Tuesday, January 09, 2007

An Early Look At Two 07' Freshmen

The US National Development Under –18 team played this past Saturday Night against the top-ranked Division III School, Manhattanville, in Stamford, CT. This provided an opportunity to get a look at two of next year’s recruits, Kevin Shattenkirk and Colin Wilson. After hearing much about them, my expectations were high. Still, I did not go home disappointed as both showed the potential to be great NCAA players:

Kevin Shattenkirk - the best way to describe his style of play is to compare him to a point guard in basketball. When he’s out on the ice - which is often - Shattenkirk is usually the player who skates the puck up the ice and distributes it to the forwards (not just during power plays but at even strength too). Once in the offensive zone, he usually stays up at the point. He is a smooth skater who handles the puck with ease. There was not much hesitation to his game. He seemed to always know where he wanted to pass the puck. Shattenkirk regularly creates scoring chances for his teammates (he is 5th on the team in scoring at 6-14-20 with 32 PIM in 30 games as of 12/18/06) and wound up with an assist on the power play in this game. I would not describe his shot as very hard but it is accurate. He is not very big, but a player with his skills is well-suited to the “new” NHL. He is projected as a late first-round or early second-round selection in this year’s NHL entry draft. Also: Shattenkirk wears the “C” and is clearly the team’s leader on the ice, often giving directions to teammates before draws.

Colin Wilson - Wilson is 2nd on the team in scoring (16-21-37 with 25 PIM in 30 games as of 12/18/06). Although he was kept off the scoresheet for this game, he showed a lot of skill. Like Shattenkirk, Wilson gets his share of ice time. He kills penalties, plays on the power play and also takes draws. I wasn’t keeping track, but he won a number of them. Wilson has good wheels and can stickhandle the puck pretty well. With his stickhandling, he created a couple of chances. He also showed that he could play physically. Wilson is listed as 6’0, 190 lbs. but looks a little bigger than that. Because of his late birthday, Wilson will not be draft-eligible until 2008. Early projections have him going as high as the top-5.

I was hoping to speak to both players after the game but there were about 500 squirts from the Stamford Youth Hockey League waiting for autographs. Wilson did give me the “thumbs up” when he saw my BU cap. As for Shattenkirk, his mom (along with several other family members and friends) was sitting near us and she said that he is very excited about the program and is looking forward to the fall. With this next class coming on board, so am I.

1 comment:

defkit said...

Thanks for the first-hand report. I'm looking forward to seeing these guys in Scarlet & White.

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