance and footwork. He will need to improve upon his skating and puck skills when he’s at Notre Dame. He’s clearly a project that if he works out, will be a force on an NHL blueline. There is just a lot of work to be done.
Justin Faulk D 5’11” 195
Faulk is the complete opposite of Forbort, Johns, and Tinordi in that his strengths are his offensive awareness and capabilities. Faulk was able to routinely able to get shots on net where his teammates were not, scoring on a nice wrist shot from ten feet inside the blue line. Faulk distributed the puck well in the offensive zone as well as making some nifty passes in the neutral zone. Faulk also played physically and was able to throw his weight around. It will be interesting to see how he tests at the combine though as at times, he appeared to labor, almost as though he was too heavy.
Jason Zucker F 5’10” 174
Clearly the cream of the crop of the USA forwards, Zucker stands out both through his offensive skills and creativity as well as his diligence as a backchecker and defensive player. Zucker has speed and puck skills as well as a hard, accurate shot. I believe that Zucker is the type of player who can play as a top 6 forward and provide offense, or as a responsible defensive player who can see time on a third line matched against another team’s first line while chipping in offensively as well. This versatility will pay off on draft day.
Bill Arnold F 5’11” 217
Arnold is a big kid who works hard on the ice. He was blocking shots and very effective on the boards. However, I did not see a lot of offensive abilities that would merit a high selection. It’s possible that he can develop a higher skill set at Boston College while providing the intangibles.
Chase Balisy F 5’10 170
Balisy is a quick, darting skater who did well in open ice. However, he struggled in traffic against the physically mature Buckeyes.
Luke Moffatt F 6’0” 179
Behind Zucker, Moffatt was the most visible offensive threat among the 2010 eligibles. Moffatt had the knack of being in the right spots and had several opportunities to create offense. However, once he had the puck, he did not always make the right play. He forced a few bad angle shots from the boards that were easily turned aside and transitioned by Ohio State. On those occasions, Moffatt had more time to survey the play and wait for support. Moffatt is a kid who will benefit from the coaching at Michigan and should play out his eligibility.
Bryan Rust F 5’11 191
Rust has good size and played a responsible game. Rust did not display the skill that Moffatt did however he made better decisions with the puck and also had the knack for getting to the right spots.