The Hot List: All-American prospects shine

Ryan Kennedy

The second annual All-American Prospects Game was played in Pittsburgh late last week and the building was rife with talent. Once again it was a 5-2 finish after a slow start and though there was no Seth Jones-like talent this year, the overall field was quite strong. With notes on some of the standouts plus more from around the world of prospects, here’s a bunch of kids we’re excited to see in the NHL one day.

Blake Weyrick, G – U.S. NTDP (USHL)
Weyrick took the win at the AAPG and even though he gave up two goals in his half game of work, he stopped nearly an entire night’s worth of chances, with 19 saves in 31 minutes. The 6-foot-3, 203-pound keeper has gone through quite the education with the National Team Development Program, earning backup duties for Team USA at the world under-18s last year.

“It was a phenomenal experience, spending time with the 95s and (starter) Thatcher Demko,” Weyrick said. “To see that tournament and how hard it is to win…getting that silver shows you how much more you want that gold next season.”

With Demko off at Boston College, Weyrick will get that chance this year as he platoons with Ed Minney in the NTDP net. On top of his size, Weyrick cites his compete level as a strength and his ability to stay square to the puck is evident when he plays.

“Tracking the puck is something I’d like to improve on and reading plays,” he said. “Playing the puck, too.”

Like a growing number of American prospects, Weyrick hails from California, where he played for the L.A. Selects and Anaheim Jr. Ducks, not to mention Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Minnesota. From the sounds of it, growing up in Ojai (a little northwest of L.A.) is as nice as you’d imagine.

“Like most California kids I spent a lot of time outdoors, playing a lot of different sports,” Weyrick said. “I played a lot of baseball and I would spend time at the beach – everyone on our team would hang out there together.”

Yet to commit to a college, Weyrick was looking at Harvard, Northeastern and Providence as options in the summer. Draft eligible in 2014.

Shane Eiserman, LW – Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
All force, all the time. Eiserman has a power forward build and can handle the puck with speed. He destroyed NTDPer Shane Gersich with a big hit at the AAPG and his tenaciousness led to him scoring an empty-netter. Committed to the University of New Hampshire, he’s a former NTDP product himself. Draft eligible in 2014.

Keegan Iverson, C – Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
The MVP of the AAPG, Iverson is a big-bodied kid who is always hustling. That persistence put him in a very good place for his goal, while he had a nice set-up earlier on for partner-in-crime Dylan Larkin. While the Hawks don’t rebuild, they reload, Portland must be glad to have the young center blossoming. Draft eligible in 2014.

Dylan Larkin, C – U.S. NTDP (USHL)
With two points on the night, Larkin was one of the offensive stars at the AAPG, as he is with the NTDP. A big kid who skates well and has a quick release, Larkin is a University of Michigan commit who’s not afraid to shoot the puck: He leads Team USA by a wide margin with 18 shots on net (four goals) through three games. Draft eligible in 2014.

Anthony Mantha, LW – Val-d’Or Foreurs (QMJHL)
Tied for the lead in the ‘Q’ in scoring with eight goals and 14 points in just five games, Mantha has picked up where he left off last season in the offense department. The message he heard at the draft combine was to round out his game and with two of his tallies coming shorthanded, perhaps that’s how the explosive winger will get it done. Drafted 20th overall by Detroit in 2013.

Jack Dougherty, D – U.S. NTDP (USHL)
An all-around defenseman who reopened his school choice after Ohio State fired coach Mark Osiecki, Dougherty now becomes a recruiting gem for someone else. He was excellent at the AAPG, scoring a goal off a wire shot, but also prides himself on playing a gritty, agitating game. Draft eligible in 2014.

Anthony DeAngelo, D – Sarnia Sting (OHL)
Smooth skating and not afraid to charge the puck up the ice, DeAngelo is a new-school offensive defenseman who brings a lot of sizzle to the ice and put it on display at the AAPG, where he was quite noticeable. Back in Sarnia, he has put up three goals and six points in three games to tie for the league lead in scoring by a D-man. Draft eligible in 2014.

Jake Evans, C – St. Mike’s Buzzers (OJHL)
Last year, Evans was buried a bit behind future NHL draft picks Matt Buckles and Troy Josephs. But with both of them plus several other older players off to college, the skilled center is taking the spotlight at St. Mike’s. Through 10 games, the Notre Dame commit has 15 assists and 17 points, ranking third overall in the Ontario Jr. League. Draft eligible in 2014.

Alexis Vanier, D – Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)
He’s only played seven games, but Vanier has already eclipsed his eight point rookie season, notching three goals and 10 points for the Drakkar so far. A beastly 6-foot-5 and 224 pounds, Vanier is a physical defenseman who can throw bombs when the gloves are off and is developing quickly. Draft eligible in 2014.

Nikita Tryamkin, D – Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg (KHL)
At 6-foot-7, 229 pounds, it’s pretty obvious why NHL Central Scouting has taken an interest in Tryamkin, who has been passed over in two drafts but is now looking like a player to watch. The big blueliner is just two seconds off the team lead for average ice time at 20:17 a night, which is insane for a teen in the KHL. He’s also a plus-3 on a ‘D’ corps full of minuses. Draft eligible in 2014.